Analysis of one-child policy sparks uproar

Posted by: Anne Hennochiz <>
Source: Science Magazine (10/18/17)
Analysis of China’s one-child policy sparks uproar
By Mara Hvistendahl

A new study of China’s one-child policy is roiling demography, sparking calls for the field’s leading journal to withdraw the paper. The controversy has ignited a debate over scholarly values in a discipline that some say often prioritizes reducing population growth above all else.

Chinese officials have long claimed that the one-child policy—in place from 1980 to 2016—averted some 400 million births, which they say aided global environmental efforts. Scholars, in turn, have contested that number as flawed. But in a paper published in the journal Demography in August, Daniel Goodkind—an analyst at the U.S. Census Bureau in Suitland, Maryland, who published as an independent researcher—argues that the figure may, in fact, have merit. Continue reading

Digital authoritarianism/Leninism

On the occasion of the China congress, the BBC has an excellent, brief overview of Chinese digital authoritarianism, only leaving out mention of repressive measures retained for those who try anything:  See the link for lots of illustrations and video.

“How authorities censor your thoughts.” By Stephen McDonell. BBC News (16 October 2017).

Some are now identifying the new system as “digital Leninism”:

Heilmann, Sebastian. “Big Data reshapes China’s approach to governance.” Merics (2 October 2017).

–Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Fable of the master storyteller

With his signature blend of probing research and crisp satire, David Bandurski hits another one out of the park–Andrew Clark <>

Source: China Media Project (9/29/17)
The Fable of the Master Storyteller
by David Bandurski

The Fable of the Master Storyteller

Copies of Xi Jinping Tells a Story

To Xi Jinping’s growing list of titles as Chairman of Everything, add one more: Storyteller-in-Chief. In the five years since he became general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party in November 2012, Xi has authored no less than four books, including The Governance of China (the tome on his ruling vision that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg made such a show of placing on his desk), Up and Out of Poverty (a collection of his writings through the 1990s), The Chinese Dream and the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation (which helps readers “come to understand the true nature of the Chinese Dream“), and the tenderly titled Knowing Deeply: Loving Keenly (a book of his writings from the early 1980s). Continue reading

Reconfiguring Class, Gender, Ethnicity and Ethics in Chinese Internet Culture

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Jamie J. Zhao’s review of Reconfiguring Class, Gender, Ethnicity and Ethics in Chinese Internet Culture (Routledge, 2017), by Haomin Gong and Xin Yang. The review appears below, but is best read at: My thanks to MCLC book review editor Nicholas Kaldis for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk A. Denton, editor

Reconfiguring Class, Gender, Ethnicity and 
Ethics in Chinese Internet Culture

By Haoming Gong and Xin Yang 

Reviewed by Jamie J. Zhao
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright September, 2017)

Haomin Gong and Xin Yang. Reconfiguring Class, Gender, Ethnicity and Ethics in Chinese Internet Culture. London and New York: Routledge, 2017. viii, 175 pp. ISBN: 978-1-138-95153-2 (Hardback: $145).

China’s online population has gone through exponential growth in the past several decades since the country gained Internet access in the early 1990s. In 2016, the number of its Internet users reached 713 million, nearly one half of its total population.[1] Thanks to increasingly easy, cheap access to the Internet, as well as to the “decentralized” online censorship system enforced by the government since the 2000s,[2] numerous intriguing digital phenomena, such as e-governance, e-commerce, microblogging/Weibo (微博), online literature (网络文学), online celebrity culture (网红文化), and online live streaming (线上直播), have emerged and transformed Chinese cyberspace into a pluralistic, embattled social-political landscape.[3] The challenges and transformations generated by the diversification of Chinese Internet user groups and activities have attracted a significant amount of scholarly attention.[4] Nevertheless, this body of scholarship mostly centers on “the technologicality and mediality of the Internet” (original emphasis, 5) and overstresses its “social and political” potential (original emphasis, 2), as the authors of Reconfiguring Class, Gender, Ethnicity and Ethics in Chinese Internet Culture put it. Continue reading

Pure Hearts panned

Source: Sup China (9/27/17)
Terrible film demands apology for honest online reviews
By Jiayun Feng

“This is hilarious. It’s like claiming that you studied hard but got rejected by Peking University, so you decide to ask for an apology from the Education Ministry. There is no correlation between how many years you spent working on a film and the final quality of it.”

“The director should apologize to us for creating such a crap film.”

These are two typical comments (in Chinese) on social media site Weibo in reaction to the news that the producers of Pure Hearts: Into Chinese Showbiz 纯洁心灵 are demanding an apology from, a website that hosts one of China’s best film-rating platforms.

Rated a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10, Pure Hearts was directed by Bi Zhifei 毕志飞, a young filmmaker with a doctorate from the Beijing Film Academy. Featuring only amateur performers, the film tells a cheesy story about a group of aspiring actors and actresses who realize their dreams after a series of setbacks. According to Bi, he put 12 years of “heart and sweat” into the film from casting to directing. Also, without a single celebrity, Pure Hearts defies the long-existing golden rule in the Chinese film industry that only big names can drive box office sales. “The film doesn’t want to be kidnapped by capital,” Bi said. “It intended to win the audience’s applause with its high quality.” Continue reading

UBC media studies position

Dear colleagues,

The University of British Columbia is currently recruiting for a senior faculty position in media studies. Applications from experts in Asian cinema and media are particularly welcome. See the links below for more information. The closing date for applications is September 30.


Christopher Rea <>

Another round of internet censorship

Source: Sup China (9/25/17)
Yet another round of internet censorship

Reuters reports that three of China’s largest tech firms have been fined for not censoring enough sensitive content. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) did not disclose the amount of the fines given to Tencent, Baidu, and Weibo except that they would receive the “maximum penalty” for hosting banned content, including fake news and pornography, as well as content that “incites ethnic tension” and “threatens social order.”Reuters notes that the maximum penalty for any individual in charge of a platform in violation of the rules cited by CAC is 100,000 yuan ($15,110) each.

The fines — largely symbolic, as such sums of money are pocket change for these large corporations — are one result of new cybersecurity regulations that went into effect in May this year. Listen to a Sinica Podcast with Adam Segal for more on China’s tightening grip on cyberspace. Continue reading

Smash-hit mobile game

Source: Tech Node (9/14/17)
China’s smash-hit mobile game Honour of Kings is coming to Nintendo Switch
By Emma Lee

Chinese tech giant Tencent is bringing its blockbuster game Honour of Kings to Nintendo Switch platform. The free-to-play MOBA game will receive a beta test this winter. Instead of the original game that features Chinese characters and stories, the game landing on Nintendo Switch platform will be the global edition that’s been rebranded under the new title of “Arena of Valor”.

To cater to the appetites of global users, Tencent reinvented most of the game’s characters for the global edition. The 60-plus characters coming from Chinese history and myth have been replaced by American-style heroes such as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Continue reading

The great hive of propaganda

Source: China Media Project
by  | Sep 16, 2017

The Great Hive of Propaganda

In December 2012, just weeks after Xi Jinping took the reins of the Chinese Communist Party, the official People’s Daily ran a front-page editorial called, “The Internet is Not a Land Outside the Law.” While it is “unrealistic,” the piece said, to demand that “everyone say the correct thing in the correct way,” all Chinese “must have consciousness of the law, being responsible for their words and actions.”

The People’s Daily article came months ahead of a crackdown on influential “Big V” users on Weibo. It predated by more than a year the creation of Xi Jinping’s Central Leading Group on Cyberspace Affairs, and its powerful new Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). Looking back, however, the editorial appears to have presaged an era of obsessive law-making on the internet — until these days, it seems, there is no end to the regulations governing the hills and valleys of Chinese cyberspace. Continue reading

Spending on music in China

Source: Sup China (9/14/17)
China’s per capita spending on music is $0.15, only 0.7 percent that of Japan’s
By Jiayun Feng

“We didn’t pay for music, but we watched ads. I think it’s quite fair.”

“I am appalled by those comments questioning why we should pay for the music we listen to. I know most Chinese have a low level of intellectual property consciousness, but it’s still sad to see that many people have zero respect for musicians and their works. They are not obliged to provide free music for you. Today, you enjoy pirated music and generations after us will have no good Chinese songs to listen to as a result.”

Music tastes of Chinese individuals are very alike — primarily cheesy and insubstantial love songs with hook-laden melodies. Yet as the two comments above indicate, opinions are significantly divided (in Chinese) as to whether music listeners should pay for the products they consume, a poignant question raised by a recent report (in Chinese) from the Communication University of China in Beijing, which reveals the alarming status of China’s digital music industry. Continue reading

Popular talkshow suddenly cancelled

Source: What’s on Weibo (9/13/17)
One of China’s Longest-Running and Most Popular Talkshows Suddenly Cancelled
By Manya Koetse and Diandian Guo

The popular Chinese talk show “Behind the Headlines” (锵锵三人行), that was broadcasted by Phoenix TV since 1998, has been suddenly terminated. The name of the show itself has become a ‘sensitive’ and censored term on Weibo since September 12.

One of China’s most successful and long-lasting talk shows has suddenly been canceled after nearly 20 years.

Without further official statements, the TV show announced its termination on its Weibo channel on September 12: Continue reading

The people behind state media videos

Source: Sixth Tone (9/5/17)
The People Behind Chinese State Media’s Viral Videos
The recent BRICS summit has given government mouthpiece Xinhua a chance to launch its latest charm offensive.
By Lu Hongyong

A screenshot from the video ‘Light of BRICS’ produced by Studio One of Xinhua.

Another day, another viral video. Zheng Xiaoyi and key members of Studio One, an arm of China’s state-owned Xinhua News Agency, finally call it a day well after midnight. Today, Zheng is the co-director of an animated short video by the often straitlaced newswire to mark the opening of the 2017 BRICS Summit in Xiamen, a coastal city in Fujian province, eastern China.

“Featuring the voyage of a five-masted vessel codenamed BRICS, the video was viewed more than 100 million times in the first 12 hours after it went online Saturday,” Zheng says from the conference’s 8,000-square-meter media center. Reporting on the event are more than 300 of Xinhua’s journalists out of a total media corps of 3,000 people. Continue reading

Beijing International Book Fair 2017 overview

Source: China Daily (9/5/17)
Far beyond printed words
By Mei Jia | China Daily

Far beyond printed words

Chinese Nobel laureate Mo Yan meets some sinologists at the book fair. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

Publishers at the 24th Beijing International Book Fair say cooperation and integration are the two words which describe the event that wrapped up on Aug 27.

At the event, 5,262 deals were struck, an increase of 4.9 percent compared with the figures in 2016. The deals covered 3,244 Chinese titles that were sold or will be co-published overseas, says the fair’s organizer. The ratio of titles sold compared with titles bought was 1.6:1, meaning that China is now selling rights to more titles than it is buying.

The organizer also says that the rights relate to books on China’s development, children’s books, literature, education, economics and philosophy. Continue reading

Chinese Poetry Festival 2017

Source: China Daily (9/5/17)
Poetry for all ages
By Chen Nan | China Daily

More than 30 Chinese artists, including renowned TV host Chen Duo and actor Han Tongsheng, will gather in Yichang city of Central China’s Hubei province on Sept 12 to mark one of the country’s key contributions to humanity--Chinese poetry.

The artists will recite poems in an opening gala for the fifth Chinese Poetry Festival, billed as the biggest poetry event in the country.

The event also opens with singing, dancing and instrumental performances.

The festival, which runs through Sept 17, is organized by the Ministry of Culture and the China Writers Association. It aims to celebrate the power of poetry in all its forms and will treat the public to traditional and contemporary works, along with forums and other related activities. Continue reading

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