COVID has disrupted supply chains in two major ways:
surging demand for imported consumer goods in the West due to pandemic work from home trends and other home improvement spending, and
a decline in workers required to maintain and operate these supply chains.
an odd and problematic phenomenon: incentives for container owners to move them back to China empty
to accelerate receipt of eastbound freight rates,
instead of waiting for containers to be refilled to earn westbound freight rates as well.
the world is going to need more containers, which carry more than 90% of the world’s traded goods.
Chinese companies affiliated with its government make 95% of the world’s containers and have ramped up production.
But more containers and containerships won’t solve problems in the West unless other supply chain issues are resolved as well.
That will probably require
(a) an end to extraordinary housing and income support measures, and
(b) less community spread and concern about COVID.
I’ve been working in media field since 2001, and I’ve experienced all sorts of changes in China’s media – from my earliest time in
newspaper journalism (at the Oriental Morning Post), then transitioning to
online media (The Paper). Somewhere in there I also worked for a while in the
English-language media (Sixth Tone). After that I worked in the area of
short video media (Pear Video).
It was last year that I started working on a fact-checking project called “China Fact Check.”
It would have been around August of 2020 that we started doing this project more formally.
we rely on voluntary networked collaboration, with a group of volunteer fact-checkers operating the whole project.
Q: I would guess your awareness of the importance of fact-checking came much earlier than that?
Yes. It was during the US presidential election in 2016
not only is the phenomenon [of mis/disinformation] not improving, but in fact is likely to grow worse –
and the actors involved are likely to become more and more diverse.
Q: why was it that you started work in this area only last year?
the shift in mindset that happened in these intervening years.
you’re busy building this tall building level by level, when actually the foundation has already collapsed, and people aren’t reading what you expect them to read.
we face a very unique environment, in which for all sorts of complicated reasons –
domestic politics, regional politics, ideology and so on –
a whole host of problems aren’t limited anymore to just China, but are shared across the world.
And on social media people’s views are more polarized, more split
Q: An overview of your working model at China Fact Check?
a collaborative network based on the principle of voluntary work
Your capacity is limited, not just in terms of energy,
but in terms of your ability to find and identify suspicious information (for us to verify).
this field remains a rather sensitive one. And this means, first of all, that we have no way of formally registering.
very difficult and that entails various risks.
our project isn’t likely to have very strong prospects in terms of profitability.
we don’t want to invite commercial intervention,
which might give people the impression you’ve lost your public service orientation.
we are the only fact-checking project in mainland China that can claim independence.
We also try our best to maintain some cooperation with university journalism schools.
This is because fact checking is actually a skill that should be included as a module in formal journalism studies
Q: How do you choose what to verify, and do you have a clear internal process?
trending hot topics
hot topics of greater concern to China
relevant top search threads on Weibo and related rankings
volunteers who will search for possible topics through their own channels.
readers leave messages on our WeChat public account to ask
Q: How do you decide which topics to focus on?
whether it is a matter of public interest
the issue of risk
My years of experience in the media field give me a lot of insight into where the red lines potentially are.
[Our post] have not been deleted yet. There were only a few times when our articles were collateral damage.
When it comes to both topic selection and to the wording we use in writing about certain topics, we tend to be very careful.
we are positioning “China Fact Check” right now as a service for fact checking international news.
fact check only international topics that appear on media and social networks in simplified Chinese.
don’t cover domestic content on areas such as health, wellness, entertainment, sports and so on.
several reasons for this
on the simplified Chinese internet – aside from information dealing with wellness –
disinformation about overseas matters far surpasses disinformation about domestic affairs.
This means that on the question of risk, they [the producers of disinformation] share an understanding with us.
Q: What is the process like once you’ve decided on a topic?
Once we settle on a topic, we ask among our volunteers to see who is available and who might have expertise in this particular area
Eventually, we identify a volunteer who does the first step in the fact-checking process.
They will go and do the research.
If they encounter problems in the process, we can discuss these together.
If they feel they’ve already found quite solid evidence, they’ll then complete the whole process according to our standards.
It will then go back through the gate-keeping process I mentioned earlier.
The fact-checking standards we follow are largely informed by the principles
developed by Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN).
it is facts that matter, not opinions
We don’t rely on media reports if we can find the original sources.
We try to follow the criteria they have outlined for the fact-checking process,
including the identification of various sources and their links, and so on.
in our fact-checking process, as well as in our final product, we are not permitted to reveal our own positions and opinions.
Q: Do you have an internal resource list, or an internal training manual of some kind?
we do have a list of tools for common use
how to make good use of Google is actually an important skill
reverse image searches
determining whether certain images have been tampered with.
certain mysterious websites [that can be searched]
tools that can be embedded in your browser,
enabling you to conveniently used multiple [search and other] tools to check a target all with one click
databases, including databases compiled by colleagues who study the media and can offer data on the biases of certain media.
reliability ratings for certain media as a point of reference.
Q: How long does the fact-checking process generally take?
The time required is different [in every case].
Some fact checks are very simple
At other times fact-checking can take a long time.
And then there are those times that you invest a lot of time and come up with no results.
we don’t feel that the time and effort spent are in vain. Because in the process you gain a lot of experience.
Q: Do you still feel satisfied with this work? Or do you feel frustrated by this dilemma?
Yes, false information is almost always disseminated more effectively than fact-checked information.
I personally think this may be an unsolvable problem in the long run.
This is just a reality.
Chinese domestic internet companies could do more in this area.
Compared with the situation in foreign countries, the sources of information available to domestic users in China are more concentrated on just a few platforms.
Q: What are the main patterns in creating disinformation?
most of these producers in China are out for commercial interests.
The so-called “commercial account” (营销号) is a typical example.
Their goal is to earn traffic that can turn into advertising revenue.
capitalizing on hot topics to get traffic
whatever type of content can stir emotions, that is something they will use.
a matter of “flower and tree removal” (移花接木型)
to exploit the language gap between the vast majority of Chinese and foreigners
There are now seven different iPad resolutions
New 8.3": 1133×744 points (2266×1488 pixels)
what happens depends on
which version of Xcode an app was built with and
whether the app requires full-screen or not.
Apps that were built with Xcode 12 or earlier
(i.e. targetting iOS 14 or earlier)
are unaware of the existence of the new 8.3" iPad screen size and its resolution.
iPad apps that do not support iPad multitasking
(i.e. they have
YESin the Info.plist)
will appear at the 10.9" 4th Generation iPad Air resolution,
scaled to fit the height of the 8.3" iPad.
It is letterboxed (black bars to the left/right) in landscape and
pillar boxed (black bars to the top/bottom) in portrait.
When built with Xcode 13.0
(i.e. linked against iOS 15.0) or later,
apps get access to the native screen size of the 8.3" iPad mini
whether they require full-screen or not.
50:50 split: compact + compact
Uneven, landscape: 375 pt compact + 748 pt regular
Uneven, portrait: 414 pt compact + 320 pt compact
Slideover, landscape: 375 pt compact
Slideover, portrait: 320 pt compact
run on iPad appear as pixel perfect iPhone 8 (and similar) at the small zoom size.
Since iOS 12, iPhone apps on iPad are scaled at the larger zoom size to fill the screen (whilst maintaining the correct aspect ratio).
On the 8.3" iPad, the actual size on screen of an iPhone-only app is
750×1334 pixels un-zoomed and
1112×1978 pixels when zoomed.
~2.97x scaling factor.
Don’t let decisions paralyze you
Optimize for today
a few more principles specific to this domain.
Stick to what is familiar
Find a generator with plenty of support
Narrowing down the list
The folks at Netlify have been maintaining a list
The list is sorted by Github stars by default.
This measure of popularity is a good way of narrowing down a long list.
remove any options that
aren’t explicitly targeted at static websites.
for creating developer documentation
to make web apps
Jekyll, Hexo, and Pelican are all quite popular but not very active
JS offer interactivity out of the box and allow switching pages without page reloads.
But have complicated dependency trees that can lead to bugs and broken builds.
build times tend to be much slower
a single binary that you download and run much like another app.
another single binary static site generator, this time written in Rust
Astro: the newcomer
if you decide that parts of your site need interactivity, you can “hydrate” just those parts and keep everything else plain HTML and CSS.
Gatsby: the best React option for blogs
transform any type of content into pages using a GraphQL middle layer that bridges the source content and templates
extensive plugin library and excellent support for image resizing
Next: the simplest React-based generator
primarily for web apps
Gridsome: like Gatsby, but for Vue
Nuxt: like Next, but for Vue