Sinica Podcast

12.26.14

Regulating the Fourth Estate in China

Kaiser Kuo from Sinica Podcast
The explosion of the commercial media sphere in China over the last decade hasn't been particularly subtle, especially if you're anything like us and walk past multiple Chinese newsstands in the morning. But let's look beyond the way...

China in 2014 Through the Eyes of a Human Rights Advocate

Yaxue Cao from China Change
This time last year, volunteers and I were busy writing and translating articles to prepare for the New Citizens Movement trials. Many Chinese voices were speaking out forcefully against these trials: law professors, rights lawyers, liberal...

Media

12.08.14

On First Annual Constitution Day, China’s Most Censored Word Was ‘Constitution’

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On December 4, China’s first annual Constitution Day, Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily posted the complete text of the Chinese constitution to its Weibo microblogging account, accompanied by the upbeat hashtag: “Let’s all read the...

Thousands of Local Internet Propaganda Emails Leaked

Anne Henochowicz
China Digital Times
The archive includes correspondence, photos, directories of “Internet commentators” (网评员), summaries of commentary work, and records of the online activities of specific individuals, among other documents. Over 2,700 emails are included in the...

Conversation

12.03.14

Can China Conquer the Internet?

David Bandurski, Jeremy Goldkorn & more
Lu Wei, China’s new Internet Czar, recently tried to get the world to agree to a model of information control designed by the Chinese Communist Party. Regular contributors comment below and we encourage readers to share their views on our Facebook...

Gregarious and Direct: China’s Web Doorkeeper

Jane Perlez
New York Times
When a major Chinese-American Internet conference convenes in Washington on Tuesday, a middle-aged Communist Party propaganda chief will be seated amid a room full of tech industry executives, American officials and web luminaries.

Environment

11.26.14

The People’s Republic of Chemicals

from chinadialogue
The name of China is almost obscured by a grey smudge on the title page of The People’s Republic of Chemicals, and this image proves to be apt.  This book examines the crisis caused by toxic&...

Despite Persecution, Guardian of Lake Tai Spotlights China’s Polluters

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
ZHOUTIE, China — By autumn, the stench of Lake Tai and the freakish green glow of its waters usually fade with the ebbing of the summer heat, but this year is different. Standing on a concrete embankment overlooking a fetid, floating array of...

Paper Published by Communist Party Endorses Charge Against Veteran Journalist Gao Yu

Associated Press
South China Morning Post
Gao, 70, denied the charges in a closed-door hearing on Friday. She faces a maximum sentence of death. The document in question is believed to outline curbs on the spread of Western civil liberties in China.

At China Online Coming-Out Party, Beijing Spells out Internet Control Ambition

Paul Carsten
Reuters
China showed governments and the planet's biggest tech firms last week its vision for global Internet governance—clean, controlled and choreographed. ...

Sinica Podcast

11.25.14

Internet Wrangling in Wuzhen

Kaiser Kuo & Rogier Creemers from Sinica Podcast
Kaiser Kuo hosts alone this week as we turn our attention to the World Internet Conference (English site) last week, when a last minute attempt by Chinese organizers to foist the so-called Wuzhen Declaration on participants provoked an international...

Google Looks to Get Back Into China

Rolfe Winkler, Alistair Barr, and Wayne...
Wall Street Journal
Google Inc. is considering bringing a version of its Play mobile-app store to China, a tentative but important step back into a country that Google mostly exited in 2010.

“Hunger Games” China Release Date canceled, Likely Due to “Revolutionary” Political Content

Cecilia Wang
That’s
The film's sudden withdrawal may be due to the film's apparently incendiary content, depicting a fictitious revolution aimed at toppling a dystopian future government. It's feared that movie-goers might draw parallels to Taiwan's...

Viewpoint

11.21.14

“Getting Pantsed” by the “Central People’s Court”

Hu Yong
In December of last year CCTV producer Wang Qinglei wrote a post on his Weibo account criticizing the Chinese government’s campaign-style attacks on prominent social media figures and arguing the media had also been drawn in and was “sidestepping...

Newspaper Calls on Chinese Academics to Cut the Criticism

Austin Ramzy
New York Times
Liaoning Daily, a Communist Party-run newspaper in northeast China, published the article, “Teacher, Please Don’t Talk About China Like That: An Open Letter to Teachers of Philosophy and Social Science,” last week in response to a comment it...

In China, Blunt Talk to Reporters on Access

Ravi Somaiya
New York Times
Mr. Xi’s comments come as several journalists for The New York Times and other news organizations have been forced to cover the country from outside its borders, after producing articles that were embarrassing for the Chinese leadership.

Unable to Clean Air Completely for Apec, China Resorts to Blocking Data

Simon Denyer and Xu Yangjingjing
Washington Post
China has made a gargantuan effort to clear Beijing’s smoggy air for an important regional summit this week, closing hundreds of factories and forcing cars off the road, but its efforts have only been partially successful.

Cut the Shawl Talk: Chinese Censors Wipe Putin’s Move on China’s First Lady

Hilary Whiteman
CNN
At an APEC event to watch the fireworks in Beijing on Monday night, Russian President Vladimir Putin created a few of his own by slipping a shawl over the shoulders of Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Ali Baba’s Cave and Pandora’s Box

David Bandurski
China Media Project
When Lu Wei — the man who reportedly led the crackdown on the “Big V” Weibo account holders last year — was asked at a press conference why sites like Facebook (which is blocked in China) had been “shut down,” he responded with a homespun metaphor.

Plenum Didn’t Decide on Zhou Graft Case ‘As He Is No Longer State Leader’

Teddy Ng and Andrea Chen
South China Morning Post
The Party's anti-graft watchdog announced three months ago that it was investigating Zhou—making him the first serving or former member of the elite Politburo Standing Committee to be probed—but there has been no word since on progress in the...

China’s Crackdown on Dissent Shows How Nervous Its Leaders Are

The Washington Post Editorial Board
Washington Post
The legal assault on a critic of Mao gives a flavor of the current climate. Tie Liu is the pen name of Huang Zerong, 81, who has collected and published memoirs of people who were purged by Chinese dictator Mao Zedong in the 1950s and 1960s.

Viewpoint

10.14.14

On Dealing with Chinese Censors

Joseph W. Esherick
It was a hot afternoon in June in the East China city of Jinan. I was returning to my hotel after an afternoon coffee, thinking of the conference I had come to attend and trying to escape the heat on the shady side of the street. My cell phone rang...

Caixin Media

10.06.14

Lost in Translation

Is selective translation of news articles from the foreign media more insidious than no translation at all? The debate was sparked by a garbled translation of the cover story of the Economist headlined "What Does China Want?"In a...

Media

09.29.14

In China, the Most Censored Day of the Year

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
Censors on Weibo, China’s massive Twitter-like microblogging platform, just had their biggest day of the year. And once again, it was events in the special administrative region of Hong Kong, not the Chinese mainland, that triggered it.Student-led...

China’s Decision to Expel Journalists to Hong Kong is Now Blowing Up in its Face

Max Fisher
Vox
Hong Kong has one of the highest rates of Western journalists per capita of any non-Western city in the world, including a number of the best foreign correspondents in the business.

Foreign Journalists in China See Decline in Reporting Conditions

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
Conditions for foreign journalists working in China have gone from bad to worse over the past year, according to a report issued on Friday by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China.

Can Frank Underwood Beat China’s Censors?

Adam Minter
Bloomberg
At first glance, the Chinese government’s announcement of regulations restricting foreign programming that can be shown on Chinese streaming-video sites would appear to be very bad news for business.

China to Limit Foreign TV Shows on Video-Streaming Sites

Lillian Lin
Wall Street Journal
Regulators expected to cap amount of imported television content at 30 percent.

Culture

08.27.14

Standing Up for Indie Film in China

Jonathan Landreth
In July, Transformers: Age of Extinction, the fourth in the action-packed series of Hollywood films about trucks turning into giant robots to save the world, became the first film to sell more than $300 million in tickets at China’s box office...

Culture

08.26.14

Healthy Words

Alec Ash
In 1902, Lu Xun translated Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon into Chinese from the Japanese edition. Science fiction, he wrote in the preface, was “as rare as unicorn horns, which shows in a way the intellectual poverty of our time.” Not any...

New Political News Website Scolded by Party Propaganda Officials for 'Incorrect Practices'

Chris Luo
South China Morning Post
Thepaper.cn given a 'stern warning' after it likely irked propaganda officials...

Beijing Independent Film Festival Shut Down by Chinese Authorities

Jonathan Kaiman
Guardian
Organizers forced to sign documents promising not to hold festival, as China's crackdown on freedom of speech continues...

China’s Xi Jinping Seeks Launch of New Media Clusters

Patrick Frater
Variety
Xi said that the new groups should be “diversified,” “advanced,” and “competitive” and said that state authorities should properly integrate and manage traditional and new media.”

Conversation

07.17.14

How to Read China’s New Press Restrictions

David Schlesinger, Orville Schell & more
On June 30, China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television posted a statement on its website warning Chinese journalists not to share information with their counterparts in the foreign press corps. Most major...

Blood-Drenched Chinese Story to Finally Grace Big Screen … in Korea

Lillian Lin
WSJ: China Real Time Report
The film “Chronicle of a Blood Merchant,” based on the 1995 novel of the same name by best-selling Chinese writer Yu Hua, has finally begun shooting nearly 14 years after it was first announced. But it won’t be a Chinese film.

China Bans Xinjiang Officials From Observing Ramadan Fast

BBC
Activists have accused Beijing of exaggerating the threat from Uighur separatists to justify a crackdown on the Uighurs’ religious and cultural freedoms.

‘There Are No Rules in China’

Alexa Olesen
Foreign Policy
When dissident author Murong Xuecun returns home, he says he will tell Beijing authorities they can come and get him.

China’s Complicated Relationship with Golf

Jessica Marksbury and Dan Washburn
Golf
Dan Washburn, managing editor of the Asia Society and author of the new book “The Forbidden Game,” tells Jessica Marksbury that golf in China is both banned and booming.

Do Chinese Classrooms Need to Talk About Sex?

Jemimah Steinfeld
CNN
Sex education is taught inadequately in school and avoided by parents, resulting in generations of Chinese children growing up wondering if babies come out of armpits, or from the garbage dump, as others have also cited.

China Bans Unauthorized Critical Coverage by Journalists

Megha Rajagopalan
Reuters
Reporters in China are forbidden from publishing critical reports without the approval of their employer, one of China’s top media regulators said on Wednesday.

China's Clampdown on ‘Evil Cults’

Murong Xuecun
New York Times
The government’s anti-religion campaign is not borne of concern for public security stemming from a horrific murder. This is a concerted effort to bring independent churches and their followers into line.

China Arrests Rights Lawyer Who Fought Labor Camps

Gillian Wong
ABC
The dramatic turnaround of Pu Zhiqiang highlights the thin line that activist lawyers often find themselves having to walk if they seek to drum up public support for causes that embarrass the ruling Communist Party: success can come at great...

Shanghai Full of Pride: China’s ‘Most Gay-Friendly City’ Prepares to Celebrate

Colum Murphy
Wall Street Journal
Shanghai Pride, a weeklong celebration of all things gay, officially kicks off tomorrow in what organizers call China’s most gay-friendly city.

Crackdown on Fringe Sects in China Has Mainstream Churches Worried

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
Although their voices are muted by the censors, human rights advocates and some mainstream religious leaders in China say that the latest anti-cult campaign is misguided and that it frequently violates Chinese law.

Young Chinese Twitter User Arrested for Proposing Method to Spread Truth About June 4th Massacre

China Change
On Monday China’s state-run media outlet China News (中新网) reported that Beijing police had arrested a 22-year-old female for posting an article on Twitter that teaches how to use a pseudo base station “to send illegal information.”

Where the Flame Still Burns

J. C.
Economist
Hong Kong is the only place on Chinese soil where large public commemorations of the Tiananmen massacre take place; elsewhere memorials of the June 4th crackdown remain strictly forbidden.

25 Years Later, Tiananmen Square Still Colors U.S.-China Relations

Tom Malinowski
U.S. State Department
Today, the United States is asking of the Chinese government what we have asked for 25 years: to provide the fullest possible accounting of the Tiananmen events and to stop retribution against those who wish to remember them.

In Pictures, Remembering the Tiananmen Square Massacre

Niki Walker
Mashable
Twenty-five years ago on Wednesday, the Chinese government, acting under martial law, deployed 200,000 troops into Beijing's Tiananmen Square...

Hong Kong Recalls Tiananmen Killings, China Muffles Dissent

Adam Rose and Ben Blanchard
Reuters
Tens of thousands of people held a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong to mark the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters 25 years ago in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, while mainland China authorities sought to whitewash the event...

25 Years On, No Fading of Tiananmen Wounds, Ideals

Louise Watt and Isolda Morillo
Associated Press
While China's economy, society and cities have transformed in the last 25 years, Tiananmen demonstrators and their supporters are keen to remind the world that other things haven't changed...

Books

05.22.14

Age of Ambition

Evan Osnos
From abroad, we often see China as a caricature: a nation of pragmatic plutocrats and ruthlessly dedicated students destined to rule the global economy—or an addled Goliath, riddled with corruption and on the edge of stagnation. What we don’t see is how both powerful and ordinary people are remaking their lives as their country dramatically changes.As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos was on the ground in China for years, witness to profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval. In Age of Ambition, he describes the greatest collision taking place in that country: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party’s struggle to retain control. He asks probing questions: Why does a government with more success lifting people from poverty than any civilization in history choose to put strict restraints on freedom of expression? Why do millions of young Chinese professionals—fluent in English and devoted to Western pop culture—consider themselves “angry youth,” dedicated to resisting the West’s influence? How are Chinese from all strata finding meaning after two decades of the relentless pursuit of wealth?Writing with great narrative verve and a keen sense of irony, Osnos follows the moving stories of everyday people and reveals life in the new China to be a battleground between aspiration and authoritarianism, in which only one can prevail. —Farrar, Straus, and Giroux {chop}

“The Big Bang Theory” and Our Future with China

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
The United States has never faced a rival whose ordinary people lead lives that have so much in common with ours in America. (The Soviets did not get Carson.)

Media

04.30.14

Five Lessons From the Axing of ‘The Big Bang Theory’

It’s a plot twist few saw coming. Not long ago, China’s video streaming sites were trying to clean up years of copyright violations by paying big bucks to license popular U.S. television shows. For their part, Chinese fans had begun to abandon the...

Why China is Censoring ‘The Big Bang Theory’ but not ‘Game of Thrones’

Lily Kuo
Quartz
While authorities speak of “cleaning the web” of offensive content, they may be more worried about reminding the country’s flourishing private internet firms that the government is still in charge.

China Forces Four U.S. TV Shows Off Web

Paul Mozur
Wall Street Journal
'Big Bang Theory' and 'Good Wife' are among programs taken down from popular video streaming sites Sohu, Youku Tudou, and Tencent, as government control of the Internet and over foreign entertainment content intensifies...

I Sold Out to China

Leslie Anne Jones
Aeon Magazine
You know that censorship has won its war on truth-telling when journalists happily police themselves.

Viewpoint

04.20.14

The Specter of June Fourth

Perry Link
If yesterday was typical, about 1,400 children in Africa died of malaria. It is a preventable, treatable disease, and the young victims lost their lives through no faults of their own. Why it is that human beings accept a fact like this as an...

Media

04.17.14

Ai Weiwei’s Reach Draws New Yorkers’ Attention to Free Speech

Kim Wall
“Ai Weiwei retweeted me!” exclaimed a young blonde woman, laughing and waving her iPhone in the air with excitement. She and some two hundred other New Yorkers had gathered on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza to show her...

Conversation

03.26.14

The Bloomberg Fallout: Where Does Journalism in China Go from Here?

Chen Weihua, Dorinda Elliott & more
On Monday, March 24, a thirteen-year veteran of Bloomberg News, Ben Richardson, news editor at large for Asia, resigned. A few days earlier, company Chairman Peter Grauer said that the news and financial information services company founded in 1981...

Features

03.21.14

Punching a Hole in the Great Firewall

Jeff South
In January, when the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published its exposé of the use of offshore tax havens by Chinese politicians and business moguls, the Chinese government blocked access to the consortium’s website and to...