Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Some horrible, horrible self plugging

So it's the middle of December, I'm almost done with my stint at Fudan (which turned out to be less of a stint and more of a joke), and I'm also wrapping up things at the Shanghai Daily before heading to the Christmas land of Taiwan for the holidays.

And because of the festive cheer that surrounds the festive period, why don't you all festively click on this festive link, then click on the big "plus" button underneath where it says how many points I have...

Seriously though, if you've enjoyed reading this blog over the last four months then give me a vote in the Chinalyst 2008 blog awards. Who knows, if I get enough votes, I might keep blogging in the new year... Keep on reading...

Thursday, 4 December 2008

The all seeing, all powerful State Media

So the Guardian ran with the story of this year's graduate employment slump today, a story that has been making the rounds through small papers, Xinhua and, of course, the Shanghai Daily. It's a scary story, but that is not what this post is about.

The story cites a quote from another source at the end, detailing how dire the situation is for graduates right now. The quote wasn't given to one paper though. Apparently the student told "the state media."

Now, what does that mean? Does that mean that the student told the entire body of state media? In which case that would be a pretty huge chunk of people who got told the same quote (all Chinese media are state run in some way). Does it mean that it was told to the big, official players (Xinhua, CCTV, The People's Daily etc)? Or does it just mean that it was told to any Chinese newspaper/TV station and the Guardian decided to play the "state media" card?

Before I sound like a propagandist for the Chinese media, I am not saying the Chinese media is perfect. Far from it. My problem is with when we fuel misunderstanding back home with phrases like that – catch all terms that are not wrong, but are not very specific either.

First of all, each media institution in China is in competition with the others, therefore to say that something was given to the state media implies that it was given to everyone, for everyone to use.

Also, by the very tone, it also suggests that censorship and regulation of the media is a highly oiled, impressively efficient, all-seeing, all-knowing process. It's not. There are numerous different bodies involved in controlling the media, each with a lot of their own bureaucracy. Yes, censorship does happen – more often than not on a self-censorship level – but papers have been learning to push boundaries over the last few years and the government is slowly catching up.

This year, for example, during the Sichuan earthquake, saw some of the most open coverage of a disaster ever seen in China. Two earthquakes in the 1970s (Tonghai which killed around 15000 in 1970 and Tangshan which killed hundreds of thousands in 1976) were kept quiet by authorities. Sichuan, however, was everywhere. In papers, on the TV, on the Internet. It's being hailed in journalism schools in China (or Fudan's anyway) as one of the biggest markers for the development of Chinese journalism.

Anyway, my point is that there is no meaning in citing a quote from "state media". Not only is it vague, it is also misleading. A lot of criticism from Chinese journalists and academics focuses on the belief that the West views China through rose-tinted glasses. It's when we print things like that that we are, and I have to agree with them.

Guardian story
Shanghai Daily
My story in the Edinburgh Journal about this kind of stuff (Not up week?)
Keep on reading...

Sunday, 23 November 2008

China hacks the world!

China is poised to take over the world with its impressive array of cyber warfare techniques, anti-satellite weaponry and unfair trade controls, according to a US Congressional report presented last Thursday.

The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission released its annual report to the US Congress and recommended 45 different courses of action to rectify what they declare as "impedments [sic] to U.S. Economic and national security interests".

It decries China's "heavy-handed" control of the economy in amassing a huge amount of foreign currency, which has been used to "manipulate currency trading and diplomatic relations with other nations."

In addition, the bipartisan commission (6 Democrats and 6 Republicans) alleges that China is stealing sensitive information from the US through hackers and claims that in 2007 5 million computers in America were subject to 43,880 attacks.

China is denying all of this, and Xinhua are reporting that the Foreign Ministry have gone as far as saying that the claims are "unworthy of rebuttal".

Beijing sees the report as another vilification of China in the Western press, a hot topic this year with media pressure on issues like Tibet, Xinjiang, the Olympics and freedom of the press hitting a nerve with the Chinese government.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Xinhua: "The commission always see China through distorted color spectacles, and intentionally create obstacles for the China-U.S. cooperation in extensive fields through smearing China deliberately and misleading the general public."

However, the report does acknowledge "some progress by China," especially in its continued involvement in non-proliferation talks.

US-China review
Xinhua: China rejects U.S. congressional panel report
Keep on reading...

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

And it's back

So that was just a 15 minute hitch I suppose, back up and running now... Keep on reading...

What have YouTube done now?

As of a couple of minutes ago YouTube seems to have been taken off the lines in China... Not sure if this is a local problem but the site is fine through a VPN but not through your bog standard connection. If anyone has any idea what video has now angered someone somewhere, or if this is just a temporary glitch in the system let me know!

I haven't posted in a while but I will posting tomorrow about Shanghai's newest viral (x-rated) video, as well as a fire that claimed several lives this week but has since proved quite an interesting issue in the media.
Keep on reading...

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

The importance of chinese measure words

So that last post was a misunderstanding of the Chinese on my part which led to a slightly erroneous post...

I read the headline as the 56th president, when in fact the use of the measureword 届 (jie - session) made it the 56th term of the American presidency.

Apologies for my crap Chinese. But why they're describing him winning the 56th term of the American presidency I don't know, to me, the 44th president sounds way better.

Anyway, this just goes to show that glossing over that one character in Chinese can completely change the meaning. Here the difference between 个(ge - measure word for person) and 届 meant I got very confused as to how Xinhua had calculated the number of presidents America has had over the past couple of hundred years.

The Xinhua story is now here Keep on reading...

China loves Obama, but isn't so sure who/what he is...

So a couple of hours ago Obama was elected in as President-Elect, with a fairly healthy clout of electoral college votes and it's all over the front page of Chinese news websites.

Unfortunately Xinhua seems to have made a mistake in their huge headline, which reads "Obama elected as 56th President of the United States."

The coverage seems pretty comprehensive, but despite overlooking the fact that the 56th President won't be elected until 2056, some chinese journos are confused as to what Obama is.

The video seems to be deleted now, or there's a problem with it at the minute, but Danwei are reporting that when CCTV-4 broke the news that Obama had clinched victory, they declared him as "the first black female pre... uh, first black president in American history."

Xinhua front page
Danwei on CCTV-4
Keep on reading...

Monday, 3 November 2008

2008: the year of annoying mascots

Ok, so 2008 was more than that, lots of stuff happened. Bad stuff, good stuff, new stuff etc. But all of that will be covered by lots of people everywhere talking about the state of China after so many huge events (snow storms, riots, earthquake, Olympics, milk powder...)

For me though, one of the under reported aspects of 2008 was the presence of really badly designed mascots.

The Fuwa – the five mascots for the Olympics – have been around for a good while, not just this year, and they were pretty annoying. But nothing compares to the guy who's increasingly becoming more visible around Shanghai everyday: Hai Bao.

"Treasure of the sea," as his name translates, is a big, blue, smiling tooth-shaped character who is the image of the 2010 World Expo to be held in Shanghai. Apparently he's meant to be the shape of the Chinese character ren, meaning person. But i don't see it. To me, he's a big blue tooth with a weird quiff.

According to the official website for the expo, Hai Bao "is the good well ambassador of Shanghai Expo. He is embracing friends from all over the world with his arms and confident smile."


Keep on reading...

Friday, 31 October 2008

Eggs, beef, chicken, fish...what next in the melamine craze?

So apparently fish is the newest food stuff to become the focus of a melamine scare, and an "insider" source has told the Shanghai Evening News that adding melamine to animal feed has been common practice for the last five years, meaning that we could be looking at something of an epidemic if other live stock are found to have similar levels of the chemical.

Shanghai is to "carry out full-scale checks on feed used in the fisheries industry," said the Shanghai Daily. The fear is that melamine, the chemical that is to blame for all the kidney-stone related milk powder cases, could "spread to seafood". Although the use of the word "spread" is slightly misleading, as it implies a degree of contagiousness. If melamine is found in fish, it won't have spread, it'll just have been discovered.

Last week eggs were found to contain melamine as well, and it's thought to have been fed to the chickens in a feed-additive in order to boost protein readings without the annoyance and hassle that would come with actually boosting protein levels.

Shanghai Daily: City fish food checked for melamine content
Keep on reading...

Friday, 24 October 2008

Student Brawl in Shanghai: Part Two

A brawl between Chinese and Japanese students on Monday night has led to the forced closing of a Japanese restaurant on the Shanghai International Studies University (SISU) campus.

The owner of the restaurant, who wished not to be named, said: "We have been told to close and change our name by the university's administrative office for safety reasons."

The decision, according to the owner, came after the Japanese students who were allegedly involved in Monday night's fight ate dinner there, leading the school to fear retaliation from Chinese students.

SISU released a statement yesterday confirming that Japanese and Chinese students were involved but that no one was hurt in what they called an "accidental student dispute".

The statement comes after three alleged eye witness reports, circulated on the internet since early on Tuesday morning, claimed that two Chinese students were seriously injured and hospitalised as a result of the fighting.

According to one post, around 10 Japanese students attacked Chinese students after drinking at the nearby restaurant. After leaving they sat and sang outside dormitory buildings at Xianda, a private university affiliated with SISU, angering a number of Chinese students.

"Ten Japanese students flooded into the dormitory and beat two male students so badly they had to be hospitalised," said one blog posting.

SISU's report calls for all departments to "direct leaders, teachers and students to deal with the few untrue reports on the internet correctly."

Despite conflicting statements, eye witnesses have confirmed that the dispute ended up outside the SISU Guesthouse, where most foreign students studying at the university stay.

One eyewitness said: "There were more than 100 students gathered outside, and lots more watching from windows. It was hard to tell what was happening though with so many people there."

Official sources will not release any information about who was involved in the fight.

Shanghai Daily
SISU Notification of the Japanese Chinese Student Dispute (Chinese)
One of the "eye witness" blog posts
Keep on reading...

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Chinese and Japanese students clash in Shanghai

Can't seem to find anything about it in the English blogging world, but the Chinese blogs based in Shanghai are being overrun by stories about a street fight that kicked off on Monday night between Japanese and Chinese students at Shanghai International Studies University (SISU).

According to one alleged eye witness report (that's being copied and pasted across blogs throughout the city, but with no link to where the report came from), Japanese students clashed with Chinese and ended up with a crowd of more than 100 people outside the foreign student dorms, where, apparently, people in the dorm starting throwing glasses down onto the crowd and three students – one Chinese and two Japanese – were injured, although how seriously I still don't know.

Some reports have claimed that more than ten police cars attended the scene.

It's another reminder of the racial tension that goes on between the two countries in China. Japanese and Koreans make up a huge proportion of the tens of thousands of students that study in the city, but there is still a huge amount of animosity between the groups.

I've just heard about this, and we're trying to verify what exactly happened, but for the time being reports (in Chinese) can be found across Chinese blogs, below are some translations of replies to these blog postings.

Micheal: "Japanese pigs, if you see one, hit one."

Leo: "[a drawing done paint] Kill."

Libraandy: "Good, good, good. Beat the small Japanese to death." Keep on reading...

Monday, 20 October 2008

Foreign hacks have it alright

Really quick post, on something that I will write about in more detail later, but I have been wondering what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) would end up doing on or around October 17 for quite a long time. Now I've found out.

Just to explain, October 17 was the day that these regulations came to a glorious end.

The, slightly long-winded, "Regulations on Reporting Activties[sic] in China by Foreign Journalists During the beijing[sic] Olympic Games and the Preparatory Period" were first issued at the end of 2006, way before the start of the Olympics, to try and make China a more habitable environment for foreign journalists.

Of course, regulations like these for Chinese journalists were never released, and the whole issue of whether or not they would be renewed has been pondered over for some time.

But on Friday the MFA showed its hand: they're staying the same (roughly), but also allowing Ministry officials to be interviewed without prior written consent, only verbal agreement.

Of course, there may be some differences, I'm only going off of this Xinhua story at the moment, as I can't seem to find a copy of the regulations on the MFA's site, I will have a trawl later though and see if we can't dig up something interesting in them.
Keep on reading...

Saturday, 18 October 2008

The quietest newsroom in the world

I started an internship at the Shanghai Daily this week - one of the reasons I haven't posted in a while - and I've spent the time since desperately trying to find some form of work that I can do other than rocking back and forth in a chair...

But I suppose for a first week it's not been too uneventful, it doesn't help that they have no real idea what to do with interns though. When I arrived on Tuesday I was shown a desk, a computer, how the server worked, and then left to it. To what, at that point, neither I nor the Shanghai Daily knew, I think they were just happy to get me to sit down and not bother them for a minute.

That didn't last long and I managed to work my way round the metro (city news) desk reporters in about 15 minutes, pleasantly whoring myself out for any work that was going at all. There wasn't anything.

I suppose it would be useful to describe the newsroom at the Shanghai Daily: it looks like a newsroom, but it doesn't sound like a newsroom. The general hustling, shouting, swearing and stressing is nowhere and is replaced by an eerie subdued murmur. I can actually hear the news on TV from the other side of the room.

I think this comes from the fact the Shanghai Daily's metro desk tends to do a lot of rehashing stories from the Chinese media and not so much reporting of its own, meaning reporters don't need to leave the office much, and just make a couple of calls to verify a story.

Despite that, I have huge amount of respect for them, writing news in a foreign language (especially if, like many of the reporters, you've never been to an English speaking country) is a pretty hard task.

That said, On Thursday I finally got something to do and teamed up with a young reporter who just graduated from university this year. We went and covered a seminar where an Australian public health academic was talking about tobacco control in Australia, and I think was supposed to become a discussion between him and the Chinese academics there about cooperation between the two countries. Well, the language barrier hit home a bit and it descended into a discussion between the Chinese academics for a good couple of hours, but it was interesting. They called for the media to take a more active role in reporting findings about tobacco control so as to pressure the government into taking a more active approach to tightening regulations or even introducing laws in the area.

So I got to write a couple of hundred words at least, which was better than nothing. Friday was a pretty uneventful day though, so we'll see what happens next week.

Media aid needed in smoke-out campaign
Keep on reading...

Monday, 6 October 2008

Explosion in Century Park

Dongfang Daily is reporting that a truck carrying fireworks exploded yesterday in Pudong's Century Park, leaving one dead, bit no word on if anyone else was injured in the blast.

In other news, the British Communist Party held a party for China's National Day, celebrating 59 years of Communist rule in the country. The head of the British party, Harpal Brar, gave a statement claiming that China has achieved more than a lot of other countries in the past 50 years, and said "China has achieved the basic human rights, it is a living example of socialism."

He went on to decry Western capitalism and described China as a bastion of success, compared to capitalist countries which are currently facing "chaos and despondency".

Of course, no mention of China's capitalist leanings, or its inexorable ties to the Western "chaos".

And of course, the end of Golden Week brings praise on the country's tourist industry, with record numbers of people travelling around China, battling others for train, plane and bus tickets.
According to the People's Daily, 18.29 million tourists visited 119 cities. Beijing got most of them, with the Olympic village sites the "must-see places for every Chinese".

The Shanghai Daily makes clear that they also gt their fair share though, with 5 million visitors, an increase of 7% on last year.

In non-news-news, I've had my first experience of crime in the city: my bike got stolen. I should have listened to the bike man and got another lock, but whoever stole it really didn't have any taste, it was the worst bike I've seen in China (which I thought would make it steal-proof). I was wrong.

Truck explodes killing one (Chinese)
British commies celebrate China's National Day (English)
Lots of people travelled around the country (English)
And lots of people went to Shanghai too (English)
Keep on reading...

Friday, 3 October 2008

The Olympic petit morte (part two)

Well, whereas my earlier rant on the topic railed against the lack of sporting facilities that surround the prestigious university, this one is not an apology, but a clarification that there are facilities around – albeit they're kept very secret.

The Jiangwan Sports Centre 江湾体育中心 is hidden about 25 minutes walk from the main Handan Road campus, behind the goliath new Wanda shopping complex. I say it's hidden, as well as secret, as no-one I've asked about pools or gyms seemed to know of its existence, for the tip I have to thank Charlie as acting as a proxy between me and someone who does know of it, but whom I do not know.

This is a bit strange, as it's been around for some time. According to its website, it was originally the Shanghai Stadium 上海市体育场, which I'm pretty sure is somewhere else now. It was built in 1935, and in 1948 played host to the "Old China 7th National Games". It's now been rebuilt, and opened again in May 2008, which may account for noone knowing about it, but still.

If I had a camera (mine is still in a state of disrepair) I would have posted some pictures of it, but it's a brand spanking new-looking outdoor complex with a main stadium, indoor hall, 5-a-side football pitches, basketball, tennis, and - most importantly - an Olympic sized swimming pool.

With such amazing facilities, surely this is where all the post-Olympic sporting frenzy is going on. Not quite. It was empty. Dead. Deserted. Security guards on the gate, a few people hoovering the football pitches, and one old man smoking a cigarette in a traditional garden section, but other than that, noone.

Whether or not this is because of the week holiday that China is on at the moment, I do not know, the road outside seemed as busy and bustling as ever, but inside was a ghost town (a very clean ghost town I'll add).

This didn't bother me one bit though, so I headed into the swimming pool where there were a grand total of 5 swimmers. For anyone interested, here's some information for getting there/prices etc.

Address: Corner of Guohe and Zhengli Roads, Yangpu District. 国和路/政立路,杨浦区 (You can't miss it if you're on this corner).

Opening Times: 7am - 9pm

Tickets: Single entry 35 Yuan, One month 600 Yuan, 3 Month 1800 yuan, One Year 3000 Yuan.

Length: 50m.

Lanes: Not sure, none when I went, but it was empty, might change on time of day.

As with all swimming pools in shanghai, you need a City of Shanghai Health Card (You can get them for 5 kuai in any swimming pool)

Jiangwan Sports Centre (Chinese, apparently there is an English option but it doesn't work)
Keep on reading...

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Whitewashed: Milk problems spread worldwide

According to reports by the Guardian today, supermarket chain Tesco has been recalling Chinese imported dairy products, mainly milk sweets, as the Sanlu melamine scare keeps on spreading.

The Associated Press are also reporting that twelve countries have banned Chinese dairy imports in the aftermath of the scandal.

The story's been bumped slightly from the headlines in China today after dominating them for over a week, with China's imminent launch of 神舟七号 (Shenzhou VII), the Chinese spacecraft manned by three "talkonauts" that will attempt China's first spacewalk.

The People's Daily are running a series of stories on it, as well as Wen Jiabao's speech on China's post-Olympic economic development. He describes that 2008 was no ordinary year for China, with both the Sichuan earthquake and the Olympics and that both these events saw Chinese people display bravery and strength, as well as increasing people's understanding of China. He goes on to say that China must now "resolutely open up to reforms and develop harmony".

The Sanlu scandal isn't completely bumped, the Shanghai Daily are reporting the city's attempts to gain control of all possibly tainted dairy products, dispatching teams to towns and villages in Anhui and other surrounding regions to recall batches of Shanghai Baoanli and Shanghai Panda products.
Keep on reading...

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Escalator madness

The 新闻晨报(Shanghai Morning Post) – part of the Liberation Daily's media group – had a little snippet in today's "Great Britain" section that made me laugh.

It was merely a tiny paragraph in a news round up, although how it constituted news I'm not really sure, but the journalist that wrote it seemed to find the fact that Brits only stand on one side an escalator, leaving the left hand side free for people in a rush to walk up, indicative of British sensibilities.

For someone who takes great pleasure in watching the Chinese, who often seem to be in great rushes, speed walking up until the point they get on an escalator and then stand and wait while they trundle towards the bottom, I thought this was possibly the greatest little news snippet ever.

Of course, the "British" way of riding escalators is also used in Taiwan (although they may stand on the left and leave the right free). So maybe it's not necessarily a British thing and more of a nationalist/colonial thing.
Keep on reading...

Monday, 15 September 2008

The Olympic petite mort

I haven't visited Beijing since my return to China, but there's been something that's been bugging me since getting settled at Fudan which seems to be at odds with an expectation of Olympic Spirit.

Now I timed my return to China pretty much in sync with the end of the Olympics, so everything I gleaned about China's sporting spectacle was through the British press and blogs. Nevertheless, as someone who likes to keep fit and has used Chinese university sporting facilities in the past I was pretty optimistic about what Fudan has to offer in the way of gyms and pools.

And I wasn't disappointed when I did a scout around campus: basketball courts, badminton courts, tennis courts, a huge state of the art sports stadium, and a 50 metre swimming pool. However, when attempting to use these facilities I was kicked in the face in a way that can only happen in China.

To begin with, the swimming pool is an outdoor pool, and on trying to get into the building I'm met with a sign that says it closes from the 28th of August. Not entirely believing this I ventured into the sports shop underneath it and asked one of the girls working there. I'm promptly told that it shuts during term time, and opens again during the holidays. The reason for this being that the weather is getting cold and so, being an outdoor pool, not really the best for winter swimming. This had alarm bells going though, it's still pretty damn warm in Shanghai and, despite the recent rain coming off Typhoon Sinlaku, most days are pretty good outdoor swimming days.

Failing that, I tried to play some tennis on some great looking courts next to the pool. The door was shut, but there was a woman sitting in her booth, so I went up to ask if we could play. 不开 (not open) she replied, in a very shrill voice. Ok, what time does it open. 不开! she screamed again. Through her really strong Shanghai accent I thought I understood that class was going on and, remembering that sports facilities usually don't open until class is out, left to find another, non university-run tennis court.

It just seems strange to me that one the top three universities in the country, which does have decent facilities, doesn't want to open them up more and let people play some sports. After all, the Olympics only finished a couple of weeks ago, and the Paralympics are still going on – if there was ever a time for the Chinese to be going sports crazy, this is it. I've experienced enough of China to know not to expect certain things, but I did expect to be swimming in a crammed pool, or waiting a long time to get onto jam packed tennis or badminton courts, not to be the only person peering listlessly into a deserted lobby, wondering what was going on.
Keep on reading...

Friday, 12 September 2008

Tudou hits homerun

The goliath video site Tudou wang (Potato Network) has just been granted a SARFT (State Administration of Radio, Film and Television) licence. This now allows them to operate legally within China.

SARFT is the regulator for all broadcasting in China, including a lot of foreign satellite stuff.

Danwei reported this today, after the co-founder of Tudou Marc van der Chijs reported it on his own blog.

Earlier in the year, Danwei posted this story about video websites being denied licences.
Keep on reading...

Fun time at Fudan

So it's been a pretty hectic couple of weeks, but I've decided to spend some time before I start my daily routine of wondering what exactly is going on to write a little bit about the insanity that is Fudan University. but before I get started, I'd like to apologise for the lack of pictures on this blog, my camera has been busted for a long time and I still haven't got round to fixing it. Check out Dara's blog for some pictures (Proxy needed in China).

Having lived in China before, and having gone to university here, I thought I was pretty prepared for the bureaucracy and general confusion that goes hand in hand with it all. I was wrong.

There are numerous factors that lead to Fudan being probably the worst university for foreign students to register, get a room, and work out what's going on, but the number one reason is most definitely that noone has the faintest inkling of an idea about what is going on.

There are (I have found so far, there might be more) three different foreign student offices, each of them staffed by people who seem to think that all your answers will be resolved in one of the other ones.

Then there are the police, who are trying to claim that it is now compulsory to get a physical in China before you can apply for residency and that this has never, NEVER, been any different. Of course, he just grunted when he was told that I had used the exact same form I had with me for residency two years ago...

And it's all topped off with the fact that I didn't seem to be on any Fudan electronic equipment. I just didn't exist. Luckily I had made a copy of my application acceptance letter, and that has helped me survive so far.

But once all that stuff was out of the way (even though it's not, I still don't have a resident's permit) Fudan is a decent place, with a really good School of Journalism – where I'll be spending most of my time over the next 6 months.
Keep on reading...

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Is censorship such a bad thing?

A post will follow later, in more detail, about my recent adventures around Fudan University, but for now, a quick word on a book that someone mentioned to me.

Judy Polumbaum's China Ink is a collection of first hand interviews with people associated with the Chinese press and (apparently, I'm still waiting for a copy to reach me in China) it focuses on issues such as commercialism running the show with regards to censorship of the press. This is a pretty big issue now, although it tends to get downplayed in the Western press, most articles focus on the all-seeing, all-controlling power of the CCP when it comes to regulating the media, but not so much on the commercial implications – which, dare I say, resemble the West in more ways than we give credit for.

The whole issue of state control is one that people in the West love to cite as a reason to distrust China. But, as is usually the case, this argument often comes from the mouth of someone who has only read a few stories (Western press stories) about the issue and doesn't fully understand it. In reality, it is far, far more complex than a single entity that sees and regulates all, it's vague, incomprehensive, and, in many cases, just ineffective.

The whole introduction of advertising and commercial enterprises running news outlets now has a lot more play on what content can and cannot be printed. (A vulgar allusion to Rupert Murdoch could be quite easily used in this spot).

Anyway, the book draws conclusions, stating that it is the Chinese themselves: the journalists, the consumers, and the member sof government, who will be the changing force in media liberalisation – not international pressure groups such as Amnesty, or Reporters Without Borders.

And, just to wrap it up with a nice self-promoting tinge, this was pretty much what my dissertation at the University of Edinburgh was about. It was really good. Really. (As soon as I learn how to use this blogging thing I'll see if I can upload files to it, not sure if it supports that though.)
Keep on reading...

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Sugarcoating the Olympic Medals

So I have never posted before, and I'm not actually in China yet, but I've just seen an interesting little piece of news about the battle for best of the sporting goliaths between the US and China.

A Boston Globe worker has just told the BBC that he's been reading the China Daily and how their "sugarcoating" of Olympic medal tallies is trying to make it seem like China is beating the US in Beijing at the moment.

Of course that disregards the fact that they are beating the US, but then again, I suppose it matters how you actually determine what constitutes beating.

Just in case you're unsure of what he means, the US tallies the total number of medals won (Gold, Silver, and Bronze) where China – and I think most other countries – give a weighted preference to Gold. So, where China is ahead of the US by 18 Gold medals at the moment, they are actually in second place by 5 medals in total (82 to 77).

It just seems like there's a bit of bitterness there when an attack on the state-controlled Chinese media is used just because the Chinese Olympic team has won more Golds...
Keep on reading...