Posted by Joel Martinsen on Thursday, March 10, 2005 at 11:50 PM
No, it's not a break during filming of the latest costume drama. This is Mr. Aisin Gioro Zhoudi (爱新觉罗·州迪), who claims to be a distant relative of Puyi, the last emperor of China. By itself this claim is nothing unusual; the former imperial Aisin Gioro clan was large, and its members are still around, mostly having changed their surnames. They occasionally surface in the media — Puyi's nephew Yulan, a Chinese teacher in Beijing, was recently profiled in the Beijng Youth Daily, for example.
Zhoudi is notable for the unusual manner in which he has chosen to express his heritage. In his home full of imperial yellow accoutrements he has set up a memorial to Qing dynasty patriarch Nurhaci. In 2002 he decided the time was right to go public, and he started growing out his hair and wearing yellow gowns. It's a testament to the changing times that he is able to walk the streets unaccosted in a Manchu queue and imperial dress, although his wife would not allow their son to wear traditional clothing to school.
Having spent time living in both Taiwan and Hong Kong, he has worked as a bus driver and fortune-teller, but now he seems to be spending most of his time at home in Guangzhou. He's in the news this week for his willingness to undergo a DNA test to prove his link to the royal family, although it does not seem that many people are doubting him. Puren, the younger brother of the last emperor, met with him last year and advised him to stop trying to make himself special.
Like his elder relative Henry Puyi, Zhoudi has an English name: Dick. The Information Times reports that to his foreign friends he is affectionately known as "Yellow Dick".
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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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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.