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WeGov

How Social Media Could Save Disgraced Chinese Politician Bo Xilai

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, August 23 2013

A CCTV image of the Bo Xilai trial provided by 886 Happy Radio (快乐886电台) via Weibo

In an unprecedented move, the Chinese government is providing an official live feed of the corruption trial of disgraced politician Bo Xilai. They are streaming it via Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter and a search of his name (薄熙来) turns up nearly 1.5 million posts. Past trials have been closed affairs and what information is revealed after they conclude tend to be the carefully orchestrated portions of the trial. Read More

WeGov

An Online Platform From China's Internet Giants Targets The Virtual Rumor Mill

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, August 6 2013

While China has long known how to manage state media, social media has been harder to control. Blocking search terms has had mixed results, and is hardly foolproof. Bloggers in China have learned to avoid the censors using coded or humorous language. In a new attempt to manage social media, six Chinese Internet companies have partnered with the Beijing Internet Information Office on an online platform meant to debunk rumors (or “rumors”) and false (“false”) informations.

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WeGov

Write This, Not That: Instructions From China's “Ministry of Truth”

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, August 1 2013

On July 17 a Chinese watermelon vendor died at the hands of plainclothes policemen, or chengguan. The following day, the State Council Information Office sent this missive to China's media outlets: “All websites are asked to remove from their homepages the story of the melon grower beaten to death by chengguan in Linwu County, Chenzhou City, Hunan Province. Do not make special topic pages, and do not post video or images. Delete any such previous posts.” Instructions like this are known by Chinese journalists and bloggers as “Directives from the Ministry of Truth.” More than 2,600 such instructions have been collected on the website China Digital Times.

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WeGov

Weibo: A Tool for the People or the Communist Party?

BY Rebecca Chao | Monday, July 29 2013

A chengguan police van in Tiananmen Square (image: Keso/flickr)

Before sunrise on July 17, a farmer named Deng Zhengjia and his wife made their way to Linwu County to sell watermelons. Deng was dead by sundown. Local plainclothes policemen, or chengguan, struck him in the head with a weight from his own scale, killing him. Some are wondering if Deng will be China's Mohammed Bouazizi, a man whose death as a consequence of police overreach will spark widespread unrest and maybe even political change. But far more likely is that his death will be laid at the feed of local officials, the broader implications glossed over, and the entire affair buried inside China's Great Firewall. Much has been made of the tools the Chinese state uses for censorship, and if anything, the aftermath of Deng's death is an example of those tools in action. Read More

WeGov

Coding for a Greener, Safer China

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, July 26 2013

Coding for Green Life Hackathoners (image: Sunny Gao)

Concerned techies in China have developed a number of "green" applications to help their city breathe, eat and access public services more easily. Read More

WeGov

An App to Shield Tibetans' Texts From Prying Eyes

BY Rebecca Chao | Wednesday, July 24 2013

Monks protesting with Tibetan flags (image: SFTHQ)

There may finally be a tool Tibetans can more safely use – at less risk of censorship or surveillance – to communicate with each other inside and outside of Tibet. Since YakChat launched in March, the new messenging app has taken Tibetan activists “by storm,” explained Nathan Freitas of the Guardian Project, an organization that creates secure, open-source communications software. Around 5,000 Tibetans have since adopted this app, though most of them are outside of Tibet. Read More

WeGov

70 Percent of China's New Internet Users Log in on their Phones

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, July 23 2013

Since January, China's Internet populace grew to clock in at 591 million at the end of June, according to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC). Phones are the preferred (or the only) way to surf the net: 70 percent of the new Internet users accessed the Internet on a phone.

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WeGov

China Gives Independent Internet Platforms More Room To Grow

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, July 15 2013

WeChat promotion (Flickr/liewcf)

At the end of May techPresident reported on the Beijing Health Department's decision to shut down Taobao, an Internet marketing services platform, because it competed with the city's public service. By choosing to shut it down, Beijing demonstrated China's preference to squash disruptive innovations in favor of government establishments. However, a recent Tech in Asia post suggests that China might be easing up on those restrictions on disruptive technologies, up to a point.

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WeGov

China's New Petitioning Platform: Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom…Online?

BY Rebecca Chao | Wednesday, July 3 2013

Courtyard of Forbidden City (Wikimedia Commons)

On Monday, China’s Communist Party launched an online platform to encourage citizens to post petitions and air their grievances online. The BBC reported, however, that Chinese citizens are expressing via their microblogs that the new online petitioning, which requires users to register their address, will only allow the government to retaliate and better control dissidents. Read More

WeGov

The Thicker China's "Great Firewall" Becomes, the Subtler the Doors to Sneak Through

BY Rebecca Chao | Wednesday, June 19 2013

ABOVE: China's Great Firewall at work (flickr/Chidorian)

As China announces it will tighten restrictions on access to the Internet, Chinese citizens show that they've developed new ways around them. Read More