Virtual Chains

Virtual Chains
The control of the internet in China has intensified over the past two years, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping. Controls have become so intrusive, in fact, that companies and researchers have complained that business and innovation are being affected.
In the above cartoon by artist Cheng Tao (成涛), posted to Sina Weibo, a computer keyboard and mouse are taped and chained while the image on the screen becomes a virtual jail cell. The meaning of Cheng’s cartoon is inescapable, but he writes nevertheless: “This is my last satirical cartoon. Don’t just glance at it: every piece was drawn under immense pressure. I draw and I share, at immense risk. . . There’s basically no risk for all of you in passing it along. These past few days, my family have all had words with me, my mom and grandma pleading with me through tears not to continue drawing. I give up. From this day forward I temporarily desist from satirical cartoons. From here on out I’ll change over to entertainment cartoons. I’ve disappointed all of you.

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