China is a hard country to understand from the outside. The sites you might use to get a sense of what people around the world think of a topic are all blocked in China, and media is highly censored. However, China does have news aggregators that are pretty similar to what you might be familiar with if you know where to look, and with the built-in Chrome translation feature you can get a pretty good sense of what’s being talked about and what the viewpoints are. Looking at the comments from readers is also fascinating. While the news is censored, there is a wide range of topics that are free to discuss, and even looking at what opinions are and aren’t allowed shows a lot about the state of discourse in the country. Suffice it to say, following Chinese media is going to be eye-opening.

The most popular news aggregator is called TouTiao (literally: headlines), which is made by Bytedance, the company that created TikTok. You can access it by opening in your browser. TouTiao does a great job of sorting the most popular articles from across the Chinese internet, and has a number of sub-topics you can browse. You can also search a topic explicitly.

As an American, I find the international news section the most interesting, since it gives the Chinese perspective on events in the US and around the world. It’s also insightful to see what topics are focused on and which are ignored. You can find the international news at I’ll often also search for the word “美国”, which means “USA” to see how China is talking about events taking place in the US.

If there’s a controversial topic outside of China, I’ll often try searching some keywords on TouTiao to get a sense of what the mainstream views in China are on the subject. For example, searching “政治正确”, which means “Political Correctness”, is truly fascinating. Suffice it to say Chinese media is not very woke.

TouTiao search results

A recent search for political correctness on TouTiao

I’ll typically look at TouTiao about once a week just to get a sense of what’s being talked about in China. It’s easy enough to follow without speaking Chinese just using the built-in Google translate in Chrome, and it’s always a fascinating read. Enjoy!