Weibo Whack-a-Mole

King-wa Fu, Channing Huang & more from Weiboscope
China might be the world’s second-largest economy, and have more Internet users than any other country, but each year it is ranked as the nation that enjoys the least Internet freedom among the 65 sample nations scored by the U.S.-based Freedom...

China Embraces a Game About a Traveling Frog

New York Times
A few short weeks after its release, a Japanese mobile game featuring a traveling frog has become a hit in China.

Chinese Rooftop Climber Dies in 62-Storey Fall

A well-known Chinese climber has died while performing one of his trademark daredevil skyscraper stunts.

China’s Tightening Grip on Tech Giants: DealBook Briefing

Amie Tsang and Michael J. de la Merced
New York Times
If the Chinese government goes through with a plan to gain board seats at some of its country’s top technology players, will that cause problems when those companies go hunting for deals overseas?

Shock and Praise for Groundbreaking Sex-Ed Textbook in China

Serenitie Wang and James Griffiths
A big step forward for a country long criticized for depriving children of necessary sex education, or graphic bordering on pornographic? That’s the question being asked in China over a series of textbooks aimed at children ages 6 to 13.

China’s Twitter Clone Will Soon Have More Users Than Twitter

Zheping Huang
While Twitter is going through some rough times, Weibo, which went public in the U.S. in 2014, is thriving. In fact Weibo is on track to surpass its U.S. counterpart in one of the key metrics for social media platforms: monthly active users.

He Called China’s President ‘Xitler’ on Twitter. Now He Faces Prison.

Chris Buckley
New York Times
From his hometown in northeast China, Kwon Pyong used the internet to mock and criticize the nation’s rulers, including posting a selfie in which he wore a T-shirt that likened President Xi Jinping to Hitler.

China’s Weibo Eclipses Rival Twitter’s Market Capitalization

Louise Lucas
Financial Times
Shares rally on back of Chinese social platform’s ability to monetize subscriber base

U.N. Social Media Posts Removed in China After Backlash

William Ide
Voice of America
A massive backlash on social media in China has apparently led the United Nations to take down two Lunar New Year posts on refugees and poverty from their Chinese Weibo social media site.

China Battles to Control Growing Online Nationalism

Lucy Hornby
Financial Times
When Taiwan last year elected a president eager to reduce the island’s reliance on China, tens of thousands of Chinese netizens attacked Taiwanese websites in a co-ordinated action that was as much a surprise to Beijing as it was to its targets...



Chinese and American City-Dwellers Differ on Trump Win

Frances Hisgen
City-dwellers in China and the United States are among the greatest beneficiaries of the international trade deals President-elect Trump says he’s against, but the two groups responded differently to the outcome of the U.S. election, and the...



Chinese, Netizens React to President-Elect Trump

Frances Hisgen & Ouyang Bin
When Donald Trump was elected president, the hashtag #TrumpWon was trending on Chinese social media. Chinese Internet users speculated about what Trump’s victory might mean for Sino-American relations, discussed the broader global implications of a...

Sinica Podcast


Public Opinion with Chinese Characteristics

Kaiser Kuo & Jeremy Goldkorn from Sinica Podcast
The immense popularity of social media has afforded China watchers a terrific window onto public opinion in China. In recent years, a slew of English-language websites have emerged to interpret the various trends and phenomena, discourse, and...

Read and delete: How Weibo's censors tackle dissent and free speech

Committee to Protect Journalists
A former employee gives insight into how Weibo balances the demands of government censorship with the need to attract users.



China’s Top 5 Censored Posts in 2015

Louisa Lim
Chinese President Xi Jinping rounded off 2015 by posting his first message on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, in the form of a new year’s greeting to the People’s Liberation Army. His post received 52,000 comments, mostly fawning messages of...



No, Pu Zhiqiang’s Release Is Not A Victory

Hu Yong
Pu Zhiqiang is a well-known Chinese human rights lawyer and outspoken intellectual who has taken on many precedent-setting cases defending freedom and protecting civil liberties. But his outstanding contributions in the judicial realm and his...

China’s Biggest Anti-Censorship Service is Under Attack

Russell Brandom
Variety has been under an unprecedented denial-of-service attack, receiving more than 2 billion requests per hour.



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: 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...



Is China’s Internet Becoming an Intranet?

George Chen, Charlie Smith & more
With Astrill and several other free and paid-subscription virtual private networks (VPNs) that make leaping China’s Great Firewall possible now harder to use themselves after government interference "gummed" them up, the world wide web...



Anti-Vice Click-Bait Spawns Popular Govt. Social Media Feed

Alexa Olesen
The Chinese government institution with the biggest social media following goes to...the nationwide anti-vice campaign called "Strike the four blacks, Eliminate the four harms." Da Sihei, Chu Sihai in Mandarin, the four blacks and four...



The Bizarre Fixation on a 23-Year-Old Woman

On August 4, a 6.5-magnitude earthquake viciously struck Ludian County, a township in the southwest province of Yunnan, with a death toll surpassing 400. The news swiftly hit Chinese headlines, and images of the devastation circulated widely on...

Fall of Zhou Yongkang Lights Up China’s Internet

Chuin-Wei Yap
Wall Street Journal
China’s social media microblogs, the country’s de facto town square, have for more than a year seethed with oblique flecks at the fate of former security chief Zhou Yongkang. 

An Online Shift in China Muffles an Open Forum

Ian Johnson
New York Times
In recent months, Chinese microblogging service Weibo has been eclipsed by the Facebook-like WeChat, which allows instant messaging within self-selected circles of followers.

They’re Dying at Their Desks in China as Epidemic of Stress Proves Fatal

Shai Oster
China is facing an epidemic of overwork, to hear the state-controlled press and Chinese social media tell it.

Can Forbidden Rules Teach Officials How to Behave?

Wang Wenwen
Global Times
A Sichuan newspaper listed "ten forbidden behaviors" for officials—such as don't talk to the public with hands behind your back and don't ask others to carry the suitcase for you. ...



Is Jesus Really Hotter Than Mao on China’s Social Media?

It’s easier to talk about Jesus than Chinese President and Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping on Weibo, China’s massive Twitter-like social media platform.The atheist Chinese Communist Party, known for its sometimes heavy-handed policies...



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...

China’s Netizens React To Kunming Station Attacks With Anger, Grief

Kevin Tang
Panic, calls against racial profiling, and anger at Western coverage permeate Weibo in absence of ongoing TV coverage of terror attacks.

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.



‘Chicken Fart Decade’: GDP Vs. Smog

Chinese media have debated why January saw pollution so extreme it closed schools and airports, chased away foreign tourists, and even prompted a ban on Lunar New Year’s fireworks. It’s likely that a substantial portion of this smog is caused by...



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...

Chinese Netizens Give Max Baucus a Chinese Name

Little Bluegill
China Digital Times
The new U.S. Ambassador to China, Max Baucus, asked for suggestions for his Chinese name. Everyone unanimously replied, “Meikesi? Baokesi.” [“He hasn’t died of coughing? It’s guaranteed he’ll die of coughing.”]



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...

China Employs Two Million Microblog Monitors State Media Say

 The Beijing News says the monitors, described as Internet opinion analysts, are on state and commercial payrolls. 



Execution or Murder? Chinese Look for Justice in Street Vendor’s Death

This morning, a Chinese street vendor named Xia Junfeng was executed. Xia had been found guilty of murdering two urban enforcers, known colloquially as chengguan, in 2009. Xia’s lawyers argued he acted in self-defense, presenting six eyewitness...



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...



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-...



Australian PM’s Online Musings Have Chinese Wondering: Where Is Xi’s Microblog Account?

On July 9, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd posted on a social media site about a phone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The twist? The message was written in Chinese on the immensely popular Chinese microblogging platform Sina...



A Character Battle Between China’s Government and its Internet Users

The horse is out of the barn. Now that China’s social Web has given every citizen the ability to publish for a wide audience—a privilege once reserved for the government—state publications and Web users there continue to wrangle over who best grasps...

Chinese Media Seize On Death Of Promising Student

Didi Kristen Tatlow
International Herald Tribune
The family of Lu Lingzi, the young Chinese woman killed in the attack at the Boston Marathon, didn’t want their daughter’s name revealed, but at least 12,000 people had left comments in her memory on her microblog account after it was...

Sinica Podcast


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...



The Men Are Louder: A Gender Analysis of Weibo

Does Sina Weibo provide an equal platform for expression for both men and women in China? According to a recent study conducted by Sun Huan, a graduate student in Comparative Media Studies and a research assistant at the Center for Civic Media at...



Flowers of the Motherland

Sun Yunfan
School uniforms have been a hot topic in the Chinese media since last Thursday. On February 20, 2013, on a new satirical TV news talk show akin to the Colbert Report but with a pre-recorded laugh track instead of a live audience, host Jin Yan of...

U.S. Media Misquote China-related Reports, Causing Concerns

Well-known U.S. newspapers including the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post have raised the eyebrows of many Chinese recently in their two questionable reports on sensitive China-related topics. 



Free Coffee for North Korea?

Ouyang Bin & Zhang Xiaoran
What should China do to persuade its moody ally North Korea to comply with international restrictions on its nuclear ambitions?“Free conference rooms, free coffee, free soft drinks and dessert,” was the surprising and quickly viral Internet...

Blogging the Slow-motion Revolution: An Interview with Huang Qi

Ian Johnson
New York Review of Books
Huang Qi is best known in China as the creator of the country’s first human rights website, Liusi Tianwang, or “June 4 Heavenly Web.” A collection of reports and photos, as well as the occasional first-person account of abuse, the site is updated...

China's Twitter Goes Hollywood

Melinda Liu
Daily Beast
A weibo message from Brad Pitt set off a buzz this week,  and he’s not the only overseas star invading the microblog.

Sinica Podcast


Return of the China Blog

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
All of you Sinica old-timers might remember a show we ran two years ago on the death of the China blog, in which Jeremy, Kaiser, and Will Moss mused about whether the combined forces of Twitter, Facebook, and Bill Bishop would manage to drive a...

Are China's Censors Loosening Their Grip on Weibo?

Malcolm Moore
Two hundred million Sina Weibo users found Tuesday they could search for Chinese leaders and were free to critiique.



Spotted on Weibo: Chinese Leaders Share a Human Moment

An active Beijing-based micro-blogger named Dongdong Wang recently tweeted this image on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter: {vertical_photo_right}At first glance, it doesn’t look like much: Outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao (left) and outgoing...

Why Is China Censoring a Fake Photo of its Leaders Doing 'Gangnam Style'?

Max Fisher
Washington Post
A doctored photo of China's top officials doing a popular South Korean dance went viral 'til Chinese censors pulled it down. ...



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,...

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...

Li Lei and Han Meimei, The love affair of a whole generation

Offbeat China
Two characters in China’s English textbook used 20 years ago are back, sparking a wave of nostalgia.



Netizens React to Mo Yan’s Nobel Prize

Ouyang Bin
Upon hearing the news that novelist Mo Yan was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature, a flurry of messages about the fifty-seven-year-old Shandong native circulated on weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, expressing decidedly mixed opinions...

Crocodile Tears? CCTV Blasted Over Pre-Cooked Liu Xiang Coverage

Lillian Lin
WSJ: China Real Time Report
What do convicted murderer Gu Kailai, serial killer Zhou Kehua and Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang have in common? As of Wednesday, all three stand at the center of viral, conspiracy-driven controversies that say unflattering things about the...

Online Censorship: Monitoring the Monitors

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...



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...

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...