DisneyLife online service is also now blocked in China, joining iTunes, iBook

DisneyLife online service is also now blocked in China, joining iTunes, iBook
JISHOU, HUNAN — New regulations in China have put the DisneyLife online service out of commission, joining Apple’s iTunes Movie and iBook stores. DisneyLife users reported in early March that their access to the subscription service had failed. According to the South China Morning Post, Beijing quietly passed a new law regulation media content, which makes it easier for China’s censors to pull the plug on content they feel is inappropriate. President Xi Jinping has been especially critical of “Western influences” on Chinese society and, especially, politics. It emerged on Friday that the two internet platforms were quietly closed under the new Regulation for the Management of Online Publishing Services, which was announced on February 13 and took effect early last month. It imposed more stringent rules on the online publication of original or adapted “creative works”, such as images, games, animation, comics, audio recordings and video. DisneyLife was a joint venture of the Walt Disney Co. and Alibaba’s Ali Digital Entertainment Group. Alibaba is a mainland e-commerce giant now branching out into other activities. It now owns South China Morning Post, for example. Under the new regulation, content providers must “self-censor” and abide by prevailing mainland Internet standards. Failure ...

UPDATED: China remains at 4th lowest spot in press freedom rankings in latest report

UPDATED: China remains at 4th lowest spot in press freedom rankings in latest report
JISHOU, HUNAN — China’s ranking in an annual international press freedom survey remains at #176 out of 180 countries analyzed, the same position it held in 2015. The international organization, Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontieres – RSF), released its annual World Press Freedom Index on Wednesday, saying 2016 has been a bad year for journalists worldwide. The Index levels especially sharp criticism of China, which continues to be among the nations with the lowest press freedom rankings. UPDATE 4/27/2016: An editorial in the Chinese Communist Party news outlet, Global Times, scoffs at the ranking, claiming Reporters Without Borders ignores the differences between developed nations and developing nations. The constructiveness of journalism is more important than press freedom to developing countries. This constructiveness includes press freedom and supervision of the media, however it must incorporate understanding of different local political and economic development. The purpose of journalism is not to advocate its absolute freedom, but to help advance societal progress in a suitable way. Or, as President Xi Jinping has insisted, to serve the Party. In its summary of the Asia-Pacific region, RSF writes: In China (176th), the Communist Party took repression to new heights. Journalists were spared nothing, not ...

Nothing ever really disappears from the Web, even censored Weibos

JISHOU, HUNAN — Chinese authorities routinely delete, censor or block material in the Internet deemed inappropriate. That includes posts by users of Sina Weibo, one of the big Twitter-like services in China. But, nothing ever really disappears from the Web. Some clever netizens have found a way to “rescue” deleted Weibo posts. They repost them at freeweibo.com, and some of these end up on Blocked on Weibo at tumblr.com. This post, showing a portrait of Mao wearing a facemask (in Beijing, where the air quality has recently been abysmal), got quickly axed. Government officials have no sense of humor, it seems.

Now I can tweet ,too!

JISHOU, HUNAN — By way of this post at China Geeks, I can now use my phone in China to send texts to my Twitter account. It seems there is a Chinese service, fanfou.com, that allows its users to feed fanfou posts to an existing Twitter account. Of course, whether I remember to use it remains an open question. I haven’t developed a Twitter habit, since direct access to it is blocked in China. Another issue is this work-around only works in one direction. I can send tweets out, but I can’t read comments or replies. Meanwhile, I noticed that my blog posts were not automatically being tweeted. In the process of updating a plugin, I managed to disable the automatic feed. So, this is a test of that, too.

Google+ offers end run around (over?) Great Firewall of China

JISHOU, HUNAN — Maybe my problems with Picasaweb are over for now. While the Great Firewall of China seems to screw up uploads to my Picasaweb albums, it doesn’t seem to prevent uploads using Google+ Photos. It’s still snail slow, but at least I can get it done. Then again, my access to Google+ seems to come and go, so I probably just shot myself in the foot publishing this tidbit of news.

Some website tweaks 1

JISHOU, HUNAN — I’ve belatedly gotten around to allowing readers at the website to share posts with friends using Google+, Facebook and Twitter with three WordPress plugins. The buttons to click will be at the end of each post. Since all three of these fine services are blocked in China, I need some feedback to see if the buttons look OK and their functions are working. My proxy connection comes and goes randomly. One of the plugins also allows sharing with services like digg, del.icio.us and reddit. Pardon the dumb question, but in this Facebook-Twitter-Google+ age, does anybody really use those services anymore? I don’t want to clutter things up with lots of superfluous buttons.

I’m without Facebook … again

UPDATE 1/9/11 5:30 am ET — Nevermind. As soon as I wrote this post, by a corollary to Murphy’s Law, everything started working again. JISHOU, HUNAN — My favorite method to climb the Great Firewall of China seems to no longer work. So, my only access to FB right now is eBuddy on my cellphone for Chat and this blog’s feed into Notes. I do get emails whenever someone comments on a note or sends me a message, though. I had been using Ultrareach‘s Ultrasurf, a 1-MB program that sets up a proxy connection to “climb the Wall,” as they say here, and evade China’s Internet censorship. It establishes a proxy connection as before, but as soon as I enter a URL, the connection is lost. I suspect the Net Nannies here have gotten wise to Ultrasurf and figured out a way to block it, as they did the Tor proxy network two years ago. So, if you’re expecting me to learn about news from family and friends via FB, think again. Ya might just have to write me an email once in a while. Oh, and FB recoded their site again, so the plugin I have that pulls comments ...

Slow and steady wins the race

JISHOU, HUNAN — I am happy to report that I can once again post to my Picasaweb photo site, as long as I use the Ultrasurf proxy client I downloaded a couple of months ago. It’s slow, but at least I can use the 80 GB of Picasaweb storage space that I paid for. It also means my photos will automatically get posted to Facebook through the Picasa Facebook app. So, as I wait for my photos to trickle slowly into my Picasaweb space, I can write some posts. Here’s the first one.
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