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When Victorious Obama Spoke to “Distant Nations,” China’s Web Users Were Listening

BY David Wertime | Friday, November 9 2012

In his acceptance speech in the early morning of November 7, re-elected U.S. President Barack Obama seemed to be talking to the world when he said: “We can never forget that as we speak, people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today.” If the President was attempting to project his words to “distant nations,” he succeeded. People in China, at least, were listening. Read More


"Don't Retreat, Retweet": The Story of Ai Wei Wei, China's Leading Netizen

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 29 2012

Exhibition poster for exhibition "So sorry" of chinese artist Ai Weiwei in Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany

There are really two stars of the new documentary "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry"--the artist himself, and the Internet. The two are inseparable in the film, which both documents the life story of the man who has become one of China's most creative and courageous dissidents, and shows how he has maneuvered through the cracks in China's vast system of social control by using social media to reach a global and local audience. Read More


What and Where of Chinese Factory Riots Reported on Social Media, But What Of Why and Who?

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, September 27 2012

When workers rioted at Foxconn, the largest electronics manufacturing factory in China, the story was broken on social media with images of smashed cars and confrontations between workers and riot police. But when journalists tried to corroborate the story, they were unable to obtain first-hand information or even a measure of clarity. Read More

Chinese College Students Forced Into iPhone Assembly Lines Rather than Attend Class

BY Lisa Goldman | Friday, September 7 2012

In China, thousands of college students are being forced to work on factory assembly lines rather than attend classes so that Apple's Chinese manufacturers can make up a labor shortfall and meet the September 12 launch date of the iPhone 5. Read More


Is Sina Weibo a Means of Free Speech or a Means of Social Control?

BY David Eaves | Friday, August 17 2012

Photo: Francisco Diaz / Flickr

Over noodles in Beijing, David Eaves and Michael Anti discussed how Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging platform in China, actually creates a new means of social control for the central Chinese government. While it allows dissent, Anti argues, Weibo serves as a central platform for citizen speech — operated by a company over which the Chinese central government can exert significant influence. Read More

Internet Company Employees Arrested for Taking Bribes to Delete Info From Chinese Search Engine

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, August 6 2012

Three employees of a Chinese web company have been arrested for accepting thousands of dollars in bribes to delete information from a search engine, reports the BBC. Baidu, which owns the largest Chinese language search engine, fired all three employees — plus a third, who was not arrested. Read More

Beijing Flood Mapping By Volunteers Beats Official Govt Site By a Day

BY Nataliya Nedzhvetskaya | Tuesday, July 31 2012

Volunteer-built map of Beijing flooding

Beijing’s Internet users banded together last week to solve a time-sensitive problem—mapping the hardest hit areas of the city in the wake of major flooding and warning other residents to steer clear of hard-hit areas, faster and better than an official government website, China Daily reports. Read More

Chinese Microbloggers Fill Vacuum Left By State Media in Coverage of Popular Protests

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, July 18 2012

As analysts and observers release their studies of protests in Shifang, a city in China's Sichuan province, their work indicates that social-media-savvy Chinese officials are giving space online to some dissenting views at a sensitive time of transition for the ruling Chinese Communist Party. The official handling of the Shifang protests raises two salient questions: Why did local officials accede to protesters' demands, scrapping plans for a new factory? And why did the central government, perfectly capable of censoring some if not all dissenting opinions on social media, not hinder access to information about the unrest on platforms like the country's Twitter-like Sina Weibo? Read More

How Autocorrect is Creating New Chinese Slang

BY Nick Judd | Monday, July 16 2012

Public Radio International's The World has a fascinating look at how it looks like the autocomplete functionality on mobile phones is changing the way some Chinese people are using their language. PRI reports that as users of phones with English-language keyboards begin typing Chinese in pinyin, the system for transliterating between Chinese characters and the English alphabet, they are presented with the vast array of homophones each word may have. So each time someone starts typing a text message, they're assisted in wordplay by the autocomplete or autocorrect functionality of their phones. In Chinese, many words sound very similar to words that mean nowhere near the same thing. This is helping people to develop new slang and is giving people the opportunity to resurrect old words, PRI reports. Read More