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Blocked on Weibo: What Gets Suppressed on China’s Version of Twitter (and Why) Paperback – August 27, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: The New Press (August 27, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159558871X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595588715
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Blocked on Weibo:
"It's an engaging new volume chock full of illuminating, sometimes amusing entries on temporarily or permanently banned terms."
—Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Chancellor's Professor of History, University of California, Irvine

"This is a fascinating study with important implications for anyone who is interested in the intellectual and political climate of contemporary China. Highly recommended."
—Victor H. Mair, Professor of Chinese Language and Literature, University of Pennsylvania

"What makes his blog—and the book it has now spawned—so attractive is Ng's wit and erudition. Some entries in this Devil's Dictionary for digital times are simply descriptive, but many open surprising windows onto the wonderfully creative strategies Chinese internet users employ to circumvent blocks."
Times Literary Supplement

Praise for the Blocked on Weibo blog that inspired the book:
"Blocked on Weibo is interesting for those with any knowledge of China and its Internet space, right from beginners to old hands."
—Jon Russell, The Next Web

"Censorship nerds: check out Blocked on Weibo, an amazingly useful blog on what’s blocked in China and why."
—Andrew McLaughlin, VP of Tumblr, and former White House deputy chief technology officer

"A treasure."
—Thomson Reuters

About the Author

Jason Q. Ng is a research consultant for China Digital Times and a 2013 Google Policy Fellow at the Citizen Lab. His work has been featured in Le Monde, the Huffington Post, the Next Web, Asia Pacific Forum, and Shanghaiist. He writes regularly on China for Waging Nonviolence. He lives in New Jersey.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By H. Williams on November 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a thoughtful and detailed book on censorship in China, with an excellent introductory chapter that discusses the layers of formal and informal censorship. Unfortunately, the embedded Chinese characters in the text are impossible to read on a smart phone, even if one pauses to zoom in (I use an HTC One with a very high resolution screen). The characters are small but legible on my 24" screen at home, but this is a book that encourages reading entry by entry so is well suited to reading on the go.

The book puts much emphasis on the dynamism of term blocking on Weibo (the largest Chinese version of Twitter), with an appendix at the back that shows what terms that were blocked when the author did his first research in 2012 and whether the terms were still blocked as the book was going to press. Jason Ng is very clear about how he went about choosing the terms, and this is one of those books where some of the chapter end notes are as interesting -- perhaps more interesting -- than the text itself. Finally, recognizing that China is not the only country that censors the Internet, the author does a good job contextualizing the Chinese system with Internet censorship elsewhere in the world (and Internet monitoring as well).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Wong on August 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book opens a window into contemporary Chinese history and culture. The word China and Censorship have become synonymous in current Western media. This book serves to showcase how both the government and the people (netizens) deal with changing views and emerging technologies. The "Blocked" words are not only interesting in how netizens have found ways to communicate about censored issues but also exposes current events that would otherwise be unheard in the world.

The book is structured with a blocked word on each page, followed by an explanation of it's meaning and why it was blocked on Weibo (Chinese twitter).

My favorite portion of the books is the detailed explanation of the meaning of the block words which can be both insightful and comical. Who knew Mao Ze Dong is also known as Hairy Bacon?!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Julien on September 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is super easy to read. I, a non-English speaker, finished it in two days. All keywords come with a very short definition and a longer description to explain the reason why it's blocked on Weibo.

The title, however, is a little misleading. I think it should be Blocked on Weibo's Search. As the author mentioned in the introduction, the keywords were tested through searching on s.weibo.com. But Weibo is different from a searching engine. In my personal opinion, a blocked search query is also different from a blocked keyword. In this case, I could write a similar book titled Blocked on Baidu. Since Weibo is the hottest topic at this time, Jason's book should be a best seller. Mine? No body would care :)

The book covers 153 keywords in eight categories. To me, it's more like a contemporary history book. Each keyword has a story. The author describe them in a concise and direct way. Most of them are quite enjoyable. If you found any interesting topic, Wikipedia has more details.

To anyone else, I think this book provides a brand new perspective to understand modern China.

At last, I have to point out my personal view on the keyword "sky burial". The reason to block this term might not because of religious context. I know that Wang Mr Lixiong has a book with the same title "sky burial". The book was published in Taiwan, banned in China.
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By YP Li on August 22, 2013
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Learned a lot on a new topic I don't have much background on. Also learned a lot about modern history and culture of China, an opportunity you don't often get when you are only exposed to Western media.
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