The China Puzzle
Yes, after almost five months, I am back in China. It turns out that my friends were wrong (or maybe back then they were right): I can get access to my blog site and update my postings here in China. I feel quite relieved as it is always good to be physically in China to write about Chinese cinema. Many sites, including facebook, twitter, and youtube, however, are inaccessible. It is ironic that one of my graduate students is going to write his MA thesis on YouTube and the so-called “partcipatory culture”. I simply don’t know whether he would be able to pull it off.
This is what I call the “China Puzzle”. On the one hand, the authority remains absurdly backward-thinking when dealing with the Internet and new media. Recent campaigns targeting the so-called “pornographic” and “indecent” Internet contents have led to the closure of numerous Internet sites, even resulting in many people thrown into jail. Many service providers have also been warned. On the other hand, the government-led media campaigns have also called for a rapid development of China’s “soft power”, making Chinese culture and economy more “inventive” and “innovative”, as if innovation and invention could be built in a repressive or at least restrictive environment.
Back to the picture. It was taken on Dec. 17, 2009, two days after I came back to China. This mini-conference marks the official establishment of the “China Digital Film and Program Union”, a government supported organization aiming to produce and distribute China’s digital contents (including games) and enhance their competitiveness. Following Chinese tradition, I was hand-picked (literarlly, because I didn’t know until my name was called) to be the Vice President of the Union Council. Nothing can be done in China without the involvement of the government. This union is only another proof.