Podcasting In China

Jun 30th, 2008 | By | Category: General

As mainstream media promotes itself to new heights (depths?) over the upcoming summer Olympic Games in Beijing, and with the International Olympic Committee raising hackles with its severe restrictions on blogging, podcasting and new media, it seemed like a good time to look at citizen media efforts coming from China itself. This week’s edition of the Beijing Review, an english-language publication about China, has an article about the growth in the use and popularity of podcasts in China.

The article talks about the proliferation of blogs and bloggers in the country. They cite statistics from November 2007 that “one of every 30 Chinese citizens or [one in] four netizens was writing his or her own Web log.”

Indeed, a flurry of blog, video and podcast activity by citizen-journalists in China cropped up in the aftermath of the devastating May 2008 earthquake in Sichuan province. Blog, video, and podcast entries have progressed over the past six weeks from posting information about the disaster, to using these new media for inspiring and coordinating disaster relief efforts.

The article continues,

“Podcasting, which emerged at the end of 2004 in China with the launch of the first site in this regard, is also gaining popularity at a speed faster than that of any other Web service. According to official statistics, there were more than 200 podcasting sites in China in 2006, registering more than 10 million podcasters and having a viewership of 76 million. A lot of emergencies, news and gossips [sic] have been recorded live and made known to the public by home videos posted on the Internet. Prominent examples in recent years include those about the infidelity of a famous TV sport anchorman, which was brought to light by his wife at a public gathering, and a pet cat being tortured by a cruel man.

“Due to the large number of users and wide coverage, blogs and podcasts have also become major outlets of public opinion. Many bloggers and podcasters use their posts to discuss public affairs, raise suggestions and air complaints. At the same time, a growing number of officials have opened blogs to do real-time communication with the public, which is widely hailed as a new way of government transparency.”

The Beijing Review article says that most blogs and podcasts created and consumed in China, however, tend more toward entertainment than public opinion, government transparency, or citizen reporting of local news as in the Sichuan earthquake.

Image credit: blogger-china

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2 Responses to “Podcasting In China”

  1. Chris says:

    I thought I read that RSS was banned in China. Does anyone know if this has changed recently?

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