Join Xiao Qiang, Editor-in-Chief of China Digital Times, MacArthur Fellow, and Adjunct Professor in the School of Information, University of California, Berkeley, as he discusses the significance of Chinese netizens’ creative and surprising attempts to circumvent and subvert Internet censorship
Xiao Qiang is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of China Digital Times, an interactive China news website. He is also the Principal Investigator of the Counter-Power Lab, an interdisciplinary faculty-student research group focusing on the intersection of digital media, counter-censorship technology and cyberactivism, based in the School of Information, UC Berkeley. A theoretical physicist by training, Xiao Qiang studied at the University of Science and Technology of China and entered the PhD program (1986-1989) in Astrophysics at the University of Notre Dame. He became a full time human rights activist after the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989. Xiao was the Executive Director of the New York-based NGO Human Rights in China from 1991 to 2002 and vice-chairman of the steering committee of the World Movement for Democracy. He has spoken at each meeting of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva from 1993 to 2001, and has testified many times before the American Congress. He has lectured on the promotion of freedom, human rights and democracy in China in over 40 countries in Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America and Africa. Xiao has published numerous articles in the International Herald Tribune, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, Los Angeles Times, South China Morning Post and other major publications. He is also a weekly commentator for Radio Free Asia. Xiao is a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship in 2001, and is profiled in the book Soul Purpose: 40 People Who Are Changing the World for the Better, (Melcher Media, 2003). He was also a visiting fellow of the Santa Fe Institute in Spring, 2002. Xiao teaches classes on Participatory Media/Collective Action and Covering China at both the School of Information and the Graduate School of Journalism, University of California at Berkeley. He also researches and writes about state online censorship and propaganda, emerging “citizen blogging” movement and network activism in Chinese cyberspace. In Fall 2003, Xiao launched China Digital Times to explore how to apply cutting edge social media technologies to aggregate, interpret, and contextualize the news about China.In 2006, Xiao helped initiate and facilitate the Open Net Consensus forum — which started the process of developing global principles on freedom of expression and privacy and included Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and other global internet companies, as well as several universities and human rights and civil rights organizations and investors. This process contributed to the launch of the Global Network Initiative in October 2008. Xiao’s current research focuses on measuring the state censorship and control of the Internet, mapping online political discourse and building an automated aggregator of the marginalized, censored or blocked content in Chinese blogosphere. The Counter-Power Lab also conducts research and development of innovative technologies and social practices which can break through such censorship. He is also the author of a bilingual personal blog: Rock-n-Go.