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October 31, 2010

Why Expo 2010 mattered

At Shanghai Scrap, Adam Minter beings to wrap up the Shanghai Expo with a defense of its significance:

If you believe the official figures, Expo 2010 was visited by more than 70 million people, many millions of whom waited in long ticket lines, outside of the gates, in the heat of July and August (to be sure, quite a few visitors also received their tickets for free), for the chance to wait in long lines within the Expo grounds. The obvious question is: what was the appeal? The less obvious question is: why didn’t the foreign media probe this question? More precisely, rather than ignore the phenomenon, why didn’t anyone pause to ask what was it about contemporary China that drove so many people to do something that most foreigners – especially foreign reporters who are lock-step disdainful of crowds and mass events enjoyed by Chinese – had no interest in doing?

October 30, 2010

Ai Weiwei on "My dad is Li Gang"

The father and brother of Chen Xiaofeng (陈晓凤), who died after being hit by a car driven by Li Qiming on the Hebei University campus, were interviewed by Wen Tao and Zhao Zhao for a video released by Ai Weiwei's team.

ETS flubs the October GREs in China

The Absurdity, Allegory and China blog reports that all participants in the October GRE exam have been notified that their scores have been canceled due to the use of an outdated version of the test.

A 5,000-RMB miracle pill

The cure-all is marketed by the World Environmental Protection Association (世界环保协会), which offers deep discounts to consumers who buy into its pyramid scheme.

October 29, 2010

China billionaire gets housing subsidy

From AFP:

Internet mogul Ma Huateng is number nine on Forbes magazine's list of the richest people in China, with a fortune of 4.4 billion dollars. But he gets 450 dollars a month in official housing subsidies.

Is China ready for fine foreign vino?

David Gauvey Herbert at Foreign Policy takes a look at China's emerging wine drinking population:

Eventually a middle-aged man and his teenage son sidle up to the bar to drink the complimentary wine included with admission. Luan Zhong, a 42-year-old policeman, says he began drinking cheap Chinese wines as a teenager. But watching Western movies and TV shows got him to trade in his tumbler for a proper wine glass and start drinking slower. He savors the last of his free glass of Chilean cabernet sauvignon as his son looks on with pride...

Liang Congjie, environmental NGO pioneer, dies in Beijing


Liang Congjie, who founded China's first environmental non-governmental organization, has died of complications from a lung infection, his group Friends of Nature said on Friday. He was 78.

Fingerprints required for a mandatory athletic program

Chinese students need to do more exercise. To make sure they don't cheat, 100 universities across the country are implementing a fingerprint verification system for a long-distance running program, the China Daily reports:

Citing an example, she said a student at Shenzhen University helped his classmates cheat on the school's long-distance running program before the fingerprint scanner was initially introduced on a trial basis.

Since the new system was adopted by the city to manage attendance, 89,000 students completed the long-distance running program over the last winter semester without teachers' supervision, she said.

The census and migrant workers

Dexter Roberts in BusinessWeek:

On Nov. 1, more than 6 million government workers will go door-to-door in China asking residents to fill out census questionnaires...

...The most daunting challenge will be getting accurate numbers for migrant workers, the uprooted rural Chinese who move ceaselessly between village and city looking for work. Estimates of the migrant population range from 140 million to well over 200 million. With no fixed abode and often fearful of authorities (the household registration system restricts where people can legally live and work), these Chinese have little incentive to oblige the authorities.

Special measures will be needed, says Feng Nailin, vice-director of the census effort. They include public promises of no retaliation against those who have not registered their residence properly.

Hillary Clinton: Don't depend on Chinese rare earths

Daniel Dombey in The Financial Times:

Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, has called for the US and its partners to reduce their dependence on China’s production of so-called rare earths, in some of the most forthright comments on the topic by a senior American official.

But she welcomed a statement by Beijing on Thursday that it would not use its sway over the market as a bargaining tool with other economies.

Master of the leaf: Preserving China's traditional music

An article and radio piece by Louisa Lim for NPR on obscure musical traditions in China:

On a chilly Beijing afternoon, musician Guo Yong is rooting through some bushes, choosing an instrument. He is a master of the common or garden leaf. Picking an average leaf and flicking it to check its elasticity, he puts it up to his mouth and blows against the surface, mimicking birdsong.

This skill catapulted the classically trained composer onto the stage of Beijing's egg-shaped National Theatre. He's among a number of ethnic minority musicians who are working together with Chinese pop singer Dadawa to save dying musical traditions from extinction.

October 28, 2010

International tattoo festival in Beijing 2010

A gallery of photos taken in Beijing's first international tattoo festival held from October 15th to 17th

Tough sentence made Liu an obvious choice

From Guardian:

China's decision to jail dissident Liu Xiaobo for 11 years convinced the Nobel committee to award him this year's peace prize, according to one of the judges.

What is peace if a citizen has no free access to political discourse

At the China Beat, Wang Chaohua describes Liu Xiaobo's work with Charter 08 and with the Tiananmen Mothers:

Some people may not agree completely with the charter’s formulation (like me); and they may decline to sign it on these grounds (unlike me). My signing is a political decision based on assessment of the entire situation, not merely on the text itself. One key factor for me is that the charter cannot be seen freely, let alone debated, inside China. And another, no less important factor is this is the least I can still do to demand political participation for ordinary Chinese people — no organization of whatever sort, just the individual, the citizen her- or himself. Unfortunately, the Party could not allow this minimal demand of civil rights outside its control.

A perfect bomb

At n+1, Nick Holdstock writes about meeting participants in the Urumqi riots of July, 2009:

“When I come to the Square, many are already there. Because July 5 was Sunday, so they come early. When the police see many people gather, they try to separate them. A policeman knock a girl’s breast, so others began to shout at him and other policemen come and order them back. The police took pictures and videos, they act violently, shout at all people, arrest about thirty. Then more and more people come. I join them and we increased soon to more than 1,000. I will show you.”

From twenty stories up, we watched a crowd of thousands of protestors. They blocked one side of the street, and would no doubt have spilled onto the other had a fence not partitioned the road. Their whistles were loud and echoing. No police were in sight.

Hillary Clinton adds last-minute stop in Hainan on Asian tour

The China Daily

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has added a last-minute stop in Hainan province to her 13-day Asia-Pacific tour, the Foreign Ministry confirmed on Wednesday, after the US State Department announced the news earlier.

She is scheduled to meet State Councilor Dai Bingguo on Saturday, and they are expected to discuss economic issues ahead of next month's Group of 20 summit in Seoul and the expected visit to the US of President Hu Jintao early next year, the US State Department said.

Wahaha's Zong Qinghou heads new Forbes rich list

Forbes has released its latest rich list for China. Food and beverage giant Wahaha Group's CEO is at the top, with a personal fortune of USD 8 billion. Baidu's chief Robin Li is at number two with 7.2 billion.

October 27, 2010

What happened to the men who built China?

mig wor.jpg

Malcolm Moore investigates the fate of a generation of migrant workers, the men who toiled for tiny wages in the 1980s and 90s to build the urban Chinese skylines we see today.

Chongqing standardizes English campaign language

Chongqing has issued a list of standard English translations for terms involved in its anti-corruption crackdown and associated social ethics campaign:


  Five-Chongqing Programme: Livable Chongqing, Traffic-Smooth Chongqing, Forest Chongqing, Safe Chongqing, Healthy Chongqing


  Singing revolutionary songs, Reading classic books, Telling stories, Spreading mottos


  Liangjiang New Area


  Crime crackdown


  Low-renting public housing


  One-hour economic circle and “two wings”(Northeast and Southeast of Chongqing)


  Traffic and patrol police

Q&A with novelist Chris Taylor

Chris Taylor, veteran Asia-based writer and journalist, talks to Danwei about his Harvest Season, his debut novel.

Wild leopard cats of Beijing

An eye-witness report from experienced bird and game spotter Brian Ivon Jones, who saw a leopard cat on Saturday October 11, 2010 in Yanqing, Beijing.

Apple launches China app store

From The Wall Street Journal:

Apple Inc. announced Tuesday that it launched an online store and a simplified-Chinese version of its App Store for customers in China, the latest move in an aggressive expansion by the company after years of neglecting the market.

China bashing is for losers

By Shikha Dalmia:

"Every election needs a foreign villain, and with the public ODed on the A-rab threat, our political class has turned its sights further East. And, truth be told, China’s autocracy is not helping itself by choosing this moment to halt shipments of rare metals used in wind mills, solar panels and the like. Still, slashing trade with China will do as much to stimulate America’s moribund economy as a bitch in heat would to stimulate my neutered dog’s libido."

October 26, 2010

SARFT Internet official investigated for bribes

Yang Peihong is under investigation, Caixin reports:

A director of the Internet Department of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) is currently under police investigation for alleged corruption, Caixin learned from sources close to the situation.

Police arrest cop's son after hit-and-run kills student

AFP's article on the subject is headlined Web campaign nabs China hit-and-run suspect. This is how The Global Times reported it:

Police arrested Li Qiming, the son of a police official who tried to drive away after he killed a female college student on the Hebei University campus, the spokesman of Baoding Public Security Bureau said late Sunday.

Li, son of a high-ranking public security official in Baoding, North China's Hebei Province, struck two students on the campus leaving one dead and another injured.

Li kept on driving his Volkswagen after the fatal accident on October 16.

When he was stopped by campus security guards, he shouted, "Look at how my car is scraped! Li Gang is my father," the Beijing-based China Economic Times reported Monday citing a witness.

He and his father became unwilling media personalities after the accident. Police also reported that the driver was drunk at the time and was fully responsible for causing the accident.

October 25, 2010

China pulls out of Tokyo Film Festival

The Global Times reports on the decision, announced yesterday by delegation head Jiang Ping:

Jiang, also deputy director-general of the Film Bureau of the State Administration of Radio, Film and TV (SARFT), told reporters, "We protested against the organizers introducing the two delegations as 'China and Taiwan.' And our request to introduce Taiwan as "Chinese Taipei or China's Taiwan" was rejected by the organizers."

It is regretful that the Chinese delegation has decided to pull out of festival-related events because the organizers covertly violated the One-China Policy, Jiang said.

"It has nothing to do with our Taiwan compatriots. It is the fault of the Tokyo organizers," he said.

Angel Girl pop group girls in Japan defend China's claim to Diaoyu islands


"Angel girl" is a new Japanese music group. Its three members are Chinese-born (Amy is from Beijing, Angela is from Changsha and Anna is from Taiwan). At present, the "Angel girl" is not very popular in the mainstream Japanese entertainment field.

Translating Chinese body language

Translator Carl Gene has a new post on his blog comparing Chinese and Anglophone body language, complete with Chinese and tone-marked pinyin for the Mandarin terms for gestures and and facial expressions.

China's dirty dairy wars

ESWN has compiled articles and commentary on the recent scandals in which Chinese dairy companies may have paid Internet PR agencies to slander their rivals.

See also Imagethief: And you thought the milk business was so wholesome... and Congratulations! China milk industry assumes bogeyman status.

Parents sue QQ / Tencent after son commits suicide

On The People's Daily's English website:

The parents of a boy who killed himself in a suicide pact arranged over China's most popular instant messaging service, QQ, are suing its owner, Shenzhen-based Tencent Holdings Ltd, in Zhejiang province, Qianjiang Evening News reported over the weekend.

The trial, which began on Thursday in a district court in Lishui, Zhejiang province, has provoked concerns over what sort of liability or accountability Internet service providers have in preventing suicides.

Dogs and sex

There are two stories about China that pop up in the Western media with regularity:

The first is the sexual revolution story in which Chinese people are enjoying a lot of recreational, extra-marital, alternative or commercial sex. The second is that Chinese people are now keeping pets in ever greater numbers, and paying a lot for them.

Michael Wines of The New York Times does a good job on the latter.

Going fishing with an ex-paratrooper in a suit and tie

On the blog of microfinance organization Wokai:

I spent yesterday learning how to fish with Yang Taigang...

As I learned how to thread a worm on a hook and cast a line ... Yang told me about his life. He joined the paratroopers in 1993, in a period when there were few other economically viable options for someone from a family as poor as his. The military salary of less than 100 RMB a month was enough at least to relieve his parents of the economic burden of supporting himself... .

..Jumping out of airplanes, he explained, is something one picks up quickly by necessity, but “the first time was scary. The first time my instructor just pushed me out of the plane.”

October 23, 2010

Manchu emperor, communist hero, British national

At the Telegraph, Peter Foster reports on the controversy over the casting of Zhang Tielin, an actor most well-known for his portrayal of the Qianlong Emperor in TV dramas, as Mao Zedong in an upcoming series about wartime China. Zhang holds British citizenship.

Zhang was the focus of controversy in 2005 when he was appointed dean of the College of Arts at Jinan University.

October 22, 2010

Hu Jintao to visit USA in 2011

Xinhua reports that the Chinese Foreign Ministry has confirmed that the president's visit is planned for January:

"China and the United States have maintained close communications about the visit, which will be very important and will bring far-reaching influence for bilateral relations in new era," spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told a regular press briefing.

Although Hu's US visit had long been under discussion, it was the first time that China's foreign ministry confirmed the visit and elaborated on its significance.

A conversation with Edgar Snow

Mark's China Blog has a recap of a performance given at the 14th Biennial Edgar Snow Symposium, which took place in Kansas City this week.

833 million mobile phone subscribers in China

On Marbridge Daily:

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has released its September 2010 telecom industry statistics...

Telecom operating revenues were RMB 84.03 bln (USD 12.45 bln), bringing the cumulative year-to-date total to RMB 708.19 bln (USD 104.92 bln), up 6.7% over the same 9-month period of 2009...

...Total telephone subscribers saw a net increase of 9.2 mln in September, with mobile subscribers growing by approximately 10.27 mln to 833.33 mln, and fixed-line subscribers dropping by 1.07 mln to approximately 301.27 mln.

October 21, 2010

Telling the story of urbanization at the micro level

At Shanghai Scrap, Adam Minter interviews Sue Anne Tay, author of the excellent blog Shanghai Street Stories:

I consider my work a mix of photojournalism and street photography. The former allows me to cover a wider gamut of topics such as old architecture, individual stories, lifestyle, while the latter is indicative of a style of photography I sometimes prefer.

Photojournalism engages the subjects directly with an intent and purpose, often focusing on an issue. In contrast, there is little or no interaction between the subject and photographer in street photography but the result should reflect witty composition and poetry of motion. Just look at the works of Trent Parke, Elliot Ewitt and Moriyama Daito. It’s good training and relies less on your equipment and more on creativity.

An AIDS activist abroad

The BBC visits Dr. Gao Yaojie, now 84 and living in New York:

Dr Gao spent several months with a Chinese family in small-town America, before being enticed to New York with a visiting fellowship at Columbia University, and a $40,000 (£25,000) annual stipend, courtesy of two charities.

Shortly after her arrival in New York, the problems of old age caught up with the frail, yet feisty, grandmother.

October 20, 2010

Shu Qi on Legend of the Fist

The Chinese Mirror translates an interview with actress Shu Qi, where she discusses the movie: "Legend of the Fist: the Return of Chen Zhen:"

Reporter: You played a dancer before, in "Blood Brothers"《Tian Tang Kou 天堂口》. Did you have any sense of that role while you were filming "Legend"?

Shu Qi: No, none at all. Although these two dancing girls were from the same era, their lives were different, their circumstances much different. Kiki has a dual identity, so her life adds a great deal more to the story. And the movie shows more of her ordinary girl's life, for example Kiki often drinks heavily, using alcohol to numb herself. She is tired of her double life, she longs for the life of an ordinary woman. But in reality she can't have this, so she drinks as a means of escape.

Typhoon Megi heads to Hong Kong, China

From the Washington Post:

While no longer the freakish category 5 super typhoon that hammered the northern Philippines, Megi remains a formidable and expansive category 3 typhoon in the South China Sea. (The super typhoon designation is reserved for storms with sustained winds of 150 mph or higher, equivalent to a category 4 or 5 hurricane).

October 19, 2010

Chongqing man conjures up 30,000 RMB

For some reason, the Chongqing Economic Times is exceptionally interested in Yang Degui's parlor trick.

Chaos and antagonism: the essence of a society

Shanghai Monthly reviews Slavoj Žižek's review of The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers by Richard McGregor:

As we understand, Zizek thinks that the Chinese system is somewhat unsustainable, because soon enough, the camaraderie of dissent would get so large that there will be too many Liu Xiaobos that the prison would actually be built by them. “The more ‘harmony’ is celebrated, the more chaos and antagonism there is in reality. China is barely under control. It threatens to explode,” said Zizek. But for something to explode, you need explosives. It remains unclear to us whether our little camaraderie of dissent has more fun saying the most banal taboo words, or daring to say them out loud. Things are always more fun when they are unavailable, aren’t they? Why would the camaraderie want to blow things up? Saying fuck your mother a hundred times to the air around you is a hundred percent less fun than saying it just once, behind the back of your mother.

The Party strikes back

Nobel news blackout lifted and an all-out assault on the prize begins.

Xi Jinping becomes vice chairman of
Central Military Commission

Michael Wines in The New York Times:

Xi Jinping, China’s vice president, was named to an important military position on Monday, continuing his elevation to the top echelons of China’s leadership and reconfirming that the Communist Party had selected him as the successor to President Hu Jintao.

Mr. Xi, a provincial governor who emerged as the heir apparent in 2007 when he received a senior rank on the Politburo Standing Committee, was named vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, which oversees the People’s Liberation Army and its branches. The post fills the last remaining gap in Mr. Xi’s résumé and means that he is following the succession track that Mr. Hu took a decade ago on his way to assuming China’s top party, state and military titles.

Barring a major upset, Mr. Xi, 57, is now on track to become Communist Party secretary when Mr. Hu’s term ends in 2012, and president in 2013.

The Global Times in Afghanistan

The Global Times, the English newspaper with the same name as the nationalistic Chinese language tabloid both of which are owned by The People's Daily has two correspondents in Afghanistan and has launched a special web section devoted to their coverage.

Trouble reclaiming relics

The Old Summer Palace (Yuan Ming Yuan), which was burnt by Anglo-French forces 150 years ago yesterday, is attempting to reclaim lost and looted relics, which are now located around the world. A China Daily article notes that it's not just foreign institutions which are loath to give up their treasures:

In Beijing, more than 100 relics are scattered across the city because their current owners have refused to return them, said Qin Jing, head of the culture relic department of the administrative office.

"The ornamental columns and the white marble Chinese dragon at Peking University, the ornamental columns in the National Library of China and the stone tablets in the Zhongshan Park in Beijing, all belonged to Yuanmingyuan, but were scattered to other places," Qin said.

Ali Baba launches Etao search engine

Ali Baba has launched a search engine for online shopping at Etao.com.

Ai Weiwei's Sunflower Seed at the Tate Modern

Evan Osnos in The New Yorker:

“Sunflower Seeds,” the much-awaited installation by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern, has opened...

...The project is almost exactly what it sounds like: a hundred million life-size porcelain sunflower seeds—each hand-molded, fired, and painted by a crew of ceramicists in Jingdezhen, China’s most famous pottery town. The project has been an open secret in Ai’s circle for months, but this is the first time that all hundred million seeds are being shown in public. It is a vast sea of gray seeds that weighs a hundred and fifty tons, and visitors are encouraged to walk through and toy with them.

October 18, 2010

Japanese tourism to China drops

The Wall Street Journal Real Time blog reports:

Over 2.5 million Japanese tourists visited China this year as of the end of August, a 21% increase from the previous year and making it the top Japanese tourist spot in 2010, according to Japan Tourism Marketing Co. But major travel agencies say reservations for November tours to mainland China are down by up to 15% compared with the same month last year — an ironic twist after Japanese tourism officials expressed concern that the number of tourists traveling the other direction would nosedive after the Chinese government urged its travel agencies to dissuade citizens from spending their vacation in Japan.

The BBC reports on the protests over the weekend.

Desperate Housewives and other shows on Youku

Youku gets a deal to stream TV shows from Disney, via PC World:

Youku, China's largest video hosting site, has partnered with Disney to begin streaming the studio's TV shows, said the company's CEO Victor Koo.

Koo made the statements on Monday during a speech at China 2.0, a conference hosted in Beijing by Stanford University. Youku has also launched a beta version of a subscription service that will allow users to view certain content such as select movies and education videos.

Youku has yet to release any official information on its partnership with Disney or its subscription platform. A visit to the site shows that Youku has already uploaded five season's of the hit TV series Desperate Housewives. The videos are subtitled in Chinese.

Coal mine blast kills 21

New York Times reports:

The official Xinhua News Agency said rescuers were trying to reach the trapped miners after a gas explosion occurred about 6 a.m. Saturday, in the city of Yuzhou in Henan Province.

Anti Japan protests in Chengdu: photos and video

On Chengdu Living:

Over the course of an otherwise ordinary Saturday afternoon, tens of thousands of irate citizens gathered in downtown Chengdu to protest Japans claim to the Diaoyu islands...

...I didn’t have too much of an idea of what to expect since I didn’t attend the last rally directed towards China’s mortal rival: but this one was raw, gritty and highly emotional. Fortunately I caught some smiles and friendly faces in between finding myself amidst a sea of Chinese people and under the harsh gaze of hundreds of riot police. These are the photos which tell the story as I saw it.

Note – I recorded several video clips which are quite crazy. When they’re online, I’ll amend this post to include them as they add depth and detail to the story that the photos tell.

October 15, 2010

Sex in China

On the Bendi Laowai blog:

Open talk about sex and all that surrounds it is still very much a taboo in many parts of China. Being foreign, an outsider, someone not familiar with the social rules and not staying for very long, I discovered that people sometime are willing – at times even eager - to relate things to me that they wouldn’t discuss with members of their own communities.

These are often things I don’t really care to know. Here are some of the stories.

CPC Fifth Plenary Session begins by tackling inequality

Fifth Plenary Session of the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China began today. China Daily reports.

BusinessWeek also has a report.

October 14, 2010

Military talks offered to Taiwan

China Daily reports:

The Chinese mainland offered on Wednesday to open talks on military issues with Taiwan "in due course", a move that experts said could cool a potential flashpoint in the Asia-Pacific region and help warm cross-Straits ties.

"We advocate conducting contacts and exchanges on military issues, including the cross-Straits military deployment issue, in a proper way at a proper time," Yang Yi, spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, told a regular news briefing in Beijing.

Waiting for a verdict in a HIV case

CNN reports:

China awaits a verdict in a precedent-setting discrimination case, with an HIV-positive man suing over being rejected for a teaching job, state media said.

"I know my case may take a relatively long time, since it is believed to be the first case in China about discrimination against HIV carriers in the job market. But I will try to remain positive about my chance of winning," the job applicant said, according to China Daily.

The tragedy of the Sanmenxia dam

The Asia Times explains what was in the book that got Xie Chaoping arrested:

Xie's detention forms another chapter in a miserable story that the Chinese government has been fruitlessly trying to bring to a close for 50 years: the disastrous aftermath of the decision taken in 1956 to build a dam across the Yellow River at Sanmen Xia (Gorge) on the border between Shaanxi, Henan and Ningxia provinces.

The Sanmen Xia fiasco is exhaustively documented in the book that provoked Xie Chaoping's detention, his The Great Relocation.

Part II is here.

The richest self-made women in the world

In The Economist:

Zhang Yin, who made her money in the paper industry, is the wealthiest businesswoman in the world, according to Hurun Report...

Its ranking of the 20 richest self-made women (those who earned their money) combines its own findings with those of Forbes and the Sunday Times. Over half of the women in the top 20 are of Chinese origin.

October 13, 2010

Chicken blood injections and other health fads


Regular injections of chicken blood were recommended for everything from baldness to cancer during the 1960s.

Bogus Kunming real estate project broken up

Go Kunming reports on a bogus, unapproved development project that bilked investors out of 300 million RMB:

The company rented a five-star hotel lobby to serve as its showroom, inflated its registered capital, used floor plans downloaded from the internet and made 3D promotional videos.

On the sales front, Junxin offered also colluded with local real estate agents, offering them large kickbacks for each apartment sold.

The real China and the real world

An editorial from The Economic Observer discussing China's path and the perceptions of the rest of the world:

It does not take much knowledge of history to know that China cannot go back to being a closed society. What we can do, first, is to present a more positive image of China to the outside world, just as Premier Wen Jiabao said during his September 23 speech at the United Nations, “to know the real China”. Premier Wen Jiabao’s speech is all the more striking because of its honesty; he did not deny that China’s development comes with responsibilities, nor did he evade problems inherent in development. Only a positive, direct explanation of China will allow the world to see and acknowledge the "real China".

Han Shaogong wins Newman Prize

Han Shaogong has won the second Newman Prize for Literature, which was first awarded to Mo Yan in 2009.

Freedom of speech is indispensable for any nation

The China Media Project translates an open letter from Li Rui and other party elders asking for reforms to implement free speech and a free press:

Therefore, the foundation of the creation of a Press Law must be the enacting of a system of [post facto] legal responsibility (追惩制) [determined according to fair laws]. We cannot again strengthen the censorship system in the name of “strengthening the leadership of the Party.” The so-called censorship system is the system by which prior to publication one must receive the approval of Party organs, allowing for publication only after approval and designating all unapproved published materials as illegal. The so-called system of legal responsibility means that published materials need not pass through approval by Party or government organs, but may be published as soon as the editor-in-chief deems fit. If there are unfavorable outcomes or disputes following publication, the government would be able to intervene and determine according to the law whether there are cases of wrongdoing.

October 12, 2010

Chang'e II vs. the Network News Broadcast

On his newly-launched English-language blog, Fang Kecheng describes how CCTV handled the Chang'e II space launch, which occurred just three seconds before the evening's news broadcast began.

More on silicon sweatshops

At the Global Post, Kathleen E. McLaughlin examines the latest revelations from inside Foxconn:

Among the new complaints, the report highlights alleged over-reliance on and misuse of interns, students and recent graduates who fill the same jobs as entry-level staffers. The company saves money by hiring workers as interns rather than full employees, using third-party employment agencies and avoiding insurance and other benefits required under Chinese labor law, the study said. Still, thousands of interns — who are supposed to be limited to eight hours’ work per day — are expected to work long hours of overtime. In one example, an intern lost more than 20 pounds in a month on the job from stress.

Armless pianist wins China's Got Talent TV show


The armless pianist who plays with his toes was the unanimous winner at a spectacular show in Shanghai.

Liu Wei, who plays the piano with his toes, was crowned champion of China's Got Talent on Sunday. Four months after the show started in late June, the final was held at Shanghai Stadium. The 23-year-old armless pianist from Beijing amazed an audience of about 70,000 and the judges by singing the song You Are Beautiful, and playing the keys with just his toes.

What's wrong with the new Red Chamber?


The classic novel Dream of the Red Chamber, also translated as Story of a Stone, became one of China's best-loved TV programs in the 1980s. Why is the new version such a flop?

Twitter responses to Liu Xiaobo Nobel prize

China Media Project has translated an article by journalist and prolific Tweeter Bei Feng summarizing Chinese responses on Twitter to the Nobel peace Prize announcement.

China invites North Korean leadership, including Kim Jong-Un

From Yahoo / AFP:

Chinese President Hu Jintao has invited North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il and the country's new ruling line-up to visit China, state media said Monday, as Kim moves his son into position to succeed him.

The invitation was extended on Hu's behalf by a senior Chinese official who attended a massive military parade in Pyongyang on Sunday to mark the North Korean ruling party's 65th anniversary, China's Xinhua news agency said.

October 11, 2010

Professor put away for arranging assaults

Xiao Chuanguo, the controversial urologist, was sentenced to five and a half months in prison for "causing a disturbance" -- hiring thugs to beat up Fang Zhouzi and Fang Xuanchang, who had written articles critical of his medical procedures. The Global Times reports.

October 10, 2010

Standing up to Chinese Communists since 1949

Adam Cathcart at Sinologistical Violincellist picks apart the assumptions behind Edward Wong's New York Times article on Liu Xiaobo's Nobel award:

Wong writes that the CCP “Quashes political movements” when the operative verb might also be described as “channel.” Does the CCP only crush, destroy, repress, or does it also understand, shape, reconfigure political pressures? The mention of the party’s age (it was founded in 1921) further makes Wong’s gambit a bit strange, as over the course of its history the Party has done a fair amount of stimulating, rather than quashing, political movements in its history. Perhaps this is not the place to enter into some disquisition on how the galvanizing experiences of the Cultural Revolution have made Chinese leaders since Mao adverse to mass movements (other than those which are nationalistic and relatively easily controlled), but, this party is more flexible and widely (if not uncritically) supported than Wong’s heavy-handed prose would have us believe.

October 9, 2010

China freed the last Japanese intruder


Chinese authorities Saturday freed the last of four Japanese who were detained last month and accused of illegally filming in a military zone.

Will Liu Xiaobo's Nobel hurt China reform?

Nick Young at Guardian:

Symbolic gestures such as the Nobel award for Liu help to persuade such young people, who will be China's next generation of political and business leaders, that the west really is fundamentally anti-Chinese and determined to keep China down. And that heightened tension is likely to prolong, not shorten, the Communist party's rule: a strange harvest for a prize given in the name of peace.

October 8, 2010

Liu Xiaobo wins Nobel Peace Prize

The New York Times has the news, as well as background on the possible consequences for international relations:

Thorbjoern Jagland, the chairman of the five-member Nobel committee, said Mr. Liu Xiaobo had become the “foremost symbol” for the human rights struggle in China. While he acknowledged that China had sought to dissuade the committee from making the award to Mr. Liu, he underscored that the committee acted independently of the Norwegian government and believed that it was right to criticize big powers.

More at the Nobel Prize website.

Chinese pharmaceutical company found guilty by American court

New York Times:

GeneScience Pharmaceutical, a Chinese company, and its chief executive pleaded guilty on Wednesday to federal charges of illegally distributing human growth hormone in the United States... (The company) which identifies itself as China’s most profitable biopharmaceutical company, had distributed a growth-hormone product called Jintropin in China and around the world through the Internet.

Liu Xiaobo leads the Nobel Peace Prize competition


Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo is the leading candidate to win the Nobel Peace Prize with the European Union and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl also among the contenders, Norway's main television networks said on Thursday.

October 7, 2010

Phantom of the Fair

At The Smart Set, Scott Gabriel Knowles looks into the focus of the Shanghai World Expo:

This explains why the U.S. Pavilion — with its suburban corporate architecture, cowboy hats and basketballs for sale — is focused on bland ideas like teamwork and the victory of the little guy, with no mention of democracy. Certainly if more Americans or Europeans had been expected in the audience it would be unacceptable to show a feel-good film with a Chevron executive lecturing the world on environmental sustainability. This also explains why pavilions from Venezuela to Mozambique to Uzbekistan featured huge portraits of the nation’s leader smiling and shaking hands with Hu Jintao. This explains the appeal of the startlingly large globe over which you stand in the Urban Planet Pavilion.

via Shanghai Scrap: Wrapping an Expo.

October 6, 2010

The fight to protect China's cats

China Dialogue introduces a documentary by Guo Ke about the cat trade in China:

Filming began in December 2009, when a team of “cat rescuers” blockaded a truck loaded up with cats. One of the cat traders had told Guo Ke that the animals bought in the alley would be taken to a fruit market in Shaoxing in the neighbouring province of Zhejiang. They would then be loaded onto a truck along with cats brought from other cities, including Suzhou and Wuxi, and taken to Guangzhou.

China and Japan to restore normal ties

Wen Jiabao sits down with Prime Minister Naoto Kan. From China Daily.

October 5, 2010

"Community-style management" in Beijing

The New York Times checks in on how Beijing's gated villages of migrant workers are faring:

Ultimately, the project could encompass an area of 291 square miles with a population of 3.4 million people, more than 80 percent of them migrant workers.

Some residents welcome the walls and gates as a way of fighting crime, but critics have seized on the ghettolike villages as a jarring sign of the barriers facing rural migrants settling in urban areas. They say the real intent of the new measures is to keep track of the migrants, and some have labeled the policy a form of apartheid.

One woman passionate about Capitalism

From CBS, a look at an entrepreneur who made it big in the bag world.

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."