Journalist Ian Johnson, author of The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao, interviewed extensively Jiang Xue, a 45-year old Chinese writer, for the NY Review of books. She worked for Chinese Business View and Southern Weekend, two papers who suffered from heavy censorship. Jiang Xue is a devout Buddhist and tells in this section on her current life.

Marketing veteran Ashley Dudarenok explains how the rebellious Peppa Pig, once denounced by the government as a “gangster” became one of the more popular symbols in the just started Year of the Pig.

Journalist Ian Johnson, author of The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao, is working on his next book documenting how writers, thinkers, and artists are dealing with the new, more repressive policies in China. He visited citizen journalist Zhang Shihe near Xi’an for an extensive interview. First, he describes Zhang’s position for the New York Review of Books.

China´s media industry might be one of the toughest to grasp for the outside world. All media are state-owned, very much restricted, and got recently into trouble because they have been extorting companies. Nothing is what you might expert. Some guidance is needed, and fortunately we have a range of media experts at the China Speakers Bureau.

State TV has been pulling a set of historical dramas from their channels because they were having a negative influence on their audiences, according to state media. Journalist Zhang Lijia, the author of Lotus, a novel, a bestseller on prostitution in China, understands the ratio behind this action, she tells in the South China Morning Post.

Chinese New Year is just a month ahead of us, so gift giving is high on the agenda. China veteran Ashley Dudarenok, author of Digital China: Working with Bloggers, Influencers and KOLs, gives some advice on what to give – and what not to – at her daily webblog for both China and what a China expert should bring to Russia.

China’s most popular short-messages platform WeChat has at last included Snapchat/Instagram style stories. Long overdue, says Tencent and WeChat specialist Matthew Brennan at his website. He tells how it works, and why – if very late – this is a smart move.

Google’s effort to enter China’s censored search market has failed a second time, first in China itself, now because of opposition in the US and Google staff. Former communication director Kaiser Kuo at China’s leading search engine Baidu looks back at how the internet company failed at its first move back in 2006, for the MIT Technology Review.

Chinese media got orders to avoid bad news on the economy, but according to financial analyst Sara Hsu, signs indicate that China is unofficially in a recession. Spending has gone down despite encouragement from the government to spend more.

Videos of 5-star hotels in China showed unhygienic practices and went viral last week. But business analyst Shaun Rein, author of The War for China’s Wallet: Profiting from the New World Order, did not see anything new here, apart from the Western media picking up the upheaval this time, he tells at the Bangkok Post.