The Great Fire-Wall and China’s Social Media Giants

April 17, 2019

When you read that China’s government monitors and censors that country’s social media, you might think the Chinese Communist Party is dealing mostly with YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, and Google. If that’s what you think, you would be mostly wrong.

China’s version of YouTube is YouKu Tudou that serves about 500-million users a month, half of YouTube’s reach. “YouTube says more than 1-billion unique visitors visit its site each month, but don’t forget, YouKu Tudou caters to a much smaller net of Chinese-speaking audiences only.”

However, few if any of YouTube’s billion visitors are in China since YouTube is banned/blocked in China along with popular websites such as Google, Gmail, and Facebook.  If you live in China and you want to use those sites, you have to find a way to bypass the internet blocking by the GFW by using a web proxy or VPN, but in spite of the ban, Alexa ranks YouTube as the 11th most visited website in China.

Twitter is also banned in China and if you have had your fill of the Twitter maniac in the U.S. White House, who can blame the CCP? Twitter’s equal in China is called Weibo.  Nearly 25-percent of China’s population uses Weibo, and they are free of Donald Trump’s Twitter trolling, endless lies, and rants. Recently Trump has been bullying and insulting John McCain, a man that’s been dead for months. With more than 1.4 billion people in China, that means Weibo has more than 354.6 million users.

“Weibo has evolved into an entertainment platform that encompasses the features of Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, reddit and YouTube rolled into one,” eMarketer forecasting analyst Shelleen Shum said.

China’s Google is Baidu. Once a popular search engine, most services offered by Google China were blocked by the Great Firewall in the People’s Republic of China. In 2010, searching via all Google search sites, including Google Mobile, were moved from mainland China to Hong Kong.  Baidu remains focused on the local Chinese market while Google is global and continues to expand. While Google has long been the market leader in search in most countries, when it exited China, it was the runner-up. It held roughly 30% of the sector, with domestic rival Baidu capturing most of the remainder.

China’s Facebook is Tencent with almost one billion users mostly in China.  According to CNN Business, “This Chinese tech giant could soon be worth more than Facebook. … But it isn’t just social networking that has gotten investors excited about Tencent. The company has been expanding deeper into other areas including smartphone games, mobile payments and streaming music. All that has helped fuel record profits this year.”

Alibaba is China’s Amazon and India, Australia, and Singapore are becoming key battlegrounds for Amazon and Alibaba, says, cbinsights.com. According to a February 2018 SEC filing, Alibaba had 617 million monthly mobile users and 552 million active users on its China retail marketplaces, and Forbes says, “For Brands, Alibaba is The Gateway to China and Chinese Customers. … Amazon’s market cap is about 70% larger than Alibaba’s yet China’s e-commerce market alone is going to be larger than the rest of the world… by 2020, Asia is projected to account for 66% of global e-commerce sales with China accounting for 58%.”

“Alibaba has a more dominant e-commerce business than Amazon … though Amazon claims about 40-50% of all online US retail sales, Alibaba claims about 80% of all online Chinese retail sales.”

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Magic

March 27, 2019

Magic is not exclusive to any culture or race, but in China, “the art of magic has (more than) a two-thousand-year-old history,” gbtimes.com says. “Traditional Chinese magic was developed by peasants in the northern part of the country where harsh conditions and the need to survive influenced the development of skills like street acrobatics and magic tricks in order to bring in extra money.”

In addition, China Underground.com reports, “In Chinese folklore, especially in the South, … Gu magic was used to manipulate the will of others, partners, to make people ill and not least cause death. According to Chinese folklore, a Gu spirit was able to transform into different animals: snakes, worms, earthworms, frogs, dogs or pigs. … The name Gu has ancient origins dating back to the oracle inscriptions of the Shang Dynasty (fourteenth century BC).”


In “The Sorcerer and the White Snake” Jet Li stars as a sorcerer monk in an epic special effects fantasy film based on a Chinese legend. This complete film runs more than an hour and a half.

Encylopedia.com tells us, “Magic and mantic arts are endemic in Chinese life and prominent in the religions of China, both in popular religion and in Buddhism and Daoism.”

Practicing magic in China was also risky. Ancient Origins.net says, “The rules of the time (during the Han Dynasty) declared the use of magic as a capital offense. It was especially unforgivable amongst the nobility, including the royal family.” … “Black magic was well known in Ancient China, but research related to this topic is still full of gaps. It is known, however, that one of the most famous methods for practicing magic was ‘magic mirrors’”. As M. V. Berry explained.

It seems that black magic also cast its spell over Chinese movie audiences in 1975, starting a few months before Mao died in 1976. “Between the late 70s and early 80s,” Den of Geek.com says, “Chinese black magic movies were pumped out en masse, feeding audiences their fill of evil sorcery and twisted moralizing. The formula usually featured some poor schmuck enlisting a dark wizard to help them achieve something (more often than not, something sexual)”

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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The Qing Dynasty’s Last Leader was a Woman: Part 2 of 2

June 20, 2018

The National Library of Australia reports, “Hugh Trevor-Roper, Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford, was asked to examine the Backhouse manuscript by its Swiss custodians. In Hermit of Peking: The Hidden Life of Sir Edmund Backhouse, Trevor-Roper dismissed the autobiography as historically worthless fiction by a man he called a forger, confidence trickster and fantasist. He concluded, ‘Backhouse’s ‘memoirs’ are not an edifying work. They are a pornographic novelette’, and unpublishable.”

But Backhouse’s journalistic fraud served as the foundation for most history texts still used today that continue to slander Tzu Hsi.

To do Tzu Hsi justice and to discover the truth, one should read Seagrave’s Dragon Lady, The Life and Legend of the Last Empress of China.

To learn who the real woman was that ruled China pay attention to what Robert Hart wrote about Hzu Hsi in his letters and journals.  Robert Hart arrived in China from Ireland in 1854 to learn the language as an interpreter for the British consulate in Ningpo. In 1859, almost five years later, Hart quit his job with the British and went to work for the Emperor of China as an employee. He returned to England in 1908.

When I was researching Robert Hart’s life while working on my historical fiction novel My Splendid Concubine, I learned that Hart became Inspector General of Chinese Maritime Customs and worked closely with the Imperial ministers and Manchu princes. Before returning to England after living in China for fifty-four years, Hart met with the Dowager Empress in a private audience inside the Forbidden City.

Hart referred to Tzu Hsi as “the Buddha” and later “the old Buddha” since she was a devout Buddhist and it is obvious that he thought of her with affection and admiration.

In fact, Hart, who is considered the Godfather of China’s modernization, at no time indicated in anything he wrote that Tzu Hsi was conspiratorial, sinister or manipulative. However, he did indicate that she was strong-willed and hot-tempered, clever and had ability.

Tzu Hsi died in 1908 a few weeks after Robert Hart left China and returned to England to live out his final few years. The Qing Dynasty collapsed in 1911, the same year Robert Hart died.

Return to or Start with Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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The Qing Dynasty’s Last Leader was a Woman: Part 1 of 2

June 19, 2018

Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi ruled the Qing Dynasty as a coregent after her husband, the Xianfeng Emperor died in 1861, and her son, The Tongzhi Emperor (1856 – 1875), was too young at age five to rule China.

Sterling Seagrave, the author of Dragon Lady, writes, “Absurdly little was known about her life. The New York Times printed a long, error filled obituary calling her Tzu An, the title of her coregent, who had died twenty-seven years earlier.”

Many current history texts continue to slander the Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi (1835 – 1908) without much evidence as one of history’s most monstrous women, an alleged ruthless Manchu concubine who seduced and murdered her way to the throne in 1861 to rule China through prevision, corruption and intrigue.

This is how many still think of Tzu Hsi. In addition, she was accused of murdering her son, and then years later her nephew, who died the day before she did.

Instead, her son died of syphilis because he preferred prostitutes to the hundreds of virgin concubines that belonged to him. Rumors claimed that Tzu Hsi had her nephew poisoned, but Yuan Shikai may have had him poisoned so he could become the next emperor. There is no evidence to support either allegation.

How did Tzu Hsi earn such a bad reputation?

It seems that she earned this reputation similar to how today’s China has been smeared in much of the Western media. Thanks to a liar and fraud by the name of Edmund Backhouse, who was a reporter for The London Times and his bestselling book “China under the Empress Dowagers”, Tzu Hsi’s fate to be labeled a monster and murderer  was guaranteed until 1976 when Backhouse’s fraud and lies were revealed.

Continued in Part 2 on June 20, 2018

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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The Power of China’s People

November 7, 2017

If you think that the Chinese people do not have a voice in China, think again.

CNN reported, “China may be a single-party state run from the very top. But grassroots activism has been bubbling up from beneath, bringing about much needed social support and change. … These are tiny little groups of people all over the country working on trying to improve the lives of people living in those areas — whether it’s on labor issues, women’s rights or the environment.”

One example of this power took place in December 2009 and it was about electric bikes. When new regulations threatened to restrict the use of e-bikes and ban them from public roads, opposition from the e-bike industry and bike riders stopped the regulations in their tracks.

Adrienne Mong of NBC News said, “The news triggered a heated debate that was played out all over the Chinese-language media and on the Internet. Eventually, the government backed down, and it’s been left up to industry groups to figure out new guidelines.”


Of course, even in China, Social Media has other uses too.

More than two years after the e-bike protest, Tea Leaf Nation reported on February 23, 2012 about a blog that was deleted by Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese microblogging platform, but what was deleted was soon restored thanks to widespread outrage and threats that the majority of Chinese would switch to Twitter and/or Facebook.

The Reuters Institute ran a piece about the power of the Chinese netizen and how microblogging is changing Chinese journalism. Zhou Kangliang, a Chinese journalist, concludes that “as Chinese online microblogging services grow and traditional journalism grows with them, it is learning from lessons and experience…”

The Washington Post reported, “In a country where most media are controlled by the state, information is heavily censored and free-flowing opinions are sharply constricted, Chinese have turned to a new platform to openly exchange unfettered news and views: microblogs, similar to Twitter.”

But Foreign Policy Magazine reported that Xi Jinping has tamed the once-enterprising commercial media.” The project of ‘guidance’ is not merely what we tend in the West to call ‘censorship,’ an act of cutting, excising, and obliterating; rather, it is a process of diversion, of redirection. Public opinion is not stopped — it is harnessed.” To China’s leaders, this is “Channeling public opinion.”

“Channeling,” then, was about harnessing the power of for-profit newspapers and magazines, commercial Internet portals, and social media in order to better inundate the public with information from state sources. Ultimately, this was about taming the flood in the Internet age.

In other words, China is not going to let an Alt-Right media similar to Fox News, Breitbart or an Alex Jones spread destabilizing conspiracy theories that might cause disharmony and disrupt China’s culture and economy.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Who does a better job fooling the people – America’s private sector media or China’s state owned media?

August 15, 2017

In China, the people know who controls the media and its message, and that makes it easy for many to doubt news reports since they know the source is the government. In the United State, the opposite is often true. About half of the people trust the traditional media because it isn’t controlled by the government, and too many Americans follow the racist Alt-Right social internet media that invents alternative facts (lies) and manufactures fake evidence to spread unproven conspiracy theories.

This means that in China, the government is behind the fake news, but in the United States individuals like Steve Bannon and his billionaire backer Richard Mercer are behind it.

The BBC reports “China is the largest media market in the world, and has the world’s largest online population. … Beijing tries to limit access to foreign news by restricting rebroadcasting and the use of satellite receivers, by jamming shortwave broadcasts, including those of the BBC, and by blocking websites.

“Overseas Chinese-language news outlets that are not state-owned are blocked in mainland China. However, international English language websites like the BBC are often available to view. … State-run Chinese Central TV (CCTV) is China’s largest media company. … There are around 1,900 newspapers. Each city has its own title, usually published by the local (CCP branch) government, as well as a local Communist Party daily.”

Before we move on, it helps to know that there are more than 85-million members in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).  If the CCP were a country, it would be ranked close to Egypt (#16) on Nation Master’s countries comparison list that has 249 entries with populations to rank, and China’s government controlled media reflects the majority view of more than 85-million Chinese who belong to the CCP. This means that what’s reported is often considered to be in the best interests of keeping harmony in China instead of allowing turmoil caused by public dissension.

What about the media in the United States?


“In the early 1980s, roughly fifty-different companies owned 90-percent of the American media. … In recent years that same 90-percent is now owned by six conglomerates.”

Back to China. The New York Times reports on China’s media: “Another strategy is manipulation. In recent years, local and provincial officials have hired armies of low-paid commentators to monitor blogs and chat rooms for sensitive issues, and then spin online comment in the government’s (China’s) favor.

“Mr. Xiao of Berkeley cites one example: Jiaozuo, a city southwest of Beijing, deployed 35 Internet commentators and 120 police officers to defuse online attacks on the local police after a traffic dispute. By flooding chat rooms with pro-police comments, the team turned the tone of online comment from negative to positive in just 20 minutes.”

Isn’t this similar to what America’s Alt-Right media does except the Alt-Right media is run by individuals like Steve Bannon while the corporate traditional media is run by 6-corporate CEOs instead of the majority consensus of more than 85-million members of the CCP?

Is America really that different from China, but are Americans easier to fool and manipulate because they think the media is free and that makes them mostly trustworthy depending on who you listen to?

By now, you might understand why so many overseas news outlets that are not state-owned are blocked in mainland China. It’s obvious to me that China’s government doesn’t want to risk a future with its own version of a #FakePresident Donald Trump leading that country spreading lies and causing disharmony that might bring on the apocalypse and a collapse of civilization.

Discover Anna May Wong, the American actress who died a thousand times.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Forbidden City Secrets Reveal Tibet’s Long Ties to China

May 31, 2017

I was surprised while reading The Last Secrets of the Forbidden City Head to the U.S. by Auston Ramzy.

I was surprised that evidence like this slipped past the Western media censors — sorry, it is politically incorrect to say that there are media censors in America. In the United States, the censors are editors that work for huge autocratic, for-profit media corporations.

The Time Magazine piece Ramzy wrote was about an exhibit traveling to the United States with treasures from the Forbidden City that have not been seen since 1924.

Ramzy wrote, “Many of the 18th-century objects that will be displayed are symbols of the emperor’s devout Buddhism. They include a hanging panel filed with niches that hold intricate figurines of Buddhas, deities and historical teachers from the Tibetan Buddhist sect to which [Emperor] Qianlong belonged.”

I didn’t know the powerful Qianlong Emperor followed the teachings of Buddhists from Tibet. There are four Buddhist sects in Tibet. The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of one of the four, the Yellow Hat sect.

Why would the Qianlong Emperor belong to a Tibetan sect of Buddhism if Tibet were not considered part of China? In fact, Tibetan Buddhist monks traveled to the capital of China to serve the emperors.

China considered Tibet a vassal state or tributary.  In fact, starting in the 13th century, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasty troops are known to have occupied Lhasa.

In fact, the October 1912 National Geographic Magazine describes how the Imperial government in Beijing managed a difficult Tibet, and I’ve mentioned letters Sir Robert Hart wrote in the 19th century that also mention Tibet as part of China.

In 1890, a Convention between Great Britain and China was signed that offers more evidence that China’s emperor considered Tibet part of his realm and Great Britain agreed. Tibet is mentioned twenty-nine times in this treaty.

Tibet declared freedom from China in 1913 after about seven-hundred years of occupation soon after the Qing Dynasty collapsed and China fell into chaos and anarchy while warlords fought over the spoils. Tibet did this because the British Empire convinced the Dalai Lama to break from China.

Discover China’s First Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi, the man that unified China more than 2,000 years ago.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline