Trends of the Chinese Internet of Tomorrow

David Feng (Bio, All Articles)

Just earlier this month, CNNIC (the China Network Information Centre) came out with its 35th report about the Chinese Internet. Done twice every year, it reported that China has (still!) yet to reach the point at which over half the population was online. It also reported a few others ups and downs, although even here with the slower-than-expected growth, the Chinese Internet of tomorrow still remains an interesting place to keep one’s eye out for.

Internet access

Even a mere skim of the report reveals fascinating insights about how the Internet of China might develop. Here are some of the more interesting findings:

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Media Digest, Feburary 9-15, 2010

TVCC of CCTV on fire

tvcc-of-cctv-on-fireThe northern building of the new CCTV complex was caught fire on Feb. 9, at around 8:00pm. The fire spread quickly and soon the entire structure was in flames.

The 44-storey building, about 200 meters from the iconic CCTV tower, houses the Television Culture Center (TVCC), the luxury Mandarin Oriental Hotel and an electronic data processing center.

According to Juliet Ye of WSJ, “people packed China’s online forums and blogs, uploaded pictures taken from the fiery scene and hit the streets to conduct their own reporting.” You can also find some collections in Danwei, or CNReviews, and “A Photo Play Of The CCTV Fire”, from ESWN. Click here to see the video filmed by BBC staffs.

The incident hasn’t been featured all that prominently on news portal front pages. An unproven guideline on the fire report was distributed online,

“All networks:

Regarding the “CCTV New North Side Building on Fire” report, all sites must use only the Xinhua news script. Do not post pictures, videos; do not report in depth; only post in Domestic (Chinese) news; close all posts and replies; do not put this as the “top topic”; do not place this in “Recommended Articles”.” — source: CNReviews.com

It turned out that CCTV itself is responsible for Monday’s massive fire (via China Daily). At the day after the fire, an office director at CCTV and 11 others have been detained by the Beijing police for questioning, according to state news agency Xinhua. Chinese continued to dissect the event online with a sardonic tilt. See EEO’s story about Chinese online reaction.

Via China Digital Time,

China’s young and hottest blogger Han Han (韩寒) took fire at CCTV once again. This blogpost, written on Feb. 11, has once again been deleted from his Sina blog, but remains on the recently “resurrected” Bullog International website (hosted in United States.) The witty, sarcastic content is being re-posted by thousands of netizens within the Great Firewall.

You can find Han Han’s article in English (translated by CDT) in the link above.

The China Blog of TIME, “The Problem With CCTV” mentioned a pointed critique of one recent CCTV program after the fire.

Publishing still hot

China Daily says, Publishing still hot on bourses,

If you think the publishing industry is going irreversibly downhill in this Internet age, think again. It is fast becoming one of the hottest sectors in the Chinese stock market, thanks to government support, in a big way.

The State Council issued a new provision last year to support development of the culture industry. It is believed that the policy has underscored the future profits and development of publishing companies. Below is another news about publishing industry in China, “Media reform in China by the end of 2010, says GAPP”,

“By the end of 2010, all for-profit news media and publishing entities will be decoupled from the government institutions they are affiliated with and transformed into separate companies. The government will no longer place restrictions on them in terms of ISBN numbers, publication licenses, and content.”

Journalist “black list”

Via Reuters,

Li Dongdong, a deputy chief of the General Administration of Press and Publication, told officials that proposed strengthened regulations for Chinese journalists would include a “full database of people who engage in unhealthy professional conduct”, the China News Service reported.

“People entered into the transgressor list will be excluded from engaging in news reporting and editing work,” the report said, citing Li.

Other links you might be interested in

The China Media Digest is released by China Media Centre weekly.

Liberal Democrat Conference

China 1

The CMC director, Hugo de Burgh, joined the Chinese Ambassador Ms Fu Ying on a panel which also included the Lib-Dem Leader in the Upper House, Lord McNulty, and the Shadow Foreign Affairs Secretary Michael Moore MP.

WILTON PARK

Wilton Park Conf  photo

The CMC partnered Wilton Park (an Executive Agency of the Foreign Office) with a conference called Working in China on Sustainable Growth — The Climate Change, Environment, Energy Nexus. The Vice Chancellor, Prof Geoffrey Petts, Visiting Professor Hu Zhengrong (Deputy President, China Communications University), Prof Hugo de Burgh and Dr Zeng Rong participated and represented University of Westminster. For further information please click on the link below.

Report on Wilton Park Conference WP1000 Final 281009

CONFERENCE ON BRITISH JOURNALISM

cmc_ims_china_oct_09_1

CUC and CMC are holding a conference in Beijing in October 2009. CMC is supplying 2 celebrity UK journalists Stephen Hewlett and Kevin Sutcliffe (paid for under the IMS contract) and its Director to speak at a CUC conference in October 2009. Steve Hewlett both presents The Media Show and writes regularly for The Guardian. He has a terrific track record as reporter and producer as well as in newspaper journalism.  Kevin Sutcliffe is Deputy Head of News & Current Affairs at C4 and has been responsible for the renaissance of the investigative series DISPATCHES. CUC has undertaken to provide an audience of influential media managers from the mainstream

FRANKFURT BOOK FAIR

Aufbau_2009

Copyright by Frankfurt Book Fair

EU Commissioner Orban and Chinese Minister for Culture, a French Diplomat and the CMC Director are the speakers at the EU-China Forum at the Frankfurt Book Fair on 15 October.

STATE COUNCIL

SCIO 2009 photo 2

The highest-level ever delegation from China’s State Council Information Office undertook a three week course designed for the China Media Centre by Simon Goldsworthy and Visiting Professor Trevor Morris, experts in branding and PR. Among the highlights were a colloquy with Lord Bell and senior figures at Chime Communications plc; visits to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Cabinet Office, the BBC and the Guardian Newspaper; talks about advertising from Sir Chris Powell and on the use of new media from former Cabinet Office minister Tom Watson MP; and a lecture in Edinburgh from John Brown, a PR expert who formerly shared an office at Scottish TV with his brother the current Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and CMC Director Professor Hugo de Burgh.

SUMMER SCHOOLS

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The China Media Centre has held its first 2 Summer Schools for Chinese media students. In July this was directed by former Reuters Editor Paul Majendie and in September by TV producer Dr Richard Wright. The students both learnt about the European media and undertook practical tasks, making TV features under the direction of Journalism Head of Department Geoffrey Davies. Both summer schools were managed by Alja Kranjec, who hopes to hold at least two each year from now on.

INNOVATION 1

henan_0121

In October CMC launches another first, a course specially designed for Chinese TV executives by Dr Zeng Rong entitled Innovation, creativity and programme development in UK television. This course is full; if successful CMC expects to offer it twice each year.

Media Digest, January 26-February 8, 2010

2008 China Internet Communication Report

Click to download the English version of the report The report is released by NetEase.com, Inc. (163.com,网易), one of the leading Internet technology companies in China,  in January, 2009. The report includes an annual top-10 ranking of Internet Hot Figures, Internet Hot Key Words, Entertainment Stars, Sports Persons, Entrepreneurs, Hot Movies, Hot Music Singles, Hot TV series, Fund companies, and A-share listed companies. The report summarizes facts of maximum interest to Chinese netizens in these ten fields as well as highlights common features and the latest status of such information. According to the report,

Who determines the report result? There are about 200 million netizens in China who are active in the application of various NetEase Internet products. They come from different regions of China and are engaged in different industries, but every click or search they have done, and any words they have posted on the Internet, have contributed to this report.

How was the data analyzed? The data was analyzed by collecting original data from five system platforms of NetEase, i.e., NetEase Blog, NetEase BBS, Youdao Search Engine, Netease Channels, and NetEase Posts. Such data were then used for linear conversion and linear transformation by standard statistical methods without changing the data order or distribution form. This produced a normal status measure, called the Internet transmission index, for each respective collection item.

It’s really worth reading if you are interested in the culture of China society and Chinese cyberspace. Just click the links to download the English version and Chinese version. Other related links:

Film ratings system: news, fake news or “old news” ?

Tong Gang in 2004
Tong Gang in 2004

From Danwei:

On February 2, Beijing Business Today ran a report under the headline “Tong Gang: A film ratings system will not permit Cat-III films.” The article reported that China had completed work on a law that would implement a film ratings system without opening the door to porn, and featured extensive quotes from Film Bureau director Tong Gang.

Implementing a film ratings system is a contentious issue that has been kicking around for years, so Tong’s disclosure, if correct, has the potential to bring major changes to the domestic film industry.

Too bad it’s not true: the director did utter the words quoted in the article, but he said them in an interview with The Beijing News in 2004.

Some Newspapers and even Xinhua were deceived by the story of Beijing Business Today. They used the headline such as “China completes motion picture law, banning porn, violence contents”. Unfortunately, it seems just a clumsy copy of a five-year-old interview.

A ‘Chinese CNN’

Following the first topic in CMD 0901, Peter Ford, a staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor, quoted the comment from two Chinese scholars in his article “Beijing launching a ‘Chinese CNN’ to burnish image abroad”,

“China’s image is very important, but the first question is the image of the medium itself,” cautions Gong Wenxiang, journalism professor at Peking University. “If the medium lacks credibility, it is unthinkable that it will improve the country’s image.”

“The strength of our voice does not match our position in the world,” complains Yu Guoming, deputy dean of the journalism school at People’s University in Beijing, who has acted as a consultant on the government’s TV project.

“That affects the extent to which China is accepted by the world,” Professor Yu adds. “If our voice does not match our role, however strong we are we remain a crippled giant.”

“The outreach effort is very natural because of the growing strength of the nation,” says Professor Gong. “They [officials] are clear about what to say but they don’t know how to say it with the best results.”

And so long as the party insists on controlling the media, China will have difficulty convincing foreign viewers to consider its point of view, he adds. “They have realized the problem of cross-cultural communications, but before serious political reform takes place they cannot do much.”

Anti-anti-vulgarity Campaign: Put Clothes on Famous Paintings

spring

Chinese Internet users angered by censorship in cyberspace have dressed up images of famous renaissance nudes in a protest against Beijing’s crackdown on ‘vulgar’ online content. The campaign of “Put Clothes on Famous Paintings” (给名画穿衣服)

Via “Protest against Web crackdown”

dance

The protest began last week after a user of the social networking site Douban.com complained that images of several paintings, including Titian’s nude ‘Venus of Urbino’, had been deleted from an online photo album.

According to blogs on the site, Douban’s administrators had told the user that posting pornography would endanger the site’s operations.

In response, protest’s organisers asked Internet users to clothe artwork to ‘save’ it from the censors, who have shut down 1,635 websites and 200 blogs in a one-month campaign against content that ‘harms public morality’.

The protest are not limited to 16th century art – one Internet user drew red underpants on the leaning, joined towers of state-run China Central Television’s headquarters in Beijing.

Also see the blog post “Chinese Netizens’ Anti-anti-vulgarity Campaign: Putting Clothes on Renaissance Paintings”.

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More fancy pictures, check these blogs: Digging Pictures, Snower41.

Other Links you might be interested

The China Media Digest is released by China Media Centre weekly. Check our website for more related contents. Your comment are welcome.

Media Digest, January 1-25, 2010

RMB 45 Billion, soft power and global influence

cctv-new-buildingAccording to the story of South China Morning Post (all articles behind a paywall), Beijing will invest RMB 45 billion (about GBP 4.5 billion) in Chinese media organizations which target global audiences. The list will include CCTV, Xinhua and the People’s Daily. China wants it’s own Al-Jazeera.

Management at CCTV, Xinhua and the People’s Daily have been busy meeting consultants, inviting experts to brainstorming sessions and drafting proposals. “Xinhua has a plan to expand its overseas bureaus from about 100 to 186,” the source said, suggesting it would have bases in virtually every country in the world. Another media source said Xinhua planned to create an Asia-based 24-hour television station to broadcast global news to an international audience. “I was invited twice for brainstorming meetings on the establishment of such a television station, which would not just broadcast news on China, but on everywhere in the world,” a different source said. The media sources said Xinhua was ambitious about building an “influential and reliable” station like the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network. “With Al-Jazeera as the model, the station would enjoy greater freedom of speech from the central authorities than Phoenix TV on political and current events,” one source said. Meanwhile, the Global Times, a daily tabloid owned by the People’s Daily and known for its nationalistic tone, has decided to launch an English edition in May, becoming the second national English newspaper, after China Daily. The paper has begun recruiting English-speaking editors and journalists. CCTV has announced plans to launch Arabic and Russian channels this year, aggressively expanding its team of overseas reporters and recruiting foreign-language professionals.

Below is the comment from Cam MacMurchy at Zhongnanhai Blog,

Isn’t CCTV 9 supposed to present China’s view to the world? Is there a point in lauching a second one without fixing the first? The problem isn’t lack of TV channels or media outlets that present China’s case to foreigners, it’s the lack of any media outlets that present China’s case well. If Xinhua’s new TV endeavor is run in the same manner CCTV is, with the same group of life-long communisty party members in bad suits calling the shots, it will be doomed to failure. In fact, I’d go one step further: any mainland Chinese run media outlet will be taken less seriously as long as general media controls are in place. Which brings me to my second point: the credibility of the media in China. China could open a hundred news organizations and blanket the world with China’s point of view, but it would be greeted with just as much suspicion as it is now because China, despite all of its advancements, remains a one-party state with absolute control over all domestic media.

James Fallows also asked, “Will $6 billion solve the Chinese PR problem?” Nicholas Bequelin at Wall Street Journal Asia described it as “China’s New Propaganda Machine Going Global”. David Bandurski at China Media Project noted the relationship  between “soft power” or “global influence” and the huge investment project. A speech of Li Changchun (李长春) is quoted and translated in the article.

Chinese Internet users hits 298 million

From AP,

China’s fast-growing population of Internet users has risen to 298 million after passing the United States last year to become the world’s largest, a government-sanctioned research group said. The latest figure is a 41.9 percent increase over the same period last year, the China Internet Network Information Center said in a report Tuesday. China’s Internet penetration rate is still low, with just 22.6 percent of its population online, leaving more room for rapid growth, according to CNNIC.

The 23rd Statistical Reports on the Internet Development in China was released by CNNIC on Jan. 13, 2009. You can find the full report (in Chinese) on CNNIC’s website. Keep an eye on this page if you are interested in the forthcoming English version (the last 22 reports are all provided there). Or check the further more details here, a brief translation of the latest report by 56minus1. So many netizens, well, some of them even take on the government.

“Anti-vulgar Internet Crackdown”

jingjingwebpoliceFrom the beginning of 2009, China has already announced 6 blacklists of websites criticized for “low and vulgar practices on the Internet” as part of the latest “Anti-vulgar Internet Crackdown”(整治互联网低俗之风). According to Xinhua, the first blacklist of 19 websites “that provide and spread pornographic or obscene contents”, including searching engines Google, Baidu and major portals such as Sina, Sohu, Netease, QQ.  Microsoft’s MSN is also in the blacklist of Internet portals providing lewd content. And

This marks a month-long nationwide campaign launched by the Information Office of the State Council, Ministry of Public Security and other four central government departments to clean up the online environment. Those websites were accused of either providing links to pornographic websites or containing porn pictures and failed to take them down after being notified by China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center(CIIRC).

After that, 277 vulgar websites shut down in 11 days. Further more, Anti-porn campaign extends to mobile phone messages (from Xinhua),

The Chinese government is extending its anti-porn campaign to mobile phone messages after shutting down 1,250 websites, it said on Monday. “We will incorporate ‘lewd’ messages spread via mobile phones into the crackdown,” said seven government departments including the State Council’s Information Office, Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Culture who jointly launched the campaign at a meeting, aiming to outline future tasks of the move.

Reuters reports,

Over 40 people have been detained for disseminating porn on the Internet, and over 3 million “items of online information” have been deleted, the report said.

Xinhua also reports that officials will be increasingly vigilant during the Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year:

China’s Internet watchdogs Friday vowed to continue a crackdown on pornography and “lewd” content throughout the weeklong Spring Festival holiday in order to protect the nation’s youth. “The campaign has a single and clear goal, that is to clean up the Internet and save the Internet environment for children,” said Liu Zhengrong, deputy director of the network office of the State Council’s Information Office.

You can find 6 lists (only in Chinese) of websites criticized in the campaign in the website of China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center (中国互联网违法和不良信息举报中心). The last one was unveiled on Jan. 29. During the Campaign, bullog.cn, an edgy China blog site was also shut down. The founder of bullog.cn told The Associated Press that he was notified by an e-mail from the Beijing Communications Administration that the site “contained harmful comments on current affairs and therefore will be closed”. There are some Chinese bloggers’ response to the Internet crackdown translated by China Digital Times.

Other Links you might be interested

This is the first China Media Digest on CMC’s blog. Your comments are welcome. Thanks a lot!