Recently, TikTok, China’s most popular short video sharing platform, was accused of banning Cantonese (Guangdong), which has caused pushback from a large number of Cantonese users. Some analysts point out that TikTok is worried about something happening because the “crucial moment” of the 20th National Congress is coming up.
According to NetEase, on September 30, internet celebrity Tik Tok “Cantonese handsome Feng Shao” with more than 4.6 million fans said that when speaking Cantonese to broadcast live on Tik Tok, the system will display the words “Live broadcast contains unrecognizable language and text, multilingual recognition of live broadcast is being improved and will support multiple dialects as soon as possible.”
“Handsome Cantonese Feng Shao” angrily accused TikTok of being able to create subtitles for Cantonese accents, but it is absurd to use the excuse “cannot recognize the language” to lock the user’s Cantonese accounts. He pointed out that the majority of netizens in Guangdong speak Cantonese. Guangdong with a population of more than 100 million people is more than the population of many countries. Moreover, the number of netizens in Guangdong and the power of online shopping and consumption top the country. Because TikTok is so outdated, he announced his withdrawal from the platform.
Sound of Hope reported that, on September 29, former Miss Asia Lalin used Cantonese to live-stream a talk on TikTok. As a result, while she was chatting, the system displayed the message, “The live broadcast screen is covered,” and the image says “The live broadcast has an unrecognizable language.”
Many Cantonese-speaking users have also encountered the same situation during a live broadcast. User named “Professor Qin” posted a video saying that his account was banned for 24 hours for speaking Cantonese during a live broadcast. At the same time, some short videos of users discussing the Cantonese live-stream ban were also removed from the platform, and only “show private.” The reason the video was removed was “regarding misinformation.”
Related events have caused heated debate among netizens, with some in Guangdong stressing, “Cantonese people may not use TikTok, but they must use Cantonese.” This comment has received the approval of tens of thousands of netizens.
In fact, there is no clear provision in the “Tik Tok Live Streaming Code of Conduct” that prohibits local languages on live stream. Why has this platform recently started targeting Cantonese? CNA, citing analysis of some commentators, said that it may be because TikTok does not have enough censors who understand the local language. The 20th congress is approaching, the platform is worried about possible problems. Because these two points are not easy to articulate, they can only use stricter censorship.
Current affairs commentator Yue Shan told The Epoch Times on October 5 that from an objective point of view, the Chinese regime’s goal is to suppress the Cantonese language in disguise. The CCP wants to change the unique culture and local consciousness of the Cantonese-speaking ethnic group, and maintain the authoritarian rule of the CCP. The CCP is also targeting the Hong Kong people (who speak the Guangdong language).
However, Yue said, “Anything banned on the mainland’s online platforms is political. This move by TikTok will have a big impact, and could not have been done without the orders of the higher authority.”