How Steve Bannon and Guo Wengui created a right-wing sensation

Source: NYT (11/20/20)
How Steve Bannon and a Chinese Billionaire Created a Right-Wing Coronavirus Media Sensation
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
Increasingly allied, the American far right and members of the Chinese diaspora tapped into social media to give a Hong Kong researcher a vast audience for peddling unsubstantiated pandemic claims.
By Amy QinVivian Wang and Danny Hakim

Dr. Li-Meng Yan’s interview on Tucker Carlson’s show in September racked up at least 8.8 million views online. Facebook and Instagram flagged it as false information. Credit…Fox News

Dr. Li-Meng Yan wanted to remain anonymous. It was mid-January, and Dr. Yan, a researcher in Hong Kong, had been hearing rumors about a dangerous new virus in mainland China that the government was playing down. Terrified for her personal safety and career, she reached out to her favorite Chinese YouTube host, known for criticizing the Chinese government.

Within days, the host was telling his 100,000 followers that the coronavirus had been deliberately released by the Chinese Communist Party. He wouldn’t name the whistle-blower, he said, because officials could make the person “disappear.”

By September, Dr. Yan had abandoned caution. She appeared in the United States on Fox News making the unsubstantiated claim to millions that the coronavirus was a bio-weapon manufactured by China.

Overnight, Dr. Yan became a right-wing media sensation, with top advisers to President Trump and conservative pundits hailing her as a hero. Nearly as quickly, her interview was labeled on social media as containing “false information,” while scientists rejected her research as a polemic dressed up in jargon. Continue reading

Unearthing Chinese Australia

China Studies Centre 
Researching global issues in China 
Workshop: Unearthing Chinese Australia

Photo credit: Wedding portrait of Tutoy Chinn and Charles Wong Hee from Museum of Chinese Australian History Collection, P00614

The workshop Unearthing Chinese Australia has been organised to mark the establishment of the Museum of Chinese in Australia. MOCA will be housed in a dedicated community space in the Haymarket district of Sydney, the city’s oldest surviving, and largest, Chinatown. The Museum will create a centre for discovery, preservation and promotion of the history, heritage and material culture of the Chinese in Australia. It will play an important role in communicating the story of Chinese settlers and their descendants for future generations. This workshop gathers emerging and established research in this timely field, and includes glimpses of Chinese Australian history in the material collections of Australia.

The full program is available as a downloadable PDF file .Free online event, registration essential.

Thursday 3 December 9:00am-3:30pm
Friday 4 December 9:00am – 2:45pm
Location: Online event
Register for event

Posted by: Yanping Zhang <yanping.zhang@sydney.edu.au>

The erasure of Mesut Özil

Source: NYT (10/26/20)
The Erasure of Mesut Özil
A year ago, he was one of the Premier League’s highest-paid players. Now, after angering China and refusing a pay cut, he has simply vanished.
By Rory Smith and Tariq Panja

Cinemagraph

Mesut Özil

LONDON — Everything started with a tweet. Mesut Özil knew the risks, in December last year, when he decided to offer a startling, public denunciation both of China’s treatment of the Uighurs, a largely Muslim minority in the region of Xinjiang, and the complicit silence of the international community.

Friends and advisers had warned Özil, the Arsenal midfielder, that there would be consequences. He would have to write off China as a market. His six million followers on Weibo, the country’s largest social network, would disappear. His fan club there — with as many as 50,000 signed-up members — would go, too. He would never play in China. He might become too toxic even for any club with Chinese owners, or sponsors eager to do business there.

Özil knew this was not fearmongering. He was aware of China’s furious response — both institutionally and organically — to a tweet by Daryl Morey, the general manager of the N.B.A.’s Houston Rockets, only a few weeks earlier. Yet Özil was adamant. He had been growing increasingly outraged by the situation in Xinjiang for months, watching documentaries, consuming news reports. He believed it was his duty, he told his advisers, not so much to highlight the issue but to pressure Muslim-majority nations — including Turkey, whose president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had served as best man at Özil’s wedding — to intercede.

And so he pressed send. Continue reading

Epoch Times influence machine (1)

The Epoch Times has responded to the NYT article–Leila M. <elenamierce@gmail.com>

Source: The Epoch Times (10/25/20)
New York Times’ 8-Month-Long ‘Investigation’ of The Epoch Times: Light on Facts, Heavy on Bias

The New York Times on Oct. 24 published an article by tech columnist Kevin Roose about The Epoch Times. The article was published on the front page of the NY Times’ Sunday edition on Oct. 25.

Roose worked on this article about The Epoch Times for at least eight months. The result, however, is disappointing. Instead of attempting to give a fair portrayal of The Epoch Times as an up-and-coming media outlet, Roose resorts to factual errors, innuendo, and misrepresentations in an attempt to smear a competing media outlet.

Furthermore, previous social media comments made by Roose and NY Times media columnist Ben Smith (who contributed to Roose’s article) about The Epoch Times, in which they appear to discuss a collective effort against The Epoch Times, raise questions about the intent behind this article (see the section “Personal Bias” below). Continue reading

Anti-China Politics in the US Election

Critical China Scholars Presents:
Anti-China Politics in the US Election
Cosponsored by: Justice is Global, Made in China Journal, positions politics
Organizer: Jake Werner, Boston University

Though US elections generally turn on domestic issues, the relationship with China this year has become a potent campaign issue. Years of rising tension between elites in the two countries coincided with the mass trauma of the coronavirus pandemic and the Republicans’ attempt to racialize it. In the process, American military, economic, and racial anxieties are finding new expression, posing a complex challenge to progressive movements. This webinar will discuss the impact of anti-China politics in the US election domestically and internationally and explore how anti-racist and global solidarity activists are responding.

Panelists:
Christian Sorace, Colorado College
Shen Lu, Chinese Storytellers
Khury Petersen-Smith, Institute for Policy Studies
Tobita Chow, Justice Is Global

Date: Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 PM EST

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Epoch Times influence machine

Source: NYT (10/24/20)
How The Epoch Times Created a Giant Influence Machine
Since 2016, the Falun Gong-backed newspaper has used aggressive Facebook tactics and right-wing misinformation to create an anti-China, pro-Trump media empire.
By Kevin Roose

Cinemagraph

Credit…Adam Ferriss

For years, The Epoch Times was a small, low-budget newspaper with an anti-China slant that was handed out free on New York street corners. But in 2016 and 2017, the paper made two changes that transformed it into one of the country’s most powerful digital publishers.

The changes also paved the way for the publication, which is affiliated with the secretive and relatively obscure Chinese spiritual movement Falun Gong, to become a leading purveyor of right-wing misinformation.

First, it embraced President Trump, treating him as an ally in Falun Gong’s scorched-earth fight against China’s ruling Communist Party, which banned the group two decades ago and has persecuted its members ever since. Its relatively staid coverage of U.S. politics became more partisan, with more articles explicitly supporting Mr. Trump and criticizing his opponents. Continue reading

Investigation into US prof sparks debate

Source: BBC News (9/11/20)
Investigation into US professor sparks debate over Chinese word
By Kerry Allen, BBC Monitoring

Prof Patton has been suspended since his 20 August seminar

Professor Patton has stepped back from his post since his 20 August seminar. Image Twitter.

A US university investigation into one of its professors has ignited a debate over the use of a seemingly innocuous Chinese word.

Professor Greg Patton at the University of Southern California (USC) was telling students in a communications lecture last month about filler, or pause words, such as ‘err’, ‘umm’ or ‘you know’ in English.

Footage of his lecture, which has now gone viral, shows Prof Patton saying: “In China, the common pause word is ‘that, that, that’. So in China, it might be na-ge, na-ge, na-ge.” Continue reading

How my mother and I became Chinese propaganda

Source: The New Yorker (9/7/20)
How My Mother and I Became Chinese Propaganda
Immigrant struggles in America forged a bond that became even tighter after my mother’s A.L.S. diagnosis. Then, as COVID-19 threatened, Chinese nationalists began calling us traitors to our country.
By Jiayang Fan

mother daughter

The author and her mother came to the U.S. in 1992. “Desperation burnished in my mother a raw, enterprising grit.” Illustration by Tyler Comrie; photographs courtesy the author

The messages wishing me a gruesome death arrive slowly at first and then all at once. I am condemned to be burned, raped, tortured. Some include a video of joyful dancing at a funeral, with fists pounding on a wooden casket. The hardest ones to read take aim at my mother, who has been immobilized by the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis since 2014. Most of the messages originate in China, but my mother and I live in New York. As the COVID lockdown has swept the city, I find out that the health aides she depends on are to be banned from her facility and take to Twitter to publicize my despair. But this personal plight as a daughter unexpectedly attracts the attention of Chinese nationalists who have long been displeased with my work as a writer reporting on China. In short order, my predicament is politicized and packaged into a viral sensation. “Has your mom died yet?” China15z0dj wants to know. “Your mom will be dead Haha. 1.4 billion people wish for you to join her in Hell. Haha!”

At some point, I stop scrolling. The messages I dread the most come not from Internet strangers but from people who know me—my aunt, my uncle, my mother’s childhood best friend. On WeChat, they link to various Chinese-language articles about me and ask, “Have you read this?” The next question would be almost funny if it weren’t so painfully earnest: “Do you know this Jiayang Fan?” Continue reading

HK Security Law reaches into US classrooms

Source: WSJ (8/19/20)
China’s National-Security Law Reaches Into Harvard, Princeton Classrooms
Professors at elite U.S. universities turn to code names, warning labels to protect students
By Lucy Craymer

Part of the challenge is the growing list of subjects Beijing considers off-limits, said Kerry Ratigan, an assistant professor of political science at Amherst College. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCK

The effect of the new national-security law that China imposed on Hong Kong is extending far beyond the territory to American college campuses.

Classes at some elite universities will carry a warning label this fall: This course may cover material considered politically sensitive by China. And schools are weighing measures to try to shield students and faculty from prosecution by Chinese authorities.

At Princeton University, students in a Chinese politics class will use codes instead of names on their work to protect their identities. At Amherst College a professor is considering anonymous online chats so students can speak freely. And Harvard Business School may excuse students from discussing politically sensitive topics if they are worried about the risks. Continue reading

Made in Hollywood, censored by Beijing

Too long to post in its entirety, here’s the introduction to an article from PEN about the extension of PRC censorship into Hollywood. –Kirk

Source: Pen.org (nd)
Made in Hollywood, Censored by Beijing
This report was written by James Tager, PEN America’s Deputy Director of Free Expression Research and Policy, with substantial research and drafting contributions from PEN America consultant Jonathan Landreth.

The U.S. Film Industry and Chinese Government Influence

Introduction

This report examines the ways in which Beijing’s censors have affected and influenced Hollywood and the global filmmaking industry. Stories shape the way people think, and the stories told by Hollywood reach billions. As an anti-censorship organization dedicated to the celebration of open cultural and artistic expression, PEN America has sought to understand how one of the world’s most censorious regimes is extending its influence over the global locus for filmmaking here in the United States, shaping what is perhaps the world’s most influential artistic and cultural medium.

PEN America defends and celebrates freedom of expression in the United States and globally. Our work has included a decades-long advocacy engagement on China, where dozens of members of our sister PEN organization—the Independent Chinese PEN Center—have been imprisoned or persecuted by Beijing.1 The most influential of those colleagues was Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo, who was serving an 11-year prison sentence for his writings when he died of liver cancer.2 Our work has involved advocacy campaigns, detailed research reports, literary exchanges, and other efforts aimed at pushing back against Beijing’s censorship policies and its criminalization of dissent. Continue reading

Being a Chinese student in the US

Source: BBC News (8/3/20)
Being a Chinese student in the US: ‘Neither the US nor China wants us’
BBC Chinese Service, Washington

American and Chinese flags painted on cracked wall background

The US-China relationship is now at one of it lowest points in years. GETTY IMAGES

Stranded abroad by the coronavirus pandemic and squeezed by political tensions, Chinese students in the United States are rethinking their host and home countries.

Eight years ago, Shizheng Tie, then aged 13, moved alone from China to rural Ohio for one sole purpose: education. She once had a budding American dream, but now she says she is facing hostility in that country.

“As a Chinese living in the US, I am very scared now,” she says. Tie, now a senior student at Johns Hopkins University, describes America as “anti-China” and “chaotic”.

Some 360,000 Chinese students are currently enrolled in schools in the US. In the past months, they have experienced two historical events – a global pandemic and unprecedented tensions between the US and China, which have reshaped their views of the two nations. Continue reading

Virtual kidnapping scam

Source: BBC News (7/27/20)
Chinese students in Australia targeted in virtual kidnapping scam

Police-supplied image of a woman bound and gagged in a staged kidnap

NSW POLICE: Pictures of the staged kidnappings were provided to police

Chinese students in Sydney are being targeted in a kidnapping scam forcing them to pay massive ransoms to fraudsters, Australian police say.

In many cases, blackmailed students were forced to stage their own kidnapping and send video proof to relatives in China to obtain funds.

Eight “virtual kidnappings” have been reported this year, including one where a A$2m (£1.1m;$1.43m) ransom was paid.

Victims had believed they or their loved ones were in danger, police said. Continue reading

The Art of Zhou Xiaoping in Aboriginal Australia

Source: Chinese Museum (nd)
Convergence: The Art of Zhou Xiaoping in Aboriginal Australia
Online from 25th June 2020, with the physical exhibition later in 2020.

Zhou Xiaoping’s art sheds light on traditions of art making that have been overlooked within the cannon of Western art history … he helps us look at cross-cultural art production in ways that are reinvigorating, respectful and enlightening. In so many ways the work of Zhou Xiaoping remains new and confronting.

Professor Robyn Sloggett (2020)
Director, the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation of the University of Melbourne

Artist Zhou Xiaoping in his Melbourne studio

Artist’s statement

The world suddenly seems to be a roaring lion that does not welcome a human invasion.

In 2020, under the worldwide attack of the coronavirus, humans seem to be awakening. The humans who have occupied the world are not powerful as we thought. We may fall in an instant. It is very frustrating that if the world is without humans, it will still continue in its life and beauty. So people in this world are more like guests. Continue reading

China steps up moves to influence diaspora communities

Source: WSJ (6/8/20)
China Steps Up Moves to Influence Diaspora Communities
Countering the effort requires heightened vigilance by democratic countries, new report says
By Kate O’Keeffe

Chinese President Xi Jinping walks past applauding delegates at the National People’s Congress in Beijing on May 28. PHOTO: ROMAN PILIPEY/EPA/SHUTTERSTOCK

WASHINGTON—China is making fresh efforts to influence Chinese communities around the world to advance Beijing’s interests, requiring heightened vigilance from democratic countries, a new study says.

A unit in China’s ruling Communist Party known as the United Front Work Department [中共中央统一战线工作部] engages thousands of organizations to collect intelligence, encourage technology transfer, counter dissident movements and generate support for other Beijing objectives, said the report by the nonpartisan Australian Strategic Policy Institute. The department focuses its influence operations overseas on Chinese diaspora communities and foreign elites, the report said.

While Beijing has used the united front system for decades, President Xi Jinping renewed the department’s mission as part of a push to make China a global power.

In recent years it has turned to increasing its control over Chinese-language media abroad, funding research at prominent think tanks and using China’s popular WeChat messaging platform and other social media to censor, surveil and shape dialogue on policy issues, it said. Continue reading