Posted by Joel Martinsen on Friday, July 3, 2009 at 10:52 PM
Academic Criticism (学术批评网) is a useful website founded in 2001 by Yang Yusheng (杨玉圣), a historian and critic.
The website aggregates commentary by and about academics: newspaper op-eds, book reviews, forewords to anthologies, and other similar material. It's a way to find a wide variety of opinion in one convenient place.
Yang is also known as an "academic janitor" who takes out the trash of scholarly dishonesty and academic malpractice, including the plagiarism cases that crop up so frequently nowadays.
Did he make some enemies? Academic Criticism used to be located at acriticism.com, but late last month, it was the target of a DDOS attack that left the website paralyzed, forcing it to move to criticism.cn.
Sayre's Law says that academic politics are so vicious because the stakes are so low, but in many of these cases, the stakes are quite high indeed. A recent letter posted to the site demanded the resignation of Lu Jierong, a professor at Liaoning University who was listed as coauthor of a student's paper that later turned out to be plagiarized. And although faculty and administration frequently resist taking action against plagiarizing professors, occasionally one will be dismissed in disgrace.
Earlier this year a blogger in China was stabbed by someone who took offense at the charges one post leveled against a friend of his. Who's to say an aggrieved academic wouldn't hire a botnet to take down an unfriendly website?
Related only by the topic of website inaccessibility, Danwei's server in Texas has been generally unreachable from mainland China since around 4pm Friday afternoon. A targeted block? An unfortunate side effect of recent upgrades made to improve the efficiency of filtering unwholesome material? A giant mass hallucination?
It's impossible to tell at this point. So spend the weekend outside and we'll see if we can't get things turned around by Monday.
Update (2009.07.04): Well, a new IP address has made the server reachable again, but the connection invariably gets reset. Not the best possible situation to be in, I'm afraid.
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.