Me and My Censor

Eveline Chao
Foreign Policy
Like any editor in the United States, I tweaked articles, butted heads with the sales department, and tried to extract interesting quotes out of boring people. Unlike my American counterparts, however, I was offered red envelopes stuffed with cash...

Media

10.26.12

Myanmar Envy

Bi Cheng
Chinese netizens’ reactions to tentative democratic reforms in neighboring Myanmar, including to the recent repeal of censorship rules for private publishers by the Southeast Asian nation’s reformist government, reflect just how closely it’s...

Censorship Reaching 1,000 Miles Exposed on China’s Twitter

Yueran Zhang
Netizens exposing public servants' taste for expensive timepieces has sparked an online and newspaper crackdown.  On October 9, Wang Keqin (@王克勤), an Economic Observer (@经济观察报) reporter posted on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter, that...

What Han Han's App Means for Chinese Censorship

Liz Carter
By publishing "The One" as an iPhone app, China's superblogger bypassed the State Administration of Radio Film and Television...

Review of Ai Weiwei at the Hirshhorn

James Panero
Wall Street Journal
Ai Weiwei will probably be regarded as the most important artist of the past decade. He is certainly its most newsworthy and arguably its most inspiring. Over the repressions of Chinese authorities, he has used a wide range of resources to broadcast...

Beijing Blocks Dissident’s Art Company

Edward Wong
New York Times
Liu Xiaoyuan, a lawyer friend of Ai Weiwei, the artist and frequent critic of the Communist Party, has said in an online posting that Chinese officials have revoked the business license of Mr. Ai’s art production company, Beijing Fake...

Sensitive Words: Bo Xilai’s Expulsion

Anne Henochowicz
China Digital Times
Since Bo Xilai’s expulsion from the Communist Party and announcement that he would face criminal charges, a number of Sina Weibo terms related to Bo which were previously blocked from search results are now live once again...

Books

09.19.12

Two Billion Eyes

Ying Zhu
With over 1.2 billion viewers globally, including millions in the United States, China Central Television (CCTV) reaches the world’s single largest audience. The official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, CCTV is also a dynamic modern media conglomerate, fully reliant on advertising revenue and aggressively competitive both within China and on the global media scene. Yet this hugely influential media player is all but unknown to the west. Two Billion Eyes tells its story for the first time.For this unprecedented look inside CCTV, noted Chinese media expert Ying Zhu has conducted candid interviews with the network’s leading players, including senior executives, noted investigative journalists, and popular news anchors, as well as directors and producers of some of CCTV’s most successful dramatic and current affairs programs.Examining the broader story of CCTV in a changing China over the past quarter century, Two Billion Eyes looks at how commercial priorities and journalistic ethics have competed with the demands of state censorship and how Chinese audiences themselves have grown more critical, even as Party control shows no signs of loosening. A true inside account of one of the world’s most important companies, this is a crucial new book for anyone seeking to understand contemporary China.    —The New Press

Winter For Chinese Media: Why So Many Respected Journalists Are Leaving the Field

Yueran Zhang
Although the government’s control over news media has always been tight, the range and intensity of the purge this year has been rarely seen, suggesting that the censors’ controlling hand is tightening. As Wang Keqin, a former investigative...

Review: Ai Weiwei's Blog (The Book)

Alec Ash
Los Angeles Review of Books
On May 28, 2009, the readers of artist and activist Ai Weiwei's blog — hosted on Sina, a popular Chinese internet portal — logged onto blog.sina.com.cn/aiweiwei to find the message "This blog has already been closed. If you have queries,...

Where’s Xi? Using New Code Words, China’s Netizens Speculate by the Thousands

Rachel Lu
It’s a cat and mouse game for netizens who are interested in Mr. Xi’s coming and goings. Certain code words for Mr. Xi, such as “Crown Prince (太子)” or XJP, are blocked search terms on Sina Weibo. However, netizens have invented others, such as heir...

A Rare and Precious Opportunity

Dan Edwards
Screening China
Last month the Film Southasia festival, showcasing documentaries from around the South Asia region, took place in Kathmandu, Nepal. China Exposé, a program of six independent Chinese works, was a prominent part of this year's festival. La...

Indie Filmmakers Feel Heavy Hand of Beijing

Jonathan Landreth
New York Times
Independent filmmaking is tough anywhere in the world, but in China, especially, it is not a vocation for the faint of heart. A recent attempt to hold a festival of independent film at a public art gallery in front of 500 people was thrown into...

Self-censorship in Hong Kong: How Prevalent Is It?

Cam MacMurchy
Zhongnanhai Blog
The Asian American Journalists Association organized a roundtable at the Foreign Correspondents Club tonight on self-censorship in Hong Kong, an issue which is prescient in light of the recent Chief Executive election, national education protests,...

Media

08.30.12

Chinese “Traitors” and the Foreign Press

Hu Yong
{vertical_photo_right}On June 2nd, local family planning officials forced Feng Jianmei, a twenty-two-year-old Shaanxi woman pregnant with her second daughter, to undergo an abortion, as a consequence of China’s One Child...

Big Trouble in China: Festival Director Li Speaks Out About Beijing Independent Film Fest Shut Down

Kevin B. Lee
Indiewire
Last Saturday China’s independent film community faced their latest setback when the Beijing Independent Film Festival was forced to cancel its public screenings upon pressure from local authorities.  This was the third consecutive...

China Cracks Down on Ai Wei Wei Protege Zhao Zhao

Ulrike Knöfel
Spiegel Online
Although meeting with Western media is not without its dangers, Zhao Zhao doesn't hesitate for a second. It takes him 40 minutes to get from his studio on the outskirts of Beijing to the downtown gallery showing his work, and Zhao arrives...

Interview with Head of Beijing Independent Film Festival Li Xianting

Kevin B. Lee
dGenerate Films
Last Saturday China’s independent film community faced their latest setback when the Beijing Independent Film Festival was forced to cancel its public screenings upon pressure from local authorities.  This was the third consecutive...

Freedom Rock? Not In China

Mark Mcdonald
New York Times
Two members of the Russian punk collective Pussy Riot are on the run and have fled the country, the band said in a Twitter message on Sunday. Three other Pussy Rioters were sentenced to two years in prison this month for performing a “punk prayer”...

Editor Suicide Linked to Pressure

Grace Kei Lai-see, Xin Yu, Luisetta...
Radio Free Asia
The suicide this week of a top features editor at the Communist Party official newspaper People's Daily has sent shock waves through the tightly controlled world of China's state-run media, commentators said on Thursday. Xu Huaiqian, 45,...

Michael Anti: Behind the Great Firewall of China

Michael Anti
TEDTalks
Michael Anti (aka Jing Zhao) has been blogging from China for 12 years. Despite the control the central government has over the Internet -- "All the servers are in Beijing" -- he says that hundreds of millions of microbloggers are in fact...

China State Media at Odds Over Myanmar Censorship Move

Lillian Lin
WSJ: China Real Time Report
News on Monday that Myanmar had decided to end press censorship has prompted different takes from Chinese media outlets, as well as doubts from the online community that China will its own tight restrictions anytime soon.

Chinese Media Praises Landing of Activists on Diaoyu Islands

Jing Gao
Ministry of Tofu
Wednesday afternoon, 14 activists from Hong Kong successfully landed on one of a set of disputed islands, over which Japan, China and Taiwan all claim sovereignty, and planted Chinese flags on the island as a gesture of declaring ownership. Chinese...

China Pulls Paper Over Flood Story: Rights Group

Agence France-Presse
China has pulled a Beijing newspaper from the newsstands after it criticised the official handling of the July floods and said the government had underreported the death toll, a rights group said Tuesday. Authorities in China's capital...

China Bans Foreign TV Remakes and Calls For Fewer Jokes in History Dramas

Guardian
Chinese television may get more boring after the country's top broadcasting regulator issued six new guidelines banning remakes of foreign shows and demanding serials cut back on excessive family conflict and jokes in historical dramas.&...

Beijing’s Growing Credibility Gap

Kelley Currie
CNN
Authoritarian regimes have traditionally relied heavily on controlling the flow of information that their subjects receive as a critical element of maintaining political power. The Chinese Communist Party is no different: they have an extensive and...

The People’s Republic of Rumor

Richard Bernstein from New York Review of Books
A group of people the other day were at the large shopping mall at a place called Shuangjing, just inside Beijing’s Third Ring Road, looking at their cell phones and comparing notes. “Don’t go to Sina Weibo—it’s too famous,” one person advised,...

China Keeps Up Block on Bloomberg Site

Simon Rabinovitch
Financial Times
 Bloomberg’s news website remains blocked by China’s state censors a full month after it detailed the riches amassed by the family of Xi Jinping, the man who is expected to be the country’s next president. Although periodic outages...

Beijing Flood Stories Cut from Southern Weekend

Anne Henochowicz
China Digital Times
Eight pages of reporting on the Beijing flood were pulled from today’s edition of Southern Weekend before going to press. Several of the paper’s editors have voiced their anger on Weibo, while some reporters have posted photos of the missing copy,...

The Cybersecurity Bill, China and Innovation

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
After years of debate, the Senate is set to take up a cyber-security bill that would force power companies and other vulnerable parts of the infrastructure to meet a certain level of security. President Obama is backing...

Media

07.24.12

Propaganda Chief Leaves a Legacy of Control

Amy Qin
Monday’s top story was the torrential rains and flooding that thrashed Beijing over the weekend and left at least thirty-seven people dead. Only one non-flood related news item made the cut for the front page of the Beijing Daily, the local Party-...

Chinese Draft Rule Could Prohibit Citizens and NGOs From Monitoring Air

Charles Zhu
Even as the Weibo account of the U.S. consulate in Shanghai was shut down, the fight for blue skies has continued to gain momentum. There’s the China Air Daily website, which posts pictures and air quality data in cities across the country. But lest...

Vacuum-Cleaning the Internet

Li Yongchun
Media regulators issued rules this week tightening censorship rules on web video content while encouraging private investment to consider stakes in state media companies. The combination of the new rules has resulted in mixed signals for the...

China's Malformed Media Sphere

Qian Gang
China Media Project
From July 2 to July 3, the residents of the city of Shifang in China’s western Sichuan province staged protests to oppose a molybdenum-cooper project they feared would poison their community. The protests were marked by fierce conflict, and the...

Measures to Manage Online Programs

Sun Li
China Daily
The country's broadcasting and Internet watchdogs will step up their management of online programs, including website-produced shows and micro films, to ensure healthy development of the Web environment...

Online Censorship: Monitoring the Monitors

Economist
The 500m people who use the internet in China have long been aware of the presence of the censors who watch their movements online and delete their more inflammatory posts. Now those monitors may have to get used to someone watching over their...

SARFT Goes After Online Video, Again

Jeremy Goldkorn
Danwei
A spokesman for the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) announced yesterday that some original drama series and films on video websites like Youku.com and Tudou.com don’t meet government censorship standards and contain...

Media

07.05.12

Powerless Media=Powerless Citizens, Says China Youth Daily Editorial

Amy Qin
Tapping into widespread public frustration with corruption among government officials, advocates of press freedom in China seem to have found an effective tool with which to ally citizens to the journalistic cause. In a July 3 editorial published in...

Watching How China Censors

Paul Mozur
WSJ: China Real Time Report
China's government employs software and an army of thousands to police the Internet, but it leaves much of the censoring to social-media sites like Sina Corp. SINA +2.30% to take down posts that violate local and national rules issued each week...

Global Times Editor Under Fire

Anne Henochowicz
China Digital Times
Not a trace of the July 1 Hong Kong protests can be seen on mainland Chinese media, and “sensitive words” surrounding the rallies have been scrubbed from major Web platforms. So Global Times Chief Editor Hu Xijin’s Weibo post addressing, in English...

Media

07.03.12

Project Harmony: The Chorus behind China’s Voice

Amy Qin
With a population of more than 1.3 billion people, can there really be such thing as a single “voice of China”? According to the Chinese government, the answer is, without question, yes. Not only does there exist a “China's voice” or a “Chinese...

Prize-Winning Reporter Driven from SCMP

Paul Mooney
Asia Sentinel
On April 22, Wang Xiangwei, the new editor-in-chief of the South China Morning Post, informed me that my contract with the newspaper would not be renewed when it expired on May 21. I can’t say I was surprised.

No Weibo for the New York Times

Anne Henochowicz
China Digital Times
The New York Times Chinese-language venture, launched this Wednesday, is off to a bumpy start. While the website itself is running, the site’s Sina Weibo account went down just hours after its launch. It was up again on Thursday evening. “Given that...

China Blocks Access to Bloomberg and Businessweek Sites

BBC
Web users in mainland China are unable to access Bloomberg's websites, after they were blocked by local authorities. The news agency thinks the move is a response to an article published about the fortunes of Vice President Xi Jinping's...

Hong Kong Journalists Warn of Self-Censorship

Te-Ping Chen
WSJ: China Real Time Report
As the 15th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to mainland China on July 1 approaches, local journalists say that press freedoms have eroded in recent years and self-censorship is on the rise. According to a survey by the Hong Kong Journalist’s...

South China Morning Post Editor Under Fire

David Watkins
Agence France-Presse
The first China-born editor of Hong Kong's flagship English-language paper admits he made a "bad call" in cutting coverage of a mainland dissident's death, but denies he is a stooge for Beijing. The South China Morning Post'...

Old Grey Lady in Red China

Isaac Stone Fish
Foreign Policy
The New York Times this week launched cn.nytimes.com, its first foreign-language website, joining several Western newspapers and media outlets like the BBC, Forbes, Newsweek, and Time that have published Chinese-language editions, with varying...

The Great Leap from Myth to History

Josh Rudolph
China Digital Times
n an article for Asia Times Online posted earlier this month, Peter Lee examines the cooling prohibition on discussion of the disastrous effects of the Great Leap Forward. The collection of hastily enacted policies resulted in mass starvation. What...

China's Bloggers Push for Change, One Click at a Time

Keith B. Richburg
Washington Post
Blogger-activists are far from revolutionary. Like the incoming leaders , many of them are children of Communist Party officials. They are patriots who love China, but want its institutions to work better and on behalf of the people. They take on...

The Censor at Hong Kong's Post

Hugo Restall
WSJ: China Real Time Report
Five months ago when Wang Xiangwei was named editor-in-chief of the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's leading English-language daily, local journalists shook their heads in dismay. Mr. Wang, a former China Daily reporter and current member...

The Censor at Hong Kong's South China Morning Post

Hugo Restall
Wall Street Journal
Five months ago when Wang Xiangwei was named editor-in-chief of the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's leading English-language daily, local journalists shook their heads in dismay. Mr. Wang, a former China Daily reporter and current member...

Journalistic Ethics Questioned at SCMP

Asia Sentinel
Asia Sentinel
So why was Li Wangyang’s suicide not news – at first?A decision by the South China Morning Post’s new editor in chief, Wang Xiangwei, to reduce a major breaking story on the suspicious death of Tiananmen dissident Li Wangyang in a Hunan hospital to...

How Chinese Writers Elude Censors

Louisa Lim and Jeffrey Wasserstrom
New York Times
Two months ago at the London Book Fair, where China was this year’s “guest of honor,” Ma Jian, the exiled author of the Tiananmen-era novel “Beijing Coma,” inked a red X across his face in an emotional protest against Chinese censorship. It may be a...

Harvard Report on Government Criticism on Chinese Social Media

David Wertime
Contrary to previous understandings, posts with negative, even vitriolic, criticism of the state, its leaders, and its policies are not more likely to be censored. Instead, we show that the censorship program is aimed at curtailing collective action...

Media

06.07.12

An Absent Presence

Sun Yunfan
In Chan Koonchung’s dystopian science fiction novel The Fat Years, set in China in 2013, the whole month of Feburary 2011 has disappeared from people’s memory. In reality, the month that is closest to being spirited away is the month of June 1989...

Online Tiananmen Commemoration Snuffed Out

Josh Chin
WSJ: China Real Time Report
A snippet from a classical poem about the pain of bidding goodbye to loved ones has experienced an unexpected resurgence in China roughly 12 centuries after it was written. The poem’s author, Li Shangyin, has censors at China’s most talked-about...

Reports

06.05.12

How Censorship in China Allows Government Criticism But Silences Collective Expression

Gary King, Jennifer Pan, Margaret Roberts
Kennett Werner
Harvard University
Contrary to previous understandings, Chinese Internet posts with negative, even vitriolic, criticism of the state, its leaders, and its policies are not more likely to be censored than posts without this content. Instead, this study shows that the...

Google Confronts the Great Firewall

Rebecca Mackinnon
Foreign Policy
For centuries, the Yangtze River -- the longest in Asia -- has played an important role in China's history, culture, and economy. The Yangtze is as quintessentially Chinese as the Nile is Egyptian or the Rhine is German. Many businesses use its...

China Confronts the Great Leap Forward

Helen Gao
Atlantic
When Bo Xilai, the now-sacked Chongqing party chief, blanketed the city with a Maoist-style campaign of nationalism and state control, the critics who worried about the dangers of reviving red culture in modern Chinese society included the Communist...

London: The Triumph of the Chinese Censors

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
When I arrived at the London Book Fair on Monday, April 16, I saw a huge sign outside showing a cute Chinese boy holding an open book with the words underneath him: “China: Market Focus.” The special guest of this year’s fair was the Chinese...