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
Internet rehab center operator jailed over teenager’s death
The operator of an internet addiction treatment boot camp in China has been jailed for 16 years after an 18-year-old teen died in the camp. The teenager’s demise is one of a string of deaths in recent years associated with supposed treatments for web addicts, and highlights China’s struggle to respond to an emerging public health threat and social malaise stemming from the country’s explosive rate of internet adoption. In August 2017 the teenager, Li Ao, died under harsh conditions in the Positive Energy Education center in the central province of Anhui, which advertised itself as helping to cure teenagers of internet addiction, Chinese news site Red Star News reported. In October, a Chinese