“The Great Firewall of China” is one of the most powerful tools ever created for controlling public discourse. And yet it’s also a notoriously leaky construct that Chinese residents can circumvent by using private networks or speaking in code words and innuendos.

So how does it all work? The Explainer Music team breaks it down in their latest video:

Let’s talk about the Great Chinese firewall
It keeps the rulers standing tall
Controlling what is talked about online

All the little packets
That contain a page’s data
Enter China through just a few lines

There the data’s mirrored
So the government can peer
Into what’s coming in, what’s going out

So even if a site’s not blocked
The censors work around the clock
To find a keyword on the site that raises doubts

Words like “Evil”, “Genocide”, and “Human Rights”
Keep the censors up at night
“Dalai Lama” and “Overthrow”
Will hurt them more than you could know

“Elections”, “Freedom”, and “Democracy”
You must be f*cking crazy (Censored by the Republic of China)
Search “Tiananmen Square” and you may find
An $1800 fine (11,427 Yuan)

But there are always steps to get around
Use private networks, you may not be found
Connect to a server in some far off land
but China’s cracking down on these so do it while you can

But the government can’t do it all alone
Internet providers also do it on their own

What’s censored?  And why?  It’s hard to know
‘Cause sites on the “Censored List” come and go

Google, YouTube, New York Times, and Vimeo video
Dailymotion, BBC and WikiLeaks
Reddit and Bloomberg, and the Huffington Post
Facebook

Pinterest, Yahoo, IMDB, Amnesty.org, The Pirate Bay, Wordpres, Boing Boing, Google, YouTube, New York Times, Playboy, Vimeo, Dailymotion, BBC, Wikileaks, Reddit, Bloomberg, Huffington Post, Twitter,
Facebook