Jing Jing and Cha Cha. Sounds kind of cute doesn’t it? They certainly look it. However, behind these innocent looking images lies a more sinister message.
“We’re watching what you’re looking at, and we don’t like it”.
This is the warning that Chinese authorities want to convey to internet users who might be tempted to stray on to “unhealthy Websites”. Unhealthy might be anything that has the word “Tibet” followed by any other references such as “freedom”. Or “Taiwan” and words like “independence”. As you navigate so called “unhealthy” sites these cuddly images appear to let you that while you’re looking at the site someone is watching you looking at it.
The Jing in Jingjing is the Chinese character 警and the Cha in Cha Cha is the character 察. Together they make Jingcha 警察 the Chinese word for police. I must admit. It’s simple and clever and definitely sinister. Here is a review of Jingjing and ChaCha on the China Digital Times
“The main function of Jingjing and Chacha is to intimidate, not to answer questions,” our reporter was told by officials in charge of The Internet Security and Surveillance Division of Shenzhen Public Security Bureau. The Internet has been always monitored by police, the significance of Jingjing and Chacha’s appearance is to publicly remind all netizens to be conscious of safe and healthy use of the Internet, self-regulate their online behaviour, and maintain harmonious Internet order together.”