Ideas and ideologies competing for China’s political future

Source: Merics: Mercator Institute for Chinese Studies
Ideas and ideologies competing for China’s political future

How online pluralism challenges official orthodoxy

Unlike any other Chinese leader since the beginning of the reform era, Xi Jinping has worked on crafting a unified national ideology with the aim to strengthen the ties between China’s citizens and the Communist Party of China (CCP). The Xi leadership tries to rally support around the “China Dream,” the vision of China as a global player, and it promotes the “China Path” as an alternative to market economies and liberal democracies.

Although partially successful, the propaganda offensive has so far not yielded the desired result: a broad-based societal consensus on China’s future course. A new publication by the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) shows widely differing views within Chinese society on China’s developmental model and its global role.

For their report, “Ideas and ideologies competing for China’s future,” Kristin Shi-Kupfer, Mareike Ohlberg, Simon Lang and Bertram Lang analyzed debates in Chinese social media and conducted a survey among predominantly urban Chinese netizens. Even though party-state propaganda played a dominant role, debates in online chat groups such as Weibo or Tianya Net displayed a wide range of opinions despite censorship and repression of dissent.

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Pingyao seeks to host international film fest

Source: Sixth Tone (10/9/17)
Ancient City Seeks to Host China’s Sundance
Pingyao, a UNESCO World Heritage site, hopes to keep tourists coming with new international film festival.
By Yin Yijun

This article is part of a series about the changing face of Chinese tourism.

A view of Pingyao Ancient City during the annual Pingyao International Photography Festival in Jinzhong, Shanxi province, Sept. 26, 2016. Cheng Yuefeng/IC

Millions of tourists visit the walled ancient city of Pingyao every year, but its faded movie theater has never been an attraction. The theater has been closed for over a decade, idly gathering dust as throngs of people shuffle by.

Nevertheless, the 2,700-year-old city in northern China’s Shanxi province could soon be at the center of Chinese cinema.

Several months ago, pile drivers starting pounding away at Pingyao’s abandoned diesel engine factory, transforming it into the site of the area’s first international film festival. The inaugural Pingyao Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon International Film Festival (PYIFF) — named after the Oscar-winning kung fu movie — will kick off in late October. Continue reading

New Literary History of Modern China review

Source: LARB China Channel (10/9/17)
Republic of Letters
Eleanor Goodman reviews A New Literary History of Modern China, edited by David Der-Wei Wang
By Eleanor Goodman

One evening this summer as I was waiting for a table at a restaurant, I overheard a well-dressed woman describing a bike trip she was planning to take to Japan. “I’m so excited about it,” she told her companion, “that I just picked up Memoirs of a Geisha.”

That literature is a window onto a culture – a point of access that can be utilized even from afar, a safe mental space in which one’s own attitudes, prejudices, preconceptions, and expectations can be challenged and even altered – is an idea that is not only true but important. In an era in which globalism is a simple fact and travel to previously remote places is easy and ordinary, while simultaneously xenophobia and racial fear-mongering are on the rise, there is an increasing need for exposure to other cultures in many forms. Then again, reading a book written by a white man about sex workers in the 1930s and 40s does not necessarily offer the most accurate picture of Japan as it exists today. Continue reading

Virginia Tech position

The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Virginia Tech invites applications for a tenure-track position in Chinese to begin August 2018. PhD required by time of appointment in Chinese language, literature, culture, linguistics, second-language pedagogy, or a related field. As a Research I institution, Virginia Tech strongly values scholarly productivity as well as excellence in teaching; the demonstration of an active research agenda is essential. Ability to teach undergraduate courses in language from the elementary to the advanced level as well as literature, linguistics, and culture. Training or experience in second-language pedagogy desired. The standard teaching load is two courses per semester. Continue reading

A monument to Xi’s power

Source: NYT (10/8/17)
Chinese Village Where Xi Jinping Fled Is Now a Monument to His Power
查看简体中文版  | 查看繁體中文版<

Liangjiahe, where President Xi Jinping of China spent a formative period of his youth during the Cultural Revolution, has been converted into a tourist attraction that attempts to show how the village helped forge his strongman style. CreditBryan Denton for The New York Times

LIANGJIAHE, China — Almost 50 years after Xi Jinping first trudged into this village as a cold, bewildered teenager, hundreds of political pilgrims retrace his footsteps every day.

They follow a well-trod course designed to show how the seven years that the young Mr. Xi spent in this hardscrabble village in China’s barren northwest forged the strongman style that he now uses to rule the world’s most populous nation. Visitors peer down a well that Mr. Xi helped to dig, admire a storage pit that he built to turn manure into methane gas for stoves and lamps, and sit for inspirational lectures outside the cave homes where he sheltered from the chaos of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution. Continue reading

Manhua modernity

Source: ACAS: Association for Chinese Animation Studies (2/10/17)
The Pictorial Turn and China’s Manhua Modernity, 1925-1960
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By John A. Crespi

Defining manhua­—usually translated as “caricature” or “cartoon”—is like trying to put spilled ink back into the bottle. [1] The word should be warning enough. Where the second character for the second syllable, hua, refers to pictorial art in general, the first character, man, connotes several situations: a state of overflow and inundation, an attitude of freedom and casualness, and, most broadly, a general feeling of being all over the place. The challenge of this book—The Pictorial Turn and China’s Manhua Modernity, 1925-1960—is to embrace the chaos, while also making sense of it. Continue reading

The Giant Awakens

A Collection of Insights into Chinese Government Influence in Australia

Download the full PDF version of The Giant Awakens

Read the e-book version of The Giant Awakens online


Influence /ˈɪnflʊəns/ [mass noun]:The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself.

The Chinese government’s vast sphere of influence has been a widely debated topic over the past few months. In many instances, discussions have blurred the lines between China – a country with a rich history of 5,000 years – and the Chinese government – currently controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.

China’s culture, its arts and trade relations with Australia, have had a significant influence on Australia’s development as a well-integrated multicultural society. The cultural and economic contributions of the 1.2 million Chinese living and studying in Australia cannot be overstated. Continue reading

Nobel complex

Three years ago, I was at Vermont Studio Center, translating Yi Sha, also getting attention, experience, and inspiration for my own stuff. Yi Sha still remembers our residence in his poetry. I posted his “National Day” last week, along with links to Liu Xiaobo’s last note on NY Review of Books and to translations of Liu Xia’s poems. What is the connection? When Yi Sha and I were in Vermont, we didn’t talk about Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia, as far as I remember. He was very much interested in who would get the Nobels for literature and for peace, also if any science Nobels would go to Chinese people. Nobody else at VSC was interested in the Nobel announcements. Last year Yi Sha wrote a poem about this experience. I have just translated it, along with two other poems he has written just now, also harking back to VSC. You can read the Nobel one below. The others are on my blog, along with the originals. Continue reading

Why launch of blockbuster postponed

Source: Sup China (10/6/17)
Why did the government postpone the launch of what should have been China’s fall blockbuster?
Pang-Chieh Ho gives you the latest news from film and TV in China. See her previous columns here.
By Pang-Chieh Ho

A promotional poster for Feng Xiaogang’s latest movie, Youth

It should have been a blockbuster, but the Party has a meeting

On September 23, news media began to report (link in Chinese) that the release date of director Feng Xiaogang’s 冯小刚 latest film, Youth (芳华 fānghuá) [aka Pure Hearts], in China had been mysteriously postponed. Youth was originally supposed to premiere on September 29, during one of China’s most lucrative holiday movie slots, the National Day holiday weekend.

Ever since the news about the movie’s indefinite postponement broke, speculation on the reasons behind the axed release has been rife. While neither Feng nor Huayi Brothers Media, the main investor behind Youth, have offered any official explanations for the movie’s delayed premiere, many suspect that the reasons are most likely to be politically motivated (in Chinese), a conjecture that seems only to be strengthened by Feng’s Weibo post (in Chinese), which rebukes claims that the movie’s nixed release was a publicity stunt or due to poor ticket pre-sales. Continue reading

U of Victoria position

The Department of Pacific & Asian Studies at the University of Victoria invites applications for the position of tenured Associate Professor or Professor and Chair of Department, to begin 1 July 2018. The successful candidate will have expertise in one or more parts of the Asia Pacific region and/or expertise about the region as a whole. Disciplinary specialization is open to any field of the Humanities, broadly conceived. Broad interests will be an asset, as will an approach to the region that emphasizes its relevance and significance from a global perspective. Duties will include research, undergraduate and graduate instruction, and administrative service, to include service as the Chair of the Department for a 5-year term. The successful applicant will be a superior researcher, an excellent teacher, and will show clear evidence of success and potential in academic leadership. Continue reading

HKU positions

Two job openings at University of Hong Kong. One is in “Transnational Asia” and one is entitled “HK lit and culture” but both are fairly wide open or inclusive.  They are now eligible for associate as well as assistant level.  (‘Asia’ one) (HK and beyond)

Deadline for both: October 31.

Daniel F. Vukovich <>

Right to the city in China

Source: Chinoiserie (9/28/17)
Commons and the Right to the City in Contemporary China
By Carlo Inverardi-Ferri

Photo by the author.

This short essay tells the story of Dongxiaokou, an urban village in the northern outskirt of Beijing, infamously known in the press as the ‘waste village’ (feipincun). Until urban redevelopment projects accelerated its demolition in recent years, this informal settlement had been one of the biggest in the metropolis. Situated between the Fifth and Sixth ring road, around ten kilometres from the city centre, it hosted a massive population of migrant workers, who had made this place their home and used it as a base to enter the Chinese capital’s labour market. Continue reading

Chinese Literature Today 6.1

Dear MCLC List members,

I am very happy to announce that Chinese Literature Today vol. 6 no. 1 is now available and can be found on the Routledge website ( I want to thank CLT’s readers for their patience in 2016 as CLT transitioned into a new partnership with Routledge. CLT will now reach exponentially more readers across the globe while delivering the quality of presentation and timeliness that its readers have come to expect. Dr. Zhu Ping, Associate Professor of Chinese Literature at the University of Oklahoma, will become Deputy Editor in Chief, a role that I have held since 2010. Dr. Zhu has long worked as an Associate Editor of CLT and will serve ably as the new Deputy Editor in Chief. I will now direct more of my attention to my  new role as Curator of the Chinese Literature Translation Archive at the University of Oklahoma Libraries and will become CLT’s new Deputy Executive Director. I will work with Dr. Zhu and colleagues at World Literature Today, Beijing Normal University, and Routledge to ensure that CLT readers have access to the best, most compelling literature coming out of China today.


Jonathan Stalling <>

Below is the TOC of #11 for your convenience.


6 Introduction, by Jonathan Stalling
8 Ruined City, by Jia Pingwa
14 Butterfly’s Reincarnation: From Zhuang Zhidie to Lao Sheng, by Zhang Xiaoqin
18 Carrying on “Chinese Fiction” Traditions: An Interview with Jia Pingwa, by Zhang Qinghua24 The Jia Pingwa Project, by Nick Stember
29 Shaanxi Opera, by Jia Pingwa Continue reading

TAP “Voyages” issue–cfp extension

The Trans Asia Photography Review seeks proposals for articles and projects relating to the theme of “Voyages”.

New deadline for proposals: November 5, 2017. Full projects due December 28, 2017, when they will be sent out for peer review. Final selections will be published in our spring 2018 issue. Please to go the style guide on the TAP websitefor details on how to format submissions.
The term “voyages” here includes the voluntary and involuntary movement of individuals and groups, as well as the movement of photographic ideas and technologies, from one city, region or nation in Asia to another. How and why do people, ideas and technologies move about, and what are the aftereffects of these voyages?

Questions? Contact

Sandra Matthews
Editor, Trans Asia Photography Review

The Chinese world order

Source: NY Review of Books (9/12/17)
The Chinese World Order
By Andrew J. Nathan

Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping; drawing by Siegfried Woldhek

The End of the Asian Century: War, Stagnation, and the Risks to the World’s Most Dynamic Region
by Michael R. Auslin
Yale University Press, 279 pp., $30.00
Post-Western World: How Emerging Powers Are Remaking Global Order
by Oliver Stuenkel
Polity, 251 pp., $64.95; $22.95 (paper)

Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?
By Graham Allison
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 364 pp., $28.00

Ten years ago the journalist James Mann published a book called The China Fantasy, in which he criticized American policymakers for using something he called “the Soothing Scenario” to justify the policy of diplomatic and economic engagement with China. According to this view, China’s exposure to the benefits of globalization would lead the country to embrace democratic institutions and support the American-led world order. Instead, Mann predicted, China would remain an authoritarian country, and its success would encourage other authoritarian regimes to resist pressures to change.1 Continue reading