Circumventing Nomadland Censorship in China

So Nomadland won big at the Oscars, but the Chinese media machine is not celebrating the win. In fact, it’s censoring all mention of Chloé Zhao, Nomadland, and even the Oscars altogether!

Variety gives a rundown of how the Chinese people are trying to get around the censorship:

The term “无依之地,” the censored Chinese title of “Nomadland,” became WYZD, the first sound of every character, or “有靠之天” (characters that nonsensically mean the exact opposite of the ones in its official title), or even “Nonameland.” One of the most clever played off the popular choice “无一之地” (which subs in the character for the number “one,” a homophone) to turn the title into “023456789.” The first two characters of that version mean “without a one.” (Get it?)

Crazy stuff! Paradoxically, censorship’s stifling of creative expression in China results in new creative ways to circumvent censorship.

More info on the censorship of Nomadland is on SupChina.

Also, I’m not a regular reader of Variety, but I was pleased to see the use of Chinese characters in an English article. I hate it when articles don’t do this, considering how easy it is to do nowadays. Is this becoming common?


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. I haven’t seen the film. It’s odd that they’re censoring these things, right. And, yeah, it’s cool that the language characters are given in Variety. Maybe it’s progress. A sort of blending of cultures. As a designer I love the Chinese characters. So the appreciation of art is sort of making a comeback, too, perhaps.

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