Model Workers - English Division

Danwei Model Worker Award

Since began publishing in 2003, the number of informative, well-written websites about China has mushroomed. Most of these websites use blogging technology, but many of them are far more complex than a one-person online diary.

So the 2007 list of Danwei Model Workers does not restrict award recipients to blogs, but includes anything that may be called new media.

The Model Worker awards of 2005 are slightly different in tone and focus, as are this year's Chinese division Model Worker awards.

Recipients of the Model Worker awards are decided by Danwei editors. There is no democracy of any kind involved, but please use the comments section to note any website that you think should be here.

China news aggregators and translations from Chinese

The king of China bloggers, Roland Soong is a one man media powerhouse who updates ESWN almost every day with translations from a huge variety of Chinese language sources, together with perceptive, sometimes quirky commentary about politics and media in Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Soong is a professional statistician. His day job involves elucidating or tearing apart competitors' analyses and survey reporting for a media buying agency, so he has the technical skills to destroy arguments based on the erroneous use of statistics.

ESWN stands for East South West North, the order that the Chinese use to list the cardinal points of the compass.

Global Voices China section
Global Voices translates and aggregates blogs from around the world, with the emphasis on developing countries. Global Voices co-founder Rebecca MacKinnon's interest in China has helped to make the China section of the site one of the most active, with frequent contributions by John Kennedy, Oiwan Lam and Frank Dai.

China Media Project
A project of Hong Kong University Journalism School, the China Media Project is an excellent source for viewpoints on Chinese media regulation and new media trends. Contributor David Bandurski translates influential opinion columns and offers insightful analysis of the regulatory landscape.

China Digital Times
Bloggers often call this website CDT. It's updated daily with summaries and links to stories about China in the Western media, and translations from the Chinese media. Jonathan Ansfield's Biganzi column focuses on media and media regulation in China. CDT is a project of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley; it's blocked in China.

Hong Kong based collaborative blog with an activist bent. Lots of China content with sporadic news from other parts of the world.

Blogs of China-based journalists

Richard Spencer
The Beijing correspondent for Britain's Daily Telegraph, Spencer is an amusing commentator on Chinese current affairs and what it is like covering them for a foreign newspaper. The comments sections attracts people who can spell and write adult English, which is rare amongst China blogs.

Tim Johnson
Tim Johnson is a journalist for McClatchy Newspapers. About half of this blog is devoted to stories currently in the Chinese news; the other half presents an interesting look behind the scenes at a reporter going about the business of being a China correspondent, from setting up interviews, to pulling together sources, to getting hauled in for a lecture from the authorities.

Shanghai Scrap
An engaging blog by Adam Minter, a writer whose twin focuses are Chinese Catholicism and the e-scrap trade.

The TIME China blog
The blog of five of Time's China correspondents. The comments section is often the scene of unpleasant spats between Yankee imperialists and angry Chinese youth.

Lindsey Hilsum
Blog posts and short articles by the international news editor of Britain's Channel 4 TV station. Hilsum is currently posted in Beijing, which is part of the reason that Channel 4 has extensive China coverage.

Beijing Newspeak
Entertaining and informative look at the the guts of Xinhua News Agency by a blogger who works as an English polisher there.

Black and White Cat
Thoughtful commentary on China news and occasional revelations from the corridors of CCTV 9, the English language channel of the State broadcaster.

Jodi Xu
This blog of a Chinese news assistant at a major U.S. new magazine is about current events in China and life as a young reporter in Beijing.

China Herald
The blog of a Dutch former foreign correspondent turned entrepreneur, China Herald has been a fixture China's English language blog scene since the early days. Quirky comments and lots of links to stories about media, media regulation and business.

Shenzhen Zen
Adventures in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta of an old school American journalist.

Josie Liu
Blog of Chinese reporter for South China Morning Post. Often points out interesting articles in the Chinese media.

Me Old China
Occasional articles, opinion pieces and essays by China-based journalists who remain anonymous.

Access Asia Weekly Snarkfest
Access Asia is a research firm run by good writers with a specialization in consumer goods and the retail business. They also produce a hilarious, irreverent weekly newsletter that takes on everything from Potemkin eco-villages near Shanghai to Olympic Games hype to reviews of the worst business books about China. The newsletter is available on a link from the Access Asia homepage (no permalink), or you can subscribe to an email version of it by sending a message to

Advertising, marketing and PR

A very funny blog about public relations, communications, tech industry and life in China by an American PR professional who lives in Shanghai.

Madison Boom
Subtitled 'The world filled with egos,' this blog is written by a Chinese advertising industry insider and presents regular updates on new ad campaigns and industry gossip. It's written mostly in English with some Chinese posts.

Digital Watch
News from and analysis of the world of digital marketing and media from Kaiser Kuo and others at the ad agency Ogilvy's China offices.

Sam Flemming
Commentary on word of mouth and brands on the Chinese Internet, by the CEO of CIC Data, a company that analyzes and quantifies online chatter on behalf of multinational companies.

Law and intellectual property

China Law Blog
A blog about business law in China by Dan Harris, based in Seattle, and Steve Dickinson who lives in Shanghai. Both are experienced lawyers whose firm has significant amounts of work in China.

IP Dragon
A blog that tracks news about intellectual property in China, including copyright, patent and trademark law and IPR enforcement.

Business, finance and technology

Silicon Hutong
David Wolf is a very sharp consultant who works in the technology, media and telecom industries in China. His blog covers his areas of professional interest and, once in a while, some general China stuff.

Technology, markets, venture capital, gaming and the Internet in China: tersely worded commentary from a savvy American guy who knows his way around the markets.

China Web 2.0 Review
A Chinese view of the Internet business and Internet startups, China Web 2.0 Review is written by two Chinese guys who work in the industry, and presents clearly thought-out posts about new developments. A valuable resource for anyone interested in Internet innovation in China.

Managing the Dragon
Mr China by Tim Clissold is an entertaining book about China and business. The 'Mr China' of the title is a charismatic investment banker who first came here in 1992, was smitten, and then employed Clissold to help him lose a lot of money. Now, several years after the publication of the book, Mr China is apparently making boatloads of money, or so the business gossips say. Managing the Dragon is a group blog under his leadership.

Wine and booze industry

Grape Wall of China
Wine in China, wine industry gossip an other news from the world of booze. Brought to you by the same "somewhat young China hand on the local drinking scene" who writes the Beijing bar blog Beijing Boyce.

Environment and corporate social responsibiilty (CSR)

China Dialogue
Environmental issues in China. Edited by Isabel Hilton, this blog has a distinguished editorial board, and features a completely-bilingual website - all articles are published in both Chinese and English, and reader comments are translated by the blogging team.

Responsible China
A new blog that is off to an energetic start covering corporate social responsibility and environmental issues in China.

Auto industry

China Car Times
A blog about the car business in China by a British guy who lives in Qingdao, and does consulting work in the auto business, export, sourcing and representation.

City and province blogs

Part of the Gothamist franchise, this group blog publishes Chinese media news, translations from the local media, and news about the Shanghai expat party scene. The editor of the Shanghai site is Dan Washburn.

Opposite End of China
Special blog about the Chinese wild west. Michael Manning in Korla, Xinjiang, offers up news and music videos you don't get on most other blogs.

Go Kunming
News about Kunming and Yunnan.

Surviving Beijing since 1980
Blog by a Belgian guy who has lived in Beijing since 1980.

Liuzhou Laowai
Blog by an eccentric Englishman who lives in Liuzhou, Guangxi province. Read all about fires and holes in south-western China.

Shanghai China Snippets
Life in Shanghai, links, media.

Shanghai Eye
Paintings and art news from Shanghai.

Guangzhou Bang
A recently-launched project to blog current events in the great southern metropolis. Written in a voice that assumes you already know what's going on, it may seem impenetrable at first, but it's great fun once you get into it.

Personal, academic and history blogs

Jottings from the Granite Studio (mainland link)
"A Qing historian reads the newspaper...notes from a student of China and Chinese history" reads the self-description. Readable, historically-informed commentary on current and past events. The blogger also occasionally posts at the Peking Duck, one of the first English language blogs about China, now sadly rather neglected.

China Machete
Posts on pop issues, Chinese news and media, Beijing stuff, and the PLA.

Black China Hand
Subtitled 'random gibberish from a brother on the road', the Black China Hand is a long-established, regularly updated blog that comments on life in Beijing and China news.

Blog Directories

China Blog List
The master index of China-related blogs. Cool maps and search tools. Run by John of Sinosplice, a 'non political look at life in China' and one of the oldest existing blogs about China in English.

Chinalyst, run by FiLi of Filination, aggregates a huge number of China-related blogs. The site recently organized the 2007 China Blog Awards.

Hao Hao report
A Digg-like aggregator that covers China-related information. Doesn't have the critical mass yet to make the front page very interesting, but the submission queue can reveal lots of interesting material you might otherwise overlook.


One Chinese idiom a day, in simplified or traditional characters with pinyin and English translations.

Photographs of Chinese characters as used on signs, advertisements and elsewhere in the public view.

In the Footsteps of Joseph Rock
Occasionally-updated photoblog showing how eastern Tibet looked in the 1920s and how the same places and people look now. Based on the explorations of botanist Joseph Rock.

Mainstream Media Model Workers

The Financial Times' insistence on following the money trail, lack of interest in ideological arguments, and a bureau of power journalists make for unusual coherence in this paper's China coverage.

Other papers to watch: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune and Washington Post, for long feature stories, and The Guardian for straight-up reporting and news that does not make its way into other papers. The South China Morning Post has an antedeluvian paywall that does not allow non-subscribers to see much more than a few phrases of each article, but has extensive China coverage.

The Danwei Model Worker badge is adapted from an old model worker pin issued by Wuxing County, Zhejiang. Founded in 1912 from the merger of three Qing Dyansty counties, Wuxing ceased to exist in 1981 when it was absorbed into Huzhou City. The image was taken from a thread on the Old Badges BBS (陈陈徽章论坛).

There are currently 21 Comments for Model Workers - English Division.

Comments on Model Workers - English Division

The Shanghai Daily is a pretty good source of articles translated from the local Shanghai media, quirky but down-to-earth.


frog in a well not worth it? Collaborative weblog of East Asia studies academics. link

"I'd like to thank the Academy, all the comrades at Danwei Productions, God, Dava TruLight my herbal colonic therapist ... most of all, all 1.3 billion of you out there who helped make SZ Zen such a success..."

This is a great compilation of quality links. Good work.

Inst: Frog in a Well is an unfortunate omission. Their posts are always interesting and frequently on topics that aren't covered anywhere else online. Even if the writers are academics, the posts are quite approachable.

There's also Josh's blog at China Expat. I've only been reading it for a little while, but I think we've linked to it once or twice.

After this list has been up for a while, we'll put up an update into the body of the post.

Shanghai Daily's stuff disappears behind a paywall pretty quick, doesn't it?

Yes it does, rather frustrating. Otherwise they are a very creative and informative site.

Yes, China Car Times is rather good.

Thank you for acknowledging that.

Danwei isn't too shabby either ;)

Many thanks, guys! I am honoured.

Frog in the well is an absolute. Onemanbandwidth, closed for a tour of China, had some fine writing on topical issues that is still archived.
The HAO HAO REPORT is a great aggregator and Ryan is a true servant of the blogging community in China.

For periodicals: while ideologically utterly predictable (and annoying) i thought the Economist pierces through China fog pretty decently too on occasion....

I would love mine to be added, but that's not for me to decide.
China Internet Marketing Blog

However, here is the blog that I would recommend for those actively tracking changes in China:
It does a good daily summary of what happens in China Tech/Internet/Business World.

Cool list. Good to see some old favorites (ESWN, China Digital Times) and a few sites that seem likely to become new favorites.

And cheers for including an "Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility" category. Looking forward to seeing more blogs and links dedicated to these topics.

Hope you don't mind if I mention a blog Brendan O'Kane, Eric Abrahamsen and I started a few months ago: Paper Republic. It is, as far as we know, the only blog dedicated to the translation of contemporary Chinese literature.

All of our contributors are China-based translators of fiction and film. Our authors include some of the finest contemporary Chinese poets, novelists and short-story writers. Although we are just getting started, we have some fantastic excerpts planned for autumn and winter. Contributions and comments from translators, writers, readers and fans of Chinese literature are warmly welcomed.

interesting no mention of the Wall Street Journal crowd, making up in witty banter for their corporate baron's lack of free website (hey, if you're gonna mention the SCMP).

neat trick to read WSJ articles...first link from Google news is free for user no subscription required, can look for the China articles by searching "china" and then click to the article, like here

This website should be in the list...

Thanks for including The Opposite End of China on this list... but one slight correction: I live in Korla (库尔勒) not Urumqi. I've spent the past week being followed around by the people at China Right Here, which is planned to air next year on Tianjin TV. I understand they've been following you around as well?

Score two point for awesome bloggin' Jews in China!

Thanks guys! Appreciate it.

Hey, Twofish is back to his high-quality stuff. I read the entirity of his blog, and he spent too much time being emo (excuse the youth slang) and depressed, but his more recent entries are insightful and useful. Why don't you plug him a bit?

To my surprise, the illustrious visual blog A Glimpse of the World by Howard French, a Shanghai-based writer and NYT reporter, didn't get noticed by the well-informed Danwei editors!

It surely deserves to be recommended under either your "Blogs of China-based journalists" or the "City and province blogs" list.

It's both journalism and art, gentlemen!

Thanks!!! That´s so so useful!!!

Your doing a great job here. You cannot image how helpful of this information is for me...

I came across this blog that might be worth adding:

As its subtitle reads, "This blog gives you a real china’s image by telling real grass-root Chinese’s own story, somehing you’ll never see on offical newspapers."

"Inside-Out China" ( is a literary and cultural blog by a Chinese immigrant writer. You are welcome to take a look.

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