Reporter rolling her eyes goes viral

Source: NYT (3/13/18)
A Reporter Rolled Her Eyes, and China’s Internet Broke
查看简体中文版 | 查看繁體中文版
By Paul Mozur

SHANGHAI — It was the eye roll seen across China.

As the annual meeting of the country’s legislature stretched into its second week, the event’s canned political pageantry and obsequious (and often scripted) media questions seemingly proved too much for one journalist on Tuesday.

With a fellow reporter’s fawning question to a Chinese official pushing past the 30-second mark, Liang Xiangyi, of the financial news site Yicai, began scoffing to herself. Then she turned to scrutinize the questioner in disbelief. Continue reading

Gaming slang enters popular culture

Source: World of Chinese (3/7/18)
Slang for Noobs
The chatter of the online gaming community has become part of popular Chinese culture
By Sun Jiahui (孙佳慧)

China is already one of the world’s largest and most rapidly growing online gaming markets. According to Statista, a market research and business intelligence portal, the country’s online gaming sector was worth 216 billion RMB in 2017 and is estimated to reach 324 billion RMB by 2020.

Whether PC or mobile games, people are increasingly turning on fantasy role-playing hits such as Honor of Kings or South Korea’s gory “battle royale” phenomenon Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, currently known as the “world’s hottest video game” (the latter has also been given a “socialist makeover” in China, AP reported).

In the process, many gaming terms and jargon have begun to embed themselves into Chinese popular culture and language (much like “Easter egg,” “pwn,” “noob,” “frag,” and other terms have in English). For example, during this year’s Black Friday, phrases like the following were repeated ad nauseum on online banner ads:

Black Friday promotion: all products seckilling for 50 percent off!
Hēiwǔ cùxiāo: Suǒyǒu shāngpǐn wǔ zhé miǎoshā!
黑五促销:所有商品五折秒杀! Continue reading

‘I Object’

Source: China Heritage (3/5/18)
Objecting (Dog Days IV)

‘I Object’ is a poem that circulated on the Chinese-language Internet following the Lunar New Year. It appeared around the time that Beijing announced a proposed revision of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China that would open the way for the unlimited tenure of state leaders (see The Real Man of the Year of the Dog — Dog Days (III)China Heritage, 2 March 2018). Online expressions of outrage and objection were swiftly quelled.

Due both to the timely appearance as well as to the tenor of ‘I Object’, we are including it in our 2018 series of Dog Days (for more of these, see below). My thanks to Linda Jaivin for suggesting ‘I object’ for wǒ fǎnduì 我反對.

— Geremie R. Barmé
Editor, China Heritage
5 March 2018

I Object 我反對
By Anonymous 無名氏
Translated by Geremie R. Barmé

我 : weapons, to kill (Warring States era); later similar in use to the perpendicular pronoun ‘I’ in English, and ‘me’ Continue reading

China expands internet censorship abroad

Let’s reject all this censorship from the Chinese regime–it’s cowardly. –Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Source: NYT (3/2/18)
China Presses Its Internet Censorship Efforts Across the Globe

China is using its status as home to the world’s largest population of internet users to help get what it wants outside of its borders. CreditSim Chi Yin for The New York Times

SHANGHAI — Within its digital borders, China has long censored what its people read and say online. Now, it is increasingly going beyond its own online realms to police what people and companies are saying about it all over the world.

For years, China has exerted digital control with a system of internet filters known as the Great Firewall, which allows authorities to limit what people see online. To broaden its censorship efforts, Beijing is venturing outside the Great Firewall and paying more attention to what its citizens are saying on non-Chinese apps and services. Continue reading

The Age of Irreverence review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of David Moser’s review of The Age of Irreverence: A New History of Laughter in China (University of California Press, 2015), by Christopher Rea. The review appears below, but is best read online at: My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC book review editor for literary studies, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk A. Denton, editor

The Age of Irreverence:
A New History of Laughter in China

By Christopher Rea

Reviewed by David Moser
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright March, 2018)

Christopher Rea, The Age of Irreverence: A New History of Laughter Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015. ix-xvi + 335 pp. ISBN: 9780520283848 (Hardcover: $70.00)

Chinese Humor and its Discontents

A generation ago, China scholars were to be forgiven for having the impression that Chinese culture suffered from a puzzling humor deficit. Much was made of the fact that the Chinese word for “humor” youmo 幽默 is borrowed from English (in the same way the loan word luoji 逻辑 “logic” was used as evidence that Chinese philosophy lacked this feature as well). Anthologies of Chinese folk humor were usually just joke collections framed as anthropological data (usually badly translated) rather than case studies of laughter. Early popularizing books on Chinese humor tended to merely highlight nuggets of subtle irony mined from Zhuangzi or Dream of the Red Chamber, or to cherry pick passages from the works of a Lao She or Lu Xun. This paucity of examples left the impression that Chinese culture may have produced a few gems of gentle mockery, but the full, variegated range of what we call “humor”—particularly humor that is irreverent, challenging, and even cathartic—was simply not in the Chinese cultural DNA. Continue reading

‘Find the thing you love and stick with it’

Source: Sup China (2/26/18)
‘Find The Thing You Love And Stick With It’: Xi Jinping And The Perfect Meme
A. A. Milne’s anthropomorphic giggling teddy resurfaces in China, if only briefly.

The Communist Party of China Central Committee proposed to remove the expression that the President and Vice-President of the People’s Republic of China “shall serve no more than two consecutive terms” from the country’s Constitution

— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) February 25, 2018 Continue reading

China dismisses criticism of blackface skit

Source: SCMP (2/22/18)
China ‘opposes’ racism but dismisses criticism of CCTV blackface skit
Foreign ministry says backlash over Lunar New Year comedy sketch is ‘futile’ effort to drive a wedge between China and African nations
By Catherine Wang

Beijing on Thursday said it was against any form of racism but dismissed widespread criticism of state broadcaster CCTV’s annual holiday variety show as an attempt to drive a wedge between China and African nations.

A comedy sketch on the country’s biggest and most popular Lunar New Year television show caused uproar for using a Chinese actress in blackface and giant fake buttocks to depict an African character, and a black performer playing a monkey. Continue reading

Changpian no. 17

长篇 // Changpian // Longform

Welcome to the 17th edition of Changpian, a selection of feature and opinion writing in Chinese. With other resources devoted to the many interesting sound bites from Chinese social media, this newsletter focuses instead on some of the wealth of longer writing that is produced in Chinese, both in traditional news media and on platforms like WeChat.

Changpian includes any nonfiction writing, from stories and investigations to interviews and blog posts, that I found worth my time – and that you might like as well. It aims to be relevant to an understanding of Chinese society today, covering topics in and outside the news cycle.

The selection is put together by me, Tabitha Speelman, a Dutch journalist and researcher currently based in Leiden, The Netherlands. As always, feedback is very welcome ( or @tabithaspeelman). Back issues can be found here. Continue reading

Shameless Africa skit in CCTV spring festival gala

Source: Sup China (2/16/18)
China’s CCTV Spring Festival Gala Included A Truly Shameless Africa Skit, Featuring Blackface
A lowlight from the most-watched program on the planet.
By Anthony Tao

We need to talk about that Africa skit. You know the one.

Let me say up front that it’s dangerous and somewhat irresponsible to analyze a Chinese production — particularly one intended solely for a Chinese audience, whose understanding of ethnicity and race is filtered through a complicated and unique culture and history — through a purely American lens. I’ve watched this skit carefully, and I can’t find any intent to offend. Which is to say, there’s no real need to call it racist.

But this skit is clearly offensive — to sensibility, to foreigners, to intelligence, to one’s self-respect. To theater. To creativity. It is condescending, and willfully so, making it all the more offensive. It is arrogant and tone-deaf and shallow. It’s hard not to be embarrassed. Continue reading

China’s surveillance state

Scary stuff, Orwell’s 1984 already arrived and in place now.–Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Source: The Atlantic Monthly (2/2/18)
China’s Surveillance State Should Scare Everyone
By Anna Mitchell and Larry Diamond

A security camera is attached to a pole in front of the portrait of former Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, on May 19, 2017. Thomas Peter / Reuters

Imagine a society in which you are rated by the government on your trustworthiness. Your “citizen score” follows you wherever you go. A high score allows you access to faster internet service or a fast-tracked visa to Europe. If you make political posts online without a permit, or question or contradict the government’s official narrative on current events, however, your score decreases. To calculate the score, private companies working with your government constantly trawl through vast amounts of your social media and online shopping data.

When you step outside your door, your actions in the physical world are also swept into the dragnet: The government gathers an enormous collection of information through the video cameras placed on your street and all over your city. If you commit a crime—or simply jaywalk—facial recognition algorithms will match video footage of your face to your photo in a national ID database. It won’t be long before the police show up at your door. Continue reading

update on Gui Minhai

Update on the Swedish publisher Gui Minhai, imprisoned in China since October 2015:

The good news is that his daughter Angela accepted the International Publishing Assn. Voltaire prize, for freedom of publishing, for her father currently imprisoned in China. The prize was issued in Delhi. See:   (English)  (Swedish/English w. video) Continue reading

What it’s like to live in a surveillance state

Source: NYT (2/5/18)
What It’s Like to Live in a Surveillance State
查看简体中文版 查看繁體中文版

CreditBrian Stauffer

Imagine that this is your daily life: While on your way to work or on an errand, every 100 meters you pass a police blockhouse. Video cameras on street corners and lamp posts recognize your face and track your movements. At multiple checkpoints, police officers scan your ID card, your irises and the contents of your phone. At the supermarket or the bank, you are scanned again, your bags are X-rayed and an officer runs a wand over your body — at least if you are from the wrong ethnic group. Members of the main group are usually waved through.

You have had to complete a survey about your ethnicity, your religious practices and your “cultural level”; about whether you have a passport, relatives or acquaintances abroad, and whether you know anyone who has ever been arrested or is a member of what the state calls a “special population.” Continue reading

Hip hop ban not about hip hop

Like so many things in China, the trouble with hip hop is its popularity–its ability to draw a crowd.–Anne Henochowicz  <>

Source: Magpie Digest (1/25/18)
China’s Hip Hop Ban is Not Really About Hip Hop
This is issue #9 of the Magpie Digest newsletter, originally sent on 1/25/2018

Co-champions of Rap of China, GAI and PG One

On January 18th, Rap of China co-champion GAI was abruptly pulled from the celebrity-studded entertainment reality TV show 歌手 (“The Singer”) right before the second episode aired, despite a wildly successful performance the week before. The next day, Sina Entertainment reported that his hasty removal from the show was likely due to a broader governmental crackdown on “countercultural content” on television. Continue reading

China internet report

Here’s a synopsis, with a link at the bottom to the entire thing, of the 41st report from China Internet Network Information Center about internet use in China.–Kirk


2018年01月31日 13:14作者:



截至2017年12月,中国域名总数同比减少9.0%,但“.CN”域名总数实现了1.2%的增长,达到2085万个,在域名总数中占比从2016年底的48.7%提升至54.2%;国际出口带宽实现10.2%的增长,达7,320,180Mbps;此外,光缆、互联网接入端口、移动电话基站和互联网数据中心等基础设施建设稳步推进。在此基础上,网站、网页、移动互联网接入流量与APP数量等应用发展迅速,均在2017年实现显著增长,尤其是移动互联网接入流量自2014年以来连续三年实现翻番增长。 Continue reading