Since 2015 Ciro Santilli has carried out a campaign to promote freedom of speech in China.
The campaign has centered around publishing censored keywords on his Stack Overflow username, thus using his considerable Stack Overflow presence to sabotage the website in China. Here is an early web archive.
Figure 1. .
This was one of the profile pictures that Ciro Santilli used as part of his campaign.
Ciro later went on to prefer the "unmodified" Xi Jinping photo cover of some edition Xi Jinping Though, which also reminds Ciro very much of religious devotional pictures, e.g. those of Li Hongzhi.
Ciro understood that the best propaganda against a dictatorial enemy is recontextualized unmodified propaganda produced by the enemy itself. Their propaganda speaks for itself.
Like most people in the West, Ciro has always been for political freedom of speech, and therefore against the Chinese government's policies.
However, the seriousness of the matter only fully dawned on him in 2015 when, his mother-in-law, a then a 63-year-old lady, was put into jail for 15 days for doing Falun Gong.
And all of this was made 100 times worse because Ciro deeply loves several aspects of China, such as food, language, art and culture, and saw it all being destroyed by the Communists:
The rationale of this is to force the Chinese government to either:
  • leave things as they are, and let censored keywords appear on Stack Overflow (most likely scenario)
  • block Stack Overflow, and lose billions of dollars with worse IT technology
  • disable the Great Firewall
In the beginning, this generated some commotion, but activity reduced as novelty wore off, and as he collected the reply to all possible comments at:
This campaign has led him to have an insane profile view/reputation ratio, since many people pause to look at his profile. He is point "A" at the top right corner of Figure 2. "Scatter plot of Stack Overflow user reputation vs profile views in March 2019 with Ciro Santilli marked as A":
Figure 2.
Scatter plot of Stack Overflow user reputation vs profile views in March 2019 with Ciro Santilli marked as A
. The A is towards the top right corner.
Ciro feels that the view count started increasing more slowly since 2020 compared to his reputation, likely every single Chinese user has already viewed the profile.
Figure 3.
Ciro Santilli with a stone carved Budai in the Feilai Feng caves near the Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou taken during his legendary 2012 touristic trip to China
. Will he ever be able to go to China again to re-experience such marvelous locations?
Video 1.
Water Margin tribute to Chinese dissidents by Ciro Santilli (2022)
. Source. More information:

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