Feed on Posts or Comments 16 December 2017

Media newlight on 04 Dec 2009 04:36 pm

Close of Yeeyan would be our loss

Yeeyan, a community-based translation website, has been suspended for several days. When the website contents became inaccessible at the beginning of this month, an apology was posted on its homepage, citing ‘technical problems’. Rumours started to circulate on Twitter that Yeeyan was suspended by the authorities because of some contents seen as ‘improper’. A couple of days later one the founders of Yeeyan Zhao Jiamin confirmed the suspension. There are little details about the reason, and the future of Yeeyan is in doubt.

Valued itself as a website through which its members can ‘discover, translate and read the best internet contents not in Chinese’, Yeeyan has been doing a valuable work of introducing foreign language (mostly English) news and stories to the Chinese readers through an unofficial channel. It ran like a social network. Members of shared interest congregated around specific topics or particular publications before picking up pieces from foreign news sites and translate them into Chinese.

Since its launch three years ago, Yeeyan’s been providing a great service China’s young, vibrant and inquisitive internet population, the ‘netizens’. By overcoming the language barrier, and because of Yeeyan’s social networking nature, varieties of information and opinions around the world become quickly accessible to a much wider audience. Early this year the Guardian started to cooperate with Yeeyan to make some of its contents available in Chinese. (The Guardian published a cautious response yesterday.) Recently a Telegraph channel was also setup on Yeeyan.

There has been little information available about the circumstances causing Yeeyan’s (hopefully temporary) closure. Those who run the website are clearly aware of the restrictive environment, having tried to stir away from the political sensitive stories. The suspension came as a surprise to some and sad news to many. I hope Yeeyan will sail through this crisis, because if not it would a big loss to our all.

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