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August 21, 2010

August in Chinese SF

The World Chinese-Language Science Fiction Research Workshop has released its August newsletter, which includes full results of the XINGYUN Prize, and news about several works of SF criticism:

Fantasy and Reality: A Cultural Study of Science Fiction Translation in Twentieth-Century China, published [in English] in June as part of the Fudan University College of Foreign Language and Literature Doctoral Thesis Series, examines how science fiction as a popular literary genre was translated and received. Author Jiang Qian has done innovative work on the history of science fiction translation, which has previously received little attention. She sums up the four waves of translation, performs case studies of five classic works, and explores the influence of translated science fiction on the development of China’s domestic science fiction.

The sexual dilemma of the Chinese woman

On Little Red Book, a series of photos by Han Junwei depicting the choices facing a Chinese women when it comes to choosing a man.

Riot police beat up Henan football fans

Photos and explanation of recent Chinese Internet reports of police beating up fans of the Henan Construction Football Club after their team lost yet another match at their home stadium.

August 20, 2010

Xinhuanet.com.cn IPO approved

Caijing reports:

Chinese government yesterday has approved the initial public offering of Xinhuanet.com.cn, the state-run website, one of the ten official websites in Chinese mainland that have been mulling plans to tap into stock market, Caijing learned.

Sun Zhijun, Vice Minister of the Propaganda Department, told reporters on the sidelines of a news conference on culture reform that besides Xinhuanet, People’s daily online is now under review by the department, while other two official websites including CCTV.com are preparing filing documents.

Other seven official websites include qianlong.com, enorth.com.cn, eastday.com, dzwww.com, zjol.com.cn, voc.com.cn and scol.com.cn.

The separation of business assets and non-business assets is an important element of the ongoing reform of our cultural system, Sun said.

While during the process, the differences between public welfare and business industries should be noted, he added, describing it as an issue “in principle.”

Take the Guangzhou Daily for example, he further explained, its content belong to the public welfare sector, and should be strictly distinguished from operational assets such as advertising and publishing.

Regarding the ten official news websites, who are redoubling their efforts to prepare for the IPO launchings, the assets concerned with content would also be strictly regulated and that related to public welfare should not be allowed to go public, Sun added.

Was Xinhua wrong about the Aksu explosion?

A police spokeswoman in the city seems to think so, reports Ming Pao, translated by the autonomous region blog:

Immediately after the explosion had been released by the state-run Xinhua news agency and injuries confirmed by a local hospital in Aksu, journalists from Hong Kong called the Aksu Police Office (gong’an ju) for further details. The spokeswoman denied any explosion had taken place: “Stop! I know what you’re trying to ask! This is a total fabrication! No such thing happened!” Then the journalist called again and mentioned the Xinhua report. The spokeswoman replied impatiently: “Even what Xinhua said is not necessarily true. All should be accorded with the Police Office. And what you said (about the explosion) is liable to legal obligations!”

Rock Paper Tiger: A novel


Lisa Brackmann has authored a novel about the Iraq war and living in Beijing. She talks to Danwei and gives permission for an excerpt.

India and China: A Himalayan rivalry

The Economist has a long feature looking at the border disputes on the China India border, current tensions and outlook for the future.

Junk food bonds

From The Wall Street Journal:

McDonald’s Thursday became the first nonfinancial foreign company to launch a yuan-denominated bond in Hong Kong, according to Standard Chartered PLC, the Asia-focused U.K. bank that underwrote the deal. The bank said Thursday that the fast-food giant was raising 200 million yuan ($29.5 million) with a three-year bond that will pay 3% annual interest.

Caijing continues proud tradition, without Hu Shuli

A post on China Media Project titled 'Caijing shines with Gansu disaster coverage' looks at magazine after the departure of rock star editor Hu Shuli and finds that the new editorial team is keeping alive the tradition of excellence started by Hu.

Tricycle bomb explosion kills 7 in Aksu, Xinjiang

Lily Kuo in the Los Angeles Times:

A man drove an electric tricycle packed with explosives into a crowd in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang on Thursday. The blast, in a region that saw massive ethnic riots last summer, killed seven people and injured 14.

Xinjiang government spokeswoman Hou Hanmin said a man was apprehended at the site of the explosion, which occurred outside the city of Aksu in the west-central part of the province, near China's border with Kyrgyzstan.

See also: Analysis at The New Dominion.

China's troubled waters - a podcast

The latest Sinica podcast is up:

This week, the Sinica gang takes a lively look at Beijing and Washington's maneuverings in China's troubled coastal waters. Appearing with Kaiser are regulars Jeremy Goldkorn, Gady Epstein, and Bill Bishop. Joining us as well is special guest Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, the North East Asia project director for the International Crisis Group. This is a podcast you do not want to miss.

SARFT: no ratings, censorship of 'low-taste products' to continue

Jonathan Landreth in The Hollywood Reporter:

Madame Zhao Shi, vice minister of the State Administration of Radio Film and Television, said at a news conference that China would not introduce film ratings despite industry pressure to allow a swelling middle class the right to choose its big screen entertainment...

“We will accelerate production of cultural products to contribute to a moderately comfortable society in keeping with the core values of our socialist society,” said Zhao...

...“Certain [Chinese] companies have created low-taste products to cater to and attract a greater share of the market,” Sun said. “This is because of the impact of external culture, and is something we need to focus on in the next stage of reform.”

Ho hum.

Perry Link's wishlist of leaks

Inspired by Wikileaks, China scholar Perry Link (now on Twitter @perrylink) has published a wish list of leaks from China's secret government archives

Chinese bloggers, both inside China and overseas, began listing key episodes in recent Chinese history that have remained shrouded in mystery and for which they would love to see archives opened...

August 19, 2010

Expulsion for one-night stands at Chongqing Normal University

ChinaHush translates news reports about morality clauses at two universities in southern China:

The phenomena of university students being mistresses of wealth men has becoming a growing social issue in China. Chongqing Normal University and Southwest Normal University are the first two Universities which started to include “being an escort (三陪 sex workers), a mistress (二奶 Ernai) and having one-night stands” into the school rules. Student with such bad behaviors are subject to expulsion. And South China Normal University also listed “messing around with opposite sex and having special relations with a married person (homewrecking)” into the new school rules as punishable behaviors.

China adds 15 new government departments

China Daily reports:

China on Tuesday reportedly added 15 government departments under the State Council's ministries into its latest offer to join the government procurement agreement (GPA) of the World Trade Organization (WTO), a move that may help push forward the country's ongoing negotiations with GPA members.

Hidden pictures

The China Daily runs a story on Eva Siao, the photographer:

This photograph, The Pigtail and the Open-backed Pants, captures the sharp contrasts of downtown Beijing in the early 1950s - the young and the old, the dark and the bright - opening a window on a China in transition.

But at that time, such a photo would never be approved by China's official Xinhua News Agency, where Eva Siao, a German Jewish photographer, worked on and off for a decade.

The people in the picture do not look happy. They do not exemplify the glory of New China that Xinhua wanted to promote.

August 18, 2010

China's economy: the Charlie Rose show with James Fallows and Stephen Roach

Charlie Rose discusses China's economy with James Fallows of The Atlantic Monthly and Stephen Roach, senior executive with Morgan Stanley.

Pffft: China discovers World Expo is no Olympics

Maura Cunningham and Jeffrey Wasserstrom:

[F]or all the razzle-dazzle, the Chinese government must feel some disappointment that this “second Olympics” is barely registering in world opinion.

China tests first space station

China Daily / Xinhua:

China has finished construction of its first module of unmanned space station, Tiangong-1, and it is testing its electronic, mechanical and thermal properties, a military source said Tuesday.

The 8.5-tonne Tiangong-1 will be put into preset orbit in 2011, the source added.

The space module is expected to carry out China's first space docking, with the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft, which will be launched in the second half of 2011 after Tiangong-1.

August 17, 2010

The fight against single-use chopsticks

At the LA Times, Daniel K. Gardner discusses a recent Ministry of Commerce directive to cut down on the use of disposable chopsticks:

First, while we in the West don't give much thought to a chopstick "industry," in China, where 100,000 people in more than 300 plants are employed in the manufacture of the wooden utensils, it's most definitely a flourishing enterprise. And just as jobs trump environmental issues in the West (think the coal, oil and logging industries), the argument that 100,000 jobs are at stake is a refrain that carries considerable weight. As Lian Guang, president of the Wooden Chopsticks Trade Assn., told the China Daily in 2009, "The chopstick industry is making a great contribution by creating jobs for poor people in the forestry regions," adding that melamine-resin chopsticks are hardly a sanitary substitute with their "high formaldehyde content." His mention of melamine resin is an effective touch, I admit.

Privileged refugees

The Telegraph's Peter Foster on bringing a family to Beijing:

It was at a typically chaotic breakfast time a few weeks back when I found myself asking, not for the first time: why on earth we had moved to China? Anyone with young children – we have a litter of three aged between two and five – will be familiar with the farmyard scene: the smallest, ignored as ever, was yelling for her “mulk”, while her elder sister was throwing a magnificently pointless tantrum over the colour of the plastic spoon she’d been allocated for her Weetabix.

Is China developing its military?

From CNN:

The Chinese military continues to expand its reach and capabilities beyond its immediate geographical area, a new report from the U.S. Department of Defense concludes.

The report, an annual assessment sent to Congress, notes that some of those capabilities have been positive, like humanitarian and anti-piracy efforts, but others are meant to give China "extended-range power projection."

19 killed in fireworks factory explosion in Heilongjiang

From Xinhua:

The death toll from Monday's explosion at a fireworks factory in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province has climbed to 19, with five missing and another 153 injured, local authorities said Tuesday.

China is world's second largest economy

Bloomberg reports:

China surpassed Japan as the world’s second-largest economy last quarter, capping the nation’s three- decade rise from Communist isolation to emerging superpower.

Japan’s nominal gross domestic product for the second quarter totaled $1.288 trillion, less than China’s $1.337 trillion, the Japanese Cabinet Office said today. Japan remained bigger in the first half of 2010, the government agency said. Japan’s annual GDP is $5.07 trillion, while China’s is more than $4.9 trillion.

August 16, 2010

State Security asks Yu Jie about his Twitter followers

China Media Project translates some of an article by Chinese dissident writer Yu Jie (余杰) that describes a recent encounter with State Security police.Yu Jie's book China’s Best Actor: Wen Jiabao has just been published in Hong Kong. Excerpt:

State Security Zhu said, so lately you’ve been quite active on Twitter, but it seems that you’re not listed too high up in terms of followers.

Is mercy coming to China?

In The Washington Post by John Kamm, director of the Dui Hua Foundation (no panda hugger):

In a surprising response to public protests, the Chinese government recently prohibited police from publicly shaming criminal suspects through such devices as parades, used most controversially for parades of prostitutes. This is the latest in a series of developments that portend a more humane justice system, most notably in the area of capital punishment.

The Guo Degang affair, and foreign apologists - a podcast

The latest Sinica podcast with Kaiser Kuo hosting a discussion with Gady Epstein, Will Moss, David Moser and Danwei's Jeremy Goldkorn about join Kaiser to talk about two topics: The Guo Degang affair and foreign apologists for China.

Even the editor of The Beijing News has no Beijing residence permit

Keith B. Richburg in The Washington Post on the intractable problem of residence permits or "hukou" problem:

Wang Aijun is the editor of The Beijing News, one of China's most influential private daily newspapers. Yet here in the capital, Wang said, he often feels like a second-class citizen.

He pays Beijing taxes, but his teenage son is not allowed to attend a Beijing public high school. To install a telephone or an Internet line, he must pay in advance. He is charged more for a ticket to some city parks. He doesn't qualify for a subsidized apartment. He cannot enroll his family in the city's public health-insurance program.

The reason for the discrimination? Despite having lived and worked in Beijing for seven years, Wang still does not have that most sought-after of commodities: a Beijing "hukou."