What Han Han's App Means for Chinese Censorship

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

What the U.S. Presidential Debate Looked Like From China

Lily Kuo
Atlantic
 Chinese netizens shared mixed views of the U.S. election, some cynical, some optimistic.

Why China Lacks Gangnam Style

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
In China, the Gangnam phenomenon carries a special pique. It has left people asking, Why couldn’t we come up with that? China, after all, dwarfs Korea in political clout, money, and market power, and it cranks out more singers and dancers in a...

Han Han: “Why Aren't You Grateful?”

Ian Johnson
New York Review of Books
When looking for Chinese reactions to the anti-Japanese riots that took place in late September, it was probably not much of a surprise that the Western press turned to Han Han, the widely read Shanghai-based blogger. In characteristic form, Han...

What’s Really Trending on China’s Twitter: The Voice of China

LIz Carter
Coverage of China in Western media tilts toward the political and economic, so it might surprise some to learn that the top trending terms this summer on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter, have mostly related to the season’s top television hit: ...

Sensitive Words: Bo Xilai’s Expulsion

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

Protests Roiling, China’s Mainstream Media Showed an Alternate Reality

Sandra
It’s already entered the annals of China’s brief but rich Internet history: On Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter, posts showing massive anti-Japan protests in China went viral on September 15th and 16th. Out in the real world, protestors across dozens of...

Flag Raising Ceremony Held on China’s First Aircraft Carrier

Barry van Wyk
Danwei
Various front pages in China today feature glowing reports of China’s first aircraft carrier on whose platform a flag raising ceremony was held yesterday. Yet the fact that it happened is just about everything we know for sure about the ship. The...

Chinese ‘Soft Power' Expands in Africa with CCTV

Ronald Yick
Global Voices
Chinese government state-controlled media, China Central Television (CCTV), launched its African regional bureau in Nairobi, Kenya on January 11, 2012. While its presence has diversified the media landscape in Africa, media watchdogs and...

Caixin Media

09.20.12

Hit TV Show Sings Song of Media Model Success

A reality-talent TV songfest popular in more than forty countries around the world has become an instant hit in China, underpinning enthusiasm for an experimental business model linked to media sector reform.The Voice of China’s debut show in July...

Books

09.19.12

Two Billion Eyes

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

Prominent Chinese Writer: I Am a Traitor

Sijia Song
Li Chengpeng, an influential writer and social commentator, has published an article on his blog denouncing the boycott of Japanese goods and the violent anti-Japan sentiment currently sweeping China as the two wrangle over the Diaoyu Islands,...

Total Denial and the Will to Forget

Qian Gang
China Media Project
Anyone who regularly observes the topsy-turvy world of Chinese politics understands that the past, even the remote past, can exert a powerful influence on the present and future. Major historical anniversaries — like that of the 1989 Tiananmen...

State Media Call For “Rational” Patriotism

David Bandurski
China Media Project
After two days of violent anti-Japanese protests in China stemming from a territorial dispute over a chain of islands in the East China Sea, media in China are now calling on the public to remain calm and “rational,” apparently concerned about how...

Anti-Japan Protests in China Turn Violent, Cooler Heads Prevail Online

Jimmy
On Saturday protestors in dozens of Chinese cities took to the streets to voice their anger at the Japanese government’s nationalization of the Diaoyu Islands (Senkaku Islands in Japanese) in the East China Sea as a flagrant violation of Chinese...

Foreign Journalists in China Targeted by Malware Attacks

Lucy Hornby
Reuters
Foreign journalists in Beijing have been targeted by two very similar malware attacks in just over two weeks in the lead-up to China's once-in-a-decade leadership transition. The emails - one appearing to come from a Beijing-based...

China Commentary Slams Romney's "Foolish" China-Bashing

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
In a strongly worded English-language commentary, Xinhua said Romney's anti-China rhetoric, if converted into policy upon him assuming office, would trigger a catastrophic trade war and damage the already weak global economic recovery...

Ming Pao: Rules for Anti-Japan Protests

Anne Henochowicz
China Digital Times
Numerous mainland cities are experiencing days-long Anti-Japan protests in defense of China’s sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands. Authorities have begun exerting increasingly strict control over the demonstrations. Police...

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...

Is China's Global Times Misunderstood?

Allen Carlson
Diplomat
A growing conviction is taking root in America that Chinese views of the international system are becoming increasingly assertive and nationalistic. One of the prime referents for this contention is the Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao), a hugely...

Keywords: Preserving Stability

Qian Gang
China Media Project
The two-character Chinese phrase weiwen is an abbreviated form of the full phrase, weihu wending, meaning to preserve or safeguard stability. The Chinese Communist Party has many such shortened phrases, compact verbalisms that pack a political punch...

Web Posts Spur Free-Speech Debate in China

Austin Ramzy
Time
With his thin frame, shabby suit and graying hair, Chen Pingfu, who played his violin for handouts on the streets of the northwestern Chinese city of Lanzhou, hardly seemed to be a threat to anyone. But after he wrote a series of online essays...

Reading Deep Red

Qian Gang
China Media Project
On the question of political reform, there is one important terminology in particular we should remain alert to if we hope to read, between the lines as it were, the larger political climate of the 18th National Congress: the “Four Basic Principles...

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

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

Review: Ai Weiwei's Blog (The Book)

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

Sinica Podcast

09.14.12

Hollywood Comes to China

Jeremy Goldkorn, William Moss & more from Sinica Podcast
When Xi Jinping headed to the United States earlier this year in what everyone assumed was a pre-coronation victory lap, one of the more surprising outcomes of his visit ended up being a stopover in Los Angeles, where China agreed to increase the...

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

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

What "911" Means in Chinese

Liz Carter
Even in Chinese, “911” is shorthand for September 11 and the events that transpired 11 years ago today. Web users in China have taken to social media to mark the anniversary, some waxing philosophical about the passage of time and the elusiveness of...

With Extra Frames, a Chinese Photographer Looks Inward

Sim Chi Yin
New York Times
 (Part 2) Li Zhensheng, a newspaper photographer who was active in the 1960s in northern China, documented the country’s Cultural Revolution, in honest, cinematic images.

China’s Presumptive New Leader Is Mysteriously Absent

Ian Johnson
New York Times
Speculation intensified on Monday over the whereabouts of China’s presumptive new president, Xi Jinping, who has been missing from public view in recent days as the country prepares for a crucial leadership change.

Decoding the ‘Voice of China’ Through Media Reports

Graham Webster
88 Bar
As U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wraps up meetings today in Beijing, it’s hard to say how her most recent Asia-Pacific trip has gone. And that’s partly because interpreting media reports from the Chinese side is more art than science.

Chinese Writer on Honest, Generous, “Foolish” Americans

David Wertime
I’ve already been in the U.S. for a long time. I regret that choice. We’ve been [fooled] by Western media the whole time, making us think that the U.S. is a modernized country. Harboring hopes of studying American modern science in order to serve my...

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

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

Photoshopping Dissent: Circumventing China's Censors With Internet Memes

Jessica Levine
Atlantic
Liu Bo is famous. One of many police officers assigned to quash recent protests over a planned molybdenum copper plant in Shifang, Sichuan province, Bo was famously pictured with a riot shield strapped to his forearm, baton raised, charging at the...

To Chinese, Obama and Romney Aren’t So Different

Adam Minter
Bloomberg
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s promise to get tough with China may fall on receptive ears in the U.S., but in China his vow has barely registered, much less caused alarm. Unlike in 2008, when the Chinese media and bloggers...

Searching for a People

Gloria Davies
China Story
The disaffected characters of Pirandello’s work offer us perhaps a way to understand the complaints and parodies of Communist Party rule that abound on the Chinese Internet. If unelected rule had previously allowed China’s party-state to claim...

Doesn’t Matter If the Ferrari Is Black or Red

Gady Epstein
Economist
Salacious rumours had started swirling on the internet within hours of the spectacular crash in March: another Ferrari in Beijing, another Chinese leader’s son. But which leader? Months later the answer appears to be emerging into view,...

Online Criticism Leads to Suspension of Military Official over Flight Fight

Josh Chin
WSJ: China Real Time Report
A Chinese military official accused last week of assaulting a flight attendant has been suspended following an explosion of outrage online fed in part by rare criticism from state-run media. Col. Fang Daguo, a political commissar for the...

Editor at Communist Party Mouthpiece Blasts Leaders

Shi Jiangtao
South China Morning Post
A senior editor of Study Times, a Communist Party mouthpiece, has launched a blistering broadside at the country's outgoing leaders, who are about to step down in a once-a-decade shake-up, accusing them of stalling long-overdue political reform...

Propaganda Bites Official

Cheng Jiulong
Economic Observer
Wuhan, the largest city in the central Chinese province of Hubei, has a reputation for being one of China's three "furnace" cities, but on this occasion the heat was on the government officials as they were about to appear on a...

How Foxconn Changed a Small Chinese Town

Charlie Custer
Tech in Asia
Chances are pretty good that the folks at Foxconn had something to do with at least a part of whatever device you’re reading this post on right now. The Taiwanese company is massive, and with plants all over China, its effect in some parts of that...

Interview with Head of Beijing Independent Film Festival Li Xianting

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

The Most Famous Chinese Blogger and Racecar Driver You've Never Heard Of

Jeffrey Wasserstrom
Atlantic
Americans today seem to know a lot more about China than they used to, as evidenced by their familiarity with more Chinese names than just Mao Zedong and Jackie Chan. Americans who have only a passing interest in China will often ask me, "What...

Bush Brother Causes Stir in China With Communist Party Joke

Josh Chin
WSJ: China Real Time Report
Known in China and elsewhere mainly for being the younger brother of the 43rd president of U.S. and the son of the 41st, Neil Bush is by no means the most famous American user of Sina’s Corp.’s Weibo microblogging service. On Monday,...

Editor's Suicide Prompts Reflection, Reproach

David Bandurski
China Media Project
News of the suicide last week of Xu Huaiqian (徐怀谦), the chief editor of the Earth (大地) supplement of the Party’s official People’s Daily, has prompted a burst of discussion on Chinese social media of the extraordinary pressures facing journalists in...

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...

China Editor's Suicide Sparks Web Debate

Yuwen Wu
BBC
The suicide of a senior editor working for China's Communist Party newspaper has sparked strong reaction from Chinese cultural and media circles and on the internet. Xu Huaiqian, 44, was editor-in-chief for the Dadi (Earth) supplement...

Michael Anti: Behind the Great Firewall of China

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

Meet China's 'Legendary Female Cyber Cop'

Adam Segal
Atlantic
The Chinese press has recently introduced two new model workers active in cybersecurity: Li Congna (李聪娜) of the PLA, and the "Legendary Female Cyber Cop," Gao Yuan (高 媛) of the Beijing Public Security Bureau's Cybersecurity Defense...

Tibetan Blogging: Tweets from the Plateau

Economist
In a recent posting on her blog, Tsering Woeser accused the authorities in Lhasa of carrying out racial segregation, welcoming Han Chinese visitors to the Tibetan capital but not Tibetans. “Has the world forgotten its boycott of governments that...

China State Media at Odds Over Myanmar Censorship Move

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

Can One Woman’s Case Change a 70-Year Old System of Injustice?

Yueran Zhang
The story of Tang Hui, a mother sentenced to hard labor through the “re-education through labor,” or RTL, program when seeking justice for her raped daughter, may have created new impetus for legislative change. Among the voices urging Tang...

China's Party Papers, Losing Touch?

China Media Project
The influence of China’s Party-run newspapers has been sliding steadily for almost two decades now. Ever since the mid-1990s, these “mouthpieces“, operated by top Party leaders at various levels of China’s vast bureaucracy — and full of tinder-dry...

Should the Chinese Government "Fight Back" Against Rumors on Social Media?

Liz Carter
Tea Leaf Nation wonders if there is any truth in a piece entitled "We Must Do Our Best to Keep Fake News From Fermenting For Too Long" that appeared on August 17 in Beijing Daily, a Party-controlled paper known to take a hard-line stance...

Hong Kong After Island Landing: Who You Calling Unpatriotic?

Te-Ping Chen
WSJ: China Real Time Report
We don’t need patriotism lessons, Hong Kongers say—and yesterday’s successful landing on the contested Senkaku Islands proves it. On Thursday, local newspapers across the city carried full-page spreads showing photos of Hong Kong activists...

Pursuing Soft Power, China Puts Stamp on Africa’s News

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
China’s investment prowess and construction know-how is widely on display in this long-congested African capital. A $200 million ring road is being built and partly financed by Beijing. The international airport is undergoing a $208 million...

Sinica Podcast

08.17.12

The Fourth Estate

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Following the Chinese media’s intense coverage of the blitzkrieg trial of Gu Kailai, those of us at Sinica want to take this opportunity to look back at the most riveting China story of the year. And while we’ve covered developments week-by-week and...

Chinese Media Praises Landing of Activists on Diaoyu Islands

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

China’s Microbloggers Take On Re-Education Camps

Adam Minter
Bloomberg
Over the last two years, as China’s microblogging culture has expanded, observers inside and outside the country have found hopeful signs that the Communist Party is starting to respect and respond to public opinion voiced online. The most notable...