Q. Chinasmack? ChinaSmack? ChinaSMACK? China Smack?
Please note that chinaSMACK does NOT mean “talking smack about China”. Nor does it encourage it. The name was chosen for a variety of reasons, one of which is that it is memorable. The original reason is that it was a onomatopoeia that represented how readers might feel when beholding the raw content and opinions on the Chinese internet as directly translated instead of being paraphrased or filtered in most mainstream media coverage of China and Chinese society.
Q. Can you provide the original Chinese next to the English translations?
A. For many of our posts, you can view the original Chinese text simply by placing your mouse over the translated English text. You can then close the Chinese text pop-ups by moving your mouse to another section of text or by clicking the “X” button in the corner of the popup.
Q. How are your translated netizen comments and reactions selected?
A. We try to select comments that are popular, representative, or interesting. Some of the Chinese websites that we use as our sources often automatically show the most “popular” comments at the top (typically ranked by “upvotes” made by other visitors). We will usually translate these under the assumption that these are comments that are representative of or have at least resonated with many other Chinese netizens. Other Chinese websites do not do this, and we must select comments ourselves according to what we think is representative or interesting. Since we try to report on stories that are popular on the Chinese internet, there are usually thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of comments which makes it impossible to read and review every comment.
It is important to remember that it is impossible for our selected comments to represent all Chinese people, and that the comments selected and translated will be affected by many factors including simply what comments are available at the time of selection and translation. What comments are available itself can be affected by many other factors, including moderation by the moderators of the Chinese websites or censorship by authorities. The comments we select and translate can offer you a glimpse and then possibly some insight into what Chinese netizens may think or feel about certain news, information, trends, or issues but it is wise to remember that there are limitations.
Q. Can you publish my story of a bad experience or injustice in China?
A. Regularly, there have been individuals who have contacted us asking that we republish or share their personal story of an injustice or bad experience they have had in China. While we are sympathetic to what you have experienced, chinaSMACK does not publish such stories. Please see our About page for an understanding of what we report and how we do so.
Q. How can I join or submit an article to chinaSMACK?
A. Please contact us! We are always looking for talented translators passionate about Chinese internet society and culture. While we focus on translations of existing trending Chinese internet content, we do occasionally publish original articles and features provided they are compelling enough.
Q. Can you help me translate something?
A. Translation services from Chinese to English and English to Chinese are available. Please email us for more information.
Q. How can I support or help chinaSMACK?
A. Subscribe to our RSS feed, subscribe to our email updates, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and share our work with others! We also welcome you to participate in an international discussion in our comments section by contributing your constructive thoughts and insights. Finally, if you value our translations and our way of providing a glimpse into modern Chinese society through its internet trends and culture, we urge you to become a patron! The more our site is directly funded by our readers, the less we have to rely on third-party advertisers who may not understand our editorial mission or format, and pressure us to censor what they consider objectionable content, regardless of its possibly significance as something that trended on the Chinese internet.
Q. Doesn’t the stuff you post make China and Chinese people/culture/society look bad?
A. It’s important to remember that what we translate does not represent all of China or every Chinese person. Our editorial mission is to cover what is popular, trending, or getting a lot of discussion from Chinese netizens. “Bad” news or “negative” things naturally get more attention from Chinese netizens, just like they do everywhere else. Humans are drawn to controversy, and what controversy draws them can reveal a lot about them and what they care about.
If you’re upset about the netizen comments translated, and cannot help but feel they aren’t “representative”, it helps to review the limitations of our selection methodology as well as remember that people often say things online that they wouldn’t necessarily stand behind in real life. Our sources are also typically large mainstream websites and social networks, and the average intelligence of a group tends to go down the larger it gets.
Q. Why aren’t you covering news/topic/issue X?
A. There are generally three reasons why something you’re interested in may not appear on chinaSMACK:
- It isn’t really popular or trending: We aim to share what average mainstream Chinese netizens are paying attention to or talking about. We use a variety of metrics to help us determine if something is popular enough for us to translate, including how many views or comments there are or how often and widespread it is appearing on major Chinese websites and social networks.
- It’s too political or sensitive: We’ve always had a policy of avoiding highly politicized or sensitive subjects that may put our staff at risk with Chinese government authorities. Many of our staff are Chinese nationals who live in China. Although actual intimidation or harm from authorities is often exaggerated, we respect and value our staff. Moreover, topics of a highly politicized or sensitive nature typically fall victim to Reason #1 as well. They’re not usually very popular on the mainstream Chinese internet, often precisely because they’ve been censored or the information about them available to the average Chinese citizen is otherwise controlled. And sometimes, they’re just not that interesting to the average Chinese person regardless of how “big” it may be to (typically) Western media or Western audiences. Coverage on chinaSMACK will therefore skew towards the social instead of the political.
- We missed it: As much as we’d like to, we’re unable to cover everything. There’s a limited number of staff, time, and energy to cover everything that legitimately trends each day on the unbelievably massive Chinese internet. Therefore, there will certainly be instances where what we reported and translated may arguably be late or even simply not as popular as something else that you felt we should’ve covered. That’s why we enthusiastically welcome anyone with the right skills to join us or contribute!
Q. What is chinaSMACK’s Comment Policy?
A. Please see our comment policy page.