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The PRC Twitter List: The Rise of China on Twitter

“Twittering China’s stories well” – about the surge of Chinese official accounts on Twitter.

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Over the past year, there’s been more media coverage on the growing influence of China on global media. When it comes to social media, Twitter has seen a significant surge in accounts representing Chinese official media, diplomatic missions, and state organizations. What’s on Weibo gives an overview of these Twitter accounts and the rise of China on Twitter.

Apart from the countless Chinese official media and government accounts on China’s domestic social media platform Weibo, there is now an increasing number of Beijing-linked accounts that have gone beyond the Great Firewall and have set out for Twitter.

Official Chinese accounts have become more present and more active on foreign social media over the past few years, and we have found that there has been a significant surge of new official accounts arriving on Twitter in 2019 and in early 2020.

Within China, Weibo and WeChat have become increasingly relevant when it comes to public diplomacy. For years now, foreign embassies, media, pundits, and government organizations from all over the world are active on Chinese social media platforms.

The growing ubiquity of digital diplomacy is unsurprising: social media platforms are a low-cost and convenient tool for engaging with local audiences for public diplomacy purposes.

In our article “Digital Diplomacy: These Foreign Embassies Are Most (Un)Popular on Weibo” (2016), we explored the popularity of foreign embassies on Sina Weibo. There is even a term for this kind of diplomacy via Weibo: “Weiplomacy.”

While foreign actors are active on Weibo and other platforms, Chinese actors are also increasingly active in the English-language social media sphere.

The use of Twitter for diplomacy uses is not new, nor is it unique to China. The term used for public diplomacy strategies on Twitter is ‘Twiplomacy,’ and government officials from as many as 178 countries have been using Twitter for diplomatic purposes (Guo et al 2019, 563-564).

 

CHINA’S TWIPLOMACY

 

The use of Twitter for Chinese government purposes has received more media attention recently. In June of this year, news came out that Twitter suspended more than 23,000 ‘fake’ accounts for allegedly being linked to the Chinese Communist Party and spreading ­false information and promote Party narratives to undermine the Hong Kong protests and/or to counter criticism of Beijing’s handling of COVID-19 (Washington Post, 2020).

This development is somewhat surprising, as previous studies have found no evidence of these kinds of automated processes on Twitter as part of Chinese international propaganda efforts (Bolsover & Howard 2019). Noteworthy enough, it was previously found that those using bot activities on the platform to manipulate information about China and Chinese politics were actually anti-China groups (ibid., 2076).

What is clear from the recent growing presence of Chinese state-related accounts on Twitter, is that online political communication promoting Chinese interests is often manually done by real accounts and real people, e.g. state employees, as part of their regular jobs.

China’s shift from traditional forms of public diplomacy and propaganda to more innovative and digital ones has been ongoing for years. Since Xi Jinping’s ascension to power, the media strategy of “telling China’s story well” started to become more prominent in foreign diplomacy efforts (Shambaugh 2020, 17).

But also before this time, between 2009 and 2011, there was a heightened focus on China’s international media presence, with the government spending billions on a global media plan, mainly executed via media agencies such as Xinhua, China Daily, CCTV, and China Radio International (Bolsover & Howard 2019, 2065; Huang & Wang 2020, 118).

The One Belt, One Road summit in May of 2017 was an important digital media moment as Chinese state media and official social media accounts shared new kinds of promotional campaigns targeted at domestic and foreign audiences (see our article). In that same year, social media also played a major role in the propagation of PRC’s “New Era,” which was promoted via short videos, cartoons, and gifs (also see this article).

Whereas China’s foreign online public diplomacy previously mostly seemed to focus on promoting the positive image of China as a peaceful nation (the 2020 study by Huang and Wang on ‘panda engagement’ analyzes the panda-themed tweets of official media accounts on Twitter), we have seen a different trend in China’s digital public diplomacy over the past year.

Yes, there are still panda tweets. But Twitter is also used more and more to also aggressively defend China’s image and attacking others while spreading official narratives on contentious issues such as the South China Sea dispute, US-China trade war, alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang, the Hong Kong protests, and China’s handling of the COVID19 outbreak.

Example of public diplomacy on Twitter, via Ministry of Foreign Affairs @MFA_China (screenshot by What’s on Weibo).

This is not always done in the most sophisticated way. One noteworthy example is that of the China State Council Information Office, tweeting under the (unverified) handle of @chinascio. In 2016 and early 2017, the account repeatedly responded to other twitterers using slang terms such as “dude” or “bro” (“better for you to learn a whole picture of China, dude“), causing hilarity among Twitter users. James Griffith (@jgriffiths) even covered the issue on the CNN website, highlighting the account’s use of the “truth ain’t lie dude” phrase. The controversy was also covered by Chinese Huanqiu Online (Global Times) media outlet.

Other official accounts, such as People’s Daily or that of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have also sent out tweets in the past that seemed somewhat out of character, using common slang terms such as “dude” or “LOL.”

Over the past two years, Chinese Twitter strategies seem to have become more sophisticated, with an increasing number of state media, diplomatic missions and government organizations joining the American social media platform.

There are, however, new rows coming up over the Twitter use of Chinese officials. In May of 2020, China’s embassy in Paris sent out a tweet portraying a grim reaper – dressed in US flag while holding a scythe with the Star of David – knocking on the door of Hong Kong, with a text saying: “Who’s next?”

Screenshot as posted by Isaac Stone Fish on Twitter
@isaacstonefish

The embassy soon deleted the tweet and released a statement saying its Twitter was hacked. It was not the first time the Embassy came under scrutiny for its Twitter use; the Chinese Ambassador to France was summoned to the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs in April for a series of other provocative tweets during the coronavirus crisis.

The French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs stated that the tweets were not “keeping with the quality of the bilateral relationship between our two countries.”

Although Chinese state media outlet Global Times wrote about the official Twitter account that the “Chinese Embassy’s humorous satirical taste delights social media users,” these kinds of online altercations show that China’s global diplomatic offense on Twitter can lead to offline clashes, or rather, that online and offline diplomacy are no longer separate worlds. Digital diplomacy is thus not necessarily just ‘digital diplomacy’ – it’s diplomacy, period.

 

TWITTER USE IN CHINA

 

That there is a growing presence of Chinese official accounts on Twitter does not mean that there is also growing freedom for Chinese web users to use the platform from within mainland China.

Twitter has been blocked in China since June 2009, and is inaccessible unless web users make use of software to circumvent censorship and to jump over the Great Firewall of China. Only a small percentage of Chinese web users do so.

According to a survey by political scientist Daniela Stockmann, cited in the New York Times, some 0.4 percent of China’s internet users, roughly 3.2 million people, use Twitter.

Not only is Twitter blocked in China – Chinese nationals who post critical views on the platform could end up in trouble. In his 2019 New York Times article, Paul Mozur explored the Beijing crackdown of Twitter, writing that a growing number of Chinese twitterers are questioned or even detained for their activities on Twitter.

Chinese activists quoted in the article talk about being advised to remove tweets, and also about being interrogated, threatened, and physically restrained over their Twitter behavior.

Telling – or rather, Twittering – China’s stories well is a key mission in China today. But who Twitters these stories in what ways is strictly controlled.

 

ABOUT THIS LIST

 

To give you an idea of China’s new Twitter diplomacy and to provide insight into the ‘official’ accounts that are active on Twitter today, we have compiled the list below for reference, consisting of some 280 relevant accounts in total.

This list only covers accounts representing mainland Chinese state media, diplomatic missions, and other government & state organizations. It leaves out individual Chinese Twitter users unless they are officially representing Chinese media and/or state and government organizations.

The number of followers for each account is recorded at the time of writing between July 11-20. Accounts are listed going from most number of followers on top.

This list is by no means complete. We might have overseen official accounts (please let us know), and it has left out, for example, the many different accounts run by Confucius Institutes worldwide, and also does not list the state-owned enterprises that are active on Twitter.

This list has been compiled manually by What’s on Weibo – it is not an official list by any means. Please note that we have included accounts that have not been verified by Twitter, as most of these accounts do not have the verified ‘v’ status (yet) – the fact that Twitter’s verified account program has been on hold for a long time might have to do with this.

Although caution is thus advised, we currently have no reason to assume that any of the accounts in this list do not belong to the person or organization they say they represent in their bio.

Contributing to this is the fact that these accounts are also followed by other official accounts that have already been verified. If an account is officially verified, we have tagged it as “VERIFIED ACCOUNT.”

In writing personal names, we stick to the way the person presents their name on Twitter. Mostly, they state their last name first, followed by the given name, but sometimes they use the Western style and turn it around.

This list is not necessarily focused on accounts tweeting in English. Many of the accounts tweet in (traditional) Chinese or other languages including Spanish, Japanese, German, or French (both media and accounts of diplomatic missions).

 

NOTEWORTHY FINDINGS

 

The first official Chinese media accounts to join Twitter are Global Times, CCTV, China Daily, and China Plus News (CRI). They all joined from April-Nov 2009, three years after the founding of Twitter, and in the same year that the platform was blocked in mainland China. This was also the year that the Chinese government under Hu Jintao reportedly spent $8.7 billion on a foreign media expansion project.

From that moment on, Chinese media accounts slowly start joining Twitter. Around the 2012-2013 period, when President Xi Jinping introduces the idea of promoting China in the digital age by “telling China’s stories well,” accounts such as China News, Xinhua News, Guangming Daily, and CGTN all join Twitter. Region-specific accounts, including People’s Daily Arabic, Xinhua Spanish, or CGTN Africa, also all join around this period.

Around the year 2017, we see a small surge in Chinese media, government, and city accounts joining Twitter. This is the year that China’s Belt and Road propaganda machine is running at full speed. It is also the year of the 19th National Congress, when Chinese media focus on the message of “supporting China’s New Era.”

But the most noteworthy first surge of Chinese ‘official’ government-related and diplomatic accounts takes place in 2019 at the time of the Hong Kong Protests. While mass demonstrations and violent clashes take place in Hong Kong, we see a total of 35 new official diplomatic/government accounts joining Twitter from July to November of 2019.

The second rise of Chinese official accounts on Twitter takes place in the period of January to March 2020, when a total of 47 new official diplomatic/government accounts join the platform during the international COVID19 crisis.

There also seems to be a clear shift in China’s “Twiplomacy” regarding the overall tone of Twitter posts. Whereas most of the city and regional accounts – arriving on Twitter since 2012 – engage in “panda twiplomacy” and promote China as a harmonious leader and beautiful tourist destination, many diplomatic and media accounts that joined Twitter later shifted tones in addressing international criticism or clarifying China’s stance in main issues concerning the international community, including the South China Sea issue and the US-China trade war.

Over recent months and weeks, the accounts of many diplomats and other accounts in this list have tweeted out images/information sheets, articles, or videos on “What is True and What is False” regarding international media reports on China’s alleged human rights violations, Hong Kong National Security Law, and COVID19 pandemic. These kinds of “true” and “false” images are often produced by Chinese media outlets and then retweeted by many embassy and/or diplomatic accounts and other media accounts. 

We also found that this list of Twitter accounts does not mirror Weibo at all – many of the accounts in this list have no presence on Weibo and thus were solely created to speak to an overseas audience.

The accounts in this list amplify each other by following each other and through retweeting. For example, the @MFA_China account (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) has over 178k followers on Twitter, and often retweets the tweets by other official accounts. The diplomatic, media, and city/region accounts often follow each other.

Here’s our list! (First version July 21, 2020, updated by adding three more diplomats on July 22, 2020).

Update August 7 2020: As of August 6, 2020, Twitter implemented government and state-affiliated media account labels on its platform. The label appears on the profile page of the relevant Twitter account, as shown in the example below.

 

LIST OF CHINA ACCOUNTS ON TWITTER

 

CHINA GOVERNMENT & STATE RELATED ACCOUNTS

CHINA DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS

 

Chinese Embassy in Pakistan
@CathayPak, 104.8K followers
(Joined Sep 2015)

Chinese Embassy in Brazil
@EmbaixadaChina, 72.8K followers
(Joined May 2018)

Chinese Embassy in Japan 中華人民共和国駐日本国大使館
@ChnEmbassy_jp, 69K followers
(Joined April 2014)

Chinese Embassy in US
@ChineseEmbinUS, 45.6K followers
(Joined June 2019)

Chinese Mission to UN
@Chinamission2un, 39.8K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined April 2015)

Chinese Embassy in Italy
@AmbCina, 33K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined May 2018)

Chinese Embassy in Spain
@ChinaEmbEsp, 26.3K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Sep 2019)

Chinese Embassy in Turkey
@ChinaEmbTurkey, 28.5K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Oct 2015)

Chinese Embassy in France
@AmbassadeChine, 24.1K followers
(Joined August 2019)

Chinese Embassy to Yemen
@ChineseEmbtoYEM, 18.2K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined September 2019)

Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the EU
@ChinaEUMission, 16K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Sep 2013)

Chinese Embassy in UK
@ChineseEmbinUK, 13.7K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Nov 2019)

Chinese Embassy in the Philippines
@Chinaembmanila, 12.2K followers
(Joined Feb 2017)

Chinese Embassy in South Africa
@ChineseEmbSA, 12K followers
(Joined Sep 2019)

Chinese Embassy in Kenya
@ChineseEmbKenya, 6662 followers
(Joined March 2019)

Chinese Embassy in Canada
@ChinaEmbOttawa, 6492 followers
(Joined June 2014)

Chinese Embassy in Tanzania
@ChineseEmbTZ, 6,064 followers
(Joined Dec 2019)

Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe
@ChineseZimbabwe, 5,856 followers
(Joined Sep 2018)

Chinese Consulate General in Istanbul
@chinaconsulist, 4778 followers
(Joined Feb 2020)

Chinese Embassy in Congo
@AmbCHINEenRDC, 4654 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Jan 2020)

Chinese Embassy in Uganda
@ChineseEmb_Uga, 3943 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Jan 2018)

Chinese Embassy in Venezuela
@Emb_ChinaVen, 3785 followers
(Joined September 2019)

Chinese Embassy in Somalia
@ChineseSomalia, 3424 followers
(Joined June 2019)

Chinese Embassy in Argentina
@ChinaEmbArg, 3212 followers
(Joined March 2020)

Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka
@ChinaEmbSL, 2920 followers
(Joined March 2020)

Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia
@ChinaEmbAddis, 2809 followers
(Joined December 2019)

China Mission Geneva
@ChinaMissionGva, 2574 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined May 2015)

Chinese Embassy in Hungary
@ChineseEmbinHU, 2527 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Oct 2019)

Permanent Mission of China in Vienna
@ChinaMissionVie, 2344 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Oct 2019)

Chinese Embassy in Germany
@ChinaEmbGermany, 2339 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined December 2019)

Chinese Consulate General in Chicago
@ChinaConsulate, 2315 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Feb 2019)

Chinese Embassy in the Republic of Chad
@ambchinetchad, 2272 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Sep 2019)

Chinese Embassy in Iraq
@ChinaIraq, 2187 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined January 2020)

Chinese Embassy in Ireland
@ChinaEmbIreland, 2157 followers
(Joined Feb 2020)

Chinese Embassy in Poland
@ChinaEmbPoland, 2102 followers
(Joined July 2019)

Chinese Embassy in Grenada
@ChinaEmbGrenada, 2033 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Oct 2019)

Chinese Embassy in Kazakhstan
@ChinaEmbKazakh, 1957 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Sep 2019)

Chinese Embassy in Burundi
@AmbChineBurundi, 1818 followers
(Joined June 2019)

Chinese Embassy in Guinea 中国驻几内亚大使馆
@chine_guinee, 1769 followers
(Joined Sep 2019)

Chinese Embassy in Slovenia
@ChinaEmSlovenia, 1632 followers
(Joined Dec 2017)

Chinese Embassy in Mali
@Chine_au_Mali, 1452 followers
(Joined Aug 2018)

Chinese Consulate General in Calgary
@ChinaCGCalgary, 1442 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Dec 2019)

Chinese Embassy in Austria
@chinaembaustria, 1391 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Jan 2020)

Chinese Embassy in Colombia
@china_embajada, 1343 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Feb 2020)

Chinese Embassy in Jordan
@ChineseembassyJ, 1321 followers
(Joined Sep 2019)

Chinese Embassy in Angola
@ChinaEmbAngola, 1391 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Jan 2020)

Chinese Embassy in Papua New Guinea
@ChineseEmb_PNG, 1344 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Feb 2020)

Chinese Embassy in Samoa 中国驻萨摩亚大使馆
@chinaandsamoa, 1187 followers
(Joined September 2019)

Chinese Embassy in Liberia
@ChineseLiberia, 1163 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined December 2019)

Chinese Embassy in Cameroon
@AmbChineCmr, 1130 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Dec 2019)

Consulate-Generale of China in Rio de Janeiro
@ConsulChinaRJ, 1119 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined December 2019)

Consultate General of People’s Republic of China in Nagoya
@ChnConsulateNgo, 1071 followers
(Joined Feb 2020)

Chinese Embassy in Albania
@ChinaembassyT , 1023 followers
(Joined April 2019)

Chinese Embassy in Belarus 中国驻白俄罗斯大使馆
@ZhongBai2020, 975 followers
(Joined Jan 2020)

Consulate General of China in Barcelona 中国驻巴塞罗那总领馆
@ConsulChinaBcn, 968 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Feb 2020)

Chinese Embassy in Nigeria
@china_emb_ng, 946 followers
(Joined Sep 2019)

Chinese Embassy in Denmark
@ChinaInDenmark, 904 followers
(Joined May 2017)

Chinese Embassy in the Slovak Republic 中国驻斯洛伐克使馆
@ChinaEmbSVK, 867 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Feb 2020)

Chinese Embassy in Peru
@ChinaEmbPeru, 799 followers
(Joined Feb 2020)

Chinese Embassy in Suriname
@CHNEmbSuriname, 793 followers
(Joined Sep 2019)

Consulate of China in Niigata 中華人民共和国駐新潟総領事館の新ちゃん
@ChnConsulateNgt, 737 followers
(Joined March 2020)

Consulate General of China in Jeju
@jejuZLG, 736 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined October 2019)

Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Dubai
@CGPRCinDubai, 724 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Dec 2019)

Consulate General of China in Fukuoka 中華人民共和国駐福岡総領事館
@ChnConsulateFuk, 722 followers
(Joined April 2020)

Chinese Embassy in Russia
@ChineseEmbinRus, 673 followers
(Joined Feb 2020)

Chinese Embassy in Tonga 中国驻汤加大使馆
@embassy_chinese, 611 followers
(Joined Nov 2019)

Chinese Embassy in Czech Republic
@ChineseEmbinCZ, 502 followers
(Joined Feb 2020)

Chinese Embassy in Ghana
@ChinaEmbinGH, 478 followers
(Joined March 2020)

Chinese Embassy in Djibouti
@ChineAmbDjibout, 424 followers
(Joined April 2020)

Consulat Général de Chine à Lyon
@China_Lyon, 280 followers
(Joined March 2020)

Embassy of China in the Netherlands
@ChinaEmbNL, 269 followers
(Joined June 2020)

Chinese Consulate General in Johannesburg
@ChnConsulateJhb, 241 followers
(Joined Oct 2019)

Chinese Consulate General in Sydney
@ChinaConSydney, 227 followers
(Joined April 2020)

Chinese Embassy in Serbia
@EmbChina_RS, 216 followers
(Joined May 2020)

Consulate-General of China in Strasbourg
@consulat_de, 203 followers
(Joined Feb 2020)

Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco
@ConsulateSan, 131 followers
(Joined March 2020)

Chinese Consulate General in Edinburgh
@chinacgedi, 110 followers
(Joined Feb 2020)

Chinese Consulate General in Belfast 中国驻贝尔法斯特总领事馆
@CCGBelfast, 39 followers
(Joined March 2020)

 

CHINESE AMBASSADORS AND DIPLOMATS

 

Cui Tiankai, @AmbCuiTiankai
Chinese Ambassador to the US, 79.2K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined June 2019)

Sun Weidong, @China_Amb_India
Chinese Ambassador to India, 75.8K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Dec 2017)

Liu Xiaoming, @AmbLiuXiaoMing
Chinese Ambassador to the UK, 67.8K Followers
(Joined Oct 2019)

Yang Wanming, @WanmingYang
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Federative Republic of Brazil, 47.7K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Nov 2015)

Hou Yanqi, @PRCAmbNepal
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Nepal, 43.7K Followers
(Joined June 2019)

Chen Weiqing, @AmbChenWeiQing
Ambassador of China in Saudi Arabia , 33.3K followers
(Joined July 2019)

Chang Hua, @AmbChangHua
Ambassador of China to the Islamic Republic of Iran, 16.6K followers
(Joined Oct 2019)

Wei Qiang 魏强 , @weiasecas
Chinese Ambassador to Panamá, 15.9K followers
(Joined Nov 2017)

Zhang Heqing, @zhang_heqing
Cultural Counsellor, Director of China Cultural Center in Pakistan, 15.2K followers
(Joined May 2020)

Zhang Run, @EmbZhangRun
Chinese Ambassador to Dominican Republic, 12.1K followers
(Joined Dec 2018)

Zhang Lizhong, @AmbassadorZhang
Chinese Ambassador to Maldives, 11.8K followers
(Joined June 2019)

Wang Yu 王愚, @ChinaEmbKabul
Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan, 11.2K followers
(Joined Jan 2017)

Li Xiaosi, @li_xiaosi
Chinese Ambassador to Austria, 11.1K followers
(Joined Sep 2019)

Deng Xijun, @China2ASEAN
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to ASEAN, 10.3K followers
(Joined Jan 2020)

Chen Bo, @AmbChenBo
Ambassador of China to Serbia, 9531 followers
(Joined March 2020)

Zha Liyou 查立友, @ZhaLiyou
CG of China in Kolkata 中国驻加尔各答总领事, 9935 followers
VERIFIED (Joined August 2019)

Mu Xiaodong 沐小东, @Xiaodong_Mu
Diplomat and Consul of Chinese Embassy in Myanmar, 8086
(Joined April 2016)

Zhang Yiming, @Amb_Yiming
Ambassador of China to the Republic of Namibia, 7467 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Sep 2019)

Guo Shaochun, @China_Amb_Zim
Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, 7434 followers
(Joined April 2019)

Liao Liqiang, @AmbLiaoLiqiang
Chinese Ambassador to Egypt, 7232 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Dec 2019)

Li Bijian 李碧建, @libijian2
Consul General of China to Karachi, 7011 followers
(Joined January 2020)

Ji Rong, @ChinaSpox_India
Spokesperson of Chinese Embassy in India, 6330 Followers
(Joined March 2020)

Quan Liu @AmbLiuQuan
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Suriname, 5814 followers
(Joined Sept 2019)

Wang Kejian, @ChinainLebanon
Chinese Ambassador to Lebanon, 5752 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Feb 2020)

Zhu Liying (朱立英), @LiyingZHU1
Chinese Ambassador to Mali, 5593 followers
(Joined August 2019)

Ou Jianhong, @oujianhong
Embajadora de China in El Salvador, 4619 followers
(Joined August 2018)

Feng Biao, @AmbFengBiao
Chinese Ambassador To Syria, 4630 followers
(Joined March 2020)

Liu Guangyuan, @AmbLiuGuangYuan
Chinese Ambassador to Poland, 3867 followers
(Joined March 2020)

Xu Hong, @PRCAmbNL
Chinese Ambassador to the Netherlands, 3485 followers
(Joined Nov 2019)

Zhu Jing 朱京, @Amb_ZhuJing
Ambassador of People’s Republic of China to Congo, 3360 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Jan 2020)

Chen Xu, @Amb_ChenXu
Chinese Ambassador, Permanent Representative to UN office in Geneva, 3171 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Dec 2019)

Zhang Jun, @ChinaAmbUN
China’s Permanent Representative to the UN, 3013 followers
(Joined Feb 2020)

Liu Yuxi, @Ambassador_Liu
Chinese Ambassador to the AU and the UNECA, 2787 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined October 2019)

Zhao Yongchen, @DrZhaoyongchen
Chinese Ambassador to Grenada, 2416 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined July 2019)

Huang Xingyuan, @AmbassadorHuang
Chinese Ambassador to Cyprus, 2069 followers
(Joined Feb 2020)

Cao Yi (Abou Wassim), @CAOYI170610
Consul, Embassy of China in Lebanon, 2015 followers
(Joined May 2018)

Zhang Ping, @CGZhangPingLA
Official Twitter for Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Los Angeles, 1642 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Nov 2019)

Dong Zhihua, @Dong_zhihua
WA Consul General, 1607 followers
(Joined Sep 2019)

Lin Jing 林静, @CGCHINA_CPT
Chinese Consul General in Cape Town, 1451 followers
(Joined March 2020)

Cao Zhongming, @ChinaAmbBelgium
Chinese Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium, 1429 followers
(Joined Dec 2019)

Liu_Hongyang, @LiuHongyang4
Ambassador of China to Malawi, 1265 followers
(Joined Feb 2018)

Zheng ZhuQiang, @ChinaAmbUganda
Ambassador of China to Uganda, 1163 followers
(Joined March 2018)

Li Li, @AmbassadeurLiLi
Ambassador of China to Marocco, 1085 followers
(Joined Jan 2020)

Zhao Qinghua, @Dr_ZhaoQinghua
Consul General of China in Zurich and for the Principality of Liechtenstein, 765 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Feb 2020)

Li Yang, @CGChinaLiYang
Consule-General China in Rio de Janeiro, 727 followers
(Joined March 2020)

Yan Xiusheng 延秀生, @YXiusheng
Chinese Ambassador to Barbados, 614 followers
(Joined April 2020)

Chinese Embassy Bangkok, @chineseembassy1
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Thailand, 567 followers
(Joined May 2019)

Fang Yi @FangYi85320692
Spokesperson & Head of Political Office of the Chinese Embassy in Uganda, 550 followers
(Joined Jan 2018)

Gu Wenliang 顾文亮, @GuWenliang
Agricultural Commissioner, Chinese Embassy in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 527 followers
(Joined Feb 2020)

Lijun Xing 邢立军 @xing_lijun
Chinese Diplomat in Pakistan, 514 followers
(Joined April 2017)

Lei Kezhong, @AmbassadorLei
Chinese Ambassador to Lesotho, 494 followers
(Joined March 2020)

Zhou Jian, @AmbZhouJian
Chinese Ambassador to the State of Qatar, 452 followers
(Joined Feb 2020)

Li Song 李松, @Amb_LiSong
Chinese Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs, Deputy Permanent Representative to UN Office in Geneva, 437 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined June 2020)

Du Xiaohui, @GeneralkonsulDu
Generalkonsul der VR China in Hamburg, 341 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined February 2020)

Ribiao Chen, @RibiaoChen
Minister Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in the Hague, 249 followers
(Joined Jan 2020)

SONG C.Q., @Song_Chq
Deputy Chief & Political Counselor of Chinese Embassy in Lesotho, 216 followers
(Joined Sep 2007)

Wang Donghua, @WDonghua
Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco
(Joined March 2020)

Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in Egypt
@CHN_EGY, 126 followers
(Joined June 2020)

Song Yichu, @YichuSong
Chinese diplomat in Pakistan, 98 followers
(Joined April 2020)

Zhang Meifang 张美芳总领事, @CGMeifangZhang
Consul General of China to Belfast, 63 followers
(Joined Jan 2020)

Liu Yuyin 刘玉印, @ChnMission
Spokesperson Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations, 13 followers
(Joined Jan 2020)

 

CHINA GOVERNMENT & STATE ACCOUNTS

 

Zhao Lijian 赵立坚 / Foreign Ministry Spokesperson
@zlj517, 731.1K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined May 2010)

Hua Chunying 华春莹 / Foreign Ministry Spokesperson
@SpokespersonCHN, 579.4K followers
(Joined October 2019)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs / Spokesperson发言人办公室
@MFA_China, 177.4K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined October 2019)

State Council Information Office of China 中华人民共和国国务院新闻办公室
@chinascio, 38.6K followers
(Joined September 2015)

Hu Zhaoming / Spokesperson of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee 中联部发言人胡兆明
@SpokespersonHZM, 6494 followers
(Joined April 2020)

CIDCA China International Development Cooperation Agency
@cidcaofficial, 4969 followers
(Joined March 2020)

Fu Cong 傅聪 / Director-General of The Department of Arms Control (MFA)
@FuCong17, 2945 followers
(Joined June 2020)

 

CITY / REGION ACCOUNTS 


Visit Xiamen
@VisitXiamen, 228.1K followers
(Joined Oct 2016)

Suzhou, China
@VisitSuzhou, 187.8k followers
(Joined Jan 2015)

Visit Wuhan
@visit_wuhan, 154.6K followers
(Joined Jan 2018)

Visit Beijing
@VisitBeijingcn, 117.4K followers
(Joined July 2014)

Shenyang
@ShenyangChina, 102.3K followers
(Joined Nov 2017)

Kunshan
@Kunshan_China, 100.5K followers
(Joined Dec 2016)

HANGZHOU TOURISM and CULTURE
@TOURISMHANGZHOU, 100.3L followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Sep 2014)

Hangzhou, China
@Hangzhou_CHINA, 95.8K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined May 2012)

Jiangsu, China
@GoJiangsu, 84.3K followers
(Joined Jan 2015)

Visit Shaanxi
@visitshaanxi, 66.7K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Dec 2013)

VisitJiangsu
@VisitJiangsu, 53.4K followers
(Joined Feb 2016)

Changsha
@ChangshaCity, 46.8K followers
(Joined April 2017)

Anhui China
@AnhuiChina, 45.1K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Jan 2018)

Visit Sichuan-China
@Amazingsichuan, 39.9K followers
(Joined Aug 2014)

Guangzhou China
@Guangzhou_City, 39.4K followers
(Joined July 2015)

FuzhouCity
@FuzhouCity, 37.2K followers
(Joined Dec 2015)

Wuzhen China
@Wuzhen__China, 34.8K followers
(Joined April 2017)

Xiangyang
@XiangyangCity, 33K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Nov 2015)

Wuxi China 魅力無錫
@WuxiCity, 31.7K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined March 2015)

Rugao City
@RugaoCity, 24.5K followers
(Joined Jan 2018)

Visit Guangxi-China
@VisitGuangxi, 23.8K followers
(Joined Dec 2017)

Nanjing China
@GoToNanjing, 22.1K followers
(Joined Oct 2017)

Guizhou, China
@iloveguizhou, 14K followers
(Joined July 2018)

Visit Weifang, China
@visitweifang, 12.8K followers
(Joined Sep 2016)

Hefei, China
@HefeiChina, 8857 followers
(Joined March 2018)

Ordos, China
@OrdosChina, 7447 followers
(Joined May 2017)

Visit Haikou
@visithaikou, 7020 followers
(Joined Oct 2016)

Discover Foshan
@DiscoverFoshan, 6812 followers
(Joined Dec 2019)

Visit Yantai
@VisitYantai, 6113 followers
(Joined Nov 2016)

Incredible Jinan
@JinanofChina, 6513 followers
(Joined August 2019)

Chengdu China
@Chengdu_China, 4710 followers
(Joined Feb 2012)

Discover Hohhot
@HohhotChina, 4547 followers
(Joined July 2019)

Visit Xi’an
@VisitXian, 3734 followers
(Joined Aug 2017)

Friendly Shandong
@VisitShandong, 3437 followers
(Joined Nov 2013)

Discover Ningxia
@DiscoverNingxia, 2821 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Sep 2015)

This is Zhongshan
@ThisisZhongshan, 1890 followers
(Joined April 2020)

Discover Yunnan
@DiscoverYunnan, 1720 followers
(Joined Oct 2014)

Inner Mongolia China
@InnerMongolia70, 1686 followers
(Joined June 2017)

Discover Kunming
@DiscoverKunming, 1621 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Dec 2014)

Xiong’an New Area
@Xiongan_NewArea, 1271 followers
(Joined Nov 2017)

Guangdong China
@iGuangdong, 1164 followers
(Joined Nov 2015)

Visit Rizhao
@VisitRizhao, 562 followers
(Joined January 2017)

Visit Wulong
@VisitWulong, 550 followers
(Joined Sep 2016)

Visit Zhengzhou
@visitzhengzhou, 390 followers
(Joined Feb 2017)

Visit Kaifeng
@visitkaifeng, 275 followers
(Joined September 2016)

Visit Jining
@VisitJining, 180 followers
(Joined Feb 2017)

Visit Tianjin
@VisitTianjin, 163 followers
(Joined Jan 2017)

Visitluoyang
@VisitLuoyang, 136 followers
(Joined March 2017)

Visit Fuzhou
@visit_fuzhou, 113 followers
(Joined April 2017)

Visit Zunyi
@VisitZunyi, 93 followers
(Joined Dec 2016)

Visit Weihai,China
@VisitWeihai, 71 followers
(Joined Oct 2016)

Zhejiang Tourism
@tourzj1, 54 followers
(Joined March 2014)

Invest Nantong
@InvestNantong, 46 followers
(Joined March 2020)

Visit Quzhou
@VisitQuzhou, 3 followers
(Joined June 2020)

 

CHINA OFFICIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS AND STATE-OWNED MEDIA OUTLETS


CGTN
@CGTNOfficial, 13.9M followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Jan 2013)

China Xinhua News
@XHNews, 12.6M followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined February 2012)

People’s Daily, China
@PDChina, 7.1M followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined May 2011)

China Daily
@ChinaDaily, 4.3M followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Nov 2009)
*(Wang Hao, @hongfenghuang
Deputy editor-in-chief of China Daily, 8811 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Sep 2017))

Global Times
@globaltimesnews, 1.8M followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined June 2009)
*(Hu Xijin @胡锡进
Editor-in-chief Global Times, 408.3K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Aug 2014))

New China 中文
@XinhuaChinese, 1.3M followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Aug 2015)

China.org.cn
@chinaorgcn, 1.1M followers
(Joined May 2010)
*(Xiaohui Wang 王晓辉 @wangxh65
Editor-in-Chief of http://China.org.cn., 1194 followers
(Joined April 2020))

CCTV
@CCTV, 1M followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined July 2009)

CGTN Français
@CGTNFrancais, 1M followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Aug 2013)

China Science
@ChinaScience, 1M followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Aug 2019)

Modern China
@PDChinaBusiness, 931.8K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Aug 2019)

Beautiful China
@PDChinaLife, 870.1K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Aug 2019)

China Plus News
@ChinaPlusNews, 771.8K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined April 2009)

People’s Daily 人民日報
@PDChinese, 753.3K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined June 2013)

CGTN Arabic
@cgtnarabic, 692.3K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Dec 2016)

Xinhua Sports
@XHSports, 656K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined May 2016)

China News 中国新闻网
@Echinanews, 649.9K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined July 2011)

CGTN en Español
@cgtnenespanol, 604.6K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Aug 2016)

Xinhua Culture&Travel
@XinhuaTravel, 545k followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Feb 2019)

China News Service 中國新聞社
@CNS1952, 486.2K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined July 2013)

FlyOverChina
@FlyOverChina, 448.2K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined March 2019)

SHINE (Shanghai United Media Group)
@shanghaidaily, 415.9K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined January 2009)

CGTN America
@cgtnamerica, 289.1K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined June 2012)

Yicai Global 第一财经 (Financial news arm of Shanghai Media Group)
@yicaichina, 263,2K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined March 2016)

Guangming Daily
@Guangming_Daily, 238.6K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined June 2012)

Pueblo En Línea /Spanish version of People’s Daily Online
@PuebloEnLnea, 150K followers
(Joined Dec 2012)

CGTN Africa
@cgtnafrica, 146.2K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined June 2012)

People’s Daily Arabic صحيفة الشعب اليومية بالعربية
@PeopleArabic, 132.5K followers
(Joined Dec 2012)

China Xinhua Español
@XHespanol, 118.1K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined July 2012)

CPEC Official (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor by CRI)
@CPEC_Official, 102.7K followers
(Joined Jan 2016)

Beijing Review
@BeijingReview, 96.6K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined June 2009)

Quotidien du Peuple
@french_renmin, 86.7K followers
(Joined Aug 2011)

CRI Français
@CriFrancais, 77K followers
(Joined Jan 2016)

Sixth Tone (Shanghai United Media Group)
@sixthtone, 75.6K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Feb 2016)

China Xinhua News Japanese
@XHJapanese, 61.8K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined March 2015)

Xinhua North America
@XHNorthAmerica, 38.8K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Dec 2016)

People’s Daily Japanese 人民網日本
@peopledailyJP, 34.3K followers
(Joined May 2011)

ShanghaiEye (SMG: Shanghai Media Group)
@ShanghaiEye, 29.4K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined October 2015)

China Daily Asia
@ChinaDailyAsia, 28.3K followers
(Joined April 2011)

CCTV+
@CCTV_plus, 27.7K followers
(Joined Jan 2015)

Renmin Ribao Online
@RenminDeutsch, 27.4K followers
(Joined May 2014)

China Culture
@Chinacultureorg, 21.8K followers
(Joined Nov 2015)

CRI Japanese CRI日本語
@CRIjpn, 20.5K followers
(Joined Feb 2015)

Qingdao / ChindaDaily
@loveqingdao, 19.7K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Nov 2016)

Global Times Chinese 环球时报
@GlobalTimes_CN, 18.9K followers
(Joined May 2018)

Chine Nouvelle
@XHChineNouvelle, 17.3K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined July 2014)

Xinhua Myanmar
@XHMyanmar, 13.1K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Feb 2015)

ChinaXinhuaPortugues
@XHportugues, 12.8K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Sep 2015)

The Business Source
@GlobalTimesBiz, 12.6K followers
(Joined Feb 2016)

China Daily Europe
@ChinaDailyEU, 10.9K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined May 2011)
*(Chen Weihua 陈卫华, @chenweihua
China Daily EU Bureau Chief, 21.5K followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Nov 2009))

@XHSwahili
@XHSwahili, 9587 followers
(Joined July 2015)

CGTN Europe
@CGTNEurope, 8302 followers
(Joined Dec 2016)

The Paper 澎湃新闻 (Shanghai United Media Group)
@thepapercn, 7725 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined August 2019)

CCTV Arabic
@cctvarabic, 6446 followers
(Joined July 2012)

China Xinhua Deutsch
@XHdeutsch, 5981 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Sep 2015)

XinhuaRomania
@XHRomania, 5491 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined July 2015)

Global Times Russia
@GlobalTimesRus, 2589 followers
VERIFIED ACCOUNT (Joined Nov 2017)

GTLife
@GlobalTimesLife, 1720 followers
(Joined April 2016)

CGTN World Insight with Tian Wei
@WorldInsight_TW, 1517 followers
(Joined Feb 2017)

Women of China
@womenofchina, 1400 followers
(Joined Jan 2011)

People’s Daily app

@PeoplesDailyapp, 1379 followers
(Joined Feb 2018)

China Daily Hong Kong
@CDHKedition, 1141 followers
(Joined May 2020)

CGTNChina24
@China24Official, 720 followers
(Joined Oct 2019)

China Daily Africa
@CDAfricaNews, 690 followers
(Joined Aug 2016)

China Daily USA
@ChinaDailyUSA, 652 followers
(Joined Sep 2018)

Visual China / ChinaDaily
@CD_visual, 645 followers
(Joined May 2020)

China.org.cn German
@germanchinaorgc, 596 followers
(Joined August 2011)

Xinhua Africa
@xinhua_africa, 568 followers
(Joined April 2012)

China Daily World
@ChinaDailyWorld. 535 followers
(Joined May 2020)

CGTN Global Watch
@GlobalWatchCGTN, 514 followers
(Joined May 2018)

People’s Daily – Hong Kong
@PDChinaHK, 451 followers
(Joined June 2020)

China Daily Life
@ChinaDaily_Life, 418 followers
(Joined May 2020)

CGTN Culture
@CGTN_Culture, 362 followers
(Joined Oct 2019)

CGTN Tech
@CGTNTech, 286 followers
(Joined Dec 2018)

CGTN Stories
@CGTNStories, 267 followers
(Joined November 2019)

China Daily Opinion
@CdOpinion, 254 followers
(Joined May 2020)

CGTN Sports
CGTNSports, 183 followers
(Joined Dec 2016)

China Daily Asia-Pacific 中國日報亞太
@Chinadaily_CH, 153 followers
(Joined May 2020)

China Daily Russia
@chinadailyrus, 131 followers
(Joined April 2020)

China Daily EU
@ChinaDaily_EU, 104 followers
(Joined Feb 2019)

China Youth Daily
@ChinaYouthOL, 69 followers
(Joined Sep 2019)

By Manya Koetse


Do you find this kind of research insightful? Would you like to read more about trends in China and its online media? Please consider supporting What’s on Weibo here so we can keep writing articles such as this one. Your small donation makes a big impact.

This is original work by What’s on Weibo, please do not copy, reproduce this content, nor distribute any part of this content over any network.

References

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Carmen

    July 21, 2020 at 10:24 pm

    “This development is somewhat surprising, as previous studies have found no evidence of these kinds of automated processes on Twitter as part of Chinese international propaganda efforts (Bolsover & Howard 2019). Noteworthy enough, it was previously found that those using bot activities on the platform to manipulate information about China and Chinese politics were actually anti-China groups (ibid., 2076).”

    Who did this research lol I’ve found sooooo many pro-ccp accounts on Twitter when the HK issue exploded last time

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Backgrounder

Full Translation of Peng Shuai’s Weibo Post and Timeline of Events

Published

on

Over the past seven weeks, the whereabouts and safety of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai have been a matter of constant concern in international (social) media. Here is a timeline of events and a full translation of the Weibo post by Peng Shuai – where it all began.

On the night of November 2nd of 2021, a Weibo post by the 35-year-old Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai (彭帅) sent shockwaves across social media. In her lengthy post, the three-time Olympian describes details surrounding an alleged affair she had with the 75-year-old Zhang Gaoli (张高丽), who served as China’s senior Vice-Premier (2013-2018) and was also a member of China’s highest ruling council, the Politburo Standing Committee (2012-2017).

Here, we will give you a short timeline of the things that unfolded from the moment Peng Shuai’s story was published on Weibo, as well as providing the full text of her post and a translation.

 

Timeline of Events

 

November 2nd, 2021

On the night of November 2nd of 2021, 35-year-old tennis player Peng Shuai posts her story on her Weibo account, where she has over 590,000 followers. The post comes online at 22:07 and is sent through a mobile phone.

Although Peng’s post was only online for about twenty minutes before it was deleted, its impact was irreversible. Peng Shuai’s Weibo account remained online, but the name ‘Peng Shuai’ started to be censored on Weibo and other Chinese social media platforms, where online discussions about the tennis player and Zhang Gaoli were soon silenced. Peng Shuai’s post and the ensuing silence triggered a wave of global concern about her wellbeing and whereabouts.

 
November 3, 2021

Peng Shuai’s story makes headlines in the international media, with many Western media outlets describing the issue as a “#MeToo allegation.” within the context of the global #MeToo movement, suggesting Peng’s post was a “MeToo post.” The tennis star did not mention ‘#Metoo’ in her own writings.

 
November 16, 2021

Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka attracts more international attention for Peng’s whereabouts when she posts the #WhereisPengShuai hashtag on Twitter. Two days later, tennis star Serena Williams also writes on Twitter: “I am devastated and shocked to hear about the news of my peer, Peng Shuai. I hope she is safe and found as soon as possible. This must be investigated and we must not stay silent.”

 
November 17, 2021

While the issue is still completely silenced in Chinese (social) media, the English-language state media outlet CGTN addresses the commotion on Twitter on November 17, when they share a screenshot of an email allegedly sent by Peng to WTA Chairman Steve Simon, saying she was not actually missing and not unsafe.

 
November 19, 2021

While many people still raised their concerns on Twitter – and a White House spokesperson even said the Biden administration was ‘deeply concerned’ about the reports alleging that Peng Shuai had gone missing – photos of Peng Shuai in her home showed up on November 19th, posted on Twitter by Chinese journalist Shen Shiwei (沈诗伟) claiming the tennis star posted them on her WeChat moments herself.

 
November 20, 2021

One day later, a video was also shared on Twitter by the same Shen, showing Peng enjoying dinner with friends and having conversations in which it was clearly indicated that the date was November 20, 2021.

 
November 21, 2021

During that very same weekend of November 20-21, Peng also reappeared in public when she attended the Junior Tennis Finals in Beijing. This was also the very first time in 19 days that she ‘reappeared’ in mainland China’s online media spheres, where photos of her attendance at the games were also shared online.

On that same day, it was announced by the Olympics governing body that International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach held a 30-minute long video phone call with Peng Shuai. Chinese sports official Li Lingwei and the Chair of the Athletes’ Commission, Emma Terho, reportedly were also on the call, during which Peng explained that she was safe and well at her home in Beijing, but would like to have her privacy respected.

 
November 22, 2021

A Weibo post published by the French embassy in Beijing marks the first time for Peng Shuai’s case to be addressed on Chinese social media.

In their post, the French embassy expresses concerns about the lack of information surrounding Peng Shuai, and reiterates its belief in promoting freedom of expression, equality between men and women, and combating sexual and gender-based violence. The post receives many replies, but its comment section is heavily censored.

 
December 1st, 2021

The WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) announces the suspension of all tournaments in China amid concerns about the safety of Peng Shuai.

In a statement by Steve Simon, WTA Chairman & CEO, the immediate suspension of all WTA tournaments in China, including Hong Kong, was said to also be related to concerns about risks that all players and staff could face if the WTA were to hold events in China in 2022.

Due to the Covid19 situation, there were no WTA events scheduled for China in the near future.

 
December 7, 2021

The US announces a “diplomatic boycott” of the 2022 Winter Olympics in China. American athletes will still compete at the Winter Games. Although this boycott was not necessarily directed linked to Peng Shuai, many media outlets did connect it to concerns over the tennis player.

 
December 19, 2021

In an interview with Singapore-based media outlet Lianhe Zaobao (联合早报), Peng Shuai claims she did not accuse Zhang Gaoli of sexually assaulting her.

A video issued by Lianhe Zaobao shows a reporter asking Peng questions during a skiing competition event in Shanghai, where Peng could be seen talking to Chinese basketball player Yao Ming. When the reporter asks Peng if she is free, she answers that she has always been free and is not being monitored.

When the reporter addresses the allegations of sexual assault, Peng says:

First and foremost, I must emphasize. I have never said or written about anyone sexually assaulting me. That’s a very important point. On the Weibo post, that’s my personal issue.”

Peng also confirms that the English email that was screenshotted and published by CGTN on November 17 was written by her in the Chinese version, but that it was translated into English for her since her English language skills aren’t good enough to write such an email herself.

 

Full Text Translation of Peng Shuai’s Weibo Post

 

In a previous post, What’s on Weibo gave a partial translation of Peng’s Weibo post. Here, we will provide a full translation. Please note that this is a translation provided by What’s on Weibo and not an official translation issued by any other party.

 

我知道说不清楚,说了也没有用。但还是想说出来。我是多么的虚伪不堪,我承认我不是一个好女孩,很坏很坏的女孩。大概三年前张高丽副总理你退休了,找天津网球中心的刘大夫再联系到我,约我打球,在北京的康铭大厦。上午打完球,你和妻子康洁一起带我去了你们家。然后把我带进你家的房间,和十多年前在天津时一样,要和我发生性关系。

I know I can’t say it clearly and that it’s useless to say. But I want to say it anyway. I’m such a hypocrite. I’ll admit I’m not a good girl, I’m a bad bad girl. About three years ago, Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, you had retired and asked Dr. Liu from the Tianjin Tennis Center to contact me again to play tennis at the Kang Ming Hotel in Beijing. After we finished playing in the afternoon, you and your wife Kang Jie took me with you to your home. You then took me to your room, and like what happened in Tianjin over ten years ago, you wanted to have sex with me.

那天下午我很怕,根本没想到会是这样,一个人在外帮守着,因为谁都不可能相信老婆会愿意。七年前我们发生过一次性关系,然后你升常委去北京就再没联系过我。原本埋藏了一切在心里,既然你根本不打算负责,为何还要回来找我,带我去你家逼我和你发生关系?是我没有证据,也根本不可能留下证据。后来你一直否认,可确是你先喜欢的我,否则我也不可能接触的到你。

I was very scared that afternoon, I had not expected things to go this way, someone was guarding outside, because nobody would believe that a wife would allow this. Seven year earlier we had sexual relations once, and then you – promoted as a member of the Standing Committee – went to Beijing and never contacted me again. I had buried it all inside me, and since you were not planning on taking responsibility at all, why did you come and look for me again, take me to your house, and force me [逼 = force, press for] into sex? I have no proof, and it would be impossible for me to keep any evidence. You denied everything afterward, but it is true that you liked me first, or otherwise, I wouldn’t have had a way to come into contact with you.

那天下午我原本没有同意一直哭,晚饭是和你还有康洁阿姨一起吃的,你说宇宙很大很大,地球就是宇宙的一粒沙,我们人类连一粒沙都没有,还说了很多很多,就是让我放下思想包袱。晚饭后我也并不愿意,你说恨我!又说你这七年从未忘记过我,会对我好等等……我又怕又慌带着七年前对你的情感同意了……是的就是我们发生性关系了。

That afternoon I originally did not agree and cried the whole time, and I still had dinner with you and auntie Kang Jie together. You said the universe is so big, that the earth is just a grain of sand in the universe, and that we as mankind are not even a grain of sand, and you said a lot more to alleviate the load on my mind. After dinner I still did not want to, and you said you hated me! You also said that in these seven years, you never forgot me and that you would be good for me etc etc. I was afraid and panicked and carrying the emotions of seven year ago, I agreed…yes, we had sex.

感情这东西很复杂,说不清,从那日后我再次打开了对你的爱,后来与你相处的日子里,单从你人相处你是一个很好很好的人,对我也挺好,我们从近代历史聊到远古时代,你同我讲万物的知识再谈到经济哲学,聊不完的话题。一起下棋,唱歌,打乒乓球,桌球,包括网球我们永远可以打得不亦乐乎,性格是那么的合得来好像一切都很搭。

The feelings between two people can be very complicated, I can’t clearly explain, [but] after that day I again began to open up to your love. In the days I interacted with you afterward, purely from how we got along, you were a very good person and also treated me well. We would talk about anything from modern history to ancient times, you spoke to me about so much knowledge and talked about economic philosophy, [we had] endless talks about topics. We played chess together, sang songs, played ping pong, billiards, and, including tennis, we could always have a good time. Our personalities got along well together, it looked like we were a great match.

自小离家早,内心极度缺爱,面对发生这一切,我从不认为我一个好女孩,我恨我自己,恨我为什么要来到这个世界,经历这一劫。你同我说你爱我,很爱很爱,来生希望在你二十岁我十八岁时我们就遇见。你说你很孤独,一个人很可怜,我们有聊不完的天,讲不完的话,你说你这个位置没有办法离婚,如果你在山东时认识,还可以离婚,可是现在没有办法。我想过默默无闻就这样陪着你,开始还好,可是日子久了慢慢的变了,太多的不公与侮辱。每次你让我去,背着你你妻子对我说过多少难听侮辱的话,各种冷嘲嘲讽。我说喜欢吃鸭舌,康洁阿姨会冲着我说~咿真恶心。冬天北京雾霾我说有时候空气不太好,康洁阿姨会对我说,那是你们郊区,我们这儿没感觉。等等诸如类似的话说了很多很多,你在时候她不这样说,好像和我们一样,两个人相处时是一个样,有旁人时你对我又是一个样。我同你说过,这些话听多了心里特别难受委屈。

Since I left home early in my childhood, I felt a lack of love in my heart. Facing everything that was happening, I never thought I was a good girl. I really hated myself, hated why I had to come into this world and experience this disaster. You told me that you loved me, very very much, and that in the next life you hoped to meet me when you are 20 and I am 18 years old. You said you were very lonely, that you felt miserable, we had days of endless chats, endless talks, you said there was no way for you to divorce in your position, that if we’d met while you were in Shandong, you could have still divorced, but that there was no way now. I thought about staying with you like this without attracting public attention, which was okay in the beginning, but the days slowly started to change, and there was too much injustice and insult. Every time you let me go, your wife would say many offensive insulting words to me behind your back, [giving me] all kinds of sneers. When I said I like to eat duck tongue, auntie Kang Jie would go and say ~ ugh, how disgusting. During Beijing’s winter smog, I said sometimes the air is not very good, and auntie Kang Jie would tell me ‘that’s just your suburbs, we do not notice a thing here.’ And so on, there were many of such talks, but she would never do it when you were there. It was similar to when we were together – when it was just the two of us you’d be this way, when there were others there you’d act that way. I told you that these kinds of words were really painful to hear.

从认识你第一天到现在没用过你一分钱,更没通过你某去过任何利益或者好出,可名分这东西真重要。这一切我活该,自取其辱。从头到尾你都是一直让我保密和你的一切关系,更不可以告诉我妈和你有男女关系,因为每次都是她送我去西什库教堂那儿,然后换你家的车才能进院里。她一直以为我是去打麻将打牌,去你家玩。我们在彼此的生活中都是真实生活中的一个透明人,你的妻子好像甄嬛传的皇后一样,而我无法形容自己多么的不堪,很多时候我觉得我自己还是一个人吗?我觉得自己是一个行尸走肉,装,每一天都在装,哪个我才是真的我?我不该来到这个世界,可又没有勇气去死。我好想可以活的简单点,可事与愿违。

From the first day I met you up to today, I’ve never used a penny of yours, and I’ve never used you for any personal benefits, but a person’s status is very important. I deserved all of this, I courted disaster. From beginning to end, you have always asked me to keep my relationship with you secret, let alone tell my mother that we were in a relationship. Every time she brought me to the Xishiku cathedral, I would have to change to your car to be able to enter the courtyard. She always thought I was going to your place to play mahjong and cards. We were transparent individuals in each other’s lives. Your wife seemed like the Empress in Empresses of the Palace (甄嬛传), and I can’t describe how bad I felt, and how many times I wondered if I was still an actual person myself. I felt like a zombie, I was pretending so much every day that I didn’t know who the real me was anymore. I shouldn’t have come into this world, but I didn’t have the courage to die. I wanted to live a simpler life, but things turned out contrary to what I wanted.”

30号那天晚上争议很大,你说2号下午再去你家我们慢慢谈,今天中午打电话来说有事再联系,推脱一切,借口说改天再联系……,就这样和七年前一样“消失了”,玩玩想不要就不要了。你说我们之间没有任何交易,是,我们之间的感情和钱,权利没有任何关系,可这三年的感情我无处安放,难以面对。你总怕我带什么录音器,留下证据什么的。是的,除我以外我没留下证据证明,没有录音,没有录像,只有被扭曲的我的真实经历。我知道对于您位高权重的张高丽副总理来说,你说过你不怕。但即使是以卵击石,飞蛾扑火自取灭亡的我也会说出和你的事实。以你的智商某略你一定否认或者可以反扣给我,你可以如此玩世不恭。你总说希望你母亲在天可以保佑你,我是一个坏女孩不配为人母,你为人父也有儿有女,我问过你就算是你的养女你会逼她这么做吗?你今生做的这一切日后心安理得的去面对你的母亲吗?我们都很道貌岸然……

There was a big dispute on the night of the 30th [October], and you told me to come to your place on the afternoon of the 2nd [November] so we could talk things over. Today a phone call came that something had come up and you’d contact me again. Evading everything, with the excuse that we would get in touch another day ……, this is the same “disappearing act” as seven years ago, getting rid of me after you’re done playing with me. You said there were no transactions between us, that’s true, with all the feelings and money between us, it had nothing to do with power and wealth. But I have nowhere to leave my feelings of the past three years, it’s very hard to face. You were always afraid that I would bring some kind of recorder and leave evidence or something. Apart from myself, there is indeed no evidence left, no recordings, no videos, only my distorted real experiences. I know that for someone of your status, Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, you’ve said that you’re not afraid. But even it’s like striking a stone with an egg, and courting self-destruction like a moth to the flame, I will tell the truth about you. With your intelligence, I’m certain you will deny it or you can blame it on me, or disregard it. You always said you hoped your mother in heaven could bless and protect you. I am a bad woman who doesn’t deserve to be a mother, but you are a father with both a son and a daughter. I have asked you this before: if it was your adopted daughter, would you have forced her to do this? Do you still have the courage to face your mother after everything you’ve done in your lifetime? We sure all like to pose as people with high morals…

 

By Manya Koetse

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Mainstream, Underground, and Online: Electronic Dance Music in China

A peek into China’s electronic dance music scene, from Jean Michel Jarre to the country’s post-covid club scene.

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China has been called the “promised land for electronic dance music,” but some critics say the industry is negatively affected by those prioritizing money over music. Still, the country’s mainstream and underground dance scenes are thriving and the pandemic has brought increased recognition of local artists. This is a peek into China’s electronic music scene, from Jean Michel Jarre to the country’s post-covid dance scene.

This is the “WE…WEI…WHAT?” column by Manya Koetse, original publication in German by Goethe Institut China, visit Yi Magazin: WE…WEI…WHAT? Manya Koetse erklärt das chinesische Internet.
 

More DJs, more festivals, more fans, more online communities. Over the past few years, China’s dance music scene has seen enormous growth in popularity, and electronic music now appears wherever people go, both online and offline, from live music events, night clubs, and fashion shows to reality shows, movies, and social media.

Following the continued explosion of electronic music culture in China’s major cities, DJMag, a renowned UK-based platform dedicated to electronic dance music, even launched a special China Awards section in 2021. In this year’s Top 100 DJ list there are eight Chinese DJs, the highest number ever since a DJ from China first made the list in 2017.

As an unexpected consequence of the pandemic, China’s local dance community has seen heightened popularity of local DJs. While Covid19 has seriously affected the global dance music scene, it has been an ongoing opportunity to shine for local talents in mainland China.

This was the first year for Chinese DJ Panta Q to enter the renowned DJMag Top 100 DJs list (image via DJMag).

Just five years ago, China-based DJ Spencer Tarring discussed the huge potential of China as “the rising promised land for electronic dance music.” But what’s the status quo of China’s dance and DJ culture? Here we’ll explore China’s electronic music scene, from mainstream to underground and the online community.

 

From ‘EDM’ to ‘Haoshi’

 

Let’s first explain some terminology. ‘Electronic dance music’ is actually a huge umbrella term for percussion-based electronic music produced primarily for nightclubs, raves, and festivals, and performed/presented by DJs. In Europe, electronic dance music is often simply called ‘dance’ or ‘dance music,’ with subgenres including techno, house, trance, and many others (deBoni 2018).

There’s also the acronym ‘EDM.’ Although it literally stands for ‘Electronic Dance Music,’ it is not the same as the overarching ‘electronic dance music’ genre, as it was adopted in the US to label commercial dance music. It has since been commonly used to solely describe the mainstream electronic dance music that is represented by world-famous DJs such as Tiësto, Martin Garrix, Armin van Buuren, or David Guetta (see Androids 2017; Jori 2021; Magnetic 2021).

In Mandarin Chinese, the term Diànzǐ yīnyuè (电子音乐), often abbreviated as Diànyīn (电音), literally means ‘electronic music’ and is used as a catch-all term for any music made using electronic instruments or involving electronic processing.

DJ Lizzy, a popular female DJ in China, image via Lizzy Wang Weibo account.

EDM is translated as Diànzǐ wǔqǔ (电子舞曲) (‘Electronic Dance Music’), and also refers to commercial dance music. House is generally translated as Hàoshì yīnyuè (浩室音乐), techno as Tiěkènuò yīnyuè (铁克诺音乐), and trance as Chūshén yīnyuè (出神音乐).

 

Rewind: A Very Short History of Electronic Music in China

 

The history of electronic dance music in China brings us back to the early 1980s. In the decades and years before, there was strict music censorship under Mao’s rule and the influx of Western music was limited. After Mao’s death and the start of the Open Door policy, modern music from outside of mainland China became increasingly popular among young Chinese, inspiring local musicians to start writing and recording their own pop, rock, and modern music (Holm 1983; Latham 2007: 336).

China’s ‘New Wave’ movement was partly triggered by ‘The Concerts in China‘ by the French electronic music pioneer Jean Michel Jarre in 1981, who performed in Beijing and Shanghai in October-November of that year for a combined audience of 150,000 people (Billboard 1982).

“Electronic music visits China for the first time” – Jean-Michel Jarre performs in China in 1981 (让-米歇尔·雅尔).

Following the Jarre concerts, the New Wave movement also became visible at conservatories and music schools across China in the early 1980s when Chinese composers started to experiment with electronic music. While influenced by Western music, many examples of Chinese electronic music created in these years featured Chinese traditional musical elements (Li 2018).

Many Chinese people became more familiar with modern Western music in the 1980s and 1990s through cassette tapes that were shared and copied hundreds of times, and the so-called dakou culture which emerged in the mid-90s.

Dakou (打口) CDs were dumped by Western countries and imported into China as plastic garbage, intended to be recycled, but then flowed into Chinese cities and became available for listeners to buy from black markets.

A dakou cd with a punch hole (source).

Dakou CDs (and tapes) have a cut-out, a punch hole, or crack in them to mark them as waste and prevent them from being resold, but people were still able to restore them and listen to most of the music. The dakou culture greatly influenced China’s music scene.1

Proper nightclubs first started to open up in big Chinese cities in the early 1990s, a time in which many people in the electronic music scene were more focused on the music rather than the money.

This is also when Ben Huang, who would become one of China’s most well-known DJs, started his career. The Shanghai-born Huang was a student of modern dance and fine arts before he became active in the Beijing music scene and kick-started China’s club culture.

Other big names emerging around this time are the so-called “godfather of Chinese dance music” Mickey Zhang, DJ Youdai (Zhang Youdai), Yang Bing, and famous electronic musician Weng Weng. They later also started organizing dance parties or setting up their own labels.

1998 saw the first rave party named ‘Cheese’ at the Great Wall. Image via The Beijinger.

Although illegal rave parties emerged in various cities across the country since the mid-90s, China’s first big rave party took place in the late 1990s at the Great Wall, organized by the Swiss collective ‘Cheese’ (Grefer 2016; Yiu & Charrieras 2021: 233). Vice China (2019) writes:

“What was most magical about China’s party culture in the 1990s, is that it miraculously united all participants of any subculture. The people coming to these rave parties could come from completely different communities, from doctors to lawyers, from hoodlums to diplomats, local punks and sightseeing exchange students (..), on the dance floor surrounded by electronic music, nobody would talk about ideals and doctrines, actions and problems, everyone put all their conflicts aside and danced.”

Nevertheless, much of the scene remained underground and many people in China had not been exposed to electronic dance music yet or did not understand it.

When the renowned British-Canadian electronic musician Richie Hawtin performed in Shanghai at some of the city’s earliest techno events in the 1990s, some people wondered if the CD was stuck and if the mixer needed to be fixed.2

 

The Mainstream Scene: “Tuhai” and Rock Music Envy

 

Starting in the 2000s, more money-driven clubs started to open and the electronic dance music scene in China started to develop into two separate worlds; the underground with its underground scene and the mainstream with its mainstream scene.

“And there I am in the middle,” DJ Ben Huang said in a 2009 interview.

Huang’s comment is telling for a market where electronic music has become the second most popular music genre, while the ‘real’ Chinese fans of electronic dance still complain that there has been too little progress in the scene in recent years.

Online discussions indicate that many think that electronic dance music in China has become too commercialized too quickly and has become all about the money rather than the music – leaving little space for the underground scene to flourish, and lacking breeding ground to boost a stronger development of the local electronic music scene.

In 2016, Jiangsu television aired China’s first-ever variety show featuring Electronic Dance Music (EDM) titled Heroes of Remix (盖世英雄remix). The show introduced international electronic dance music genres to a mainstream audience, mixing it with Chinese traditional influences. Two years later, the talent reality show Rave Now (即刻电音) premiered on Tencent Video, further promoting the popularity of EDM in China.

Against the backdrop of an ever-growing EDM industry in China with numerous nightclubs opening up all over the country, the release of the 2021 movie Upcoming Summer (盛夏未来), which focuses on electronic music, further assimilated dance music into China’s mainstream pop culture. A hashtag dedicated to the movie on Chinese social media received over 650 million views (#电影盛夏未来#). (Note: the movie can now also be viewed through Netflix.)

The film Upcoming Summer, where EDM plays a major role.

While electronic music is divided into many genres, commercial EDM is by far the most popular type of electronic music in China. Some of the music played by Chinese local DJs that is deemed to be of lower quality than ‘legitimate’ EDM is also called ‘Tuhai’ (土嗨), a wordplay on ‘too high’ that refers to unoriginal bounce music with whistles and repetitive melodies.

The more the popularity of electric dance music is growing among the masses, the more music fans speak out, saying that China’s mainstream electronic music does not represent authentic electronic dance music, even arguing it that it negatively influences the development of the entire genre; excessive commercialization has neglected the music itself.

The recent surge of Tuhai in Chinese clubs is also a side-effect of the pandemic, during which clubs have started booking far more local DJs with little experience to keep the shows going. To counter the so-called ‘Tuhai virus’, China’s top DJ Carta launched the ‘Chinese Bounce Mafia’ alias together with trance DJ Luminn and DJ/producer Unity to mock the repetitive music genre.

‘Chinese Bounce Mafia’ promo poster from 2020.

In an interview with MixMag (Wycech 2020), Carta says:

“We started Chinese Bounce Mafia after seeing the number of shows these guys were doing and what was happening to the market. We all hated the music, so we said ‘fuck these guys, if they can get all these shows, so can we’. So Chinese Bounce Mafia is our stand against what we see as a problem within the market. The name is a troll because people thought we’ve all sold out and given into bounce but we actually play anything from house to trance to big room to techno.”

It is not easy to counter the Tuhai trend, which is not just ubiquitous in China’s clubs but is also everywhere in the Chinese online music environment, triggering online discussions on how the low-standard music is negatively impacting the overall music quality in the online libraries of platforms such as QQ Music, Kugou, and Tencent Music.

Some Chinese electronic music fans even say they envy China’s rock music scene. One article by the Music Economy Official Weibo Account (@音乐财经官方微博) on Sina said:

“As a fan of electronic music, I feel envious [of the rock music scene]. I envy their music festivals, I envy their good musicians, I envy their good fans, and this isn’t the first time for me to admire China’s rock scene in this way.”

The Music Economy author argues that although it’s been a bumpy ride for rock music in China, the genre has come a long way over the past four decades and has since been embraced by the general public.

Chinese rock music fans enjoying a concert, image via Music Economy.

One of the reasons why the author argues that China’s dance music community has reason to envy the rock music scene is that there is an alleged pure love for music that draws people into the rock scene, while many people coming to the DJ culture enter the market for the money, not for the music. Because people are prioritizing money over music, too many compromises are often made, resulting in low-effort productions or mediocre festivals.

Another difference between China’s dance and DJ culture compared to the rock scene, is that many rock music fans have grown up listening to the music and have followed their favorite musicians for years. China does not (yet) have a greater electronic music history to build on.

The author writes:

“I know it’s not very scientific to compare rock to electronic music, but they are both imported products and when I see how rock is finally flourishing after having been through so much, I can’t help feeling envious. Electronic dance music and electronic music in China still need to build on more experience. I hope more musicians can stop worrying about income and focus on the music, following their own dreams. I also hope more people will really start caring about electronic music and dance, and that they will start spending money on tickets and records to support their organizers and favorite musicians.”

What also plays a role in this, is that DJ culture mostly takes place inside nightclubs and entertainment venues, where drinks and socializing are often considered more important by Chinese clubgoers than whoever is standing behind the DJ table. China’s current commercial club culture is not a fruitful breeding ground for the further development of China’s electronic dance music scene, the author claims.

 

Underground & Online Electronic Dance in Post-Covid China

 

Despite all negative consequences of Covid19 for the music industry, the pandemic has also had an unexpected positive influence on China’s dance culture. With no international DJs allowed to travel into China, local DJ talents are getting increased recognition and there is more interest in the domestic dance scene.

As clubs were shutting down across the world in the spring of 2020, China entered its post-lockdown phase and nightclubs came back to life, with more people ready to explore the club scene.

Despite those voices expressing concern about the lower-quality EDM that is dominating China’s club scene, there are also those who think it is not necessarily bad for electronic dance to go mainstream this way because it also indirectly creates more acceptance for non-mainstream sub-genres and electronic music at large.

In recent years, new underground nightclubs, festivals and independent labels have mushroomed in China. There is now a flourishing club music scene in various cities across the country: Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Kunming, and Guangzhou have all played a pivotal role in the development of China’s electro dance music culture, with Chengdu leading the way (Neocha 2021).

Partying at TAG, image via Tag Changdu Weibo account.

Among Chengdu’s many electronic music clubs, there’s .TAG (‘To Another Galaxy’). The club, located on the 21st floor of Chengdu’s Poly Centre, was founded by a small group of Chinese and Dutch music lovers and entrepreneurs, taking inspiration from clubs in Amsterdam and Berlin. TAG has become a city hotspot for underground house and techno, with local DJs such as Cora and HAO attracting a young and free-spirited clubbing crowd.

TAG was founded in 2013, the same year in which renowned record label SVBKVLT was established in Shanghai. SVBKVLT has pushed works from many local talents, including the Beijing-based electronic music duo Zaliva-D and Shanghai producer and artist 33EMYBW (Wu Shanmin).

Chengdu’s .TAG and Shanghai’s SVBKVLT are just some examples of China’s thriving underground scene, as there are many other important players, including Beijing’s underground techno club Zhao Dai, Shanghai’s 3NTRY, club Elevator and ALL, or OIL in Shenzhen, featuring Chinese DJs and electronic music artists such as Slowcook, Yang Yang, Temple Rat, Knopha, Chuan, Max Shen, Luna Li, and many, many more.

Image via Weibo account of 33EMYBW.

China’s electro music culture goes beyond clubs and festivals – the online environment is a big part of it. Although the 2021 shutdown of the Xiami Music app from the Chinese market created a vacuum for online electronic music streaming, other online music libraries such as QQ Music, Netease Cloud Music, Kuwo and Kugou are now competing over listeners.

On social media platforms Weibo and Wechat, there are various electronic music blogging accounts with thousands of followers but there are also hundreds of festival accounts, club accounts, label accounts, and DJ/creator accounts.

More in-depth discussions on China’s electronic music scene can also be found on Chinese Q&A platform Zhihu.com, the social networking sites QQ and Douban, and on Bilibili. Over the past few years, other smaller online communities, from Moresound to Abletive, have also arrived at the scene for people to discuss the development of Chinese dance music.

Although many online discussions about the state of China’s electronic dance music scene are quite critical of how the scene is evolving, it could still be seen as a sign of how the industry and its audience are maturing – growth comes with growing pains.

Despite all hurdles, new China-based talents are gaining traction and electronic music labels are popping up one after another. Covid has posed a major challenge to the scene but has also injected new energy into the domestic market.

Electronic music in China has come a long way since Jean Michel Jarre first made waves in the country, and after all these years, the genre is entering a new era. The next few years will show which direction Chinese electronic music is moving in, but one thing is certain: electronic music is part of China’s music scene today and, whether or not everyone agrees on the quality of the beats that are booming, the music is here to stay.

On one online discussion page about Chinese electronic music, someone asked how others feel about Chinese DJ PantaQ arriving in the DJMag Top 100 DJ list. One commenter answered: “This is only the beginning. Chinese electronic music will start to shine on the international stage.”

 

By Manya Koetse
Follow @whatsonweibo

1 Professor Jeroen de Kloet did extensive research into China’s dakou culture. For more on China’s dakou generation, we recommend reading: Jeroen de Kloet, China with a Cut: Globalisation, Urban Youth and Popular Music (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2010).
2 This scene was described by Chinese DJ / producer Ma Haiing (MHP) in the book by Matthew Collin, Rave On: Global Adventures in Electronic Dance Music (London: Profile Books, 2018), Chapter 6.

References

– Androids. 2017. “An Idiot’s Guide to EDM Genres.” Complex.com, October 13: https://www.complex.com/music/an-idiots-guide-to-edm-genres/ [Oct 11, 2021].
– Billboard. 1982. “Jarre Fame Spreads – Even to China.” Billboard Magazine (March 13): page 22.
– Collin, Matthew. 2018. Rave On: Global Adventures in Electronic Dance Music, London: Profile Books.
– De Boni, Luka. 2018. “The Rise of China’s Electronic Dance Music Scene: From Underground Culture to Online Communities.” What’s on Weibo, August 26
https://www.whatsonweibo.com/the-rise-of-chinas-electronic-dance-music-scene-from-underground-culture-to-online-communities/ [Nov 1, 2021].
– De Kloet, Jeroen. 2010. China with a Cut: Globalisation, Urban Youth and Popular Music. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press
– Grefer, Philipp. 2016. “Disco(s), Techno and the EDM Storm: A Brief (and Personal) History of Electronic Music in China.” The Beijinger, Nov 16 https://www.thebeijinger.com/blog/2016/11/04/discos-techno-and-edm-storm-brief-and-personal-history-electronic-music-china [Nov 12, 2021].
– Holm, David. 1983. “The Difficulty of ‘Walking on Two Legs.’” Index on Censorship: 12 (1): 34-37.
– Jori, Anita. 2021 “The Meanings of ‘electronic dance music’ and EDM.” In: The Evolution of Electronic Dance Music , edited by Ewa Mazierska, Tony Rigg and Les Gillon, Chapter 1. New York: Bloomsbury Academic.
– Latham, Kevin. 2007. Pop Culture China! Media, Arts, and Lifestyle. California: ABC-CLIO.
– Li, Qiuxiao. 2018. “Characteristics of Early Electronic Music Composition in China’s Mainland,” Contemporary Music Review 37:1-2.
– Magnetic. 2021. “STOP CALLING EDM EDM – HERE IS A PROPER DEFINITION.” Magnetic Magazine, Jan 13 https://www.magneticmag.com/2015/10/stop-calling-edm-edm-here-is-a-proper-definition/ [Oct 12, 2021].
– Music Economy Official Weibo Account 音乐财经官方微博.2020. “电音圈有什么资格羡慕滚圈.” Sina News, August 20 https://k.sina.com.cn/article_5255791141_13945022501900poao.html [Nov 27, 2021].
– Neocha. 2021. “Sleepless in Chengdu.” July 5, https://neocha.com/magazine/sleepless-in-chengdu/ [Nov 27, 2021].
– Yiu, Alex and Damien Charrieras. 2021. “On the Fence: Electronic Dance Music Cultures in Hong Kong and Shenzhen.” In: Sébastien Darchen, Damien Charrieras, John Willsteed (eds), Electronic Cities – Music, Policies and Space in the 21st Century, 223-243. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan.
– Vice China. 2019. “触电中国 EP1:从荷东到锐舞,中国电音的起源与脉络.” Tencent News, July 30 https://new.qq.com/omn/20190730/20190730A0CTCB00.html?pc [Oct 12, 2021].
– Wycech, Olivia. 2020. “An Edm Club In Taipei Has Unabashedly Banned Bounce Music…But What Even Is Bounce Music?” MixMag, October 20 https://mixmag.asia/feature/what-is-chinese-bounce-music [Nov 17, 2021].

Featured image by Ama for Yi Magazin.

This text was written for Goethe-Institut China under a CC-BY-NC-ND-4.0-DE license (Creative Commons) as part of a monthly column in collaboration with What’s On Weibo.

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