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

Taiwan, Asia’s bastion of free speech

Source: NYT (3/14/18)
Asia’s Bastion of Free Speech? Move Aside, Hong Kong, It’s Taiwan Now.
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A view of Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, which has emerged as one of Asia’s most vibrant democracies, drawing the political dissidents and rights groups that once naturally gravitated to Hong Kong. CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

TAIPEI, Taiwan — For decades under British rule and after its handover to China, Hong Kong was a bastion of free speech in the Chinese-speaking world. International media and rights groups established their headquarters there, and it served as a haven for political fugitives, from Tiananmen student leaders to Edward Snowden.

In recent years, however, as Beijing has tightened its grip on the former colony, Hong Kong has been increasingly supplanted by Taiwan, a self-governing island that has emerged as one of Asia’s most vibrant democracies. Taiwan now draws the sorts of dissidents, rights groups and events that once naturally gravitated to Hong Kong. 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:

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:

Anne Henochowicz 何安妮 @annemhdc 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

Life Inside China’s Social Credit Laboratory

Welcome to Orwell 2.0 — already in place. –posted by Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Source: Foreign Policy (4/3/18))
Life Inside China’s Social Credit Laboratory
The party’s massive experiment in ranking and monitoring Chinese citizens has already started.

Top and above: Roncheng’s “civilized families” are displayed on public noticeboards like these. (Simina Mistreanu)

RONGCHENG, CHINA — Rongcheng was built for the future. Its broad streets and suburban communities were constructed with an eye to future expansion, as the city sprawls on the eastern tip of China’s Shandong province overlooking the Yellow Sea. Colorful billboards depicting swans bank on the birds — one of the city’s tourist attractions — returning there every winter to escape the Siberian cold.

In an attempt to ease bureaucracy, the city hall, a glass building that resembles a flying saucer, has been fashioned as a one-stop shop for most permits. Instead of driving from one office to another to get their paperwork in order, residents simply cross the gleaming corridors to talk to officials seated at desks in the open-space area. Continue reading

Sunset for ‘Sunshine Boy’

Source: China Media Project (4/5/18)
By David Bandurski

Sunset for China’s “Sunshine Boy”

Sunset for China’s “Sunshine Boy”

Zhou Xiaoping’s praise for Xi Jinping was never faint, but his enthusiasm may have damned him nonetheless. The young internet writer, once praised by state-run Chinese media as a great disseminator of “positive energy,” or zhengnengliang (正能量), through his professions of love for China and a profound sense of grievance directed toward the West, seems now to be fading into the wings.

A report on March 22 noted in an otherwise unremarkable account of the minutes of a conference of the Sichuan Online Writers Association held the previous day that “[the] conference accepted Comrade Zhou Xiaoping’s resignation as chairman of the Sichuan Online Writers Association.” Continue reading

Man Booker reverses decision on Wu Ming-Yi

Source: The Guardian (4/4/18)
Man Booker prize reverses nationality decision on Taiwanese author
The literary prize announces that it will no longer list authors by nationality, but by country or territory, after drawing criticism when it bowed to pressure from China
By Alison Flood

Proudly Taiwanese … Wu Ming-Yi, pictured in Taipei in 2016.

Proudly Taiwanese … Wu Ming-Yi, pictured in Taipei in 2016. Photograph: Wu Ming-Yi/EPA

The Man Booker International prize has backed away from its decision to change a Taiwanese author’s nationality to “Taiwan, China” after it was criticised for bowing to pressure from Beijing.

Author Wu Ming-Yi, who has been longlisted for his novel The Stolen Bicycle, was originally described by award organisers as a writer from Taiwan, when his nomination was announced in March. Following a complaint from the Chinese embassy in London last week, his nationality was changed on the prize’s website to “Taiwan, China”.

Beijing maintains that the self-governed island is part of China, and has recently ramped up pressure on foreign companies that describe Taiwan as a country, with German airline Lufthansa and British Airways dropping Taiwan from their lists of countries.

The switch was noted by Wu on his Facebook page, where he said it was “not my personal position on this issue”. The cause was also taken up by Taiwan’s ministry of culture, which stated that Taiwan was “a sovereign state that participates in international affairs with respect and fairness”, and called on the Booker Prize Foundation not to “bow to external influence and … respect authors and their home countries”.

As the Man Booker International prize’s Facebook page was flooded with one-star reviews and petitions were launched calling on it to reverse its decision and identify Wu’s country as Taiwan, the organisers announced on Wednesday morning that “following correspondence with stakeholders and additional guidance on the appropriate terminology from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office”, in the future it would list the “country/territory” of authors up for the prize, rather than their nationalities. Wu will again be listed as “Taiwan”.

“The prize is not about defining nationality; all global citizens are eligible, provided they are published in translation in the UK,” said the organisers in a statement.

A spokesperson for the prize added: “It is the country/territory of origin rather than nationality. Taiwan is officially designated a territory rather than a country by the FCO.”

The Chinese embassy, which initially complained to the Foundation about how it had identified Wu, said in a statement: “China’s position on the Taiwan issue is consistent and clear. There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inseparable part of China. This is the universal consensus of the international community. China opposes any words or deeds that violate the one-China principle and are contrary to the international consensus.”

SCMP’s on a soft power mission

Source: NYT (3/31/18)
A Hong Kong Newspaper on a Mission to Promote China’s Soft Power
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The South China Morning Post’s headquarters in Hong Kong. Scholars and activists worry that The Post is softening its critical stance to please Beijing. CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

HONG KONG — On a recent afternoon, the staff of The South China Morning Post, a 114-year-old newspaper, gathered around roast suckling pig in their lavish new headquarters in Hong Kong to celebrate a remarkable turnaround.

Readership has been surging. The Post has launched new digital products and added dozens of journalists. After more than a decade of decline and editorial chaos, the newsroom now buzzes like a tech start-up, with table tennis and an in-house pub serving free craft beer. Continue reading

Man Booker bows to pressure

Source: The Telegraph (3/30/18)
Fury as Man Booker bows to pressure to list Taiwan as Chinese province
By Nicola Smith and Neil Conner

Wu Ming-Yi, with the cover of his book The Stolen Bicycle, which has been longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2018 CREDIT: MAN BOOKER PRIZE

One of the world’s most prestigious literary prizes has been dragged into a diplomatic spat between China and Taiwan after it caved in to pressure from Beijing to change the nationality of a Taiwanese nominee on its website.

The Man Booker International Prize said on Friday that it had changed the nationality of Professor Wu Ming-yi, 46, one of 13 authors on the 2018 longlist, from “Taiwan” to “Taiwan, China” after it had received a complaint from the Chinese embassy in London. Continue reading

Taipei lashes out over banning of ‘pro-independence’ actor

Source: SCMP (3/29/18)
Taipei lashes out at Beijing after film with ‘pro-independence’ actor banned
Mainland accused of inconsistency ‘in its words and deeds’ after Missing Johnny screenings barred over claims about its star Lawrence Ko
By Lawrence Chung

Lawrence Ko stars in Missing Johnny, which follows the stories of three young people living in Taipei. Photo: Handout

Taipei has accused Beijing of inconsistency between what it says and does after a Taiwanese film was banned on the mainland amid claims its lead actor Lawrence Ko supports independence for the island.

It comes a month after Beijing introduced a raft of preferential policies for Taiwanese that include more access to the lucrative mainland market for their film, television and books. Continue reading

‘Modern Chinese intellectuals are spineless’

Source: Sup China (3/27/18)
‘Modern Chinese Intellectuals Are Spineless’: Peking University Vice Dean Reportedly Resigns After Provocative Essay

Li Chenjian and Cai Yuanpei

Rumors are flying (in Chinese) at Peking University that Li Chenjian 李沉简, vice dean of the school’s Yuanpei College 元培学院, has resigned after circulating an essay that rebukes his colleagues and Chinese intellectuals in general for rampant “shamelessness and cynicism,” and becoming increasingly “spineless” in fear of suppression from the establishment.

Judging from a screenshot of Li’s statement on WeChat, the article was a commemoration of Cai Yuanpei 蔡元培, an influential educator and former president of Peking University, only meant to be shared internally at Yuanpei College. But soon after its publication, the essay was censored, which only attracted more attention on social media. Li also said in the statement that though he had left Yuanpei, he would still teach at the university’s school of life sciences. Continue reading

Li Chenjian’s “Stiffen the Backbone and Refuse to be Cynics”

The vice dean of Yuanpei College at Beida, Li Chenjian, has written an essay commemorating Cai Yuanpei’s “backbone” in standing up for freedom. He and other administrators have resigned from the college.–Kirk

Source: China Digital Times (3/22/18)
李沉简:挺直脊梁 拒做犬儒(北大一二〇纪念)
来自微信公号:飞蜗牛研习社FlySnailLab(ID: FlySnail_Lab)

3 月 22 日,传闻北京大学元培学院常务副院长李沉简发送文章《挺直脊梁 拒做犬儒》后辞职,通识副院长张旭东、院长鄂维南一并辞职(知乎网友指出李沉简、张旭东早在二月底的内部会议上辞职)。3 月 22 日下午 6:00 公众号「大帅直通车」推送文章,6:40 公众号被要求关闭,院内老师以微信语音、打电话等方式要求学生删除转发文章。


戊戌变法、北大建校一百二十年,我们纪念蔡元培校长。在中国近代史上,元培先生当之无愧是现代教育之父。他留给我们的“兼容并包,思想自由”是北大的精神火炬,代代相传。蔡校长在人们的印象里总是一个谦谦君子式的思想领袖。其实蔡校长的另外一个侧面同样是万世师表,那就是一个挺直脊梁、拒绝做犬儒的男子汉。 Continue reading

SAPPRFT bans parodies

Source: Sup China (3/22/18)
SAPPRFT Bans Parodies Of Classic TV Shows And Films
By Jiayun Feng

As we reported yesterday, China’s top media authorities, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), is set to hand over a big chunk of its duties to the publicity department of the Communist Party of China. But this doesn’t mean that SAPPRFT will abandon all of its power in regulating the media industry.

Today, March 22, SAPPRFT released an urgent notice to ban “defaming, distorting, and parodying” classic TV shows and films, which SAPPRFT thinks might “cause misunderstanding of the works’ original meaning.” Continue reading

Media changes

Source: Sup China (3/21/18)
China Gears Up To Better Project Its Image Abroad — And Control Its Message At Home

Three separate developments, all happening on the heels of a major government restructuring plan, show that the Communist Party of China is getting serious about finding its voice and making it heard.

First, it is literally publishing its voice. The Voice of China, a new merged entity of China Central Television (CCTV), China Radio International (CRI), and China National Radio (CNR), is being created, according to a notice (in Chinese) posted by Xinhua on March 21. The news was first reported by Bloomberg, which noted: Continue reading