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Ziwei Yang Nov 7th 2013 English 1101 Professor Grant

Ethnography: World Of Chinese Blog Writers

A blog is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries typically displayed in reverse chronological order. When American people think of China, the first few impressions that come to their mind are communist party, lack of freedom of speech, developing country etc. People tends to believe that under the ruling of Chinese communist party, freedom of speech is hardly existing in China and Chinese people are afraid of speak out. Their assumptions are incorrect because in the latest four decades, China has made a huge progress in terms of civil rights, especially in freedom of speech. Also as the economy is growing so fast, computers have became more and more popular in China. Research shows that in 2010, the population of Chinese people who had access to Internet is larger than the entire population of United States Of America(baidu.com). Blog, as a popular phenomenon of Internet world begins to play a important role as whistleblower in social reforms and anti-corruptions, as well as an popular educators in the modern Chinese society pushing the ideas of democracy and freedom of speech. The research in this paper will show a unique community formed by Chinese blog writers. Who are those blog writers? Why do they post blogs? How do blog writers changing the modern Chinese society. Also how do

bloggers sometimes changing role from a community of practice to a discourse community. The research method conducted in this paper includes personal interviews, blogs and articles. Personal interviews were taken from current Chinese blog writers. Blog posts from their blogs and news articles on Chinese blog writers. Not everyone who keeps a blog on the Internet can call himself (or herself) a blog writer. In order to be a member of the blog writer community, one must follow certain rules. First, despite the fact that every blog writer holds different personal beliefs and opinions on different issues, they do share some common believes. The most important one is the freedom of speech. I might not agree with anything you say, but I will die to defend your right to speak ( Han Han). Often, blog writers discuss social issues and exchange ideas with each other, despite many disagreements, they only discuss on the matters itself. Blog writers never make personal attacks against another person. The goals of the blog writer community can be hard to determine because each individual has his or her own agenda. Some might be interested in anti-corruption; other might be interested in education reform or social welfare. Even though there isnt a single goal for all blog writers, they all working under the same idea: by practicing their right to speech, they will make China a better place. Since the television networks and newspapers are very strictly controlled by the government, a large portion of corruption investigations, public health investigations, and investigations of local governments abusing their powers are first stated from a simple blog.

They are many host sites for people to post their blogs, but the most popular one among all blog writers is blog.sina.com.cn. Blog writers usually communicate with each other via emails through different email servers or messages through the blog website, or they leave comments under each others blog. Many blog writers have close friendship with each other; they might text or call each other as well. It is very easy to spot a blog writer, as mentioned earlier in the paper. Blog writers are a group of people that are trying to make China a better place. Blog writers dont write about travels, foods or fun things that happened in their life, they writers about things that really matter to the society. Just by looking into someones blog, one can easily determine what kind of blog is it, and then find out if the owner is a true blog writer. Blog writers have their own lexis. The Chinese government has set up an online sensitive words detection system, which detects sensitive words. When people are publishing things on the internet, the system will turn the sensitive words into some random number, therefore no one can understand what it is the author trying to say. Words such as the name of the current Chinese president and his cabinet members, or the Ti An Men Square Protest are all considered sensitive words. In order to get around the detection system, blog writers have invented various forms of code to replace those sensitive words. Such as when blog writers want to talk about Mao, instead of Mao, they would referring him as the First Emperor. Another interesting thing about the blog writing community is that usually it acts as a community of practice, but the blog writing community can be a discourse community too.

Community of practice is a group of people who share an area of study or practice; they share some common values, interests, or general goals. They, too, have mechanisms of communication, but are separated by various levels of involvement and interest, by diversity among members, and a lack of specific common goals (PowerPoint). The blog writing community usually is a community of practice because most of blog writers share some values such as make China a better place but they dont share a specific common goal. They each have their own agendas. However, the blog writing community can be a discourse community under certain conditions. Discourse community is a group of people working together to achieve one or more common goals who share a common language. The language is specifically related to their work, and incudes specialized genres of communication and their own lexis. The most significant difference between discourse community and community of practice is one has specific goals and the other does not. In 2009, a nation wide investigation on luxury government building revealed many local governments spend a huge amount of money on government buildings such as mayors offices, many officials spent money from educational funds and health care funds for their own personal gain. This nation-wide investigation would not have happened if there werent a group of blog writers. It started with a picture that one blog writer named Fei Yi found from a small, unpopular website. It was a picture of an actual White House built in a small town, which was known for its poverty. The only nice building in the entire town was the mayors office, he copy the idea from USs W hite House and build the exact same one in this small town. Schools and hospitals were all in a very poor condition. Residential areas were also in bad shape.

The blogger Fei Yi did some investigation on his own then publish a paper on his blog. This blog was reposted many times in the following week, more and more blog writers decided to write about this small town and its white house. After two weeks from the first blog being posted by Fei Yi, the story reached CCTV, which is the official news television of Chinese government. Then it led to a government investigation to this small town, followed by a nation-wide investigations into anti-corruption and luxury government buildings. Blog writers as a community have their own lexis and mechanisms, their goal is to make China a better place. Blog writers separate themselves from regular bloggers because they only write about things that truly matter.

Work Cited

Han Han. "Personal interview. Interview Quotes. 06 Nov 2013. Cheng Feng. The Power of Internet. www.baidu.com. Aug 2012.