HK through China’s distorted lens

Source: China Media Project (7/24/19)
HONG KONG THROUGH CHINA’S DISTORTED LENS
by 

Hong Kong Through China’s Distorted Lens

A page-one commentary in the Monday edition of the official People’s Dailynewspaper, the flagship publication of the Chinese Communist Party, offered the closest we have yet had to an authoritative response from China’s top leadership on the protests in Hong Kong and related acts of violence that have unfolded in recent days.

The piece is attributed to “a commentator from this paper,” or benbao pinglunyuan(本报评论员), which marks it as executed by top staff at the paper but representing views at the most senior levels of the Party. It essentially takes a strong line on the July 21 incident in which protestors — referred to in the commentary as “radical demonstrators” (激进示威者) and “extremists” (激进分子) — massed at the entrance of the Liaison Office of the Central Government in Hong Kong and pelted the building, including the national emblem of the People’s Republic of China, with black paint, eggs and other projectiles. Continue reading

Three Gorges Dam back in the spotlight

Source: China Media Project (7/7/19)
THREE GORGES DAM BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHT
by 

Three Gorges Dam Back in the Spotlight

(Featured image by Michael Gwyther-Jones available at Flickr.com under Creative Commons license.)

The Three Gorges Project, the gravity dam and hydroelectric power station on the Yangtze River that is currently the world’s largest power station, is back in the news in China. And state-run media are pushing to reassure the public that the dam is safe. So why is this becoming an issue now?

In recent days, posts on social media have suggested satellite imagery of the mega-structure now shows that it is warping, calling into question its structural integrity. Other posts have reported so far unsubstantiated claims that authorities have halted tours to the area. Continue reading

Stories of Digital Radicals–cfp

Stories of Digital Radicals: Call for Submissions
18 Jul 2019

The newly formed Center on Digital Culture and Society (CDCS) at the University of Pennsylvania invites submissions of stories of digital radicals from around the world. A digital radical is a person with a radical relationship to digital technologies. This relationship could be reflected in an attitude or belief, a daily practice, a political act or commitment, a way of life, and more. As to what is radical about the relationship, we will leave it for you to decide. It could be about forms of disengagement from social media, or ways of deploying them for social and political causes. We welcome stories about both well-known public figures and ordinary individuals around us. They may be people you know directly, or people you know through the media or your research. The stories may be biographical or autobiographical. The important thing is that you have a story to tell about the individual, and your story illustrates a vision for what you think of as a radical approach to digital technologies. The current conditions of social media and technological developments demand radical new visions and new politics. Continue reading

Investigative journalists ‘almost extinct’

Source: NYT (7/12/19)
‘We’re Almost Extinct’: China’s Investigative Journalists Are Silenced Under Xi
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
By Javier C. Hernández

Zhang Wenmin in Chengdu, China, in January. Once a widely read investigative journalist, she now has to live mostly off her savings. Credit: Giulia Marchi for The New York Times

BEIJING — She was once one of China’s most feared journalists, roaming the country uncovering stories about police brutality, wrongful convictions and environmental disasters. But these days, Zhang Wenmin struggles to be heard.

The police intimidate Ms. Zhang’s sources. The authorities shut down her social media accounts. Unable to find news outlets that will publish her work, she lives largely off her savings.

“The space for free speech has become so limited,” Ms. Zhang, 45, said. “It’s now dangerous to say you are an independent journalist.” Continue reading

HK celebrities support protests with a cost

Source: NYT (7/5/19)
For Hong Kong Celebrities, Supporting Protests Comes With a Cost
By Daniel VictorAmy Qin and Tiffany May

The singer Denise Ho outside the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong last month. She has been blacklisted in China since throwing her celebrity behind Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement five years ago.CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

HONG KONG — As Hong Kong’s protests evolve into a struggle against the grip of authoritarian China, one of the city’s biggest pop stars has emerged as an icon of defiance. She has spoken at rallies, handed out voter registration forms at marches and stood on the front lines with demonstrators, urging the riot police not to charge.

Denise Ho, a Cantopop singer, is just one of many high-profile figures in the decentralized protest movement, but among Hong Kong’s celebrities, she is a rare breed. Ms. Ho threw her stardom behind the city’s pro-democracy movement five years ago and has since been paying the price — being barred in the lucrative mainland Chinese market. Continue reading

Surveillance app on tourists’ phones

Source: The Guardian (7/2/19)
Chinese border guards put secret surveillance app on tourists’ phones
Software extracts emails, texts and contacts and could be used to track movements
By Hilary Osborne and Sam Cutler

Irkeshtam border

The Irkeshtam border is China’s most westerly border and is used by traders and tourists, some following the historic Silk Road. Photograph: Luo Yang/Xinhua/Barcroft Media

Chinese border police are secretly installing surveillance apps on the phones of visitors and downloading personal information as part of the government’s intensive scrutiny of the remote Xinjiang region, the Guardian can reveal.

The Chinese government has curbed freedoms in the province for the local Muslim population, installing facial recognition cameras on streets and in mosques and reportedly forcing residents to download software that searches their phones.

An investigation by the Guardian and international partners has found that travellers are being targeted when they attempt to enter the region from neighbouring Kyrgyzstan. Continue reading

TikTok reaches 1 billion downloads

Source: SupChina (6/25/19)
TikTok reaches 1 billion downloads, challenges Facebook

Photo credit: SupChina compilation of screenshots from TikTok feeds in the U.S.

WHAT HAPPENED?

In a major milestone for a Chinese technology company, the short-video app TikTok, known as Douyin (抖音 dǒuyīn) in its home country, was downloaded over 1 billion times as of earlier this year. That’s according to statistics from Sensor Tower, a U.S. company that tracks apps.

  • Chinese companies had already produced several mega-apps, including the social media-and-everything-else app WeChat that also has over one billion active users, but none of those apps has ever had global reach.
  • TikTok, by contrast, is an international sensation, with its addictive video algorithm making junkies out of millions from India to Thailand to the United States.
  • Tiktok’s parent company Bytedance, which originally was known for its news app Toutiao, now has more employees than Facebook.

Continue reading

Livestreaming from HK (1,2)

This one is working now:

https://www.facebook.com/hk.nextmedia/videos/2974461805898105?s=543500484

Four live-streaming channels at this link. it may not be working now but should resume tomorrow.

https://qooah.com/2019/06/12/hk-4-in-1-live/?fbclid=IwAR29ljit9PodMErIWZRR8EZgFMc8wwYK_Y6plvgKATPFPGbpa2shoru7_jA

Chun Chun Ting <ishating@gmail.com>

======================

You can see at Now TV:

https://news.now.com/home/live331a

Some photos today:

https://www.msn.com/zh-hk/news/photos/反對修例!金鐘集會現場實況/ss-AACKD2v?li=BBqiGU7#image=2

The police were brutal today, and they will be evermore so.

Ng Kwok Kwan Kenny <hm96nkkk@alumni.ust.hk>

Social media post on the HK situation

As those of us on the list must know by now, the social media in China has been dead for a while. No one dares to post anything “politically sensitive” anymore. But I saw this singular post from a Chinese artist (and a WeChat friend) yesterday and managed to take a snapshot of it before it’s gone. The original appears below, and the translation is as follows:

Wang Wei (not sure who that is, perhaps a pseudonym) writes, “I am not optimistic about this movement. There won’t be a surprise at the end. ‘It’ takes one step after another, until Hong Kong is cornered into the turning point it wants. ‘It’ intends to thoroughly humiliate this city, peeling off its past independence and glory. The number of one million demonstrators means nothing to ‘it.’ For the soul of this city, this is a matter of life or death. The hope of changing reality through reason, held by the youths, will be smashed this time. This is a public prosecution of this city. Some will emigrate; some will kneel; some will be driven into “desperate audacity,” obtaining futureless subjectivities from negation, hatred, and nihilism. Perhaps this will become the 8×8 (June 4th) of this city, and the end of its soul. This is an ongoing urban tragedy.

Best Regards,
Chang Tan
Penn State University

Rural influencers

Source: Trivium (5/28/19)
The rise of rural influencers: Understanding the popularity of China’s “tuwei” KOLs
The popularity of small-town and rural KOLs is driving new trends in China’s internet and marketing cultures.
By Kendra Schaefer

Beginning in 2016, China saw the sudden and meteoric rise of the short video social media platform Kuaishou 快手. The app had been quietly accumulating a following since its launch in 2011, focusing on half-organic, half-algorithm-driven growth and ignoring traditional media and influencer marketing altogether. The strategy worked, and as of 2018, it was sitting on a registered user base of over 700 million people, 100 million of whom visit the platform daily.

What makes it unique among Chinese apps is not its feature set, but the demographics of its user pool, which is comprised of a higher percentage of rural and small-town residents than competing short video platforms. This emerging user segment has given rise to a new type of influencer, the tuwei 土味 KOL, one that doesn’t bother with the manicured, fashion-focused gloss — aka the chaowei 潮味 style — that characterizes urban internet celebs. Continue reading

Internet phrases you should know

Source: Goldthread (5/29/19)
5 Chinese internet slang phrases you should know, illustrated
By Frankie Huang
Frankie Huang is a Shanghai-based illustrator who writes a daily Twitter column called #PutongWords, where she dissects the origins of commonly used Chinese phrases.Many of them are poetic and visual—such as 吸猫 (ximao), “inhaling cats”—but they carry much deeper meanings. (In this case, “inhaling cats” is internet slang for people who are addicted to taking care of their pets.) We asked Frankie to illustrate some common Chinese internet slang and explain the deeper meaning behind the literal phrases.

Image

Get shot lying down

Sometimes you go out of your way to avoid trouble, but trouble finds you like a stray bullet during a firefight. 躺枪 (tangqiang) literally means “to get shot lying down,” and it perfectly describes a situation where you become the victim of a fight in which you had no stake in fighting. The phrase is frequently used in online forums and conversations where multiple parties are present and things get a little too messy or heated. Continue reading

How a journal censored my review on Xinjiang (6)

Source: Inside Higher Education (5/20/19)
X-ing Out Xinjiang
By Elizabeth Redden
A China studies scholar says a journal editor censored him by striking out a section of a book review critical of the Chinese government’s policies in Xinjiang. The editor denies it was censorship.

Courtesy of Timothy Grose

In yet another case of alleged censorship in the China studies field, a scholar says a journal editor censored his book review by requesting the deletion of an opening paragraph that contextualized the book in light of Chinese Communist Party policy toward members of the Uighur ethnic minority group in the region of Xinjiang. Human rights groups estimate that China has detained as many as one million Uighurs in camps as part of a mass “re-education” drive aimed at forcing the assimilation of Uighurs and other Muslim-majority groups.

The scholar, Timothy Grose, an assistant professor of China studies at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, says the requested deletions — and the refusal over multiple months to publish the piece after he did not consent to them — constitute an “open-and-shut” case of censorship, and he has noted that the editor in chief of the journal is on record defending Chinese government policy in Xinjiang. Continue reading

Locating Livestreaming in Asia–cfp

Call for Contributions: Virtual Workshop ‘ASIA.LIVE: Locating Livestreaming in Asia’

While not solely concerned with China, list members may still find the following comparative workshop of interest. We are inviting audiovisual submissions, with the option for contributors to later also submit accompanying research articles for publication.

Hosts: Leiden University, the Leiden Asia Centre, and Asiascape: Digital Asia
Organisers: Florian Schneider, Dino Ge Zhang, Gabriele de Seta
Date: 13 September 2019
Abstract Deadline: 20 June 2019

The practice of broadcasting live video through the internet has recently seen a resurgence, as livestreaming platforms recuperated the format pioneered by cam sites from around the early 2000s (Senft, 2008). From Periscope and Twitch to YouTube and Facebook Live, livestreaming video is today a popular media format, especially among gaming communities, Esports audiences, and popular media commentators (Taylor, 2018). Continue reading

How a journal censored by review of Xinjiang (5)

May I chime in as an Uyghur scholar?

I don’t think to hold a person accountable for restricting academic freedom is attacking. We should hold Brill accountable for their lack of communication and oversight but the person who is responsible for censoring the content is at fault from the beginning. Maybe it is my personal experience and feelings as an Uyghur are clouding my judgment, but at least my view comes from a desire for academic freedom, which I never had before coming to the US. If calling out Han Xiaorong for not respecting academic freedom is “attacking” him, well, count me in! I’m “attacking” Han Xiaorong for attempting to censor Dr. Grose’s review. It also is irresponsible of us if we solely put the blame on Brill, and would only perpetuate this kind of abhorrent behavior further.

Mirshad Ghalip <mieralif@iu.edu>
Department of Anthropology
Indiana University

How a journal censored my review on Xinjiang (5)

Recently a suspected case of censorship in one of Brill’s journals came to our attention, involving a book review written by Timothy Grose for our new journal China and Asia: A Journal in Historical Studies.  We have heard about the case on 7 April through Timothy Grose’s posting on social media and have acted immediately by contacting him. During the last weeks we were in a process of gathering information about the case. We have received a report from the author and copies of the correspondence between the author and editor. On 16 May we have received a report from the editor describing his perspective of the events. We will review this information to decide whether our publication ethics have been breached. As publisher we are never involved with editorial decisions and our editorial boards enjoy complete academic freedom. However, if our publication ethics have been breached, we will not hesitate to take appropriate action. Censorship or any other bias to race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, or political philosophy of the authors would be a clear breach of our ethical standards and are not acceptable.

Jasmin Lange <langej@brill.com>
Chief Publishing Officer, Brill

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