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The Hunt for Open Data in China

BY Rebecca Chao | Wednesday, September 11 2013

No data in this stack of hay. (Perry McKenna/flickr)

Like water and oil, ‘open data’ and ‘China’ that take a bit of engineering if you want them to mix. Stories like those of human rights advocate Xu Zhiyong, arrested for rallying citizens to demand public disclosure of their officials’ wealth, are more the norm. But rather than ask for information, a group of young techies are going out and finding it, despite the challenges in its use and the risks of digging too deep. Read More


Hundreds Arrested As China's War On Weibo Escalates

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, September 9 2013

This dumpling soup does not contain dead babies. John Herschell/Flickr

When it comes to cracking down on online rumors, the Chinese government means business. Last week Global Voices Advocacy wrote that more than 450 netizens have been arrested and detained by the authorities. On Monday China's Supreme Court released a document that clarifies the offenses that can land netizens behind bars, and it boils down to a numbers game. Any post that passes a viewing and reposting threshold can be considered serious defamation.

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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


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