Tracking the cat and mouse game of social media censorship in China
July 21, 2019 remains seared into Hongkongers’ memories for the shocking images and videos of white-shirted men, some suspected to be gangsters, beating protesters and train passengers with sticks in the Yuen Long railway station. Over the border in mainland China, the date evokes a memory of a different scenario: black-clad protesters converging on Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong and defacing the national emblem of the People’s Republic of China. Until that day, Chinese media had been silent on protests erupting in Hong Kong. The protests were sparked by a now withdrawn extradition bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent for trial on the mainland, among other jurisdi
Tracking the cat and mouse game of social media censorship in China
The short video app at the center of a US security debate
The videos look innocuous enough. Selfies. Stunts. Scripted comedy. cat lady in training pic.twitter.com/LKovVQYknh — TikTok (@tiktok_us) November 2, 2019 But TikTok, a rare Chinese-owned social media app that has thrived outside China, has found itself the target of a serious accusation: threatening American security. The intensifying scrutiny on the app, owned by the Chinese internet giant ByteDance, has come amid rising suspicion in Washington of Beijing’s growing global influence. US lawmakers and critics of the Chinese government have accused the popular video-sharing app of potentially allowing China’s ruling Communist Party to exploit information about its millions of American users f
The short video app at the center of a US security debate
Publishers look to stop printing in China to avoid the map police
Publishers from Australia and New Zealand are looking for printers outside China after falling foul of censorship laws that require maps to be vetted. A number of businesses have been hit by delays or cancellations – even if the books in question are not intended for local distribution or do not contain China-related content. Awa Press, a New Zealand publisher, suffered a one-month production delay in October last year when printing the fourth edition of a travel book called Antarctica Cruising Guide because the book contained a map of Antarctica and the Chinese printers needed the extra time to have the map vetted. “We would have to think about whether we will continue printing in China or
 Publishers look to stop printing in China to avoid the map police
Censorship in China’s film industry is spreading
A martial arts movie depicting a group of Chinese swordsmen battling the Japanese army in 1933 has become the latest film to be canceled amid growing censorship in China’s entertainment industry.  The producer of The Hidden Sword cited “market reasons” for its cancelation, a euphemism that industry insiders say refers to censorship.  The pulled film is the latest example of an expanding censorship drive in the entertainment industry, during a year with many political anniversaries.  The Hidden Sword is about a group of outgunned soldiers from the Chinese Nationalist Party who resort to using swords, handguns and hand grenades in a key battle against Japanese troops equipped with ample heavy
Censorship in China’s film industry is spreading
When Chinese students were given the uncensored internet
Part of living in mainland China is living with a censored internet. But what’s that doing to the people growing up behind the “Great Firewall”? A recent study has found that the perils of living with such a controlled internet go beyond simply having limited access to valuable information. In fact, censorship in China is fostering a society where people no longer demand uncensored information at all, according to research published in the American Economic Association. “Citizens with access to uncensored internet may not seek out politically sensitive information, due to lack of interest in politics, fear of government reprisal, and unawareness or distrust of foreign news outlets,” the rese
When Chinese students were given the uncensored internet
An actress ‘liked’ a video of Hong Kong protests, and regrets it
A Hong Kong celebrity has been compelled to declare her love for China after she “liked” an Instagram post showing protests against Beijing. Charmaine Sheh Sze-man, a Hong Kong actress popular in mainland China, denied she was supporting protests against a proposal to allow extraditions to the mainland that triggered massive demonstrations in her home city. The internet attacks against her on mainland Chinese social media after she “liked” the video highlight the political tightrope that actors and other performers in Hong Kong must walk. Mainland China has overtaken the city as the main income source for many of them. Those who have defied Beijing’s official line have been punished by boyco
An actress ‘liked’ a video of Hong Kong protests, and regrets it
CBS show censored in China despite removal of segment critical of Beijing
CBS has been accused of pandering to Beijing after it pulled an animated segment from legal drama The Good Fight that criticized censorship in China. The irony was not lost on the network’s critics. But despite CBS’ self-censorship, the show is being erased from the Chinese internet after it depicted China’s mass internment of a Muslim minority in the western region of Xinjiang. The popular online movie database Douban has delisted the latest season of the show and shut down an accompanying discussion board. Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media site, has deleted a discussion page about the show with at least half a billion views. Even American Drama Everyday, or TianTian Meiju, an unaut
CBS show censored in China despite removal of segment critical of Beijing
China’s Tinder pulled from app stores
Tantan, a popular Tinder-like dating app in China, has been removed from several app stores in the country amid a government crackdown on content that it considers inappropriate. Since its founding in 2014, Tantan has grown into one of the country’s top dating apps with more than 100 million monthly users, according to figures released by the company. The suspension of Tantan comes as Beijing has tightened its control over the Chinese internet under President Xi Jinping. Chinese censors have in recent months ramped up a campaign to remove content it calls “negative information,” including pornography, gambling, fake news and political dissent. In mid-April, China’s internet watchdog shut dow
China’s Tinder pulled from app stores
Condom ads leave a bad taste in tea lovers’ mouths
In a country where sex remains a largely taboo subject, the condom maker Durex has managed to endear itself to many young Chinese people with ads loaded with humor and innuendo. Then it went too far. The condom maker’s social media campaign with the popular Chinese bubble tea brand Heytea has prompted an online outcry over the weekend. On Friday, Durex posted a picture of a white, creamy droplet coming out of a bubble tea cup with the tagline: “Tonight, not a drop left.” “Do you remember our second date?” Durex said in an accompanying post. “I said to you: ‘your first bite is the most precious.’” “I remember the date,” Heytea, most famous for setting off China’s cheese topping frenzy, repli
Condom ads leave a bad taste in tea lovers’ mouths
Bohemian Rhapsody will have gay content censored for China release
Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody is hot off four wins at the 2019 Oscars, including a Best Actor going for Rami Malek’s performance as the band’s lead singer Freddie Mercury. Now it’s been given permission to open in the lucrative and massive China market – with a few small changes. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the biopic will open in mid-March only after cuts are made to the film to remove portrayals of drug use and several kisses between Mercury and other men. That’s a pretty major edit, given that Mercury’s fluid sexuality is a key plot point in the movie. China’s censors have had inconsistent views of LGBT content in cinema, but in recent years they have been harsher in their supp
Bohemian Rhapsody will have gay content censored for China release