After wandering the halls of the China blogsphere for a few years now, it generally takes a pretty unique China-themed site to raise my eyebrow. ChinaSMACK is just such a site.
Essentially the site digs up, translates and reposts all the shit and sludge, peppered liberally with the plain weird, that are hot (or “viral”) topics in the Chinese-language Internet (blogs, bbs, etc.).
The site is well summed up by its tagline:
“Viral Chinese internet stories, pictures, & videos, translated. See what’s so popular, sexy, scandalous, or shocking behind the Great Wall”
I remember back in the early days of the net me and my high school buddies couldn’t get enough of the site rotten.com – a car crash collection of some of the most gruesome, ill and ill-advised things to look at you can find in this world.
ChinaSMACK does this, but melds it in a Web 2.0 way of allowing English-speaking foreigners to share and comment on the exposed underbelly of Chinese Internet culture.
The site’s creator, Fauna, explains:
So, I decided to make this website and share a “slice of Chinese life” with English-speaking foreigners. I will collect and repost all of the hot, popular, interesting, outrageous, and shocking things that I see on the Chinese-language internet so foreigners can understand, experience, and enjoy also. Maybe there will be some cultural differences and maybe not every foreigners will understand what Chinese think is funny, sad, angry, or ridiculous but I will try to translate and explain the “cultural context.”
No politics! I will not talk about politics. I do not want to. It is too serious and not fun. Other people can do that if they are bored.
I just want to show a piece of the real China, real Chinese life, and real Chinese people. I want to show our beautiful side, our fun side, our sexy side, and even our ugly side. No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes, does bad things, and hurt other people sometimes. Chinese people can be serious and Chinese people can be silly too. We love and we hate. We have dreams and we have fears just like everyone else. We have sex and we fight too. Even if we are from different countries and different cultures, everyone laughs and everyone cries. I hope my website will help foreigners realize that Chinese people are very similar to them and not so different.
At the time of posting this was the Latest Posts list:
- Kitten Killers Return
- Lesbian Couple Caught Doing Naughty Things on Shanghai Metro
- We Are The Invincible Butt Aliens!
- Naked Chinese Girl Attacked By Cantonese Teens [NSFW]
- Crazy Huge Rural Chinese Wedding Banquet
- Schoolgirl Catfight ~ Slapping like Whipping Butt
- Caught: University Schoolboy Jacking Off Under Girls Dormitory! Crazy!
- ‘I like being a kept mistress, my life right now is great!’
As you can see from the topics, there is definitely a leaning towards the “sexy side” and “ugly side” more so than the “beautiful side” and “fun side” – which is more a statement on viral Internet topics than what Fauna chooses to post I guess.
Though the description of the site tends to paint a slightly rosy mission statement, ChinaSMACK does offer a slightly more layered morality than might be assumed.
I admit that at first glance I questioned what showing a Chinese woman stomping a kitten to death is going to do to increase understanding across cultures and endear the Chinese people to the global community.
Most of us would see the graphic and disturbing images and (subconsciously or not) let them define our view of China, the Chinese and Chinese culture.
Where ChinaSMACK steps up is that it goes the extra mile and translates (and explains) the Chinese response to the topic, doing well to better paint the perspective that it’s not a Chinese woman stomping those kittens to death it’s a crazy psychopath stomping those kittens to death – race and nationality have little to nothing to do with it.
At the end of the day, whether ChinaSMACK is a cultural equalizer or just cultural voyeurism means little – at least it’s not another blog about Chinese law (sorry Dan ;-)).