Hong Kong protest: What is mainland China hearing?

  • 16 August 2019
Protest barricade at Hong Kong airport Image copyright AFP

Since protests against a proposed extradition bill began, Hong Kong has drawn global attention. But on the Chinese mainland, it took a while for the story to be picked up, and people have been fed a selective and sometimes misleading narrative.

State media have dismissed the protesters as a small and violent group of separatists, enabled by foreign powers and disliked by locals. In recent days, state media have intensively distributed the most violent moments of the incident, making a hero of a mainland journalist who was beaten up at the airport.

Here's how reporting has evolved in China.

Controlled coverage

If you Google "Hong Kong" in Chinese, the first term that comes up is "Hong Kong protest", linking to coverage by both Western media such as the BBC and the New York Times and state media like CCTV.

But access to Google is blocked in China, and if you look on Baidu, the filtered search engine mostly used on the mainland, you get "Hong Kong flights back to normal" followed by "what has happened in Hong Kong recently". The results led on what China's ambassador to the UK said on the issue recently and the losses protesters have caused by paralysing the airport.

Read full article Hong Kong protest: What is mainland China hearing?

Why NZ cleared a Chinese man for touching a boy's penis

  • 26 July 2019
Child wrapped in a towel Image copyright Getty Images

A 79-year-old Chinese man appeared in court in New Zealand last week after he pinched a toddler's penis in a swimming pool changing room.

But despite admitting assault, he was let off a charge as the judge accepted his argument that the behaviour was a traditional sign of affection in China, say media reports.

Read full article Why NZ cleared a Chinese man for touching a boy's penis

Wuhan protests: Incinerator plan sparks mass unrest

  • 8 July 2019
Protest in Wuhan
Image caption Local people say having an incinerator near their homes will be dangerous

While the world's attention has been focused on the protests in Hong Kong, another Chinese city has been witnessing unrest on a scale rarely seen on the mainland.

Thousands of citizens in Wuhan, the capital city of central Hubei province, took to the streets last week for several days.

Read full article Wuhan protests: Incinerator plan sparks mass unrest

Searching for truth in China's Uighur 're-education' camps

  • 21 June 2019
A man playing an instrument inside the camp
Image caption China says those inside the camps are now on the road to reform

The Chinese region of Xinjiang is home to millions of ethnic Muslim Uighurs who have lived there for decades. Rights groups say hundreds of thousands have been detained in camps without trial, but China argues they voluntarily attend centres which combat "extremism". The BBC went inside one of them.

I'd been to the camps before.

Read full article Searching for truth in China's Uighur 're-education' camps

China social media: WeChat and the Surveillance State

  • 7 June 2019
WeChat notification

China's WeChat is a site for social interaction, a form of currency, a dating app, a tool for sporting teams and deliverer of news: Twitter, Facebook, Googlemaps, Tinder and Apple Pay all rolled into one. But it is also an ever more powerful weapon of social control for the Chinese government.

I've just been locked out of WeChat (or Weixin 微信 as it is known in Chinese) and, to get back on, have had to pass through some pretty Orwellian steps - steps which have led others to question why I went along with it.

Read full article China social media: WeChat and the Surveillance State

Tiananmen 30 years on - China's great act of 'forgettance'

  • 1 June 2019
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Media captionTiananmen's tank man: The image that China forgot

There are no official acts of remembrance for the events of 1989 in Beijing. But that statement, although factually correct, is far too neutral.

In truth, what happened in Tiananmen Square is marked faithfully each year by a massive, national act of what might more properly be called "forgettance".

Read full article Tiananmen 30 years on - China's great act of 'forgettance'

Xi Jinping: Digital 'little red book' tops App Store in China

  • 15 February 2019
China's President Xi Jinping applauds during a celebration meeting Image copyright Getty Images

China's most popular app over the last few days has been one that's red in face and at heart.

With a scarlet logo reading "study" in Chinese, or "study Xi" as an ingenious pun, the app aims at shaping the nation's minds under Xi Jinping's presidency.

Read full article Xi Jinping: Digital 'little red book' tops App Store in China

Huawei confident in uncomfortable times

  • 25 January 2019
A hostess waits as journalists arrive for a press conference and launch of new 5G Huawei products at the Huawei Beijing Executive Briefing Centre Image copyright AFP
Image caption The company launched its 5G network technology at a special event in Beijing

Huawei has a public relations problem - to put it mildly.

Last week, Oxford University said it had decided to decline new research grants from the giant Chinese telecoms company.

Read full article Huawei confident in uncomfortable times

Peppa Pig: China falls for an unlikely UK brand ambassador

  • 22 January 2019
Undated handout photo supplied by Peppa Pig World of a poster for Peppa Pig celebrating Chinese New Year Image copyright PA

She's unlikely to feature on many lists of the all-time top British cultural icons.

But Peppa Pig - the UK-made children's cartoon character - is right up there with the best of them, at least in China.

Read full article Peppa Pig: China falls for an unlikely UK brand ambassador

Zhao Ziyang: A reformer China's Communist Party wants to forget

  • 17 January 2019
Picture dated 17 October 1980 in Beijing of Zhao Ziyang, Image copyright Getty Images

In a small, central Beijing courtyard, family and friends are gathering to pay tribute to Zhao Ziyang - the most powerful man in China to oppose the decision to send tanks into Tiananmen Square nearly 30 years ago.

He was subsequently erased from Chinese history for what party officials deemed his "serious mistakes" that day.

Read full article Zhao Ziyang: A reformer China's Communist Party wants to forget