Journalist Should Not Be Director

Last week, I received an interview from ICS (International Channel Shanghai). The program is ICS news.

I regretted that I didn’t insist not to take the interview. I have decided not to take interview from the local media, especially TV media, but finally, I said yes.

Then it comes the filming. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience inn talk show programs from ICS. My favorite is “Culture Matters”, which I have been with their program for 5 times. I enjoyed the style of Sammy who is the host, and also the CEO of Sunny TV. He brought a lot of modern journalism style to the program. For example, they only record 30 minutes in total for the 20 something minutes program. That means, they basically broadcast all the content without too much editing. For other talk show like “Crossing Over” with Hong Huang, it went on well, although not as good as Culture Matter.

This is the first time I appear on News type program. To my surprised, I found I became an actor, and the journalist became the director. They have a script to record me in a restaurant, explaining the menu in English, to a foreigner. I don’t like that idea. I think it is stupid and not relevant to what I do. Finally, I firmly said no to the request on that section.

The few minutes shooting was on air at 9:00 PM the same night. I didn’t bother watch it. The key point is, I want journalism to be an observer, not the director. I want to be the person I am, not to act in a script. That is the key conflict in belief.

I know that is the way news is produced in China, even the English language news with expat as audience. What I can do is to stay away from it.

Jian Shuo Wang in Forbes

What happens these days. After the New York Times article about this little blog, Forbes named this little me as Nine Young Chinese Entrepreneurs To Watch (picture edition). It is a little bit surprising and embarrassing, since when Hannah Seligson emailed back and forth about the description, I didn’t know it was under this title. The title in my brain is “Lifestyle of Chinese young man”…

Anyway, thanks Hannah, and Forbes for the article. It did generate some congratulations emails in my inbox, but I just want to put a disclaimer here for the record: it is not a real ranking, just some “sample” of entrepreneurs, and I happened to have mutual friends with the kind author.

Reported by New York Times

Update Feburary 24, 2010

Correction: I didn’t realize that International Herald Tribune is a New York Times newspaper. The report is actually physically printed on IHT, not New York Times. On the web, it is on site.

End of update

Maile dropped me an email to let me know that the report she was working is published in New York Times of Feb 24, 2010. You may want to buy a copy of New York Times today – I will do. The title of the report is: Bloggers Open an Internet Window on Shanghai .

Among the report, my favorite part is paragraph mentioning Yifan.

Mining the hundreds of posts he has written over the past eight years, readers can follow Mr. Wang through his apartment moves, on visits to various countries – when he worked for Microsoft he made several trips to the United States – and even watch his son, Yifan, grow from a mere idea to a chubby-cheeked 3-year-old playing with Legos with his dad.

That put smile onto my face, and the part I worried about is about the mention of tips to access Facebook, and Twitter – it is what I wrote but may put this blog to the same situation as Twitter, and Facebook – needing some proxy to access. :-) Anyway, there is nothing wrong stating a fact.

BossTown Tonight

I heard the BossTown of Kai-Fu Lee will be on air tonight at CBN at 9:00. I was a small potato in that show – one of the three observers to ask questions.

Update 11:41

It turned out that they misspelled my name again. My name is 王建硕,not 王健硕.

I cannot receive CBN in Tonghucan (just Oriental Satellite TV), but I watched it at

P.S. When I am in Tongchuan (near Xi’an), I feel even greater culture shock than I am in Shanghai. I have to remind myself again, that Shanghai does not represent the whole China.

BossTown Record Tomorrow

Tomorrow, I am going to be an observer of BossTown, the popular business talk show hosted by YLFer, Yuan Ming. The guest of this show will be long time friend, Kai-Fu Lee, and another observer will be Jiang Chang Jian, from Fudan University (my idol when I was in middle school).

P.S. Recently, very tired, and want to defer longer post to the next few weeks. Maybe it is because of frequent travel, and tight daily schedule to meet with people. I sit much less before a computer screen than before.

P.S. 2. York created a photo like this:


Original post is here

Shanghaiist’s Quote of Me

Since I am going to the party hosted by my friends in, I started to browse some old articles from Shanghaiist. They are on my daily RSS feed list, but I didn’t take time to check their old stories… Then I found they have a lot of articles quoting what I said on this blog. Here is some reference by them. Thanks for linking (since link is always a nice gift).

Shanghaiist: eBay to launch PayPal in China this year

eBay has said it plans to invest $100 million in China in 2005, and in
five to 10 years the company expects China to become its second-largest
market in the world, behind the United States. Earlier this year, eBay
launched Kijiji, a foreign-language online classifieds site similar to Craigslist and they have been gobbling up global classifieds sites ever since. Who did eBay tab to run its Kijiji operations in China? Why, none other than Shanghai blogger Wang Jian Shuo.

Shanghaiist: City to help cabbies pay at the pump

Thankfully, Shanghai blogger extraordinaire Wang Jian Shuo tells us.
He said 93 octane gas went from 3.96 RMB per liter to 4.26. That means
the price is $1.99 a gallon now. But really Jian Shuo, do you need to
put premium grade gas in your car?

Shanghaiist: Some people, they go both ways

Very well, but why this particular corner? The warden told us that this
corner was “especially messy” because both Jianguo and Ruijin Er are
one way, with bicycles supposed to also be one way, though the opposite
direction. If this sounds confusing, it is. The two wardens on the
corner with the signs were delighted by our curiosity, and said that
the program was a rousing success, gesturing at the intersection and
saying, “Look, now the traffic’s working, before it was a disaster.” Of
course, as they said this, two men on motorcycles whipped through the
intersection headed west on Jianguo. Against traffic. Perhaps they went
to driving school with Wang Jian Shuo.
The wardens, after fielding our questions with what could only be
called glee, were of course curious to discover our nationality. Upon
hearing that we were American, they stumbled over each other to note
that, as everyone knows, America doesn’t have these problems.

Shanghaiist: Shanghai’s cost of living and central heating south of the Yangtze

The cost of living is much lower in the suburbs, but the choices are
fewer. In the city, and without housing, you would find it difficult to
get by on 4,000 yuan per month and live any type of comfortable Western
lifestyle (although it is more than the average Shanghainese makes).
Check out Wang Jian Shuo’s blog for more information on the cost of living here.

Shanghaiist: Xiangyang Market crackdown

For all of you who are afraid of accidentally buying fake brand-name goods when all you really want is a pair of socks, this is your day. Having been to Xiangyang Market over the weekend, we heard from one of the ?salesmen? that the yearly crackdown is going on as we speak and that it lasts until Wednesday.Photo from Wang Jian Shuo.

Shanghaiist: To yield or not to yield?

Shanghai blogger Wang Jian Shuo has a funny/interesting post
about some bad driving habits he picked up on a recent business trip to
San Jose … like stopping at stop signs and yielding to pedestrians.
Here is his description of a recent encounter he had with two
pedestrians back in Shanghai:

Shanghaiist: How some Shanghainese are cutting back on their water bill

And no, it’s not by flushing less often or turning the tap off while
brushing teeth. It’s that other tried and true solution: stealing! In a post
about the city and some of its many slippery ethical slopes, Wang Jian
Shuo introduces us to something he calls the “Magic Water Saver”:

Shanghaiist: Xujiahui: It keeps growing and growing and growing and …

Apparently, the above photo is of Shanghai’s Xujiahui area. Wang Jian Shuo estimates
it was taken sometime in the late 1980s, but he said it didn’t look too
much different there as recently as the mid-1990s. We’re assuming the
photo is of the main intersection in Xujiahui, but too be honest, we
can’t find anything recognizable in the photo. We couldn’t even tell it
was Shanghai when we first looked at it. Not really surprising, since this is how Xujiahui looks now:

Shanghaiist: Shanghaiist went skiing last night (in Minhang District)

Our buddy Wang Jianshuo was of course there at the start, and from a look at his photos,
well ahead of the crowds. Bizarrely, the Christian Science Monitor had
a good piece on China’s indoor skiing options back at the beginning of
January: “A Skiing Trip to the Great Indoors.” Some other guy took some photos back in 2002, as well.

ShaWang Jian Shuo introduces us to a local Shanghai restaurant chain called Zhending Chicken. We’ve never been, but we might go now — sounds like an interesting place:

Shanghaiist: Extra! Extra! White House gaffes and more friggin’ Google

Wang Jian Shuo went to Yangshan Deep Water Port … and lived to blog about it.

Shanghaiist: One man’s take on Shanghai’s cost of living

Longtime Shanghai blogger (and head of eBay’s Kijiji operation in China) Wang Jian Shuo has poste

d a comprehensive look at the current cost of living in Shanghai.

Go check it out and see how it compares to what you are paying. Some readers are leaving helpful comments, as well.

UPDATE: Jian Shuo has already added three additions to the post: here, here and here.

Shanghaiist: RMB56.1 billion Maglev extension routes announced

A little further digging around on this announcement revealed that Shanghai blogger Wang Jian Shuo had this morning dug up a rail, metro and maglev route map that outlines how Shanghai’s mass public transportation system could potentially develop into between 2008 and 2012. Wang Jian Shuo also linked out to a new site to this little Shanghaiist, the Shanghai Metro Fan bulletin board on which we discovered (care of Google Translation tools) a few, lively discussions on the regarding this recent transportation development.

Shanghaiist: China Blog Parade

Wang Jianshuo doesn’t stop at stop signs…but in a city where no one does, does that make it OK? WJS makes a valiant attempt at explaining why drivers break the rules (and here on why traffic in Shanghai totally sucks), but there’s still a lot of debate and criticism on his comments thread.

Shanghaiist: Shanghai impressions: Dianshanhu, Dishuihu, The Shanghai Show and subway news

In the meanwhile, Wang Jianshuo reports from another lake ? the Dishui Lake. He says that Jinjiang Inn, China’s answer to Holiday Inn, which is always “brave enough to open the first hotel in a newly developed area” has opened a new outlet at the lake. He takes a few pictures, and yes, the hotel does look like it is in the middle of nowhere.

Shanghaiist: Pudong gas blast hits international headlines

ADDENDUM: Shanghai blogger Wang Jianshuo (and CEO of Kijiji China) was shocked to read the news
because he lives in the neighbourhood and this is one of the petrol
stations he often goes to. Thank goodness Jianshuo wasn’t anywhere near
the freak accident or Shanghai’s infinitesimally Lilliputian
blogosphere would have lost one of its most prolific voices.

Wired Photos… Long Time Ago

On Jan 14, 2006, around 6:00 PM, Eric, Me, and Miss Tang gathered at Xujiahui, to take a series photos to be published on Trends Travel – the National Geographic partner in China. So here are the selected photo by photographer, Tang Wanli. The article I wrote for the magazine is called "Fall in Love with Shanghai with 6 Years" (Chinese version of the article).

Just now, received an invitation for an afternoon tea break this Saturday with old friends from Linda. Suddenly thought about these photos taken 2 years ago. Pretty weird photos, aren’t they?





I have to say, a really good (which often means, expensive) camera + an experience photographer can create an imagine that’s beyond our daily life experience.

P.S. It is the time to enjoy great night without burden of a laptop – I will go home without my laptop today.

Wangjianshuo’s Blog on BBC, Again

Thanks for my reader fujianren and others to let me know that the recent hot article of BBC quoted my blog entry, again. Here is the URL: For my reader who cannot access the link (due to the Great Firewall), fujianren has been kind enough to post the content here.


This time, they quoted what I mean pretty accurate.

Blogger Wang Jian Shuo says several of his friends have started to boycott French products and describes the impact of recent events on his own thinking: "If you need an example, I am the person in China who were turned from pro-France to anti-France within few days. .. I don’t think France is a friendly country at all."

I am happy that BBC did an objective report. (Objective is what I see from my own perspective, while many may see it very biased if you are not in the same camp).


It is always a hard job to quote someone and use only one sentence to summarize what the other person used several page to express. It is hard. This time, BBC did a better job than the last time. I don’t remember how many times BBC quote my blog, but this time, I will give it a score of 5 out of 5 scoring system.

I am not Anti-France Now

Time changes, and my mind changes. If you ask me again, I may say, I am not anti-France now. The 300+ comments posted in the last few days did help me a lot to understand people in France – take some time to read the comments if you want, since they are so valuable to read, and worth the time. Some post are even 5 times longer than my original comment.

Communication is Better than Rejection

In 2005, I said, I will refuse future interview request from BBC after they mis-reported what I mean twice. I really did.

3 years past and I think it is the time to re-evaluate my decision. Many times, BBC, as many other media, may take bit out of the context to prove something I don’t agree, but even so, it may make positive change to the world by start communicating. I love this article from BBC, and they started to pay attention to another voice. So, I will take BBC’s interview in the future, although it means I often have to wake up at 3:00 AM to attend some of their live broadcast show. Hopefully, I can strength my ability to tell what I mean in just one sentence or two, since any media don’t have the luxury to give you more than that.

Welcome ICS Readers

When I am writing my blog, the talk show I particiated in ICS is on air. If you watched the live TV show and log onto my blog, welcome! (Here is behind the scene photos of the talk show.)

If you read this entry before watching TV, and it is 7:30 – 8:00 PM on March 17, 2008, tune in Oriental TV ICS now.

If you have missed the live show, tune in from 12:30 to 13:00 every day this week for replay, or tune in tomorrow at 7:30 – 8:00 PM, and everyday. I missed one day during the show, since I went to Pudong and got back within 1 hour. Thanks for all the other hosts to wait for me for the last two parts.

What Does it Mean to be on TV?

The first time I appeared on TV was back in 2001, when I attended a Media Conference by Microsoft as an employee. It was on CCTV4, and I saw myself of less than 2 seconds. I was pretty excited at that time. After that, I appeared on TV from time to time, and the excitement just disappeared as time went by.


I took a photo of the screen:

Then Yifan came, and was obviously more interested in his toys, than the familiar person on the screen:

Culture Matters from ICS

Just got back from the studio in STV for program Culture Matters. It was a great talk show (I would say it even before I participated) by ICS, and hosted by Sammy Yang. What an experience! It is the first time I record a long TV program, and first time to get first hand information from inside a TV studio. I have been interviewed or joined radio talk show programs, but never on TV. Let me share my precious experience with you.

About the Program

According to the official web site of ICS:

Culture Matters is China’s first cross-cultural bilingual talk show. Its target demographic is aimed at well-educated Chinese audiences interested in western culture, as well as foreign expats living in Shanghai. Unlike other talk shows or interview programs, Culture Matters sets its sights on comparing and contrasting various aspects of eastern and western culture. The show’s host and guests will draw upon a vast range of cross-cultural topics to discuss in a relaxing, lively, and insightful fashion. Topics include differences in education, adventure, food, housing, cultural symbols, etc. VTRs conducted outside the studio, along with universally beloved sitcoms and movies are seamlessly incorporated into the show, making it an ideal jump-off point for water cooler chatter and substantive discourse alike.

Logo credit: ICS and SMG

They also have a blog at

In some sense, the program and I am doing the same thing – two things, to be more exact.

  1. Helping expat community by providing the right information and insights into the society of Shanghai.
  2. Build a bridge of understanding between the western culture and the Chinese culture.

So, I would encourage my readers (if you are in Shanghai) to turn to ICS channel and watch the program. It is not easy to find a relaxed culture program in English in Shanghai yet, Culture Matters is the first one.

For my readers who are not in Shanghai, or who are in Shanghai and don’t have a TV (like my friend Mark who don’t turn on TV often), this is a handy link that you can watch the channel LIVE on Internet. (Special note: They install a plugin into your computer. By linking to the site does not mean I fully tested it. Use at your own risk).

About the Topics

This time, we are talking about blogging – what is blog, why people blog, privacy of blogging, blog and society, and even blog business models. I won’t tell too much of it, and leave it until the program is on air sometime in March. After it is public, I think I will add more note to what I talked during the show.

I can, however, dig into the piles of articles I created, and assembly a list of the topics covered during the talk show, which I already covered in my own blog. Sammy, Maria, Mark, Kenneth, Peter, and Paul, for many of the discussion that I don’t have enough time to talk too much, I have all the answers listed here:

  1. Blogging and Early Wake-up Sep 20, 2007
  2. Five Years of Blogging Sep 11, 2007
  3. Thanks for Giving Credit to Me… Feb 10, 2007
  4. Remove Comments? Maybe Not Oct 4, 2006
  5. Four Years of Blogging Sep 11, 2006
  6. Three Years of Blogging Sep 11, 2005
  7. Celebrating 1000 Days of Blogging Jun 6, 2005
  8. My Blog Won’t Go Commercial Mar 20, 2005
  9. Negative Comments for this Blog Sep 15, 2004
  10. I Started the Blog to Post Resume Jul 1, 2004
  11. Abandon of One Entry Per Day Rule Feb 2, 2004
  12. One Year Anniversary for This Site Sep 11, 2003
  13. Blogger in China Jan 13, 2003
  14. "I Will Follow All the Rules!" Dec 23, 2007
  15. Why Classified is NOT Popular in China, Yet Nov 15, 2007
  16. We Need a Bridge, Seriously Jun 13, 2006
  17. Culture Differences – Part II Feb 26, 2006
  18. Different Views on Typhoon Aug 12, 2005
  19. T.I.C Moments Apr 11, 2005
  20. Service Shock in Shanghai Feb 2, 2004
  21. Muzimei’s Sex Blog Brought Trouble Nov 12, 2003
  22. Muzimei Shock Wave (cont.) Nov 13, 2003
  23. Chinese: Can Blog Make Money? What a Question! November 01, 2005
  24. Chinese: My Thoughts on Making Money from of Blog June 29, 2005
  25. Chinese: My 3 Principles of Writing a Blog May 11, 2005
  26. Chinese: Blog is grass and Wiki is Eagle May 04, 2005

About the Studio

Emm…. This is my favorite part. How many of you have visited the studio of a TV Station in Shanghai? I bet everyone is curious. Thanks f

or the kindness permission, I took some (a lot actually) photos of the studio, and here are some of them.

Look up, the ceiling looks like a "light farm" for me. There are all kinds of light pointing to different directions. This is amazing, and very symbolic of a professional studio.


This is the camera – pretty big, and not those carried by camera man who does the street interview.


The stage of the Culture Matters program. Besides it is the Shanghai Quest (look at the left hand, and there is a red UEST there. That’s it).


This machine is very cute. It displays the script so news reporters can read – it uses a mirror, and the characters are large enough to recognize from far away. This is a modern version of this paper (well, the paper based article is about usage in a negative way, while this machine, I love it)


Coco was very nice and reminded me that when the lights are turn on, it will be very warm. She is absolutely right! This is how it feels when the lights are on. Much better than being on the stage of a company party in a hotel – you can still see everything, but light enough that you feel you are under the Sun, although it is dark outside already.


On the screen is me. Yes. They have the screen acting as a mirror – I am still not used to this "TRUE" mirror yet, since when I am turning my head to the left, it shows right to me.


The huge timer:


Adjusting the lights took us some time – about half an hour. I said to Coco, and Xiaoqian, that it seems pretty expensive to produce a TV program – you have to have a lot of people around – several camera man, lighting, sound, equipment, and more importantly, every details have to be taken care of. Peter, the chief-editor of Shanghai Daily echoed that it is more complicated to produce a TV program than publishing a newspaper. I would say, it seems publishing a blog is not that a big thing compared to this TV show.


This is the stage of the talk show.


Our host Sammy Yang (right), my old friend Maria Trombly (middle, I mentioned her in post in 2005) and me – on the left. Well. I wear a green sweater, and why it turned out to be — brown?


Sammy gave me strong impression. He did wonderful job as a host. I watch Culture Matters, and many people do, but what we may not know is, he is now the CEO of Sun TV, and was a talk show host in San Francisco, AND general manager of a TV station there. He is much more of an Entrepreneur with great vision and experience to me during the side talk than just a wonderful host.

This time, with Kenneth, editor of (left)


Everyday, the ICS news program is broadcast LIVE from this stage:


Behind the scene, there are many monitors and computers – it is in another room, from where the mysterious instruction comes from during the whole course of the show, like count down: 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 -…


Around 8:00 PM, we left the studio of STV. For those who didn’t know, STV stands for Shanghai TV.


P.S. The program may be on air in mid-March, from Monday to Friday, at 7:30 to 8:00 PM on International Channel Shanghai. I will keep you posted.

P.S. I also wanted to ask Isaac, and Run Liu to join the program, but Isaac is very busy, and Run got cold and could hardly speak…

Readers Wanted for TV Interview

I just had wonderful meetup with the producer, Zhu Xiaoqian, and Reporter & Editor, Coco of talk show program – Culture Matters of ICS. I am happy to join the program this Friday and talk about blogging. They are all wonderful people, and passionate about the expat and foreigner/vistor community in Shanghai. BTW, if you want to send feedback to ICS (International Channel Shanghai), you can leave comment under this blog entry, and they really read!

Image in courtesy of ICS

The program Culture Matters is on ICS from 7:30 PM to 8:00 PM, Monday to Friday, and it is in English. It gets started from Jan 1, 2008, and is getting larger audience since then. To serve the expat community, I think it is a good idea to be part of the program. The filming will be on Friday this week, and maybe on air some time next week or so.

Help Needed

Coco wants to arrange TV interview with some of the readers of this blog – Wangjianshuo’s Blog, to get your input about the blog. The short interviews will be put into the 30 minutes program during the show. They are seeking for volunteer who are in Shanghai, and a reader of this blog, and who are willing to share their comments.

If you are interested, would you please drop an email to jianshuo AT or simply comment under this entry, and I will forward the mail to Coco. They will contact you to arrange a time and location that is convinient for you (Thanks Coco for being so kind). I would appreciate your participation and longing to see on TV what you say about my little blog.

So, share what you think.

Rumors after Rumors – Part II

From the first day of this blog, I tried to seperate my blogging world from my business world. This is the intention, although sometimes the two worlds run into each other. This does happen, since there is natural connection betwen the two worlds – it is all about me.


I am happy that in the last two days, the rumors finally stopped, or a better way to describe it, “faded out from the homepage of major portal sites”. This let me rest for a while and describe to my readers (in the blogging world) about what happened (without concerning too much to my friends in the business world).

Here is how the rumor started.

On Nov 20, the second day I am back to Shanghai, reported that Allan (CMO of Google Asia) will join Bo and me to startup a new eCommerce site, and I will quit Kijiji to join the company.

This is definitely a rumor, but I was still impressed about how the news was pickup by all major portals in China and various versions of the same report appeared everywhere in 24 hours.

When, put the news to major locations, and some paper media picked up and printed it out, the rumor became a big rumor. Just now, when I searched about my name, there are 114 articles in Google News about this quitting stuff.

Later, Google confirmed Allan’s quit, and there came more buzz around it. Combined with other market speculations, market analysis got some interesting results. (Like in my previous post, I don’t want to quote or give links here).

Impact on Me

It does have some impact on me. The day when I posted my previous entry, I worked with media to decline the news and to explain about the strategy of Kijiji for the next year. After an in-depth interview with Sina went out, and some short report of the decline came out from, and, the part about me was settled.

It is not a media crisis for me. Rumors are just rumors and it does not hurt.

I am Still with Kijiji, Happily

I am still with Kijiji, the start up within a big company. I am as passionate as I started it in China one and half years ago. I love the product, I love the concept and most importantly, I do enjoy the great team I have here, and the super talented people in the team. I am not quitting, for sure.

“The Rumor Values”

I got some phone calls, some SMS, one or two emails and many MSN Messenger chats. — I did want to change my MSN display name from “No Longer Happy New Year” to “Rumors….”, but it is only two months to the end of this behavior art work, I still kept my MSN Display name unchanged (for a year).

One of the most interesting SMS I got was from Rex. Rex said: “Jian Shuo, congratulations! You finally get some rumor value.”.

I replied: “What do you mean by rumor value?”

He said:

The rumor value is the value people get from creating, and spreading rumor about a person. Not very one has this kind of rumor value. So congratulations :-)

Well. This message comfortable me a lot. It is not completely a bad thing, anyway.

Back to What I Should Write on My Blog

After I posted a very short and blur-ed message on my blog the other day, I saw concerned reader “boycotting” the entry.

This is what I think about it.

It is MY blog anyway. Just as I thanked my reader in my wishes in my four year anniversary of this blog:

I wish I still have the freedom to choose topics that interest me most. Thanks for giving me the freedom to do that. I know the topics are not always interesting for everyone. Anyway, I am still the most important reader of this blog. Everything I write? at least it should look interesting to me.

Just as this case, when a banch of media are calling me, calling my PR agency to dig more details about the news, I cannot disclose anything about it before we done some communication (internally and externally). The best way, or the professional way is not to mention it, confirm it, or decline it (considering media need to be the first to report this, instead of a blog). This was the background. There are so many things in my life with tons of background information that I cannot convey to my readers.

The note is for me, personally. I want it to remind me after several years about this interesting event.

It is also for friends who care about me – to assure them I am doing well, and it may also to some journalists. :-)

However, it is NOT for my regular readers. This is the rare occasion my role as a public business person in the competitive market run into my role on this blog – as a normal person living in Shanghai, and to help visitors and expats in Shanghai to get more sense about the city, and to find some fun (sometimes).

People said it is OK to stop for one day or two. I am not so sure about it. For me, a blog is all about life, and it is like the pulse of heart-beat. I am a believer that at least by posting a “OOB (Out of Blogging)” let people know what is going on, and let myself about what happened that day, instead of a blank memory. Blogging is like exercise. If you quit for one day or two, it is not easy to pickup after two days – for me, blog is more like a habit, instead of professional writing. I am not worried about the blog being “quickly kicked out the blogosphere”. To be honest, I don’t care about blogosphere. The most important thing is all about me, and my life. My life continues with or without attention from “blogosphere”. It is the every happy day I have that matters. I value interaction, and I value good friends I got from the blog. There is nothing to do with popularity, or fame here.

P.S. I am NOT going to Google. Never thought about it. I was with Microsoft and saw the spirit when Microsoft undertook the hardest time (the DOJ case). It is all about how people react with difficulties that shapes a great company, instead of how people behave under glory and fame. I don’t like Google now. Just my 2 cents.

Disclaimer: The post is provided “AS IS”. It is just my personal view and does not represent the point of view of anyone else or any organization/company.

Featured on China Daily

There is a half-page article about this blog on China Daily. Carsten was the first one to notify me this morning, and Ida, the journalist is the second. :-) Thans Ida for the wonderfuo article.

The original article is here.

This is a copy of the artilce. Full credit goes to Ida Relsted, and China Daily.

Shanghai blogger just wants to help

Citizens bloggers website provides millions with useful information about the city he loves to share

Ida Relsted


page04 2006-10-17

shanghai-jianshuo-ida.china.daily.jpgI started my blog to help foreigners survive in the city, because Shanghai is not so easily accessible for people who don’t know it well,” explains 28 year old blogger Wang Jianshuo.

“In 2000 I had a website, both in Chinese and English, and here I wrote an article about Pudong International Airport. When I later searched the Internet for the topic of Pudong International Airport, my article came up as hit number one, which was odd for such an important place. Why had nobody else written about it? When I heard the term “blogger” in 2002, I decided to start a blog to fill the gap, because there seemed to be a lack of information about the city. I truly love Shanghai. Now I have a lot of readers, it is not easy to give up,” Wang says laughing.

His blog does have quite some readership, registering one million hits each month and featuring lively debate between commentators from all over the world. There were an estimated 17.5 million bloggers in China by the end of August 2006, almost 30 times the 2002 figure. Among those, some stand out, like Wang’s blog which not only has many readers, but also offers information on life in Shanghai. The blog has been mentioned in MSNBC, BBC, BusinessWeek, and voted one of the top ten blogs in China in 2003.

The title of the blog is “Events (in Shanghai) that affect my life (and the life of others)”. The blog is a time consuming task as Wang updates it almost daily. “It’s a part of my life, like e-mails and sleep. I also think of it like writing a very big book about my world.”

Commenting on his style, Wang points to the fact that some commentators on the blog have criticized him for only focusing on the positive aspects of life. “My basic philosophy is only to write what I have personally experienced, and to pay attention to details. What distinguishes blogs from traditional media is exactly the way a blog can pay attention to detail. I also always write what I currently believe is true, but my observations may change over time.”

In his job as CEO of Kijiji in China, Wang Jianshuo has had the opportunity to travel and experience different cultures. He is impressed with how different people think, and his ambition is for the blog to be a virtual place for people to be able to debate. On the blog, East meets West, and vice versa.

“As a matter of principle, I don’t delete comments on the blog, because it is a place for sharing views. The beauty of the blog is that when people think so differently from me, it makes me think. It made me write an entry on the topic that common sense is not always common,” says Wang giving the example: Maybe saving money makes sense for the older generation, whereas it makes more sense for the younger generation to have experiences.

“When we are arguing, I ask myself: are we using the same language?” he says about communication gaps.

To the question of how the blog has Changed his life, Wang answers that it has had an impact on his career. When he started blogging in 2002, he worked for Microsoft and was conscious that he was respected because he was a representative of an internationally known company. But he did not want to remain in the shadow of the company, so with the ambition of achieving something for himself, he set out to write the blog. What he wanted to accumulate was writings on small things like advice on transportation – two of the most popular topics are Shanghai taxis and Pudong International Airport – and personal thoughts.

“I also wanted to help, because it seems meaningful. For people who know the blog and arrive here, maybe Shanghai seems not so unfamiliar, and I can give them a feeling of knowing somebody here, before they have arrived,” Wang says.

But also in another, more indirect way, blogging has affected Wang’s life, because, as a result of writing about the minutiae of Shanghai life he has become more sensitive to the things around him. It causes him to think about topics he might never otherwise have considered.

“In order to write a blog you have to have a reason to write. For most bloggers, they don’t have many readers, and I know many frustrated bloggers without visitors on their blogs. Some will even write 40 entries a day trying to attract readers. But you shouldn’t start a blog just to get the attention of readers. You are the most important reader of your own blog, which also means you get to choose the topics of interest.”

One of the humorous downsides of writing the blog is people misunderstanding the concept and e-mailing complaints about lack of specific information or a slow response time from what they expect is an official office. Since this has happened several times, Wang decided to post a small picture of himself on each entry, with the intent of attracting attention to the fact that is merely a free, one-man service.

A much more serious side to the blog came about in 2003, when China experienced the outbreak of SARS. Before this, Wang’s blog did not have that many visitors, but during the outbreak, Jian discovered that many people wanted to hear the point of view of a normal person living in Shanghai. “People in China were very nervous, and we got a lot of attention from media from outside China at that time. I did not start to blog in order to write about politics, on the contrary. Everything was very sensitive, so the only thing I could say was that I could not guarantee I was giving the whole picture, I was only able to tell people a fraction of the story, which was all I could see. So I wrote about how my friends reacted and how restaurants cleaned all the time.”

What really seems to stir Wang’s passion is revealed when he writes details of his life in Shanghai, because in the end, it all comes down to little things: “To report the fact does not always mean to report the truth,” he says.

Wangjianshuo’s Blog on Travel Times

After chatting with Chen Zhen from Travel Times, a two-full page report appeared on Shanghai Travel Times (上海旅游时报).

On the right hand of the cover.

Header of the first page.

First page of the report.

Second Page of the report.


P.S. I am trying to be low profile – so post it in a date that already past, so it is not the headline of the blog. But to keep a list of which media reported the blog is meaningful (at least meaningful for me), isn’t it?

The On Media category tracks some of the media report (even those interviews didn’t turn out to be report related to this blog). So at least a have a list like this:

Best Blog Award?

Yesterday morning, got a big package from Beijing. It is a heavy one. Inside the box, there is a glass plate to inform me I am chosen as the top 10 blogger by Here is the news.

The plate

Well. Let it be. Everyone organization is creating some noise as the top 10 blah-blah award in the blogging world. Since I get it, I accept it. That’s it.

I appreciate the award in 2003, because of several reasons. 1. The selection is the joint effort of almost all players (BSP, insitute, media). 2. At that time, there are not so many commerical considerations from the organizer. Here are the top ten list. Of cause they are all very nice blog, but are they (or are we) the top 10? I seriously doubt it.











BBC’s Interview

9:00 PM, my mobile rings. It was from +1915xxxxx, an American number. I picked up the phone and a girl with British tone asked if I am “Wang Jian Shuo”. Actually she called from London, a reporter for BBC. She asked about the China Blogger Conference which was just held this weekend. Questions were: “What is the aim of the conference and what is the key take-aways from the conference…” I answered with what I think is right.

Not surprisingly, she asked about censorship again. I have formed a formula that BBC interview = censorship question interview.

The Last Time

I was interviewed by BBC less than one month ago. The reporter (actually a good friend of my friend) arrived in Shanghai and discussed a lot of things during the interview with a big microphone. We talked lots of topics from blogging to the China society. I guess the interview continued for about half an hour. Within the interview, he asked about the censorship of blogging in China. I don’t want to comment on this since I have my own view on this. So I said: “I don’t want to comment on this”.

Several days later, the radio program was broadcasted to the world. It is a program around censorship. The only thing with my name in the radio was “No comment”. The program sounded like this (I don’t remember the exact terms though): Many bloggers faced the pressure of the censorship. Chinese blogger, Jian Shuo Wang even don’t want to talk about it. (Original recording): “What do you think of the censorship of the blogging world in China?” “I don’t want to comment on this”. (end of the recording). The program continued to anther person.

Dan Washburn, the experienced reporter from TIME told me, everything is “on the record” in western media. If you don’t want to say something, don’t mention it at all. It appears even “Not to mention” does express something.

Actually, I am not comfortable that my words were taken out of the context to support another view that I don’t agree.

Do You Want to Be on Air?

The organizer of the China Blogger Conference, Isaac Mao, also has the experience with BBC. Last time, when he was driving on the high way, BBC called and told him that it was LIVE broadcasting and want to interview him. He pulled his car over to the emergency lane and talked about some time. Isaac admitted that it was too rush for him. Obviously an live broadcasting from BBC was not a pleasant surprise:.

The reporter who called me asked whether I can speak on the LIVE program for BBC this evening London time. She was preparing the issue to be broadcast tonight at 6:45 AM London time. The topic will be the China Blogger Conference. I am pretty sure the topic will be around censorship again. I think the time is just too early for me. It is so easy to convert Greenwich Mean Time to Shanghai time, since one is GMT +0 and Shanghai is GMT +8. So I said I prefer to have a better sleep other than wake up at 4:00 AM in the morning. The other reason is, just as the previous interview, I was not 100% comfortable when I am approached with a pre-defined conclusion and my role is just to be an evidence to support the idea. That is neither interesting nor meaningful.

The Gap? The Communication?

The problem I see besides the two worlds are, there are too many pre-defined questions like censorship and BBC is trying to find piece of information, filter it and create an exciting picture for people in the “civilized” world. I do believe in two-way communication, that real life is seen by the world. As everyone can see, there is not much censorship on this blog and I can talk the topic I choose to talk about.

One of the topics on the China Blogger Conference was very interesting. It talked about eliminating the gap between two conflicting culture/countries/regions by sharing ideas with blogging. Bloggers in India and Pakistan already did it. Bloggers from China and Japan are doing so, based on what I heard. Bloggers from both sides of the Taiwan Strait are joining hand to analyze the gap of understanding. These may be better effort than BBC’s report.

Disclaimer: This is only based on the limited experience I had with BBC and may not reflect the reality. Keep in mind that misunderstanding happens all the time, from father and son, husband and wife, to people from two different cultures. I appreciate if someone can point out the reason of the misunderstanding I have (if it is).

Update November 10, 2005

Ops. I didn’t check out this post after the whole day and when I am back, I found a lot of people have gathered here. So welcome, everyone. Have a great day, or night or morning here (depending on where you are located).

I admit that I was misleading in my previous post. It is for sure that there is censorship in China. Everyone inside or ourside China sees it. The GFW is upgrading, sites are taken down, and blogging services are censoring some keywords, and I feel the pressure to talk on certain sensitive topics. To disagree on the way BBC reports does not mean I think there is no censorship in China.

Censorship is a tough topic to discuss. I have been reporting this issue since three years ago. I roughly counted that there should be tens of entries on this blog. I made a small note when blogbus and other BSP were taken down, when blogspot were banned, when one more sites were filtered and monitor the behavior of GFW. I found my first article on the censorship is in Sept 2002, when most people didn’t start blogging. According to that censorship law, my site has been an illegal site for three years. Spent 5 minutes on the archive page will see the discussion on this topic.

I found the most misleading sentence I used in this article is “there is not much censorship on this blog and I can talk the topic I choose to talk about.” What I meant was, there is difference between censorship and self-censorship. If you have enough courage, you can talk whatever we choose too without censorship (if you don’t host your blog in a local BSP). I proudly archived all my articles on the topics that are considered sensitive.

In the last three years, I was happy that I did spend effort to approach the truth, although it is very hard. To be true to myself is not always easy as it seemed to be. I have to face pressure from both inside or outside China.

For example, I started to report SARS independantly from Feb, 2003. In March and April, when all the media says there is no SARS, it was not easy to always stand up and report the panic people had no matter what was in the media. When I look back, I even didn’t believe the courage I had when I faced the inquiries from western media to stick to the truth. However, to critize the government does not ALWAYS mean to be closer to the truth. When strong and effective actions were taken and SARS were under control, and we didn’t feel the panic, the western media still reported all the bad things despite of the efforts people made, it is equally hard to say “Protecting China, Not only Against SARS” to fight back on the dishonest discussion in western media. I don’t think the attack I got is less than the attack I got when I spoke out the truth of SARS. In 2003, I learnt the way many media worked, and didn’t feel very comfortable when so many media warned people NOT to go to China as late as the end of 2003. I admit there are always confusion inside myself and sometime I even argue whether I am doing the right thing? My mind changed a lot in three years. What I can tell myself is, at least I tried harder than others to clarify the truth (which is not always possible for me to approach).

However, no matter what attack and pressure I got, I believe it is always right to be truthful to my heart and do not put anything that I personally don’t believe in this blog. This is the rule.

The reason I was not comfortable with the interview is not talking about censorship. The problem is, I don’t want to be put into a condition that there is a pre-set conclusion and my role is just to act as a victim in the story and confirm it. I felt happy that I didn’t accept the live broadcast. Although the reporter said it is only a program about the recent Chinese Blogging Conference, she started the program like this:

“Now in China, the great wall has been replaced by the great firewall. In cyber spaces, the Chinese government uses electronic firewalls to control information coming into another country. Cenorship is there. There are thousands of Internet police monitoring what you say and look at on the web. If they find something they don’t like, you could end up in prison.”

Then poor Yining was introduced to the program. Listen to the radio program again and imagine what you will feel. No wonder why Yining was also angry and wrote this on this blog after the interview:

“Rabiya, BBC, and all the big media:

Do NOT set the interviewees up, do NOT use the interviewees, do NOT manipulate them by cornerning them and directing them to the opinions you yourself want to present, so to fit into your own political agenda.

So if that’s what you are doing, sorry, there is no way I can cooperate.

Tonight, it’s not about censorship, but fair and professional reporting. Censorship is another game, we will play it another day.”

On this issue, I fully understand Yining and support what he said.

The other reason I don’t want to comment is, “to report the fact does not always mean to report the truth”. The agenda of discussion also matters. By setting up topics to discuss, the program is actaully filting a lot of things out. For example, when SARS happens, only reporting the facts like leaders from other countries are visiting (which is 100% true) , but ignoring SARS in the headline does not mean the local media is honest. It is the same in the BBC case. When I found I was put into a position that both “yes” or “no” answer are wrong answer, the only thing I can say is “no comment”. For example, if you ask “Do you have censorship in UK?” If you say “No censorship”, it is absolutely wrong. However, if you just say “Yes”, it also does not reflect the fact that it is not the whole thing of blogging in UK. Censorship is there, as everyone can see. However, when BBC claimed “Chinese Blogging Conference” is a conference to seek for freedom of speech, it is at least not complete. Even when so many people pointed my nose and say “coward”, I believe it is the right thing to say because I have no control of how my voice will appear in the program. Every single sentence or word may be taken out of the context to support something I have no idea yet. I have been put into this position several times in western media before. This time, I became smarter.

At least, the point is not about whether there IS censorship or not. The reality cannot be more clear. The point is, do NOT put other people’s words into my mouth. I will keep blogging about what I see, instead of 1 minute in a program under the agenda set by others.

Having said that, I admit I am not always right. I am clearly aware of it. That is the reason I trust two way communication. If there is anything wrong, tell me, and show me the fact. I want everyone to be aware that what I see, and what I hear is just a very limited part of the world. I see happiness in my life. I see people’s effort to make progress. I know many people in the same city see a different scene, and they also blog about it. That is the beauty of blogging – the wisdom of crowd is the most complete picture of the real world.

My favorate story is the “blind man and the elephant”. We are all the blind man. What I try to avoid is to touch a leg of the elephant but follow others to describe elephant’s ear. What I don’t see is what I don’t see. I don’t want to cheat. I appreciate diversified voices. I appreciate people’s tolerance to what I expressed in this blogging (for three years). Just as people have the right to talk about the dark side of the sociaty, I have the right to talk both bright side and the dark site (which I am not big fan of).

Well. Too much comment – the longest comment I had made on this blog. Again, I appreciate everyone’s point of view, and I feel sorry that my previous entry gave people the feeling that I was denying the existance of censorship. I didn’t mean it.


This is the Top 356 Blog?

Kenlee‘s blog reported that Feedster announced the TOP 500 Blogs. It is updated every month.


I couldn’t not check it because the domain was blocked by the Great Firewall. I believe one or more URL in the list must triggered the filter, so when I try to access it, my Internet connection is completely closed. So I can only have the chance to try twice in the last 10 minutes (5 minute OUT OF Internet punishment for every try). Well. I may find ways tomorrow to see it.

What is interesting to me is, Kenlee said Wangjianshuo’s blog is the only blog from mainland on the list, and is ranked 356 this month. Hnmmm. Interesting. So when a company is pround of being a member of Fortune 500, I may be proud of the first round of Top 500 Blogs in the world. :-) Just take it as fun …

Jian Shuo on Wired Magazine?

Joel told me that he saw my article on April issue of Wired Magazine. I didn’t see this issue yet. I checked on their website and there is only March 2005 issue. Search for Yahoo! News does not return anything. Baidu does not search foreign media and Google News is not accessible. Anything saw it? The magazine may be on newsstands already. I assume it is the longest report on me so far on foreign media. :-) I believe my Goudaner was also mentioned.