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Officer Draws Gun on Drunk Driver—To Overwhelming Online Applause

Officer Draws Gun on Drunk Driver—To Overwhelming Online Applause

A policeman draws his gun to stop a desperately escaping criminal. It may sound sensational, but this is technically what happened in the southern Chinese megalopolis of Guangzhou on January 31. As traffic policemen were manning a drunk driving checkpoint, a driver in a red Porsche pulled a U-turn and attempted to escape. After the driver refused to stop, the traffic policeman pulled out a gun and forced him to pull over. The driver, who was found to be drunk, was punished severely.

A discussion of this incident quickly became one of the hottest topics on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter. Sina ran a survey on Web users’ feelings about the incident, with more than 52,000 people voting over just five days. Voters could choose between “Drunk driving should be punished severely” or “Pulling a gun on someone is just going too far.” The vote was a landslide, with supporters numbering 97% (about 50,000) compared with 3% (less than 2,000) opposed.

Some of the supporters expressed their hatred for drunk driving. User @Floraxu wrote, “Drunk driving isn’t just suicidal; you’re also dragging passers-by down to your grave with you!” Another user, @科科了, commented, “The only reason we’re debating this at all is that we’re in China. If we were in America, we wouldn’t feel sorry for him even if he died.” Those few who felt the gun was too much seemed more concerned about gun safety generally than about the proportionality of the officer’s response. Wrote Weibo user @刘牛牛007, “What if an accidental discharge happened? Who would be responsible for that? Isn’t that illegal?” @关小关新年offer多多 wrote, “The question is, how did a traffic policeman get a gun?”

In social media environments, where so many diverse viewpoints coexist, it is rare to see users come to such near-unanimous agreement. Although police officers are generally distrusted by the Chinese micro-blogging public, official response confirmed that the traffic policeman’s response in this case was within the law. Wrote @Troy从阿尔卑到安德门, “As long as it actually happened, and it was legal, the public doesn’t really care whether it looks like police violence.”

Delving deeper, comments about the survey reveal an undercurrent of reverse classism, perhaps the main reason Web users stood behind the gun-waving police officer. @吐个烟圈22 wrote, “I support the policeman, but I just had a thought: what if the car forced to stop was a Santana [a low-end cheap car] or even farmer’s car. What kind of results would the survey get then?” Commented another, @尼尼哥哥, “The regulation of the princelings [slang for wealthy scions] is long overdue.” Some responses were extreme; @Samuel_Smith wrote, “That’s how it should be! Think you’re so special just because you’re rich! Just because you drive a Porsche!”

Who do Netizens hate more—the rich or the police?

The incident is not without (multiple and tragic) precedents. In May 2009, a driver raced through a residential area in Hangzhou and hit a passer-by, who later died. The car driven was a modified Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, a World Rally Car, and the drunk driver was later discovered to be among the “fu er dai,” a Chinese term for the offspring of the extremely wealthy. The case drew national attention when the official investigation was revealed to have been tampered with—the report claimed the car was going only seventy kilometers per hour, while a follow-up investigation showed it was traveling at between 84-102 kilometers per hour. The driver was eventually convicted of a traffic crime rather than the crime of endangering public safety, and sentenced to serve only three years in prison.

This accident sparked a national conversation about drunk driving and related regulations. In another famous case, a princeling drove drunk on a college campus, killing one student. He then arrogantly refused when stopped once again, telling security, “My Father is Li Gang.” This remark provoked a national backlash against traffic violations, especially drunk driving. This time, the offender in question came from a family with government connections, which again hit a nerve online. Multiple cases such as this finally led authorities to revise the country’s Criminal Law in 2011, re-categorizing drunk driving from a civil to a criminal violation, as the crime of dangerous driving. With its close associations with political authority and family wealth in the Chinese mind, drunk driving has became a symbol of privilege’s disregard for social order and the law.

While many Chinese view police with the same suspicion as they do government officials and the wealthy, traffic police—who are fairly low on the totem pole of China’s police bureaucracy—are not always the targets of public anger. In fact, the public is generally sympathetic towards them. Policing China’s raucous traffic is considered a tiring and low-level job in which one is forced to engage in many dangerous confrontations. Traffic cops are also compelled to breathe in the filthy sulfurous emissions from Chinese cars, and Web users recently called en masse for Beijing’s traffic cops to be permitted to wear face masks at work. In this case, when forced to choose between a rich, spoiled, politically connected drunk and a traffic cop, Netizens chose the low-level government worker.

How nuanced was public discussion of this incident? Some key questions about gun control lay buried in cries of support for the policeman. Should the traffic police have guns? Are they legally allowed to pull out their guns in a situation such as the incident in Guangzhou? According to the Guangzhou Daily, the official response deemed it legal because “attempting to escape and crashing through the check created a threat to the traffic police officer’s individual safety, and was also a threat to public safety. In this situation, the police officer was allowed to respond as he did.”

Though the public rallied behind this particular police officer, the jury is still out on whether Chinese are generally comfortable with gun use or gun carry by their police. As user @短发小男孩cc asked, “If the news came out that a traffic policeman shot and killed a drunk driver, would you still support him?” As discussion of this particular incident dies down, debate about the broader issues it has brought to the surface will undoubtedly continue.

Topics: 
Tea Leaf Nation is an e-magazine founded in 2011 whose editors aspire to make it a must-read source for China experts of all stripes—journalists, diplomats, academics, analysts—while remaining fun...

This story by Rachel Wang was originally published by Tea Leaf Nation.

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‘Enemies of Humanity’ — China Debates Who’s to Blame For the Kunming Attack

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It’s already being called “3.01,” or “three oh one,” a date that will likely burn in China’s collective memory for years to come. According to Xinhua, China’s state news agency, on the evening of March 1, around 9:00 p.m. Beijing time, ten or more...

Media

03.01.14

China’s Oscar Challenge

Jonathan Landreth
On January 3, the film critics of The New York Times published their Oscar nominations wish list. Many of their wishes came true and on Sunday night, March 2, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will broadcast its annual celebration of...

Media

02.26.14

China, LinkedIn Would Like to Add You to Its Network

Tea Leaf Nation & David Wertime
LinkedIn is now aiming its bow for the rocky shoals that have claimed Facebook, Twitter, Google, and even eBay: the Chinese market. On February 24, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner announced the launch of LinkedIn’s Chinese-language site, still in beta,...

Media

02.21.14

How the Internet and Social Media Are Transforming China

Shazeda Ahmed
“The Internet has radically transformed China,” said Emily Parker, author of the book Now I Know Who My Comrades Are: Voices from the Internet Underground, in a public discussion at Asia Society in New York on February 19.Talking about the Internet’...

Media

02.19.14

Chinese Netizens (Still) Love ‘House of Cards’

Tea Leaf Nation & David Wertime
“Everyone in China who works on this level pays who they need to pay.” Mild spoiler alert: These are the words of the fictitious Xander Feng, an influential Chinese billionaire on the Netflix series "House of Cards," a show that follows...

Media

02.14.14

A Kapital Idea

Matthew Niederhauser & David M. Barreda
Matthew Neiderhauser is a photographer and artist whose work is influenced by his studies in anthropology. He lived in Beijing for six years and recently returned to the United States. His pictorial book Sound Kapital, published in 2009, documented...

Media

02.13.14

Did President Xi’s Dumpling Outing Create a Pilgrimage Site?

Tea Leaf Nation
Beijing, China—It’s well after lunch and Liu Fengju still hasn’t gotten her food. The sixty-seven-year-old wife of a retired railway worker came to Beijing to spend Spring Festival, the annual seven-day Chinese New Year celebration, with her niece...

Media

02.07.14

Why Chinese Media Is Going Soft on Sochi

Tea Leaf Nation & Rachel Lu
Ready or not, Putingrad (aka Sochi) is now on prime time. The opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics will take place in the subtropical Russian resort town on February 7. In the Twittersphere, Western journalists and visitors have assailed Sochi’s...

Media

02.06.14

Beijing’s State Secrets Law—Still Broad, Still Opaque

Tea Leaf Nation & David Wertime
Beijing may be whittling back its widely reviled state secrets laws—but given their opacity, it’s hard to say for sure. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang signed a regulation, announced February 2, that would prohibit Chinese government organs from “using...

Media

02.03.14

‘Chicken Fart Decade’: GDP Vs. Smog

Tea Leaf Nation
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...

Media

01.31.14

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

Tea Leaf Nation & David Wertime
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...

Media

01.28.14

Why China’s Li Na Won’t Thank Her Homeland

Tea Leaf Nation & Liz Carter
After winning the Australian Open on January 25, Li Na set off a media blitz in her native China, where the thirty-one-year-old tennis star made the front page of most major papers. Much discussion surrounded Li’s post-victory speech, where she once...

Media

01.23.14

Carpe Coin: Crowdfunding Could Change Chinese Politics

Tea Leaf Nation
Crowdfunding, which allows web users to contribute small sums of money to fund collective projects like concerts and films, is taking off in China—and just how far it will go is more than a business question. By allowing netizens to vote with their...

Media

01.23.14

Out of the Dark Room

Sharron Lovell
Photographers document China’s breakneck development in fractions of a second every single day. Yet the work of Chinese photojournalists remains largely unseen outside their homeland. Of the thousands of images of the country illustrating the pages...

Media

01.17.14

You’ve Got Mail: Chinese Communist Party Received Almost Two Million Complaints in 2013

Tea Leaf Nation & Liz Carter
In 2013, China’s Communist Party disciplinary organs received an eye-popping 1.95 million citizen complaints about officials. This is a 49.2 percent jump from 2012, according to a January 13 report from state-run website China News Online—but...

Media

01.10.14

Shaq in China: A Love Story

Tea Leaf Nation
At seven-foot-one, roughly 350 pounds, and with a smile that’s been featured on everything from cereal boxes to CD album covers, Shaquille O’Neal isn’t particularly hard to recognize. And yet there I stood at the airport arrival gate in Chongqing, a...

Media

01.07.14

Grand Theft China: Tase Corrupt Officials in New Online Game

Tea Leaf Nation & Liz Carter
Official corruption in China is a serious matter: In January 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping openly vowed to tackle it, and a 2013 Pew study found that fifty-three percent of Chinese consider it a “very big problem.” But fighting bribery,...

Media

01.03.14

2013, According to the Chinese Communist Party

Tea Leaf Nation & David Wertime
What did the year in foreign policy look like in Chinese official circles? Divining the thoughts and motives of China’s leadership is a famously abstruse exercise even for Chinese citizens, who are often left to parse bland quotes or keep their ears...

Media

01.03.14

Coming to Chinese Headlines in 2014

Tea Leaf Nation & Rachel Lu
Chinese people have spent another year breathing dirty air, fretting about food safety, poking fun at corrupt officials, and complaining about tightening censorship—but as a discerning consumer of international news, you probably knew that already...

Media

12.19.13

Chinese Admiral to U.S. Navy: ‘We Will Block You’

Tea Leaf Nation & Liz Carter
On December 5, the U.S. missile-carrying cruiser Cowpens almost collided with a Chinese ship in international waters. The Cowpens was observing the maiden voyage of China’s new aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, when a vessel accompanying it cut across...

Media

12.11.13

Pollution Has ‘Five Surprising Benefits,’ says State TV, but Chinese Unamused

Tea Leaf Nation & David Wertime
Polluted air is a fact of life for many Chinese citizens, and it’s currently smothering parts of the country—but that’s not all bad, according to one state media outlet’s widely-ridiculed attempt at positive spin. A recent bout of noxious smog has...

Media

12.06.13

China’s Viral, Nationalist Screed Against Western Encroachment

Tea Leaf Nation & Rachel Lu
“You are nothing without your motherland.” It’s a trite phrase, one that seems unlikely to stir the blood of even the most dyed-in-the-wool nationalist—but it has found recent currency in China. An essay with that title has been making the rounds on...

Media

12.04.13

Chinese Chortle at U.S. Request to Scrap Controversial Air Defense Zone

Tea Leaf Nation & Rachel Lu
The United States wants China to pull back from its gambit to try to rewrite the East China Sea’s status quo, but the Chinese are having none of it. On December 2, the U.S. State Department said China’s newly-declared air defense identification zone...

Media

11.27.13

China’s Favorite Villainess

Tea Leaf Nation
Many U.S. viewers identify with serial killer Morgan Dexter of Dexter, inveterate womanizer Don Draper of Mad Men, or family man turned meth kingpin Walter White of Breaking Bad—however morally bankrupt they may be. Now, China has its own anti-hero...

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...

Media

11.25.13

Chinese Netizens Applaud Beijing’s Aggressive New Defense Zone

Tea Leaf Nation & David Wertime
Beijing has just thrown down the latest gauntlet in a long-simmering territorial dispute with Tokyo—and China’s citizens are cheering. On November 23, China’s Ministry of Defense released a map showing the “Chinese Air Defense Identification Zone,”...

Media

11.22.13

Farewell, Everyman: Chinese React to Ambassador Locke’s Departure

Tea Leaf Nation & Liz Carter
Chinese are waving goodbye to the frustratingly normal U.S. Ambassador to Beijing, Gary Locke, who announced on November 20 that he will be leaving his post in early 2014. Over 300,000 netizens discussed Locke’s resignation on Sina Weibo, the...

Media

11.21.13

For Cash-Strapped Parents, Two Babies Are Too Many

Tea Leaf Nation & Liz Carter
Call it reproduction with Chinese capitalist characteristics. On November 15, authorities announced that the country’s One-Child Policy would be loosened, adding couples in which one spouse is an only child to the list of families allowed to have...

Media

11.14.13

Westerners Aren’t the Only Ones Flummoxed by China’s Reform Plans

Tea Leaf Nation & David Wertime
After the Third Plenum, a high-level meeting to discuss China’s future, ended on November 12, Beijing released a major document likely to affect many of its 1.3 billion citizens’ lives for years. Western media responded to the 5,000-plus character...

Media

11.07.13

After Party Headquarters Explosions, Netizens Debate Value of Violence

Tea Leaf Nation & David Wertime
On the morning of November 6, an unknown assailant or group of assailants reportedly detonated several bombs outside the front door of the provincial government headquarters of Taiyuan, the capital of Northern China’s Shanxi province. China’s state-...

Media

11.07.13

Chinese State Media: U.S. Bullying ‘Obsolete’

Tea Leaf Nation & David Wertime
Stop being a bully, and start respecting the rule of the global village. That’s the takeaway from a November 1 editorial in Chinese state media, which castigates the United States in the wake of revelations that the NSA has tapped the phones of...

Media

11.06.13

Sex Ed Videos Go Viral

Tea Leaf Nation & Liz Carter
A collection of sex education videos have just gone, ahem, viral on the Chinese Internet. On October 29, a three-person team calling itself the “Nutcracker Studio” released three one-minute clips addressing tough topics in childhood sex education,...

Media

11.05.13

China and Hollywood by the Numbers

Jonathan Landreth
Consider this: Hollywood studios now make more money selling movie tickets in China than in any other market outside North America. Wanda, China’s largest real estate developer, bought AMC, the second-largest movie theater chain in the United States...

Media

11.01.13

Apologies for a Horrific Past

Tea Leaf Nation
On October 9, a farmer named Zhang Jinying appeared on the television show Please Forgive Me, a program usually dedicated to public apologies by unfaithful husbands and wayward sons. But the sixty-one-year-old Zhang’s apology had a depth and a...

Media

10.31.13

Tiananmen Attack Spotlights China’s Beleaguered Uighurs

Tea Leaf Nation & Rachel Lu
On October 28, a jeep plowed into a group of pedestrians and burst into flames on the avenue next to Tiananmen Square, the massive public square in Beijing that is the symbolic heart of the Chinese capital. According to Chinese state media reports,...

Media

10.29.13

Why “2 Broke Girls” Is All the Rage in China

Tea Leaf Nation & Liz Carter
In China’s battle between cupcakes and Communists, the cupcakes appear to be winning. While Chinese President Xi Jinping promotes the “Chinese Dream” of national rejuvenation with mixed success, the U.S. sitcom 2 Broke Girls has drawn Chinese...

Media

10.23.13

How to Say “Truthiness” in Chinese

Tea Leaf Nation & David Wertime
“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...

Media

10.22.13

China’s Silly War on Starbucks Lattes

Tea Leaf Nation & Rachel Lu
There are worse things in the world than an overpriced latte. That’s the message that thousands of Chinese web users are sending China Central Television (CCTV), a state-owned media behemoth that ran an October 20 segment accusing the Seattle-based...

Media

10.18.13

Cross-Culture Fail Watch: “Blacklist” Bungles One-Child Policy

Tea Leaf Nation & Liz Carter
Chinese Internet users have a message for the screenwriters of The Blacklist: You’ve got a lot to learn about our country.The third episode of The Blacklist, a new NBC television drama in which the FBI and a former fugitive team up to fight...

Media

10.17.13

Journalist’s Call for ‘de-Americanized World’ Provokes Alarm in U.S., Fart Jokes in China

Tea Leaf Nation & Liz Carter
As fears mounted this week about a possible (and now, it seems, averted) U.S. government default, the U.S. press stumbled upon an October 13 editorial in Xinhua, China’s largest news agency, calling for a “de-Americanized...

Media

10.11.13

How Social Media Complicates the Role of China’s Rights Lawyers

Tea Leaf Nation
Xia Junfeng was once unknown, but his 2009 arrest for the murder of security officers—who, he alleged, had savagely beaten him—made him a symbolic figure in a national debate about human rights and reform in China. Yet many wonder whether this...

Media

10.07.13

Just How Free Is Shanghai’s New Free Trade Zone?

Tea Leaf Nation
This article is adapted, with updates, from the September 20 article “China’s New Free Trade Zone: Silver Bullet or Stopgap Measure?“Two weeks after taking office in March 2013, China’s Premier Li Keqiang announced that Shanghai, the country’s...

Media

10.02.13

ChinaFile Presents: Jia Zhangke on “A Touch of Sin”

The Editors
On September 30 at Asia Society in New York City, film director and screenwriter Jia Zhangke and his wife, muse, and frequent leading lady on screen, actress Zhao Tao, joined Asia Society’s Film Curator La Frances Hui and journalist Emily Parker to...

Media

10.02.13

China’s Surprising Reaction to the U.S. Government Shutdown

Tea Leaf Nation & Liz Carter
As the U.S. federal government hurtles into shutdown mode, many in the United States have responded with anger or shame. At Foreign Policy, for instance, Gordon Adams compares the congressional bickering that gave rise to the shutdown to Shakespeare...

Media

09.30.13

China Watches “Breaking Bad”

Tea Leaf Nation
Why do millions of Chinese care about a fictitious New Mexico meth cook? The soon-to-be-concluded television drama series Breaking Bad, which depicts embattled high school chemistry teacher Walter White’s transformation into a crystal...

Media

09.26.13

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

Tea Leaf Nation
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...

Media

09.25.13

The Silk Road of Pop

Nick Holdstock
Most coverage of Xinjiang focuses on the tensions between Han and Uighur in the region, especially since the 2009 Urumqi riots. The Silk Road of Pop, a new documentary about Uighur music directed by Sameer Farooq, is a timely portrait of the rich...

Media

09.18.13

For Chinese, Violence in the Middle East Sparks Debate on Democracy, Stability

Tea Leaf Nation
Recent months have been rocky for the Middle East: harsh crackdowns on protesters in Egypt and a Rashomon-like scenario in which the Syrian government and the rebels have accused each other of using chemical weapons, just to name a few. The region’s...

Media

09.13.13

Chinese Professor Mocked for Suggesting Elderly Sacrifice Even More

Tea Leaf Nation
China’s age of retirement has long been a subject of controversy, as the country’s aging population and slowing economic growth have made caring for the elderly an increasingly daunting task. Recently, Yang Yansui, a professor at China’s prestigious...

Media

09.11.13

Amid Scandals, Can China’s New Organ Transplant System Work?

Tea Leaf Nation
The now oft-derided Chinese Red Cross once again found itself in hot water in July, when it was reported that some branches have asked organ transplant hospitals to pay 100,000 RMB ($16,300) for each successful organ donation organized by them. In...

Media

09.06.13

Follow the Money: Who Benefits from China’s One-Child Policy?

Tea Leaf Nation
When debating China’s one-child policy, China’s domestic media and observers overseas mostly focus on its impact on the population structure or incidences of inhumanity involved in the implementation of the policy (such as forced abortion). Almost...

Media

09.04.13

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

Tea Leaf Nation
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

The Surprise Loser of China’s Trial of the Century: Its Corruption Watchdog

Rachel Lu & Tea Leaf Nation
It seems like everybody has something to gain from Show Trial 2.0, a.k.a. the semi-live tweeting of fallen politician Bo Xilai’s day in court.Bo Xilai the showman takes a bow with a flourish; Gu Kailai, the scorned wife, exacts sweet revenge;...

Media

08.27.13

China’s Original Social Media: Bathroom Graffiti

Tea Leaf Nation
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,...

Media

08.22.13

You Can’t Handle the Truth: Bo Xilai’s Courtroom Performance Wins Fans

Tea Leaf Nation & Rachel Lu
A show trial this is not. But is a twist ending in the major blockbuster “The Life of Bo Xilai” in the offing?The long-awaited trial of Bo Xilai, once a rising star in the Chinese Communist Party, took place Thursday morning, but instead of the...

Media

08.14.13

Don’t Dream Big—Four Vignettes on Social Mobility in Modern China

Tea Leaf Nation & Rachel Lu
The New York Times recently ran an article that detailed the struggles of three young college women from low-income backgrounds, raising questions about whether education remains the “great equalizer” in America. How does the picture look in China,...

Media

08.12.13

Is Support for Transgender Rights Increasing in China?

Tea Leaf Nation
In the last few weeks of July, the story of a young transgender couple who transitioned together, which had previously gone viral in the Western media, trended on Sina Weibo, China’s popular microblogging platform. Although some Chinese netizens...

Media

08.08.13

Chinese State Media: Online Critics “Incite Political Unrest”

Tea Leaf Nation
While the Internet has become the site of almost constant political arguments in China, few articles have generated as much debate as a recent piece by blogger Wang Xiaoshi. On August 1, Xinhua News Agency, a state-run media outlet, posted Wang’s...

Media

07.29.13

On “Wealth and Power”

The Editors
Authors Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society, and John Delury, Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies at Yonsei University in South Korea, joined Jonathan Spence, Professor of History at Yale...

Media

07.17.13

A Minority in the Middle Kingdom: My Experience Being Black in China

Tea Leaf Nation
In the 1996 China edition of the Lonely Planet guidebook, a text box aside comment from a street interview provided some interesting conversation fodder: “…there is no racism in China because there are no black people,” a Chinese woman was reported...

Media

07.15.13

A Rite of Passage to Nowhere

Ying Zhu & Frances Hisgen
Tiny Times, a Chinese feature film set in contemporary Shanghai, made headline news on its opening day in late June by knocking the Hollywood blockbuster Man of Steel from its perch atop the domestic box-office and breaking the opening-day record...

Media

07.10.13

Old Photo of Tiananmen Square Has Netizens Asking “What’s Wrong With This Picture?”

Tea Leaf Nation & Rachel Lu
A rare old color photo of Tiananmen Square was posted on Weibo, China’s Twitter, and it was commented on hundreds of times as Internet users mused about the past and present of China’s most recognizable landmark.Here are the three things that stand...

Media

07.10.13

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

Tea Leaf Nation
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...

Media

07.02.13

American History, Through Chinese Eyes

Tea Leaf Nation
White male privilege, genocide against Native Americans, slavery and subsequent racial oppression, exploitation of immigrants and laborers, repression of women and homosexuals, and environmental destruction—teaching American cultural history through...

Media

06.28.13

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

David Wertime & Tea Leaf Nation
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...

Media

06.27.13

Jackie Chan—The Young Master Comes of Age

Jaime Wolf
Once in a while, if you’re lucky, and paying the right kind of attention, events align to give you a clear view of the future. In 1995, I was in Los Angeles staying with a friend who produced independent films and had the trade magazines Variety and...

Media

06.25.13

China’s “Urban Enforcers” Caught in a Vicious Cycle

Tea Leaf Nation
Last week, another anecdote about chengguan— China’s urban enforcers whose main tasks include enforcing urban beautification ordinances and cracking down on unlicensed street vendors— caught the public’s attention. On June 15, a web user called @岔巴子...

Media

06.17.13

Do Quotas in China’s College Admissions System Reinforce Existing Inequalities?

Tea Leaf Nation
Earlier this month, millions of Chinese students took the exam for which they had been preparing their entire lives—the National Higher Education Entrance Examination, known colloquially as the gaokao. For some, the process was more arduous than for...

Media

06.12.13

In Box Office Hit, American Dream Is Still Alive—In a Maturing China

Tea Leaf Nation
Over the last two weeks, the movie American Dreams in China (中国合伙人) has been the number one box office hit in China, selling over 400 million tickets to date. The movie is a gritty and at times tongue-in-cheek comedy that tells the true story of...

Media

06.11.13

Chinese Web Users React to U.S. National Security Agency Surveillance Program

Tea Leaf Nation
The online reactions to the PRISM incident, in which the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has been revealed to conduct a far-ranging surveillance program affecting many both in the U.S. and abroad, have been as fascinating as the event itself...

Media

06.07.13

Can Animation Cure What Ails the Chinese Movie Industry?

Tea Leaf Nation
“Gold rush.” “1920s Hollywood.” “Faster than a speeding bullet.” These are a few ways that film professionals have described China’s booming movie industry. China’s film market, the second-largest in the world, grossed roughly U.S.$2.7 billion in...

Media

06.04.13

On Eve of Tiananmen Anniversary, China’s Prominent Weiborati Speak Out

Tea Leaf Nation & Rachel Lu
“Don’t worry about forgetfulness—at least the Sina censors remember,” tweeted Jia Zhangke, a film director.Like 2013, 1989 was the year of the Snake on the Chinese calendar. It was also a year that Chinese authorities prefer not to remember. On the...

Media

06.03.13

Online Outrage After Chinese City Proposes Fine on Single Mothers

Tea Leaf Nation & Rachel Lu
Women giving birth out of wedlock in China have to contend with family pressure, social stigma, and financial hardship. Now, some of them may have to pay a hefty fine as well.Wuhan, a city of more than 10 million people in Central China, posted a...

Media

05.29.13

The Graffiti Seen ‘Round the World

Tea Leaf Nation & Rachel Lu
It’s tourist season the world over: let the shenanigans begin. After a young Chinese tourist’s defacement of an ancient Egyptian temple was photographed and shared online, the harsh backlash has gone viral in China’s blogosphere. Tea Leaf Nation...

Media

05.28.13

Trending on Weibo: #AIDSPatientsCanBeTeachers#

Tea Leaf Nation
In the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, carriers of the AIDS virus are now allowed to teach schoolchildren. The recently-announced change in regulations marks a step forward for AIDS activists, with the hashtag #AIDSPatientsCanBeTeachers# now...

Media

05.22.13

On “Strange Stones,” a Discussion with Peter Hessler

Peter Hessler, Michael Meyer & more
On May 21st at the Asia Society in New York City, Peter Hessler, author of the recently published Strange Stones: Dispatches from East and West, discussed his book and a decade of writing about China and elsewhere with author, Michael Meyer and...

Media

05.17.13

Chinese Anxiety—In Debate About Overwork, a Glimpse of Shifting Expectations

Tea Leaf Nation
Almost half of all Chinese report feeling “more anxiety” now than they did five years ago. What, exactly, is driving these concerns, or increasing reports of these concerns? Avid followers of China-related news might immediately think of censorship...

Media

05.10.13

Unrest in Beijing Over Mysterious Death of Young Woman

Tea Leaf Nation & Rachel Lu
A rare protest in Beijing involving hundreds of people was documented by photos posted on China’s social media (scroll down to see a sample photo). The cause of the protest was the death of a twenty-two-year-old migrant worker, who fell several...

Media

05.09.13

Truth in Chinese Cinema?

Jonathan Landreth
In 1997, as James Cameron’s Titanic sank box office records around the world—including in China—Sally Berger, assistant film curator at the Museum of Modern Art, worked to bring New York moviegoers a raft of Chinese movies they’d never heard of.The...

Culture

05.09.13

“I Just Want to Write”

Tea Leaf Nation
Whether or not I deserved the Nobel Prize, I already received it, and now it’s time to get back to my writing desk and produce a good work. I hear that the 2013 list of Nobel Prize nominees has been finalized. I hope that once the new laureate is...

Media

05.07.13

Rat Meat Masquerading as Lamb—Yet Another Food Safety Scandal

Tea Leaf Nation
Rat meat + gelatin + red food coloring + nitrates = lamb. Have you tried it yet?“This is what a ‘complete’ sheep looks like,” reads a caption under the photoshopped image of a sheep with Jerry, the mouse from Tom and Jerry, as its head. The image...

Media

05.01.13

The Wall Street Journal: Covering China Past and Present

The Editors
The Wall Street Journal was one of the first American publications to set up a bureau in Beijing. Since its establishment, scores of the Journal’s correspondents have traveled in and out of the country to cover China’s economic and political...

Media

05.01.13

The Long Battle Over “White Pollution”

Tea Leaf Nation
In the past weeks, Chinese citizens have learned that the styrofoam boxes from which they eat their lunches will soon be legal. On February 16, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s highest economic policy-making body,...

Media

04.22.13

Social Media’s Role in Ya’an Earthquake Aftermath is Revealing

Tea Leaf Nation
China’s social media was in mourning yesterday as users turned their profile photos to grey in remembrance of the victims of the 7.0 earthquake that struck the Ya’an region in Sichuan province on Saturday. As of April 22, the death toll has risen to...

Media

04.12.13

Leftist Hawks and Conspiracy Theorists: The People’s Liberation Army’s Online Presence

Tea Leaf Nation
Is Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter, turning into a new war zone? Dai Xu, a colonel in the Chinese Air Force and military strategist, thinks so.“A month ago, a pseudo-Japanese devil [derogatory term for pro-Japan Chinese] at Shanghai’s Fudan University...

Media

04.02.13

China Concerto

Jonathan Landreth
Before February 2012, when his name exploded onto the front pages of newspapers around the globe, most people outside of China had never heard of Bo Xilai, the now-fallen Communist Party Secretary of the megacity of Chongqing. But in the years...

Media

04.02.13

Singing a Note of Caution About New First Lady Peng Liyuan

Tea Leaf Nation
Xi Jinping, the newly appointed Chinese President, unfolded his presidency with a grand foreign tour to Russia, Tanzania, South Africa, and the Republic of the Congo. While this series of state visits unequivocally underscored China’s diplomatic...

Media

03.21.13

The Men Are Louder: A Gender Analysis of Weibo

Tea Leaf Nation
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...

Media

03.13.13

Chavez and Bo Xilai Gone: Death of a Political Model?

Tea Leaf Nation
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez’s death on March 5, 2013 came in the same week as the “Two Sessions” began in China, when China’s national legislature meets in Beijing. It was also almost exactly a year since the spectacular political demise of Bo...

Media

03.12.13

Pig Carcasses in Shanghai River Spawn Dark Humor on Chinese Internet

Tea Leaf Nation
The Huangpu River usually appears in glamor shots of Shanghai, serving as scenic backdrop to the colonial splendor of the Bund or the modern marvel of the Pudong skyline. But of late, a more grim and distasteful association has emerged. As of March...

Media

03.11.13

Young Family’s Arrest Brings Tension Between Vendors and Police into Focus

Tea Leaf Nation
A one-and-a-half-year-old girl wraps her arms around her mother’s neck, crying. Her mother, handcuffed, cannot hug her back—she can only squat down beside the police car to match her daughter’s height. “I’m sorry, mommy can’t hold you…”On March 6,...

Media

03.08.13

“Shanghai Calling” Translates Funny

Jonathan Landreth
Director Daniel Hsia and producer Janet Yang were motivated to make Shanghai Calling, their first feature film together, by the shared feeling that no matter how much more important relations between the United States and China grew, they always...

Media

03.04.13

‘Zombies’ and ‘Reincarnation’

Tea Leaf Nation
Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, announced on February 20 that it had surpassed half a billion users—more people than live in South America, and approximately the population of North America. Thickly-settled Europe edges out Weibo by...

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...

Media

02.22.13

China’s State-Run Media Shares Powerful Map of “Cancer Villages” Creeping Inland

Tea Leaf Nation & David Wertime
It appears that Chinese environmental activism is going further mainstream. The Sina micro-blogging account of Global Times, a well-known Communist Party mouthpiece, has just shared news about the horrific proliferation of “cancer villages” in China...

Media

02.21.13

In Face of Mainland Censorship, Taiwanese Revisit Reunification Question

Tea Leaf Nation
Within twenty-four hours of registration, Sina Weibo (China’s equivalent of Twitter) deleted the microblog account of Frank Hsieh, former premier of Taiwan’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Ironically, Hsieh’s last tweet before...

Media

02.20.13

On China’s Twitter, Discussion of Hacking Attacks Proceeds Unblocked

Tea Leaf Nation & David Wertime
As The New York Times reported yesterday evening, U.S.-based cybersecurity firm Mandiant has just released a deeply troubling report called “Exposing One of China’s Cyber Espionage Units.” The report alleges wide-spread hacking sponsored by the...

Media

02.16.13

NBA Star Debuts on Chinese Social Media, Fans Clamor: #I want to speak to Kobe#

Tea Leaf Nation & David Wertime
Tea Leaf Nation editor David Wertime spoke on February 15 on Public Radio International’s The World about NBA star Kobe Bryant (@KobeBryant), who has recently opened an account on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter. Listen to the full two-minute interview...

Media

02.12.13

Joke About Gay Romance on Chinese New Year Gala Lights Up Blogosphere

Tea Leaf Nation
Is “bromance” in the air? Not according to state-run China Central Television (CCTV).{vertical_photo_right}Thousands of fans yelled “Get together” in unison when piano prodigy Li Yundi made a guest appearance at Chinese-American pop sensation Leehom...

Media

02.11.13

Covering China: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

The Editors
On February 5, 2013, ChinaFile celebrated its official launch by bringing together a panel of former and current New York Times correspondents, whose collective China experience spans the course of half a century, to discuss their coverage of China...

Media

02.08.13

Lil Buck Goes to China

Jonathan Landreth
In November 2011, The Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations, headed by Orville Schell, hosted the inaugural U.S.-China Forum on the Arts and Culture.Schell's son, Ole, a filmmaker, tagged along with his video camera and captured the...

Media

02.07.13

Chinese Beverage Maker Turns Legal Setback Into Viral Ad Campaign

Tea Leaf Nation
This is no tempest in an herbal tea pot. The JDB Group, maker of China’s most popular herbal tea—one that raked in approximately 20 billion RMB (USD $3.2 billion) in revenues in 2012—lost another legal battle in its epic trademark war with the state...

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...

Media

01.30.13

Chinese Web Erupts With Widespread Calls for Change as Beijing Endures Airpocalypse 2.0

Tea Leaf Nation & David Wertime
Beijingers are choking on their air—again. Just seventeen days after Chinese cyberspace erupted with complaints about air so bad that it was “beyond index,” denizens of the Chinese capital awoke once again to a city blanketed with smog. Over the...

Media

01.25.13

Former China State TV Director Bemoans Anti-Japanese Propaganda: “Where’s the Creativity?”

Tea Leaf Nation
Are Chinese audiences growing weary of anti-Japanese propaganda? It would seem that some, at least, are growing sick of the pathetic villains, superhuman heroes, and lame endings that many Chinese movies and television series about World War II, or...

Media

01.23.13

A Map of Two Chinas

Tea Leaf Nation
On Friday, China’s National Bureau of Statistics announced that income inequality in the country exceeds a warning level set by the United Nations.China’s publication of its Gini coefficient—a widely used measure of economic equity—drew attention...

Media

01.16.13

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

Tea Leaf Nation
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...

Media

01.09.13

Why is a Mediocre, Low-Budget Comedy Taking China’s Box Office by Storm?

Tea Leaf Nation
December 2012 saw hot competition in Chinese cinema. It began with Life of Pi, which was directed by Ang Li, an Oscar-winning director, followed by 1942, a historical movie by director Feng Xiaogang, and The Last Supper, by up-and-coming director Lu...

Media

01.08.13

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

Tea Leaf Nation
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...

Media

01.07.13

“Help Me Pay This Bill”: A Short But Incisive Send-Up of Chinese Corruption

Tea Leaf Nation & David Wertime
It is a social media classic, a send-up of the corruption and profligacy that so often enrage Web users in China. A very short story variously titled “I Did Not Eat For Free” and “Help Me Pay This Bill” has been making the rounds for months on Sina...

Media

01.03.13

How a Run-Down Government Building Became the Hottest Item on China’s Social Web

Tea Leaf Nation & David Wertime
It is perhaps a sign of the times in China that an image of nothing more than a ramshackle county government building could echo so widely. Since its posting on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter, hours before New Year’s Eve, the image (see below) has been...

Media

12.24.12

The Most Popular Chinese Web Searches of 2012

Tea Leaf Nation
What did China search for in 2012? It wasn’t the hotly disputed Diaoyu Islands or the widely-watched London Olympics.On Baidu.com, China’s homegrown search engine commanding about eighty-three percent of the Chinese search market, the most popular...

Media

12.17.12

Media Effort to Emphasize Newtown Tragedy Backfires in Blogosphere

Tea Leaf Nation & David Wertime
Tragedy can strike anywhere. Mere hours before the horrific shooting at an American school in Newtown, Connecticut that left twenty-eight people dead, including twenty children, a horrific school attack also happened in China. At an elementary...

Media

12.12.12

The “Chinese Dream” Means One Thing to its Leaders, and Another to its People

Tea Leaf Nation
Since China unveiled the new Politburo Standing Committee at the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, the country’s Web users have been paying close attention to the new elite group of leaders who will set the country’s agenda for...

Media

12.09.12

New Leaders’ Common Touch Gives Netizens “Great Hope”

Tea Leaf Nation & David Wertime
Glad-handing with the locals. Kissing babies. Eating fast food. These are tried and true ways that American politicians seek to advertise their common touch; but when China’s new leaders employ these methods, it is greeted as a pleasant surprise,...

Media

12.04.12

“Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” Hits the Road

Jonathan Landreth
Debut filmmaker Alison Klayman has been on a global tour with her documentary—Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry—a film about one of China’s most provocative artists and activists, which this week, was named one of fifteen films put on a short list to be...

Media

12.01.12

Chinese AIDS Activist Endures “Degradation” in New York, Determined to Finish What She Started

Tea Leaf Nation
Chinese people translate “New Yorker” into “New York Ke” to designate people living in New York City, including Chinese immigrants. But in Chinese, “ke” means “visitor” or “guest.” It has been a sad word in Chinese literature and poems for thousands...

Media

11.27.12

Spotted on Weibo: Chinese Leaders Share a Human Moment

Tea Leaf Nation
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...

Culture

11.27.12

Remember to Tell the Truth

Maya E. Rudolph
The recording of memory brings history to life and creates a legacy of its own. In 2010, documentary filmmaker Wu Wenguang launched the Memory Project to try to shine a light on the long-shrouded memories of one of modern China’s most traumatic...

Culture

11.21.12

A New Tower of Babel

Sheila Melvin
Xu Bing, the renowned Chinese artist whose many laurels include a MacArthur Foundation “genius” award and an appointment as vice president of China’s Central Academy of Fine Arts, has long demonstrated a fascination with the written word.His...

Media

11.21.12

Official Online Poll: Chinese Want Democracy

Tea Leaf Nation
With China’s new leadership now set, Chinese Web users have turned their attention to answering the key question: “What’s next?” In concert with the 18th Party Congress, the website of Communist Party-sanctioned Peoples’s Daily hosted an...

Media

11.19.12

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

Tea Leaf Nation
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,...

Media

11.02.12

Chinese Movie Mogul Promises New Party Leaders Will Open Market to Hollywood

Jonathan Landreth
A wise old cartoon turtle in Kung Fu Panda advises Po, the portly black and white star of the 2004 DreamWorks Animation blockbuster film, not to fret about honing his fighting skills, but rather to focus on the moment and do his...

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...

Media

10.11.12

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...

Media

09.16.12

What Microblogs Aren’t Telling You About China

Amy Qin
In China, where notions of freedom of speech and freedom of expression are seen by the government as secondary to the all-important ideal of social stability, there is little space, if any, for truly open and unmediated public conversation...

Media

09.06.12

Tangled in the Party Line

Amy Qin
Netizens on China’s popular microblogging service Sina Weibo are in a fit of pique over remarks made by a PLA major general about the importance of Chinese TV commentators holding “unconditionally” to the Party line. Zhang Zhaozhong, a major general...

Media

08.31.12

“Naked Official” Streaks to U.S.

Amy Qin
On Monday, the People’s Daily confirmed rumors that Wang Guoqiang, a senior official of Fengcheng city, Liaoning province, fled China in April to the United States. Though Wang has been absent since April, his case was only uncovered last Sunday,...

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...

Media

08.16.12

The People’s Daily Said What?

Bi Cheng
In the course of its dramatic growth, China often churns out unprecedented numbers. But few of them have been more controversial than the recently released National Revival Index, a formula devised to measure China’s economic and social development...

Media

08.03.12

Netizens Weigh in on Weightlifting Defeat

Amy Qin
When seventeen-year-old Zhou Jun from Hubei province stepped onto the mat in London on Sunday, the pressure she was facing far exceeded the weight of the 96-kg barbell sitting at her feet. The entire history of China’s success in women’s...

Media

07.27.12

Could CCTV's Naming of Flood Victims Signal a Turn Toward Transparency?

Amy Qin
In the face of mounting criticism from online commentators and state media, Beijing city officials have finally raised the official death toll of the devastating floodwaters that hit the city last weekend from thirty-six to seventy-seven. The...

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-...

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...

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...

Media

06.30.12

Bloomberg Unearths Xi Jinping’s Family Fortune

Amy Qin
A recent Bloomberg report detailing the millionaire assets of the extended family of Xi Jinping, China’s presumptive next leader, has drawn praise from the community of China media observers for its thorough investigative work and fact-...

Media

06.23.12

Self-Censorship at the South China Morning Post?

Amy Qin
According to an article published on June 19 in the Asia Sentinel, an internal squabble at the Hong Kong-based English language newspaper the South China Morning Post has led some to raise questions regarding the journalistic ethics of the long-...

Media

06.11.12

A Great Massacre, a Great Earthquake, and a Great Famine

Hu Yong
The head of the Gansu branch of People’s Daily, Lin Zhibo, provoked the ire of many netizens for remarks he made regarding the Great Famine on his Weibo account. Lin claimed that in many of the villages in Anhui and Henan (the two provinces that...

Media

06.11.12

Did A CCTV Anchor’s Outburst Even Matter?

Hu Yong
Yang Rui, a host on China Central Television's (CCTV) English-language channel, called on the Public Security Bureau via Sina Weibo on May 16 to “clean out foreign trash, wipe out foreign snake heads (human smugglers), root out foreign spies,...

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...

Media

06.06.12

In the News: Fact vs. Rumor

Amy Qin
China-focused news editors have had numerous causes for celebration in the past few months. The various scandals surrounding the dethronement of Bo Xilai, the dramatic nighttime escape of blind activist Chen Guancheng, and the upcoming Party...

Media

06.02.12

On Weibo: Cultural Revolution Suicides

Amy Qin
As people across China took part in the June 1 Children’s Day campaigns to, among other things, remember the millions of “left-behind” children in the countryside, some netizens on Weibo spent the time reflecting on another, seemingly bygone, era...

Media

05.31.12

Godwin’s Law with Chinese Characteristics

Hu Yong
This winter writer-blogger-race car-driver Han Han found himself facing charges of plagiarism from celebrated fraud-buster Fang Zhouzi. Both Han and Fang have huge followings among China’s microbloggers. And their personal disagreement soon...

Media

05.29.12

Patriots or Traitors?

Amy Qin
In Chinese, to be patriotic is to ai guo, literally “to love [one’s] country.” But what does it really mean to love your country? Does it mean unconditional support for your country’s government, warts and all? Or is there more room for nuance—can...

Media

05.25.12

Can CCTV Become the Next Al Jazeera?

Amy Qin
In a recent piece published in the Columbia Journalism Review, Sambuddha Mitra Mustafi assesses the early stages of China's multibillion dollar efforts to expand its domestic media empire onto the global stage. Just this year, CCTV launched two...

Media

05.24.12

Under the WeiboScope

Amy Qin
With more than 300 million registered users, the popular microblogging service Sina Weibo—sometimes called the Chinese Twitter—can offer unique insights into the quotidian musings of Chinese netizens. One way to sort through the barrage of...

Media

02.29.12

Three Trends in Public Opinion Online in China

Hu Yong
Looking back at China’s Internet in 2011, there were three broad trends that deserve greater attention. The first was a general shift from emotionally-driven nationalist chatter as the defining tone of China’s Internet to more basic attention to...

Media

12.15.11

Anxiety’s Remote Control

Hu Yong
The Chinese government agency that English speakers know as SARFT has several monikers. Its full name is the State Administration for Radio, Film, and Television. Literally translated, its Chinese name, guangdian zongju, is more...

Media

01.21.96

Jackie Chan, American Action Hero?

Jaime Wolf
Whenever Jackie Chan leaves Hong Kong to make a public appearance in Shanghai, Taipei or Tokyo, or in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore or Seoul, hundreds—sometimes thousands—of his fans gather in a frenzy of adoration. Last June, Chan, the martial artist,...