Feed on Posts or Comments 03 June 2023

Media newlight on 19 Jan 2010

Mary-Jess Leaverland videos

OK, for those of you wondering what’s the fuss about, here are the vidoes of Mary-Jess Leaverland, who is on the front page of today’s Guardian. Her victory in a “Chinese X Factor” competition is reported by several papers (Telegraph, Daily Mail, and Sun).

The TV singing competition is called Min Ge Chang Fan Tian (民歌唱翻天, literally means “stars from ordinary people singing over the heaven”), organised by a TV channel in Jiangsu Province.

The vidoes show the final round. At the begining the first video, three competitors were presented, then the second runner-up was out, followed by the duel between the last two who each sang the final song, before the phone-in results were announced (in the second video). Mary-Jess Leaverland was called by her Chinese name Li Meijie (李美洁) throughout.

This video shows the round before that, begining with the “grand entry” of the last three competitors. Mary-Jess Leaverland spoke Mandarin in her intro video (at 6’30”), but it looks when it came to singing, she still preferred English songs.

Media newlight on 08 Jan 2010

UK almost as cold as the South Pole?

Yes it is cold out there. It hasn’t been so cold for so long for many years in the UK. Minus 20C is cold. But why the British media insist that here is “almost as cold as the South Pole”? Times put it in the headline, Guardian and Telegraph (“only 2C warmer than the South Pole”) said so. The comparison is too good to miss for Channel 4 News and BBC News as well.

The temperature at the South Pole is about -22C to -25C at the moment. It is technically true that the coldest place in the UK is only a couple of degrees warmer than the South Pole. But I’m wondering whether the journalists realised, or chose to ignore the fact that it is summer now at Antarctica?

Society newlight on 07 Dec 2009

Climate change summit: Calling for leadership

Today 56 newspapers from 44 countries have published the same editorial (in 20 different languages) to encourage the delegations at Copenhagen summit to seal a deal to reduce global warming and act on climate change.

I’m proud of the fact that the paper I worked for is the initiator and the two newspapers I’m writing for are the participating Chinese newspapers.

To read the full editorial ‘Fourteen days to seal history’s judgement on this generation‘. Or if you prefer, in Chinese.

Now it’s up the world leaders to take some leadership and make difference in the next two weeks.

2009-12-07.Guardian front page editorial on climate change

Media newlight on 04 Dec 2009

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.

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Environment newlight on 19 Mar 2009

Clear the dust

Guardian’s Jonathan Watts, when reporting the dust storm in northern China, introduced us to this excellent blog, livefrombeijing, by Vance, an American engineer working on clean transportation for China. Vance’s blog explains the environment and emission related data rather well while providing useful insight.


Society newlight on 26 Jan 2009

Chinese New Year

So, here we are. If you like a pun, then Happy Niu Year! If you prefer irony, then good luck in the Year of Bull.

It looks even the noise from all the unauthorized firecrackers in China couldn’t make us not hearing the gloomy news. Guardian’s Tania Branigan did a video reporting piece from Beijing’s main railway station before the Chinese new year to interview the migrant workers, part of the great annual people movement. They were worried about whether they can get their job back when they come back to the city after the festival. At least this year they didn’t have to get stuck in the station for days like last year. A Chinese blogger, after went to the same station, suggested that this year the Chinese new year rush is actually much smoother than previous years. The suspicion is that many migrant workers had already left for home, being laid off at the end of last year.

The worry is always that when the migrant workers come back to the city after Chinese new year, and couldn’t find a job, what will happen? An often quoted figure is 8%, the GDP growth China must achieve to provide enough jobs for the labour market. The forecast for 2009 by various organizations seems all below that, thus the prediction of widely spread social unrest in China this year due to the mass unemployment. However in my opinion more social unrest there may be, but they are unlikely going to distablise the Chinese society in large scale. Chinese government do realize the seriousness of the economic downturn and high unemployment, and have been quick to disperse measures to stimulate economy and provide new jobs. There may be nothing imaginative in Chinese government’s approaches, but they do have the crucial ammunition – plenty of cash in hand.

Meanwhile the government also hope that establishing a civil society with more citizen participation may help to resolve some of the social issues. The year 2009 is called Civil Society Year Zero by the official media. That will be a constant struggle, and bound to be going forwards and backwards in unpredictable fashion. The detention of 08 Charter’s initiator Liu Xiaobo, harassment of its signatories, censoring influential websites including the recent closing down of bullog.cn are all seen as part of the government’s attempt to silence their critics. However the founder of bullog.cn, Luo Yonghao, is surprisingly optimistic about the website’s possible re-opening in the future. In no time a list of where to find the bullog.cn blogs from alternative places started to circulate around internet. And now a “ghetto version” (shanzai) of bullog.cn, operated by one of the famouse citizen journalist, Zola, is online. Willingly or not, the Chinese government are giving their critics space, and sometimes even use the online opinions to counter corrupted local officials. The critics themselves, while stressing they are not dissidents, have also learned to operate in this environment.

It’s safe to bet the Year of Ox won’t be a bull year. The road ahead is bumpy to say the least, but Chinese people have gone through time tougher than this.

Media newlight on 08 Nov 2008

Coloured mood

British media, like the rest of the world, are fascinated by the US presidential election. This is largely because of the effect a new US administration could have on the world, and the chrisma of Barack Obama, however from what I can see, British people seem to have an emotional closeness towards the election. The cultural and historical ties can’t be underestimated. Sometimes it became sentimental. This is best reflected on last Thursday’s G2 cover. Obama had just won the election. Red colour fills the whole front cover, with a white, small word at the centre, “Wow!” Inside are stories of how people around the States reacted to the victory of Barack Obama. This design is obviously referring to a 2004 G2 cover. After the re-election of George W. Bush, G2 painted it cover in full black, with a small word “Oh, God.” at the centre. Different time, different color, different mood.