Published daily by the Lowy Institute

Digital Asia links: North Korea and virtual reality, fake news in India, big data and more

This week's include China's mission to build its own Wikipedia, Thailand's bid to put a lid on government criticism and more on China's diplomatic stunt in Perth.

Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images
Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images
Published 5 May 2017   Follow @DaniellesCave

  • The Chinese Government has hired more than 20,000 people to work on a rival to Wikipedia. The project, which will launch in 2018, will be created by selected scholars from state-run universities
  • Digital diplomacy played a pivotal role in this week’s Kimberley Process drama in Perth, with the Chinese delegation using WhatsApp to coordinate African allies in the room.
  • The Jakarta election may be over but this piece on the fake news, hoaxes and misinformation that surrounded Anies Rasyid Baswedan’s win last week is still worth a look.
  • In a public statement last month, Thailand’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society urged citizens ‘to avoid following, contacting, sharing (directly or indirectly) the content’ of three government critics.
  • South Korea’s military is allegedly using gay dating apps to unearth gay military officials (it’s a crime for South Korean soldiers to engage in consensual homosexual acts).
  • There is a Weibo poll to name China’s newly launched aircraft carrier. Currently ‘Mantis Shrimp’ is leading with 1.4 million votes, ‘Taiwan’ is second (975,000) and the rumoured government favourite, ‘Shandong’, is number three (214,000). Mantis Shrimp voters may be disheartened that the Defence Ministry has denounced rumours the name is a serious contender.
  • China’s Cyberspace Administration has announced that from 1 June all organisations that publish online news will have to be managed by party-sanctioned editorial staff and need a licence.
  • Two men in Bangalore have dedicated themselves to fighting fake news in India with the bulk of their work focused on exposing false WhatsApp messages (h/t @lotus_ruan).
  • China Mobile is cutting roaming charges (calls & mobile Internet) in 64 countries and regions along the Belt and Road.
  • Sydney University’s Aim Sinpeng on political participation in Thailand via Facebook. 
  • Didi Chuxing, China’s largest (and virtually only) ride-hailing company with 94.6% of the market, is wooing the Chinese Government with big data.
  • India’s biometric national ID scheme has leaked ‘fraud-friendly’ data for 130 million people.
  • An interesting (open access) journal article looking at Chinese social media, political satire and censorship.
  • The first of a two-part series from John Lee on China’s Internet empire and the relationship between the tech industry and the Chinese state. Here's part two.
  • A Nordic tech entrepreneur has created the world’s first virtual reality experience of Pyongyang complete with commentary by North Korean scholar Andray Abrahamian. Download the app here.


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