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Want that American Show to be Broadcast in China? It Just Got Tougher

Posted: 01/23/2015 12:29 pm

agent carterAlthough her sassy, independent spirit and penchant for hats are hard to resist, ABC’s new show Agent Carter is the latest Western TV show to get axed in China. And from the looks of it, it won’t be the last.

The full set of rules foreign shows must follow have finally been published, which will make it even more difficult for western TV shows to find an audience in China. The newest regulations from the State Committee on Films and Broadcast Media (formerly known as SARFT) put strict limitations on the times when foreign shows can be broadcast.

This new rule follows restrictions announced earlier, including the stipulation that an entire season of a television program must be submitted for approval at the same time, ensuring a delay between when shows are broadcast abroad and they hit TV screens in China. Another rule is that foreign content can’t exceed 30 percent of a website or channel’s total broadcast content, with domestic content making up the rest.

All websites wishing to broadcast foreign television shows in 2015 must register online before February 10 this year.




Trying to Access a Blocked Site in China? You Could End Up Looking at Porn

Posted: 01/19/2015 1:20 pm

aec redirected websites china great firewallInternet users looking to access restricted websites in China may find themselves looking at more than they bargained for.

Greatfire is reporting that China’s DNS poisoning system, which forbids Chinese internet users from accessing websites banned in China like Facebook, Youtube and Twitter, has received an upgrade. No longer do you just see a message saying the request has timed out. Now it’s much more interesting.

One of Greatfire’s users reports being sent to a government website in Korea when trying to access Another was sent to a Russian website when trying to access Facebook, and yet another said he was sent to a German porn site when trying to access a webpage for a VPN provider.

Greatfire says this effectively results in a DDoS attack against foreign websites. The site points out the upgrade disables many anti-DNS poisoning tools:

Chinese internet users have grown accustomed to websites timing out – and many make the connection with censorship. Maybe the authorities think that, after a transition period, internet users will become accustomed to the new model of DNS poisoning as they have with websites timing out. We do not anticipate that Chinese netizens will react negatively to this change as many are already familiar with such tactics.

We can tell you The Nanfang has experienced similar issues online. When previously trying to access this site, we were redirected to the website seen in the screenshot above, one associated with the Australia Electoral Commission. Now during preparation for this post, the same request now sent us here.

Screenshot: AEC


Chinese Censors Tighten Up Over Child’s Letter About Xi Jinping’s Waistline

Posted: 12/18/2014 4:27 pm

censored letter xi jinping lose weightMiddle-aged men around the world know it’s difficult to stay in shape, and even more difficult to hide it. For Chinese President Xi Jinping, it becomes even more of a problem if your waistline becomes a hot topic on the internet.

State censors have banned publication of a letter written by a nine year-old Henan boy that suggests President Xi lose weight after it went viral last night.

Niu Ziru, a grade four student at the Best International School in Zhengzhou, wrote the letter as part of a writing contest. Never intended to be sent to President Xi, Ziru’s father thought the letter was amusing enough to share on the WeChat social networking platform.

The letter talks about the international space race to get to Mars, and urges President Xi to choose the red planet over the moon as a destination for a space expedition. However, Ziru then changes the subject and makes an appeal to President Xi to lose weight.

“Uncle Xi, you could lose some weight. [You] don’t have to look as slim as [US President Barack] Obama. It’s all right to look like [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” the letter wrote.

The Zhengzhou Evening News picked up on the story after it spread on WeChat, and the story begun running nationally until state censors shut it down.

The Chinese media are quite enamored with any personal Xi Jinping news. Not long after Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin put a coat on the shoulders of Xi’s wife, Peng Liyuan, President Xi was photographed helping Peng walk through a door on a ship.

Furthermore, the marriage between Xi and Peng was celebrated as an ideal model in a music video called Daddy Xi Loves Mummy Peng that received 20 million hits within its first five days online.

Photos: cntv, scmp


Hugely Popular Websites in China Forced to Pull Shows with Lewd Content

Posted: 12/17/2014 11:17 am

Women at a hair salon in China

If you are a frequent visitor to websites such as,, PPTV and, be prepared for some changes as some of these websites’ popular programs were shut down by the country’s National Internet Information Office for deliberately providing “sensational and lewd content,” reported state news agency Xinhua on December 15.

Eight websites, including and, were singled out by the Internet watchdog for posting large quantities of lewd photos and videos. It noted that, “their editing staff deliberately used such content to attract readers’ attention, with negative results.”

Seven programs listed on the eight websites were shut down, including a seemingly innocuous program called Boke or Blogger from ifeng. The sites in question were also ordered by local Internet bureaus in Beijing, Guangdong and Shanghai for a thorough cleaning up for their online content.

The move is a part of the “Clean Web 2014 Initiative”, which aims to clean out pornographic and lewd content online. Despite the efforts, some foreign pornographic websites managed to escape China’s censor and are decidedly available in mainland China. In fact, Chinese spent the second longest time browsing a Canadian pornographic website in 2014.

When eight websites are down, more Chinese are clicking through alternative foreign pornographic sites for gratification. So much for a Clean Web!

Photos: flickre (user dcmaster)


Google Was Set Free in China for 30 Blissful Minutes, But Permanent Access Unlikely

Posted: 12/16/2014 2:56 pm

Memorial of flowers at Google’s headquarters in Beijing right before the company left China in 2010.

What seemed like the impossible happened for a few minutes yesterday (December 15): calling up from within China showed a beautiful white screen with Google’s logo and a tempting search box underneath, something that hadn’t been seen since the site was blocked in 2010.

Word spread quickly, with netizens noting the change on Weibo and even The Nanfang staff making good use of this newfound search freedom. Unfortunately, though, it didn’t last. Just as people were catching on to Google’s availability, China quickly restored the Great Firewall with Google safely on the other side.

We considered doing a story on Google’s availability yesterday, but it seemed so short lived that perhaps it was a mistake. Today, however, firebrand nationalist newspaper the Global Times confirmed that Google was, indeed, set free for 30 minutes yesterday afternoon. It didn’t give a reason for the temporary change, but used the news as an opportunity to remind Google that it must “follow Chinese laws” to have access to the country.

Global Times also said the country’s ban on Google is working because the Silicon Valley company will “eventually concede” to Chinese conditions, just as Mark Zuckerberg and other US tech giants have shown interest in working with the Chinese government. Zuckerberg recently spoke Chinese at Tsinghua University and was photographed with Xi Jinping’s book on his desk.

Judging from Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s background in the former Soviet Union, we don’t expect Google to be quite as accommodating as Facebook.


China’s Impressive Stamina Ranks 2nd When it Comes to Porn Websites

Posted: 12/15/2014 4:24 pm

Chinese spend an average of 14 minutes and 34 seconds browsing Pornhub.

It’s not the kind of the title China dreamed of having (perhaps ever), but all the clicks and late night streaming on Canada-based Pornhub, one of the world’s biggest free porn websites, has resulted in the country setting a pretty impressive record. Chinese users view Pornhub videos longer than people in any other Asian country, not to mention Europe and the US, to place second globally.

Those in the Western Sahara up in North Africa have the best stamina of all, browsing the site for 16 minutes and 16 seconds on average. China finished a worthy second at 14 minutes and 34 seconds followed by the Philippines at 14 minutes 22 seconds to round out the top three, according to the latest figures released the Canadian porn site.

Most pornographic websites are blocked in China, but popular porn sites including Youporn and Pornbub were surprisingly unblocked in May in 2010, reported AP, despite the country’s repeated calls to “Sweep Yellow and Smash Illegals”, referring to the crackdown on pornographic and illegal content.

Earlier this year, a Shenzhen-based website called was fined RMB 260 million ($42 million) for providing pornographic materials, Global Times wrote in the midst of the “Cleaning the Web 2014″ campaign.

If you spend less than 16 minutes on porn websites on average, you aren’t alone. In most countries, the average time was between seven and 10 minutes. That includes the US (10:17), Russia (7:46), Poland (7:46), France (9:22), Japan (7:25) and Australia (9:59).

Even in North Korea, a reclusive authoritarian state with tight Internet control, citizens spend roughly 13 minutes and 39 seconds on the porn site, the third longest in Asia.

We don’t quite understand how China’s Internet censorship works, or North Korea’s. But it looks like where sensitive political subjects are tightly restricted, the two countries compensate their users with steamy, erotic, X-rated pornographic videos.

The logic? Internet Watcher Michael Anti explained to AP in an interview, “Maybe they are thinking that if Internet users have some porn to look at, they won’t pay so much attention to political matters.”

Photos:  Pornhub; ABP News


Putin on the Ritz: Russian Leader Caught Hitting on Xi Jinping’s Wife

Posted: 11/11/2014 3:07 pm

russian president vladimir putin peng liyuan apec coat rumor censorChinese censors routinely target sensitive information about national security, the military, and politics. But now the country’s vast army of censors have been given an entirely new task: blocking all reference to an act of chivalry by Russian leader Vladimir Putin towards Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan.

Several world leaders attended an outdoor event last night near Beijing’s famous “Water Cube” swimming complex for a night of dancing and fireworks. While host and Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping was busy speaking to US President Barack Obama on his right, Xi’s wife Peng was seated next to President Putin.

The newly-single Putin perhaps decided Peng Liyuan looked a bit chilly. So, as gentlemen tend to do, he took a coat and wrapped it around Peng’s shoulders. A CCTV 13 commentator caught the event, saying,  ”Putin has just placed his coat around Peng Liyuan’s body.”

russian president vladimir putin peng liyuan apec coat rumor censorEven though Peng was nonchalant about the gesture by letting the coat slip from her shoulders moments later, the video was picked up by a number of Chinese news media and inspired the hashtag #PutinGivesPengLiyuanHisCoat. However, censors put a stop to any further talk by censoring it from internet news portals and online social media circles.

Rumors about China’s leaders are not tolerated, even as others involving Chinese women and powerful Western leaders, such as those regarding the former wife to Australian billionaire Rupert Murdoch, Wendy Deng, and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair are allowed to swirl.

And yet, this is not the first time President Putin has turned on the charm for Peng. On a 2013 trip to Russia, Peng stole the limelight from her husband with her style and grace. Not censored from Chinese news at the time was Putin’s gift of a bouquet of flowers to Peng as Xi watched from afar.

russian president vladimir putin peng liyuan flower giftrussian president vladimir putin peng liyuan flower giftrussian president vladimir putin peng liyuan flower gift

Here’s the video of Putin putting a coat on Peng:

russian president vladimir putin peng liyuan apec coat rumor censor[h/t Foreign Policy]

Photos: smh, Foreign Policy, Weibo @普京VladimirPutin, screenshots of CCTV 13


Guy in Shenzhen is Suing China Unicom Because He Can’t Use Google

Posted: 09/5/2014 1:54 pm

Memorial of flowers at Google’s headquarters in Beijing right before the company left China in 2010.

A Shenzhen man has taken the country’s second-largest telecom provider to court because it hasn’t been able to provide him with Google services after several months, reports Global Times.

Twenty-five year-old Wang Long has filed the first lawsuit of its kind against China Telecom after losing access to Gmail and Google. He noted that China Telecom has already admitted its inability to provide these services to him in court.

[I and China Unicom] have a contractual relation. They should offer me telecom services, yet they still failed to provide access [to these sites and services]. They should be held responsible for this failure.

A verdict is expected later this month.

Google pulled its servers out of China in 2010 instead of acquiescing to government demands to censor its search results.

But as an anonymous cyber security expert interviewed by Global Times points out, Wang’s anger is misdirected. The expert said:

China Unicom has nothing to do with the failure. It is Google that should be blamed, since it does not operate its business in China. I call on companies like Google or Twitter or Facebook to offer services in China and accept [proper supervision].

Photo: Epoch Times


Massive Flight Delays As China Conducts Military Exercises In Civilian Airspace

Posted: 07/22/2014 4:11 pm

delayed flightsGoing somewhere? For those of you along China’s east coast and getting ready to take a flight in the next few weeks, don’t raise your hand so fast.

Asia Today reports the following twelve airports will experience delayed flights from July 20 until August 15: Shanghai Hongqiao, Shanghai Pudong, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Hefei, Jinan, Wuxi, Ningbo, Qingdao, Lianyun Harbor, Zhengzhou, and Wuhan.

In fact, civil authorities are asking airlines to reduce their total number of flights by 25% during this time period.

The military will apparently be conducting air drills, or “high frequency exercises”, during that period. All the same, the reasons behind the air space shutdown remain secretive. Internet users Ma from Beijing and Pei from Hainan were both arrested and charged for spreading rumors online, having said “said military exercises is just a decoy”. Thirty-seven other people were warned about spreading rumors, but not arrested.

Rumors aside, the number of delayed and canceled flights is not inconsequential. The Civil Aviation Administration of China said that 101 flights had been canceled at Shanghai Pudong International Airport by mid-day July 14, and 103 were delayed by more than two hours. Across the city over at Hongqiao Airport, 98 flights were canceled.

If there is a solution to this mysterious process that will inconvenience air passengers, it would be the readily-given suggestion to bypass the use of planes and use China’s high-speed railway system instead.

Photo: Shenzhen Police 



Spoofed Google Page Calls On Chinese People To Fight The GFW

Posted: 06/13/2014 10:31 am

google protest great firewall internet censorshipAn image of a Google search page that is spreading like wildfire on Chinese social networks is openly encouraging Chinese internet users to protest against internet censorship in China.

Google is not behind the campaign, however. It’s a campaign launched by It reads as follows [translated from Chinese]:

google protest great firewall internet censorship


If there is no resistance, then there is no freedom

The GFW (The Great Firewall of China) screens and hides all services provided by Google including scientific research important to Google academics. If you feel that this is unacceptable, please forward this page on your Weibo and WeChat accounts. At the beginning of 2013 when the GFW closed off access to Github (code-sharing websites), a majority of programmers complained on Weibo and in work correspondence letters until finally the GFW was re-opened. If there is no resistance, there is no freedom! We request everyone to please forward this webpage to put pressure on the GFW!

We recommend that you please add this to your web browser bookmarks, or to please remember the URL address If there are some webpages that cannot be visited, then please send your feedback to [email protected] and please specify the URL and current version of web browser used.

Another similar version of this webpage can be seen here, and substitutes the URL address as

Google services were most recently targeted in China just before the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square incident, reports Bloomberg.

The company’s online presence has been censored in China since 2010 when it announced it would no longer comply with government regulations and redirected users to its Hong Kong site.

Correction: An initial version of this story claimed that Google was calling on Chinese people to fight the Great Firewall. That is incorrect. Google is not involved with this campaign in any way, to the best of our knowledge.

[h/t @missxq]

Photos: Google

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