In 2006, there were roughly 110 million Internet users in China and the first official phase of China’s censorship barrier, commonly referred to as “The Great Firewall,” had been evolving for almost a decade and was finally completed. By 2008, the number jumped to 298 million users and rumors of young resourceful Chinese netizens circumventing the government’s censorship restrictions began circulating on the Internet. / tiger camera

“Tiger Temple,” who earns the title of China’s first citizen reporter

High Tech Low Life documents the inspired work of these two roving reporters and the achievements of a fearless new digital populace.

I didn’t watch this documentary until now. It is very interesting to have a view (Even if we have only 2 reporters here so it is their view of their reality) of this new breed of citizen reporters in China.

To have an idea  the total population of USA is about 320 millions-ish in 2015.

China internet users reached more than 641 millions…See Stats here.

Here is an article from Forbes (2014) about this phenomenon: China’s internet population will hit 730 million in two short years.

And a more recent one from CNN (2015): China has now surpassed 649 million users, outnumbering the entire U.S. population two to one / Social-Digital-Mobile-in-China-2014


Even if a few percentage of these internet users will become citizens reporters and/or activists they will be legions. They will spread alternative news and provide points of view from many Chinese netizens.


High Tech, Low Life follows the journey of two of China’s first citizen reporters as they travel the country – chronicling underreported news and social issues stories. Armed with laptops, cell phones, and digital cameras these formerly average citizens develop skills as independent oneman news stations while learning to navigate China’s new social media landscape and evolving censorship regulations. All while avoiding the risk of political persecution.

Strangers to each other, Zola and Tiger Temple share a common desire to offer those within and outside of China a rare glimpse at censored stories – and to stay out of trouble. China’s rapid economic and technological developments have created a vast new social space for a restless blogosphere to step up and fill information gaps left by the state-run media. In this space, citizen reporters can become online heroes and celebrities but they must also learn to walk the risky line between social commentary and perceived political dissidence.


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