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Breaking News English

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Date: Sep 26, 2005

Level: Harder (Try the easier lesson.)

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1,000 IDEAS FOR ESL CLASSES: Breaking News English.com's e-Book

THE ARTICLE

China has imposed new rules and regulations on Internet news sites in an attempt to further control the content put out by news agencies and other news websites. Authorities say the new measures will "satisfy the public demand for receiving news and information from the Internet as well as safeguard public interest," according to official news agency Xinhua. China’s proactive and bulging Internet police department will block sites that are contrary to public interest and are not “conducive to social progress”. This extends to educational websites containing news such as Breaking News English.com, which was blocked earlier this year. The Ministry of Information said it will “standardize the management of…information” and allow only “healthy and civilized news” online.

China’s rapidly growing population of Internet users is the second largest in the world at 100 million, surpassed only by the United States, which has 135 million. The Web has quickly emerged as an influential and primary source of news from around the globe, which is cause for alarm for the government. It now requires domestic news sites to only post news on current events and politics but did not stipulate what kind of news is acceptable. The Associated Press reports the Chinese government: “encourages Internet use for education and business, [but] also keeps an extremely tight rein over online content, usually blocking material it deems subversive or pornographic.” Chinese “netizens” must now register their websites and blogs as well as enter their official identity card numbers when visiting Internet cafes.

WARM-UPS

1. NEWS: In pairs / groups, talk about news. Why do you like it? Do you follow the news for any of these reasons?

  1. To feel intelligent
  2. To stay informed
  3. Because I’m a world citizen
  4. News is fascinating
  5. I love discussing current events
  1. To kill time
  2. To find out new things
  3. The news is living history
  4. It keeps my brain active
  5. It’s just a habit

2. NEWS WEBSITES: What do you think the news websites are like in the following countries? What kind of news do you think is popular in these countries?

  1. China
  2. USA
  3. Zimbabwe
  4. Saudi Arabia
  5. Russia
  1. Venezuela
  2. Bhutan
  3. Great Britain
  4. Tahiti
  5. Cuba

3. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words are most interesting and which are most boring.

China / Internet / news sites / safeguarding public interest / Internet police / social progress / healthy news / current events / pornography / blogs / ID cards / cafes

Have a chat about the topics you liked. For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.

4. CHINA: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with China. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.

5. NEWS DEBATES: Debate each of the arguments below with a partner for just two minutes, before moving on to the next partner and debate. Student A agrees with the first argument, Student B, the second.

  1. There can be no restrictions on news reporting. vs. Some news is harmful.
  2. Only fearful governments control news sources. vs. All governments do it.
  3. Governments should block more websites. vs. The Web should have no barriers.
  4. Web users should always log on with their ID cards. vs. How ridiculous.
  5. Only “healthy” news should be allowed online. vs. That’s being overprotective.
  6. The Internet is a dangerous place. vs. The Internet is a liberating place.

6. FREEDOM OF INFORMATION: How important is freedom of information to you? Do you think your government restricts the kinds of information news sources can report on? Is the news you receive 100 percent accurate, truthful and objective? Talk about this with your partner(s).

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

China has imposed new rules and regulations on Internet news sites.

T / F

b.

Authorities say the public is not satisfied with the news it receives.

T / F

c.

China will also block educational websites with news content.

T / F

d.

China wants to allow only “healthy and civilized news” online.

T / F

e.

China has the largest number of Internet users in the world.

T / F

f.

Very few people in China use the Web as a source for news.

T / F

g.

The Chinese government encourages Internet use for education.

T / F

h.

Internet café visitors must register their ID numbers when online.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

a.

imposed

enthusiastic

b.

safeguard

Internet users

c.

proactive

helpful

d.

bulging

exceeded

e.

conducive

protect

f.

surpassed

specify

g.

stipulate

inflammatory

h.

rein

introduced

i.

subversive

control

j.

netizens

expanding

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

a.

imposed new

Internet police department

b.

control the content put

kind of news is acceptable

c.

safeguard

by the United States

d.

China’s proactive and bulging

out by news agencies

e.

standardize the management

deems subversive or pornographic

f.

surpassed only

rules and regulations

g.

primary source of news

over online content

h.

did not stipulate what

of information

i.

keeps an extremely tight rein

from around the globe

j.

blocking material it

public interest

WHILE READING / LISTENING

WHOOPS: Five of the ten words in bold in each paragraph are incorrect. Find and delete them. In pairs / groups, think of a better word.

China regulates news websites

China has imposed new rules and regulations on Internet news sites in an attempt to further control the containers put out by news agencies and other news websites. Authorities say the new measures will "satisfy the public demand for receiving news and information from the Internet as well as safeguard private interest," according to official news agency Xinhua. China’s proactive and bulging Internet police department will block sites that are contrary to public interest and are not “conducive to social progress”. This extremes to educational websites containing news such as Breaking News English.com, which was blacked earlier this year. The Ministry of Information said it will “standardize the management of…information” and allow only “healthy and civilized news” offline.

China’s rapidly growing population of Internet users is the second largest in the world at 100 million, surpassed only by the United States, which has 135 million. The Web has quickly submerged as an influential and primary sauce of news from around the globe, which is cause for alarm for the government. It now requires domestic news sites to only mail news on current events and politics but did not stipulate what kind of news is acceptable. The Associated Press reports the Chinese government: “encourages Internet use for education and business, [but] also keeps an extremely tight rain over online content, usually blocking material it dooms subversive or pornographic.” Chinese “netizens” must now register their websites and blogs as well as enter their official identity card numbers when visiting Internet cafes.

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘public’ and ‘demand’.

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. WHOOPS: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. STUDENT “NEWS” SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about “healthy and civilized” news and freedom of the press.

  • Ask other classmates your questions and note down their answers.
  • Go back to your original partner / group and compare your findings.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

6. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall exactly how these were used in the text:

  • imposed
  • measures
  • proactive
  • conducive
  • blocked
  • civilized
  • surpassed
  • influential
  • alarm
  • stipulate
  • rein
  • netizens

DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

  1. What were your initial thoughts on this headline?
  2. Did the headline make you want to read the article?
  3. Do you often use the Internet for news?
  4. Do you believe all you read in the news?
  5. Do you think your government controls news content?
  6. Do you think that only news that is “conducive to social progress” should be put online?
  7. Why do you think China would block an educational site like Breaking News English.com?
  8. What do you think of the idea of governments policing the Web?
  9. Do you think news can be dangerous?
  10. What kind of news do you think is “contrary to public interest”?

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. What do you think about what you read?
  3. Do you think China can permanently block international news sites?
  4. Why do you think China is regulating domestic news sites?
  5. What would happen in your country if the government imposed controls on freedom of the press?
  6. Does your government do enough to control pornographic sites or sites that cater for pedophiles, terrorists, racists, etc?
  7. What do you think of the idea of registering with an ID card every time you go online?
  8. Do you think the Web has become a dangerous place?
  9. Do you think China is correct in trying to regulate subversive content?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

AFTER DISCUSSION: Join another partner / group and tell them what you talked about.

  1. What question would you like to ask about this topic?
  2. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  3. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  4. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  5. What did you like talking about?
  6. Do you want to know how anyone else answered the questions?
  7. Which was the most difficult question?

SPEAKING

INTERNATIONAL NEWS: Look at these features taken from the Chinese website People’s Daily Online (http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/china.html). Imagine international journalists wrote these stories and posted them on international websites. What reasons can you think of why the stories might be considered either “healthy” or “subversive” in China.

FEATURES

HEALTHY

SUBVERSIVE
 

Taiwan writer says China experiencing high-level prosperity

 

 

China’s peaceful rise

 

 

40th anniversary of the founding of Tibet Autonomous Region

 

 

Chinese-Japanese relations

 

 

100th anniversary of Deng Xiaoping’s Birth

 

 

176 flights cancelled for military exercise

 

 

Change partners and tell each other what you previously talked about.

Discuss what you think the content of the news stories are.

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

China regulates news websites

China has imposed new rules and ___________ on Internet news sites in an attempt to further control the content put out by news agencies and other news websites. Authorities say the ____ _________ will "satisfy the public demand for receiving news and information from the Internet as well as _________ public interest," according to official news agency Xinhua. China’s proactive and ________ Internet police department will block sites that are contrary to public interest and are not “________ to social progress”. This extends to educational websites containing news such as Breaking News English.com, which was ________ earlier this year. The Ministry of Information said it will “standardize the management of…information” and allow only “healthy and ________ news” online.

China’s rapidly growing population of Internet users is the second largest in the world at 100 million, ________ only by the United States, which has 135 million. The Web has quickly emerged ___ ___ __________ and primary source of news from around the globe, which is _______ for alarm for the government. It now requires domestic news sites to only post news on current events and politics but did not __________ what kind of news is acceptable. The Associated Press reports the Chinese government: “encourages Internet use for education and business, [but] also keeps an extremely _____ _____ over online content, usually blocking material it deems ____________ or pornographic.” Chinese “netizens” must now register their websites and blogs as well as enter their official identity card numbers when visiting Internet cafes.

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on news censorship. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson.

3. CHINA WEBSITES: Visit some English language Chinese news websites. Write a report on your impressions. Show your reports to your partners in your next class. Did you all write about similar things?

4. LETTER: Write a letter to the head of China’s Ministry of Information. Tell him / her what you think of his / her decision to introduce more regulations to control the news available to Chinese citizens on the Internet. Offer advice on what to regulate. Read your letter to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all write about similar things?

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. T

b. F

c. T

d. T

e. F

f. F

g. T

h. T

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

imposed

introduced

b.

safeguard

protect

c.

proactive

enthusiastic

d.

bulging

expanding

e.

conducive

helpful

f.

surpassed

exceeded

g.

stipulate

specify

h.

rein

control

i.

subversive

inflammatory

j.

netizens

Internet users


PHRASE MATCH:

a.

imposed new

rules and regulations

b.

control the content put

out by news agencies

c.

safeguard

public interest

d.

China’s proactive and bulging

Internet police department

e.

standardize the management

of information

f.

surpassed only

by the United States

g.

primary source of news

from around the globe

h.

did not stipulate what

kind of news is acceptable

i.

keeps an extremely tight rein

over online content

j.

blocking material it

deems subversive or pornographic

WHOOPS:

China regulates news websites

China has imposed new rules and regulations on Internet news sites in an attempt to further control the content put out by news agencies and other news websites. Authorities say the new measures will "satisfy the public demand for receiving news and information from the Internet as well as safeguard public interest," according to official news agency Xinhua. China’s proactive and bulging Internet police department will block sites that are contrary to public interest and are not “conducive to social progress”. This extends to educational websites containing news such as Breaking News English.com, which was blocked earlier this year. The Ministry of Information said it will “standardize the management of…information” and allow only “healthy and civilized news” online.

China’s rapidly growing population of Internet users is the second largest in the world at 100 million, surpassed only by the United States, which has 135 million. The Web has quickly emerged as an influential and primary source of news from around the globe, which is cause for alarm for the government. It now requires domestic news sites to only post news on current events and politics but did not stipulate what kind of news is acceptable. The Associated Press reports the Chinese government: “encourages Internet use for education and business, [but] also keeps an extremely tight rein over online content, usually blocking material it deems subversive or pornographic.” Chinese “netizens” must now register their websites and blogs as well as enter their official identity card numbers when visiting Internet cafes.

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