China’s ‘first blogger’ to visit New Zealand

Monday 31 August 2009

China's leading media blogger, Isaac Mao, will come to New Zealand in October as guest of Asia:NZ and the Whitireia Journalism School .

Given the label “China’s first blogger” by Britain’s Guardian, Isaac will lecture on web journalism and new media at journalism schools.

Funded by the Asia:NZ Foundation, Isaac’s brief tour from October 19 to 24 will see him talk to journalism students at Auckland University of Technology and Waikato Institute of Technology, as well as the Whitireia school in Wellington’s Cuba Mall.

In 2008, he was keynote speaker at the Global Intermedia Dialogue in Bali, where he caught the attention of Whitireia Journalism School head Jim Tucker: “His account of how rapidly social media networks were growing in China was very compelling. I thought then – our journalism students need to hear what this guy has to say.”

Top NZ journalism blogger Julie Starr (a former Daily Telegraph business chief subeditor and now Editor at Large for WINTEC journalism school) who was also at the Dialogue, agrees, and has assisted with arrangements for Isaac’s visit.

Of his first venture into blogging in 2002, Isaac told the Guardian:”Initially, I didn’t even tell old friends and family my blog address (

“The reason was that I was afraid to come across as sticking my neck out to be very different from the mainstream.”

By 2007, that very first blog had been joined by 47 million others in China.

According to his Wikipedia entry, in 2005 Isaac started a movement for adopting Chinese bloggers on overseas website servers.

Recently, he gained prominence in the technology and business world with an open letter to Google, challenging the search engine giant to support anti-censorship efforts and change its strategy on China.

A computer software engineer by training, Isaac gained a BSc in Computer Science and an MBA at Shanghai Jiaotong University.

He is a Fellow of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and has organised several major conferences on the web and its impacts.

In his CV, he describes himself as a philosopher on Sharism, social entrepreneur, blogger, software architect and researcher in learning and social technology, who divides his time between research, social works, business and technology.

Last updated: 29 Jan 2013