Viewpoint

03.13.14

How Chinese Internet Censorship Works, Sometimes

Jason Q. Ng
Earlier this week, Chinese Internet services blocked searches for the phrase mìshū bāng (秘书帮). Roughly translated as “secretaries gang,” the term relates to the speculation surrounding government probes into public officials linked to former...

Media

03.01.14

China’s Oscar Challenge

Jonathan Landreth
On January 3, the film critics of The New York Times published their Oscar nominations wish list. Many of their wishes came true and on Sunday night, March 2, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will broadcast its annual celebration of...

Media

02.21.14

How the Internet and Social Media Are Transforming China

Shazeda Ahmed
“The Internet has radically transformed China,” said Emily Parker, author of the book Now I Know Who My Comrades Are: Voices from the Internet Underground, in a public discussion at Asia Society in New York on February 19.Talking about the Internet’...

Culture

02.21.14

Stranger Than Fiction

Zhang Xiaoran
In the short twenty years since Yu Hua, a fifty-three-year-old former dentist, has been writing, China has undergone change enough for many lifetimes. His country’s transformations and what they leave in their wake have become the central theme of...

Microsoft Denies Global Censorship of China-Related Searches

Paul Carsten
Reuters
Microsoft denied it was omitting websites from its Bing search engine results for users outside China after a Chinese rights group said the U.S. firm was censoring material the government deems politically sensitive.

The State of Journalism in China

Paul Mooney, Evan Osnos, David Barboza...
Nieman Journalism Lab
How reporters are trying to work around China’s resurgent censorship, 25 years after Tiananmen.

Conversation

02.05.14

What Should the U.S. Do about China’s Barring Foreign Reporters?

Nicholas Lemann, Michel Hockx & more
Last week, the White House said it was “very disappointed” in China for denying a visa to another journalist working for The New York Times in Beijing, forcing him to leave the country after eight years. What else should the U.S. government...

Justice in China: A Conversation with Yiyun Li

Emily D. Parker
Guernica
Emily Parker talks with Yiyun Li about self-censorship in China, the line between fact and fiction, and whether it’s possible to create good art under a repressive regime.

Reports

02.01.14

The State of Journalism in China

Paul Mooney, Anne Henochowicz, Yu Gao, Qian Gang, Luo Changping, Hu Yong, David Barboza, Hu Shuli, Yang Xiao, Evan Osnos,
The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard
The Communist Party has long striven to control freedom of speech in China. Websites from around the world are blocked. Major social media cannot be accessed, and advanced software is used to delete “sensitive” entries from the Internet. Domestic...

A Chinese Filmmaker Points His Camera at the Darkest Moments in Communist Party History

Matthew Bell
Public Radio International
Hu's films are tolerated by the Chinese government and have been screened at independant film festivals in China. ...

Why China Needs to Rethink the Way It Treats the Foreign Press

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
A new report on elite wealth by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists suggests Beijing may need to change its whack-a-mole strategy of removing offending reporters one by one.

“Chinaleaks” Stories Censored in Mainland China

Michael Hudson, Marina Walker Guevara,...
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
Chinese authorities blocked online access to news reports exposing the secrecy-cloaked offshore holdings of China's political and financial elites...

Spring Festival Gala Performance by Chinese Rock Icon in Doubt

Luo Tian
New York Times
The popularity and pizzazz of China's “Godfather of Rock” is not worth the political risk for CCTV. ...

Conversation

01.06.14

Will Xi Jinping Bring a Positive New Day to China?

Paul Mooney, Andrew J. Nathan & more
Chinese President Xi Jinping, just over a year in office, recently made a rare appearance in public in a Beijing restaurant, buying a cheap lunch and paying for it himself. Shortly thereafter, President Xi delivered a brief televised New Year...

Are You Qualified to Be a Journalist in China? Take the Test

Mia Lee and Bree Feng
New York Times
The test is seen as another step in tightening the party’s control over media. At a conference in August, President Xi Jinping called for the “consolidation of mainstream ideology and opinion” to ensure a correct political direction by media outlets...

China Pressures Media to Tone Down Cash Crunch Story

Jamil Anderlini and Simon Rabinovitch
Financial Times
Chinese propaganda officials have ordered financial journalists and some media outlets to tone down their coverage of a liquidity crunch in the interbank market, in a sign of how worried Beijing is that the turmoil will continue when markets reopen.

The New Face of Chinese Propaganda

Murong Xuecun
New York Times
Not too long ago, the party’s Propaganda Department was renamed the Publicity Department. Old militant expressions like “overthrow,” “thoroughly destroy” and “strike hard,” and images of muscular workers and peasants in heroic postures, have been...

Culture

12.19.13

Chinese Literature Online

Michel Hockx
In July of last year, Brixton, U.K.-based novelist Zelda Rhiando won the inaugural Kidwell-e Ebook Award. The award was billed as “the world’s first international e-book award.” It may have been the first time that e-writers in English from all over...

Is Beijing About to Pull the Plug on Two Major American News Operations in China?

Mary Kay Magistad
Public Radio International
In an unprecedented move, the Chinese government has declined to process visa applications for the entire Beijing bureaus of The New York Times and Bloomberg News, in apparent retaliation for investigative reporting those two media organizations...

Is Beijing About to Boot The New York Times?

Isaac Stone Fish
Foreign Policy
The Chinese government’s crackdown on Bloomberg and “the paper of record” reaches a head.

Late to the Party? The U.S. Government’s Response to China’s Censorship

Elizabeth Lynch
China Law & Policy
When China denied veteran journalist Paul Mooney’s visa request in November, neither the State Department, Administration officials nor anyone on Capitol Hill said anything publicly about a U.S. citizen appearing to be punished for his speech.

China’s Government Is Scaring Foreign Journalists Into Censoring Themselves

Emily D. Parker
New Republic
The story of self-censorship in China is a quieter tale of unwritten articles, avoided topics and careful phrasing.

Conversation

12.07.13

Will China Shut Out the Foreign Press?

Winston Lord, Paul Mooney & more
Some two dozen journalists employed by The New York Times and Bloomberg News have not yet received the visas they need to continue to report and live in China after the end of this year. Without them, they will effectively be expelled from the...

Media

11.27.13

China’s Favorite Villainess

Many U.S. viewers identify with serial killer Morgan Dexter of Dexter, inveterate womanizer Don Draper of Mad Men, or family man turned meth kingpin Walter White of Breaking Bad—however morally bankrupt they may be. Now, China has its own anti-hero...

Media

11.25.13

Former Committee to Protect Journalists Honoree Says Bloomberg Chief Should Not Chair Press Freedom Dinner

Emily Brill
A prominent Hong Kong-based journalist has called on Daniel Doctoroff, Chief Executive Officer of Bloomberg L.P., to step down from his role as chairman of the Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) annual International Press Freedom Awards dinner...

Sinica Podcast

11.22.13

Doubling Down on Dengism

Kaiser Kuo, Bill Bishop & more from Sinica Podcast
{vertical_photo_right}It’s an all-American (and all-star) lineup of guests this week, as Bill Bishop, Gady Epstein, and James Fallows join Kaiser for an in-depth discussion of the Third Plenary Session, the outcome of which has produced a rare...

Bloomberg News Suspends Reporter Whose Article on China Was Not Published

Edward Wong and Christine Haughney
New York Times
Award-winning Hong Kong-based Bloomberg reporter Michael Forsythe met with supervisors and was placed on leave, said two Bloomberg employees with knowledge of the situation, which was supposed to be private.

Reporter on Unpublished Bloomberg Article Is Suspended

Edward Wong and Christine Haughney
New York Times
A reporter for Bloomberg News who worked on an unpublished article about China that employees for the company said had been killed for political reasons by top Bloomberg editors was suspended last week by managers.

Bloomberg Boots ‘China Leak’ Scribe

Michael Forsythe
New York Post
Bloomberg News has put reporter Michael Forsthye, suspected of leaking news about a controversial China story on unpaid leave, escorting him from Bloomberg’s Hong Kong office on Nov. 14, sources said.

Conversation

11.12.13

Spiked in China?

John Garnaut, Sidney Rittenberg & more
Last weekend, The New York Times and later, The Financial Times reported that, according to Bloomberg News employees, Bloomberg editor in chief Matthew Winkler informed reporters by telephone on October...

Tiananmen Square Crash Photos Scrubbed from Internet

Emily Rauhala
Time
Images posted on social media and blogs showed the S.U.V. completely engulfed in flames, smoke visible hundreds of meters away. But authorities made quick work to contain the situation. 

Conversation

10.30.13

Trial By TV: What Does a Reporter’s Arrest and Confession Tell Us About Chinese Media?

Wang Feng & Jeremy Goldkorn
The latest ChinaFile Conversation focuses on the case of Chen Yongzhou, the Guangzhou New Express journalist whose series of investigative reports exposed fraud at the Changsha, Hunan-based heavy machinery maker Zoomlion. Chen later was arrested and...

Reports

10.22.13

The Long Shadow of Chinese Censorship

Sarah Cook
Center for International Media Assistance
This report provides a survey of the phenomenon of censorship and its recent evolution as it pertains to the news media sector, though similar dynamics also affect the film, literature, and performing arts industries. Specifically, this report...

Caixin Media

10.21.13

Is Freedom of Thought in China Just a Dream?

The Shanghai Free Trade Zone was recently launched. The measure is commonly regarded as an attempt by the leadership of the Communist Party to further economic reform, which has slowed over the past decade. It is also part of what policymakers call...

A Muzzled Chinese Artwork, Absent but Speaking Volumes

Jane Perlez
New York Times
Exiled sculptor Wang Keping’s controversial piece “Silence” — a wooden head with a plug stuffing its gaping mouth — has not been allowed in China since it was shown in 1979 and 1980, but the artist is now showing newer art in Beijing.&...

China Broadcasts COnfession of Chinese-American Blogger

William Wan
Washington Post
Chinese authorities have increasingly been broadcasting interviews after big-name arrests, forcing suspects to confess publicly to alleged crimes prior to trial or conviction.  

Crackdown on Bloggers Is Mounted by China

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Worried about its hold on public opinion, the Chinese government has pursued a propaganda and police offensive against what it calls malicious rumor-mongering online.  

Chinese Teacher Suspended for Teaching Constitution

Abby
Global Voices
Professor Zhang Xuezhong of East China University of Politics and Law in Shanghai published an article entitled “The Origin and Perils of the Anti-constitutionalism Campaign in 2013″. On August 17, Zhang was notified that his teaching status had...

The Death of Independent Cinema in China

Caijing
After wrangling with the authorities all day August 25, on what was supposed to be the opening of the festival on the rural outskirts of Beijing, this year’s Beijing Independent Film Festival has been cancelled. 

Censorship, Sex, and the Bo Xilai Trial

Jiayang Fan
New Yorker
By allowing the ousted politician to have a say at all, and by releasing portions of the daily transcript the Party has highlighted its progressiveness and successfully deflected attention from the theatrical nature of a masterfully choreographed...

Police Break Up Beijing Independent Film Festival

Natalie Ornell
China Digital Times
Directors, jury and invited guests who had come from as far as Sweden were told the 10th Beijing Independent Film Festival were threatened with power cuts and the arrest of Wang Hongwei if they persisted in holding the festival. 

Conversation

08.28.13

Beijing, Why So Tense?

Andrew J. Nathan, Isabel Hilton & more
Andrew Nathan:I think of the Chinese leaders as holding a plant spritzer and dousing sparks that are jumping up all around them.  Mao made the famous remark, “A single spark can start a prairie fire.”  The leaders have seen that...

Caixin Media

07.29.13

Why a Reporter Feels Sympathy for an Airport Bomber

These past few years as a reporter, I have met some people with nothing left to live for and now another person can be added to the list. Ji Zhongxing, the disabled man who set off a bomb in a Beijing airport on July 20, is that person.Ji and I are...

Hollywood's Trouble With China? It Has All the Leverage

Wrap
New data from China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television indicates that for the first time in recent history, Hollywood could experience negative growth in China. "The leverage is always on China's side,...

Chinese Directors Express Doubt Over Censorship Reforms

Clarence Tsui and Patrick Brzeski
Hollywood Reporter
Filmmakers such as Cannes best screenplay-winner Jia Zhangke have been quick to question the ambiguities of the Chinese government's new screenplay approval process. ...

China Relaxes Some Film Censorship Requirements

Hollywood Reporter
The media regulator will now only require film summaries to be submitted for censorship approval before production, rather than full scripts, for select film categories.     

Chinese Whistleblower Blinded in Acid Attack

Malcolm Moore
Telegraph
Li Jianxin, an amateur Chinese whistleblower who posted embarrassing pictures of Party officials’ luxury cars, was rammed by a car, blinded with acid, and had two of his fingers cut off.  

Censoring the News Before It Happens

Perry Link
New York Review of Books
Chinese censors number in the hundreds-of-thousands. Their duties are to not only block stories they disapprove of, but to alter and obscure details in published stories, and promote stories that cast the Party in a good light.

Books

07.10.13

For a Song and a Hundred Songs

Liao Yiwu. Translated by Wenguang Huang
In June 1989, news of the Tiananmen Square protests and its bloody resolution reverberated throughout the world. A young poet named Liao Yiwu, who had until then led an apolitical bohemian existence, found his voice in that moment. Like the solitary man who stood firmly in front of a line of tanks, Liao proclaimed his outrage—and his words would be his weapon. For a Song and a Hundred Songs captures the four brutal years Liao spent in jail for writing the incendiary poem “Massacre.” Through the power and beauty of his prose, he reveals the bleak reality of crowded Chinese prisons—the harassment from guards and fellow prisoners, the torture, the conflicts among human beings in close confinement, and the boredom of everyday life. But even in his darkest hours, Liao manages to unearth the fundamental humanity in his cell mates: he writes of how they listen with rapt attention to each other’s stories of criminal endeavors gone wrong and of how one night, ravenous with hunger, they dream up an “imaginary feast,” with each inmate trying to one-up the next by describing a more elaborate dish. In this important book, Liao presents a stark and devastating portrait of a nation in flux, exposing a side of China that outsiders rarely get to see. In the wake of 2011’s Arab Spring, the world has witnessed for a second time China’s crackdown on those citizens who would speak their mind, like artist Ai Weiwei and legal activist Chen Guangcheng. Liao stands squarely among them and gives voice to not only his own story, but to the stories of those individuals who can no longer speak for themselves. For a Song and a Hundred Songs bears witness to history and will forever change the way you view the rising superpower of China.   —New Harvest

Censoring the News Before It Happens

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
Every day in China, hundreds of messages are sent from government offices to website editors around the country that say things like, “Report on the new provincial budget tomorrow, but do not feature it on the front page, make no comparisons to...

Hollywood, the Nazis, and the Chi-Coms

John Fund
National Review
A forthcoming book presents a strong case that pre–World War II Hollywood was in bed with Nazi Germany, in catering to its censorship demands. Is it happening again today, regarding show-business relations with the...

A Long Ride Toward a New China (Video)

Stephen Maing
New York Times
Every summer, the 59-year-old Chinese blogger Zhang Shihe rides his bicycle thousands of miles to the plateaus, deserts and hinterlands of North Central China. In this Op-Doc video, we meet Mr. Zhang, known to his many followers online as “...

Chinese Suggestions for Improving Internet Disappear

Adam Minter
Bloomberg
Few things irritate Chinese netizens as much as how their government acts on the Internet: blocking access to many foreign websites, censoring content and comments on Chinese websites and directing paid commentators to promote the...

Django Could Soon Be Unchained (Again) In China

Laurie Burkitt and Lilian Lin
Wall Street Journal
After being unexpectedly pulled from theaters moments after its Chinese release earlier this April, Quentin Tarantino’s controversial “Django Unchained” could return to theaters as early as May 7.

Conversation

05.07.13

Why Is a 1995 Poisoning Case the Top Topic on Chinese Social Media?

Rachel Lu, Andrew J. Nathan & more
With a population base of 1.3 billion people, China has no shortage of strange and gruesome crimes, but the attempted murder of Zhu Ling by thallium poisoning in 1995 is burning up China’s social media long after the trails have gone cold. Zhu, a...

The China Clusterf--k: Is Hollywood Fed Up?

Kim Masters
Hollywood Reporter
Even if studios expect only the chance to play a movie in Chinese theaters and believe all hurdles have been cleared, sudden obstacles can arise. Such was Sony's experience with Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained,...

‘Unmade In China’ - When China Tries Calling A Filmmaker’s Shots

Ian Buckwalter
NPR
Unmade in China is nominally about filmmaking, but what Kofman and Barklow do well is to use their unusual position within the Chinese state machine - sponsored and controlled by the government - to make a thinly veiled movie about politics...

China Censors The Word ‘Censorship’

Al Jazeera
‘China’s Spielberg’, film director Feng Xiaogang, gave an emotional acceptance speech for ‘director of year’ in which he referred to censorship as a “torment” for Chinese filmmakers. The video - in which the word ‘censorship’ was censored - has...

Tale Of China’s Leader In A Taxicab Is Retracted

Chris Buckley
New York Times
The state-run news media, which had initially given credence to the story, abruptly reversed course, and the tale was in shreds. What does it mean when feel-good propaganda cannot be trusted even on its own fanciful terms? 

China Dismisses N.Y.T.'s Pulitzer-Winning Report On Wen

Agence France-Presse
The article provoked anger from authorities in China, who said it was part of a “smear” by “voices” opposed to the country’s development. The Times’ Chinese and English websites were subsequently blocked in China and remain inaccessible as...