Twitter Acts Quickly on Suspect Pro-China Accounts

ANDREW JACOBS
New York Times
Just hours after The New York Times posted an article about bogus Twitter accounts dedicated to spreading pro-China propaganda—and a Tibetan advocacy group demanded that the company take action—Twitter appears to have hit the kill switch on a score...

The Untold Story of China’s Forgotten Underground Nuclear Reactor

Jeffrey Lewis
Foreign Policy
How social media and a little sleuthing turned up a Mao-era nuclear program.

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

Web Preaches Jihad to China's Muslim Uighurs

Jeremy Page and Ned Levin
Wall Street Journal
China says the Internet and social media incite terrorism among Uighur minority.

China Arrests Rights Lawyer Who Fought Labor Camps

Gillian Wong
ABC
The dramatic turnaround of Pu Zhiqiang highlights the thin line that activist lawyers often find themselves having to walk if they seek to drum up public support for causes that embarrass the ruling Communist Party: success can come at great...

Is That Leg Loaded? Ai Weiwei Starts Web Craze With Mysterious ‘Leg-Gun’ Pose

Nell Frizzell
Guardian
The Chinese artist has sparked an internet meme by posting pictures of people with their legs raised and pointing like rifles. Is it his latest revolutionary act? A new dance craze? Or the next Angelina Jolie's thigh? We weigh up the options.

Instagram Grows in China, Despite Ban on Parent Facebook

Francis Bea
CNET
While Facebook itself is blocked by the Chinese government, Facebook-owned Instagram is growing fast in that country.

Young Chinese Twitter User Arrested for Proposing Method to Spread Truth About June 4th Massacre

China Change
On Monday China’s state-run media outlet China News (中新网) reported that Beijing police had arrested a 22-year-old female for posting an article on Twitter that teaches how to use a pseudo base station “to send illegal information.”

Apology to Wife in Sex Scandal Breaks Online Record in China

Louise Watt
Associated Press
Actor Wen Zhang’s apology to his actress wife following rumors of his infidelity has set a record for comments and retweets on China’s version of Twitter.

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.

Media

01.31.14

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

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

Another Massive Photoshop Fail in China

David Wertime
Foreign Policy
Social media in China lit up with mockery another obviously doctored image, this time posted on the Ninguo, Anhui government website, purporting to show vice-mayor Wang Hun pay a friendly visit to an elderly woman. &...

Busting China’s Bloggers

Murong Xuecun
New York Times
The vast state censorship apparatus works hard to keep Chinese social media’s most influential bloggers down. But posts race through Weibo so quickly that it’s difficult to control them with technology. Hence, the government is resorting to...

‘Where Are the Riots?’: China Watches the Shutdown

Jiayang Fan
New Yorker
In China’s social media - what amounts to China’s largest and most liberal classroom - microbloggers are taking the opportunity to teach one another the difference between federal and local authority in America and the protections, and perils, of...

The World’s Most Active Twitter Country?

Victor Lipman
Forbes
In terms of active Twitter users (defined as those “who used or contributed to the platform at least once a month”), the country with the most users was China, with 35.5 million, even though Chinese netizens are restricted from using Twitter.&...

Media

10.11.13

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

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...

Sina C.E.O. Charles Chao on How Weibo Is Changing China

Liz Gannes
All Things Digital
“Before, if anything happened, any accident or disaster, the information can be withheld or contaminated by government media control; but now it’s impossible, almost, to withhold information,” Chao said at the Stanford University China 2.0...

Crackdown on Bloggers Is Mounted by China

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Worried about its hold on public opinion, the Chinese government has pursued a propaganda and police offensive against what it calls malicious rumor-mongering online.  

An Inside Look at China’s Censorship Tools

Paul Mozur
WSJ: China Real Time Report
To get inside the system, professor Gary King and two Ph.D. students started their own fake social network over the past year, which—while it never formally went online—allowed them to reach out to some of China’s many companies offering censorship...

Media

08.27.13

China’s Original Social Media: Bathroom Graffiti

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

Why Aren’t Chinese People Reading Books Anymore?

Helen Gao
Atlantic
China’s once-robust trade in serious literature has withered under an increasingly materialistic, results-oriented society.

Phonemica: A Quest to Save China’s Languages

Wendy Qian
Atlantic
Phonemica, or xiangyinyuan, is an innovative project that documents China’s myriad dialects and languages, many of which are slowly disappearing due to state-sponsorship of Mandarin as the national language.  

Chinese Suggestions For Improving Internet Disappear

Adam Minter
Bloomberg
Thriving microblogging culture has become China’s de facto town square. But as more alleged rumors and critical commenters are quieted or deleted this center of civil society becomes a less interesting place to visit. 

Alibaba Buys Stake In Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter

Michael J. De La Merced
Deal Book
Alibaba and Sina also agreed to cooperate in improving ways to marry social networking with e-commerce, as microblogging services like Sina’s continue to grow in popularity.

Conversation

05.07.13

Why Is a 1995 Poisoning Case the Top Topic on Chinese Social Media?

Rachel Lu, Andrew J. Nathan & more
With a population base of 1.3 billion people, China has no shortage of strange and gruesome crimes, but the attempted murder of Zhu Ling by thallium poisoning in 1995 is burning up China’s social media long after the trails have gone cold. Zhu, a...

China Reacts To The Boston Bombing, Draws Parallels To China

Lily Kuo
Quartz
While the traditional jabs at America are still present on Chinese social media, it’s notable that so many reflected on the peace and safety both countries are trying to achieve. 

Media

04.26.13

Making a Show of the News?

Ouyang Bin & Zhang Xiaoran
In what seemed like a flash on April 20, Chinese netizens dubbed TV reporter Chen Ying “the most beautiful bride” on China’s Internet. It was the day of her wedding but a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Ya’an in Sichuan province and Chen didn’t bother...

China’s Social Media Gurus Face Off In The Weibo/WeChat Debate

Adam Pasick
Quartz
In China’s rapidly expanding social media sphere, most of the buzz is split between Tencent’s WeChat, a text and voicemail service and Sina Weibo, a microblogging service where users post unfiltered snippets of news in a...

Media

04.22.13

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

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...

Books

04.19.13

The Power of the Internet in China

Guobin Yang
Since the mid-1990s, the Internet has revolutionized popular expression in China, enabling users to organize, protest, and influence public opinion in unprecedented ways. Guobin Yang’s pioneering study maps an innovative range of contentious forms and practices linked to Chinese cyberspace, delineating a nuanced and dynamic image of the Chinese Internet as an arena for creativity, community, conflict, and control. Like many other contemporary protest forms in China and the world, Yang argues, Chinese online activism derives its methods and vitality from multiple and intersecting forces, and state efforts to constrain it have only led to more creative acts of subversion. Transnationalism and the tradition of protest in China’s incipient civil society provide cultural and social resources to online activism. Even Internet businesses have encouraged contentious activities, generating an unusual synergy between commerce and activism. Yang’s book weaves these strands together to create a vivid story of immense social change, indicating a new era of informational politics.              —Columbia University Press

Caixin Media

04.15.13

Tencent Lets WeChat’s Rapid Growth Do the Talking

Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s free messaging service, WeChat, has seen its popularity grow among both individual users and businesses, even amid a dispute with the Big Three telecom operators [China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom].Since launching...

Conversation

04.02.13

Why Did Apple Apologize to Chinese Consumers and What Does It Mean?

Jeremy Goldkorn, Isabel Hilton & more
Jeremy Goldkorn:On March 22, before the foreign media or Apple themselves seemed to have grasped the seriousness of the CCTV attacks on the Californian behemoth, I wrote a post on Danwei.com that concluded:“The signs are clear that regulators and...

Why John Kerry Must Listen to China’s Social Web

Anka Lee and David Wertime
Atlantic
Familiarity with citizen voices abroad, and the ability to leverage grassroots sentiment to amplify diplomatic impact, is a vital prerequisite for Washington’s unique brand of engagement.

Media

03.04.13

‘Zombies’ and ‘Reincarnation’

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

01.16.13

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

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...

At Mao-style Conclave, China Embraces Twitter Age

Alexa Olesen
Associated Press
Dozens of the more than 2,000 party delegates, among them Chairman Mao's grandson, are using social media to wax rhapsodic about China's rise and Party General Secretary Hu Jintao's live 90-minute reading of highlights from this year...

In China, Paranoia Around Twitter Hackings

Paul Mozur
Wall Street Journal
Activists, journalists and a political cartoonist had their Twitter accounts hacked the opening day of China’s 18th Party Congress.

Features

11.06.12

Fragments of Cai Yang’s Life

Chen Ming
The man suspected of smashing the skull of fifty-one-year-old Li Jianli, the owner of a Japanese automobile, has been arrested by police in Xi’an; he is twenty-one-year-old plasterer Cai Yang.Cai Yang came to Xi’an from his hometown of Nanyang [...

Chinese Blogging Superstar’s Strange But Effective Rant Against Over-Construction

Liz Carter and David Wertime
Although Chinese authorities have since said they would back down from the proposed project, Li’s angry and vivid description of Chinese government remains relevant–and, for that matter, unblocked by Chinese censors. Weaving political commentary,...

Protests in China Get a Boost From Social Media

Christina Larson
Bloomberg
The city of Ningbo—a prosperous port of 3.4 million people, near Shanghai—is hardly one of China’s cancer villages, of the kind contributing to the thousands of pollution-related protests that happen each year in China. And the mostly middle-class...

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...

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...

How Weibo is Changing China

Mary Kay Magistad
YaleGlobal Online
Weibo – China’s version of Twitter – has created a vigorous virtual public square since it was launched by the Chinese internet company Sina three years ago this month. The site, which allows users to post photos, videos, comments and messages, has...

China Turns to Social Media to Recruit Staff

Justin Harper
Telegraph
Chinese employers are increasingly turning to social media to recruit staff as they struggle to find the right talent. Such a move may give the upper hand to expats, many of whom are already familiar with social media tools such as LinkedIn...

Infographic – Background on the Qidong Protest

Jimmy
An infographic circulating on Chinese social media provides some background information on the planned oceanic wastewater pipeline and a compelling call-to-action for local residents in Qidong, a small city north of Shanghai. Fierce mass protest...

Massive Protest Near Shanghai Scuttles Wastewater Pipeline

Jimmy
Protests against a planned pipeline to channel wastewater into the ocean for a Japanese paper manufacturer near a major fishery on China’s east coast (just north of Shanghai) has turned ugly.  Thousands of angry protesters in Qidong in...

Cyber Candles for Two Tragedies

Anne Henochowicz
China Digital Times
Yesterday marked two tragedies in China: the third day of floods in the nation’s capital and the one-year anniversary of the high-speed train crash in Wenzhou. Connecting the two events, especially by lighting commemorative cyber candles, is a...

Flood Brings Out Beijing's Digital Samaritans

Wendy Qian
China Digital Times
Netizens have reached out a digital hand to those left stranded by Beijing’s torrential rains. There are over 7.4 million posts on Weibo on the subject ('Beijing' + 'Baoyu' or 'rainstorm'), many of them calls for help—...

Beijing Meets Critics Online in Wake of Deadly Floods

Loretta Chao and Paul Mozur
Wall Street Journal
Skies were blue and streets mostly dry on Sunday and Monday in Beijing, with only a scattering of abandoned cars as a reminder of the downpour that caused flooding throughout the sprawling capital and killed at least 37 people on Saturday. ...

What Twitter Can Learn From Weibo

Adam Bluestein
Fast Company
Tricia Wang may hold the record for most Instagram photos taken on Chinese trains. A sociologist, ethnographer, and corporate consultant who studies global technology use among migrants, low-income people, youth, and others on society’s fringes,...

Weibo: How China's Version of Twitter Changed Five Lives

Duncan Hewitt
BBC
The impact of the internet on society in China is arguably greater than in any other country on earth. Not only does it give people channels to express themselves - something which for political reasons has previously been almost impossible - but...

China's Malformed Media Sphere

Qian Gang
China Media Project
From July 2 to July 3, the residents of the city of Shifang in China’s western Sichuan province staged protests to oppose a molybdenum-cooper project they feared would poison their community. The protests were marked by fierce conflict, and the...

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...

Reports

06.05.12

How Censorship in China Allows Government Criticism But Silences Collective Expression

Gary King, Jennifer Pan, Margaret Roberts
Kennett Werner
Harvard University
Contrary to previous understandings, Chinese Internet posts with negative, even vitriolic, criticism of the state, its leaders, and its policies are not more likely to be censored than posts without this content. Instead, this study shows that the...

Media

05.31.12

Zuckerberg’s CCTV Cameo

Bo Wang & Kennett Werner
Chinese social media outlets lit up after sharp-eyed viewers caught Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg making a cameo appearance on Chinese Police, a documentary series produced by China Central Television (CCTV). Just a few second long, the footage shows...

Microblogging in China

Ai Weiwei
ArtAsiaPacific
In the last several years, microblogs and social-media sites have become ubiquitous platforms for the exchange of information and ideas. This unique opportunity for expression has never before existed in China. Platforms such as Weibo have become...

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...