Around the Web: China’s National Day Preparations

With the PRC’s massive National Day and 60th anniversary celebration now just days away, we wanted to spotlight some of the major stories — as well as a few interesting images — that have been circulating recently. Here are several fascinating links that have caught our eye in the past few weeks as preparations for October 1 reached a fever pitch:

1. Fans of the Jackie Chan song “Country” (国家) and its music video should check out a new amateur version that went viral soon after its posting online (hat tip to Shanghaiist for the video link). The video features a spirited sing-along, much flag-waving, and a cute baby at the end.

2. China Digital Times drew our attention to this photo of a National Day float, which has been photoshopped to display a webpage familiar to many Chinese Internet Explorer users attempting to access information blocked by the country’s web monitors: “This page cannot be displayed.”

Censorship float
The picture inspired this blog post by Rebecca MacKinnon, in which she provides an overview of different anti-censorship strategies and their current status in China. It seems that most of the previously reliable ways to circumvent internet restrictions on the mainland have been targeted and disabled by authorities, both in preparation for the October 1 celebration and in response to unrest in Xinjiang over the summer.

3. Media controls around the 60th anniversary are also the topic of an essay recently posted at China Media Project by Qian Gang and David Bandurski. The authors examine three ways in which the Chinese media might attempt to “dance with their shackles on” as they seek to report events in accordance with government regulations, yet also push the envelope when the situation calls for doing so:

[By] Keeping distance from the discourse of power, but seeking to publish “words of conscience” within the bounds delineated by the authorities, evincing the professional character of the media. A few web portals, such as QQ.com, have attempted to highlight important lessons of the past 60 years through reasonably safe but backhanded methods.

QQ set up a section allowing users to vote themselves on what they saw as key events in the PRC’s history. Some sites have also tried to walk the line through special interviews with Chinese scholars, who may on occasion step gingerly into progaganda grey areas. Another important tactic is to run tragic personal stories from ordinary citizens in an indirect attempt to highlight the crooked path of China’s history over the past 60 years. Their focus is not on the party or the nation, but on the individual.

4. A compelling look at 60 years of China Pictorial covers can be found here (hat tip to Danwei).

China Pictorial Cover 1

5. Another great video (and another hat tip to Danwei) was produced by Polish journalist and photographer Janek Zdzarski. Two minutes of clips vividly showcase the pre-National Day aura in Beijing, “a surreal mix of festive exuberance manifested by the unfurling flags and floral decorations, as well as the wariness caused by heavy military and security presence.”

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