A crackdown on free speech and activism that began as soon as President Xi Jinping took office in 2012 only intensified and broadened throughout 2014. A steady stream of filtered search terms and propaganda directives guided coverage and discussion of a broad variety of topics and stories, from Xi’s visit to a steamed bun shop to the arrest of former security chief Zhou Yongkang. The 25th anniversary of June 4th and the protest movement in Hong Kong were both among the most strictly censored stories in China in recent memory.
But the harsh tactics used by authorities to silence their critics did not work to intimidate the most outspoken Internet users, who continued to find creative ways to express themselves.
This yearbook is not an effort to chronicle everything that happened in China this past year. Rather, it provides a unique lens on some of the biggest stories in China in 2014 by compiling the best of the news reports & analysis, Internet commentary, propaganda directives, cartoons, and other images. “Covering China from Cyberspace in 2014” is a valuable resource for China analysts, journalists, students, and others who wish to broaden their knowledge and understanding of recent events in the country.
China Digital Times is an independent, bilingual media organization that brings uncensored news and online voices from China to the world. We aggregate English-language reporting on China and place it in a broader social and political context; reveal the hidden mechanisms of state censorship; amplify the voices of ordinary Chinese citizens through translation; and interpret the resistance discourse of codes, metaphors, and satire created by Internet users in response to breaking news and censored topics.
China Digital Times was launched in 2003 as a blog to track the development of the Internet in China and quickly grew into a more comprehensive news portal. Based in Berkeley, CA, our team contributes from across the globe.
In this third edition of “Decoding the Chinese Internet,” we have added both new coinages and iconic turns of phrase. Organized by broad categories, “Decoding the Chinese Internet” guides readers through the raucous world of China’s online resistance discourse. Students of Mandarin will gain insight into word play and learn terms that are key to understanding Chinese Internet language. But no knowledge of Chinese is needed to appreciate the creative leaps netizens make in order to keep talking.