The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


The joys of Youtube have been denied lately in China - government didn't want any huamn rights themed videos showing  up in the a year of anniversaries like June 4: 20 years since the 1989 Tiananmen bloodbath.

This may not be such a problem: China afterall has copied youtube: most slavishly in and is a less blatantly copied local video sharing site. But neither is a great alternative to the original, I discovered with an experiment seeking video content for Bruce Springsteen. It's harder to navigate when your Chinese is scrappy -as is mine - but such is the similarity to youtube that it's only a matter of clicking where you'd normally click on youtube pages. Like youku, you get a lot of music videos, and the odd TV and film clip. I also found a string of videos uploaded by a real Chinese Springsteen fan - unlike Dylan or the Stones the Boss isn't a big name in China. But what the Chinese copycats lack is the sheer variety of music served up on Youtube. There's none of the videos from mobile phones and cameras at one-off concerts. But that's foreign (Western) music. Type in Carsick Cars, the name of China's best indie act of the last five years into the youku/tudou search engines and you get a trove of rare footage, concert clips and fan-edited videos. So they're not the place to go for western rock and pop, but youku and tudou are good outlets for local rock music - and for improving one's Chinese language skills.

Given that October will bring the big party for the Party - 60 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China - I expect to see a lot more blockages of Youtube. I'll keep an eye on the local clones.

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Nuggets from our archive

2002 - Interview with Rodrigo y Gabriela, by Cormac Looney. As with Damien Rice's profile, this interview was published before Rodrigo y Gabriela's career took off overseas. It too continues to attract considerable visits every month to the article from Wikipedia.