Olympic Model Workers: The best of the China blogs

Olympic Model Workers: The best of the China blogs


Every year or so, Danwei chooses the best blogs about China in English and Chinese to be Model Workers. The winners are chosen by Danwei's Central Committee; no voting or democracy of any kind is involved.

The focus tends to be on media and other subjects covered by Danwei, so there are few purely personal blogs. This year, we publish the Olympic edition of our Model Workers list.

There are a few newcomers on this year's list, while we've regrettably had to remove some old favorites that have stopped updating.

New winners are marked with asterisks (see previous Model Workers: 2007 English, 2007 Chinese, 2005.

Congratulations to all Model Workers and keep the good stuff coming.


== China news aggregators and translations from Chinese ==

* Fool's Mountain: Blogging for China
This new collaborative blog is a lively forum for debate. Posts mix original opinion pieces with translations from Chinese online sources and print media. It is run by Chinese professionals living in the US.

Global Voices China section
Global Voices translates and aggregates blogs from around the world, with the emphasis on developing countries. Global Voices co-founder Rebecca MacKinnon's interest in China has helped to make the China section of the site one of the most active, with frequent contributions by John Kennedy, Kelly Proctor, and Bob Chen.

The king of China bloggers, Roland Soong is a one man media powerhouse who updates ESWN almost every day with translations from a huge variety of Chinese language sources, together with perceptive, sometimes quirky commentary about politics and media in Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Soong is a professional statistician. His day job involves elucidating or tearing apart competitors' analyses and survey reporting for a media buying agency, so he has the technical skills to destroy arguments based on the erroneous use of statistics.

China Digital Times
Bloggers often call this website CDT. It's updated daily with summaries and links to stories about China in the Western media, and an increasing number of translations from Chinese media. CDT is a project of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. Blocked in China.

China Media Project
A project of Hong Kong University Journalism School, the China Media Project is an excellent source for viewpoints on Chinese media regulation and new media trends. Contributor David Bandurski translates influential opinion columns and offers insightful analysis of the regulatory landscape.

* chinaSMACK
Strange stuff people are talking about on Chinese online forums; this site translates BBS threads on the latest memes and hot topics. (updated 2008.08.20)

== Blogs of China-related journalists ==

Richard Spencer
The Beijing correspondent for Britain's Daily Telegraph, Spencer is an amusing commentator on Chinese current affairs and what it is like covering them for a foreign newspaper. The comments sections attracts people who can spell and write adult English, which is rare amongst China blogs.

Tim Johnson
Tim Johnson is a journalist for McClatchy Newspapers. About half of this blog is devoted to stories currently in the Chinese news; the other half presents an interesting look behind the scenes at a reporter going about the business of being a China correspondent, from setting up interviews, to pulling together sources, to getting hauled in for a lecture from the authorities.

Shanghai Scrap
Adam Minter is a writer whose twin focuses are Chinese Catholicism and the scrap trade. He's also got a keen eye for lazy and irresponsible journalism in the Chinese and foreign press.

The TIME China blog
A blog written by Time's China correspondents. The posts are frequently excellent; skip the comments section.

* Pomfret's China
A blog by John Pomfret, former Washington Post Beijing bureau chief.

* Thomas Crampton
Media, tech and business in Asia by a former IHT correspondent who also posts to Danwei.

* James Fallows
Fallows is a correspondent for The Atlantic and has written some informative articles on China for that magazine. His blog is a mix of astute social commentary, wonky tech stuff, and photos of Beijing's air quality. (updated 2008.08.20)

== Olympic Blogs ==


Many western news organizations have launched China-focused blogs in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics. It's a bit too soon to tell whether they'll have staying power (or even if they plan to), so calling them "model workers" seems . Instead, we'll present them with the Staff of Media, specially created for the practice of journalism in China during the Olympics.

Countdown to Beijing
Newsweek's China blog. Though nominally related to the Olympics, its posts cover a whole range of social issues. Jonathan Ansfield's blogging home has moved here from the China Digital Times. The magazine also recently launched Beijing Beat, which is devoted exclusively to the Olympics.

Blogging Beijing
A Seattle Times hosted blog by Fulbright scholar Daniel Beekman. Started nine months before the opening of the Beijing Games, the blog includes quirky commentary and observations on pre-Olympic Beijing. Final Post: 2008.08.24

Beijing 2008 Olympics
Christian Science Monitor journalists blog about China-related topics.

View from the Bird's Nest
Reuters' Olympics blog, formerly "Countdown Beijing." Bloggers cover China topics, profile Olympic athletes, and follow the torch (even up Everest!). Goodbye Post: 2008.08.26

James Reynolds' China
BBC hosted blog by James Reynolds, the BBC’s Beijing correspondent, with thoughts on day-to-day events and Olympic coverage.

China Journal
The Wall Street Journal's China blog, edited by Sky Canaves. It features a daily roundup of other interesting articles posts on English-language blogs about China.

== Advertising, marketing and PR ==

This American PR professional arrived in Beijing by way of Singapore and writes a very funny blog about public relations, communications, the tech industry, and life in China.

== Law and intellectual property ==

China Law Blog
A blog about business law in China by Dan Harris, based in Seattle, and Steve Dickinson who lives in Shanghai. Both are experienced lawyers whose firm has significant amounts of work in China.

IP Dragon
A blog that tracks news about intellectual property in China, including copyright, patent and trademark law and IPR enforcement.

* Forgotten Archipelagoes
A blog by Italian Flora Sapio tracking detention and criminal law developments in China.

* China Law Prof Blog
Donald C. Clarke, of the George Washington University Law School, blogs about legal issues in China.

== Business, finance and technology ==

Silicon Hutong
David Wolf is a very sharp consultant who works in the technology, media and telecom industries in China. His blog covers his areas of professional interest and, once in a while, some general China stuff.

Managing the Dragon
Mr China by Tim Clissold is an entertaining book about China and business. The 'Mr China' of the title is a charismatic investment banker who first came here in 1992, was smitten, and then employed Clissold to help him lose a lot of money. Now, several years after the publication of the book, Mr China has now revealed himself to be Jack Perkowski, and he is apparently now making boatloads of money. Perkowski has written a book called Managing the Dragon, and he also runs the Managing the Dragon blog.

* China Economic Review
Website of the print magazine of the same name, with blogs and Web only content.

Updates (2008.08.20)

* This is China
Bill Dodson writes entertaining and informative accounts of doing business in Suzhou and more far-flung areas of the country.

== Environment and corporate social responsibility ==

China Dialogue
Environmental issues in China. Edited by Isabel Hilton, this blog has a distinguished editorial board, and features a completely-bilingual website - all articles are published in both Chinese and English, and reader comments are translated by the blogging team.

== Academic and Literary blogs ==

Jottings from the Granite Studio
"A Qing historian reads the newspaper...notes from a student of China and Chinese history" reads the self-description. Readable, historically-informed commentary on current events is mixed with stories from China's past. "The Historical Record" is a this-day-in-history feature that gets posted periodically. The blogger also occasionally posts at the Peking Duck.

* The China Beat
A group blog whose contributors are academics and writers with a connection to China. The posts are always fascinating, and cover Chinese media, contemporary life, western media and publications about China, and of course the Olympics.

Frog in a Well
Historians blog about China. The posts often include old photos, scans of old documents, and other interesting artifacts of history. The updates may not be frequent, but each one is a gem.

* China Film Journal
A blog tracking contemporary Chinese-language films featuring film reviews, commentary, and video clips. Co-founder Peijin Chen keeps his own blog, a shameful waste of madhouse time, which occasionally posts translations from the Chinese press.

* China Heritage Quarterly
A quarterly website about Chinese history, architecture, and culture.

* Inside-Out China
Xujun Eberlein blogs about literature and society, and frequently features interesting commentary by guest bloggers.

== Regional Blogs ==

* bezdomny ex patria
This Kiwi blogger translates Beijing-related articles from the city's newspapers and describes his own wanderings through the capital's outskirts.

* Shenzhen Fieldnotes
Mary Ann O'Donnell looks at Shenzhen from the perspective of an anthropologist.

* Cup of Cha
Josh, who used to edit the Daily Tea Leaves blog at China Expat, now posts amusing commentary about Chinese news and life in Beijing.

Part of the Gothamist franchise, this group blog publishes Chinese media news, translations from the local media, and news about the Shanghai expat party scene. The editor of the Shanghai site is Dan Washburn.

Language, comedy, and life in Shanghai. This blog has been around for years and has an active, good-natured comments section. (added 2008.09)

Opposite End of China
In Korla, Xinjiang, Michael Manning writes about life in China's wild west.

Mutant Palm
Incisive commentary on politics, military affairs, and the Chinese media. The blogger used to be based in Xinjiang and still occasionally posts about the region.

Go Kunming
News about Kunming and Yunnan. The bloggers also run China Sports Today and China City Listings.

Surviving Beijing since 1980
Blog by a Belgian guy who has lived in Beijing since 1980.

Liuzhou Laowai
Blog by an eccentric Englishman who lives in Liuzhou, Guangxi Province. Eye-opening stories of local politics and everyday life.

* Son of Shenzhen Zen
After stints in Shenzhen and Thailand, the author now works as a state media polisher in Beijing.

* Stylites in Beijing
Photoblog that tracks fashion developments in China's capital, including new store openings, fashion trends, and street fashion photography.

Beijing Boyce
A "somewhat young China hand on thelocal drinking scene" covers nightlife in the capital. The same blogger also reports on wine industry gossip at Grape Wall of China.

Peking Duck
The grand-daddy of expat blogs experienced a rebirth this year. The comments section can still get rather rowdy, but it's a nice to see that it's not dead.

Updates (2008.08.20)

* Quirky Beijing
Anecdotes of life in the capital.

* Stupid Pig's China Blog
A Cantonese-Chinese-American English trainer blogs about current events.

== Blog Directories ==

For more interesting blogs, we suggest you consult the following directories:

Hao Hao report
A Digg-like aggregator that covers China-related information from a wide variety of sources. It has a slick interface that's been given a couple face-lifts over the last year.

The Danwei Model Worker badge is adapted from an old model worker pin issued by Wuxing County, Zhejiang. Founded in 1912 from the merger of three Qing Dyansty counties, Wuxing ceased to exist in 1981 when it was absorbed into Huzhou City. The image was taken from a thread (since deleted) on the Old Badges BBS (陈陈徽章论坛).

There are currently 30 Comments for Olympic Model Workers: The best of the China blogs.

Comments on Olympic Model Workers: The best of the China blogs

The great danger in dong this is that you invariably end up missing many deserving folks-- especially the newcomers. You also look like you are kissing the ass of blogs that know or pimp Danwei (OF COURSE you guys rock!) and there is more than one reference to a blog(s) that should have been retired a long time ago.
And even though it is good to see popular blogs like ESNW and Opposite End of China next to under-subscribed blogs like Responsible China and Black and White Cat, and bezdomny ex patria this smacks of nepotism and ongoing expat elitist BS. Ditch it.

Ouch - I write three blogs about China and not a single mention.

www.chinaenvironmentallaw.com. It is a great source of strong environmental stuff in China.


Yeah, I'd second Charlie McElwee's China Environmental Law Blog. No matter what country you're in the state of the environment is dire, and Charlie discusses the environment with wit and humor. And between the wit and humor are posts backed up with some serious insight and substantive analysis.

China Vortex?

What? No China Briefing? For Shame!

So, you pretty much listed every China blog in English I know so far. I'm aware there's more but it sort of hit the stack there.

No mention of my blog. So disappointed


Thanks guys... you do a great job, making your site a daily visit for us. We're honoured to be on your list.

Thanks, Danwei!

My vote goes for Frank Yu, for the best blogger without a blog.

That list sort of sucked. Why not call it a slightly Alltop list. And Alltop sucks hugely.

Not a single business blog. No ChinaLawBlog is not business, their noise ratio has mushroomed in the past year. ChinnaEconomicReview? Recommending them raises the question whether you are following economics in China, as they're clearly not.

China Business Network is no more than an experiment in magic: have nothing, make something.

So critical without good ideas? I have no agendas to push (nor no blogs), I simply feel this is not more than an Alltop/Twitterati collection of blogs that (aside from a few excellent ones listed) muster no more than mediocre reading, thoughts and well, anything.

Danwei getting complacent/lazy? Or just part of the 'scene' and not challenging any boundaries. Name a category and I have a blog being more insightful, and both being more accessible for the casual reader and more specific for the 'China hand'. China Business Network? Please...

Why anon email address and posting through Tor? Because the China blogging scene is so incestuous a criticism at Danwei would be death for almost all English language bloggers (pro and am) given is not on the 'preferred list' (desired or not).

Looking forward to being added to your list in 2009, 2010, 2011? Wonder what it takes.

Nice list. There's also a new blog written by an ex-Microsoftie focusing on the Internet, Software and Tech in China:

China's Internet and Software Boom - rekursive blog


"Name a category and I have a blog being more insightful, and both being more accessible for the casual reader and more specific for the 'China hand'."

OK, please name the blogs: we are always looking for good blogs and we recognize that our list is not comprehensive.

Be great to put all of these on a public aggregator page like Netvibes or somesuch.

First off, thanks for putting us on there. Much appreciated. Second, it's a great list. Third, I would advocate for your adding the following three additional law blogs:

1. China Hearsay. Beijing based Stan Abrams spends about a third of his time riffing on China law, another third riffing on China and world trade, and the last third cantankerously whining about everything else. It's good stuff.

2. China Environmental Law. Really good and helpful stuff on China's environment and its environmental laws from Beijing based lawyer who knows both.

As for non-law blogs, check out CN Reviews and ChinaComment.

Between the report and the comments, I added a few more links to my blog surfing list. Thanks!

Dan is correct. China Hearsay is a big ommission. Overall the list is very good though.

why complain about 'nepotism'? They said it wasn't democratic. You should know that Danwei isn't the shrillest advocate for democracy by reading it. And we are in guangxi country. This isn't the list, it's the danwei list. Be thankful alternative sites can be touted in the comments.

Greatly appreciated. Thanks for the positive feedback. No money involved, so at least someone vaguely enjoys reading it.

It does seem like there are a lot of us out there now, much more so than when I moved to China 3 years ago. I'm just kind of getting restarted with a new blog,China Pasticcio, so just looking to add my dribble to the pot. In line with my own tastes, I didn't note any glaring omissions in your list. Much thanks for even trying to keep up with it.

Love the site.

No section for blogs on culture/entertainment?

Also, here's a good category which a bunch of blogs should be put into, then deleted en masse:

The 'I came to China and let me tell you all the craazzzyy things I see' blog.

Or something along those lines. I mean, really, Chinglish, get over it people. It can be funny, sure, but blogging it. I dunno.

The 'I can speak and read Chinese so I'm now going to explain how all Chinese people think' blog is a close second.

Good blogs have a specific focus and just show it.

Maybe you guys need to follow this up with a comedy version. Blogs sent for re-education.

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br> I would like to ask if you mind linking back to me?
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Mysterious China Blog

Here's yet another:

This Ridiculous World

A humorous social commentary blog currently based in China. We consider our efforts to be an honest attempt towards the explanation of life in this ridiculous world. Updated daily with the finest writing and photographs this side of the Brooks Range, This Ridiculous World is the perfect place to gain an understanding of the world’s most populated nation.

it is imposible that everytime when the world shows something about tibet china block youtube, it sucks, do you really think the chinese don't knoe the truth?? of course they now it they ask us foreigners for newspapers from oversee, ask us to see our tv ...stp...

The logo is AMAZING
who designed it ?

Nice list, but when are we going to see the 2009 best China blogs?

Please take a look at Chinability. Looking for feedback, not for prizes.

Hey, it's time for new blog awards, don't you think?

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