If you’re looking for a source of fresh, varied reading materials in Chinese, have a look at 猫扑网 (MOP). It’s a little bit like a Chinese Reddit, though perhaps not as dynamic. It’s a huge, sprawling bulletin board with tons and tons of user-generated content.
As of 2012, MOP has around 30 million users. That means that there’s very likely to be content that interests you being added every day (so long as you’re not interested in subverting state power, of course).
This is a bit of a godsend for me, as I know that regular reading is a fantastic way to really get into a language, but I struggle to find stuff that I like in Chinese.
Lots of categories
There are all sorts of boards on MOP, serving up posts on topics from comics to fine food. There are also specific boards for China’s major cities, so you can track down some interesting local content if you’re lucky enough to be living in China.
I particularly like the 情感 (emotion) board, as it’s usually got a few fun posts along the lines of 女人远离10种“剩菜男” (“10 kinds of ‘leftover guys’ that women stay well clear of”). It’s not exactly reliable psychology research, but it makes for some enjoyable Chinese reading, which is exactly what I’m after here.
MOP is often quite funny
Another thing I like about MOP is that posters can be quite witty, especially in the comments. A lot of the content isn’t particularly serious, and there’s usually some playful banter to be found, with people mocking each other and current online trends.
There are quite a lot of in-jokes, but you can usually cotton on to these quite quickly if you frequent the site, making the experience even more worthwhile. Also, if you read ChinaSMACK, you’ll find you’re already familiar with a lot of the insider stuff (ChinaSMACK sources a lot of its material from MOP).
It covers current events
Another reason to read MOP is that it’s usually quick to cover and react to current events in China. It’s a great source of commentary and opinion (though the quality varies, inevitably) on popular topics in China. I wouldn’t describe it as authoritative political analysis, but it is interesting to read what Chinese netizens have to say about the world.
Besides that, MOP is often the origin of Chinese Internet memes and movements. If you’re like me, then you love this kind of stuff, so MOP is a enjoyable way to spend time in itself, besides being good for your Chinese.
You can comment too
Finally, it’s very easy to get involved with MOP yourself. You can comment on other people’s content, and post your own. As far as I know, there’s very little material written by foreigners, but see how you get on! Just remember to stay on the safe side of political controversy.