Japan Set to Clarify Stance on Bitcoin - WSJ

An open letter to the community - We need to put our money where our mouths are and support decentralization and dApps

Hey everyone,
As I'm sure you all know full well, early adoption of crypto is primarily speculative trading, so this post is gonna focus mainly on the problems with trading in this space right now (centralized exchanges, regulations, lack of investment products, etc), and how we can shift our mindsets as a community to put our money where our mouth is and rally behind startups doing the right things (decentralized exchanges, dApps, protocols and necessary infrastructure).
Why? Because for the first time in history we have a disruptive new technology that can really change the landscape in every industry imaginable, and we are at the stage where we're planting the seeds of these new products and companies, so why not support the right ones so we can realize the future we're all envisioning?
I recently wrote an article on this on Hackernoon here: https://hackernoon.com/its-time-to-address-the-massive-problems-of-centralized-exchanges-ac2cfb66bef8, but I thought I'd expand on it and share my thoughts on how to move this space forward in terms of getting more dApp adoption and usage.

Who uses dApps anyways?

Blockgeeks just published a report on dApp usage for those interested, there is definitely some growth but since the bear market it has definitely tapered off: https://blockgeeks.com/guides/report-dapps-november-2018/
It's obviously nowhere near mainstream adoption, but it's a great start, so there's hope! There's definitely a ton of things that should immediately be addressed and are of high importance IMO, so I'm going to lay them out:

First, we need to address the massive problems of centralized exchanges

Bitcoin aside, the crypto space as a whole is still pretty young, the current experience of trading crypto assets is understandably a fragmented experience with scattered pockets of liquidity, and a highly technical and high friction process. But the irony is that we have the technology to avoid the security flaws that plague centralized exchanges and the adoption of crypto - decentralized trading.
There are a ton of centralized exchanges available to the public today, but a much smaller subset of these exchanges are properly regulated, not to mention trustworthy and reliable. I know the pro traders out there might say, "Well DEXes aren't fast enough, or I can't run bots on them yet". That's fair, but if you want to see them succeed some day, every trade helps. If it's a trade that you think is executable on a DEX, do it there instead of on a centralized one. That's how adoption happens, one user at a time.
While industry pioneers like Coinbase have pushed the space forward and newer entrants like Binance raised the bar for the alt-coin trading experience, the industry still suffers from constant hacks and malicious acts.
We need to stop relying on centralized trading/hot wallets as they are huge security risks As far as we know, over $1 billion worth of crypto assets have been hacked & stolen from centralized exchanges in 2018 alone.
Here's the biggest incidents in 2018:
The root cause of this is that centralized wallets are increasingly large honeypots.
The nature of a centralized exchange dictates that some trusted third party is storing the crypto assets of its users to create a pool of liquidity, this being done mostly by aggregating funds into exchange-owned digital wallets where assets from users are pooled into.
Millions of people could lose not just money but also their identity and data handed over to centralized exchanges as well.
While we're still in a bear market this may not happen as frequent, but it's reasonable to be expect that in the next bull-run the frequency and severity of attacks will only rise and a scenario in which an attack as widespread as the recent 50 million user Facebook hack — where both private data and money were stolen — could happen. There's already plenty of exchanges that are careless with handling user identity, handing over your personal ID is not a trivial matter and exchanges should follow the best practices to store and secure them if they're asking for them.

Second, we need clearer, more sensible regulation that fosters innovation and protects investors

This may be an unpopular opinion around these parts, but sensible regulation is good for both the industry and users, to ensure exchanges coming online meet certain requirements, so we're not operating and trading in this wild wild west of shady exchanges.
People who trade today need to have a pretty damn high appetite and tolerance for risk, not to mention an acute ability to discern legitimate investments from the rampant exit scams and phishing attacks. (Just see yesterday's thread about the guy's dad who bought into Onecoin on the advice of a "friend").
The vague stance on the part of governments also means many crypto startups operate in a regulatory grey area (I have first hand experience with this working in the space). The SEC only recently clarified that they view Bitcoin and Ethereum as not a security token, meaning it wouldn’t be subject to existing securities laws.
IMO the current lack of regulatory clarity has lead to a low barrier of entry for operating crypto exchanges, however this is starting to change as seen with the recent EtherDelta SEC charges, they're clearly making a statement now that you need to follow the laws when you open an exchange.
But we can do better, and push lawmakers to create more defined rules that we need to play by, and at the same time educate them so they understand not just the technology, but the implications and potential use cases and how we can get there while allowing companies to innovate, new startups to rise, all while protecting consumers. That way we'll have more legal clarity as the industry matures that is business friendly.

Third, we need a more diversified set of investment products/options for crypto. More wealth generated = more growth and adoption

Up until recently, you were only able to purchase tokens on their own from an exchange. Today, we are starting to see an emergence of basic index funds such as the new Coinbase Bundle and Bitwise. It wasn’t until late 2017 that we saw the introduction of Bitcoin Futures from CBOE and CME.
We expect new companies to continue entering this arena, especially crypto ETFs (ie: Bakkt in Jan 2019 maybe?), as well as other attempts at index funds or derivatives.
There's a bunch of teams doing great stuff:

Lastly, we need to punish greed and reward companies doing the right things

While it’s not a problem particularly limited to centralized exchanges, it’s been reported that listing a token can cost as much as $3 million. In contrast, listing a stock on NASDAQ costs $125k to $300k plus annual maintenance fees.
This is just one example of the greed exhibited by those who have leverage and the middlemen who stand to profit in between (consultants, brokers, ICO firms, etc). These high fees dampen innovation as they’re too great of a cost to bear for most token/ICO projects. This is crucial for most projects as they need liquidity to bootstrap their network and to remain favourable with the community that invested in them.
At least 7 of the top 10 exchanges engaging in excessive wash trading from 12x to over 100x their true volume.
Foul play
Plenty of centralized exchanges have been suspected and accused of wash trading (creating fake volume), insider trading, and price manipulation.
High user trading fees
As centralized exchanges carry more risk, and have more opaque control of their platform, they often charge higher fees compared to a decentralized exchange.
Withdrawal limits
Centralized exchanges impose a withdrawal limit, as a security measure to limit the amount that can be withdrawn at once. However, there’s also a misalignment of incentives, as they stand to benefit when you keep your funds locked on their platform so they can maximize trading fees
There's a bunch of great projects and base layer infrastructure that people should look into and support, not just the protocols but also startups building on top of them, some of my fav protocols include:
Personally I'm working in one of the many, many startups in the space trying to build on top of these decentralized infrastructures to give everyone a more seamless experience to access, trade, and use crypto. But you can imagine how hard it is to gain any traction much less build a sustainable business especially in a bear market like this, and when everyone has either completely lost their motivation or still flocking to centralized exchanges to chase pumps knowing full well the risks and unethical practices.
Cool story, what are you doing about it?
I work with a team called the LakeProject, and we're a group of people that came together because we believe that decentralized platforms will address a lot of these concerns, so we're putting our money where our mouth is and building them. If you want to help or learn more about what we're doing here's our site: http://lakeproject.co. We also built our first decentralized product here which is a trading platform built on 0x: https://trade.lakeproject.co

In conclusion - Vote with your money and your time, it makes a difference

I hope this post made sense and I made somewhat of a decent case (?) on why we need to shift our mindset from simply trading and hodling to proactively choosing where to participate, what dApps to use, and which startups to support.
IMHO this is key for adoption and it will seriously help startups (like ours) to grow and be able to make a difference in the industry and push forward and pioneer a new paradigm of operating a decentralized business. I think everyone in the space right now is still learning and trying to understand how that might look in the future, but the more support and usage we get, the sooner we'll learn and the brighter our future will be.
If you've gotten this far, thanks for putting up with my clickbaity title and reading this thread :)
submitted by matt-lakeproject to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Futures Jump, Dollar Slides After Report Fed May End Hikes As Early As Spring

After yesterday's historic rout in the market, there were signs of stabilization in overnight trading with most markets trading higher, with the key catalyst a report from MNI that the Fed may end its rate hikes as soon as this coming spring.

US stocks were set to open sharply firmer after two days of losses that wiped out the S&P500’s gains for the year and left the tech-heavy Nasdaq index teetering on the brink of falling into the red. Losses were concentrated in the technology sector, as investors dumped their holdings of FAANG shares and pushed the Nasdaq index to seven-month lows and energy shares too had dropped in line with a 6 percent oil price slump S&P 500.
“High-flying momentum stocks have come off in a fairly spectacular fashion. At one point Apple and Amazon accounted for 40 percent of U.S. equity gains and people were just recycling money into the winners,” said David Vickers, senior portfolio manager at Russell Investments. “That’s come off the boil and set the cat among the pigeons... We’ve seen a lot of reflexivity, when selling begets selling, the market starts to turn over, people take profits, it leads to another leg down and so on.”
That fed through to Asia on Wednesday, taking MSCI’s index of ex-Japan Asia-Pacific shares almost half a percent lower, but it clawed most of the losses to trade flat, with MSCI’s all-country benchmark was flat too, attempting to snap two days of falls.
Chinese stocks closed in the green and near session highs, rebounding from Tuesday's drop as Asia closed mixed, but it was Europe that showed the most promise with the Stoxx600 solidly in the green, led by Italy where BTPs rallied from the open, after a report that Deputy PM Salvini may be open to budget revisions; Salvini then denied the report, clarifying that he’s only open to tweaks and won’t compromise on the main issues.

Italians bond yields fell up to 16 basis points initially, putting 10-year yields on track for their biggest daily drop in almost a month but the market gave up some of its gains after the denials. Sentiment was then dented again, and the EUR snapped lower after Ansa reported that the European Union has rejected Italy’s 2019 budget - as expected - and that the Excessive Deficit Procedure would be warranted on Italy. Still, despite the expected escalation in the standoff between Italy and Europe, the Estoxx and DAX pushed higher but were off best levels with banks and telecoms leading gains as Italy's FTSE MIB outperformed peers with local banks +1.5%.
However, it was a report from wire service MNI just after 6am that caught the market's attention, when Market News International reported that the Federal Reserve is starting to consider at least a pause to its gradual monetary tightening and could end its cycle of interest rate hikes as early as the spring, citing senior people at the Fed they didn’t identify.
While a Dec. rate hike is all but assured, the debate will become more lively beginning at the central bank’s March meeting and certainly by June, MNI says. The paradox, of course, is that according to the Fed's own dot plot there will be at least 3 hikes in 2019, so for one or more Fed presidents to engage in such an ECB-esque trial balloon of defiance of Chairman Powell must mean that the disagreements within the FOMC over the future of monetary policy are truly boiling over.
While it is still very much unlikely that the Fed will halt its rate hikes in the spring absent a rout in stocks and bonds, the MNI trial balloon sent futures back to session highs...

... and slammed the Bloomberg dollar index back to session lows.

US Treasuries and the Eurodollar strip also pared losses and faded Wednesday’s bear steepening after the MNI report; that said, Fed rate hike expectations are steady on Wednesday morning with December 2018 pricing in 19bps, and the next 25bps increase expected in March 2019. The U.S. 10Y TSY yield is 1bp to 3.07% with December T-Note futures -20 ticks to 119-04+; U.S. 2/10s +1bp to 26bps; U.S. 5/30s steady at 43bps.
Today's modest gains immediately sparked positive commentary: "We view the sell-off as overdone and a bull-market correction, with valuations that have become more compelling,” Jason Draho, head of asset allocation, Americas, at UBS Global Wealth Management wrote in a note. "We recently increased our overweight to global equities on the view that the markets are already pricing in growth and trade risks."
Still, while the Fed trial balloon helped preserve upside momentum in risk assets, investor sentiment remains susceptible to minute to minute volatility that’s rocked markets since October as traders have to contend with President Trump tape bomb unpredictability and demands for lower rates as corporate credit spreads at two-year highs reflect investor angst about borrowing costs.
In FX, the euro got an early boost and Italian bonds rallied after the abovementioned La Stampa report that Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini may be open to budget revisions; it trimmed gains after his League party denied the report, and as the EU was said see Rome’s budget at serious non-compliance risk. The pound was little changed against the dollar, after earlier rising on the back of broader weakness in the greenback; Britain’s budget deficit widened in October as spending rose at the fastest pace in 11 years. Australian dollar rebounds from a one-week low hit very early in Asia as a recovery in oil prices combined with exporter demand to trigger short-covering ahead of U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.
In commodities, WTI also halted yesterday's dramatic rout near $54 a barrel after API showed that U.S. crude inventories unexpectedly fell last week against doubts over OPEC’s plans to cut output. Emerging-market shares and currencies were stable. Bitcoin advanced after a recent sell-off
Expected data include mortgage applications, durable goods orders, jobless claims and existing home sales. Deere and Metro are among companies reporting earnings
Market Snapshot
Top Overnight News
Asian stocks mostly weakened as the global stock rout continued into the region following the losses in US, where the DJIA dropped over 500 points to turn negative YTD and in which energy names were pressured as oil slumped nearly 7%. ASX 200 (-0.5%) and Nikkei 225 (-0.3%) were led lower by spill-over selling seen across the commodity-related sectors, while Wesfarmers shares plummeted nearly 30% after the spin-off of its Coles unit which had its stock market debut today. Hang Seng (+0.5%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.2%) opened with firm losses but then rebounded off their lows with price action choppy amid ongoing trade uncertainty and after criticism from USTR Lighthizer’s report that China has not altered its unfair practices and appears to have conducted further unreasonable actions in recent months. Finally, 10yr JGBs failed to benefit from the widespread risk averse tone with price action subdued amid a lack of BoJ presence in the bond market and after the weakness in T-notes as US investors closed positions heading in to Thanksgiving.
Top Asian News - The American Carnage Isn’t Tanking Stock Markets in Asia - China Refrains From Injecting Cash for Longest Time Since August - Beijing to Judge Every Resident Based on Behavior by End of 2020 - China Said to Eye Steel Mega-Deal as Baowu Chief Joins Rival - Yuan Debt in the Bag for Philippines as Xi-Duterte Ties Grow
European equities are higher across the board (Eurostoxx 50 +0.8%) as the region stemmed the stock rout seen in Asia and Wall Street. Italy’s FTSE MIB (+0.6%) was initially outperforming with Italian banks higher amid initial reports from Italian press that Deputy PM Salvini could potentially be open to budget revisions, which were later dismissed by League sources ahead of the budget ultimately being rejected. In terms of sectors, financial names lost the top spot to telecom names, who are outperforming after French telecoms jumped following comments from Orange (+1.7%) CEO which renewed M&A gossip. Elsewhere, Indivior (-13.6%) fell to the foot of the Stoxx600 (+0.4%) after the Co. lost a US court ruling that had prevented Dr. Reddy’s from selling a generic version of a treatment for opioid addiction.
Top European News
In FX, the DXY index has maintained its recovery momentum into the midweek session, but is off best levels amidst a welcome reprieve in riskier assets and broad sentiment ahead of Thanksgiving. The DXY has drifted back from another uptick towards 97.000, though remains underpinned ahead of 96.500 and recent lows. The Greenback also retains an underlying bid as G10 and EM counterparts struggle to recoup losses beyond round numbepsychological/technical resistance against the backdrop of heavy option expiries at strikes within close proximity to prevailing prices (and with major fundamental issues still prescient of course).
In commodities, WTI (+1.6%) and Brent (+1.4%) took a breather from yesterday’s selloff, where prices fell almost 7% with the decline attributed to supply concerns, negative risk sentiment and Trump’s protective approach to Saudi relations. Prices are underpinned by the latest API inventory data which printed a surprise drawdown in headline crude stockpiles. Traders will be keeping an eye on today’s DoE release for any hints of increased US shale production. Today will also see the release of the EIA natural gas storage data, which has been rescheduled due to the US Thanksgiving Holiday. Elsewhere, the metals complex is in positive territory with gold (+0.2%), silver (+0.7%) and copper (+0.5%) all supported by the pullback in the USD. Goldman Sachs said slump in oil reflects over supply concerns for 2019 and that technical position factors have exacerbated the volatility, while it also cited low liquidity heading into Thanksgiving as well as broader selling in commodities and cross-assets amid rising growth concerns.
US Event Calendar

submitted by rotoreuters to zerohedge [link] [comments]

[Table] IamAn editor at the Chinese government's official news agency. AMA!

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2013-08-02
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
How does Xinhua come up with ideas for slideshows? They are a little different than slideshows you might expect from Reuters or AP. HAHAHA dude. The Xinhua slideshows are a running joke in my department. If enough people bother me to do so, I'll post some of the more ridiculous ones. I want to meet the guy who's responsible for those so badly. But there is little to no communication between departments here, so I don't even know whodunit. I'm only responsible for editing stories, photo stuff is an entirely different unit. Edit: "embarrassed by tight sport pants" has some gnarly cameltoe action, maybe NSFW. Unless you work for a porn company. Or Xinhua, evidently.
Please post more ridiculous slide shows! "Terrible! Women get too drunk"
Link to news.xinhuanet.com
"Funny photos of people who got stuck"
Link to news.xinhuanet.com
Isn't it risky to do an AMA like this, especially after calling your workplace "Orwellian"? The "Orwellian" bit only applies to the news that comes through my office, not the websites I use during my personal time.
I would've imagined they don't like employees talking about censorship or "insider" information. Oh they don't, you're right about that. But they're also painfully oblivious to anything that is published or written outside of their sphere. Most of them don't even pay attention to major foreign news outlets, let alone Reddit.
You are naive. it is easy to find out who you are I'm aware of how easy it is to find out who I am. Still not fussed about it.
So are you still alive? Dr. Mantis Toboggan?? I'm VERY alive.
I heard you have a monster dong.
You get Its Always Sunny in China? Do you guys have netflix? No Netflix, but torrents work most of the time.
Is there any mention about the pollution there? I mean, is the govt actively doing something, perhaps finding what cause it? Link to blogs.wsj.com
Link to www.bbc.co.uk
Link to www.theguardian.com
Basically the Chinese public have started to focus more on the importance of protecting the environment and have therefore forced the government to pay attention to the issue.
Nothing scares the Chinese government more than social unrest - their greatest priority is ensuring that the general public won't flip out en masse and kick them out of power. Their efforts to reduce pollution are really just token efforts - Chinese industry is massive and produces ridiculous amounts of pollutants. But at this point they have to do something.
Is "Silent Spring" available in a Chinese edition? I don't know, but it should be. The Chinese need their own "Silent Spring".
Edit: since you mentioned a Chinese version of a controversial book, I'd like to note that I've purchased an English-language copy of "1984" right here in Beijing, from some dude on the street with a cart full of books. A Chinese friend of mine has the same book - in Chinese. Wacky, no? Like how/where did that ever get printed?
How 'free' is Sina Weio? Is anything ever censored on it? Sina Weibo is technically a private company, but they are still subject to Chinese law. To that end, they engage in a fair amount of self-censoring. I believe they've gone on record as saying that they employ a number of people who comb through posts for anything sensitive.
That being said, the vast majority of muckraking done by the Chinese public over the last year or so has been done via Sina Weibo.
Why so much fear of social unrest? It's not like a populist revolution is brewing. No seriously. There are so many folks here that if some kind of social movement caught on and a lot of people started protesting, the government would be literally overrun. There was an environmental protest in south China last year (I think?) where local residents actually swarmed a government office building.
I thought more people would use QQ or 人人 more then Sina Weibo? More people almost certainly use QQ, although I'm actually not sure about the precise figures. I just know Weibo has blown up the last couple years.
When I lived in China people used "中国人太多了!" as an excuse for everything! Precisely.
Is there any sense that China is overpopulated? Every time I get on the subway.
What is the largest story that you've had to 'ignore' due to government pressure or interests? I haven't had to "ignore" a story, per se, since I'm not actually a reporter on the front lines. Most of our stories are handed to us anyway via press releases or statements from government spokesmen.
I do recall one particularly troubling day. July 24, 2011 was a Sunday. I was working the weekend shift - it's usually a slow shift, with only one foreign editor on duty (me).
On the night of July 23rd, two high-speed trains collided on a railway in Wenzhou, a city in east China's Zhejiang Province. A few dozen people were killed and a couple hundred were injured.
There were so many stories about the train crash the next day, and I had to edit all of them. The stories I edited seemed to clash with accounts written by foreign media - it wasn't long before the Chinese government was caught red-handed trying to downplay the incident.
Domestic media were instructed not to send reporters to the scene of the crash, and stories about it were intentionally suppressed or relegated to the back pages of newspapers. But between eyewitness accounts and reports from foreign media, many Chinese quickly came to realize that the government was trying to keep the whole thing under wraps.
The backlash was almost immediate. The crash came at a time when Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, was first becoming popular. People were posting photos from the crash, citing their own theories for what happened...I suppose it was not unlike what happened after 9/11 or the Boston Marathon bombings.
In the end, former Railway Minster Liu Zhijun took the fall for the crash. He'd been previously accused of corruption anyway, and this incident was the last straw. Other high-level officials were sacrificed as well.
I didn't have to ignore that story, but it stayed with me for a long time. I was dating a Chinese woman at the time, and she was in tears when I came home after work. She couldn't believe that her own government would try to hide the facts behind something so horrific, although I know she knows it's not the first time China's government has done so. I told her that governments do that all the time. Didn't really make much of a difference though.
Your role there does sound positively Orwellian. Do you really notice specific correlations between your situation and that of 1984? Heh. I went into journalism because I realized I could write my way out of a wet paper bag but I didn't want to become a novelist and starve and/or become an English professor.
I don't mean to put you down, but doesn't this job bring up any internal ethical conflicts for you? Is this really what you went into journalism to do? I do have conflicts about what I do. I have conflicts about what I do at work, what I do in my personal life. I contradict my own beliefs and attitudes all the time. I'm a huge hypocrite. Constantly. But I pay my rent and pay my taxes and have enough left over to get me through the day. Ask any journalist who works for a major news organization and see what they have to say about ethical conflicts.
China's surveillance, censorship, human rights, food quality, pollution and other issues make it seem like a dark and orwellian place to live. But what is it really like there? It's actually pretty chill here for the most part. Food safety issues have become more visible in recent years, but some say that's actually because food inspectors are getting more strict, which is obviously a good thing. The air quality does suck ass, but unless you're living here for years and years or have some kind of medical condition, it's not actually that dangerous.
Do people speak freely amongst themselves about the government, if not publicly? Surveillance...ya know, there's a camera on every corner. And no one is watching it. I say and do shit that would probably get me in trouble all the time, but no one ever comes knocking. So to answer your third question, people bitch about the government all the time - publicly, no less. Chinese social media is full of people complaining about the government.
I don't think your ethical conflict is similar to those faced by actual journalists. That's true - they have greater flexibility in terms of being able to "take the high road" or not. I can keep working for the Chinese government...or quit.
That's a very strange and unexpected story. Things really aren't as bleak or grim over here as you'd be led to believe. Naturally I can only speak for my own experience as a foreigner living in the capital - there is certainly some dark shit that goes down elsewhere in the country - but my own experience has been largely decent.
On the other hand, many young Chinese I speak to seem eager to leave the country. Some have the aforementioned food and pollution concerns, others want to do business and develop themselves in an environment that rewards their creativity and integrity.
Chinese office culture - one could say Chinese culture in general - is very much about forming relationships with people more powerful than yourself and leveraging those relationships. Lots of ass-kissing and gift-giving. I've met several Chinese who don't care to do things this way.
What is your responsibility in terms of censoring? My company, like most state-owned media, does not engage in a lot of investigative journalism. In fact, most of the information our reporters use to write their stories is spoon-fed in the form of press releases, statements from government spokesmen and public notices issued by various government departments. Naturally, any kind of controversial or damaging content is omitted from that information before our reporters even receive it.
Chinese state media do not use what I would call "active" censorship, where they're actually removing information or otherwise deliberately altering content. It's more passive - the information just isn't provided in the first place. There have been many times when I've tried to clarify a story, only to be told by the writer and/or translator: "we don't have that information."
So would you regard it as a bit like the scene in "Good Morning Vietnam" where the news comes over a telex and then the military censors cross out what can and can't be mentioned on the radio? Hahaha I wish I worked with Robin Williams. I don't know if it's really like that, but it's conceivable. It's more like there's just a lack of transparency and accountability - for instance, government officials are not required to provide their names to journalists.
Did the Chinese govt censor anything on Edward Snowden? Who?
No, of course I know who he is. But if you ask the Chinese government, that's the answer you'll get. The Chinese media doesn't actively censor - it just ignores everything the government doesn't like. Edward Snowden doesn't exist, as far as Xinhua is concerned.
Link to news.xinhuanet.com
Link to www.cbsnews.com
Link to www.huffingtonpost.com
Link to shanghaiist.com
Link to www.channelnewsasia.com
Wait, seriously? I've been in China for the past few weeks on vacation, and everybody here seems to love Snowden, if they know who he is. Yep - it was my own bias, I never read anything about Snowden because I work in the domestic department. See my reply below.
I'm confused, I'm looking at Link to www.xinhuanet.com right now and snowden is mentioned in one of the articles. Yeah I fucked that up - working in domestic news will do that to you. Check my reply below.
What are your responsibilities at Xinhua? Are you a foreigner working as an editor for their English material or a Mainland Chinese editor? I'm a foreigner working in the English department, yes. I edit domestic news exclusively, but we publish both domestic and international news in multiple languages.
Thanks. So how did you end up working at Xinhua? Why did you want to work there? Journalism background or just looking for work that builds on your English expertise? Well, I came to China as an economic refugee from the United States, basically. I graduated with a journalism degree at a time when the journalism industry was (still is? I'm pretty sure?) looking pretty grim in the U.S. and elsewhere. A couple friends recommended that I do an internship at a Chinese English-language newspaper and I worked my way up from there.
I don't even really refer to myself as a journalist anymore, not when I'm working for Xinhua. It's a weird and kind of depressing place to work sometimes, but it's also fairly laid-back and pays decently for the amount of work I'm required to do. I don't love it but it pays the bills and doesn't make me want to kill myself. Maybe I'm setting my sights too low, but I feel like that's pretty okay for a hack like me.
Interesting. Do you work closely with any of the Mainland reporters or is it mostly foreigners in your department? I work with a few foreign copy editors and dozens of Chinese reporters/translators/editors.
Anyone else have a palpable taste of WTF after reading that?... someone left American journalism to work in Chinese journalism. America is unfortunately extremely unsafe for true journalism, just ask Michael Hastings... wait, nvm. To be clear, I didn't decide to work in Chinese journalism because I disliked the U.S. journalism industry (although I do). It was more that there just weren't any jobs at that time. The industry is still in rough shape and I'm not even sure if I'll continue to do journalism when I move back home.
I find it sounds quite cool what you're doing, given the opportunity I'd do it, but I still get paid too well to become an economic refugee ;-). 你的中文好吗? 我中文说的就是一般般.
Have you joined the communist party yet? Can't and wouldn't want to. Well, maybe. Some of those folks do reaaal well for themselves.
Do you feel like you have more freedoms than the average Chinese citizen? Did you have any connections to China or any asian countries before the move? Are you a visible minority over there, if so do you experience xenophobia/racism? No connections to China or any other Asian countries beforehand, although I always thought Japan was awesome because video games and porn. In some ways I guess I am more free than the average Chinese citizen - for one thing, I make a better salary than most Chinese who have the same experience/educational background as me, and I probably work less hours than a lot of them. But this comes at an expense - there is no way I will ever be promoted or gain any kind of seniority at my company. Only Chinese can do that at state-owned companies. In Beijing, I'm certainly a visible minority, but not that visible. There are tons of foreigners in this city - the only racism I've experienced has been from Chinese who've migrated here from elsewhere or from other foreigners.
If you made the same salary in America as you do in China would you have moved/consider going back? If I made the same salary in the States, it'd really depend where I was living. I don't think I make enough now to live in LA or Chicago or somewhere like that.
你是牛屄! COW VAGINA YO.
Seriously how did they even decide that that means "badass." The fuck, China. The fuck. It's an Oriental Mystery.
你有没有觉得一些人有一点儿二在你的单位? As a kid born in Canada I never understood why they referred to weird/eccentric people as "two" lol. Hahahaha I have an 二锅头 shirt that is a play on the "Absolut" ads, it says "约对二" in Chinese (obviously) and "Absolut 2" in English. The Chinese think it's hysterical.
Do people discuss politics in the office ? All the time. One of my Chinese bosses loves to ask me about American rights and laws. My favorite quote?
"If I were an American politician, I would make it mandatory to own a gun."
I'd like to hear a little more about this. What kind of stuff does your boss ask/want to know? Are they surprised by what you tell them. What do they think about rights/laws in America? Most of the Chinese I discuss politics with are either in their early 20s early to mid 30s. They're all fairly well-educated and are familiar with western history and media. They're rarely, if ever, surprised with what I tell them about the States - although it depends on the question, I suppose. They just like comparing and contrasting U.S./China policy. They mirror each other in strange ways sometimes.
I think a lot of Chinese do envy some of the laws and rights we have in the States, but at the same time, they are intensely defensive of China's policies, as backward as some of them may seem to us.
Why did you decide to move to China? Pros and Cons vs living in the US? Pros: living costs are low, the language/culture are interesting, dating can be fun and the food is delicious.
Cons: salaries are low, the language/culture are hard to understand and deal with, dating is hellish and the food can kill you.
Elaborate on the dating? I was always under the impression Chinese girls were very conservative and didnt like to mix much with westerners. Depends on which ones you meet. Many Chinese women are curious about foreigners, but these are often the ones you don't want to date because their understanding of foreign culture is almost entirely informed by American Idol, Big Bang Theory, Friends and other shitty TV shows. Finding a Chinese woman who is liberal, opinionated, smart and all that other good stuff is hard to do. Although it's admittedly easier in the bigger Chinese cities.
Is Chinese celebrity news as highly reported as in America? Depends on what you mean by highly reported. China doesn't have trashy tabloid-esque "news" shows like there are in the States (as far as I know), but they do like to dig up dirt on celebrities. My employers don't run stories like that, but the Chinese do like to gossip about celebs on Sina Weibo (the Chinese equivalent of Twitter) and other social media sites.
One interesting difference is that some U.S. celebrities embrace the fame they gain from unflattering reports/revelations - Kim Kardashian became famous for fucking some shitty DJ - while Chinese celebrities try to avoid those kind of exposures. Chinese society is considerably more conservative than that of the U.S., so any kind of sex/gambling/etc. scandal is much more damaging for a Chinese celeb.
Edison Chen ftw. Aw man. Chen's my boy. Seriously I need to make some famous Chinese friends.
China doesn't have trashy tabloid-esque "news" shows like there are in the States. In exchange you guys have a bazillion talent competition and matchmaking shows. Yeesh. Hahaha true. God those are ridiculous and cheesy.
So what REALLY happened at Tienanmen Square? Well, I probably shouldn't talk about this. But if you really want to know...
First, a bunch of students showed up. Like a huge bunch. And they were calling for democracy and human rights and all this crazy stuff. And then the military showed up with tanks and guns and shit and then the protesters' lives got flipped-turned upside down and I'd like to take a minute just sit right there I'll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel-Air.
That's what really happened.
On the one hand, DPRK is entirely reliant on PRC for its continued existence, so I can imagine it would be some kind of glorious brothers in struggle sort of thing, but I get the impression Beijing is getting kinda tired of Pyongyang's shit. Beijing is so tired of Pyongyang's shit, but it's in a tough spot. Things have been quiet in recent months, but when the DPRK nuclear launch stuff was going down, Beijing was just like...fffuuu wat do.
As an editor, how do you feel when people discredit your news agency? Do you feel like they are justified and do you compare yourself to a BBC or another news company? People who discredit Xinhua are somewhat in the right - but our lack of journalistic integrity isn't actually our fault, if you can believe that. We just don't do investigative reporting - we're essentially another arm of the government. We're more akin to the White House PR department than the BBC or Reuters. So I can't really take their criticism too harshly.
Are you a foreigner? How many times a day do you hear "laowai"? I mostly just hear HALLOOO.
How would you define China's relationship with the United States? Mutually beneficial win-win cooperation that features interdependent co-supportive friendly relations.
Just kidding. We're pretty different but we have to get our shit together - together - otherwise both sides will just be fucked.
Would it be possible for an average chinese citizen to access this AMA? Meant to reply to this earlier. ggandthecrew is absolutely right - fear of anti-communist ideas is only half the picture. Most of China's web censorship is done to boost domestic consumption - block Twitter, so Chinese have to use Sina Weibo. Block YouTube so Chinese have to use Youku. Block Facebook so they have to use Renren. It's just as much an economic tool as a social one.
Is part of the reason they block those large sites so that Chinese companies can fill the void and reap the profits? I mean, even a half a billion new Facebook accounts would really generate a lot of money. Exactly. It's partly driven by the need to expand domestic consumption.
I'm trying to imagine a Chinese version of Reddit. Is there anything that comes close? Sort of, actually. There are message boards (Tianya and Mop) that are basically news portals that Chinese can comment on. If you check out www.chinasmack.com, you can find a lot of stories that are lifted from these message boards, along with translated versions of netizens' comments. It's actually a really interesting and informative window into Chinese beliefs and attitudes.
Do they also block foreign sites like Facebook, Twitter, Gmail etc. in order to prevent NSA spying or is that just a new excuse that they've come up with post-Snowden? All the sites you mentioned were blocked or messed with well before Snowden's revelation. The blocking is done to keep "harmful information" hidden, but also to boost use of domestic sites that provide similar services.
Are you familiar with Bitcoin? If so, do you know what the government's stance on it is? I remember there was a pretty positive article about them by Xinhua not too long ago. Thanks! You know what, I haven't actually seen any stories about Bitcoin come through Xinhua. I'm not all that familiar with it myself. But if the article you mention was indeed positive, that's as good as a stamp of approval from the government itself, more or less.
I believe decentralization is key to keeping markets honest, including journalism. Do you support a government-owned news agency and how do you feel about private agencies? And are private agencies allowed to go by different rules or are they heavily regulated by the Chinese government? Chinese media was, for a long time, almost exclusively state-owned. However, this has changed in recent years, as the government is seeking to wean state-owned companies off of the government's tit and expand private industry in order to stimulate consumption. Private media is still heavily regulated and relatively scarce in terms of size and influence, but it will likely grow in the years to come.
I don't support government-owned news because it flies in the face of what I believe "news" should be. But then, U.S. media has very much been in the lap of the government for years.
Also a current journalism undergrad considering living abroad after I graduate in May. I'm not necessarily looking for journalism work, either, though, as the job market is still crap unless you're creme-de-la-creme and have tons of legit experience under your belt. I am curious, though, what motivated you to move to Asia? Were you serious about wanting to find work in journalism abroad, or did you just want to leave America in general, and this job made the most sense once you got there? I honestly didn't care what kind of work I found - at that point, I was just grasping at straws. I had journalist friends who had much more extensive and impressive resumes than I did - and these people were working the counter at American Eagle, shit like that. No jobs to be found for anyone, qualified or not. So no. I wasn't necessarily interested in working in Asia, or working as a reporter in Asia, or even working as a reporter. I just needed a fucking job. Everything else unfolded after I arrived.
You said that you moved from abroad for the work...did you have any connection to China at all, beforehand? Little to no connection to China beforehand. A couple of my good friends had done internships at the same newspaper I ended up interning at, they kind of goaded me into it and I ended up living here along with them.
Also, are there more foreigners like you in your department? There are other foreigners in my department, yes. Foreigners like me? Son, they don't make foreigners like me anymore.
Do you think the Wang Qishan and the Xi Jinping regime are actually making inroads against corruption, or are they mining stories to satisfy a witch-hunting lust for public show? They're making a token effort. I won't pretend to be an expert on the inner workings of the Standing Committee, but from what I know, corruption is what greases the gears of the CPC. Too many government-corporate relationships would dissolve if they truly wanted to get rid of corruption. The economy would be a shambles. Not unlike that of the U.S., really. Too big to fail? China is too big to fail in so many ways.
How overt is the censorship? Does it ever get brought up in meetings, or is it all kinda hush-hush? I live in Shanghai, and I've had to deal with censorship in one way or another, and it seems like there is no official criteria. Since you actually work for the government, do you have an official list of topics the government thinks is not promoting harmonious society? Hahaha. Yeah, it's not overt at all. It happens before it even hits my desk - no official criteria or anything. Although I've had several occasions where an editor will come over and say "hey. This article is sensitive. Don't change anything other than the spelling and grammar."
How is it like living in China? I have a friend who goes to university there, and he uses Facebook, so either it isn't blocked there (or he got through the filter, I dunno). What sites are blocked there, actually? What Craigox27 said - proxy/VPN services are cheap and easy to purchase. Most young Chinese have them as well. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, NY Times and Blogspot are blocked, among many, many others.
Then one wonders what's the point of blocking sites if they can be bypassed so easily. A lot of the things the Chinese government does make little to no sense. And as Dr. Ian Malcolm once said, "life finds a way." AKA Male Chinese adolescents find a way (to look at porn).
You can't say most young Chinese have proxy and VPN. Maybe amongst educated white collar in the media industry, but not in the general population. True, young rural Chinese likely aren't aware of or do not have such software, as most of them don't have computers either. But young Chinese who have computer access are generally aware of them, I would argue.
What news website would you recommend for non-Chinese speakers to read about daily news in China (like Chinasmack)? You picked my favorite already. I would also recommend BeijingCream, the Shanghaiist and Ministry of Tofu.
Late to the party- what's your opinion of the Epoch Times? Of course it can't be gotten in China, but it's quite available in N. America and Europe- any thoughts? To be honest, I'm not that familiar with them, although I realize I really ought to be. I should read up!
What do you believe is the responsibility of the news media in Chinese society? Are you able to talk about how China is different from other countries' media in that respect? Edit: sorry, I feel like I didn't fully answer your question. News media in China largely has no responsibility other than to its sponsor - the government. But there is so much new media content in the form of microblogs and videos that is really heartening. Citizen journalism is blowing up in China and it's awesome.
Is it true that you guys have a plan to take over the whole world? It's the same thing I do every night, Pinky.
What is your future prospect in the agency as a foreigner? do you want to transfer to a different department? I see that you typed some Chinese characters, so how good is your Chinese now? Future prospects? Few exist for foreigners at state-owned companies. I've heard of foreigners with excellent Chinese and networking skills getting promotions, but those are few and far between and I have neither the patience nor skill to go that route. I am transferring to a different department where I will get to learn some new things, but I'm probably headed back to the States in a couple years. There is little to no room for upward movement here, career-wise.
Last updated: 2013-08-06 15:38 UTC
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