The following sites are essential equipment for students of Chinese history and culture at any level. They offer a broad range of information, from basic cultural concepts to evaluations of the best print and internet tools available to researchers, and – importantly – they filter and assess it so that it will become meaningful to the end user.
The comprehensive sites listed below should always be your starting point for any online research project. The second step should be to consult the research guides provided by specialist libraries, many of which can be found online via the “Libraries and Archives” link on the right-hand navigation on this page. Beyond that, a selection of the more interesting and useful web resources for studying specific topics is classified by categories below. In some of these categories you will also find research and study tools, including chronologies, pronunciation kits and a guide to ways of reading a historical document. Happy browsing!
China WWW Virtual Library – Internet Guide for Chinese Studies http://sun.sino.uni-heidelberg.de/igcs/. The critical first point of entry for scholarly research on the internet.
A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization http://depts.washington.edu/chinaciv/. A rich resource of visual and written documentation of Chinese geography, material culture, technology, etc., created by Patricia Buckley Ebrey and others at the University of Washington.
Coombsweb: National Institute for Asia and the Pacific Server http://coombs.anu.edu.au/. Based at Australian National University, this pioneering search and links site covers Asian topics in general.
Asiasource, Asia Society: http://www.asiasource.org/. Country reports, current and cultural affairs, press links, specialist databases, research links and more.
Asia for Educators, Columbia University: http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/. Designed for teachers, this site’s curricula, chronologies, maps, primary source collections and background essays are useful for students as well.
East and Southeast Asia: An Annotated Directory of Internet Resources http://newton.uor.edu/Departments&Programs/AsianStudiesDept/index.html. Organized by country or region, then by topic; also has a “hot topics” section featuring links on current affairs of major interest. Strongest on contemporary society, CJK computing, etc., but also has some history links.
ExEAS - Expanding East Asian Studies, Columbia University http://www.exeas.org/. Links to creative syllabi and specially-designed study units and courses meant to place Asian topics in broad interdisciplinary and transnational contexts.
The following sites are some major portals essential for turning up sites in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Some have English-language capabilities; for introductions to Chinese-language computing, see the links under “Language and Literature.”
Note on internet censorship: It is well known that the PRC government uses a number of different technologies for censoring internet content, ranging from blocking certain domains (including blog hosting sites) to filtering search engine results or restricting access to some parts of open sites. It is also known that international IT corporations have been cooperative with some of these efforts, though rumor and inaccurate reporting have at times clouded the issue. Reporters without Borders, however, does an admirable job of monitoring the situation, and users of Chinese portals and websites are advised to visit the RSF site frequently for updates: http://www.rsf.org/. "Global Voices Online," linked on the News and Media page, also keeps track of blog censorship and workarounds.
The bottom line, simply put, is that users of either the internet in China or China-based websites and web portals (including some of the ones below) must realize the limitations, as well as the opportunities, before them.
Sina.net www.sina.net. From here you can access the four versions of this portal: North America, Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China.
Chinese Google (Traditional Chinese) http://www.google.com/intl/zh-TW/
Chinese Google (Simplified Chinese) http://www.google.com/intl/zh-CN/
Chinese Yahoo! (Traditional Chinese) http://chinese.yahoo.com/
Yahoo! China http://cn.yahoo.com/
Yahoo! Hong Kong http://hk.yahoo.com/
Yahoo! Taiwan http://tw.yahoo.com/
Sohu.com http://www.sohu.com/. A PRC-focused portal.
Yam.com http://www.yam.com/. A Taiwanese portal.
Baidu.com (百度) http://baidu.com/. Up-and-coming PRC search engine with a look and IPO modelled on Google.