China Blog’s not Dead

who's muzzling your voice?

who's muzzling your voice?

A Popup Chinese author writes that

The China blog is officially dead, moribund, cadaverous, extinct, buried, bereft of life, defunct and totally-and-utterly-inert.

Which makes no sense to me. There are many China blogs. And many of them are still posting.

Blogs like the MyLaowai webstore which still engender love and fascination within China, and interest in China without.

There even seem to be fairly new ones.

Blogs like The Otherside, who (or that’s how I understand it) started blogging in February this year, and, um, OK, will stop posting on July 31. But that would be because the blogger will then leave China and return to his native land. [Update, July 27: Chris Biddle will keep us posted beyond July 31.]

Or One to the Third, who apparently started posting on May 19 this year.

Or The New Dominion, who ended their hiatus in March this year.

Or Adam Cathcart‘s blog, not much older than a year, I suppose, and with posts you can’t squeeze into Twitter. You can only twitter links to his posts (and you should, if you know people who are interested in China and its neighborhood).

Or Woeser’s Invisible Tibet (看不见的西藏) – an extremely prolific one, and a real source of information about the sides of Tibet its governors and party secretaries would prefer to ignore, or to annihilate altogether – plus High Peaks, Pure Earth, with a lot of English translations of Woeser’s posts.

And yes, I do remember EastSouthWestNorth. I actually read the posts regularly.

I’m not sure why there are bloggers who seem to take a decline in their traffic (if there is a decline, or if there has ever been traffic) so serious. It’s almost as if all they have a mean CEO standing behind them, watching their statistics, and telling them that the numbers will be up by next week, or else…

Or as if they used to earn tons of Adsense (or whatever kind of money) with their blogs in the golden past. I haven’t heard of a blogger yet who ever lived of his or her blog.

Blogging is a good way to write for yourself if you enjoy it, and for others who might care to read – if what you have to say takes more than 140 characters.

I suppose that’s what a blog, including a China blog, is about. And as a rule of thumb, blogs – in a free environment, anyway – are likely to last while they don’t bore the bloggers themselves.

4 Comments to “China Blog’s not Dead”

  1. Hey thanks for the shoutout Justrecently, but you should know that I will continue to post once back in America, as going home is also part of the process of studying abroad.


  2. The presentation you quote is provocative, but in the podcast itself they arrive at basically the same conclusion you make in this post — except that they mention an entirely different community of blogs. I’m still finding new China blogs practically every week, many of which have been around for years and but never part of the relatively insular so-called China Blogosphere the death of which the podcasters lament.


  3. You’re welcome, Chris. Glad to hear that you’ll continue your blog.

    Maybe the “provocative” nature of the presentation is my problem, JD. When I’m reading a post, I’m taking it as face value (unless it’s poking fun). I’m mostly an internet reader, even if I download one or another radio podcast once in a while for travels.

    I started listening to the podcast this morning, but switched it off again when hearing someone say that the China blog is dead, and adding that he wouldn’t back it up with some “research” – not even a random 30-minutes survey among the bloggers he had in mind. When media become too self-referential, or turn a gut feeling into news, it’s no wonder if they really lose peoples’ attention.

    Btw, I’m not denying that exactly this post here is self-referential, or rather “blogosphere-referential”, too.

    I suppose it would take a real lot of discussions – not just one – about a topic to get something quotable for a good documentary. But I love good documentaries. They don’t ramble on, they organize the presentation of thoughts in advance and only leave the actual food for thought to the listener, and they don’t make rather hollow statements and then turn them into “news”.

    But maybe their production is frequently too costly these days.


  4. Just an add-up. Margaret Duffy and Esther Thorson of the Missouri School of Journalism seem to believe that blogs have a future – with some IFs.

    But concerning the ifs, just take a few blogs together for daily reading, and you’ll have pooled resources at your fingertips anyway.


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