Fan Bingbing has vanished

Source: Time (9/17/18)
China’s Leading Actress Fan Bingbing Has Vanished. Here’s What to Know

In past years, actress Fan Bingbing was a regular presence on film festival red carpets and fashion catwalks from Barcelona to Busan. And then, suddenly, she wasn’t.

Film fans are expressing alarm at Fan’s disquieting recent disappearance from public life: she was last seen on July 1, while visiting a children’s hospital. Her account on China’s popular Sina Weibo social media network, where she has 63 million followers, has been silent since July 23.

Speculation is linking the disappearance of Fan, one of cinema’s top-earners, to an alleged tax evasion scandal at a time when China’s state-controlled film industry is cutting back on bloated budgets and star-driven blockbusters. Continue reading

Shan Tianfang, storyteller, dies at 83

Source: NYT ((/17/18)
Shan Tianfang, a Superstar of Chinese Storytelling, Dies at 83
By Amy Qin

Shan Tianfang, a storyteller whose energetic oral renditions of classical Chinese novels and historical events propelled the ancient pingshu tradition into the modern age for generations of Chinese, died on Sept. 11 in Beijing. He was 83.

The cause was multiple organ failure, said Xiao Jianlu, Mr. Shan’s business associate and the manager of the Shan Tianfang Culture Communication Company.

Mr. Shan tried for many years to avoid becoming a performer of pingshu, the Song dynasty-era storytelling tradition. Growing up in 1950s China in a family of folk art performers, he had seen struggle firsthand. It was a life of constant financial troubles and low social status. Continue reading

AAP 2019–cfp

Dear all,

AAP (Association for Asian Performance) invites session proposals and/or individual paper proposals that explore the 2019 ATHE (Association for Theatre in Higher Education) theme, “Scene Changes: Performing, Teaching, and Working through the Transition”.

Conference Dates and Location
AUGUST 7-11, 2019
Orlando, Florida

Session Proposal Submission Due Date: Nov 1, 2018.  Session proposals must be submitted online using the ATHE webpage (

Individual Paper Submission Due Date: Oct 20, 2018. For individual papers, please email your proposals (max. 250 words) to Dr. Man HE

For more details, please refer to the CFP (PDF).

Please contact Man HE at if you have any questions or concerns regarding the application process.

Best, Man He

An Anthology of Twenty-First-Century Chinese SF

Dear List Members,

We are happy to announce the publication of The Reincarnated Giant: An Anthology of Twenty-First-Century Chinese Science Fiction by Columbia University Press. Theodore Huters and I spent years working on this project, together with a group of excellent translators and scholars. The CUP webpage for the book is here:

The anthology features some of the most important works by science fiction writers Liu Cixin, Han Song, Chen Qiufan, Egoyan Zheng, Chi Hui, Xia Jia, as well as by writers experimenting with science fiction motifs and elements, such as Lo Yi-chin, and Dung Kai-cheung.

We are most grateful to our contributors, translators, editors, and so many people who have helped us work on this project. Thank you!

Mingwei Song <> and Theodore Huters

Propaganda in the Xi era

Too long to post in its entirety, here’s a taste of an interesting and detailed article on propaganda in the era of Xi Jinping.–Kirk

Source: Marco Polo (9/12/18)
In Xi We Trust: How Propaganda Might Be Working in the New Era
By  and 

In Xi We Trust: How Propaganda Might Be Working in the New Era

On November 29, 2012, the newly selected Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping visited the “Road to Rejuvenation” exhibit at the National Museum in Beijing. With the previous Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) in tow, Xi unveiled his vision of the “Chinese Dream” (中国梦)—the simple idea that the CCP’s collective mission to rejuvenate the nation also advances the myriad individual ambitions of Chinese citizens. Political theater aside, Xi used the occasion to clearly articulate what amounts to a mission statement: under his leadership, the CCP will lead China’s return as a global power.

Many foreign observers at the time dismissed the Chinese Dream as unoriginal, a lifting of a distinctively American idea to capture a similar sentiment among upwardly mobile middle-class Chinese. But such analyses mostly missed the point. Xi’s speech, in fact, marked the start of a major campaign to reorient domestic policy and to overhaul propaganda work to support this new agenda. That Xi chose to launch a conceptual idea, rather than economic targets or policies, in his first important speech as General Secretary is significant. Not only did it distinguish him from previous leaders, it also spoke volumes about the problem Xi inherited. Continue reading

Imagining a Postnational World review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Ban Wang’s review of Imagining a Postnational World: Hegemony and Space in Modern China (Brill 2016), by Marc Andre Matten. The review appears below and online at: My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, editor

Imagining a Postnational World: 
Hegemony and Space in Modern China

By Marc Andre Matten

Reviewed by Ban Wang
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright September, 2018)

Marc Andre Matten, Imagining a Postnational World: Hegemony and Space in Modern China Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2016. xi, 362 pp. ISBN: 978-90-04-32715-3 (hardcover)

The nation-state system has dominated the Western picture of the world since the Westphalia Treaty in 1648. As Marc Andre Matten explains, “the Peace of Westphalia . . . marked the beginning of a new world order characterized by the concept of a sovereign state governed by a sovereign” (81). Rooted in the tenets of sovereignty, territory, and state equality, the nation-state model divides the world into separate entities along the lines of ethnicity, race, and culture. Although it is a superstructure built on the concepts of national sovereignty and accepted by non-European societies, international law has never stopped worldwide lawlessness, and the nation-state has been the perpetrator of ceaseless conflict, chaos, and domination. Continue reading

2019 Berkeley-Stanford Grad Conference–cfp

Call for Proposals for the 10th annual Berkeley-Stanford Graduate Student Conference in Modern Chinese Humanities, 2019

Currently enrolled graduate students are invited to submit paper proposals for the Berkeley-Stanford Graduate Student Conference in Modern Chinese Humanities, to be held April 12-13, 2019
at Stanford University.
Conference registration is free. Presenters will be provided with shared lodging, Friday dinner, and Saturday lunch. There is limited partial funding assistance for those who cannot find their own funding.

Proposals/bios due: November 16, 2018 (5:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time)

Application Instructions:

To apply please upload your abstract and a short bio (not a full CV) as a one-page document.  For the abstract, include: Author Name, Main Title, Subtitle (optional), Keywords, and Abstract.  The short bio must be no more than one quarter of a page. Please follow the link to apply: Continue reading

Jing Daily translation internship

Translation Internship | Jing Daily

We are currently seeking a translation intern. This position is ideal for a student who is fluent in Chinese and English, and is looking to enter the media and fashion industry. She/he will work closely with our Chinese content manager to improve Jing Daily’s media reach in both China market.

Launched in 2009, Jing Daily is the leading digital publication on luxury consumer trends in China. Jing Daily is regularly quoted as a trusted industry voice in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, CNN, Bloomberg, Business of Fashion, Luxury Society and more.

We are looking for a candidate that can commit to 20-30 hours a week for a three-month minimum duration. Continue reading

German theater company cancels Ibsen play (1)

This piece has some discussion of exactly why they cancelled Ibsen’s play — the government got scared, as usual:

An Enemy of the People is ‘not welcome’ in China. By Grace Tsoi. Inkstone (Sept 12, 2018).

Two thoughts:

This brings back nostalgic memories of when I helped set up August Strindberg’s Miss Julie, in Chengdu in 1987, directed by the late Zhang Fushen. I wrote about it in the Swedish daily, Svenska Dagbladet, on Jan. 14, 1987.

Also, wondering about this Inkstone. It is paid for by the Chinese state. They sometimes seem to want to balance on the line of the forbidden. Is it that they want to project a fantasy about the censorship situation, to ignorant foreigners, by way of seeming a little daring? How much of it is it available inside the firewall?

yrs. Magnus Fiskesjö,

Report on PRC influence in US higher education (1)

Elizabeth Redden’s commentary on the Wilson Center report is also interesting:

Gauging China’s ‘Influence and Interference’ in U.S. Higher Ed: Report catalogs alleged complaints and interventions by embassy officials or individual students on American campuses. But can a compendium of concerning incidents encourage stereotyping? By Elizabeth Redden. Inside Higher Ed (September 12, 2018).

Magnus Fiskesjö,

The 2018 Lucien Stryk Prize


The 2018 Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize shortlist has been announced, with Diana Shi and George O’Connell’s Darkening Mirror, translations of Wang Jiaxin 王家新 (Tebot Bach) on the list. Congratulations to Shi and O’Connell!

But a look at the rest of the list: There’s Sonic Peace, by Kiriu Minashita, translated by Eric E. Hyett and Spencer Thurlow (Phoneme Media), which is poetry. But Junichirō Tanizaki’s Devils in Daylight, translated by J. Keith Vincent, and The Maids, translated by Michael P. Cronin (both New Directions), and Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin 邱妙津, as translated by Bonnie Huie (New York Review Books)? Those are works of fiction.

The Stryk Prize is–or was–a poetry translation prize. The prize’s Wikipedia page still makes that clear:

Eligible works include book-length translations into English of Asian poetry or source texts from Zen Buddhism, book-length translations from Hindi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean into English.

But this year, for the first time, works of prose fiction are on the shortlist.

I think this is a problem. Continue reading

German theater company cancels Ibsen play

Source: Washington Post (9/12/18))
German theater company’s Ibsen play canceled in China
By Associated Press

BERLIN — A German theater company is ending a tour of China early after a theater canceled two showings of Henrik Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People.” German authorities say they regret the cancellation.

Tobias Veit, the director of Berlin’s Schaubuehne theater, told German news agency dpa Wednesday two planned performances in the eastern city of Nanjing won’t go ahead. The official reason given by the Chinese theater was “technical problems.”

The Schaubuehne has been touring with the Ibsen play since 2012. It usually ends with a discussion with the audience, but that was allowed only at the first of three Beijing performances.

German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr said Berlin has “taken note with regret” of the cancellation. She said the German embassy informed China’s culture ministry of that stance Wednesday.

William & Mary position

The Department of Modern Languages & Literatures at William & Mary seeks applications for a tenure track position at the Assistant Professor level in premodern Chinese literature and culture. This scholar would work primarily on Chinese literature and culture before the Qing period (1644–1911). The applicant is expected to establish and maintain an active research program.

Teaching expectation is two courses per semester. The successful candidate will possess the skills to teach current course offerings, such as Survey of Traditional Chinese Literature in English and Art of Chinese Poetry. He or she can develop new courses in the area of premodern Chinese literature and culture under the existing course titles, such as Freshman Seminar; Introduction to Chinese Cultural Studies; Topics (or Advanced Topics) in Chinese Language, Civilization, or Literature; and Advanced Seminar.  Candidates should also be able to teach courses in Mandarin Chinese at all levels as needed. Opportunities exist to contribute to our dynamic new general education curriculum ( and interdisciplinary programs such as Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. Continue reading