Reports

03.13.18

Forbidden Feeds: Government Controls on Social Media in China

PEN America
PEN International
Based on extensive interviews with writers, poets, artists, activists, and others personally affected by the government’s grip on online expression, as well as interviews with anonymous employees at Chinese social media companies, this report lays...

Viewpoint

02.15.18

A Clash of Cyber Civilizations

Geoffrey Hoffman
There has been little need for the term “cyber sovereignty” among democratic states: the Internet, by its nature, operates under an aegis of freedom and cooperation. However, as the international system slips away from American unipolarity, a...

China Disrupts Global Companies’ Web Access as Censorship Bites

Yuan Yang and Lucy Hornby
Financial Times
Groups fear being forced to use expensive VPN software surveilled by Beijing.

Google Says ‘No Changes’ to Mapping Platform in China after Report

Reuters
CNBC
Google denied a media report that claimed the tech giant was re-launching its mapping functions in China, where many of its services are blocked.

Conversation

12.06.17

Apple in China: WTF?

Samuel Wade, Shaun Rein & more
In November, the non-profit watchdog Freedom House called China “the worst abuser of Internet freedom” of the 65 countries it surveyed. And yet, on December 3, Apple CEO Tim Cook keynoted China’s annual World Internet Conference. “The theme of this...

Viewpoint

11.03.17

The Future of Particle Physics Will Live and Die in China

Yangyang Cheng from Foreign Policy
“Don’t you dare kill my project.”My phone interview with a senior official at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) had started with bland, yet polite, responses. But it took a sharp turn toward audible agitation and hostility as I raised my final...

Apple’s Decision to Remove VPN Apps from the App Store in China Explained by Tim Cook

Andrew Griffin
Independent
Tim Cook has responded to criticisms that Apple is quietly removing apps from the App Store for the Chinese government.

Joining Apple, Amazon’s China Cloud Service Bows to Censors

Paul Mozur
New York Times
Days after Apple yanked anti-censorship tools off its app store in China, another major American technology company is moving to implement the country’s tough restrictions on online content.

Apple ‘Pulls 60 VPNs from China App Store’

BBC
The BBC understands that as many as 60 VPNs were pulled over the weekend. Apple said it was legally required to remove them because they did not comply with new regulations. It refused to confirm the exact number of apps withdrawn, but did not deny...

Conversation

05.09.17

Can China’s Approach to Internet Control Spread around the World?

Anne Henochowicz, Rogier Creemers & more
Earlier this month, citing concerns over “cyber sovereignty,” China’s Internet regulators announced new restrictions on the country’s already tightly controlled Internet—further curbing online news reporting and putting Party-appointed editors in...

China Compiles Its Own ‘Wikipedia,’ but Public Can’t Edit It

LOUISE WATT
Seattle Times
It’ll be free. It’ll be uniquely Chinese. It’ll be an online encyclopedia to rival Wikipedia — but without the participation of the public. And don’t expect entries on “Tiananmen Square 1989” or “Falun Gong spiritual group” to come up in your...

American Unrest Proves China Got the Internet Right

Ran Jijun
Beijing has been criticized for its Great Firewall and online censorship. Now it's looking prescient...

China’s Digital Dictatorship

Economist
Turn the spotlight on the rulers, not the ruled: Instead of rating citizens, the government should be allowing them to assess the way it rules

China is Censoring People’s Chats Without Them Even Knowing About It

Josh Horwitz
Quartz
Censorship in WeChat group chats is prevalent, and is done so that the sender isn’t even aware a piece of text has been scrubbed

Putin Brings China’s Great Firewall to Russia in Cybersecurity Pact

Andrei Soldatov and Irina Boroga
Guardian
The Kremlin has joined forces with Chinese authorities to bring the internet and its users under greater state control

Conversation

11.28.16

Should Facebook Self-Censor to Enter the Chinese Market?

Kaiser Kuo, Clay Shirky & more
The social network Facebook has reportedly developed software to suppress posts from users’ feeds in targeted geographic areas, a feature created to help the giant social media network gain access to China, where it is blocked. Facebook Chief...

Facebook Said to Create Censorship Tool to Get Back into China

Mike Isaacs
New York Times
The social network has quietly developed software to suppress posts from appearing in people’s news feeds in specific geographic areas

China Presses Tech Firms to Police the Internet

Eva Dou
Wall Street Journal
Third-annual World Internet Conference aimed at proselytizing China’s view to global audience

China’s Controversial, Out-Sized Role in Africa’s Digital Revolution

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Africa is home to one of the fastest growing technology markets in the world. In fact, more African households own a mobile phone than have reliable electricity or clean water. The combination of a young population, quickly growing economies, and...

Conversation

06.30.16

Where Is China’s Internet Headed?

David Schlesinger, Jeremy Goldkorn & more
Lu Wei, the often combative Chinese official known as China’s “Internet Czar,” will step down, and is to be replaced by a former deputy of Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The personnel change comes after a period of mounting restrictions on China’s...

Media

01.07.16

Assessing China’s Plan to Build Internet Power

Scott D. Livingston
When the Chinese Communist Party targeted clean energy in its 11th Five Year Plan (2006-2010), the resulting investment spree upended the global clean energy market almost overnight. Now, as China approaches its 13th Five Year Plan, a new policy...

China Web Tsar Admits Censorship Troubles

Charles Clover
Financial Times
“We have indeed called for reinforcements over prominent online problems, this is the truth.”

China Ranks Last of 65 Nations in Internet Freedom

New York Times
Chinese officials will be able to impose a prison sentence of up to seven years on a person convicted of creating and spreading “false information” online.

Viewpoint

04.22.15

Will China’s New Anti-Terrorism Law Mean the End of Privacy?

Scott D. Livingston
A newly drafted Chinese anti-terrorism law, if enacted in its current form, will empower Beijing to expand its already nearly unchecked policing of the Internet to reach web traffic and other online data flows emanating from both domestic and...

Media

04.21.15

This Chart Explains Everything You Need to Know About Chinese Internet Censorship

David Wertime
What goes through a Chinese web user’s head the moment before he or she hits the “publish” button? Pundits, scholars, and everyday netizens have spent years trying to parse the (ever-shifting) rules of the Chinese Internet. Although Chinese...

Why Do the Chinese Hack? Fear

Enrique Oti
War on the Rocks
To ensure its survival, the Chinese Communist Party has decided that it must control the Internet. 

Conversation

04.01.15

New Chinese Cyberattacks: What’s to Be Done?

Steve Dickinson, Jason Q. Ng & more
Starting last week, hackers foiled a handful of software providers that promote freedom of information by helping web surfers in China reach the open Internet. The attacks that drastically slowed the anti-censorship services of San Francisco-based...

Chinese Authorities Compromise Millions in Cyberattacks

Charlie Smith
Great Firewall of China
Hijacking the computers of millions of innocent Internet users around the world shows China's disregard for Internet governance norms...

China Appears to Attack GitHub by Diverting Web Traffic

Paul Mozur
New York Times
In recent attacks on sites that try to help Internet users in China circumvent censorship, the Great Firewall appears to have been used as a weapon.

Q. and A.: Adam Fisk on Evading Internet Censorship in China

Patrick Boehler
New York Times
GreatFire.org’s “mirrored” websites and the Internet bandwidth-sharing service Lantern have allowed users to access the open Internet.

U.S. Coding Website GitHub Hit With Cyberattack

Eva Dou
Wall Street Journal
The attack appears to underscore how China’s Internet censors increasingly reach outside the country.

Media

02.23.15

Five Predictions for Chinese Censorship in the Year of the Sheep

Blocked websites, jailed journalists, and nationalist rhetoric have long been features of the Chinese Communist Party’s media control strategy. During the Year of the Horse, which just ended on China’s lunar calendar, President Xi Jinping and his...

China’s Internet Censorship Anthem Is Revealed, Then Deleted

Paul Mozur
New York Times
Cyberspace Administration employees Sang lines like, “An Internet power: Tell the world that the Chinese Dream is uplifting China.”

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...

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...

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.

The Revolution Will Not Be Instagrammed

Alexa Olesen
Mainland Chinese felt no effects from the protests roiling Hong Kong—until Beijing pulled the plug on another social network.

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...

China Clamps Down on Web, Pinching Companies Like Google

Keith Bradsher and Paul Mozur
New York Times
China's government has draped a darker shroud over Internet communications in recent weeks, a situation that has made it more difficult for Google and its customers to do business...

Sinica Podcast

05.27.14

History of the Internet in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
The Internet has always been near and dear to our hearts here at Sinica. Four years ago, our very first show covered Google China and the fracas that followed their decision to pull out of China. And in the years since, we've frequently talked...

Media

03.21.14

“We’ll Know It When We’re There”

Jonathan Landreth
Martin Johnson (not his real name), is a co-founder of the China-based Internet freedom advocacy collective GreatFire.org. On the condition that he not be photographed, he gave the following interview to ChinaFile at an outdoor cafe in Manhattan...

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.

New Regulations for Online Video Sharing

Anne Henochowicz
China Digital Times
China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television issued a notice including rules such as real name registration for all users uploading to video sharing sites. ...

The Censorship Pendulum

Yu Hua
New York Times
People like to hear voices critical of the government, so social media companies can’t silence them entirely.

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...

Conversation

09.17.13

What’s Behind China’s Recent Internet Crackdown?

Xiao Qiang, John Garnaut & more
Last weekend, Charles Xue Manzi, a Chinese American multi-millionaire investor and opinion leader on one of China’s most popular microblogs, appeared in handcuffs in an interview aired on China Central Television (CCTV). Xue is just the most visible...

Conversation

08.07.13

What Will Come out of the Communist Party’s Polling the People Online?

David Wertime, Duncan Clark & more
David Wertime:Simon Denyer’s recent article (“In China, Communist Party Takes Unprecedented Step: It Is Listening,” The Washington Post, August 2, 2013) provides a valuable look at some of the ways that Chinese authority mines domestic micro-...

The Chinese Communist Party Has Embraced the Internet—For Public Polling

Adam Pasick
Atlantic
Beijing has started to glean political intelligence from the same systems they restrict access to.

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...

Sinica Podcast

02.08.13

Revenge of the Call-in Show

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Curious what happened to Sinica last week? Well ... as it turns out, our call-in show from two weeks ago wasn’t exactly pleased with how quickly we managed to replace it, and took out its anger on the laptop we use to record new shows, smashing the...

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.

Sinica Podcast

05.07.11

Crazed Madmen, Foreign and Domestic

Jeremy Goldkorn, Gady Epstein & more from Sinica Podcast
Despite losing almost a dollar for every dollar of revenue last year, Chinese Facebook clone Renren (人人网) made a spectacular launch on Wall Street last week, raising U.S.$743.4 million in a crazed initial public offering. So it’s no surprise that...

Sinica Podcast

03.25.11

Where Did the Internet/Salt Go?

Kaiser Kuo, Gady Epstein & more from Sinica Podcast
In less time than it took Chinese netizens to strip their supermarkets of common table salt, China ended its live-and-let-live policy with regards to the most commonly used tools for evading the country’s Internet restrictions. Recent weeks have...

The Secret Politburo Meeting Behind China’s New Democracy Crackdown

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
In an NYRblog post on February 17 (“Middle East Revolutions: The View from China”), I discussed Chinese government’s efforts to block news of the democracy uprisings spreading across the Middle East and speculated how China’s rulers might view those...

Middle East Revolutions: The View from China

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
Chinese authorities have done what they can to block news of Egyptian people-power from spreading to China. Reports about Egypt in China’s state-run media have been brief and vacuous. On February 6, at the height of the protests, the People’s Daily...