Netizen Voices: In Hu Xijin Controversy, Nationalist Netizens Turn On One of Their Own

Last week, a Weibo post by the CCP Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, China’s top legal enforcement authority, ignited a firestorm of controversy on Chinese social media. The controversy began after the Commission’s account uploaded a post comparing the mass funeral pyres in India amid the country’s worst coronavirus outbreak with China’s recent Tianhe space station rocket launch. One focal point of the ensuing social media storm was a public spat between two prominent outspoken Party supporters: the state-backed Global Times tabloid’s...

As India is being ravaged by COVID, the most basic sympathy for those suffering as we did is fundamentally human—it has nothing to do with patriotism, it is basic decency.

-@十分正经研究所 on Weibo

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Timeline: Two Months of Turmoil at Hong Kong Public Broadcaster RTHK

Over the weekend, the embattled Hong Kong public broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) announced that it would begin deleting its own programming from the internet, including all content over a year old. It is a chilling move by the broadcaster, which has been embroiled in turmoil following a change of management with the appointment of civil servant Patrick Li as its Director of Broadcasting in February. On Monday, the broadcaster also formally fired Nabela Qoser, an outspoken RTHK journalist who gained widespread recognition during the 2019-2020 protests for her hard hitting...

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After Chinese Sanctions, EU-China Investment Deal on the Rocks

A little over four months after the European Union hastily signed a landmark investment agreement with China in a move hailed by Beijing as a diplomatic success, efforts by the E.U. to ratify the agreement are now reportedly on hold. The E.U. trade commissioner announced the pause on Tuesday, reflecting a rapid decline in sentiment towards China and following a bitter sanctions feud in March that saw Beijing target European ambassadors, politicians, and academics in response to E.U. sanctions on security officials in Xinjiang. For Politico Europe, Stuart Lau reported on the suspension of...

Translation: The Hundred Childless Days

Thirty years ago, Guan County, Shandong Province launched the “Hundred Childless Days” campaign under the aegis of national family planning, known in the West as the “one-child policy.” The birthplace of the “Boxers” was deemed to have too high a birth rate by the provincial government. County officials sought to correct this by ensuring that not a single baby was born between May 1 and August 10, 1991. As local accounts attest, authorities in the area went to extraordinarily inhumane lengths to be the “best” at reproducing the least. In what...

Translation: An Apology to the People of India

Last week, as India’s daily count of new COVID-19 cases had been over 300,000 (at least) for more than a week, Xi Jinping offered a gesture of goodwill despite abiding economic and diplomatic rivalries between the two nations. Chinese state media reported that in a personal message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Xi expressed his concern and desire to offer additional assistance: “Mankind is a community of common destiny sharing weal and woe and only through unity and cooperation can the nations of the world ultimately overcome the pandemic.” Xi also offered his optimism...

Netizen Voices: In Hu Xijin Controversy, Nationalist Netizens Turn On One of Their Own

Last week, a Weibo post by the CCP Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, China’s top legal enforcement authority, ignited a firestorm of controversy on Chinese social media. The controversy began after the Commission’s account uploaded a post comparing the mass funeral pyres in India amid the country’s worst coronavirus outbreak with China’s recent Tianhe space station rocket launch. One focal point of the ensuing social media storm was a public spat between two prominent outspoken Party supporters: the state-backed Global Times tabloid’s...

Three Convicted of Rioting in HK Despite No Evidence of Involvement

A Hong Kong court has convicted three people of rioting, jailing them for at least four years despite a lack of evidence that they played any role in the riot. This is the latest conviction since a higher court upheld the doctrine of “joint enterprise” in riot and unlawful assembly prosecutions earlier this year, vastly expanding the scope of both offenses to include people not directly placed at the scene of a protest. Hong Kong public broadcaster RTHK reported on the convictions on Thursday: The District Court on Wednesday handed down jail sentences of at least four years to...

Translation: Young Woman’s Unjust Prison Sentence Sparks Acts Of “Digital Disobedience”

Online censorship has again inspired netizens to stage a collective act of digital disobedience. In this case, a young policewoman was sentenced to over a decade in prison after her former “lovers,” a clique of powerful county officials, accused her of extortion. As an act of protest at the injustice of her case and official censorship of netizen outrage, one WeChat account organized an online protest poetry exhibition. In the government’s telling (shared on Weibo), a series of powerful officials in Jiangsu Province’s Guannan County had sexual relations with then 19-year-old  Xu Yan soon...

Q&A: Leta Hong Fincher on China’s Resilient Feminists

A former journalist, Leta Hong Fincher was the first American to receive a PhD in Sociology from Tsinghua University in Beijing. Her research there led to her first book, “Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China,” which examined rising gender inequalities in China today through the lens of economics, marriage, and the real estate market. Her widely acclaimed second book, “Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China,” examines the rise of a new feminist movement in China and profiles several of the key participants, including the...

After Chinese Sanctions, EU-China Investment Deal on the Rocks

A little over four months after the European Union hastily signed a landmark investment agreement with China in a move hailed by Beijing as a diplomatic success, efforts by the E.U. to ratify the agreement are now reportedly on hold. The E.U. trade commissioner announced the pause on Tuesday, reflecting a rapid decline in sentiment towards China and following a bitter sanctions feud in March that saw Beijing target European ambassadors, politicians, and academics in response to E.U. sanctions on security officials in Xinjiang. For Politico Europe, Stuart Lau reported on the suspension of...

Netizen Voices: In Hu Xijin Controversy, Nationalist Netizens Turn On One of Their Own

Last week, a Weibo post by the CCP Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, China’s top legal enforcement authority, ignited a firestorm of controversy on Chinese social media. The controversy began after the Commission’s account uploaded a post comparing the mass funeral pyres in India amid the country’s worst coronavirus outbreak with China’s recent Tianhe space station rocket launch. One focal point of the ensuing social media storm was a public spat between two prominent outspoken Party supporters: the state-backed Global Times tabloid’s...

China Responds To Labor Activists’ Demands With Repression, Arrests

Earlier this year, efforts to unionize China’s seven million food-delivery drivers were battered by the arrests of Chen Guojiang, or “Mengzhu” to his thousands of social media followers, and a host of other prominent labor leaders. Drivers and couriers work long, dangerous hours and receive dismal pay, if they receive pay at all—an Ele.me courier’s self immolation over unpaid wages went viral in January. At Labor Notes earlier this month, Karl Hu wrote about the activism which led to Chen Guojiang’s detention: Chen set up 16 chat groups on the popular Chinese social media app WeChat,...

Three Convicted of Rioting in HK Despite No Evidence of Involvement

A Hong Kong court has convicted three people of rioting, jailing them for at least four years despite a lack of evidence that they played any role in the riot. This is the latest conviction since a higher court upheld the doctrine of “joint enterprise” in riot and unlawful assembly prosecutions earlier this year, vastly expanding the scope of both offenses to include people not directly placed at the scene of a protest. Hong Kong public broadcaster RTHK reported on the convictions on Thursday: The District Court on Wednesday handed down jail sentences of at least four years to...

Chinese Countryside Better Off Than Ever Before, While Some Reforms Stagnate

In early December, President Xi Jinping declared that China had eliminated absolute poverty. His announcement was the culmination of a years-long campaign that sought to raise the annual income of every person in China’s countryside above 4,000 yuan. The Economist reviewed the campaign and found it largely effective in eliminating the destitution previously endemic to China’s countryside: Sceptics understandably ask whether China fiddled its numbers in order to win what it calls the “battle against poverty”. There are of course still isolated cases of abject deprivation. China, however, set...

Politics

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Netizen Voices: In Hu Xijin Controversy, Nationalist Netizens Turn On One of Their Own

Last week, a Weibo post by the CCP Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, China’s top legal enforcement authority, ignited a firestorm of controversy on Chinese social media. The controversy began after the Commission’s account uploaded a post comparing the mass funeral pyres in India amid the country’s worst coronavirus outbreak with China’s recent Tianhe space station rocket launch. One focal point of the ensuing social media storm was a public spat between two prominent outspoken Party supporters: the state-backed Global Times tabloid’s...

Human Rights

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Netizen Voices: “Don’t Just Support Xinjiang Cotton, Support Xinjiang People”

On Chinese social media, outrage at Western clothing brands that expressed concern about forced labor in Xinjiang continued into its second day on Thursday. Throngs of influential figures have joined in the “Support Xinjiang cotton” movement, including official government spokespeople, state media, and celebrities. But as observers pointed out, “support Xinjiang cotton” netizens represent just one subset of voices, while dissenters are marginalized by censorship and platform manipulation, if not outright banned. Nonetheless, some netizens braved the backlash to...

Society

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Netizen Voices: “With Its Own Actions, China Has Proved That What Chloé Zhao Said Was True”

Chloé Zhao made history on Sunday as the first woman of color to win an Oscar for best director. Her film “Nomadland” also took the top prize as the 2021 best picture. But in China, the country of Zhao’s birth, celebrations were muted by a state coordinated blackout of coverage of the awards, following a nationalist backlash in March, when users dug up a comment by Zhao from 2013 that was critical of China. The Wall Street Journal’s Liza Lin reported on the censored coverage of Zhao’s victory: Ms. Zhao’s win, just the second time a woman has walked away with...

China & the World

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Taiwan Under Threat… But Is War Really Imminent?

In response to the Biden administration’s diplomatic overtures to Taiwan, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force made repeated incursions into Taiwanese airspace, raising hackles across both the Strait and the Pacific. The tensions began last week after the State Department relaxed rules limiting official visits to Taiwan—a policy first implemented by Trump-era Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but initially ignored by the Biden team. At The Financial Times, Demetri Sevastopulo wrote about what the new regulations mean for how American officials can, and cannot, engage with Taiwan:...

Law

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Three Convicted of Rioting in HK Despite No Evidence of Involvement

A Hong Kong court has convicted three people of rioting, jailing them for at least four years despite a lack of evidence that they played any role in the riot. This is the latest conviction since a higher court upheld the doctrine of “joint enterprise” in riot and unlawful assembly prosecutions earlier this year, vastly expanding the scope of both offenses to include people not directly placed at the scene of a protest. Hong Kong public broadcaster RTHK reported on the convictions on Thursday: The District Court on Wednesday handed down jail sentences of at least four years to...

Information Revolution

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The Virus of Lies: 2020’s Top Ten Ministry of Truth Directives (Translation)

Our colleagues at CDT Chinese have put together a list of the Top Ten Directives from the Ministry of Truth. We have translated the introductory text and the list of directives, many of which have previously been posted in English on CDT. In 2020, all of our lives have been rewritten by the spread of coronavirus. As of December 20, there have been 76,400,000 confirmed cases globally, and 1,690,000 people have lost their lives. This public health disaster could have been averted, or at least to largely contained December 30 of last year. Talk of “new SARS cases” was already circulating among...

Culture & the Arts

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Netizen Voices: “With Its Own Actions, China Has Proved That What Chloé Zhao Said Was True”

Chloé Zhao made history on Sunday as the first woman of color to win an Oscar for best director. Her film “Nomadland” also took the top prize as the 2021 best picture. But in China, the country of Zhao’s birth, celebrations were muted by a state coordinated blackout of coverage of the awards, following a nationalist backlash in March, when users dug up a comment by Zhao from 2013 that was critical of China. The Wall Street Journal’s Liza Lin reported on the censored coverage of Zhao’s victory: Ms. Zhao’s win, just the second time a woman has walked away with...

The Great Divide

Latest

Chinese Countryside Better Off Than Ever Before, While Some Reforms Stagnate

In early December, President Xi Jinping declared that China had eliminated absolute poverty. His announcement was the culmination of a years-long campaign that sought to raise the annual income of every person in China’s countryside above 4,000 yuan. The Economist reviewed the campaign and found it largely effective in eliminating the destitution previously endemic to China’s countryside: Sceptics understandably ask whether China fiddled its numbers in order to win what it calls the “battle against poverty”. There are of course still isolated cases of abject deprivation. China, however, set...

Sci-Tech

Latest

China Responds To Labor Activists’ Demands With Repression, Arrests

Earlier this year, efforts to unionize China’s seven million food-delivery drivers were battered by the arrests of Chen Guojiang, or “Mengzhu” to his thousands of social media followers, and a host of other prominent labor leaders. Drivers and couriers work long, dangerous hours and receive dismal pay, if they receive pay at all—an Ele.me courier’s self immolation over unpaid wages went viral in January. At Labor Notes earlier this month, Karl Hu wrote about the activism which led to Chen Guojiang’s detention: Chen set up 16 chat groups on the popular Chinese social media app WeChat,...

Environment

Latest

Xi Attends White House Climate Summit Where Coal Is On The Menu

Chinese President Xi Jinping virtually attended a White House climate summit, fueling hopes that Joe Biden’s policy of “extreme competition” will propel both countries to combat the climate crisis. Before the summit, Biden climate envoy John Kerry travelled to China. “We talked a lot about coal,” Kerry told the press. At The New York Times, Somini Sengupta wrote about how coal is central to U.S.-China climate diplomacy: Coal is the lightning rod of climate diplomacy this year, as countries scramble to rebuild their economies after the coronavirus pandemic while at the same time, stave off...

Hong Kong

Latest

Three Convicted of Rioting in HK Despite No Evidence of Involvement

A Hong Kong court has convicted three people of rioting, jailing them for at least four years despite a lack of evidence that they played any role in the riot. This is the latest conviction since a higher court upheld the doctrine of “joint enterprise” in riot and unlawful assembly prosecutions earlier this year, vastly expanding the scope of both offenses to include people not directly placed at the scene of a protest. Hong Kong public broadcaster RTHK reported on the convictions on Thursday: The District Court on Wednesday handed down jail sentences of at least four years to...

Taiwan

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G7 Meeting Focuses on China and Taiwan

The agenda of this past week’s Group of Seven summit—a meeting of top officials from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States—more or less revolved around a single question: what to do with a problem like China? In the words of Ash Jain, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, “The broader context for these meetings is […] the authoritarian challenge that China presents to the democratic world.” At Bloomberg News, Alberto Nardelli and Nick Wadhams wrote about back-stage maneuvering aimed at forging consensus on dealing with China: A paper was...

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