Public satisfaction with the state of the economy [...has dropped] to the lowest level since 2015. In the 46 polls we have conducted since 1990, never before has there been such a marked decline in 20 out of 26 indicators."

— One of the conclusions of a recent poll of citizens in Guangzhou, conducted by the Canton Public Opinion Research Center. The poll results were deleted from WeChat after being shared by WeChat user He Wenwei, who covers financial and legal topics.

 

CDT Highlights

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Quote of the Day: “Fifteen Months Later, Despite 50 Alterations and Deletions, Censors Have Yet to Approve This Film.”

Today’s quote of the day comes from a CDT Chinese faux “Dragon Seal” visual about acclaimed sixth-generation filmmaker Wang Xiaoshuai’s battle to get his latest film “Above the Dust” 《沃土》(Wòtǔ, “fertile soil”) past the censors at China’s National Film Bureau. The film will make its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival on Saturday, minus the censors’ seal of approval: Variety’s Patrick Frater explored the film’s historical subject matter and the director’s commitment to having his film screened in Berlin: With a young teen boy as the protagonist, the film depicts a...

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Report Outlines Mechanisms of China’s Censorship Apparatus

This week, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) released a report titled “Censorship Practices of the People’s Republic of China.” The report outlines the nature and reach of China’s censorship apparatus, the methods and technologies that underpin it, the international activities it conducts, and the implications for the U.S. What emerges is a picture of “the world’s most elaborate and pervasive censorship apparatus,” along with its human components and inefficiencies, at a time of contracting information flows both inside and outside of China. The USCC was...

More Than 100 Arrested Following Dam Protest in Tibetan Region of Sichuan Province

Chinese authorities have reportedly arrested more than 100 Tibetan Buddhist monks and other residents of largely Tibetan Dege County in Sichuan Province, following protests against a vast dam project that would destroy six Buddhist monasteries and force villages within two townships to relocate.  Parts of the protest, which began in mid-February, were captured on video that showed black-clad Chinese forces restraining and pushing Tibetan monks who were vocally but peacefully protesting the dam project. RFA Tibetan’s Kalden Lodoe and Tenzin Pema described local residents’ concerns about the...

Quote of the Day: “Fifteen Months Later, Despite 50 Alterations and Deletions, Censors Have Yet to Approve This Film.”

Today’s quote of the day comes from a CDT Chinese faux “Dragon Seal” visual about acclaimed sixth-generation filmmaker Wang Xiaoshuai’s battle to get his latest film “Above the Dust” 《沃土》(Wòtǔ, “fertile soil”) past the censors at China’s National Film Bureau. The film will make its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival on Saturday, minus the censors’ seal of approval: Variety’s Patrick Frater explored the film’s historical subject matter and the director’s commitment to having his film screened in Berlin: With a young teen boy as the protagonist, the film depicts a...

Cost of Raising Children in China is World’s Second Highest

China’s population decline looks set to continue despite the possibility of a traditional Dragon-Year “baby bump” and signs of a post-pandemic uptick in marriage rates after nine successive years of decline. A recent report from the Beijing-based YuWa Population Research Institute shed light on one key driver of the low birthrates: the disproportionately high financial burden of raising a child in China, against a backdrop of widespread economic pessimism and broader disillusionment captured in the pandemic-era catchphrase, “We’re the last generation.” At The Guardian, Amy Hawkins reported...

Hong Kong Government Pushes New Homegrown National Security Law

On Tuesday, the Hong Kong government released a 110-page consultation document that outlined plans for yet another national security law. This homegrown law joins a long list of recent initiatives by the government to increase its political control in the city, from youth “deradicalization” programs for political protesters to imitating Beijing’s “patriotic education” laws. Nectar Gan from CNN summarized the new legislation: The proposed legislation will cover offenses including treason, theft of state secrets, espionage and external interference, in what Hong Kong officials say will “fill...

Translation: Special One-Month Reconnaissance Operation Against “Overseas Cyber Forces”

A pair of recently surfaced screenshots appear to offer unusual detail about a special month-long operation, held in Beijing and involving over 40 Ministry of Public Security computer specialists from around the country, to combat “overseas cyber forces” in the battle for public opinion. The apparently leaked internal instructions from the Ministry of Public Security are likely to be the result of an email breach. They include the names and locations of many of the computer-specialist officers, as well as the name and contact information of the individual in charge of the operation. At some...

New eBook: China Digital Times Lexicon, 20th Anniversary Edition

On September 12, 2003, John Battelle published the first post on chinadigitaltimes.net: Here’s what a Google Search on “china weblog” yields, I’m looking forward to seeing ours at the top soon! China’s online population at the start of that year was nearly 60 million. Ten years later, it was fast approaching 600 million, and now, after 20, it is well over a billion. This new completely revised and hugely expanded update to our ebook series, formerly known as “the Grass Mud Horse Lexicon,” aims to capture something of the enormous explosion of online speech that accompanied this growth, with...

Cost of Raising Children in China is World’s Second Highest

China’s population decline looks set to continue despite the possibility of a traditional Dragon-Year “baby bump” and signs of a post-pandemic uptick in marriage rates after nine successive years of decline. A recent report from the Beijing-based YuWa Population Research Institute shed light on one key driver of the low birthrates: the disproportionately high financial burden of raising a child in China, against a backdrop of widespread economic pessimism and broader disillusionment captured in the pandemic-era catchphrase, “We’re the last generation.” At The Guardian, Amy Hawkins reported...

Cost of Raising Children in China is World’s Second Highest

China’s population decline looks set to continue despite the possibility of a traditional Dragon-Year “baby bump” and signs of a post-pandemic uptick in marriage rates after nine successive years of decline. A recent report from the Beijing-based YuWa Population Research Institute shed light on one key driver of the low birthrates: the disproportionately high financial burden of raising a child in China, against a backdrop of widespread economic pessimism and broader disillusionment captured in the pandemic-era catchphrase, “We’re the last generation.” At The Guardian, Amy Hawkins reported...

Cost of Raising Children in China is World’s Second Highest

China’s population decline looks set to continue despite the possibility of a traditional Dragon-Year “baby bump” and signs of a post-pandemic uptick in marriage rates after nine successive years of decline. A recent report from the Beijing-based YuWa Population Research Institute shed light on one key driver of the low birthrates: the disproportionately high financial burden of raising a child in China, against a backdrop of widespread economic pessimism and broader disillusionment captured in the pandemic-era catchphrase, “We’re the last generation.” At The Guardian, Amy Hawkins reported...

More Than 100 Arrested Following Dam Protest in Tibetan Region of Sichuan Province

Chinese authorities have reportedly arrested more than 100 Tibetan Buddhist monks and other residents of largely Tibetan Dege County in Sichuan Province, following protests against a vast dam project that would destroy six Buddhist monasteries and force villages within two townships to relocate.  Parts of the protest, which began in mid-February, were captured on video that showed black-clad Chinese forces restraining and pushing Tibetan monks who were vocally but peacefully protesting the dam project. RFA Tibetan’s Kalden Lodoe and Tenzin Pema described local residents’ concerns about the...

Translation: My Hometown Survived the Pandemic

Even before the lifting of China’s long-standing “zero-COVID” policy in early December of last year, there were signs of a surge in Omicron cases nationwide. Since then, China has experienced a tsunami of infections—first in larger cities, and then in the countryside—amid concerns about shortages of needed medications, the increasing risk of medical debt, and unreliable official data on the numbers of infections and deaths. Despite the recent Lunar New Year celebration in which hundreds of millions of residents went traveling and returned to their hometowns, there are signs that the wave of...

Human Rights

Latest

More Than 100 Arrested Following Dam Protest in Tibetan Region of Sichuan Province

Chinese authorities have reportedly arrested more than 100 Tibetan Buddhist monks and other residents of largely Tibetan Dege County in Sichuan Province, following protests against a vast dam project that would destroy six Buddhist monasteries and force villages within two townships to relocate.  Parts of the protest, which began in mid-February, were captured on video that showed black-clad Chinese forces restraining and pushing Tibetan monks who were vocally but peacefully protesting the dam project. RFA Tibetan’s Kalden Lodoe and Tenzin Pema described local residents’ concerns about the...

Politics

Latest

1960 People’s Daily “Air of Rapid Development” Lunar New Year’s Message Deleted

In the midst of a troubled economy and stock market rout, a People’s Daily Online article trumpeting a supposed nationwide “air of optimism” drew so many derisive comments last week that its related hashtag was censored on Weibo. Soon afterward, a 1960 People’s Daily Lunar New Year’s message was deleted from WeChat, possibly due to similar wording in the headlines, after it was shared by a WeChat user. It was the second deletion of historical People’s Daily content in a short span of time: a 2016 article predicting that China would enter the club of “high-income” nations by 2024 was deleted...

Society

Latest

Four Years On, Tributes to Covid Whistleblower Dr. Li Wenliang

Four years after the death from COVID of Dr. Li Wenliang, the young Wuhan ophthalmologist who alerted colleagues to the emerging novel coronavirus, tributes to the widely admired doctor continue to pour in, despite some online censorship of such memorials.  As on the three previous anniversaries marking his passing, many Chinese netizens left messages in the comments section under Dr. Li’s final Weibo post, a venue that has become known as China’s “Wailing Wall.” (CDT has published extensive translations of these comments from the Chinese public, including this deep-dive from 2021. Our...

China & the World

Latest

Ultranationalist Bloggers Take Aim at Red Circles, Backlash Ensues

When the management of a shopping mall in Nanjing decided to post some festive New Year’s decorations, little did they expect that the red and white floral and circular designs would make them the target of an ultranationalist vlogger. The vlogger had posted a video of himself pointing to the decorations and claiming that the red flowers resembled a Japanese “rising sun” motif and that the red circles suggested the Japanese national flag. He also scolded a mall manager, saying, “This is Nanjing, not Tokyo! Why are you putting up junk like this?” Afterward, local authorities intervened, the...

Law

Latest

More Than 100 Arrested Following Dam Protest in Tibetan Region of Sichuan Province

Chinese authorities have reportedly arrested more than 100 Tibetan Buddhist monks and other residents of largely Tibetan Dege County in Sichuan Province, following protests against a vast dam project that would destroy six Buddhist monasteries and force villages within two townships to relocate.  Parts of the protest, which began in mid-February, were captured on video that showed black-clad Chinese forces restraining and pushing Tibetan monks who were vocally but peacefully protesting the dam project. RFA Tibetan’s Kalden Lodoe and Tenzin Pema described local residents’ concerns about the...

Information Revolution

Latest

WeChat “Bug” Turns Out To Be Obscure Insult for Xi Jinping

A group of students under the impression they had discovered a WeChat “bug” that hides the phrase “200 jin of dumplings” (roughly 220 pounds) had in fact stumbled upon an obscure insult for Xi Jinping that triggers automatic censorship.  In the course of daily conversation, the students found that messages preceded by the term “200 jin of dumplings” (200斤饺子) were not received by their counterparts. Juvenile hilarity ensued. They sent each other curses and confessions: “200 jin of dumplings, you’re a stupid c***,” “200 jin of dumplings, you’re an idiot,” “200 jin of dumplings, piggy,” and...

Culture & the Arts

Latest

Quote of the Day: “Fifteen Months Later, Despite 50 Alterations and Deletions, Censors Have Yet to Approve This Film.”

Today’s quote of the day comes from a CDT Chinese faux “Dragon Seal” visual about acclaimed sixth-generation filmmaker Wang Xiaoshuai’s battle to get his latest film “Above the Dust” 《沃土》(Wòtǔ, “fertile soil”) past the censors at China’s National Film Bureau. The film will make its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival on Saturday, minus the censors’ seal of approval: Variety’s Patrick Frater explored the film’s historical subject matter and the director’s commitment to having his film screened in Berlin: With a young teen boy as the protagonist, the film depicts a...

The Great Divide

Latest

Translation: My Hometown Survived the Pandemic

Even before the lifting of China’s long-standing “zero-COVID” policy in early December of last year, there were signs of a surge in Omicron cases nationwide. Since then, China has experienced a tsunami of infections—first in larger cities, and then in the countryside—amid concerns about shortages of needed medications, the increasing risk of medical debt, and unreliable official data on the numbers of infections and deaths. Despite the recent Lunar New Year celebration in which hundreds of millions of residents went traveling and returned to their hometowns, there are signs that the wave of...

Sci-Tech

Latest

Cost of Raising Children in China is World’s Second Highest

China’s population decline looks set to continue despite the possibility of a traditional Dragon-Year “baby bump” and signs of a post-pandemic uptick in marriage rates after nine successive years of decline. A recent report from the Beijing-based YuWa Population Research Institute shed light on one key driver of the low birthrates: the disproportionately high financial burden of raising a child in China, against a backdrop of widespread economic pessimism and broader disillusionment captured in the pandemic-era catchphrase, “We’re the last generation.” At The Guardian, Amy Hawkins reported...

Environment

Latest

China, COP28 Post Mixed Progress in Curbing Climate Change

This week in Dubai, after two weeks of negotiations among representatives from almost 200 countries, the COP28 climate summit closed on a “historic” note: an agreement that calls for “transitioning away” from fossil fuels in order to avoid climate disaster. The deal was not without criticism, with some disappointed by the agreement’s relatively weak language, and others questioning China’s ambiguous climate commitments. Leading China’s delegation was Zhao Yingmin, vice-minister of ecology and environment. He was flanked by his minister Huang Runqiu, special climate envoy Xie Zhenhua (due to...

Hong Kong

Latest

Hong Kong Government Pushes New Homegrown National Security Law

On Tuesday, the Hong Kong government released a 110-page consultation document that outlined plans for yet another national security law. This homegrown law joins a long list of recent initiatives by the government to increase its political control in the city, from youth “deradicalization” programs for political protesters to imitating Beijing’s “patriotic education” laws. Nectar Gan from CNN summarized the new legislation: The proposed legislation will cover offenses including treason, theft of state secrets, espionage and external interference, in what Hong Kong officials say will “fill...