Useless Edison apologizes for making an “invention” that replicates an ancient torture device
His millions of internet fans call him the ‘Useless Edison’ for his eccentric inventions but this time, he’s gone too far. The Chinese internet star has apologized after a video of his latest invention – a wooden donkey that appeared to be modeled after a torture device that originated in China’s Song dynasty (960-1279) - was attacked online.  The original torture device, called the "wooden horse" is regarded as one of the most cruel torture devices ever invented, and it was mostly used on women that were deemed to be disobedient against men.  Victims, mostly women, were strapped to the device, and then paraded around the streets to receive a public shaming, as wood – or metal – nails embed
Uncle Roger tells critics to ‘unfollow’ him if they’re not happy
Nigel Ng’s dumpling drama shows no signs of going cold with the Malaysian-born ‘Uncle Roger’ star telling his online detractors that he made “zero dollars from Chinese social media” and “just wanted to make people laugh.” The British-based comedian made the comments after receiving major backlash from followers for taking down a video from his YouTube channel that featured another internet star, Mike Chen, from the Strictly Dumpling channel. Chen has been vocal in his repeated criticism of the Chinese government, a fact Ng claimed to be unaware of. Ng was then accused of bowing to pressure from China for removing the video, although no anti-China sentiments had been made in it. In a new vid
Digital ‘cleanse’: TripAdvisor among 105 apps blocked in China
China’s powerful internet regulator has removed 105 apps, including TripAdvisor, as part of an ongoing crackdown to clean up cyberspace. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said in a statement on Tuesday the apps were considered to be in violation of several laws and regulations, although it would not provide details of the “illegal” content. It said they were pulled from stores in an effort to stop the spread of “obscene, pornographic, violent and other illegal” online content, including gambling and prostitution. Most of the apps belonged to Chinese companies, and it was unclear why the US travel giant Tripadvisor, which features hotel and restaurant reviews, was caught up in the
Hot Tibetan herdsman and Xinjiang horseback riding beauty are leading a regional tourism push
Local provinces in China are trying to cash in on attractive online influencers as a new way to boost local tourism. They hope to replicate the experience of Zhaxi Dingzhen, a 20-year-old Tibetan herdsman from Sichuan who became an internet sensation over a viral video showcasing what fans described as his “pure smile” and rugged appearance.  Regional governments are now scouring their populations for local ambassadors to help promote more remote areas of China to the rest of the country.  It is similar to a previous phenomenon of farmers in China earning acclaim by live-streaming their rural lifestyles. The most famous example is Li Ziqi, who presents an idyllic rural lifestyle to her milli
Virtual idols are the next internet trend in China
During a marathon live-stream on popular Chinese video platform Bilibili last month, Hiseki Erio performed for nine hours straight to 90,000 online viewers, of whom more than 3,000 were premium subscribers to her channel.  What makes the Japanese-speaking Erio stand out from other stars is that she is also a virtual idol. Unlike Vocaloids (digital avatars manipulated and run by computer programs), virtual idols are something of a digital-analog hybrid: avatars in the form of an animation or hologram but with real human voices, and with movements and facial expressions based on those of a real person. Virtual idols first appeared in Japan in the 1990s. They have, in recent years, caught the
Tibetan heartthrob charms millions with ‘pure smile’
A young Tibetan man has become a national heartthrob in China after millions of people became fans of his “clean eyes and pure smile.”   In a video released November 11, Zhaxi Dingzhen, a 20-year-old native of Litang, a remote county in Sichuan province, smiles as he walks toward the camera with his swarthy skin, big eyes, long eyelashes and thick but messy hair. He was walking in front of his home on the Tibetan plateau and smiling toward the camera a bit shyly. The video quickly went viral, receiving over 2.7 million likes and 135,000 comments, most of which complimented the man.  “He is so handsome! I’ve seen this video dozens of times,” wrote one user on Douyin, the Chinese version of T
Foreigners join China’s live-stream sales army
China’s live-stream retail market is projected to grow to be worth $145 billion in 2020, according to iiMedia Research. The increase has been linked to a surge in online activity during the coronavirus pandemic. But Chinese retailers are eager to expand their businesses beyond the country and are hiring multilingual foreigners living in China to approach customers abroad.  
China’s capital wants to punish people for ‘defaming’ traditional Chinese medicine
A draft regulation issued by Beijing’s city government that seeks to punish people for “defaming” traditional Chinese medicine has triggered fierce opposition online. The planned regulation, which was released for public consultation in May, is aimed at expanding the use of traditional Chinese medicine in the health care system, from cancer treatment to infectious disease prevention. One proposed clause bans people from “denigrating or defaming traditional Chinese medicine”. Violating the rule could result in criminal punishment. Despite the limited scientific evidence supporting its effectiveness, traditional Chinese medicine is seen by the Communist Party as a source of national pride and
Digital gap between China’s cities and the countryside is shrinking
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Index features a single, illuminating number that helps you make sense of China. 3.6 percentage points: the gap between the ability for rural and urban Chinese youth to access the internet. Young people in rural China are catching up with their city counterparts when it comes to going online. About 94% of urban Chinese youth have access to the internet, compared to 90.3% of rural youth, according to the China Internet Network Information Center, a government agency. The difference of 3.6 percentage points shrank from last year’s number of 5.4 percentage points, the center said in a report on internet access for people between the age of 6 and 18. China s
China has blocked one of the world’s biggest fanfiction sites
Archive of Our Own (AO3), one of the world’s biggest fanfiction sites, appeared to be blocked in China on Saturday as regulators further tightened internet controls. Some users furiously blamed fans of a popular actor for the government’s action. “Unfortunately, the Archive of Our Own is currently inaccessible in China,” the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW), a US non-profit group that operates AO3, said on its Twitter account. It added that it could not resolve the problem since the disconnection is not caused by AO3’s servers. OTW did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday. Calls to the country’s internet watchdog, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) a