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
To go viral in China, creativity may be pointless
Can virality be taught? The more than 20 people gathered in a room in Shenzhen, in China’s southern Guangdong province, certainly think so.  Some have forked out as much as $1,400 for a weekend crash course on how to create short, funny videos that will get lots of views on Douyin, ByteDance’s Chinese version of its short-video app TikTok. Lots of clicks lead to potential advertising endorsements, or so the equation goes. Zhang Bo, a moon-faced man in his late 30s, is the man who promises to unlock the secrets of creating crazy popular videos.  Perched on a white table at the front of the class, Zhang regaled us with how one client made over $10.1 million in just three days following his met
‘China’s Facebook’ launches its Hail Mary comeback attempt
Zeng Mou, who lives in Guangxi, in the southwest of China, first got his Renren account in 2006.  The Chinese social networking site was part of daily life for the college student, who would regularly post photos and engage with his friends on the platform. Fourteen years down the road, the now 33-year-old civil servant still logs on daily “just out of habit,” but there is hardly anyone to engage with. “Nobody uses it,” he said of the once-popular platform that was known as “China’s Facebook.” Old-timers like Zeng, who have been hoping for the revival of the platform, have some reason to cheer now.  Renren launched its first social networking mobile app last Monday in a bid to attract new
Meet the original meme lord
Hong Kong-based 9GAG serves up memes, gifs and videos to 150 million users a month.  The site has more than 45 million Instagram followers, and 39 million likes on Facebook. The site’s come under fire for re-posting content from other websites, but that hasn’t hurt its popularity.  Inkstone spoke to the site’s founder and CEO Ray Chan about the increasingly short lifespan of memes, and having to stay up to date with the internet – even when you only understand half of it.
Shady memes and shady media: the aftermath of an eye-roll
It's a train wreck the world can't stop watching.  The questions one reporter, Zhang Huijun, asked at a meeting of China's political elite were so bad that a fellow journalist, Liang Xiangyi, became a social media hero when she rolled her eyes in disdain. Internet sleuths and political analysts have zoomed in on the questioner, raising uncomfortable questions that have pierced the usual pageantry associated with the annual legislative meetings in Beijing. On Friday, nearly a thousand people signed a petition on a White House website demanding an investigation into the US media company that Zhang said she worked for. “Propagandist agency”? The petition accuses the company, American Multimedi
Will China be the first to develop an unhackable internet?
Currently underway in Austin, Texas, the South by Southwest festival gives the globe a peek at the future of music, film and tech. Inkstone is adding to the conversation in a series about Chinese scientists working on breakthroughs that could revolutionize everyday life. Today, we take a look at a team of scientists building an “unhackable” internet. So what makes it unhackable? Quantum broadband.  This technology, which uses quantum mechanics rather than the binary logic that currently powers our digital technology, has been discussed and developed for decades – but it's still in its infancy.  Quantum computing works by sending information about miniscule particules – for example, the exact
The epic eye-roll that set the Chinese Internet ablaze
The breaking news at China’s National People’s Congress is normally all about top-level politics and economic targets.  But this time around, it’s a spectacular eye-roll that has set the Chinese internet ablaze.  Dressed in a maroon blazer, Zhang Huijun of the little-known American Multimedia Television USA spent 40 seconds asking long-winded and rambling questions to government official Xiao Yaqing during a press conference. What she said “I am Zhang Huijun, the executive director of AMTV USA. My question is: Improving the state-owned assets-management system and strengthening state-asset supervision by focusing on capital management is something that everyone is concerned about. As the ch