Posted by Joel Martinsen on Friday, July 9, 2010 at 6:20 PM
Smack in the middle of the front page of Hangzhou's Metropolitan Express on July 8 was the headline: Summer's here. Should you cut off your foreskin? Next to the headline was the image shown above, of circumcision demonstrated on a banana.
According to the newspaper, the local children's hospital is reporting that it is performing the procedure on seventy to eighty children every day:
The three-page feature inside the paper reads like an information pamphlet from the Children's Hospital of Zhejiang University College of Medicine (浙江大学医学院附属儿童医院, popularly known as Provincial Child Care, 省儿保).
Metropolitan Express, July 8, 2010
It's got testimonials from a father who suffered foreskin discomfort as a child, a mother who chose to put her young son through the ordeal because her 12-year-old nephew got all swollen "down there" because he was too embarrassed to tell anyone, and the hospital's Director of Urology, who recommends circumcision for males aged anywhere from three weeks to their mid-twenties (if necessary, of course).
Then there are the health benefits of circumcision: a reduced risk of HIV infection and lower rates of penile and cervical cancer (the last by a 20% reduction in HPV infection rates).
And finally, there's the issue of keeping pace with the international community:
As for the possible impact on sensation and sexual performance, the article reports that experts disagree. However, says Xu Shan, "If you have a problem, the earlier you go to the hospital, the better. Otherwise, it will definitely affect sexual function."
At the end there's a FAQ that answers the most pressing question:
Baby: "Why isn't it growing?" Child: "What a pain!"
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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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+ 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.