Books

04.19.13

The Power of the Internet in China

Guobin Yang
Since the mid-1990s, the Internet has revolutionized popular expression in China, enabling users to organize, protest, and influence public opinion in unprecedented ways. Guobin Yang’s pioneering study maps an innovative range of contentious forms and practices linked to Chinese cyberspace, delineating a nuanced and dynamic image of the Chinese Internet as an arena for creativity, community, conflict, and control. Like many other contemporary protest forms in China and the world, Yang argues, Chinese online activism derives its methods and vitality from multiple and intersecting forces, and state efforts to constrain it have only led to more creative acts of subversion. Transnationalism and the tradition of protest in China’s incipient civil society provide cultural and social resources to online activism. Even Internet businesses have encouraged contentious activities, generating an unusual synergy between commerce and activism. Yang’s book weaves these strands together to create a vivid story of immense social change, indicating a new era of informational politics.              —Columbia University Press

The Dangerous World Of Independent Film In China

Isabelle Regnier
Le Monde
An interview with Zhang Xianmin, founder of one of the many independent cultural events that were banned last year by the Chinese government. 

Conversation

04.16.13

Why is China Still Messing with the Foreign Press?

Andrew J. Nathan, Isabel Hilton & more
To those raised in the Marxist tradition, nothing in the media happens by accident.  In China, the flagship newspapers are still the “throat and tongue” of the ruling party, and their work is directed by the Party’s Propaganda Department...

Sinica Podcast

04.12.13

Gady Epstein on The Internet

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
The Internet was expected to help democratize China, but has instead enabled the authoritarian state to get a firmer grip. So begins The Economist’s special fourteen-page report on the state of the Internet in China, a survey that paints the country...

Rebel Chinese Newspaper Dares To Challenge Party Line

Malcolm Moore
Telegraph
Operating out of two rooms in a dilapidated pharmaceutical factory, and with a staff of four, the Voice of the People is a muckraking  freesheet challenging the local propaganda paper. 

Media

03.01.13

No Closer to the Chinese Dream?

Timothy Garton Ash
2013 began dramatically in China with a standoff between journalists and state propaganda authorities over a drastically rewritten New Year’s editorial at the Southern Weekly newspaper.In the first week of the New Year, the editors of Southern...

After Ang Lee’s Oscar Win, China Imagines Cinema Beyond Censors

Abby
Global Voices
A look at the various reactions on Chinese social media to Lee's Oscar victory , as well as the censorship-related conversation it sparked...

Reports

02.28.13

Challenged in China

David Schlesinger, Sophie Beach, Madeline Earp, and Danny O'Brien
Sara Segal-Williams
Committee to Protect Journalists
As Xi Jinping takes office as president of China, the citizenry he governs is more sophisticated and interconnected than any before, largely because of the Internet. A complex digital censorship system—combined with a more traditional approach to...

Thank You, Xie Xie, Namaste: A Movie Undercuts Old Rivalries

Didi Kristen Tatlow
New York Times
For Xinhua to quote Ang Lee thanking Taiwan would be to unacceptably recognize the de facto reality that Taiwan is a separate state, so his thanks didn’t make it into China, at least not via the official media. 

BBC World Service Shortwave Radio Blocked In China

BBC
BBC director of global news Peter Horrocks said the jamming in China was being timed to cause maximum disruption to BBC World Service English broadcasts there. 

Hollywood And China: Revenue And Responsibility

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
Until recently, Hollywood looked upon China with a mix of dread and desperation, but Hollywood’s view on Beijing has—in Washington parlance—evolved, because China is now where the money is.

“China’s Leonard Cohen” Calls Out Political Corruption

Louisa Lim
NPR
On “These Tiny Grapes,” Zuoxiao Zuzhou’s new album of edgy ballads focusing on the woes of modern-day China, he hones in on rampant corruption, food scandals, injustice and abuse of power.

Media

02.04.13

Media Censorship and Its Future

Ouyang Bin
The year 2013 has gotten off to an inauspicious start for China’s press, especially for its most outspoken members. At the end of last year, when many of the country’s media were heralding newly installed Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s visit to...

Dead-end Trail to Bo’s Trial in China’s South

John Ruwitch
Reuters
China scotched reports that disgraced politician Bo Xilai’s much anticipated trial would open on Monday, amid chaotic scenes at a courthouse packed with expectant journalists in the south of the country.

One of China’s Early AIDS Heroes Hounded into Hiding Identity

Kaijing XIao
ABC
Tian Dawei was the first Chinese man to being a gay, HIV-positive man on state TV. He wanted to help people understand, but in China AIDS still carried a strong stigma. 

“Cloud Atlas” Cut by 38 Minutes for China Audience

Louise Watt
Associated Press
Nearly 40 minutes were cut from the Hollywood film “Cloud Atlas” for Chinese audiences, deleting both gay and straight love scenes to satisfy local censors. 

In China, Can Pollution Spur Media Transparency?

Matt Schiavenza
Atlantic
 The Chinese press often puts the best spin on Beijing's pollution problem, questioning the accuracy of air-quality measurements and dismissing concerns as "fog." ...

Media

01.16.13

Their Horizons Widening, China’s Web Users Look Abroad — And Want More

Last week, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt urged North Korean leaders to embrace the Internet. Only a small proportion of that country’s 24 million people can access the World Wide Web, and the majority of the 1.5 million mobile phones there...

China's Press Freedom Goes South

Annie Zhang
Foreign Policy
Censorship is commonplace, but is usually more subtle, with directives described over the phone rather than by email (where it leaves a trail).

(Editorial) Why Southern Weekly Said “No”

QIan Gang
China Media Project
The road to freedom of expression as guaranteed in Article 35 of China’s Constitution will be a long one.

China Said to Crack Down on Censorship Protests

Edward Wong
New York Times
People across China have been detained or questioned for supporting protesting Southern Weekend journalists.

Censored China Newspaper Returns to Publishing Amid Struggles

Edward Wong and Jonathan Ansfield
New York Times
Propaganda officials in south China have agreed to loosen controls over a newspaper struggling against censorship.

China Censorship Protest "Living in Truth" (Opinion)

Christian Science Monitor Editorial...
Christian Science Monitor
Protests erupt following a strike by journalists at a Chinese newspaper whose editorial on free speech was censored. Unlike most other protests in China, this one is about living in the truth.

Solzhenitsyn, Yao Chen, and Chinese Reform

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
When a Chinese ingénue, beloved for comedy, doe-eyed looks, and middle-class charm, tweets Solzhenitsyn's words, we may be seeing a new relationship between technology, politics, and Chinese prosperity. ...

Media

01.08.13

Online and Off, Social Media Users Go to War for Freedom of Press in China

When Mr. Tuo Zhen, the propaganda chief of Guangdong province, rewrote and replaced the New Year’s editorial of the Southern Weekend newspaper without the consent of its editors, he probably did not think it would make much of a splash. Indeed, Mr...

Inside the Southern Weekly Incident

David Bandurski
China Media Project
A Hong Kong University media scholar's review of the strife that led to a strike at one of China's most influential newspapers...

Censorship Protest a Test for Reform-minded China

Jaime Florcruz
CNN
For two days, journalists at the Southern Weekly offices and hundreds of their supporters called for free speech.

The Old Fears of China’s New Leaders

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
I felt a shudder of déjà vu watching the mounting protests inside China this week of the Communist Party for censoring an editorial in Southern Weekend, a well-known liberal newspaper in the southern city of Guangzhou. It is all too similar to the...

Southern Weekend Editorial Staff Goes on Strike (Updated)

Scott Greene
China Digital Times
An internal standoff has escalated into a full-blown crisis at Southern Weekly, where Guangdong's propaganda chief meddled in the publication's "New Year's Greeting." ...

Supporters Back Strike and Newspaper in China

Edward Wong
New York Times
Hundreds gathered outside the headquarters of a newspaper office in southern China to support journalists who had declared a strike to protest censorship by officials.

China, the American Press, and the State Department

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
It’s time for the State Department to take up the matter of American reporters in China, and Chinese reporters in America. 

China Insists Reporter Was Not Forced to Leave

VOA
Voice of America
China is still considering the visa application of a New York Times journalist who the paper says was forced to leave.

China Expels Journalist after Wen Revelations

John Garnaut
Sydney Morning Herald
An New York Times reporter was expelled from China in apparent retaliation for a report about the Chinese Premier's wealth. ...

Out of School

12.24.12

Politics and the Chinese Language

Perry Link
The awarding of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature to the Chinese novelist Mo Yan has given rise to energetic debate, both within China’s borders and beyond. Earlier this month, ChinaFile ran an essay by Chinese literature scholar Charles Laughlin...

The Top 10 Chinese Internet Memes of 2012

Josh Chin
Wall Street Journal
2012 saw social media supercharg one of contemporary China’s finest forms of cultural and political expression: the Internet meme.

Chinese Directors Call for Censorshp Reform

Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
Chinese filmmakers are calling for a system of classifying films according to their suitability for audiences of different ages.

China Cracking Down on Doomsday Group

John Hannon
Los Angeles Times
China arrests 100-plus members of a Christian group predicting Dec. 21 apocalypse.

CCTV Airs “V for Vendetta”

Anne Henochowicz
China Digital Times
When CCTV aired, uncut V for Vendetta about an anti-totalitarian masked crusader, viewers couldn’t believe their eyes.

Why Salman Rushdie Should Pause Before Condemning Mo Yan

Pankaj Mishra
Guardian
Mo Yan, China's first Nobel laureate for literature, has been greeted withsome extraordinary hostility in the west. This week Salman Rushdie described him as a "patsy" for the Chinese government...

Culture

12.11.12

Yu Jie: Awarding Mo Yan the Nobel Prize Was a “Huge Mistake”

Ouyang Bin
Mo Yan accepted his Nobel Prize for Literature in Stockholm on December 10.The 57-year-old novelist often writes stories based on memories of his village childhood, and his work and his political views have triggered wide debate. In...

Nobel Literature Winner Skirts Support for Dissident

Anna Molin
Wall Street Journal
Nobel literature prize winner Mo Yan dodged requests Thursday to repeat comments supportive of Chinese countryman and jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo, and said censorship may be necessary to stop the dissemination of untrue rumors and insults but that...

Chinese Media Partly Retreat After Black Jails Verdict

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
A brief news article published on Sunday by a score of state-run news media outlets offered an account of an unexpected judicial verdict: a Beijing municipal court had sentenced 10 people to jail for illegally detaining and assaulting a group of...

China Bans Rowdy Game Show After Mother's Rant about Turning her Daughter into 'Sexy Goddess' of China

The Associated Press
Associated Press
China suspended a broadcaster after an unaired segment of a TV game show leaked online showing a shouting match with a woman who calls her daughter the next Lady Gaga.

China Will Top U.S. as Biggest Film Market in the World by 2020: Study

Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
Box office haul in China, which now stands as the second-largest film market in the world after Japan, will surpass that in the U.S. by 2020, according to Ernst & Young.

State Meddling Stifles China's Film Industry

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
The release of Lu Chuan's latest film was delayed until after the recent leadership transition. The film depicts the bloody machinations of the first Han emperor's wife...

Ai's Song: Elton John Praises Artist in Beijing

Carlos Tejada
Wall Street Journal
Elton John struck a note of support for dissident artist Ai Weiwei at his show in Beijing, but did he also strike a blow at China’s live music scene?

Forced ‘Vacation’ for Man Who Broke Dumpster Death Story

Josh Chin
Wall Street Journal
The journalist who publicized the deaths of five young boys in southwestern China last week, has been forced to take a “vacation.”

Media

11.19.12

A Conservative Commentator Calls Out Chinese Liberals, and Liberals Shout Back

Speech on the Chinese Internet, it seems, is beginning to thaw once more following the country’s leadership transition. After months of speculation, new Chinese leader Xi Jinping was announced on November 16 at the close of the 18th Party Congress,...

China's Top Censor's New Leadership Role Raises Fears

AFP
Agence France-Presse
Chinese propaganda boss Liu Yunshan has risen to the country’s top leadership in what could be a perilous sign for online debate.

Chinese Authorities Putting Pressure on Businesses to Help Censor the Web

Jonathan Ansfield
New York Times
Web police units directed companies, including U.S. joint ventures, to buy and install hardware to log traffic, block select sites, and connect with police servers.

China Dodges Politcally Sensitive Questions at Key Congress

Ben Blanchard and Terril Yue Jones
Reuters
In pre-Olypmics 2007, officials took solo interviews and overseas reporters were encouraged to ask questions. Not so this time.

Xinhua Insight: China Will Never Copy Western Political System

Meng Na and Mou Xu
Xinhua
Xinhua says Hu Jintao wants China to support state power and at the same time improve the system of community-level democracy.

China Film Regulator: Don't Blame us for Hollywood Hiccups

Laurie Burkitt
Wall Street Journal
Beijing says it was the market that decided to bar imported films from domestic cinemas this summer, not film regulators.

China, at Party Congress, Touts its Cultural Advances

Ian Johnson
New York Times
Party guidance is the "soul” of China's moves to privitize and promote industries that can spread soft power abroad. ...

In China, Paranoia Around Twitter Hackings

Paul Mozur
Wall Street Journal
Activists, journalists and a political cartoonist had their Twitter accounts hacked the opening day of China’s 18th Party Congress.

CCTV Comes to America

Alex Pasternack
Foreign Policy
 CCTV America's coverage of China is largely scrubbed of controversy and upbeat in tone, with a heavy emphasis on business and cultural stories in places where Beijing hopes to gain influence. Reporting on topics sensitive to Beijing,...

From Toys to TV News, Jittery Beijing Clamps Down

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
As China's capital steels itself for the 18th Party Congress, the government is cracking down on balloons, homing pigeons, Ping-Pong balls and remote-control toy airplanes, anything that could potentially carry protest messages and mar the...

Staying Out of Trouble Before the 18th Party Congress

Jan Cao
As Beijing enters extreme lock-down prior to the 18th National Party Congress (十八大 or “shi ba da” in Chinese), social media users have invented a new coded reference–“Sparta”–to talk about this otherwise censored topic on Sina...

David Barboza Answers Reader Questions on Reporting in China

David Barboza
New York Times
The Times’s Shanghai bureau chief, David Barboza, reported last week that close relatives of Wen Jiabao, the prime minister of China, hold billions of dollars in hidden riches. Here are his answers to questions from readers prompted by the article.

New York Times Wen Exposé Makes Waves

Samuel Wade
China Digital Times
David Barboza’s investigation of the wealth built by Wen Jiabao’s extended family has dominated China news since its publication by The New York Times early on Friday. While the basic fact that wealth and power go hand in hand may surprise few—China...