Oldest evidence of human life outside Africa

Source: The Guardian (7/11/18)
Stone tools found in China could be oldest evidence of human life outside Africa
Discovery of simple stone tools suggests human ancestors were in Asia as early as 2.1m years ago
By Agence France-Presse

Scientists unearthed the tools at a site in the Loess Plateau in China.

Scientists unearthed the tools at a site in the Loess Plateau in China. Photograph: Zhaoyu Zhu/AP

The remains of crudely fashioned stone tools unearthed in China suggest human ancestors were in Asia 2.1m years ago, more than 200,000 years earlier than previously thought, scientists said on Wednesday.

If correctly dated, the find means that hominins – the group of humans and our extinct forefather species – left Africa earlier than archaeologists have been able to demonstrate thus far, a team reported in the scientific journal Nature. Continue reading

China’s soft power rating damaged

Source: SCMP (7/12/18)
China’s human rights record, aggressive military expansion damage its soft power rating
Beijing can drive global agenda, but its soft power efforts must be congruent with its political and economic pursuits, researcher says
By Liu Zhen

China fell two places to 27th in an annual survey of soft power. Photo: Reuters 

China’s soft power has been weakened by its hard line on foreign policy and human rights, according to an annual survey released on Thursday.

In the “Soft Power 30” report by communications consultancy Portland and the University of South California Centre on Public Diplomacy, China ranked 27th of the 30 countries to make the list, down two places from last year.

The weaker showing was mostly a result of it finishing bottom on the “Government” subindex, which measures nations’ political values, such as their position on human rights, democracy and equality, said Jonathan McClory, the report’s author and Portland’s general manager for Asia. Continue reading

Environmental whistleblower gets prison sentence

Source: Sixth Tone (7/12/18)
Environmental Whistleblower Gets Prison Sentence
Chinese authorities confirmed industrial waste dumping in Henan, yet the man who reported it has been convicted of damaging the polluters’ reputations.
By Fan Liya

Photographer’s Choice/VCG

A whistleblower has been sentenced to 17 months in prison for “disturbing market order” after reporting industrial pollution in central China’s Henan province — even though provincial environmental protection authorities have confirmed that his accusations were true.

Zhang Wenqi was sentenced by the court of Wuzhi County on Monday on charges of fabricating facts and causing financial losses to three companies in the province, The Beijing News reported Tuesday. The public prosecutor brought forward the criminal case after the two paper companies and a technology company complained that Zhang’s allegations had damaged their business reputations and caused substantial losses. Continue reading

NTU translation/interpretation positions

The Graduate Program in Translation and Interpretation (GPTI) at National Taiwan University (NTU) announces two full-time faculty positions. Initial appointment will begin on August 1, 2019.  For more information and downloads of forms, please refer to the following website: http://gpti.ntu.edu.tw/news/news.php?Sn=458.

We would greatly appreciate it if you could share the news with your members.

Sincerely,

Graduate Program in Translation and Interpretation
National Taiwan University
No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei 106, Taiwan
Tel: +886-2-33661582
Fax: +886-2-33661708
E-mail: ntutiprogram@ntu.edu.tw

Liu Xia is free

Source: Sup China (7/10/18)
Liu Xia is free
By Jeremy Goldkorn

Eight years after being placed under de facto house arrest despite committing no crime, Liu Xia 刘霞 — the widow of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo 刘晓波 — left China on Tuesday morning, boarding an 11 a.m. Finnair flight from Beijing to Berlin. Her plane transited in Helsinki, where the above photo was snapped by AFP.

  • Not coincidentally, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang 李克强 in Berlin shortly before Liu was allowed to leave.
  • During Li’s visit, “Germany and China signed a raft of commercial accords worth some 20 billion euros ($23.5 billion) on Monday, with their leaders reiterating commitments to a multilateral global trade order despite a looming trade war with the United States,” according to Reuters. Continue reading

Guizhou poverty alleviation program

Source: Sixth Tone (7/10/18)
Guizhou pilots carbon offset poverty alleviation program
Government-driven platform encourages people to pay low-income households to plant trees
By Li You

An elderly farmer in Shenyang, Liaoning province, July 15, 2011. VCG

GUIZHOU, Southwest China — Policymakers are hoping to kill two birds with one stone through a tree-planting program that endeavors to trap carbon emissions and combat poverty.

Announced Sunday at the 10th Eco Forum Global in provincial capital Guiyang, the voluntary program connects residents of Guizhou province’s low-income villages with individuals and businesses across the country who are willing to pay to offset their own carbon footprint. Villagers plant the trees and pocket the money — expected to reach more than 1,000 yuan ($150) a year per household, in a province where the average annual income for rural residents is only 8,869 yuan. Continue reading

Top grossing films of 2018

Source: China Daily (7/10/18)
Top 10 highest-grossing 2018 films in the Chinese market
By Zhang Xingjian | chinadaily.com.cn

The Chinese film industry has gained momentum in the first half of 2018.

According to the State Administration of Radio and Television, as of June 30 the 2018 box office for Chinese movies reached at 32.03 billion yuan ($4.84 billion), a year-on-year increase of 17.82 percent; the total number of people watching movies was 901 million, an increase of 15.34 percent.

More specifically, the domestic film box office was 18.965 billion yuan, an increase of 80.10 percent that accounted for 59.21 percent of total box office share.

Of the top 10, three were six domestically produced films, and the remaining four were imports.

Check out the current top 10 highest-grossing movies below.

A poster of the film Forever Young [Photo/Mtime]

No. 10 Forever Young
Box office: 747 million yuan
Release date: Jan 12, 2018
Genre: Drama and romance
Cast: Zhang Ziyi, Chen Chang, Huang Xiaoming Continue reading

Liu Xia supposedly leaves China

We have seen reports like this before, but this time seems confirmed by the BBC

http://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/trad/chinese-news-44776137 (opened)

劉曉波遺孀劉霞離京前往柏林 消息人士稱胞弟劉暉仍在北京

快訊:據數名消息人士透露,諾貝爾和平獎得主劉曉波的遺孀劉霞,剛剛乘坐芬蘭航空班機離京前往柏林,其胞弟劉暉未能同行。

7月10日,北京時間上午11時左右,劉曉波遺孀劉霞離開北京,前往柏林。

本周五(7月13日)是劉曉波逝世一週年,全球各界人士紛紛施壓和發聲,要求北京當局釋放劉霞。

Kevin Carrico <kjc83@cornell.edu>

Inside China’s dystopian dreams

Source: NYT (7/8/18)
Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: A.I., Shame and Lots of Cameras
By Paul Mozur

A video showing facial recognition software in use at the headquarters of the artificial intelligence company Megvii in Beijing.CreditGilles Sabrie for The New York Times

ZHENGZHOU, China — In the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, a police officer wearing facial recognition glasses spotted a heroin smuggler at a train station.

In Qingdao, a city famous for its German colonial heritage, cameras powered by artificial intelligence helped the police snatch two dozen criminal suspects in the midst of a big annual beer festival.

In Wuhu, a fugitive murder suspect was identified by a camera as he bought food from a street vendor.

With millions of cameras and billions of lines of code, China is building a high-tech authoritarian future. Beijing is embracing technologies like facial recognition and artificial intelligence to identify and track 1.4 billion people. It wants to assemble a vast and unprecedented national surveillance system, with crucial help from its thriving technology industry. Continue reading

Rebel Pepper finds artistic freedom

Source: PRI (7/2/18)
Chinese political cartoonist Rebel Pepper finds more artistic freedom in the US
By Isaac Stone Fish
Listen to the story.

In this cartoon, Xi Jinping of China, sits on the side of a bed, ready to lay down next to a sleeping Mao Zedong.

Rebel Pepper drew this cartoon in response to the news that Xi Jinping would abolish term limits for his chairmanship, potentially paving the way for him to stay on as dictator-for-life. Credit: Courtesy Rebel Pepper

What does it mean to live in the United States instead of China?

For China’s most prominent political cartoonist, Rebel Pepper, a dissident with a gentle smile and a wicked brush, it’s the difference between life as a wild pig and a domesticated one.

Kept pigs “think they live a carefree life because people feed them. But one day, they will be slaughtered,” Rebel, whose real name is Wang Liming, said in a May interview in Washington, DC, where he now lives. Continue reading

Memorial service of Liu Xiaobo in Berlin

The Geistkämpfer (spiritual fighter) by Ernst Barlach. Source: online photo.

Memorial Service for Liu Xiaobo in Berlin, Gethsemane church, one year after his passing.

I wasn’t sure if I should post this or not. Maybe Ian Johnson would do it, or someone else more involved with the event. Anyway, seems it’s going to be a grand thing. A reminder there are some things politics and the arts both can and should try to stand for. In Berlin, in Germany, in Europe, anywhere. Solidarity, for once.

The announcement in English and in Chinese is on China Change.
I have done a German translation from the Chinese version and put it on my blog.

In 2010 I translated Bei Ling’s biography of Liu Xiaobo into German. It was a rush job, but I checked the facts. It’s an interesting book. Continue reading

Reading Lu Xun through Carl Jung review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Paul B. Foster’s review of Reading Lu Xun through Carl Jung (Cambria, 2018), by Carolyn T. Brown. The review appears below and can be read online at: http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/foster1/. My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, editor

Reading Lu Xun through Carl Jung

By Carolyn T. Brown


Reviewed by Paul B. Foster
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright July, 2018)


Carolyn T. Brown, Reading Lu Xun through Carl Jung Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, 2018. ix-xv + 293 pp. ISBN 978-1-60497-937-4 (Cloth $114.99).

Reading Lu Xun through Carl Jung is an amply annotated, firmly grounded, and compelling close reading of Lu Xun’s short stories from the perspective of Jungian psychoanalysis. This book is also a refreshing demonstration of how psychoanalysis can provide a new dimension of access to Lu Xun’s critical insight into the problems of the Chinese psyche vis-à-vis the social discourse of his age. The author shows familiarity with the main trends in Western Lu Xun studies, from the earlier works of Leo Ou-fan Lee, Theodore Huters, and Marston Anderson, to more recent critiques by Lydia Liu and Ming Dong Gu, just to name a few. Brown is concerned with what makes Lu Xun tick, not the authorial intention of his creative works, but his own inner workings as he grapples with issues of the Chinese people’s psyche, issues he himself faces and works out through his writing. Brown’s Jungian model, which includes a bifurcated ego/shadow inner tension, yields intriguing explanations concerning the process of therapy and identification of a cure—both for self and society—primarily grounded in challenging the individual’s resistance to change. Reading Lu Xun is dense (especially for novitiates to psychological analysis) but rewarding. It is composed of a detailed introduction, four main chapters, a conclusion, and an epilogue. Occasional in-text simplified Chinese characters are used for story titles and critical terminology. Continue reading

Universities told to further embed Chinese culture

Source: University World News no. 509 (6/5/18)
Universities told to further embed Chinese culture
By Amber Ziye Wang

Universities across China have been told to further integrate Chinese traditional culture into their courses and award students credits for studying ethnic music, arts and crafts in a new government plan to boost cultural confidence and awareness in higher education.

According to the notice, the move is expected to strengthen the country’s cultural confidence and awareness, and “instil new vitality” to Chinese traditional culture. It is seen as a move to counter the growing popularity among young people of music, drama and other cultural imports from the West and Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea.

“Around 100 ‘cultural heritage’ bases will be set up at higher learning institutions nationwide by 2020 and 50 by the end of the year to advance education, protection, innovation and exchanges of Chinese traditional culture,” according to a notice issued by the Ministry of Education on 26 May. Continue reading

Network of Concerned Historians 2018 report

Source: Network of Concerned Historians 2018

Below find the “China” section of the report. For the full report, see: http://www.concernedhistorians.org/content_files/file/AR/18.pdf

CHINA

In [2017], civil law was amended to punish “those who infringe upon the name, likeness, reputation, or honor of a hero or martyr, harming the societal public interest.” The legislation introduced the term “historical nihilism.” Chinese President Xi Jinping perceived independent historians with critical ideas about the official history of the Communist Party and its heroes as producers of “historical nihilism.” In a 2013 speech, he had said that in recent years “hostile forces” at home and abroad had “attacked, vilified and defamed” China’s modern history with the aim of overthrowing the Chinese Communist Party. He believed that sloppiness on the historical front had contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.33

In March 2017, a historical novel, Ruanmai (Soft Burial) (People’s Literature Publishing House, 2016), written by Fang Fang, came under attack from Maoists because in describing the excesses during the land reform in the 1950s, it appeared to sympathize with the landlords. Critics believed that the novel discredited land reform, a major feat of the Communist Party of China, and saw it as a form of historical nihilism. The novel told the story of a dying woman, by following her buried memories and her son’s investigation of his family’s past. The wife of a rich landlord’s son in eastern Sichuan Province in the late 1940s, she witnessed her husband’s entire family committing suicide. Many of the landlords and their families were killed or tortured during the campaigns, even after their land was confiscated. The book was not banned. Continue reading

Further escalation of the Gui Minhai case

The Chinese embassy in Stockholm is currently stepping up a campaign to smear the two Swedish citizens detained in China and forced to make coerced fake confessions on Chinese TV: Gui Minhai (still detained, and denied consular and medical assistance) and Peter Dahlin (expelled January 2016).

In its latest statement, http://www.chinaembassy.se/eng/sgxw/t1573515.htm, the embassy escalates this campaign by attacking the Swedish daily newspaper Expressen for its recent article describing the worsening situation for the foreign press in China, https://www.expressen.se/nyheter/sa-straffas-svenska-journalister-av-kina/, as well as also attacking, quite astonishingly, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC), which had been cited as one source among many, by the Expressen writer.

The embassy statement said: “The so called Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) mentioned in the article is an unregistered illegal organization and lacks all legitimacy. It can by no means represent all the foreign journalists stationed in China, and the reports it released are totally unreliable.” Continue reading