CAA China’s Leader on Censorship, Why China Needs a Global Hit and Translating for Spielberg

Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
The first U.S. talent agency with full-time representation in China marks 10 years in Beijing.

Media

06.17.15

American Students in China: It’s Not as Authoritarian as We Thought

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
For some American students about to embark on a study abroad trip to China, the U.S. media reports of Chinese Internet censorship, jailing of dissidents, and draconian population control laws may dominate their perception of the country. But after...

Chinese Hackers Circumvent Popular Web Privacy Tools

Nicole Perlroth
New York Times
The attackers compromised websites frequented by Chinese journalists as well as China’s Muslim Uighur ethnic minority.

China Is Exporting its Tiananmen Censorship, and We Are All Victims

Foreign Policy
Twenty six years after the killing of student protesters, the code of silence is spreading worldwide.

Q&A—Willy Wo-Lap Lam on ‘Chinese Politics in the Era of Xi Jinping’

New York Times
Xi’s reversal of guiding principles guiding Chinese politics post-Mao signals “the closing of the Chinese mind.”

Should Authors Shun or Cooperate With Chinese Censors?

Elliott Spirling, Chan Koonchung, John...
New York Times
A PEN American Center report found some books were expurgated by Chinese censors without the authors knowledge.

Corrupting the Chinese Language

Murong Xuecun
New York Times
The author fears Orwell’s prediciton: “If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”

Conversation

05.21.15

Censorship and Publishing in China

Andrew J. Nathan, Zha Jianying & more
This week, a new PEN American Center report “Censorship and Conscience: Foreign Authors and the Challenge of Chinese Censorship,” by Alexa Olesen, draws fresh attention to a perennial problem for researchers, scholars, and creative writers trying to...

Why Hong Kong is Clamping Down on Creative Writing

Madeleine Thien
Guardian
The decision to close City University’s MFA program is plainly intended to limit free expression.

Three Days in Beijing with the Global Dissident Elite

Kashmir Hill
Fusion
Poitras, Oscar-winning Citizenfourdirector, came to Beijing to shoot a film about Appelbaum and Ai meeting and making art.

US and EU Criticise Chinese Journalist’s Jailing for ‘Leaking State Secrets’

Tania Branigan
Guardian
Gao Yu vows to appeal her 7-yr sentence for allegedly leaking Document 9, revealing Party hostility to human rights.

Opinion: Gao Yu Verdict Sends Clear Message to Regime Critics in China

Deutsche Welle
Chinese journalist Gao Yu's seven year sentence again shows how Beijing authorities deal with critics of the regime...

Sobering News Out of China, Part 4 Million

Atlantic
Chronicles of a country walling itself off.

China: Inventing a Crime

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
In late January, Chinese authorities announced that they are considering formal charges against Pu Zhiqiang, one of China’s most prominent human rights lawyers, who has been in detention since last May. Pu’s friends fear that even a life sentence is...

China Says No Room for ‘Western Values’ in University Education

Agence France-Presse
Education minister says books which ‘smear socialism’ will be banned.

Reports

01.01.15

The Politburo’s Predicament

Sarah Cook
Freedom House
Drawing on an analysis of hundreds of official documents, censorship directives, and human rights reports, as well as some 30 expert interviews, the study finds that the overall degree of repression has increased under the new leadership. Of 17...

Conversation

12.19.14

Just How Successful Is Xi Jinping?

Ian Johnson & Trey Menefee
Last week, Arthur Kroeber, Editor of the China Economic Quarterly opined that “…the Chinese state is not fragile. The regime is strong, increasingly self-confident, and without organized opposition.” His essay, which drew strong, if divided,...

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...

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...

Viewpoint

10.20.14

‘A Power Capable of Making Us Weep’

Hu Yong
This September, the editors of the online edition of the 21st Century Business Herald—a leading Chinese business newspaper based in Guangzhou and owned by Southern Media Group (Nanfang Baoye Jituan)—came under investigation on charges of extortion...

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...

Media

09.25.14

An Internet Where Nobody Says Anything

David Wertime
Here is what a court in Urumqi, the capital of China’s western Xinjiang region, concludes Ilham Tohti, a balding, thick-set, 44-year-old professor, did: “Using ‘Uighur Online’ as a platform, and taking advantage of his role as a university professor...

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...

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.

Deadly McDonald’s Attack Highlights Fears About Cults in China

Julie Makinen
Los Angeles Times
The perpetrators were six members of a religious cult, including a middle-age man, his two grown daughters and his 12-year-old son, who became angry when refused a phone number.

Video

06.02.14

Cairo in Chinese

Alison Klayman
When Shen Yitong left her home in China to study French at Cairo University in 2008, she didn’t know that she would come to think of Egypt as a second home, or that she would see revolution come upon the country so suddenly. Her parents came from...

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...

Media

04.02.14

The Future of Democracy in Hong Kong

Veteran Hong Kong political leaders Anson Chan and Martin Lee describe some of the core values—such as freedom of the press—that they seek to maintain as Beijing asserts greater control over the territory seventeen years after Britain handed it back...

Media

03.17.14

‘Self-Media’ Pushes and Beijing Pushes Back

Michelle Song, twenty-four, studies international relations at Beijing’s prestigious Peking University and lives in a dormitory, so she doesn’t watch television regularly and doesn’t subscribe to newspapers. But this has not hampered her ability to...

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.

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...

Media

01.31.14

Closing Time? China’s Social Media Crackdown Has Hit Weibo Hard

Findings by East China Normal University (ECNU), a research university in Shanghai, commissioned by respected U.K. outlet The Telegraph and released January 30, lodges concrete data behind what frequent users and analysts of Chinese social media...

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. ...

In Rare Video, Wife of Jailed Nobel Laureate Reads Poems While Under House Arrest

The New York Times
New York Times
The video was filmed by the Independent Chinese PEN Center, a free-speech advocacy group established by Ms. Liu. 

A New Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum Puts a Modern Face on Chinese Art

Melik Kaylan
Daily Beast
The art world has embraced the evolution of Western art, but when it comes to China, we seem stuck in the past. A new exhibit at the Met wants to shake up these stereotypes.

Snowden Lied About China Contacts

Gordon G. Chang
Daily Beast
The New York Times has urged the Obama administration to offer Edward Snowden “a plea bargain or some form of clemency,” calling the former NSA contractor “a whistle-blower” for his exposure of “the vast scope” of the NSA’s “reach into the lives of...

China Spins Mandela to Fit Its Political Narrative

Dan Levin
New York Times
State-run newspaper Global Times dismisses Western media comparisons between recently deceased anti-apartheid campaigner Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison in South Africa, and veteran Chinese human rights advocate, Liu Xiaobo, now serving...

IKEA Toy Wolf Becomes Unlikely Anti-Government Symbol In Hong Kong

Yuen Chan
Huffington Post
An IKEA toy wolf whose name in Cantonese, Lo Mo Sai, sounds like the offensive phrase "mom’s c***," was thrown at Hong Kong’s chief executive, Leung Chun-ying on Sunday. "Throw Lo Mo Sai" in Cantonese sounds like "f*** your...

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

11.25.13

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...

Features

11.08.13

Document 9: A ChinaFile Translation

This weekend, China’s leaders gather in Beijing for meetings widely expected to determine the shape of China’s economy, as well as the nation’s progress, over the next decade. What exactly the outcome of this Third Plenum of the Eighteenth Party...

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...

Books

10.24.13

The Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon

Liz Carter and Anonymous, Edited by Anne Henochowicz
Over the years, China Digital Times (CDT) has collected hundreds of words and turns of phrase invented by China’s citizens of the Internet, its “netizenry.” Playfully evading online censors, netizens have created a world of “grass-mud horses” and “river crabs,” forever locked in battle in the “Mahler Desert.” CDT’s Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon is a collection of politically-charged terms which represent netizen resistance discourse. This eBook includes a selection of “classic” terms which have endured beyond the events which generated them. They are arranged by category, and indices in alphabetical order by both English and pinyin are included. This is the netizen language you need to know to understand China’s Internet. —China Digital Times{chop} 

China: “Capitulate or Things Will Get Worse”

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
The massacre of protesters in Beijing on June 4, 1989, and the harsh repression during the months immediately following put China into a foul mood. Among ordinary Chinese, the prestige of the Communist Party, whose leaders had ordered the brutal...

Media

10.23.13

How to Say “Truthiness” in Chinese

“Official rumors” is more than just an oxymoron. The phrase—pronounced guanyao—has become a useful weapon in Chinese Internet users’ linguistic guerrilla warfare against government censorship. That battle has intensified during a government-led...

Reports

10.22.13

CCTV’s International Expansion: China’s Grand Strategy for Media?

Anne Nelson
Center for International Media Assistance
China Central Television has come a long ways since its founding as a domestic party propaganda outlet in 1958. The domestic service has been supplemented by an international service, boasting three major global offices in Beijing, Washington, 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...

Sinica Podcast

09.20.13

Chinese Twitter and the Big-V Takedown

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Joining Kaiser and Jeremy this week are David Wertime and Rachel Lu from Tea Leaf Nation, along with Paul Mozur from The Wall Street Journal. And our topic? None other than the firestorm that has engulfed Sina Weibo following China’s effective...

Books

09.12.13

Blocked on Weibo

Jason Q. Ng
Though often described with foreboding buzzwords such as “The Great Firewall” and the “censorship regime,” Internet regulation in China is rarely either obvious or straightforward. This was the  inspiration for China specialist Jason Q. Ng to write an innovative computer script that would make it possible to deduce just which  terms are  suppressed on  China’s most important social media site, Sina Weibo. The  remarkable and groundbreaking result is Blocked on Weibo, which began as a highly  praised blog and has been expanded here  to list over 150 forbidden keywords, as well as offer possible explanations why the Chinese government would find these terms sensitive.As Ng explains, Weibo (roughly the equivalent of Twitter), with over 500 million registered accounts, censors hundreds of words and phrases, ranging from fairly obvious terms, including “tank” (a reference to the “Tank Man” who stared down the Chinese army in Tiananmen Square) and  the names of top government officials (if they can’t be found online, they can’t be criticized), to deeply obscure references, including “hairy bacon” (a coded insult referring to Mao’s embalmed body).With dozens of phrases that could get a Chinese Internet user invited  to the  local  police station “for a cup of tea” (a euphemism for being detained by the  authorities), Blocked  on Weibo offers an invaluable guide to sensitive topics in modern-day China as well as a fascinating tour of recent Chinese history.  —The New Press{chop}

Viewpoint

09.04.13

The Confessions of a Reactionary

Teng Biao
This article first appeared in Life and Death in China (a multi-volume anthology of fifty-plus witness accounts of Chinese government persecution and thirty-plus essays by experts in human rights in China). When I wrote it [on the evening of June 3...

Media

09.04.13

China’s Crackdown on Social Media: Who Is in Danger?

There is a Chinese proverb that says one must kill a chicken to scare the monkeys, which means to punish someone in order to make an example out of them. That is what many believe happened last Sunday when outspoken investor and Internet celebrity...

Media

08.27.13

China’s Original Social Media: Bathroom Graffiti

The men’s room in the passenger station in Qujing, Yunnan province will be familiar to anyone who has answered the call of nature in one of China’s provincial bus stations. Dim fluorescent lights give a clinical blue pallor to the bleary-eyed,...

Prominent Advocate Held in Southern China

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Police in southern China have detained Guo Feixiong, an outspoken advocate of democratic rights on charges of disrupting public order.

Liu Xiaobo’s Brother-in-Law Liu Hui to Serve 11 Years After Losing Appeal

Tania Branigan
Guardian
 Family angered over confirmation of verdict seen as persecution of the Nobel prize-winner’s family.

Amid Tribute to King of Pop, an Echo of Tiananmen Square

Edward Wong
New York Times
 The famous and politcally sensitive “Tank Man” photograph of June 1989 appears during a Michael Jackson tribute concert in Beijing. 

China Vanke Chairman Wang Shi Defends Right to Speak out on Politics

Adrian Wan
South China Morning Post
Property tycoon Wang Shi has defended the rights of businessmen like himself to speak up on political issues, citing disgraced Politburo member Bo Xilai’s efforts to enlist his support for his controversial campaigns.

Reports

07.24.13

Throttling Dissent: China’’s New Leaders Refine Internet Control

Madeline Earp
Freedom House
This special report is based on the 2013 China chapter of Freedom House’’s annual Freedom on the Net survey. As the home of one of the most systematically controlled and monitored online environments in the world, China will no doubt retain its...

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...

Conversation

07.03.13

How Would Accepting Gay Culture Change China?

Fei Wang & Steven Jiang
Last week's U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down the core provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act is not only “a stride toward greater equality in the United States, but also a shift that will reverberate far beyond our shores,” wrote...