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October 1, 2010

Translating for the masses


Get a group of film and book translators together and the conversation will inevitably be punctuated by complaints about poor rates, unreasonable deadlines, and boneheaded editorial decisions. So why do people do it?

The People's Republic of China turns 61

China Daily has photos from Xinhua of today's flag-raising ceremony.

Beijing cops deny targeting gays

The Global Times:

Beijing police denied Wednesday that the raid on a popular gathering place for gay men near Mudanyuan in Haidian district was directed against homosexuals. Witnesses said hundreds of gay men were rounded up by police on Sunday night.

"The action didn't target any special group," said Zi Xiangdong, the publicity director of the Beijing Public Security Bureau. "It was indeed a normal public security inspection."

September 30, 2010

The murky evolution of the Chinese education system

Now that the furor over the ejection of Lu Xun has subsided, Chengdu Living takes a look at what's really going on with the changes to China's school textbooks.

The ash cloud over China

At China Dialogue, Meng Si examines a Greenpeace report on fly ash.

Some rich give anonymously at Buffet and Gates dinner

Ben Blanchard reports for Reuters.

What are rare earths and why does China control their supply?

Bloomberg has an extensive report on rare earth elements and how China came to control most of the world's supply.

The article is titled 'Pentagon losing control of bombs to China neodymium monopoly' but it does a good job of explaining rare earths and their industrial applications.

See also Wikipedia.

September 29, 2010

The $62-billion South-North Water Diversion

At The Chicago Tribune, Barbara Demick has a good summary of the status of and controversies surrounding the South-North Water Diversion Project that intends to pipe water from China's wet south to the parched northern areas.

China starts to resume export of minerals to Japan

AFP via France24:

Beijing had resumed customs procedures allowing for the export to Japan of the minerals, which are used in a range of high-tech devices, reported the Asahi Shimbun daily and Kyodo News agency.

Fei Mu, Lianhua, and Song of China

The Chinese Mirror looks at Fei Mu's earliest surviving work, Song of China, a 1935 domestic drama that became the first Chinese film exhibited commercially in the US, albeit in a somewhat distorted version:

While the usual complaint about English subtitles is poor grammar and erroneous vocabulary, "Song of China" has a different problem: whoever did them had a mastery of English grammar, but must have been a frustrated poet, and the subtitles perpetuate the Western myth that Chinese, even common people, only speak in flowery complex sentences. For example, at one point the intertitles relate the passage of time, in English, as:

"Seven times the pear tree has come into blossom"

The actual Chinese intertitle: "Seven years later"

Later on, when the daughter consults her sister-in-law as to what she should do, given her parents' disapproval of the man she loves, she is told that parental consent is a "timeworn tradition," and she should "follow her heart." The mother's reaction on hearing this is rendered in English as:

"The words of your sister-in-law are like seeds of the thornbush sown in the darkness"

But the Chinese says: [her words] are "very wicked, like a noxious weed"

What remains of Kashgar's old city?

Far West China presents photographs of Kashgar's urban makeover:

An interactive version of this map, created using Google Earth, is also available for download for those who need detailed information. The fact that Google Earth still shows all of the Old City intact indicates that they haven’t updated their satellite photos of Kashgar since before 2009.

Most of the buildings that face the main streets and places like the Id Kah Mosque have remained untouched, but behind these neighborhoods others are being hollowed out. Currently almost half of the Old City has been razed with more yet to be completed.

Academic gangster Xiao Chuanguo - a chronology by Fang Zhouzi

Anti academic fraud crusader Fang Zhouzi has published a time line of his interactions with Xiao Chuanguo, a urologist who developed a controversial procedure to restore bladder control to patients with spinal chord conditions. Fang Zhouzi accused Xiao of misrepresenting his academic credentials and fabricating data about the procedure.

Xiao and Fang have been in the news because Xiao hired thugs to beat up Fang Zhouzi earlier in September.

September 28, 2010

Gome shareholders reject jailed founder's proposal to remove chairman

A proposal by Huang Guangyu, the founder of electronics retail chain Gome who is currently beginning a 14-year sentence for bribery and insider trading, to replace current chairman Chen Xiao was rejected by a narrow margin at a special shareholders meeting in Hong Kong this afternoon, Bloomberg reports.

Xinhua is also carrying the story.

PR for the PRC

A transcript typist for the 2008 Beijing Olympics describes her experiences for n+1 magazine:

The first conference I attended concerned the logistics of the Olympic Village. I typed the sentence, “The overall mission of the Olympic Village’s operation team is to offer adequate reception services and make the Olympic Village a safe, harmonious, comfortable and convenient home for all the athletes, officials and other local residents.” I sat through speeches titled “More About the Co-Host Cities” and “Reception Service for Tourists.” I accompanied the reporters on government-led tours of the field-hockey grounds and farming greenhouses, and I peeked into a wrestling training facility where two judo sparring partners were locked in an embrace, looking like teenage lovers frozen in a petrifaction of sexuality. At one tour—as we were led through training facilities to “introduce reporters to China’s athletes,” the brick pathways between the facilities were being literally built (bricks put on top of mud) as we walked through.

Tencent: best shareholder returns of companies globally 2005-2009

Shen Hong on The Wall Street Journal:

[A] report from Boston Consulting Group, sampled a total of 712 companies between 2005 and 2009 and compared them on the basis of so-called “total shareholder return” (TSR), a measure that combines capital gains with cash payouts via dividends, share buybacks or debt payments...

Shenzhen-based Internet company Tencent Holdings (TCTZF) topped the list with a stunning total shareholder return rate of 106.3% over the five-year study period...

...Apart from Korea’s OCI Chemical Corp. and Indonesia’s Perusahaan Gas Negara, the rest of the top ten were all from Greater China, including instant noodles producer Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holding Corp. and rice wine maker Kweichow Moutai, as well as machinery firms Sany Heavy Industry, Changsha Zoomlion Heavy Industry and TBEA. The lowest TSR among these ten companies was 61.7%, well above the 6.6% annual average among the 712 firms sampled.

The report, titled “Threading the Needle: Value Creation In A Low-Growth Economy,” noted

Police investigate Beijing company that runs black jails

From The China Daily:

Police in the capital city are investigating a security service company that reportedly earns commissions for helping local governments intercept and lock up petitioners in "black jails", according to media reports.

Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau officials have detained Zhang Jun, chairman of Anyuanding Security Service Company, and Zhang Jie, general manager of the company, for "illegally detaining people and illegal business operation", the Southern Metropolis Daily reported on Saturday.

The story was first reported by the Southern Metropolis Daily.

September 27, 2010

Imitation, creativity and authenticity in contemporary Chinese literature

At the MCLC Resource Center, Krista Van Fleit Hang reviews Lena Henningsen's Copyright Matters: Imitation, Creativity and Authenticity in Contemporary Chinese Literature:

Lena Henningsen's study of copyright and plagiarism provides a window into contemporary Chinese popular culture, informing her readers of the most current trends in commercial Chinese literature. This book combines literary analysis with sociological, legal, and economic data on the often decried problem of piracy in China, generating fresh readings of contemporary Chinese literary culture in the twenty-first century. Indeed, Henningsen's exploration into intellectual property, piracy, and creativity leads to a reassessment of what it means to compose literature.

Why China bears will not die

Gady Epstein has a post on the Forbes blog about China bears -- people like Jim Chanos, Andy Xie, Michael Pettis and Gordon Chang who regularly predict gloom and doom for the Chinese economy.

The post links to a Sinica podcast featuring Kaiser Kuo, Arthur Kroeber, Bill Bishop and Epstein himself discussing the the ursine members of the China watching community.

Trying to make money from music festivals

Nick Frisch writes about it for Forbes blog:

Then there's the bland copy-cat corporatism that is overtaking festivals as it has recorded music, movies and literature. Many local jurisdictions around major cities hold various events to attract visitors and raise their town's profile. Recently, some have settled on hastily constructed stages, blaring lights and mediocre bands to do the trick. Dozens of such "festivals" now clutter the calendar, few of them distinct in concept or execution.

Thirty years of China's one-child policy

Malcolm Moore reports for The Telegraph.

China Daily has a more upbeat article.

September 26, 2010

No more foreign aid for China?

The Economic Times:

China says it's still a developing country in need of aid, while some critics argue that the money should go to poorer countries in Africa and elsewhere.

Petition urges Nobel for jailed writer Liu Xiaobo

From the New York Times:

In a move sure to irk the Chinese government, a group of 300 scholars, lawyers, factory workers and retired government officials have signed a petition calling on the Nobel Peace Prize committee to award this year’s prize to Liu Xiaobo, an imprisoned writer who has spent much of his life calling for democratic reform in China.

Government releases white paper on human rights, upholds "Internet freedom"


The Chinese government Sunday released a white paper on human rights in China in 2009, highlighting the role of Internet freedom and the country's efforts in safeguarding citizens' legitimate civil and political rights.

The full text of the white paper (English version) is here.

1.13 billion phone users in China

Some numbers from The China Daily:

China's phone subscribers rose to 1.13 billion by the end of August, said Yang Xueshan, vice minister of industry and information technology, on Saturday...

... according to the ministry, the country's phone users stood at 1.11 billion by the end of June, with 805 million mobile phone users and 305 fix-line phone users.

China's Internet users reached 420 million by the end of June, with the Internet penetration rate hitting 31.8 percent, said Yang.