The notorious Qiaobi: behind the scenes of an “ad controversy” foretold?

Written by Giovanna Puppin. In the last two weeks or so, nothing seemed to spark more online controversy than the Chinese Qiaobi 俏比 ad, which was reportedly screened on China’s TV stations and before movies in Wanda cinemas earlier in May. The c

Is investigative journalism dead in China?

Written by Jingrong Tong. One day in May I casually glanced at WeChat moments and saw the news of the closure of the in-depth (investigative) reporting team at the Jinghua Times (Jinghua Shibao). That day, almost all the journalists I followed were talking about the news and considered this as more evidence of the end of …

Political Patronage and the Chinese Press in the 1920s

Written by Stephen MacKinnon. Attention to the Republican era press has been growing in scholarly circles over the last decade or so. In the recent survey by Tim Weston, he points to work on “readership” by Joan Judge, Byrna Goodman, and others; also works on professionalism and journalist education; reporting styles like reportage (Baogao Wenxue); …

International engagement in China’s human rights: keeping the faith

Written by Titus Chen. July 2015 is destined to be an unforgettable time in Xi Jinping’s presidency. What befell Chinese human rights lawyers during that month will long be remembered as legacy of Xi’s authoritarian rule. From July 9 to 15, more than 250 public interest lawyers, human rights activists and their family members were …

A Decade of Blogging in China

Written by Giorgio Strafella and Daria Berg. The effects of blogging and Internet use on Chinese politics and society have been a hotly debated topic in contemporary Chinese studies. Blogging first became popular in China in 2003 when the notorious online intimate diary of a young woman called Muzi Mei (b. 1978) created a scandal …

Fashion and Politics: Promoting ‘Designed in China’ through Political Power

By Christine Tsui. In 2012, the Chinese president Xi Jinping initiated an anti-corruption campaign. Although there is no explicit evidence that this was an intentional outcome at which Xi aimed, the fact is that the campaign eventually led to a big decrease in the sale of luxury brands. Because in the past luxury brands were mostly purchased by rich …

China’s state media and the outsourcing of soft power

Written by Jichang Lulu. “Foreign shill,” muttered someone, while an Australian reporter addressed the head of the People’s Bank at a press conference. The Melbourne-based “fake foreign media” organisation she worked for had already made news two years before, when their correspondent at the 18th Party Congress got multiple chances to ask exquisitely phrased innocuous …

Bleak times for foreign media in China

Written by Raymond Li. China is the largest media market in the world, and therefore attracts many foreign media companies which flock into the country on the promise of lucrative returns. However, talking about the situation of foreign media in China is not an easy task, because the picture is not always clear cut as it appears …

Problems in Huallywood

Written by Zhan Zhang. Three years ago, the National Digital Film Industrial Park opened in Wuxi, not far from Shanghai, with the nickname “Huallywood” (Hua meaning China). It was viewed as “ushering in a new golden age of filmmaking in China” and “Huallywood” aimed to become a global digital film capital in China like its counterparts in the …

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 …