Although this blog has been “active” for almost 3 years now, it’s only over the past 8 to 9 months that I would really consider myself a card-carrying member of the China blogging community. And it is a rapidly evolving community. In this short amount of time I’ve seen some blogs burst onto the scene and fizzle while others become instant hits. I’ve been able to connect with some great bloggers while others remain mysteriously hidden behind their anonymity. I’ve seen some China sites that serve no other purpose than to link to other China blogs while one (which boasts over 900 Google followers and 1,500 hits a day) never links to anybody.
After subscribing to an embarrassing number of blogs I’ve begun to realize that personal recommendation is the best way to find out which ones are worth reading. Blog contests, including the award I openly display on this blog, usually just end up being minor popularity contests and many link pages are just created for SEO purposes (again, I am partially guilty). So as my contribution to the China blogging community I am offering my suggestions for worthwhile China reading in a “Top 5″ format – blogs which have been consistent, interesting, and usually much better than mine.
Top 5 China Blogs that You Have to Put on a China Top 5 List
- Danwei – part translator, part aggregator, this news source is one of the top English language blogs about China. Several posts and links per day cover a wide spectrum of topics.
- Wall Street Journal China Journal – great write-ups and links to all the top news stories dealing with China. I’m disappointed they stopped linking up to smaller blogs like this one, though. Now they only mention major news sources.
- Time China – although they post a few original articles, they mostly just link to TIME content about China. Still, it keeps me from having to find the content myself.
- Shanghaiist – the only city-based website I know of that appeals to readers all over China. Also aggregates news and blogs. They post quite often but sometimes feel more like a tabloid than a news source, unfortunately.
- ESWN – Roland is apparently a very well-respected blogger and does a great job aggregating all the best blogs in English and Chinese.
Top 5 Blogs That I Wish Posted More Often
- Imagethief – Will, a PR professional, tends to write things that make me laugh and then say to myself “I think he’s right…wish I would have thought of that.” Well-known for his sarcastic humor.
- Sinosplice – John Pasden, better known for his work with ChinesePod, doesn’t blog as much as he used to and now tends to focus his writing on linguistic topics that I find fascinating.
- The New Dominion (now defunct) – one of the only other blogs about Xinjiang is very well-written by a guy who goes by the name “Porfiriy”. His blog is a bit more political than mine – which is completely unfair seeing as this blog is currently blocked while his is available for viewing here in China. Ahh!
- China Sports Review – David does a great job writing about all things China-sports related. As long as he continues to keep this blog active I suggest anyone interested in the China sports scene to take a look at this blog.
Top 5 Personal Chinese Blogs
- Mark’s China Blog – Mark is strictly news-oriented, but I enjoy reading his personal comments on whatever he’s been reading.
- Matt Schiavenza – A blog that jumps between news and personal posts. Matt is also part of the Lost Laowai blog (mentioned below).
- Jottings From the Granite Studio – Jeremiah covers a very broad spectrum of topics which are usually very interesting, although more often than not very scattered.
- Ben’s Blog – Ben doesn’t post very often now that he’s out of the country, but I put this up just because a lot of the posts in his archive are great. It would almost be a sin for me not to mention his barber shop posts where he spent one month working all sorts of odd jobs.
- The Humanaught – Ryan, an expat web developer who is well-known in the China community, is an entertaining diversion from all the news I voluntarily inhale.
Top 5 China Multi-Author Blogs
- The China Beat – This blog is much more academic in nature and is written by a very highly respected team of bloggers. I admit that most times I just skim their articles because it’s just too much to digest, but if I find an article whose topic I’m interested in, it’s incredibly insightful.
- Fool’s Mountain (now defunct) - Less scholarly, more opinionated posts by all different types of authors. I think they’re well known for their comments but I tend to just stick to reading the post, which is good enough for me.
- Lost Laowai China Blog - This blog, an extension of the Lost Laowai website, has a great mix of entertaining as well as informative posts. I wish they posted more often.
- CN Reviews – Recently redesigned, I began seriously watching this site during the China blogger conference. I’m interested in the different direction it looks like this blog is headed.
- ChinaGeeks – The newest of these five blogs, C. Custer and his team are part of the Chinese translating phenomenon that is very popular right now. I prefer this site over others because of the type of material they translate.
Top 5 China Blogs that I Couldn’t Easily Categorize
- Favorite Guilty Pleasure: Hanzi Smatter – people get the dumbest tatoos sometimes, and here they find out what it really meant.
- Favorite Photo Blog: Expatriate Games – a great photographers who happen to reside in China.
- Second Favorite Photo Blog: Asian Ramblings – another good photographer who is also a fellow teacher.
- Favorite Business Blog: IP Dragon – Although the China Law Blog is the best business blog hands-down, I prefer this one because it deals with intellectual property and copyright issues in China, one of the primary things I studied in college.
- Favorite Story Blog: SHE in China – I don’t like how disconnected this blog is from the rest of the China community (this is the one that links to no one), but it is an entertaining read that I can easily relate to as a foreigner in China.
No doubt there are many more China blogs out there, and I read many of them, but these are my favorites. If you think I’m missing anything, by all means leave a comment. Enjoy!