Being an Active Part of the International Conference on China and the Changing Geopolitics of Global Communication in London

Being an Active Part of the International Conference on China and the Changing Geopolitics of Global Communication in London

Call it a perfect transition from London to Beijing as I prepare to head back to China — taking part in an academic conference organised both by the University of Westminster in London, and the Communication University of China in Beijing.

This time, I was both Chair and Speaker in the same event, and also had an opportunity to ask an academic colleague about his presentation which would ring bells all over China’s younger generation born in the 1990s.

Putting the Finishing Touches to the Best Autumn in Twelve Years

Putting the Finishing Touches to the Best Autumn in Twelve Years

The last time I had an equally active autumn was in 2003. I hosted two English language contests, co-hosted the Christmas & New Year Gala for international students, sat on the panel as a judge in another language contest, and hosted an end-of-year China-US culture exchange meeting. Those were five events with me actively involved in them.

This year, I was actively involved in another five, being additionally involved in one other event — the 21 October 2015 event at Fyvie Street, Regent Street Campus (University of Westminster) — as part of the organising team. But in all the other five events, I had an active role to play and addressed the crowd, something I realised now that not only do I absolutely adore doing, but I’m increasingly sold I was totally born to do.

Of the Fabulous Five that had me deeply involved, here’s a summary of them all.

Organising the Autumn 2015 China Media Centre Fresher Party

Organising the Autumn 2015 China Media Centre Fresher Party

The month of October 2015 has been increasingly busy for me — first was getting things right for the University of Westminster & SMG event on 21 October 2015, and today, it was all about getting as many people together as possible for the China Media Centre’s Fresher Party, which in spite of rather short notice, meant a crowd turned up — and it was a big one at that. We just about ran out of seating in one of the university’s larger classrooms!

There was obviously cake to go along, as well as a lot of drinks (I had spent the afternoon getting these back from the local Sainsbury’s along with other Centre staff members). Before this, though, both Centre director Prof de Burgh and I briefed all those here with what the Centre was up to. I also announced my role as the organiser of all academic seminars for the year 2015/2016, and that we’d be having people over to present still within this term.

My, That’s A Lot for Today

My, That’s A Lot for Today

I did something I haven’t been doing for a fair while today at 14:30: speaking in front of an audience of 100+ people. (Stage fright is a one-off thing, though; never mind my last speaking gig in front of close to 100+ was in spring 2014…)

My 30-minute “blah” was about a myriad of things — all related to media, journalism, and the like. Things such as framing the news, covert (and not so covert) agendas, and pigeon-holing people. Things such as really trying to make sense of anything from the refugee crisis in Europe to Corbyn leading Labour (what the media thought, and what the academics thought). Things such as how social media was such a big game-changer, and how the Chinese Great Firewall couldn’t 100% define what happened inside the People’s Republic.

David Feng Presented Talk on Invisible Censorship at LSE

Posted by on Feb 5, 2015 in Academic Life, London | No Comments
David Feng Presented Talk on Invisible Censorship at LSE

I attended and presented a talk on Invisible Censorship in China at the London School of Economics and Political Science in the afternoon hours of 04 February 2015. I also was part of the panel which took questions about the debate.

My presentation wasn’t an easy one to give — it wasn’t as if I was ever a “problem” in China, but far more because in Chinese cyberspace, there are an alarming number of blocked “false positives”. As someone who had to scale the wall, I had to speak from experience without the emotions — and that I did, by presenting as objective a view of the matter as possible. The blocks in China, I argued, are certainly an irritant, but they form part of the Internet in China. I argued that the late 2014 term “internet sovereignty” was in fact a non-topic as it had existed de facto for much earlier.

I outlined three challenges and “ways out” for China in this day and age when most of the Anglophone media tend to equate it with outright censorship: government can either choose to tackle, tame, or harness what’s on the Web, where I was in favour of the final option — listening in and harnessing the views of the population.

The event was hosted by the China Development Society of LSE, an influential body in the university, and featured Professor Charlie Beckett, director of Polis, as chair, and Professor Hugo de Burgh, director of the China Media Centre at the University of Westminster, as the other speaker. Around 80 turned up and it was a memorable afternoon of debate and learning.

David’s Next Teaching Commitment in London: China Media

David’s Next Teaching Commitment in London: China Media

I’m pleased to be part of a very unique course here at the University of Westminster — the MA module, China’s Media and the Emerging World Order, will see my involvement as module co-leader, with the respected Prof Hugo de Burgh as module leader. Just yesterday, we had our very first module, where we briefed students in class.

These lessons will be given every Thursday afternoon at the Harrow Campus of the university, and I’ve already pledged to give two lectures in the module, as well as encourage and lead debate on late-breaking China media developments. My bit will be about China’s Babel: New Media, to be given later this month, as well as a March presentation on social media in China.

Interestingly enough, a sizeable proportion of students are actually from Mainland China, but there’s also quite a few from other places. It will be quite an interesting lesson for students interested in seeing how the rest of the world sees China media.

China Social Media Talk: What’s Next?

China Social Media Talk: What’s Next?

It never mattered that the talk ran just a tiny bit overtime: the audience, made up of nearly everyone, including key scholars and ordinary students, were very much interested in the Chinese social media world. Today’s talk I gave, however, answered some existing issues whilst leaving lot of new ideas and insights to be discovered and discussed upon, ending with a very open-ended question: What’s next?

The talk sometimes extended beyond the “purely technological” and, as you might have expected for China, went a little political. But it also went cultural. “Mr Sci and Mr Dem”, as science and democracy were first referred to around the founding of Sun Yat-sen’s Republic of China, were mentioned, but also talked about was the fact that the Chinese had in essence not ever elected by direct popular vote a leader at the national level. Differences also existed in what priorities the average Chinese in the street had; but comparisons were also drawn between “indirectness”, complaints to the authorities in both China and the UK, but just how vocal citizens got online on social media, especially in the face of controversial issues.

The approximately 2-hour long talk-and-Q&A session was a mere briefer into the Chinese social media world, as the room was filled with both Western veterans but also Chinese natives who were both familiar with the world of Chinese social media, as well as others who had come in to listen to the talk. Many thanks to everyone who came, for the sharp and challenging questions, for the at times very lively debate, but also to learn and share more knowledge, facts, and views. Many thanks also to Dr Paul Dwyer for chairing this talk, and for the China Media Centre of the University of Westminster for making today’s event possible.

David to Speak at China Media Centre on 05 Nov 2014

David to Speak at China Media Centre on 05 Nov 2014

▶ There is a home-grown Chinese social network with a user base that equates in size to 7 United Kingdoms.
▶ Chinese “netizens” have looked at government differently since two trains collided in southeastern China.
▶ QR codes have taken over China in the same way that Twitter and Facebook addresses have in the West.
▶ Mark Zuckerberg speaks a language spoken by the world’s most populous country.

Find out the trends, the stories, and what will be next for social media in the world’s largest nation, both online and offline.

David Feng will be leading the very first seminar of the China Media Centre this academic year. It will be held at the University of Westminster’s China Media Centre on 05 November 2014. The presentation will be chaired by Dr Paul Dwyer and will take place at Room A.6.08 on the Harrow Campus of the university. David will speak at 14:00 followed by discussions lasting until 16:00. All are welcome to this academic session.

David Feng to Talk to Chinese Students in London on Studying Tips

David Feng, Visiting Academic and Visiting Lecturer at the University of Westminster, will be speaking to the Chinese Students and Scholars Association of the University of Westminster on 12 October 2014. The event begins at 15:00 and will be held in Room A.1.04 of the Harrow Campus.

David will be focusing on how Chinese students can be excel in the UK in their studies. He will share his 12 years in Switzerland, 10 years in China as a student, combined with teaching lessons in China, Switzerland and the UK, to students from over 40 countries and territories, and will include advice on what students should do to improve their marks, but also to improve their experiences studying and living overseas.

iOuch

Would you work in a place with the slogan Achieve goals or the Sun will no longer rise? (It’s both a scary and a pathetic slogan — Wikipedians would also tag it factually inaccurate. I myself have missed tonnes of goals and I’ve never made the Sun not come out!)

Most of us know about the crass violations of workers’ rights and dignity at Foxconn, where Apple’s iDevices are churned out in record time. But to me, it was just a violation that “had to be swallowed” or even, worse, “accepted as fact”. The full scale of how scary things were weren’t made clear to me until I attended a talk by Dr Jenny Chan of the University of Oxford. She also focused on corporate misbehaviour in the talk, in addition to giving us all an idea of how scary things were on the assembly line.

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