Danwei Picks

Stories of a changing Beijing

Danwei Picks is a daily digest of the "From the Web" links found on the Danwei homepage. A feed for the links as they are posted throughout the day is available at Feedsky (in China) or Feedburner (outside China).

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Cranes on the CCTV building (photo by rudenoon)

Review of 'Last Days of Old Beijing': Jeffrey Wasserstrom writing in Newsweek:

Michael Meyer's impressive new book, 'The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed' goes a long way toward illuminating some of the scenes that have come to symbolize early-21st-century China, at least before the unrest in Tibet and the Sichuan earthquake. They include wrecking balls knocking down beloved small businesses; schoolchildren dragging their migrant-worker parents, who have never been in a restaurant, into a KFC; human-powered vehicles in a land of high-rises, evoked by the canopied pedicab set against construction cranes...


Christian Evangelism and the Olympics: At The Huffington Post, Monroe Price writes about American evangelical Christians, and what they have been saying about missionary activities in China, of which the government takes a rather dim view.


Rules for post quake construction: From The China Daily:

China on Monday promulgated the regulation on reconstruction after the May 12 Wenchuan earthquake. It was the first of its kind in the country, specially for a single massive quake, which led the reconstruction work into a legal orbit.

Premier Wen Jiabao on Sunday signed a State Council order to make it effective. Xinhua was authorized to publish the regulation that became effective on Monday.


The agent in economy: Adam at Shanghai Scrap reports a helpful hint he received from the flight attendant as his plane was approaching Beijing Airport:

"It is illegal to take photos over China, or in Chinese airports."


Blogger suggests temperance, accused of brown-nosing: Yu Qiuyu blogs that the western media is showing its anti-China stance by reporting on complaints about the earthquake while the rescue effort is ongoing (translated by ESWN). At Global Voices Online, John Kennedy translates some online reactions:

I've seen shameless, but I've never seen this shameless. People kiss butt, but that's to stay on the boss' good side. Yu Qiuyu this super butt-kisser extraordinaire, like your average race traitor from back in the day, has squeezed out a few alligator tears and shouted to the people: knock it off, the imperial army still means well for you.


Unity and natural disasters: Chris at the bezdomny ex patria blog looks at an article in the latest issue of Chinese National Geographic that discusses the impact of disasters on national unity.

Every kind of natural disaster can be found in the oracle bones of the Yin ruins, such as: droughts, floods, earthquakes, windstorms, thunder storms, locust plagues, also solar eclipses and lunar eclipses, because the Shang people also saw these astronomical phenomena as natural disasters. If we say that the oracle bone inscriptions are the source of the Chinese people's characters, then we can say that anxiety about natural disasters is one of the motive forces behind the coming into being of Chinese characters.


A conversation with Xujun Eberlein: The Other Lisa interviews Xujun Eberlein about her new story collection, Apologies Forthcoming:

It also occurs to me that few westerners know the subtleties and nuance surrounding the participating parties in the CR. I once did an informal poll among writers I workshop with on what they thought of the Red Guards, and the answers were pretty much uniform with the representative one being "pretty much the same as the Hitler Youth." This is quite baffling and at the same time very interesting. As we know (I'm aware of the pitfall of generalization) Americans hate the communist government of China; but did they know the biggest thing the Red Guards did was to break China's state apparatus? Should a communist hater applaud or condemn that? There is just no simple black-and-white answer.

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+ Culture and corporate propaganda in Soho Xiaobao (2007.11): Mid-2007 issues of Soho Xiaobao (SOHO小报), illustrating the complicated identity of in-house magazines run by real estate companies.
+ Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship (2010.03): Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship at an officially sanctioned meeting in Shenzhen.
+ Crowd-sourced cheating on the 2010 gaokao (2010.06): A student in Sichuan seeks help with the ancient Chinese section of this year's college entrance exam -- while the test is going on!
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