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ZGBriefs The Weeks Top Picks, June 5 Issue


There was really only ONE story out of China this week, namely the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Incident. We could have devoted the entirety of ZGBriefs to the marking of that event, but we narrowed it down to a handful. Two of those articles are highlighted here. In addition, we couldn't pass up two articles about the hazards for foreigners who live and work in China.

Tiananmen, 25 years later where are they now? (June 4, 2014, China Real Time)

In a week that saw a veritable torrent of stories about the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Incident in 1989, this was one of the most interesting. It's an update on the lives of some of the student leaders. The price paid by these (and many others) has indeed been high.

LinkedIn Said It Would Censor in China. Now That It Is, Some Users Are Unhappy (June 4, 2014, China Real Time)

Not wanting to be shut out of the China market (aka Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) the professional network LinkedIn agreed to censor content delivered to members in China. This week the world got a glimpse of what that actually looks like:

It's one thing to say you will censor, and another to actually do it.

LinkedIn has been learning that firsthand over the past day as it has come in for complaints from several users after it began blocking posts deemed sensitive by the Chinese government within the country ahead of the 25th Anniversary of the crackdown on Tiananmen Square protesters.

In February, LinkedIn said it was applying to set up operations in China and would in turn censor some content within the country. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal at the time, LinkedIn Chief Executive Jeff Weiner said the company expected "there will be requests to filter content," adding, "we are strongly in support of freedom of expression and we are opposed to censorship [but] that's going to be necessary for us to achieve the kind of scale that we'd like to be able to deliver to our membership."

The announcement at the time didn't raise hackles, but now that the censorship has begun, the reality of his words is sinking in with users in China. Those affected aren't happy.

A LinkedIn user in Hong Kong received this message when he tried to post a video about Tiananmen Square:

We want to clarify that your activity is and has been visible globally, with the exception of the People's Republic of China. This is due to specific requirements within China to block certain content so that it does not appear on our network in the country.

The arm of China's censorship regime is very long indeed!

U.S. Teacher: I Did 7 Months Of Forced Labor In A Chinese Jail (May 29, 2014, NPR)

For most foreign teachers in China, the biggest problems are dealing with last minute schedule and work assignment changes and rampant plagiarism. This teacher found himself behind bars in a Chinese prison.

Prisoner 1741 spent more than seven months inside a jail in southern China, assembling Christmas lights for export to America. Work days stretched up to 10 hours and conditions were tough, he says. One boss used strands of Christmas lights to whip workers and drive production.

Stories about forced labor have trickled out of China over the years, but what makes Prisoner 1741's so remarkable is that he isn't Chinese. He's American. In fact, he's a middle-aged, American sociology professor from South Carolina.

A fascinating look into the Chinese penal system and a good reminder of the importance of being a law-abiding guest when working in China.

How to pick the right Chinese name for your company (May 30, 2014, Nanjing Marketing Group)

We've been toying with the idea of coming up with a new name for the ChinaSource Blog. Something that translates well. Read this article and send us your suggestions!

Image credit: Ryanne Lai, via Flickr

ChinaSource Team

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