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Described as the biggest migration in human history, an estimated 250 million Chinese people have left their villages in recent decades to live and work in urban areas. Xinyuan Wang spent 15 months living among a community of these migrants in a small factory town in southeast China to track their use of social media. It was here she witnessed a second migration taking place: a movement from offline to online. As Wang argues, this is not simply a convenient analogy but represents the convergence of two phenomena as profound and consequential as each other, where the online world now provides a home for the migrant workers who feel otherwise 'homeless'. Wang's fascinating study explores the full range of preconceptions commonly held about Chinese people – their relationship with education, with family, with politics, with 'home' – and argues why, for this vast population, it is time to reassess what we think we know about contemporary China and the evolving role of social media.
This special report is based on the 2013 China chapter of Freedom House's annual Freedom on the Net survey. Freedom on the Net is a comparative analysis of internet freedom with a unique methodology, and includes a detailed narrative report and a numerical score for each country assessed.China's numerical score will be published as part of the full report. However, as the home of one of the most systematically controlled and monitored online environments in the world, it will no doubt retain its place among countries where Freedom House categorizes the internet as Not Free. As the Freedom on the Net 2012 survey noted, China increasingly serves as an incubator for sophisticated new types of internet restrictions, providing a model for other authoritarian countries.For this reason, Freedom House is publishing the 2013 China narrative as a special report, examining key developments during the Freedom on the Net coverage period (May 1, 2012, through April 30, 2013) in the context of the recent leadership change in the Chinese Communist Party. Like all Freedom on the Net narratives, the report offers a comprehensive examination of three aspects of internet freedom:Obstacles to AccessLimits on ContentViolations of User Rights
The Mapping Digital Media project examines the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media. Covering 60 countries, the project examines how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide: news about political, economic, and social affairs.The story of media digitization in China is inseparable from the country's recent modernization. Probably nowhere else have so many other things been changing at the same time as the technological advances with which this study is concerned. And probably nowhere else has digitization flourished on such a scale in such a closed media environment. As a result, digitization has transformed the diversity of information and public opinion for many millions of people.As of December 2011, there were 513 million internet users, 155 million broadband subscribers, and over 1 billion mobile phone users in China. At the same time, the internet is still beyond the reach of 800 million Chinese who rely almost exclusively on television for their information and entertainment, in particular the mammoth state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV). But a sign of the profound changes taking place is that this year (2012) the time people spend on the internet is set to overtake that which they spend watching television.Although China is already the world's biggest media market, there are still hundreds of millions of people with little knowledge or understanding of how the media are used and how they might use the media. A nationwide media literacy campaign would help educate people to participate in public life so that the opportunities which digitization brings can be more widely enjoyed.
You Will Be Harassed and Detained: Media Freedoms Under Assault in China Ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympic GamesAugust 1, 2008
This 40-page report documents how Chinese authorities have repeatedly obstructed the work of foreign journalists this year, even though China on January 1, 2007, adopted temporary regulations to comply with commitments it made to the International Olympics Committee (IOC) on guaranteeing journalists freedom. The report draws on interviews and information provided from 36 foreign and Chinese journalists in June 2007.
This 71-page report draws on more than 60 interviews with correspondents in China between December 2007 and June 2008. It documents how foreign correspondents and their sources continue to face intimidation and obstruction by government officials or their proxies when they pursue stories that can embarrass the authorities, expose official wrongdoing, or document social unrest.
In order to put on the show known as the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, the governmenthas enlisted the help of major foreign players to "package" China. Public relations and marketing firms are helping to present and brand Beijing for the Games, while legal firms have been hired by the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) to protect their intellectual property. Following previous IR2008 updates covering the involvement of foreign companies as Olympic sponsors and partners, this update focuses on PR and legal services.Aside from bringing in foreign expertise, the Beijing government has also initiated large-scale campaigns to improve Beijing's image for the Games, including initiatives to encourage residents to clean up their manners. The Games are expected to draw 800,000 foreign visitors and one million domestic visitors to Beijing,3 making presentation, marketing and branding key goals for Chinese officials in anticipation of 2008.
As host of the Olympic Games, China seeks to increase national economic and socialdevelopment and "display to the world a new image of China", and presents the Games as an opportunity to foster democracy, improve human rights and integrate China with the rest of the world. In its Olympic Action Plan promulgated in 2002, China outlined the phases of construction in the run up to the 2008 Games, and the standards to which it would hold itself in the governance and construction of venues, impact on Beijing's environment, increasing social and economic development and providing China's citizenry with greater access to information and technology.The goals and specific commitments that the government has adopted not only have implications for the smooth and successfuloperation of the Olympic Games, but also have the potential to impact on a number of China's international obligations, including its human rights obligations.Despite human rights-related commitments as diverse as transparency and accountability, access to information and freedom of the press, poverty alleviation, an improved standard of living for all people, and compensation for evictions and health issues, the record to date raises serious compliance issues.
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