Posted by Alice Xin Liu on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 3:39 PM
Michael Anti (安替), is a well-known Chinese blogger who used to work for the New York Times as a researcher and made headlines when his Windows Live blog was deleted by Microsoft for its content.
Anti has been awarded fellowships at Harvard and Cambridge, and as the Niemen Fellow at Harvard 07－08, he quite notedly said that it was not difficult for information to be stopped in China, because once a service like Twitter is stopped, then the most popular ways for information dissemination will end for a while.
Ethan Zuckerman, the co-founder of Global Voices Online, had this to say about Anti in 2007:
On the topic of the Twitter service in China, Anti has a good deal to say, especially in terms of the somewhat flowering place that "Twitterland" had become in China, just like the golden age of the "blogosphere" of a couple of years ago. Especially as noted figures such as columnist Lian Yue and journalist Hu Yong are huge Twitterers themselves. Anti encourages subscription to his Twitter.
Anti also answered some questions about the online journal that he started, and based on his experience in American media (as a researcher and as visiting fellow to universities), his experience with western media.
Danwei: What are you doing now?
Danwei: What are you hoping to achieve with the Far and Wide Journal？
Chinese readers know everything that happens in the Middle East, where China has fewer interests, but they seldom read stories that have happened in China's neighboring countries, like Russia and the ASEAN.
When Chinese investors have already had great influence in Africa, this continent only occasionally appears in the crisis reports which themselves are lazily translated from English coverage. Worst of all, when liberal media give up defining China's national interest in the new globalized world, Global Times is selling cheap nationalism to millions of young readers, making them more hostile to the rest of the world.
My intention was to organize an independent professional analysis group consisting of journalists, scholars, columnists and students, who will continue to research on a single country, area or topic for years. Every week, we publish online a collection of their political analyses. It's a kind of civil think-tank on international politics. We offer Chinese media readers an alternative option from lazy translation or nationalist propaganda.
China is rising and more and more people need to know what really happens in the world and what they mean to us Chinese. I hope Far & Wide Journal will have some role in shaping the Chinese people's worldviews － their becoming more liberal and open.
Danwei: When blogging became big in China, you were one of the first to keep one. Do you feel the same way about blogging today, as you felt then? What's changed?
It's also time-consuming. I spent more and more hours on research before I finished a blog post. A large readership also meant that any tiny fault in the post was a shame for me.
Next month, I will start a professional blog focusing on Technology and Politics with a friend, which is in fact a blog-style column based on serious research.
Danwei: You worked as a researcher at the New York Times. How would you characterize their attitude towards China news, and what type of stories most interest them?
But without knowing the linguistic, cultural and social background of China, some foreign journalists will continuously do their superficial journalism. That's OK. We Chinese also have the Global Times, right?
Danwei: In terms of new media, do you still feel that in China censors could control everything that's happening in this area － you once said that if they shut off twitter, for example, it would be very easy, and information will just not get out.
By the way, I want to point out that the Chinese Twitterland is funnier than the English one, for a Chinese tweet can have three times the volume of an English tweet, thanks to the high information intensity of the Chinese language. 140 Chinese characters can make up all the full elements of a news piece with the "5 Ws" (Who, What, Where, When and HoW). But the joy of the Chinese Twitterland is more fragile, and I hope that it will live longer in this country.
Links and Sources
Jobs in China
Henry on The Eurasian Face
Caroline W on Big in China
Michael on Julia Lovell on translating Lu Xun's complete fiction: "His is an angry, searing vision of China"
Brandon K. on Clueless academic takes on popular fantasy novels
China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
Books on China
The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
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From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Korean history doesn't fly on Chinese TV screens (2007.09): SARFT puts the kibbosh on Korean historical dramas.
+ Religion and government in an uneasy mix (2008.03): Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊) article from October, 2007, on government influence on religious practice in Tibet.
+ David Moser on Mao impersonators (2004.10): I first became aware of this phenomenon in 1992 when I turned on a Beijing TV variety show and was jolted by the sight of "Mao Zedong" and "Zhou Enlai" playing a game of ping pong. They both gave short, rousing speeches, and then were reverently interviewed by the emcee, who thanked them profusely for taking time off from their governmental duties to appear on the show.