chinaSMACK: translating the most outrageous of Chinese BBS

Jeremy Goldkorn at Danwei published an interview with the founder and contributors of chinaSMACK.  china SMACK offers a look at “Hot internet stories, pictures, & videos in China.  What’s popular, scandalous, or shocking that have the Chinese talking.”  Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

When did you first start following Chinese online conversation, and have you noticed any big changes in Chinese online culture since then?
I started to read BBS forums every day maybe 2 or 3 years ago. Before that, I used to to read them but not so often as every day. I think the big changes for Chinese online culture are that Chinese netizens are now more funny, more yellow, and maybe more free.

However, I think it is also very clear that the Chinese government cares more about the Internet now than before also and many “bad” things are deleted very fast too. Sometimes I notice that the source of a post we are working on is deleted before we are finished translating. That makes me worried that if I post it, I will attract too much attention from the government.

I only hope they do not care too much because we are just translating and most Chinese do not read English. We also try to talk only about social things and not very political things like democracy or human rights.

Ping Gao:
When I was 18 or 19, in college I was not as busy as when I was in high school, so I could spent more time on internet. Yeah, big changes! I think the influence of the Internet has been growing. Internet was more about sharing information 6 or 7 years ago, but now it can has social influence as well.

Chinese online culture is not only playing a role as media and as encyclopedia, but it’s also a window for people to know the world, and to let the world know China. This is very important for a growing and changing country.

Kris Chen:
I always receive lots of information from KDS, and it actually makes reading news (TV news, newspaper) unnecessary for me.

Big changes, hmm, basically there are a few changes, but most of them I consider as negative. It’s like people don’t know what to do with their newly granted right, e.g., exposure of private photos without the owner’s consent, taking girls pictures on the streets and posting them on the web, etc. It’s kind of an infringement of others’ legal rights.

Though many online communities provide people with access to various information, people helping each other to solve problems, is kind of encouraging. But basically it seems a higher moral standard is needed.

Joe Xu:
I’m beginning to see the use of more memes or Internet catchphrases that may have resulted from online censorship.


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