Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Pilot Free-Trade Zone ready to launch [Global Times] #RisingChina #EconomicReform

Economic reform with the prize set on the international marketplace: One giant leap toward rising China 2.0 with pilot free-trade zone established in Shanghai.

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Pilot FTZ ready to launch
By Louise Ho in Shanghai
Source – Global Times, published September 29, 2013

A motorbike rider passes the No. 3 gate of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in Shanghai on Friday. Photo: Cai Xianmin/GT

A motorbike rider passes the No. 3 gate of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in Shanghai on Friday. Photo: Cai Xianmin/GT

The highly anticipated China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) will be officially launched Sunday. The first on the Chinese mainland, the FTZ is seen as an important step in China’s economic reform and the internationalization of the yuan.

The State Council, China’s cabinet, Friday issued detailed plans for the FTZ, which aims to deepen financial innovation and build a business environment that is on a par with international standards.

The 28.78-square-kilometer FTZ will cover the Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone, Waigaoqiao Bonded Logistics Zone, Yangshan Free Trade Port Area and Pudong Airport Comprehensive Free Trade Zone in Shanghai.

Please click here to read the entire article at the Global Times.

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Chinese Model, Communications, Domestic Growth, Finance, global times, Government & Policy, Greater China, History, Ideology, Influence, Infrastructure, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Resources, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, Trade

Meet the NSA’s New Data Centers: Russia, China, and Venezuela [FP] #SurveillanceSociety #RisingChina

X-Keyscore: facilitating a global surveillance society largely unhindered by the tyranny of distance and time.

For more, see how big brother gets complacent: X-Keyscore: The NSA Tool So Secret It’s Advertised on Job Boards

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Meet the NSA’s New Data Centers: Russia, China, and Venezuela
Posted By Elias Groll
Source – Foreign Policy, published Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Source - FP

Source – Guardian

Here’s something the National Security Agency probably isn’t happy to find in Edward Snowden’s latest revelation about its activities: The surprising locations of the servers that make up the program X-KEYSCORE, which, according to one leaked agency presentation, has the ability to vacuum up nearly every move a user makes on the Internet.

Those locations reportedly include China, Ecuador, Russia, Sudan, and Venezuela. In short, the NSA has managed to either place or gain access to servers in a collection of countries that are deeply hostile to the United States. Put another way, computer technicians in every one of those countries are probably combing through their systems right now to figure out ways to boot out the NSA.

The image at the top of this post comes from Wednesday’s Guardian story on X-KEYSCORE, which includes a set of slides described as internal NSA training material. The slide in question says that the program includes roughly 150 sites around the world and spans some 700 servers. The Guardian‘s coverage does not make entirely clear how the program works, but the report seems to outline a system that perches on top of communications infrastructure and sucks up streams of data that the X-KEYSCORE system then sifts into a searchable format. According to theGuardian, the volume of collected information is so large that content is stored on the system for three to five days before being deleted, and metadata stays on the system for 30 days. The picture that emerges is of NSA analysts running searches against a continuous data stream.

Please click here to read the rest/entire article at Foreign Policy. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Cyberattack, Democracy, Government & Policy, Ideology, Influence, Infrastructure, Internet, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Technology, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S.

Talent shows get thumbs down from regulators [Global Times] #RisingChina #CulturalCapital

China takes step toward further media convergence… 国家广播电影电视总局 + 中华人民共和国新闻出版总署 forms tag team as print and broadcast regulator.

To prevent the homogeneous development of TV programs and to provide audiences with diversified choices, a restriction was announced on July 24. A news release from The State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television to Xinhua stated, “Satellite broadcasters should stop investing in any new singing competition shows; shows that have already been produced, but have not yet aired, should not be aired until after the summer vacation; and the series currently being aired should be aligned with different schedules.” See Repeat Offenders (Global Times, July 28, 2013)

Also –

Hong Kong: Two powerful Chinese media regulators merge (see Mondaq.com, July 24, 2013)

According to the Plans for Institutional Reform and Functional Transformation of the State Council, the newly merged ministry of broadcast and press is principally responsible for the overall planning of the development of the press, publication, radio, film and television industries, the supervision and administration of the relevant organizations and businesses, as well as the contents and quality of publications and radio, film and television programs, and copyright administration….

The new “super ministry” was formed by combining and streamlining the functions previously performed by each of SARFT and GAPP separately on its own. Such combination does not appear to have changed the power configuration among itself, the Ministry of Culture, the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (“MIIT”).

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Talent shows get thumbs down from regulators

By Yu Jincui
Source – Global Times, published July 28, 2013

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), formerly known as SARFT, is imposing new restrictions on televised musical talent shows.

It announced last week details of “regulations and controls” to cap the number of singing competition programs, demanding a stop in the creation of new entries in the genre and the postponing of the airing of shows not yet broadcast. It also warned the television stations to avoid “extravagance, dazzling packaging and sensationalism” in the shows, and encouraged originality and creativity in show content.

The purpose of the new regulation, as SAPPRFT stated on Wednesday, is to “avoid the monopoly of television programs, offer the audiences more options and satisfy people’s diverse demands for a more vibrant television culture.”

It has been reported that 13 singing talent shows were previously scheduled to be aired this summer.

Though many questioned whether Chinese audiences need so many repetitive shows, government watchdog’s decision to step in is also disfavored by quite some audience members. They think the decision should be made by the market.

Please click here to read the entire article at the Global Times.

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Censorship, China Dream, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Education, Entertainment, global times, Government & Policy, Great Firewall, Great Wall, Ideology, Influence, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Peaceful Development, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Strategy, The Chinese Identity

Hackers, bloggers and professors team up to tap into blocked microblog content [Global Times] #RisingChina #SocialMedia

Happening inside the Great Firewall right now if one cares to look –  is China’s great convergence of minds deliberating a consensus forward on a scale never seen before.

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Hackers, bloggers and professors team up to tap into blocked microblog content
By Xuyang Jingjing
Source – Global Times, published July 28, 2013

With over 500 million registered users and over 46 million daily active users, Sina Weibo is the largest and most influential social media platform in China. It has also become known as a fostering ground for discussions with a more liberal slant.

But what is not allowed to be discussed on Weibo perhaps says just as much as what can be. There are a number of projects that aim to uncover content blocked on Weibo. Most of the people behind such efforts are China watchers based overseas or foreigners living in China. While they may have different approaches and backgrounds, their efforts are successful in bringing this vanished content back to light.

One such project, Freeweibo.com, won the 2013 Bobs, or Best of the Blogs awards, for best innovation in June. The Bobs awards, started by Deutsche Welle in 2004, are given out in 34 categories in 14 languages, and aim to honor the open exchange of ideas of free expression.

Hu Yong, a professor at Peking University and a new media observer, served as a juror at the awards. He commented that Freeweibo preserves digital memories and makes disappeared content visible again, according to the official website of the Bobs.

Please click here to read the entire article at the Global Times. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Charm Offensive, China Digital Times, China Dream, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Education, Government & Policy, Great Firewall, Human Rights, Ideology, Influence, Infrastructure, Intellectual Property, Internet, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Peaceful Development, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Technology, The Chinese Identity

China’s online population rises to 591 million [AP] #RisingChina #DigitalDivide

Going out to the masses via the wire agencies: China continues to bridge its digital divide.

For more, see China Internet Network Information Center.

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China’s online population rises to 519 million
Source – Associated Press, published July 17, 2013

BEIJING (AP) – China’s population of Internet users has grown to 591 million, driven by a 20 percent rise over the past year in the number of people who surf the Web from smartphones and other wireless devices, an industry group reported Wednesday.

The end-of-June figures from the China Internet Network Information Center represent a 10 percent rise in total Internet use over a year earlier. The number of wireless users rose to 464 million.

The communist government encourages Internet use for business and education but tries to block access to material deemed subversive or obscene. The rise of Web use has driven the growth of new Chinese industries from online shopping and microblogs to online video.

Please click here to read the entire article at the AP site.

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Filed under: AP, Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Education, Government & Policy, Great Firewall, Human Rights, Ideology, Influence, Infrastructure, Internet, Media, Modernisation, Peaceful Development, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity

No firewall for Macao’s new campus [Global Times] #RisingChina #GreatFirewall

On top of a big move from the SAR into mainland, it seems the University of Macau will continue to be exempt from the Great Firewall.

For more, check out the University of Macau’s update on their construction progress here.

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No firewall for Macao’s new campus
By Liu Sha
Source – Global Times, published July 17, 2013

The campus of the University of Macau on the Chinese mainland will be exempt from the restrictions of the Great Firewall, the university’s media officer confirmed to the Global Times Wednesday.

The Internet services on the new campus will be provided by Macao companies, the media officer, surnamed Fok, told the Global Times in an email.

The university is moving its campus from the special administrative region to Hengqin Island, Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, and the new campus will be available in September with more than 10,000 students to be relocated.

“Anything students can access on the Macao campus will be accessible in the new one,” Fok said.

Please click here to access entire article at the Global Times.

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Education, global times, Government & Policy, Great Firewall, Greater China, History, Human Rights, Ideology, Influence, Intellectual Property, Media, Modernisation, Reform, Social, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity

Opening gaokao to non-locals a good first step [Global Times] #RisingChina #GlobalVillage #Education #Gaokao

Early days, as China’s floating sea of migrant workers accounts for 17% its total.

I recall fondly a conversation with a mother of two kids who has run the gauntlet from north to south of China, gaining employment in agriculture everywhere she went. It opened my mind. China internally, had so very much to offer each other. She even ventured as far as Myanmar, but that is for another story.

There are 56 official anchors to the central collective.

But with the digital age opening the floodgates to global village of perspectives, the game changer was China’s own calculated risk to use the Internet to its socio-economic advantage. Yet, very often they are wrongly misinterpreted as a homogenous bunch sucked into one overarching and dominant ‘dream’ narrative by foreign media. There are at maximum potential a working class the world can never match in numbers. Volume. It has been China’s strategy all along.

By settling this roving skilled population, and making them happy -The leaders have on their side a unique form of leverage no one else in the world has. Skilled artisans roving the nation via its expanding transport network, means they can fix things fast. So now they are training for this.

An education at large, liberates the mind. It can only be good they can stay with their parents as a result. At that young age, from 0-7 most parents should attest to how important those years are to socialized and be naturally identified as a parent at a young age.

Nevertheless, the 4,500 involved accounts for just 0.0005% of examinees. Still, a glimmer of an indicator of equitable growth to come.

Of course, the other startling figure in this article is the sheer number of examinees in each year’s gaokao – 9.12 million. It strongly challenges the mind to be graded on the same rubric as almost ten million others. In Singapore, I competed against -a cohort of 30,000 odd. The game plan to compete against a stack so high must be a daunting hurdle…

As many as 9.12 million students from across the country attended this year’s gaokao. It was particularly noteworthy for 4,500 students who were able to sit the exam in the city where they live but don’t hold a local household registration, or hukou. Previously, they would have had to return to their hometowns to take the exam. The policy of opening the gaokao to non-local residents has been implemented in more than 20 provinces and municipalities this year. Shu Meng, Global Times

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Opening gaokao to non-locals a good first step
By Shu Meng
Source – Global Times, published June 8, 2013

Roadblocks were set up and traffic control measures were adopted around many schools in China yesterday, for the first day of the National College Entrance Examination, or gaokao, this year.

The gaokao is, perhaps, the most important moment for most students due to the importance of the results, which will determine the university they attend and even their future fate.

As many as 9.12 million students from across the country attended this year’s gaokao. It was particularly noteworthy for 4,500 students who were able to sit the exam in the city where they live but don’t hold a local household registration, or hukou. Previously, they would have had to return to their hometowns to take the exam. The policy of opening the gaokao to non-local residents has been implemented in more than 20 provinces and municipalities this year.

Please click here to read the full article at the Global Times.

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Human Rights, Ideology, Uncategorized

Censoring Remembrance: China’s Twenty-Fourth Unrealized Commemoration [Three Torches] #RisingChina #TianAnMen

How China sees itself: An encouraging college student post on Tiananmen and the agenda setting chasm of the Great Firewall – between true events and their representations.

Official recognition for this wrong is a long way off, and moving forward, online activity will continue to be a forum where people can lament and lash out, but much of it will remain in electronic form — digital dust in the large scheme of things. Dissent will become more creative, but so will the censorship regime, and at year number twenty-four, Tiananmen is still just one more irreconcilable trauma. Soon it might even cease to exist online, and with that little else can serve as an effective platform for remembrance and discussion in China. Three Torches Blog, June 5, 2013

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CENSORING REMEMBRANCE: CHINA’S TWENTY-FOURTH UNREALIZED COMMEMORATION
by Jonathan Lin, Three Torches Blog
Source – Three Torches Blog, published June 5, 2013

Much has been said — and much more has gone unaddressed — about China’s June 4th 1989 Tiananmen massacre. Yesterday marked the 24th anniversary with still no sense of closure, justice, or answers. One can get a small glimpse of the events of that chaotic and tragic day from Pulitzer-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof, and his New York Times article from more than two decades earlier. But as the years pass, and less of the younger generations realize the significance of the famous ‘Tank Man‘ image or ‘Statue of Democracy‘, anniversary commemorations remain an important annual reminder for something yet to be be laid to rest. The city of Hong Kong, a special administrative region located to the south of mainland China, has been the site of Tiananmen anniversary commemorations for a few years now, though this year local journalists have come away with photographs that show important variations in this year’s peaceful vigils, including shots of a demonstrator carrying placards saying “Thank you, Hong Kong”

As reporting of the events that commemorate the 24th anniversary still unfold, I would like to draw attention more to the state of Chinese censorship and the online crackdown of anything remotely related to the events back in 1989. According to The Guardian, China’s biggest blogging platform Sino Weibo — the homegrown Chinese variant of Twitter — kicked its censorship platform into overdrive, banning search terms such as ‘today’ ‘tomorrow’ and date references, where numerous combinations of digits and figures bring netizens to dead links and webpages. Such combinations include ’25′ (89 subtract 64), ’10′ (6 + 4), ’17′ (8+9) or ’24′ (twenty-fourth anniversary) — all have become taboo in recent days because of the political sensitivity of the anniversary. Though Hong Kong journalists and netizens are savvy and adopt a range of parody, panache, and perseverance to reference the anniversary, China’s authoritarian Internet censorship regime remains in place and will prevent the government’s power from eroding. Indeed voices of resistance, grief, and frustration on the mainland are largely stifled by what the authorities have put in place online.

Please click here to read the full article at Three Torches.

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Disaster, Domestic Growth, Government & Policy, Great Firewall, History, Human Rights, Ideology, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, Tiananmen 20th anniversary, Tiananmen security, U.S.

北京簋街 汉族餐饮店与藏族摊贩群殴 Ai Weiwei films Beijing street brawl [Youtube/Al Jazeera]

China is difficult to govern. Intercultural misunderstandings as such perhaps do not get as much light of day as they should. It highlights the income divide, one perhaps stratified by ethnicity or failure to subscribe to the dominant narrative.

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Ai Weiwei films Beijing street brawl
Video shows fight between Tibetan vendors and Han workers in China’s capital.
Source – Youtube, published May 12, 2013

Text below from Reuters – May, 13, 2013

Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei posted a dramatic video on Sunday showing a violent brawl in the streets of Beijing.
Ai wrote on Twitter that the fight broke out after Han Chinese restaurant owners destroyed a stall run by Tibetan street vendors. Witnesses later told Reuters that security workers refused to allow the vendors to set up shop outside the restaurant.
There are a reported 10,000 Tibetans living in Beijing, and Han Chinese make up 92 percent of China’s population.

Filed under: Ai Weiwei, Al Jazeera, Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Government & Policy, Mapping Feelings, Peaceful Development, People, Social, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, Youtube

Singapore falls to record-low place in press freedom ranking [YahooNews Singapore] #Singapore #PressFreedom

Charging ahead with a knowledge economy mindset since the 1980s, Singapore today as a result has a relatively small digital divide despite widening income disparity. Media literacy, like most human resource checkboxes is critical to thrive in an island with its one truly viable resource – a well-trained, compliant, union action-free workforce.

Mainstream media unsurprisingly remains under the control of the one-party state. Its traditional media channels digitized as soon as the World Wide Web emerged and today Singapore leads international e-government rankings. It has thus far managed to largely keep public opinion under control – by either engaging alternative voices in public forums and online, or by enforcement of policy, making very public examples of those who cross – moving goalposts, a complex ruling party characteristic of rule. That satire could be punished, as the article reports is indicative.

Recent years have seen growing use of online platforms for public discourse enabled by Web 2.0. Some of described this as a great politicisation of a once ambivalent electorate that felt so threatened or swayed by dominant discourse in the past it was largely inert. Internet penetration was 75% back in June 2012. The island has also seen a growing free wireless network.

This space for public opinion online has been redefining the contours, peripheries and centre of gravity of public discourse in the island state known for its imagined, self-regulating out-of-boundary markers.

Much has changed this year. Depending on who you read, between two to five thousand attended physical public protests organized via social media and political blogs in the first half of 2013.

This had marked a change in course, of former ambivalence – to signs of fledgling activism.

The first strike in living memory caused by inter cultural incomprehension between Singaporean Chinese who identify more with Straits culture, and freshly imported mainland Chinese labour-intensive workers. There is no petition system there like the Chinese do.

Yet, its press rankings remain poor. Perhaps, the rankings disregard and do not give enough respect that Web 2.0 is beginning to democratize public opinion participation in the island state at a significant rate.

That it is an information society already savvy in digital communications is an important consideration. In the last election the ruling party garnered 60% of the popular vote to return more than 90% of the seats. Perhaps caused by such insurmountable odds, what was confined. The odd election fervor and coffee shop talk has transformed many into active citizenry. Could this be an anticipated side effect of its Intelligent Nation 2015 master plan?

In TV talk, Will this be a pilot episode that fizzles out as the dominant narrative attempts to pervade digital communication?

Or, can it build on this momentum demonstrative of an increasingly aware, participative and activist electorate to truly give it real world leverage. An emergence of a public sphere 2.0, in the works.

If this is the case, what does it mean for Chinese public diplomacy? Will its existing means continue to work or will it have it shift its efforts? Additionally, what can China learn from Singapore’s lessons on press control?

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Singapore falls to record-low place in press freedom ranking –
By Shah Salimat
Source – Yahoo! News Singapore, published May 4, 2013

Singapore fell 14 places to a record 149th position in terms of press freedom, according to an annual report by non-governmental organisation Reporters Without Borders (RWB).

Coming ahead of World Press Freedom Day, which was observed Friday, the report showed this is the city-state’s worst performance since the index was established in 2002.

On the list, Singapore is wedged in between Russia and Iraq, with Myanmar just two places behind. The former junta-led country jumped up 18 spots in this year’s ranking.

Neighbouring Malaysia dropped 23 places to 145th over repeated censorship efforts and a crackdown on the Bersih 3.0 protest in April. Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea stayed at the bottom three, while Finland stayed on top of the list followed by the Netherlands and Norway.

Please click here to read full article at Yahoo.

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Communications, Education, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Overseas Chinese, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Singapore, Social, Strategy, The Chinese Identity

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