Women’s favorite Internet works

Source:Global Times (4/23/18)
Women’s favorite Internet works

Gu Jianyu Photo: Courtesy of China Literature

What books she likes to read, what TV dramas she likes to watch, what movies she likes to talk about on her WeChat Moments page or on Sina Weibo… Women are not just initiators of hot social topics, but also the driving force behind a plethora of IPs ranging from TV series and movies to books. Their hobbies also have a major impact on what IPs are adapted to other mediums.

Considering this massive influence, China Literature, one of the biggest Internet publishers in China, released a list of the 10 most popular Internet literature works among women in China at an IP salon on Wednesday. Continue reading

Classrooms monitor facial expressions

Source: Sup China (5/16/18)
No Sleeping In Class: Chinese High School Installs Cameras To Monitor Student Facial Expressions

A network of surveillance cameras backed by facial-recognition technology has been introduced to every classroom at a high school in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. Praised by the school’s principal as “insightful eyes,” the cameras are capable of capturing and analyzing students’ body movements and facial expressions during class, offering teachers real-time feedback on how attentive their students are.

According to Sina News (in Chinese), with the newly installed cameras that can tell who might be discreetly taking a nap, students at Hangzhou No. 11 High School are more focused in class than ever. “Before the introduction of these cameras, I sometimes took naps or did other stuff while having classes that I don’t like,” one student told reporters, adding that his classmates all felt the same. “But now, I always feel there are mysterious eyes staring at me, so I don’t dare do things that are unrelated to class anymore.” Continue reading

Building the Party’s Internet

Source: China Media Project (5/11/18)
by David Bandurski

Building the Party’s Internet

In a ceremony in Beijing earlier this week, the director of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), Xu Lin (徐麟), presided over the inauguration of the China Federation of Internet Societies (CFIS), a broad internet industry grouping whose stated purpose is to “promote the development of Party organizations in the industry.” The federation’s establishment is a clear sign of the growing involvement of the Chinese Communist Party in private internet firms, and further reflection of the broader trend of closer Party governance and scrutiny of all forms of media.

Prominent industry leaders, including Tencent chairman Pony Ma, Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma and Baidu chairman Robin Li, have been appointed as vice presidents of the new federation. Continue reading

Marx Got It Right (1)

Marx is indeed still relevant in China.  R. D. Laing offered an elegant summary of his most pertinent doctrine:

Marx used the concept of mystification to mean a plausible misrepresentation of what is going on (process) or what is being done (praxis) in the service of the interests of one socioeconomic class (the exploiters) over or against another class (the exploited).

By representing forms of exploitation as forms of benevolence, the exploiters bemuse the exploited into feeling at one with their exploiters, or into feeling gratitude for what (unrealized by them) is their exploitation, and, not least, into feeling bad or mad even to think of rebellion.

A. E. Clark <aec@raggedbanner.com>

Brain-reading technology

Source: SCMP (4/29/18)
‘Forget the Facebook leak’: China is mining data directly from workers’ brains on an industrial scale
Government-backed surveillance projects are deploying brain-reading technology to detect changes in emotional states in employees on the production line, the military and at the helm of high-speed trains
By Stephen Chen

Deayea, a technology company in Shanghai, says its brain monitoring devices are worn regularly by train drivers working on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail line. Photo: Deayea Technology

On the surface, the production lines at Hangzhou Zhongheng Electric look like any other.

Workers outfitted in uniforms staff lines producing sophisticated equipment for telecommunication and other industrial sectors.

But there’s one big difference – the workers wear caps to monitor their brainwaves, data that management then uses to adjust the pace of production and redesign workflows, according to the company. Continue reading

People’s Republic of Desire

Source: Slate (4/25/18)
A Documentary Reveals the Dangerous Fickleness of Online Fame in China
In The People’s Republic of Desire, Hao Wu films the lonely shadows where the lines between online and offline dissolve.

“Should I be ashamed? How about you?” The 21-year-old woman stares into her webcam, eyes flat under heavy false eyelashes and her long hair parted, half spilling over her left shoulder. “You self-righteous douchebags!”

It’s taken Shen Man just three years to amass a following of 5 million fans by singing, chatting, and flirting online as a hostess on the Chinese livestreaming platform YY. With large eyes, porcelain skin, and a tapered chin, Shen Man matches the modern Chinese ideal of doll-like beauty. Her voice is usually soft, almost cooing. She’s had plastic surgery to augment her nose, eyelids, temples, and chin, and been professionally coached in how, precisely, to tilt her head and lilt her voice—all preparation to become a virtual girlfriend to lonely hearts across China. Continue reading

Tech shame in the new era

Source: China Media Project (4/11/018)
By David Bandurski

Tech Shame in the “New Era”

Zhang Yiming, the founder and CEO of Toutiao.

When does a corporate apology become a political self-confession, or jiantao (检讨), an act of submission not to social mores and concerns, but to those in power? The line can certainly blur in China. But the public apology today from Zhang Yiming (张一鸣), the founder and CEO of one of China’s leading tech-based news and information platforms, crosses deep into the territory of political abjection.

Zhang’s apology, posted to WeChat at around 4 AM Beijing time, addressed recent criticism aired through the state-run China Central Television and other official media of Jinri Toutiao, or “Toutiao” — a platform for content creation and aggregation that makes use of algorithms to customize user experience. Critical official coverage of alleged content violations on the platform was followed by a notice on April 4 from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television (SAPPRFT), in which the agency said Toutiao and another service providing live-streaming, Kuaishou, would be subject to “rectification measures.” Continue reading

China’s propaganda blitz

Source: Foreign Policy (4/23/18)
China’s $6 Billion Propaganda Blitz Is a Snooze
Beijing’s propaganda works at home, but it can’t compete globally.

A man walks past a roadside poster of Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, on Oct. 24, 2017. (Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images)

A man walks past a roadside poster of Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, on Oct. 24, 2017. (Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images)

In a world on the brink of chaos, China has decided that what people everywhere need is more good news — as long as it’s about China. China is creating a giant media outlet called Voice of China, combining the three state television and radio broadcasters aimed at overseas audiences: China Global Television Network, China Radio International, and China National Radio. The hope is that by combining resources and output, China will have a broader platform to spread its message overseas.

But will Voice of China succeed in boosting China’s international image, especially given the dubious performance of previous global state media pushes? Continue reading

Weibo reverses gay content ban (1)

Source: Sup China (4/16/18)
Weibo revokes ban on homosexual content after uproar
By Jiayun Feng, Jeremy Goldkorn

A rare piece of good news for freedom of expression in China: Sina Weibo, confronting a colossal backlash from the public following its ban on homosexual content issued last Friday, announced today that it had reversed the decision, limiting the cleanup campaign to only pornographic and violent comics and games.

“We won’t target gay content anymore in this cleanup of games and anime,” the Weibo administration announced (in Chinese) on April 16, a mere three days after the initial ban was issued. “Instead, we’ll focus on content with pornographic and violent themes. Thank you for your discussions and suggestions.”

The reversal constituted a rare case in the history of Weibo, one of the biggest and most popular social media platforms in China: It is highly unusual to lift censorship of a certain topic in direct response to user feedback. The decision also marked an unprecedented triumph for the gay community in China. Continue reading

Weibo reverses gay content ban

Source: NYT (4/16/18)
Chinese Social Media Site Reverses Gay Content Ban After Uproar

A conference booth last year for Sina Weibo, which had said Friday that it would reduce gay content as part of a campaign to remove pornographic and violent material from its site. CreditJason Lee/Reuters

BEIJING — Bowing to intense pressure from millions of internet users, a Chinese social media site said on Monday that it would scrap plans to censor cartoons and video games with gay themes.

The site, Sina Weibo, had announced on Friday that it would target gay content as part of a campaign to remove pornographic and violent material from its site.

But its efforts were almost immediately criticized as discriminatory and repressive, spawning an outpouring of #Iamgay hashtags and slogans like “gays aren’t scary.” Continue reading

Rethinking Media History in East Asia

East Asian Media Studies Forum at the University of Texas, Austin
Becoming-media: Rethinking Media History in East Asia and Beyond
April 26-27, 2018
The Department of Asian Studies & The Center for East Asian Studies, The University of Texas, Austin
Organizers and Conveners:  Xuefeng Feng, Jia Liu, and Caitlin McClune

The theme “becoming-media,” borrowed from Joseph Vogl, indicates our hope to initiate a conversation among a variety of theories and approaches in media studies, and by doing so to combine analysis of media content, representation, and semantics with an investigation into the techno-discursive, or material-discursive, aspects of media. In this light, the theme “becoming-media,” on the one hand, embraces historical, contingent, and local events that transform mundane objects into forms of media starting to select, store, and process relevant data and to generating meanings. On the other hand, it pays considerable attention to the epistemological structure of media that enables conditions of meanings and representations in the first place. Continue reading

Neihan duanzi shuttered for vulgarity (1,2)

“段友” are honking their horns and reciting a (vulgar) “secret code” to each other in public:



On Twitter, some journalists have noted that these videos of honking and protest could be spliced from before the Neihan Duanzi shutdown: https://twitter.com/Anne_MarieBrady/status/984522862206726144.

However, the proliferation of these videos, even if anachronistic/unrelated to Duanzi’s demise, come from real and current support for the late joke platform and for fellow duanyou: http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2141744/chinas-communist-rulers-ban-online-jokes-app-comedy.

Anne Henochowicz 何安妮 @annemhdc Continue reading

Personal data on a museum wall

Source: NYT (4/13/18)
The Personal Data of 346,000 People, Hung on a Museum Wall

Last week, the authorities in Wuhan, China, ordered Deng Yufeng’s exhibition of personal data shut down after two days and began investigating him on suspicion of amassing the information illegally.CreditDeng Yufeng

BEIJING — Deng Yufeng wanted to create art that prods people to question their lack of data privacy. What better way, he reasoned, than to buy the personal information of more than 300,000 Chinese people off the internet and display it in a public exhibition?

The police did not appreciate the irony.

Last week, the authorities in the Chinese city of Wuhan shut down Mr. Deng’s exhibition in a local museum after two days and told him that he was being investigated on suspicion of amassing the information through illegal means. Continue reading

Neihan duanzi shuttered for vulgarity

Source: Sup China (4/12/18)
Jokes App Neihan Duanzi Shuttered By China’s Media Regulator For ‘Vulgarity’
Interactions between Neihan Duanzi’s users — called “friends of Duanzi” — both in the app and offline are filled with inside references and coded phrases.
By Pang-Chieh Ho

It seems like Jingri Toutiao (今日头条), one of China’s most popular news aggregators, just can’t catch a break these days. On Monday, as part of the government’s growing control over online content, the State Administration of Radio and Television (SART*) ordered the temporary removal of several news apps, including Toutiao, from Chinese app stores. And on Tuesday, news broke that Neihan Duanzi (内涵段子), an app under Toutiao that circulates jokes, memes, and humorous videos, had been permanently shuttered.

*Newly spun off from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), which of course was formerly (and sometimes still referred to as) the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT). Continue reading

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