China and the internet

In yesterday’s NYT there was a brilliant Q&A¬†about what it likes to work as a journalist for the NYT in China. Raymond Zhong moved to Beijing last year. He writes about articles mysteriously disappearing from the internet – he uses QuickTime Player to take screen recordings, and another site that converts YouTube videos into downloadable files – and says that “Reporting in an authoritarian country is a struggle of memory against forgetting. These tools help.”

When asked how does online consumerism like shopping and ordering food delivery differ there? How do you personally use these apps? Raymond goes onto an amusing scene of online shopping using the platform Taobao. On the platform he can buy all sorts of weird stuff, like latte cups shaped like skulls, wine glasses with built-in straw and Barbie dolls that serve as racks for slices of raw meat before they go into a hot pot. Seriously, people are making this stuff in China for most likely consumers in the US.

I wouldn’t normally blog about a journalist moving to a foreign country, but I find China to be so interesting – such a closed off country – and Raymond’s insights are probably the best I’ve come across. I sometimes like to think I have it rough, but really the only negatives I’ll get from an article – or source – is a few ranting emails and a bullish tweet.


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