Foreign media on China
Posted by Joel Martinsen on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 at 12:07 PM
An article in today's Daily Telegraph recapping the major problems that China has faced in 2008 leads with the following:
According to Yunnan-based blogger Hecaitou, these "intellectuals" belong to the China Committee of Chinese Aesthetics (中国汉语美学委员会), which revealed("chaos") to be 2008's word of the year after it garnered the most votes out of 2,937 total nominations.
Unfortunately for gullible readers, there's no such committee in China. Hecaitou's blog post cites a joke news agency and describes a ceremony in which "abbot Hecaitou of Dali's Tianlong Temple" inscribed the chosen character.
The joke is inspired by an annual ceremony at Japan's Kiyomizu Temple, where a monk wrote out the character("change") this year. Last year, Hecaitou chose ("rising prices"), and in 2006 he named (an obscenity) as the word of the year.
Ironically, Taiwan's United Daily News has just announced that 乱 beat out("cheat") and ("tragic") to become the word of the year. However, the character was chosen by a public survey, not an intellectual debate, and this is the first time the paper has chosen a "word of the year."
The Telegraph is in good company: Xinhua's Reference News got hoaxed not long ago by a spoof German news story about poor migrant bankers in China.
Update (2008.12.17): The framing for the article has been reworked to eliminate the reference to the character of the year. A screenshot of the original article is available above.
Update 3: A mea culpa by the story's author, who keeps a blog at the Telegraph.
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
China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
Books on China
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.
Front Page of the Day
A different newspaper every weekday
From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ 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.