In case you haven’t seen it yet, Roland Soong of ESWN has posted the paper he recently presented at the Fourth Chinese Internet Research Conference: China’s Internet and Chinese Culture, July 21-22, 2006, in Singapore. The paper is a crystallization of the thinking and practices behind his blog–one of the most effective Chinese/English sensemaking spaces on the web. As Soong notes, beyond the specific content of the blog, what’s potentially transformative is the ESWN model of translating and contextualizing popular issues that would otherwise remain “invisible” to the non-Chinese speaking world.
As for the larger goal of re-dressing the overall imbalance between Chinese-language
and English-language news on China, it is beyond the capability of a single citizen. However, this blog seemed to have raised the awareness for this particular model. If there are dozens or even hundreds similar blogs run by individual citizens like this one, there will be a social transformation, both in
transnational understanding and media culture.
The scale and scope of the ESWN model is one that that many can aspire to but few can truly emulate, however, due to lack of skills and time. Soong is a professional media analyst, and a skilled translator, with a prodigious daily reading schedule:
In Hong Kong, I wake up in the morning and I have eight online newspapers to read, covering the entire political spectrum. Every week, I read Next Magazine, Eastweek Magazine and Ming Pao Weekly. That is just for Hong Kong alone. For mainland China and Taiwan, I use the news aggregators such as Yahoo!
because there are thousands of online news sources. Then I check the Chinese forums such as Tianya Club, MOP, KDNet and Xici Hutong to pick up the happenings that do not make it onto the mainstream media. Finally, I check the overseas Chinese websites such as Boxun and
ChineseNewsNet for stories that are censored inside China.