- Global Voices - https://globalvoices.org -

China: How do you say RSS feed in Chinese again?

Categories: East Asia, China, Breaking News, Digital Activism, Economics & Business, Education, Governance, Human Rights, Humanitarian Response, Law, Media & Journalism, Technology, Women & Gender, Youth

One day soon, when content flow between Chinese and English websites reaches a reciprocal balance, when newspapers, textbooks and bloggers everywhere go bilingual, how well-positioned will you be? It's not an easy question to answer, and keeping a foot firmly planted on the ground on both sides of the fence won't ever be an easy stance to maintain.

The Chinese aren't waiting for the rest of the world to figure this riddle out, however, and keep things progressing—particularly the internet—at pace with if not quicker than the English side. Sinosphere behemoth Sina.com [1] has just announced its Blog 3.0 [2] [zh] service, the blogging love bubble seems to have burst [3] [#048], and, as journalist-blogger Priest Liu writes, the word blog itself seems so last quarter [4] [zh].


Are blogs just a transition?


I've set up a mirror site (http://hi.baidu.com/priestliu) on [Chinese search engine] Baidu [5]‘s new Spaces. It's not that I like Baidu more, it's just that I prefer this kind of compact web2.0 style.


They say the cooler blogs aren't even called blogs now, but spaces. Because blogs’ mass-distribution advertising model has already seen its day, and doesn't come close to comparing with the strengthened compatibility or higher commercial potential seen in the functions contained in web2.0 community spaces. I've been kicking around a plan for a survey of the IT industry for a long time, but I usually just read other people's surveys and reports and then try for a solution on my own. Judging from the state of the industry at present, if blog service providers don't change to web2.0 community servers ASAP, they won't have much luck seeking further investment. Most venture capitalists no longer believe that blogs can provide a stable cash flow. To put it another way, the pure blog business model has already been declared a failure. From what I understand listening to my buddies in the industry, a classic case of blog failure would be [blog provider] Hexun [6]. Given the fixed scale of their mass-distribution advertising model and limits to its growth potential, the management and operation costs involved with Hexun's development of a blogging community have risen exponentially. Although I've always felt that Hexun blogs are quite special and their content not bad, with a non-profitable model there's no way they'll survive very long. This is capitalism's hard truth.

Another hard truth of capitalism is all the gaping holes it has left in China's social infrastructure. Where the government lacks in welfare programs, in some cases Chinese media step in, telling the afflicted's stories and offering viewers ways to do their part. China Central Television [7] (CCTV) human interest news program Focus told one family's story yesterday, but as seen on Peking University [8] law professor He Weifang [9]‘s blog—and on many others at many different times—bloggers can also play a similar role [10]:


Mr. Yuanyuan's [He Weifang's alias] call out


So that strong mother can smile forever
So that little sister can stay in school
Today's CCTV Focus made me cry my eyes out; some intense force struck my strong heart. Facing the camera was a widow, the mother of two children, old, sick and crippled, and her daughter-in-law. The heavy debt-shouldering head of the peasant family, the old woman kept smiling the whole time. This mother's smile, like a dagger, twisted until blood dripped from my heart. Having received Focus‘ attention, this child's university dreams are now sure to be fulfilled. What concerns me, though, is that in order for her older brother to go to school, this mother's daughter, Duan Xingxiu, dropped out. Her brother says that when her work on the farm is finished, his little sister insists on reading his books, and that before she dropped out she was an excellent student.


I'm a heavy smoker. Every day I go through two to three packs of cigarettes. I'm also a person who has to take on many responsibilities. I'm incapable of subsidizing that girl's education alone, but I should do what I can. I still have eight packages of cigarettes left; in fact I'm smoking as I write these words. I promise that after I finish these eight packs I will not smoke again. I think the money I spend on smoking can help this girl solve some problems. I'm now trying to get in touch with her and when I do, I'll put her contact information up on my blog. In order to see that mother keep smiling forever, to see that girl continue with her studies, I urge all readers to do what you can. That girl's home is in Yunnan province [11]. My hometown is in Anhui [12], but I work now in Beijing. I don't have the least bit connection with this girl, except for a little conscience. If readers have interest in subsidizing this girl's education, please take a look at the July 17 edition of CCTV Focus and, if convenient, please leave some comments in the box below this article. I think that these two great women will appreciate it! I can't write anymore. My hands are shaking and I'm about to cry.

Updating his blog today, He writes:



Dear readers:
Dayao County Education Bureau has just told me Duan Xingxiu's neighbor's telephone number: 0878-6385388. I phoned this number and talked to Duan Xingxiu's older brother. Because he's already begun university, his sister has since left town to look for work. He will get in touch with his sister as soon as possible and if she does wish to go back to school, he will get back to us right away. To get in touch with Duan Xingxiu, ask the person who answers the above number to call for Duan Xingyang to answer. The address is: Duan Family, Xinjie Village, Xinjie Township, Dayao County, Yunnan Province. Postal code: 67407

From the impoverished Southwest of the country to the more affluent East coast, Sohu.com blogger Wa Qing expresses educational concerns of his own [13]:


Is your university hell, or heaven?


When you see this title, you might feel it's a bit strange. But with a bit of explanation, it's not hard to understand. Some universities, especially those in Shandong [14]province, still run under the same kind of management system one sees in high school. Just as we climbed out of the hell that is the last three years of high school, thinking that with university would come a breath of fresh air, little did we know that it would be another four years of life in hell. As an example, here is a rough schedule of work and rest in senior high school.


Morning self-study: starts at five a.m. Morning, six classes.
Lunch break, the entire school is forced to sleep for an hour.
Afternoon, four classes.
Evening, five to six evening self-study classes. Eleven p.m. self-study ends. Eleven-thirty lights out.
PS. Every class is forty-five minutes long.
Every Sunday afternoon we get half a day off to clean ourselves up. Everyone must fill out their life goals. i.e. going to x university.
May Day [15] and National Day we get three days off. New Year's Eve one day, Spring Festival [16] five days.
Three years of senior high school life, I believe can hell can be used to describe them.


And here is an example of work and rest schedule in a Shandong university:
Seven a.m., morning self-study, lights out at eleven p.m. During the evening self-study period, if anyone has to leave the classroom they must first write clearly on the blackboard their name, the reason, the time at which they left and when they expect to be back. The whole class has the same goal: graduate school.
Four years in this kind of university means four more years of the hell that was senior high school life. Some schools even forbid students from dating. I know this much: one of my high school classmates graduated from Qingdao University Teachers College. In 2000 I went to visit her at her school and she told me straight out that in order not to be suspected by the department teachers and directors, the two of us would have to walk out of the school gates on our own, and meet on the outside. Hearing this, it was like I was back in the Dark Ages. I have to point out, though, that Qingdao University doesn't have these sorts of rules, and things are not done this way. Although Qingdao University and Qingdao Teachers College are joined, between them runs a road. You could say that one side of the road is ‘heaven’, and the other side is ‘hell’. Whether or not Qingdao Teachers College has now undergone any sort of ‘humanization’, I'm not clear, and too lazy to phone and ask. Either way, until today I'm very happy that I went out of province to start my studies. If you're clear on your school's study and rest schedule, I'd like to compare: is your life hell, or heaven?

Youth and blogs. Blogs and youth. Fresh high school graduate and socially-aware All About Ahom blogger Ahom Kwok has taken on [17] the task of translating updates [18] on the case of blind female reproductive rights activist Chen Guangcheng [19]. Chen, who was abducted by police earlier this year, will have his day in court Thursday, July 20.