In China, a Podcast Inspired by ‘This American Life’ Gives Voice to the Real

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Taking inspiration from American programs like “This American Life” and WNYC’s “Snap Judgment,” Mr. Kou’s “Gushi FM” (Story FM in English) features stories told in the first person by ordinary Chinese of various backgrounds.

The show highlights stories from both the margins and the mainstream of society. They are tales of loneliness, heartbreak, adventure, betrayal, love, loss and the absurd — stories of a kind not often publicly shared in this age of so-called humblebrag social media.

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‘996’ Is China’s Version of Hustle Culture. Tech Workers Are Sick of It.

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Rank-and-file tech workers in China, discouraged by a weakened job market and downbeat about their odds of joining the digital aristocracy, have other ideas.

They are organizing online against what in China is called the “996” culture: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week.

For years, Chinese tech employees have worked hours that make Silicon Valley’s workaholics seem pampered. Now they are naming and shaming employers that demand late nights. Some programmers are even withholding their creations from companies that they think overemphasize 996.

Chinese Kids Are Getting Their Parents, Their Parents’ Parents, And Their Parents’ Parents’ Parents Involved In A Meme

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The videos are being shared on video app Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, under the challenge name, “Four generations under one roof.”

People are absolutely loving it.

 

The best memes are nonsense and I love ‘karma is a bitch’

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That legacy, thank goodness, lives on with the latest meme out of lip-synching app musical.ly, brought to you by dozens of creative Chinese teenagers.

Called the Karma’s a Bitch Challenge, the joke is both simple to explain and impossible to explain, similar in spirit to classic Vine entries like “back at it again at Krispy Kreme,” “wtf is a chonce,” and “SKITTLES.” Simply put: teens lip-synch to a sound clip from The CW’s Riverdale, a show that is, itself, non-stop delirious nonsense and an absolute joy to watch. The clip is of Veronica Lodge — played by new Hollywood “it girl” Camila Mendes — saying “karma is a bitch,” in response to some news about a horrific car accident. After that, the lip-synchers change their outfits, expressions, or makeup in some dramatic way and the audio cuts to a clip from Kreayshawn’s 2011 viral hit “Gucci Gucci.” It makes no sense at all and why should it? It’s fun to watch. Each entry is approximately 12 seconds of bliss — far more than any of us has been conditioned to expect on the internet on any given day.

How China Walled Off the Internet

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Today, China has the world’s only internet companies that can match America’s in ambition and reach. It is years ahead of the United States in replacing paper money with smartphone payments, turning tech giants into vital gatekeepers of the consumer economy. And it is host to a supernova of creative expression — in short videos, podcasts, blogs and streaming TV — that ought to dispel any notions of Chinese culture as drearily conformist. All this, on a patch of cyberspace that is walled off from Facebook and Google, policed by tens of thousands of censors and subject to strict controls on how data is collected, stored and shared.

If people in the West didn’t see this coming, it was because they mistook China’s authoritarianism for hostility toward technology. But in some ways Chinese tech firms are less fettered than American ones. Witness the backlash against Big Data in the United States, the calls to break up giants like Facebook and the anxiety about digital addiction. None of those are big problems for Chinese companies. In China, there is pretty much only one rule, and it is simple: Don’t undermine the state.

China’s King of Internet Fluff Wants to Conquer the World

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A Chinese internet company that serves up homemade break-dancing videos, dishy news bites and goofy hashtag challenges has become one of the planet’s most richly valued start-ups, with a roughly $75 billion price tag. And it has big plans for storming phone screens across the rest of the globe, too.

You may not have heard of the company, Bytedance. You may never have used any of its breezy, colorful apps. But your nearest teenager is probably already obsessed with Musical.ly, the video-sharing platform that Bytedance bought for around $1 billion last year and folded into its own video service, TikTok.

“Frankly, it’s meaningless stuff,” said Dong Yaxin, 20, a college student in Beijing who says he is active every day on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok.

‘Black Mirror’ in China? 1.4 Billion Citizens To Be Monitored Through Social Credit System

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Chinese investigative journalist Liu Hu found out he was blacklisted when he tried to buy a flight to Guangzhou last year. After several airlines rejected his booking, Liu discovered that China’s government was keeping a list of “untrustworthy” people who were banned from flying—and that he was on it.

Liu had fallen afoul of Beijing in 2016 after he made a series of claims on social media accusing officials of corruption. He was forced to pay a fine and apologize, and when he did so he thought the case was closed. However, it wasn’t: Not only has Liu been barred from flying, but his new status as a “dishonest person” comes alongside a slew of other restrictions.

“My life [is] very inconvenient,” he told Newsweek. “I’m also not allowed to purchase property, I can’t send my daughter to a good school or travel on high-speed trains.”