The English-speaking China Blogosphere is dead

Let’s speak the truth about what is obvious:    The English-language China-blogosphere is dead.

It died slowly and gradually between 2007 and 2009, simultaneously with the death of fantasies of China’s becoming a “superpower.”   As America’s status as a “superpower” has belatedly died, so has the very American fantasy of China becoming a “superpower”.

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23 Responses to The English-speaking China Blogosphere is dead

  1. justrecently says:

    That’s devastating! 🙂

  2. Interesting observation Ned. I’m inclined to agree.

  3. Ned Kelly says:

    Mark, I would like to know WHY you think so!

    I have my own reasons, but I’m interested to hear yours.

  4. justrecently says:

    It’s a bit difficult to discuss the condition of the English-speaking China blogosphere without defining it. The one I’ve seen since last year was centered around the run-up to the Beijing Olympics and a rather lagging chill-out afterwards.
    The online clashes last year were great fun (yes, you can think of me as a bad guy for seeing it that way), but nothing that could – or should – last. I think it would be hard to become ever more noisy both for the harmonizers and attorney generals. From a certain point, more noise only leads to more boredom.
    China as a topic doesn’t draw as much a crowd as it did last year, I guess (and for many blogs, that’s probably mirrored by traffic numbers). But that doesn’t need to affect blogging quality.

  5. Sorry to have taken sooooo long to respond, but I’ve been preoccupied defending myself against Richard’s constant smear over at the Fool’s Mountain site, and on the CNReviews site – both in response to Part I of my essay on “Sorting fact from fiction – Tiananmen revisited.” He reads way too much in to me, thereby distorting my assessments. Annoying!

    Anyhow, the China-related blogsphere is dead in my opinion because little room is made available for any real debate. Most of the popular, well-known, most-visited blogs simply rehash the same old stories, over and over and over ad nauseum.

    The colourful characters – Ivan, Fat Cat, Dr Myers, – have all been chased away (a little like the way Edward Scissorhands was chased out of that superficial suburb of uniformity, with its overly manicured lawns and neatly lined houses of dull pastal shades – we’re all sooooo misunderstood!!!!!)

  6. Ned Kelly says:

    Mark, I took a look at the solo-masochism-tango Richard danced in front of you over at CNRreviews.

    “Masochism Tango” refers to this song by Tom Lehrer. It’s even creepier when someone dances it solo:

    As his “Fantabulist” thread of around half a decade ago has absolutely nothing to do with your article, to me the most reasonable inference is that Richard perversely enjoys dragging (um, no pun intended there) it out over and over.

  7. FOARP says:

    Well, I would say that technically the Anglo-Sino-Blogo-sphere has been dead ever since Sinocidal jumped the shark back in late 2007, it’s only that the stench from its steadily rotting corpse is now beginning to pong out the rest of the net.

    Ps – One of the first (and best) posts I read over at the ‘Cidal was a skit totally sticking it too MAJ and the rest of the China Daily/CCPwad crowd. Check it here:

  8. C.A. Yeung says:


    Thanks for linking to the Sinocidal archive. I didn’t know that readers can still access the blog.

    I meant to ask MyLaowai what had happened to Sinocidal. I hadn’t been following and was quite surprised to find out later that it was closed down.

    The China Daily forum is somewhere that I always try to avoid. It’s so blatantly obvious a propaganda swamp that it’s not really worth my time visiting or writing about it. But I have to say that Chou Chou did a really good job and it’s so funny.

    It doesn’t surprise me to find MAJ hanging around there. I presume that’s where he learnt how to toe the party line (on various issues including his view on Tibet and Tiananmen). You might have noticed that his latest attempt is to try to back up the party line with garbles from western apologists. It had apparently gone down really well with the fenqing mob at the Fool’s Mountain. So by the look of it, MAJ’s new fantasy is to re-invent himself as a CCP strategic adviser. That suits me. It is my sincere wish that all members of the fenqing cult and 50 cents party will all take MAJ’s advice and following his instructions. IMO they deserve each other.

  9. C.A. Yeung says:

    P.S. What had happened to Michael Manning’s blog the Opposite End of China? It also disappeared into thin air?

  10. Ned Kelly says:

    Re, “So by the look of it, MAJ’s new fantasy is to re-invent himself as a CCP strategic adviser”…

    …what, you mean just like Richard Burger? Ah, birds of a feather:

  11. Ned Kelly says:

    And FOARP, what’s more loathsome:

    1. Making openly CCP-apologist comments for no pay on China Daily which no one reads nor takes seriously, OR,

    2. Whoring oneself out as a PAID virtual catamite whore “Foreign Editor” of a Chinese Propaganda Department rag under the implied pretense that one is actually reforming the CCP Propaganda regime from within?

    That’s a rhetorical question. Person number one, who is obviously MAJ, might be a ludicrous ass sometimes, but he’s NOT A WHORE for the virtual Sodomites of the Chinese Propaganda Department. I have more respect for an honest intellectually-farting ass than for a dishonest virtual catamite, any day.

  12. FOARP says:

    @Ned – All I can say is I don’t cut it that way. All of us know that living in China requires some level of co-operation, otherwise you’d never get in the country, everyone pays taxes and fees, and almost everyone has at some point done something for a government-run institution. I personally draw the line where the political assistance you give the CCP outweighs the physical benefits created for yourself and others. To my mind working for a party newspaper does this, it means you are stepping into the area of rendering the party political assistance, and I have said as much on Richard’s blog.

    All the same I think he genuinely believed that he was going to make a difference. He was up-front about it, and seemed prepared to accept that he might be proved wrong, and that if he was, he would quit. Compare this to, say, guys like Chris Gelken, who never seemed to accept that there was any double standard in working for Iranian and Chinese state television and then going on about how the US tries to control the media when he landed a job in a place which enjoyed a reasonable level of freedom of speech. Richard is, in my opinion, naive, not wanton.

    MAJ, on the other hand, lives a twisted fantasy life into which he tries to drag others. He sets up false names and websites in an effort to push a vanity-published book which, as far as I know, no-one has actually bothered to read. He may actually genuinely hold his political opinions, but they are carried within such a web of lies and outright fantasy that they remain just as reprehensible as if they were fraudulent. Whilst Richard’s acts are misguided and wrong but his intention is good, MAJ’s intent is to pull the wool over our eyes to serve a purpose which he probably does not even admit to himself – to feed his own sense of self-importance.

  13. FOARP says:

    I guess I should also add that it’s not like I’m best mates with Richard, check out the comments on this post:

    It’s just that I value opinions genuinely held, even where the person in question is a misguided Obama fan-boy, over fantasy-world bullshit. One you can reason with and learn from, the other is less than worthless.

  14. Ned Kelly says:

    Worthless? To be worthless means to be useless, and MAJ does in fact seem to be useless to China’s Propaganda Department. In that respect he has done a lot less damage than a man who was able to make himself useful for evil purposes.

  15. FOARP says:

    @Ned Kelly – But even if that is true (and if you go to websites like you will see MAJ cited as an example of a foreigner who has ‘got’ the message, so perhaps what he does is not entirely dismissed) the intent of the person involved is important.

  16. C.A. Yeung says:

    FOARP: I’m very reluctant to join in this discussion about Richard and MAJ. JR can attest to that (I’ve discussed this with him over email). I really think that it’s about time for the two of them to put the past behind. Because of that, I’m now urging you to drop this topic. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that Ned and I know a hell lot about Richard then you do. Have you ever considered the possibility that Richard is the one who is obsessed with paranoid delusion? And no, I’m not theorising. I do have evidence to back up my claim. However, for old time’s sake, I am not going to openly embarrass Richard. So if you want to know my side of the story, I invite you to send me an email. You should have my email address.

  17. FOARP says:

    @CA Yeung – ‘fraid my blog’s on blogspot, don’t know how to get the email address of commenters (or even if it’s possible). Blast me an email at and I’ll reply.

  18. Ned Kelly says:

    If Mark is having any influence on Anti-CNN, then they’re in real trouble.

  19. FOARP says:

    @Neddy – Amen!

  20. Ned Kelly says:

    So we agree on that at least. MAJ is someone you do NOT want as your PR man! He’s the Inspector Clouseau of CCP apologists.

  21. Ned Kelly says:

    PS, I mean like this:

  22. justrecently says:

    Last words: pictures are more powerful than words.

  23. Ned Kelly says:


    WORD UP!

    Catherine and I (and Ivan) are thinking of changing “Ivan’s Anthem” to THIS song:

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