Posted by Jeremy Goldkorn on Monday, February 2, 2009 at 6:06 PM
In the last few months, the word "shanzhai" (山寨) has lept from obscurity to become one of the most common buzz words on the Chinese Internet and the subject of many blog posts and articles in the Western media.
Literally meaning "fortified mountain village", the word's connotations of being outside the law led to its use to describe pirate products, knock-offs and home-made imitations. Although "shanzhai" usually connotes low quality, the word is also used favorably to describe a certain rebellious and creative spirit.
Over Spring Festival, your correspondent stumbled on a village in Huairou County, Beijing called "Heishanzhai" or Black Shanzhai. The village has a donkey meat factory (billboard pictured) where you can buy Black Shanzhai Donkey Meat.
Links and Sources
Jobs in China
Henry on The Eurasian Face
Caroline W on Big in China
Michael on Julia Lovell on translating Lu Xun's complete fiction: "His is an angry, searing vision of China"
Brandon K. on Clueless academic takes on popular fantasy novels
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The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
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+ Korean history doesn't fly on Chinese TV screens (2007.09): SARFT puts the kibbosh on Korean historical dramas.
+ Religion and government in an uneasy mix (2008.03): Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊) article from October, 2007, on government influence on religious practice in Tibet.
+ David Moser on Mao impersonators (2004.10): I first became aware of this phenomenon in 1992 when I turned on a Beijing TV variety show and was jolted by the sight of "Mao Zedong" and "Zhou Enlai" playing a game of ping pong. They both gave short, rousing speeches, and then were reverently interviewed by the emcee, who thanked them profusely for taking time off from their governmental duties to appear on the show.