China’s Responsiveness to Internet Opinion: A Double-Edged Sword

Written by Jonathan Hassid. China’s obvious press censorship can mask the surprising reality that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) responds quickly to public opinion, especially when it is expressed online. The system strongly discourages political discussion and criticism but is highly responsive to incidents that evade the gauntlet of censorship and capture public attention. Commentators, reporters …

Taking stock of the Chinese blogosphere

Written by Shaohua Guo. “China is not yet a country that excels in the art of writing (shuxie, to express feelings and write), but the emergence of blogs …” In October 2002, Isaac Xianghui Mao wrote this on the homepage of CNBlog.org, China’s first online discussion forum about blogging technology and culture. Given that he has …

China’s Media in Cross Currents: Implications for Critical Journalism

Written by Rongbin Han. To a large extent, the development of Chinese media, particularly critical media, depends on the interaction between market forces, state control, and the rise of social media. Though they have benefited from marketization, softer ideological constraints, and the rise of digital media platforms, Chinese media have to deal with the repercussions …

Sister Lotus and the cult of the selfie in China

Written by Valeria Varriano. This is the age of selfies and selfie sticks. The self-portrait taken by the camera of a smartphone, which is immediately distributed and cast into a network, created a new way and new space of communication, as well as a new form of art. In China, the portrait itself held, for a …

Joint special issue: CPI and the China Media Observatory

Written by Jonathan Sullivan and Gabriele Balbi. During the reform era, the transformation of the Chinese media system has been as dramatic as changes in other sectors. Compelled by the financial imperatives of the market, squeezed by the Party’s parameters of the permissible, and disrupted by the popularization of the Chinese internet, it goes without …

Linguistic Challenges to China’s Centralizing Control

Written by Susan D. Blum. Challenges to authoritarian states’ control of language can be so complex that they exceed the states’ ability to manage them all. Electronic expression of resistance and increasing embrace of non-Mandarin linguistic varieties reveal powerful linguistic insights in China, which are evident too in the so-called Umbrella Revolution that took Hong …

The Symbolic Power of Chinese “Internet Buzzwords”

Written by Elaine Yuan. Like other social spaces in contemporary China, the Chinese Internet, with more than 600 million users, is always energetic and eventful. One of the few ways to keep pace with the bustling online scenes is by tracking “Internet buzzwords”– words or phrases that emerge from significant social events and incidents by …

Xi Jinping’s Internet anti-corruption campaign

Written by Ping Shum and Zheng Yongnian. Information and Communications Technology (ICT) plays an increasing role in fighting corruption worldwide. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has extended e-government in the fight against crime and against corruption in particular.  By promoting Internet anti-corruption efforts and encouraging the general public to participate, the Chinese party-state under Xi …

How the Internet is shaping PRC development: Three schools of thought in China

Written by Daniel Lynch. Over the past few years I have followed Chinese writings on the impact of the Internet on PRC society.  I’m not so much interested in discovering a definitive answer, but I am trying to understand the range of debate on this critical but impossibly complex question. Understanding the range of debate …

The Chinese Government Hops on the WeChat Bandwagon

Written by Zixue Tai and Xiaolong Liu. Like everywhere else, social media is an increasingly pervasive presence in Chinese society. Leading the market are the three behemoths QQ, Weibo and WeChat. QQ, the PC-based instant messaging service lately crossing over to the smart-phone market, is the oldest (debuted in 1999 by Tencent) and boasts over 800 …