Where Chinese students in the US get their news

Source: The New Yorker (8/19/19)
The “Post-Truth” Publication Where Chinese Students in America Get Their News
By Han Zhang

The online publication College Daily brings Chinese students living in the U.S. news with nationalistic undertones, delivered in a stream of memes and Internet-speak.Illustration by Jon Han

On a Monday morning in February, members of the staff of College Daily, an online Chinese-language publication for Chinese students living in North America, gathered in their office, in Times Square, for an editorial meeting. Guan Tong, the editorial director of the New York bureau, reviewed traffic numbers from the previous week. Staring at her MacBook, she seemed satisfied with what she saw. A piece by College Daily’s founder, Lin Guoyu, about the blockbuster Chinese movie “The Wandering Earth,” had garnered more than a million page views; its headline was “Of Course, Only Chinese People Can Save Planet Earth.” The healthy numbers came as a surprise: it was Lunar New Year, which tends to be a slow week for College Daily. “No need to worry about low traffic during Lunar New Year anymore,” Guan said cheerily. Continue reading

Yellow Perils review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Anne Witchard’s review of Yellow Perils: China Narratives in the Contemporary World (Hawaii, 2018), edited by Franck Billé and Sören Urbansky. The review appears below and at its online home: http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/witchard/. My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk A. Denton, editor

Yellow Perils: 
China Narratives in the Contemporary World

Edited by Franck Billé and Sören Urbansky


Reviewed by Anne Witchard
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright August, 2019)


Franck Billé and Sören Urbansky, eds., Yellow Perils: China Narratives in the Contemporary World Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2018. Viii + 276. ISBN: 978-0-8248-7579-4 (hardcover).

In the last decade the emergence of China as a global superpower has provoked an array of responses that have prompted comparisons with the early-twentieth century rhetoric of a Yellow Peril. Yellow Perils: China Narratives in the Contemporary World is a timely collection, coming as it does when the might of Beijing indeed poses a significant threat, to Muslims in Xinjiang Province for example, and (at the time of writing) to democracy activists in Hong Kong. It is all too easy to resort to inflammatory responses and indeed hostile and/or prejudicial treatment that fails to distinguish between the actions of China’s current Party State regime and ethnic Chinese in the PRC and across the globe.

Despite the time elapsed from research to print and the astonishing rapidity of change in the current political scene, Yellow Perils’s relevancy may perhaps be greater than might have been predicted by its editors. It is unfortunately all too easy to find statements that reflect Sinophobic predispositions informing some decision-making under the Trump administration. In April 2019, Kiron Skinner, director of policy planning at the State Department said at a security forum in Washington, D.C.: “This is a fight with a really different civilization and a different ideology and the United States hasn’t had that before.” Of course, as any high school student might remind her, the notorious Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) repealed only in 1943, was formulated upon exactly this racialized and divisive narrative. Continue reading

A New Zealand university and Chinese censorship

Source: The Spinoff (8/3/19)
We must speak out on AUT, China and threats to academic freedom
Jacob Edmond | Guest writer

A POSTER PROMOTING THE CANCELLED AUT

The AUT vice-chancellor denies that a Tiananmen Square commemoration was cancelled at the request of the Chinese embassy, but the emails released are enough to send a severe chill through New Zealand’s universities, writes Jacob Edmond

Auckland has a long and proud history of remembering the victims of the June 4, 1989 crackdown on student protests across China. Unfortunately, as the recent actions of Auckland University of Technology have underscored, the city’s universities have a more mixed record.

It is perhaps not that widely known, but one of the relatively few and earliest permanent memorials to the victims of June 4 stands in central Auckland. The memorial was unveiled on 17 September 1989 on the grounds of St Andrew’s First Presbyterian Church on Alten Rd. The initial plan had been to place the stone within the grounds of the University of Auckland. But when the University of Auckland authorities refused permission, St Andrew’s offered a home, and the stone stands there to this day. Continue reading

What is the PLA doing in HK

Source: NYT (7/25/19)
What Is the Chinese Military Doing in Hong Kong?
By Austin Ramzy

People’s Liberation Army soldiers took part in a drill open to the public at the Stonecutters Island naval base in Hong Kong last month. Credit: Tyrone Siu/Reuters

HONG KONG — When Hong Kong, a former British colony, returned to Chinese control in 1997, one of the biggest worries was how the Chinese military would behave.

Images of the People’s Liberation Army killing civilians on the streets of Beijing eight years earlier were still fresh in the minds of Hong Kong residents, who had marched in huge numbers to support the pro-democracy Tiananmen protests, and who had begun marking the anniversary of the 1989 crackdown with a yearly vigil.

As troop trucks and armored personnel carriers rolled into Hong Kong after its handover from Britain, residents wondered what the soldiers would do next. But in the 22 years since then, the People’s Liberation Army has had a very limited role in the city. Continue reading

Sinophone Humanities in Southeast Asia

Sinophone Humanities in Southeast Asia: An International Workshop
Date: Apr 11, 2019
Location: Harvard University, 2 Divinity Ave, Common Room

SCHEDULE 

10.15am – 10.30am | Welcome Remarks

10.30am – 12pm | Panel A: The Geopolitics of Southeast Asian Space, Memory and History
Chair: Huang Ying-che (Aichi University)

Ko Chia-cian (National Taiwan University): 漢詩世界裡的華夷風

Tee Kim Tong (National Sun Yat-sen University): 馬華文學、吉隆坡與文學/記憶現場

Liew Zhou Hau (Harvard University): Staging Resettlement: The Re-engineering of Rural History and the Replanting of Nanyang Memories

Jessica Tan (Harvard University): Caught between Homelands: The “Return” of the Wild Goose Wang Xiaoping Continue reading

Dissidents in Canada feel Beijing’s wrath

Source: NYT (4/1/19)
Chinese Dissidents Feel Heat of Beijing’s Wrath. Even in Canada.
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
She thought she would be safe in Toronto. Then she began speaking out against the Chinese government and became the victim of a lurid smear campaign.
By Catherine Porter

Sheng Xue at a rally last year for political prisoners in front of the Chinese Consulate in Toronto. Credit: Ian Willms for The New York Times

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — Search for Sheng Xue on Google in English and you will find the story of an award-winning writer who left China for Canada after the Tiananmen Square uprising and became one of the world’s leading advocates for Chinese democracy.

But that same search in Chinese comes up with a very different portrait: Sheng Xue is a fraud, a thief, a traitor and a serial philanderer. Want proof? It offers up salacious photos, like one seeming to show her kissing a man who is not her husband.

As China extends its influence around the globe, it has mastered the art of soft power, establishing Confucius Institutes on Western college campuses and funding ports and power plants in developing countries. Continue reading

Mobility as Method

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of an essay by Tong King Lee entitled “Mobility as Method: Distributed Literatures and Semiotic Repertoires” as part of our online series. Too long to post here in its entirety, find below a snippet from the beginning of the essay. The whole essay can be found at: http://u.osu.edu/mclc/online-series/tong-king-lee/.

Kirk A. Denton, editor

Mobility as Method:
Distributed Literatures and Semiotic Repertoires

By Tong King Lee


MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright March 2019)


Posters of Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love and 2046.

In this essay, I propose mobility as a method for thinking literature as distributed repertoires, using Hong Kong literature as an illustrative case. In speaking of literary mobility, we first need to come to terms with its nominal counterpoint: the situatedness and place-based nature of writing; in the context of Hong Kong, this is encapsulated by the notion of Sinophone Hong Kong literature (Shih 2008). My argument is that the mobile and the situated are not diametrically opposed; rather, they complement each other within a creative dynamic that enables the local and the global to reciprocally articulate each other in diverse semiotic constellations.

The mobility turn in the social sciences, exemplified by the work of John Urry (2007) and Zygmunt Bauman (2000), has led to lines of inquiry that challenge stable structures and linear patterns, privileging instead the themes of movement and fluidity. More recently, Engseng Ho (2017) proposed the idea of mobile societies, suggesting that premodern Asia be conceptualized as Inter-Asia, a transregional axis constituted by networks of connections and circulations among peoples, goods, and ideas. Here mobility as method represents a theoretical attempt to dislodge the isomorphism between state and society, where the former is a territorialized, bounded political entity and the latter a dispersed concept transcending the perimeters of the polity.

Now what if, instead of mobile societies, we conceive of mobile literatures, defined as spectra of creative semiotic resources moving dynamically between and beyond languages, cultures, and bounded territories? What connections and circulations might emerge from such a distributed view of literature? What are the implications of disaggregating literature from society and dispersing its resources to a global scale, and then reaggregating them back into society, in what Engseng Ho (2017) calls an “outside-in” analysis? [click here to read the whole essay]

The case of Jane Doe Ponytail

The tragic story of a Liaoning woman’s immigration to the US, the sex trade, and her death.–Kirk

Source: NYT (10/12/18)
The Case of Jane Doe Ponytail
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
By DAN BARRY, JEFFREY E. SINGER, and TODD HEISLER

“Feeling depressed for a long time,” Song Yang, known on 40th Road as SiSi, posted. “Coming out to bask in the sunshine.”

A WOMAN BEGINS TO FALL. With her long dark hair in a ponytail and her black-and-red scarf loose around her neck, she is plummeting from a fourth-floor balcony, through the neon-charged November night.

Below awaits 40th Road, a gritty street of commerce in the Flushing section of Queens. Chinese restaurants and narrow storefronts, and dim stairwells leading to private transactions. Strivers and dawdlers and passers-by, all oblivious to what is transpiring above.

But before the pavement ends the woman’s descent, a few feet from a restaurant’s glittering Christmas tree, imagine her fall suddenly suspended — her body freeze-framed in midair. If only for a moment. Continue reading

Crazy Rich Asians

Source: NYT (8/8/18)
‘Crazy Rich Asians’: Why Did It Take So Long to See a Cast Like This?
By Robert Ito

From left, the “Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. Chu and his cast: Ken Jeong, Awkwafina, Constance Wu, Gemma Chan, Michelle Yeoh and Henry Golding.CreditRozette Rago for The New York Times

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — In January 2017, the director Jon M. Chu announced an open casting call for Asian and Asian-American actors for his movie adaptation of “Crazy Rich Asians.” Recorded in the kitchen of his West Hollywood home (you can see his fridge in the background), the online plea instructed anyone interested in joining his all-Asian cast, from aspiring actors to “cool personalities with hidden talents,” to post a two-minute video of themselves on social media. “We are looking for you,” he beamed. 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

Transnational Postsocialist Media Networks postdoc

Call for applications // Postdoctoral Fellowship:
TRANSNATIONAL POSTSOCIALIST MEDIA NETWORKS

>applications due September/1/2018
>fellowship begins January/1/2019
Concordia University (Montréal, Canada)
Supervisors: Dr. Joshua Neves and Dr. Masha Salazkina

We invite applications for a postdoctoral fellow of film and media whose research focuses on the relationship – either in comparative or transnational terms – between the former Communist bloc and the Global South. The postdoctoral fellow will be expected to enter into dialogue with the research projects already underway in the department of Cinema under the auspices of the Global Emergent Media Lab (Gem Lab) and the CURC in Transnational Media Arts and Cultures with the goal of interrogating the shifting theoretical questions about the Cold War, colonialism and their legacies and developing a shared conceptual model for describing and assessing these geopolitical flows either from a historical or contemporary perspective.

Apply here:
http://www.concordia.ca/sgs/postdoctoral-fellows/funding/horizon/descriptions/5003.html

For more information please contact:

Joshua Neves: joshua.neves@concordia.ca
Masha Salazkina: masha.salazkina@concordia.ca

Chinese opera in Thailand

Source: NYT (4/24/18)
‘We Don’t Perform for People, We Perform for the Gods’
A community has formed around Chinese opera in Thailand, preserving one of the oldest dramatic art forms in the world.
By Malin Fezehai

Backstage with the Sai Yong Hong Chinese Opera troupe. Actors spend hours applying layers of makeup and working on their hairstyles before performing.

BANGKOK — “Anywhere they play in Bangkok, I’ll be there,” said Warin Nithihiranyakul, 73, a dedicated fan of the Sai Yong Hong Chinese Opera troupe for more than 10 years. While waiting for his friends to arrive, he helps out by starting to set up plastic red chairs for the audience to watch the evening’s performance in an area just south of Bangkok’s Chinatown.

A devotee of 11 years, Wandee Tengyodwanich, 62, unwraps several small plates of Chinese dough sticks and cake, passing them around to her friends in front of the stage before the show. She says that Sai Yong Hong is the best Chinese opera in Thailand because it invests in very elaborate costumes. She and her friends go to see the group a couple of times a year. They eat and catch up as they reminisce about the first time they saw Chinese opera as children. Continue reading

Survey show Chinese films gain ground in North America

Source: China Daily (3/22/18)
Survey shows Chinese movies gain ground in North America
By Wang Kaihao | China Daily

Huang Huilin, a professor at Beijing Normal University and an initiator of the survey on the global influence of Chinese cinema, speaks at the annual event. [Photo provided to China Daily]

North America is increasingly taking to Chinese movies, but kung fu films–which were once popular–are now losing ground, says a report recently released by Beijing Normal University.

According to the report, which is based on 1,520 responses in the United States and Canada, the interviewees were least interested in upcoming Chinese kung fu movies. Continue reading

Chinese students abroad and the battle for their hearts

Source: SupChina (1/18/18)
Caught In A Crossfire: Chinese Students Abroad And The Battle For Their Hearts
China’s 800,000 overseas students represent a blind spot for the Communist Party in its ongoing battle against Western ideology. But many of them are returning home with more love and appreciation for their birth country than ever before.
By ERIC FISH

When 22-year-old Chinese student Langou Lian looks back at her decision to study in the United States, there’s one influence that sticks out: the Disney Channel movie High School Musical.

“I hated Chinese education,” Lian says, remembering the high-pressure test-centered schooling in her native Sichuan Province. High School Musical presented an alternative: a carefree atmosphere where even adolescent students are independent, free to speak their mind, and have a palette of social activities to choose from.

But after she arrived in the U.S., that rosy Hollywood image became complicated. “The one word that describes my impression of America before coming is freedom,” Lian says. “[But] after I studied here for a while, I started to kind of understand American society. My impression went from good to bad.” Continue reading

Visiting scholars set up party branch at UC Davis (1)

Source: Quartz (11/21/17)
China’s Communist Party briefly had a chapter at a California university
By Echo Huang

Seven Chinese scholars visiting the University of California, Davis, set up a local chapter of China’s Communist Party to guard against the “corrosion” of western ideas—only to realize they had set up a potentially illegal organization under US law.

Mu Xingsen, a visiting thermal engineering scholar from China’s University of Dalian Technology, founded the party branch in early November—an act that Mu’s university praised as “setting an example for overseas party members.” The idea was to study party doctrine, including lessons from the just-concluded 19th Party Congress, according to the South China Morning Post, which first reported on the chapter. Continue reading