120th anniversary of Lao She’s birth

Source: China Daily (3/7/19)
Influential writer’s work lives long in memory
By Chen Nan

People visit the Lao She Memorial Hall in Beijing. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

Range of activities mark 120th anniversary of Lao She’s birth.

“I am a nobody in literary and art circles. For decades, I have been conscientiously writing at my table. I am proud of my diligence. … I hope that the day I am buried, someone will put up an engraved monument, saying, ‘The nobody of literary and art circles, who has fulfilled his duty, sleeps here.'”

These words, from the writer Lao She, hang on a gray wall outside the Lao She Memorial Hall, a tranquil courtyard in Beijing. Continue reading

Fantasy novel about antiques adapted for online series

Source: China Daily (3/14/19)
Fantasy novel about antiques becomes hit online series
By XU FAN

A poster from the online series The Golden Eyes. [Photo provided to China Daily]

When veteran producer Bai Yicong occasionally “clicked” on a fantasy novel online in 2010, he could scarcely have thought that it would one day become one of his biggest-budget productions.

The work of fiction, titled Huangjin Yan, or The Golden Eyes, follows the adventures of a young pawnshop employee, who possesses the power to be able to see the past and future of every object he sees after his eyes are injured by a group of robbers.

Thus the protagonist becomes a legend in the antique world and an easy winner in gambling on stones, the practice of buying a raw rock and then cutting it open, with the hope of it holding some gems.

The story, penned by online writer Tang Yong, better known by his pseudonym Dayan, has accumulated more than 30 million views since its debut on China’s largest internet literature site Qidian in 2010.

“I was deeply attracted by the novel. It has a lot of riveting depictions about underground adventures, enriching my knowledge about antiques,” says Bai, sitting in his office located in eastern Beijing. Continue reading

Insects in Chinese Literature

NEW BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT

Cambria Press is pleased to announce the publication of Insects in Chinese Literature: A Study and Anthology by Wilt L. Idema.

This gist of Professor Idema’s newest book is well captured by Professor Judith T. Zeitlin (University of Chicago) who notes, “That prodigiously productive scholar and translator of Chinese literature is at it again. This time Wilt Idema takes us into the teeming world of creepy, crawling things—insects. Entertaining and erudite, and covering a mind-boggling range of genres, serious and parodic, the extraordinary range of Chinese writing on this subject—from culturally venerated insects like silkworms, cicadas, and crickets to universal scourges like fleas, mosquitos, and lice—over millennia is here made available for the first time.” Continue reading

Fifth Generation retrospective at HKIFF

Source: SCMP (3/12/19)
How China’s Fifth Generation filmmakers defied censorship and criticism to break new ground
New ways of storytelling and rich political allegories were the innovations that this new breed of maverick directors introduced. Bold in abstraction and symbolism, their films relied on images rather than dialogue for expression
By Richard James Havis

A still from Zhang Yimou’s directorial debut Red Sorghum (1988).

A still from Zhang Yimou’s directorial debut Red Sorghum (1988).

It has been 41 years since China’s Fifth Generation filmmakers started classes at the Beijing Film Academy, and 35 years since The Yellow Earth, directed by Chen Kaige and photographed by Zhang Yimou, changed the face of filmmaking in the country.

The Chinese film industry has modernised so quickly that the innovations this disparate group brought to filmmaking in the country, and the courage they showed in the face of censorship by the state authorities, has been all but forgotten.

A retrospective at this year’s Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) aims to set the record straight. The five-film retrospective presents classic early works by the Fifth Generation, including The Yellow Earth, Tian Zhuangzhuang’s semi-abstract masterpiece The Horse Thief, and the cheeky satirical comedy The Black Cannon Incident. Continue reading

‘Low-level red’ and other concerns

Source: China Media Project (3/11/19)
“Low-level Red” and other concerns
by 

“Low-Level Red” and Other Concerns

On the last day of February, a pair of new political catchphrases made their way not just into the Party’s official People’s Daily newspaper but into a central-level Party document. These were “high-level black,” or gaojihei (高级黑) and “low-level red,” or dijihong (低级红). Before we explore how these two terms emerged on the internet and then made their way into central Party documents (中央文件), let us first take a look at some of the key trends that could be noted in Chinese political discourse in February.

Slogans, Hot and Cold

According to the six-level heat index developed by the China Media Project, here is how various important political phrases appeared in the People’s Daily:

One important thing to note as we look at phrase frequencies is that during February the total number of pages in the Party’s flagship newspaper was reduced to eight in light of the Spring Festival holiday, meaning that the total number of articles was likewise reduced, and so word frequencies were about half of what might usually be expected and we don’t see any dramatic changes in the temperature of various keywords. Continue reading

Xinjiang party boss outed as PhD plagiarist (2)

PS on the plagiarized PhD theses of Chinese officials:

Yet one more separate investigation, by the Agence France Presse, concludes Chen Quanguo (the Xinjiang province party chief currently in charge of the new concentration camp system and genocide under way in Xinjiang), plagiarised his PhD — along with other officials who also did so.

It concludes that Chen’s thesis “includes over 60 paragraphs copied without citation from another work.”

Read more here: http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/top-chinese-officials-plagiarised-university-theses/article/544823

Or here: https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/03/08/chinese-officials-plagiarised-university-theses-including-top-xinjiang-official-chen-quanguo/

Have there been any responses from, or any discernible consequences for, those outed as plagiarists?

Magnus Fiskesjö <nf42@cornell.edu>

Li Xueqin dies at 85 (5)

Thanks to Sarah Allen for her comments. I disagree, but let me also repeat that I do think Li Xueqin accomplished many feats of scholarship for which he should be credited and commended.

But not without discussion of questionable sides of his scholarship, which I wrote about, as mentioned. And yes I was there when he told us “I believe the old books,” that is: We should not be skeptical. And I’ll certainly side with those of his colleagues who argued, against Li, that no discovery of excavated texts or the like since the time of the original critical ‘doubts’ of Gu Jiegang and his colleagues, suggest that the time has come for such skepticism to be ‘left behind’ or ‘transcended.’ Continue reading

Oberlin position

East Asian Studies, Oberlin College, 316 Peters Hall, Oberlin, OH 44074
http://jobs.oberlin.edu/postings/7540
Visiting Assistant Professor of Chinese Language and Culture

The East Asian Studies Program at Oberlin College invites applications for a one-year, full-time non-continuing faculty position in Chinese Language, Culture, and Society. Appointment to this position will begin in the fall semester of the academic year 2019-2020, and will carry the rank of Visiting Assistant Professor.

The incumbent will teach a total of five courses, including at least three in Chinese language. One or two other courses, to be taught in English, will be in Chinese Studies in collaboration with the East Asian Studies Program.

Requirements include demonstrated excellence in teaching Chinese at all levels, commitment to teaching elementary Chinese, and evidence of strong scholarship and background in Chinese Studies in such fields as linguistics, film, literature, gender studies or other humanities and social science disciplines.

Among the qualifications required for appointment is the Ph.D. degree (in hand or expected by the first semester of the academic year 2019-2020). Candidates must demonstrate interest and potential excellence in undergraduate teaching. Successful teaching experience at the college level is required. Native or near-native proficiency in Chinese and in English is also required.

Categories: Chinese; Cultural studies.
Review of applications will begin on April 12, 2019.

Why China silenced a clickbait queen

Source: NYT (3/16/19)
Why China Silenced a Clickbait Queen in Its Battle for Information Control
By Javier C. Hernández

Chinese blogger Ma Ling, right, speaking at an event in Shanghai in 2018.CreditZhou Junxiang/ImagineChina

BEIJING — She was known as China’s clickbait queen, an irreverent blogger who prescribed shopping to combat sadness (“better than sex, orgasms, strawberry cake”) and makeovers to win back cheating husbands (“men are visual animals”).

But late last month, Ma Ling, a blogger who commanded an audience of more than 16 million people, went conspicuously silent.

In the battle for control of the Chinese internet, the authorities had designated Ms. Ma a threat to social stability, pointing to an article she published about a young man with cancer whose talent and virtue were not enough to overcome problems like corruption and inequality. Continue reading

Love in the New Millennium nominated for Man Booker

Source: Radii (3/13/19)
Can Xue’s “Love in the New Millennium” Nominated for 2019 Man Booker International Prize
The 2019 Man Booker International Prize long list has been announced, with Chinese author Can Xue’s fantastical Love in the New Millennium among the nominees
By RADII CHINA

Chinese avant-garde author Can Xue’s “darkly comic” novel Love in the New Millenium has made the Man Booker International Prize 2019 long list. The story follows “a group of women [that] inhabits a world of constant surveillance” and represents the “most ambitious work of fiction by a writer widely considered the most important novelist working in China today”, according to its English language publisher, Yale University Press.

Deng Xiaohua, the author behind the Can Xue pseudonym, was born in Changsha, in China’s southern province of Hunan. Her father, the one-time editor-in-chief of a prominent newspaper in the province, was labelled an “Ultra-Rightist” in the late 1950s along with other intellectuals of the period, and was sent to the countryside for two years for allegedly leading an anti-Communist group at the paper. Continue reading

“Wuhouci” Tibetan community of Chengdu

Source: High Peaks Pure Earth (2/25/19)
“Wuhouci” The Tibetan Community of Chengdu – Guest Post and Poetry Translation
By Lowell Cook

Photo taken in Wuhouci, Chengdu (Photo credit: Nina Robyn and Drolma Dondrup)

“The Tibetan Community of Chengdu” – An Introduction by Lowell Cook*

There are a number of Tibetan communities outside of the indigenous Tibetan lands and the community of Wuhouci is one of the most vibrant. Wuhouci is a neighborhood in the city of Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province, and has earned a name for itself as Chengdu’s Tibetan quarter.

With Sichuan encompassing large parts of Kham and Amdo, Chengdu acts as one of the major centers for Tibetans from these regions to access certain goods and medical care, find work and attend language schools or universities, and even spend their winters. It is said that at any given time, there are around 300,000 Tibetans in Chengdu. When you think about the overall Tibetan population (roughly 6 million), this is a sizable number. Yet, when you consider the entire population of Chengdu (over 14 million), it becomes clear that they are still very much a minority. Continue reading

The Forgotten 1910s

I would like to announce the existence of my new website: “The Forgotten 1910s – 尋找辛亥文風.”

This website is conceived as a translation platform for long ignored literary pieces of the early 1910s. Its main purpose is to provide China focused scholars and students with a representative selection of famous literary works of that time, which covers the end of the Qing empire and the first years of the Republican era. Most of the pieces translated here were written in Classical Chinese, usually in the elite form of pianwen 駢文 (paralleled prose), and serialized in political newspapers such as People’s Rights (Minquanbao 民權報, 1912-1914).

I choose to focus on what I suggest to label “early Mandarin Ducks and Butterflies” (1912-1918) writers. This group, contrary to others novelists and writers often conveniently gathered under the deceptive label “Mandarin Ducks and Butterflies,” manifested and claimed a sense of unity. Acting as leading figures of this group were Xu Zhenya 徐枕亞 (1889-1937), Wu Shuangre 吳雙熱 (1885-1934), Xu Tianxiao 徐天嘯 (1886-1941), Li Dingyi 李定夷 (1890-1963), and Liu Tieleng 劉鐵冷 (1881-1961).

Joachim Boittout <joachim.boittout@gmail.com>

China’s intellectual dark web

Source: Sup China (3/13/19)
China’s Intellectual Dark Web And Its Most Active Fanatic
By DYLAN LEVI KING

Illustration by Anna Vignet

Liu Zhongjing, with his philosophy called “Auntology,” built a name for himself by espousing aggressively anti-leftist and anti-progressive views. But he’s reserved his most controversial — and dangerous — opinions for the Chinese state itself: new regionalism, de-Sinification, and support of separatist movements like those in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Xinjiang, and Tibet.

The term “intellectual dark web” was coined, almost tongue-in-cheek, in early 2018 by Eric Weinstein, a mathematician, manager at Thiel Capital, and op-ed writer, and was meant to recognize a network of “renegades” in academia and media who reject identity politics in the name of unhindered dialectic (“free speech”). The group includes the likes of Islamophobic blogger and neuroscientist Sam Harris, former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro, failed libertarian comedian Dave Rubin, and Jungian clean-your-room guy Jordan Peterson. Continue reading

1.5 million Muslims in camps

Source: SupChina (3/13/19)
1.5 Million Muslims Are In China’s Camps — Scholar
By LUCAS NIEWENHUIS

Adrian Zenz is a researcher at the European School of Culture and Theology in Korntal, Germany. Last year, he played a pivotal role in documenting the massive expansion of detention facilities in China’s Xinjiang region — what the government calls “vocational training centers,” but which function as political indoctrination camps. Zenz’s groundbreaking research estimating that as many as 1 million Muslims had disappeared into the facilities was published in the Jamestown China Brief, and then in the peer-reviewed journal Central Asian Survey. Continue reading