You guys, this is Patriot Act,
or as it’s known in Saudi Arabia,
Error 404, not found. [laughs]
In case you don’t know the full story,
back in October, we did an episode about
the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia
Mohammed bin Salman
and his involvement in the killing
of Washington Post journalist
and the Kingdom wasn’t thrilled.
Well, Netflix under fire today
after its decision to pull an episode
of a comedy show that was critical of
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
[man] Patriot Act, with “Hasan Majan”–
-[woman] Minhaj, yeah.
Netflix confirmed it removed the episode
from streaming in Saudi Arabia
after the country’s Communications
and Information Technology Commission
made a request that it take it down.
Does MBS think Netflix is a wedding DJ?
I have a quick request.
Just take down that one episode
that’s criticizing me
and then just play Usher’s Yeah.
A request is when a neighbor tells you
to turn the music down.
A demand is when
that neighbor is Conor McGregor
and you’re in his parking spot.
I still can’t believe it.
We got Saudi Arabia
to issue its very own Muslim ban.
Netflix has received a request,
a legal request actually from Saudi Arabia
to remove this episode.
Saudi Arabian officials cited article six
of their anti-cybercrime law.
You’re telling me, even in Saudi prison,
I’ll be associated with the IT department.
Okay, let’s break down
how I became an Internet bad boy.
According to article six
of the Saudi Arabian anti-cybercrime law,
any content that impinges on public order,
or public morals is prohibited.
Of all the Netflix Originals,
the only show
that Saudi Arabia thinks
violates “Muslim values”
is the one hosted by a Muslim.
Do you know what’s still streaming
in Saudi Arabia?
We got access to Netflix in Saudi Arabia
through an online proxy,
which allows you to make it look like
your IP address is from another country.
So, this is Netflix in Saudi Arabia.
These shows are still streaming.
Sabrina, still up.
It has literal devil worship
and a lot of premarital witch sex.
There’s an alcoholic horse-man
who snorts cocaine.
And let’s not forget
those evil cooking shows.
Porky goodness! Vitamin P!
Fat from the hog, a la natural.
[woman] It must be like Christmas
every time you break open a new pig.
This is Haram City.
Not eating pork is the one rule
every Muslim agrees on.
I have a cousin who’s atheist,
and he’ll be rolling a blunt, drinking,
and he’ll still be like, “Hey, man,
is there pepperoni on that pizza?”
Look, I don’t know if there’s a God
but if there is one, he hates pepperoni.
You know the most bizarre thing
about this entire censorship fiasco?
Saudi Arabia was our second episode,
and you can see right here, it’s missing.
Okay? But in our last episode
in December, episode seven,
we had another segment criticizing MBS,
and it was called “Saudi Arabia Update.”
Yeah, our episode titles
are super straight forward.
They’re like an email from your parents.
The subject line tells you
exactly what you’re gonna get.
I have a question about the Roku.
I have a question about the Roku.”
That episode is still streaming
on Netflix in Saudi Arabia.
If you’re going to crush
all forms of dissent, don’t half-ass it.
But that’s what happens
when you got a country
that’s run by people who got their job
just because of their dad.
Now, here’s the irony.
By censoring our episode,
Saudi Arabia made us go viral
Have they never heard
of the Streisand Effect?
It was great for the show,
I got 60 new IG followers.
It was great.
got covered by everyone
across the political spectrum.
For the first time in my life,
I was a bipartisan icon. Yes!
Liberals and conservatives,
they both embraced me
like I was money from Big Pharma.
Cory Booker just bear hugged me like…
“Get over here, buddy.”
Even Breitbart defended me. Breitbart!
You know how hard it was for Breitbart?
They had to look at a picture of me
and MBS and be like,
“Which one is browner?
Is there a third option to hate?”
So hard for them.
Let me be absolutely clear,
I’m not a victim here at all.
I’m lucky, okay?
I have the freedom to call Saudi Arabia
“The Boy Band Manager of 9/11.”
I can criticize my own government
without any fear of repercussions.
I can say Stephen Miller
deported his own hair for being brown.
I can say those things…
but those freedoms don’t exist
in Saudi Arabia.
Dozens of activists sit in Saudi jails,
many without formal charges.
So while I can make a joke
about being a “cyber-criminal,”
this is no joke for many Saudi activists.
According to Reprieve,
a human rights advocacy group,
that vague cybercrime law
that we allegedly broke,
it is the very same law
that is regularly cited in Saudi court
to justify death sentences,
like in the case of Ali al-Nimr,
a teenager who was sentenced to death
for protesting and using his BlackBerry
to spread information about protests.
This isn’t about just censoring
one episode of a TV show,
it’s about the precedent.
Because as tech companies keep expanding,
they’re going to keep running into
more vague censorship laws.
Laws that can allow governments
to pull any content at any time.
Saudi doesn’t care about “immoral content”
that impinges on “religious values.”
They’re mad that a Muslim
is airing out their dirty laundry.
I’ve already been banned in one country.
So I was thinking, “Look,
you’re not built for this beef.
Let’s talk about something
a little less controversial.”
Netflix isn’t in China.
The only thing they binge watch
is their own people.
China, of course,
has some of the toughest restrictions
on the Internet.
No Facebook. No YouTube.
[man] The Chinese Communist Party enforces
a draconian system of censorship,
dictating what Chinese can search,
and they’ve done it for years.
If you go to sites like Twitter,
Google and Facebook,
this is what you get.
If you can’t see that screen,
that’s exactly the point.
China controlling its Internet
is a remarkable accomplishment
that America never thought
would be possible.
Now, there’s no question China has been…
trying to crack down on the Internet.
[chuckles] Good luck.
That’s sort of like trying to nail Jell-O
to the wall.
That is such a creepy clip
to watch right now.
Not just because
of how wrong he was about China.
But because we’re all picturing him
nailing Jell-O to the wall
in the same way, right?
With his penis? Okay, good.
For China’s 1.4 billion citizens
and 800 million Internet users,
censorship is just part of life.
China is so good at censorship,
they gave themselves five stars.
censorship is a complex ecosystem
of human beings,
telecom and tech companies
and laws that all gives
the Communist Party
and China’s president Xi Jinping
the ability to control
what can be seen on the Internet
in real time.
It’s something known as
“‘The Great Firewall,”
which I know sounds like
a dessert at PF Chang’s,
but there are whole pieces
of Chinese history that the government
doesn’t allow to be taught in schools.
And they’ve been scrubbed
from the Internet.
The last major political protest in China
was the spring of 1989.
Thousands of people gathered
in Tiananmen Square
to protest for democratic reforms.
But on June 4, 1989, the Chinese Army
open fire on the crowd, killing citizens.
And here are some Chinese millennials,
today being asked about it.
Do you learn about Tiananmen Square
in history books?
-[woman] Yeah, not mentioned.
-Not mentioned at all?
That’s crazy. That’s like asking a kid
in high school, in America,
if 9/11 is in their history book
and they’re like, “9/11?
The day Jay-Z came out
with The Blueprint?
You’d be like,
“How is that in your history book?”
So, if you’re Chinese
and you’re living in a world
where the government decides
what you can and can’t see,
that must be some sort of
dystopian nightmare, right?
You’re in China, the government can know
everything about you.
The government already know
everything about me.
It’s just if I’m not committing a crime,
I don’t give a shit.
The bottom line is the Chinese in general
are less concerned about data privacy
than the consumers out in the West.
There’s some subtle rules in China,
but if you follow it,
and respect it, you still have
the freedom to experience it.
Remember, this is a rap battle organizer
telling you to follow the rules.
What a fucking nerd!
If NWA started in China, “Fuck the Police”
would have been called,
I’ll try to be more careful next time.”
Yes, websites like Google, Twitter,
Facebook and YouTube are all blocked,
but no one cares because
they all have great Chinese doppelgangers
like Baidu, Weibo, Youku
which blows Facebook out of the water.
Life under censorship is pretty good.
If you’re just taking selfies, being thick
on Youku or shitposting on Weibo and…
To anyone over 35, I swear to God,
most of those words were English.
However, if you’re an activist,
this is where things can get very scary.
Especially under China’s president,
Since coming to power,
he has crushed all forms of dissent.
China is carrying out a broad crackdown
on people accused
of spreading so-called rumors online.
Chung Ai-Ja, a former school counselor,
showed us the message
she reposted on social media,
an apparent jab
at China’s President Xi Jinping.
Police showed up at her school
to question her
and days later, she was fired.
Someone got fired
for insulting the president online?
That’s the only way to get a job
in my industry right now.
How’d this all happen?
President Xi has clamped down on NGOs,
locked up human rights lawyers
and issued sweeping new cybercrime laws,
he even temporarily bans words
and phrases like, “I disagree,”
“I oppose” and “my Emperor.”
Words that question his authority
and for some reason,
he’s also banned the words,
“roll up sleeves”
and “I’m willing to be a vegetarian
for the rest of my life.”
I feel like the only explanation is that
President Xi had his heart broken
by a stubborn vegetarian
with beautiful forearms.
And he’s like, “It is now illegal
to remind me of her!
God, I miss Susan so much.”
Xi isn’t just censoring words
and historic events,
he is censoring huge news stories
The Communist Party in China
is persecuting a Muslim minority group
But if you live in China,
chances are you don’t know any of this.
[woman] Across the Northwestern province
an estimated one million Chinese Muslims
have vanished into a vast network
of detention enters for what China calls
[man] After initially denying
the existence of prison camps,
Beijing now says it is sending
an unspecified number of people
for vocational training free of charge.
Vocational training free of charge.
Oh, I get it.
America never had
Japanese internment camps.
Those were desert getaways
for the Asian-American community.
North Korea doesn’t have labor camps,
There’s no Wi-Fi.
Everyone is just really efficient.
There’s one more.
You guys are like,
“Is he gonna keep going?”
There’s a third.
Bangladesh doesn’t have sweatshops.
Those are Bikram work spaces.
China doesn’t want the world to know
what’s really happening
in the detention centers.
Online people have to move fast
to get information
before the government takes it down.
and this is probably how it’s going to be
for quite some time.
China’s ruling Communist Party
proposed Sunday to remove term limits
on the office of President.
That means Xi Jinping who heads the party
and the military
may never have to leave office.
Xi Jinping will never retire.
It’s the one thing he has in common
Xi promotes a policy of cyber-sovereignty,
which he defines
as the idea that China has the right
to control information within its borders
and block whatever the CCP deems harmful.
It basically lets them take down anything
they want, whenever they want.
Even if it’s completely random.
Okay, so the British children’s show
is very popular with kids worldwide,
but it’s being banned in China
for an unexpected reason.
The sassy cartoon character has come
to be associated with counterculture.
She allegedly promotes gangster attitudes.
Peppa Pig is a gangsta?
Is Thomas the Tank Engine
transporting Special K?
What is going on? At some point,
the ban on Peppa Pig was lifted
and that’s why censorship
is such a mind fuck in China.
The government is constantly changing
what’s allowed and what’s not.
So activists and censors are
in a constant game of cat and mouse.
Activists are constantly having to find
new ways to evade the censors
and then censors are always looking
for new ways to silence the activists.
Take the case of Chen Guangcheng,
known as CGC or the Blind Lawyer.
[man] The Blind Lawyer became an icon
of human rights abuses in China
after he exposed the way thousands
of women had undergone forced abortions.
For seven years, he was held here
under illegal house arrest.
He and his family beaten savagely,
guarded round the clock.
Activists started the hashtag #freeCGC
on social media
and then censors immediately blocked
all the hashtags.
To get around the censors,
activists then asked supporters
to post selfies dressed up
as the Blind Lawyer.
And they did,
and the response was incredible.
Even though they all look like
they’re auditioning to play BBQ Becky.
But then something crazy happened.
Mr. Chen has spent the last 18 months
under house arrest,
but last Sunday, he escaped.
A blind lawyer escaped house arrest?
Can you imagine
being the guard that let a blind lawyer
How could both of them not see anything?
As people started finding out
Chen escaped, censors got to work,
taking down his initials
and even the words “blind man.”
To get around the censors,
activists hit back
with an incredibly powerful weapon.
Now, I know in America, memes are
just used to humanize Squidward,
but in China,
they’re also a popular tool for dissent.
In the case of the blind lawyer,
this meme went viral.
Yeah, that’s the pig from Angry Birds,
staring at the tunnel
in the Shawshank Redemption.
Shawshank memes became so popular,
the censors blocked any mention
of The Shawshank Redemption.
By the way,
for any people watching in China,
Tim Robbins escapes from prison.
You totally don’t see it coming,
kind of like the blind lawyer escaping.
Clearly, the CCP always has the upper hand
when it comes to censoring content.
They have the resources,
the infrastructure, the manpower,
all of which makes it really hard
for any grassroots movement
to gain momentum.
in the last year,
there’s been a new movement
that has started to take hold in China,
and it may be unlike anything
that has ever come before it.
[woman] #MeToo, in the US it’s been
championed by celebrities.
In China, it’s a fledgling movement
led mainly by university students.
China’s #MeToo movement
has been called
one of the first coordinated student
protest movements since Tiananmen Square.
The #MeToo movement is a unique problem
for the CCP
because the Communist Party is technically
founded on egalitarian principles,
the same way America is technically
founded on the idea of democracy.
And Maroon 5 is technically founded
on the idea of music.
Even from the CCP’s early days,
Mao famously said,
“Women hold up half the sky.”
The CCP’s doctrine is equality for all.
But that hasn’t stopped them
from telling women
what to do with their bodies.
for its strict one-child policy,
China now considering proposals
to push women to have more babies.
Beijing is worried that having one
of the lowest birth rates in the world
will undermine its efforts
to stimulate the economy.
For years, they outlawed
having more than one child.
Now, they’re trying to shame single women
into getting married
and having babies
by calling them “leftover women.”
Even Mike Pence wouldn’t support this,
he’d be like,
“Look, government isn’t about
forcing women to have babies.
it’s about forcing women to keep them.
Keep your eye on the ball, Xi.”
And he’s like, “I’m sorry.
I can’t stop thinking about Susan.
Maybe I should have compromised
and been a vegetarian.”
How insecure are you, CCP?
They’re basically one step away
from passing a law that says,
all Chinese men have girlfriends.
They just go
to a different high school, okay?
But now that #MeToo has surfaced,
it’s clear women have had enough.
They want the CCP to make good
on the founding values
of the party, equality.
And they’re speaking out online in a way
they never have before.
Despite censorship, a huge part
of why #MeToo has taken off
is because of social media.
#MeToo in China effectively started
on January 1, 2018, after Luo Xixi,
a former PhD student
posted on social media
claiming she’d been sexually assaulted
by her adviser in 2004, which he denied.
But the post blew up.
Since Luo Xixi first reported the abuse
on Sina Weibo on January 1st,
her complaint has been viewed
around five million times.
[woman’s voice] I stepped up
I don’t want other people to get hurt.
But the discussion
and the reactions on the Internet
and in Chinese society
have really surprised me.
Censors eventually took down a majority
of the #MeToo posts
and the variations of the hashtag.
That’s when the arms race began.
To dodge the sensors, China’s women
started using Chinese words
that sounded similar to “Me Too.”
So, in Chinese “mi” means “rice”
and “tù” means “bunny,”
so China’s #MeToo activists
became rice bunnies.
Which if you listen to it,
it kind of sounds like something
Steve Harvey got fired for saying.
“Hey, what’s up, you rice bunny?”
And they’re like, “Steve!
Why are you saying that?”
And he’s like, “Think like a man.”
Activists posted rotated photos of text,
which makes messages unsearchable.
It even used blockchain
to make a #MeToo letter harder to delete,
and that totally makes sense because
no one knows what the fuck blockchain is.
Bitcoin’s at 3,000.
Since Luo Xixi’s story hit Weibo,
thousands of students have petitioned
for anti-harassment policies.
This is a big deal,
because in China,
sexual harassment is rampant.
[woman] A survey of 7,000 students
by NGO, the Guangzhou Gender Center,
found while almost 70% of respondents
had been sexually harassed,
only 4% reported it to the authorities.
More than 50% of female commuters
have been assaulted
while riding China’s subways.
Dozens of women have come forward
to accuse some pretty high-profile men.
Like TV host Zhu Jun.
He was accused
by a woman named Zhou Xiaoxuan,
who claims he harassed her
when she was a 20-year-old intern
and he was almost 50.
Zhu has denied the allegations,
but this was a huge deal because Zhu Jun
is one of China’s most famous TV anchors
known for hosting
the state New Year’s Gala.
[singing in Chinese]
That was Zhu Jun
with a bunch of spring chickens,
which also happens to be
his ideal age range on Tinder.
Now, a big reason why so many women
have had to turn to social media is
because if you’re assaulted or harassed,
there are very few good legal options.
China’s legal system is poorly set up
for dealing with assault allegations.
[man] There’s no legal definition
of sexual harassment here
and no standardized way
of reporting sexual assault.
China has very little recourse
for victims of sexual assault,
and that’s something activists
have been fighting to change
long before #MeToo.
Activists like Liang Xiaowen.
She has organized protests
and co-founded a grassroots feminist NGO,
which are risky things to do in China.
So I sat down with her
to talk about her work
The world is kind of hostile to women
who want things.
It scares people because
women are standing up.
Tell me about the things that
your family has had to go through
because of your activism.
Years ago, I was trying to host a seminar
about women’s rights,
but then I received a call from my dad.
He told me that not only the local police
but also his employer,
his boss is at his home now.
So the police went to friends
-to talk to your dad?
And the parents would go,
“Please don’t do this.”
And that generally works
because Asian parents can crush dreams.
You hear that?
That’s the sigh of a thousand “A minuses.”
No. President Xi doing this…
is some straight-up Naila Aunty bullshit.
Like, “I’m not gonna go to you directly.
I’ll find the parents
to crush their dreams.”
And because of pressure from the police
through the parents
and her family,
Xiaowen came to the United States to study
and to continue to fight
for women’s rights in China.
What does the Chinese government
think about the work you’re doing?
The Chinese government would consider us
to be Western hostile forces
or being controlled
by Western hostile forces.
What would they consider me?
Well, if you were that important,
then they would consider you
as Western hostile forces–
-Are you saying I’m not important?
-Not in China.
-Have they seen the show?
-I have seen your show.
-No, but have they seen the show?
-The show you’re on.
-I don’t know.
But if I’m in it, I promise that,
at least, some people will see it.
Have they seen The Spy Who Dumped Me?
No, I don’t know. I mean, I haven’t.
Did they see MTV’s Disaster Date
Now you are just making things up.
No, I’m not!
Listen, Party Rock Anthem
had come out that year,
and I thought Redfoo was going to be
the next Justin Timberlake.
Okay, Xiaowen’s credits
are a bit more impressive than mine.
She has worked closely with a group called
the Feminist Five,
who made international headlines back
[singing in Chinese]
[man] These women are singing
on the Beijing Subway
to raise awareness
against abuse and discrimination.
And here, dressing up
is blood-stained brides
to encourage women to stand up
against domestic violence,
but five of these women
were detained recently
for what authorities called,
It is hilarious to me
that men relegated women
to secretarial work for decades,
and now we turn around, and we’re like,
“Where did these women learn to organize
and plan meetings?
Who is responsible for this?
Why are they picking quarrels?”
The global backlash
to the detention on the Feminist Five
was so intense,
the CCP actually released the women
after 37 days.
I was going to be sentenced
over five years.
They didn’t beat me.
Yeah, they don’t touch me
and maybe due to the–
A lot of pressure from…
internal and external.
If they insulted my sexual orientation,
it doesn’t work,
That’s it. ‘Cause I’m a lesbian.
What’s wrong? What’s up?
Yeah, the CCP thought
Peppa Pig was gangsta?
Nah, this is gangsta.
Just a few months after
the Five were released,
President Xi spoke
at the UN Women’s Conference
and said this…
In many parts of the world however,
in the level of women’s development.
As we speak…
various forms of discrimination
against women are still taking place.
Hmm… Interesting choice
to use a female translator.
He’s like see, “I give women a voice.
In the past year,
#MeToo has made some gains.
What is the biggest victory
that you’ve seen,
at the government level, of your activism?
The first one happened last year,
the new civil code explicitly…
said that employers should not
sexually harass employees.
And the second,
now people can sue under sexual harassment
and gender discrimination.
The CCP has agreed to add a definition
of sexual harassment
to China’s civil code
and the Supreme Court says,
you can now file
a sexual harassment lawsuit
for the first time in China.
Remember creepy TV host Zhu Jun?
Spring chickens? Remember him?
Yes. He actually sued his accuser,
and then she counter-sued him
and is now trying to make her case
a sexual harassment lawsuit,
and if it is accepted by the court,
it would be the first-ever civil
sexual harassment lawsuit
in Chinese history.
This is very different
in the #MeToo movement.
People just don’t let it go away anymore.
People want these universities
to say something, to do something,
to change the situation.
It’s not what it’s like before.
People have suffered enough,
young women have suffered enough.
They want– They demand changes.
The CCP and President Xi
are doing everything they can
to consolidate power
and silence anyone who speaks out.
China’s #MeToo movement is persisting
in the face of censorship,
and it is inspiring, and we can only hope
that these small victories
will lead to even larger ones.