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Yaxue Cao, November 11, 2018       Around 10:10 pm eastern time on Nov. 8, as I was browsing my Twitter timeline and taking a breaking from editing a website post, a tweet by Wu Gan (吴淦) jumped into my vision. Even though he has gone for three years and a half, his avatar immediately stood out. It’s an auto-generated tweet that reads: “I just activated @Tweet_Delete on my account to automatically delete my old tweets (is.gd/delete)!” Instinctively, I pressed the “prt src” key: It was 11 am on Nov. 9, Beijing Time. Wu Gan, better known as the “Super Vulgar Butcher,” is serving an eight-year sentence in a prison somewhere in the mountains on the border of Fujian and Jiangxi provinces. He was […]


Yaxue Cao, December 31, 2016     If it wasn’t for the “Safety House” in which he was hiding as he wrote, the opening paragraph of Lam Wing Kee’s personal account would be beguilingly insouciant: there he stands at the window, painting his view of the Lei Yue Mun bay in the dazzling late afternoon light, with precise, unhurried sentences. It is with this dissonant scene that Mr. Lam begins his narration of eight months of secret captivity in mainland China. Doing what he had for years – hauling suitcases of tabloid-style exposés about Chinese leaders and politics to mainland China, and then mailing them to clients – he was stopped at customs in Shenzhen one day in October 2015 and pulled aside for questioning. […]


December 15, 2016 Yaxue Cao spoke with Chang Ping in Toronto on December 2, 2016.     YC: You used to be the director of the news department of the famed Southern Weekly and a columnist there, and you belong to a community of journalists who distinguished themselves in the 25 years of “market-oriented” media that coincided with the period of soaring economic development from early 1990s until recently. I’ve been wanting to hear your story, because I sensed that your trajectory as a journalist has also been the trajectory of China’s “market-oriented media.” So I’m very happy to see you. First of all, congratulations on receiving the CJFE International Press Freedom Award. They made a great choice. Chang Ping: Thank you. YC: I knew […]


Huang Simin, October 13, 2016   “If you want to understand your own country, then you’ve  already stepped on the path to criminality.” — Ai Weiwei “Do you think there is dignity in living a good life in this country?” — Li Tingyu   Born and raised in Guangdong, Li Tingyu (李婷玉) was a student at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou where she majored in English but dropped out in senior year. She had been working with her boyfriend Lu Yuyu (卢昱宇) on the self-published media known as 非新闻 (“Non-News”) until the couple’s detention on June 16 this year. The two were charged with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” and are currently detained in the Dali Detention Center, Yunnan.   Li Tingyu and Lu Yuyu […]


By Tsering Woeser, published: December 30, 2014   On December 26, 2014, I reposted on my Facebook page a video of Tibetan Buddhist monk Kalsang Yeshe’s self-immolation that occurred on December 23 [in Tawu county, Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan province, China], accompanied by an excerpted report explaining that self-immolation is a tragic, ultimate protest against repression. A few hours later, my post was deleted by the Facebook administrator. I was rather shocked when a Facebook notice of deletion leapt out on screen, which I tweeted right away with the thought, “It’s been more than six years since I joined Facebook in 2008, and this is the first time my post was deleted! Does FB also have ‘little secretaries?’” “Little Secretaries” refer to censors hired […]


By Chang Ping, published: August 30, 2014   (This is Chang Ping’s fourth rebuttal, also declined publication by Deutsche Welle, to Frank Sieren’s defense of the Tiananmen massacre, the “right to forget,” and his accusation that some criticisms against the Chinese government are gross exaggerations (links in German) in the Sieren vs. Chang Ping debate earlier this year in DW about the June 4th massacre in 1989 in China. Read Tiananmen Massacre not a “Passing Lapse” of the Chinese Government, Without the Right to Remember There Can Be No Freedom to Forget, and How Brainwashing Works in China, Chang Ping’s first, second and third rebuttals to Sieren. – The Editor)   In the two pieces he wrote in response to criticisms about how he portrayed the Chinese government, Mr. Frank Sieren never […]


By Chang Ping, published: August 30, 2014   (This is Chang Ping’s third rebuttal, declined publication by Deutsche Welle, to Frank Sieren’s defense of the Tiananmen massacre and the “right to forget“  (links in German) in the Sieren vs. Chang Ping debate earlier this year in DW about the June 4th massacre in 1989 in China. Read Tiananmen Massacre not a “Passing Lapse” of the Chinese Government, and Without the Right to Remember There Can Be No Freedom to Forget, Chang Ping’s first and second rebuttals to Sieren. – The Editor)   In his article, “From Tiananmen to Leipzig,” Frank Sieren reproaches Western media with “unilaterally exaggerating the facts in reporting the incident,” the “incident” in question being the Tiananmen massacre. After Chinese commentators, including myself, raised objections, the example Sieren gives […]


By China Change, published: June 9, 2014   On Monday, June 9th, China’s state-run media outlet China News (中新网) reported that Beijing police had arrested a 22-year-old young female by the family name Zhao for posting an article on Twitter that teaches how to use a pseudo base station “to send illegal information.” According to the report, the Chinese internet security police formed a task force to solve the case as soon as they discovered this particular tweet, and a multi-agency investigation led to Zhao’s arrest and the confiscation of her “criminal tool” – a laptop computer. The news alarmed the Chinese Twitter community. Many of them recalled a tweet they had read before June 4th, the 25th anniversary of Tian’anmen democracy movement, by “赵你@RFITB” […]


 By Zhang Jialong, published: May 24, 2014   On May 20th, I was notified by the department head at Tencent that I was being suspended, citing radical expressions I made in my meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this year and the propaganda directives I publicized online. I was told that I would receive a final decision after Tencent coordinated with the propaganda authorities. On May 23rd, Tencent’s HR department notified me of the termination of my labor contract for “leaking business secrets and other confidential and sensitive information.” On the same day when I went back to collect my personal belongings, I found that my desktop had already been removed without my knowledge. Nor did anyone give me a reasonable […]


By Jia Jia, published: February 23, 2014   A few years down the road, when we look back on the recent Dongguan anti-prostitution crackdown (东莞扫黄) during the Chinese New Year holidays, we will perhaps realize that it was a monumental turning point in the evolution of Chinese politics.  In my own view, it marks the first time that China’s official media lost their long-held ability to shape political narrative. For the first time, the people’s opinion has crushed the official spin. Over the course of the event, the Chinese authorities revealed their loss of confidence in the legitimacy of their political power, as well as their anxiety over losing the hearts and minds of the people. Most importantly, it raises doubts in them as to […]


By Wang Qinglei, published: December 9, 2013 On November 27th, 2013, I finished all of the paperwork and walked out of China Central Television’s east gate, the place where I had worked for ten years. It was the coldest day in Beijing since winter began this year. The only warmth I was able to feel was from the comment an old, retired “auntie” made as I walked through the resignation procedures: “Ten years! You left your youth behind with CCTV and they are letting you go like this?” Who would have thought, in ten years time, what moved me in the end was the sigh of this old woman whom I did not know at all. Despite the mental preparation I had weeks to make for […]


By Song Zhibiao, published: April 28, 2013   Recently, the standing vice-director of Shaanxi provincial propaganda department Ren Xianliang (任贤良) published an article entitled How the Party Should Manage the Media in the New Era in which he evaluated the present media circumstances (China Media Project has a roundup about Ren Xianliang’s article). Although his logic and conclusions are both questionable, it seems as though we may agree on one point:  Even if this article, issued in the Red Flag Journal (《红旗文稿》), is meant to test the waters, it reflects the anxiety of the Party’s propaganda system and the latest judgment of high level officials in the propaganda system concerning public opinion. Media professionals should not treat this article with ridicule; others should also think […]


By Mo Zhixu Mo Zhixu (莫之许), pen name of Zhao Hui (赵晖), is a Beijing-based Chinese dissident intellectual and a frequent contributor of Chinese-language publications known for his incisive views of Chinese politics and opposition. He is the co-author of “China at the Tipping Point? Authoritarianism and Contestation” in the January issue of Journal of Democracy. With permission, we edited his piece, originally published in iSunAffair Weekend on Thursday, to reflect later developments. A more detailed account of the event itself can be found in this Foreign Policy article by Annie Zhang that I translated. –Yaxue The predicament of Party-owned but commercialized media outlets in China China does not have private media. Most of China’s media groups are subordinates of CCP Committees on different levels. The […]


I assume you are a China watcher and already know the Southern Weekend (also translated as the Southern Weekly) incident that’s been raging on for the last couple of days. If you are not, you’ll find out here. Either way, I want to place the incident in the larger picture. China doesn’t have an independent press – we all know that. The Southern Weekend is a part of the  Southern Media Group (南方报业传媒集团), a Guangdong provincial-level state-owned media enterprise. Like any state-owned enterprises, whether they manufacture sewage pipes or produce newspapers, its top leader is the Party secretary (党委书记) and, in NMG’s case, the position is concurrently held by the Deputy Chief of the Propaganda Department of Guangdong province. The Group operates like a corporation, […]


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