Posted by Jeremy Goldkorn on Monday, May 23, 2005 at 3:50 PM
In the 1890s, a bitter newspaper circulation war erupted between Joseph Pulitzer's New York World and William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal. Hearst's paper became infamous for its jingoistic headlines egging the public on to support war against Cuba. Dubbed 'yellow journalism', Hearst's sensationalist style also included 'true crime' stories and other reports similar to what you find in today's British tabloids.
It seems that crafty, illegal publishers in China are taking a few lessons from old Hearst. On the left is the front page of 'Military News', a newspaper without masthead, contact phone number or any kind of publication licence (required by Chinese law). The paper was purchased on the Beijing subway for two yuan, which is relatively expensive, as most of the city's daily newspapers cost only half a yuan. The newspaper consists of only two sheets of low quality newsprint, folded into eight pages, but is padded with color supplement pages from another (cheaper) newspaper to make it seem better value. The front page headline screams: TAIWAN INDEPENDENCE WAR ARMED FORCES.
Most of the content of the paper is about war with Taiwan and the evil nature of supporters of Taiwan independence, which is of course always written enclosed in quote marks.
After gettting the reader's testosterone levels up with some jingoism on the front page, the inside of the newspaper is mostly girlie photos. The two stories below ate headlined: STAY WITH ME A NIGHT AND I'LL LOVE YOU FOR LIFE and I SUDDENLY TOOK HER HUSBAND.
The back page returns to the Taiwan theme, with an article headlined LIEN AND CHEN VISIT MAINLAND, LI DENGHUI GETS INSOMNIA.
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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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