Chinese Feminist and Activism summer camp

There will be a summer camp on Chinese Feminist and Activism in the great NYC area this August (24-26).

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/48902690263

Goal and topic:

This camp aims to raise awareness and build capacity related to “Chinese feminist activism”. It’s goals are:

1/Creating the feminist community network in North America centered on great NYC area.
2/Improving the collective capability to analyze the current social issues from the gender perspective.
3/Developing the future action plan based on activism. Continue reading

Confucius Institutes: Academic Malware and Cold Warfare

Posted by Magnus Fiskesjö <nf42@cornell.edu> (I agree: how could these institutions do this to themselves?)

Source: Inside Higher Education (7/26/18)
Opinion: Confucius Institutes: Academic Malware and Cold Warfare
Confucius Institutes and classrooms installed in colleges and K-12 schools the world around function as propaganda branches of the Chinese government, writes Marshall Sahlins.
By Marshall Sahlins

There are presently upward of 100 Confucius Institutes embedded in American colleges and universities, and many more Confucius classrooms in American K-12 schools. Funded by the Chinese government, their activities commonly include courses in Chinese language and culture taught by personnel likewise supplied by the People’s Republic.

Although Hanban, the Beijing headquarters of the Confucius Institutes, commonly advertises itself as a nonprofit organization affiliated with the Ministry of Education, the instructional activities of which are devoted to promoting a harmonious multicultural world order, this is a benign disguise. Hanban is in fact controlled by high officials of the Chinese party-state implementing the policies of the PRC propaganda apparatus. The governing council of Hanban, which annually sets its agenda, has long been headed by a member of the Politburo. A number of its ranking officials, beside their high status in such ministries as foreign affairs, finance and national development, are members of so-called small leading groups of the Party’s propaganda and ideology sections — which thus function as conduits for the realization of Politburo policies in the operations of Confucius Institutes. And insofar as Confucius Institutes and classrooms are installed in colleges and K-12 schools the world around, these educational institutions function as peripheral propaganda branches of the Chinese party-state. 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

Mao 101

Source: NYT (6/28/18)
Mao 101: Inside a Chinese Classroom Training the Communists of Tomorrow
By Javier C. Hernández

Students watching Feng Wuzhong’s online lecture video during a course on Mao’s ideology at Tsinghua University in Beijing.CreditGiulia Marchi for The New York Times

BEIJING — Democracy. Is it effective or flawed? Would it work in China?

Those were the teacher’s instructions on a recent Sunday morning when 17 college students met at Tsinghua University in Beijing for “Mao Zedong Thought and the Theoretical System of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics,” a mouthful of a course that is part of a government-mandated regimen of ideological education in China.

The students were sporting dragon tattoos and irreverent shirts — one had “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder” emblazoned on its back — and playing bloody shoot-’em-up video games on their phones before class. Continue reading

More on this year’s gaokao

Source: Sup China (6/7/18)
Propaganda and finger vein recognition: China’s 2018 college entrance exams
By Lucy Best

The gaokao (高考 gāokǎo) is a three-day college entrance test that covers literature, science, math, and English (see SupChina’s brief history of the exam). This year more than 9.75 million students are taking the test, according to Sixth Tone.

Propaganda is big this year. Today’s morning test session was for Chinese language and literature and included an 800-character essay. Quartz reports: “Of the nine essay questions asked across the nation — there are some regional variations — five were directly related to propaganda terms put forward by the Chinese president.”

Cheating on the gaokao already carries a penalty of up to seven years in jail, but Chinese authorities are instituting additional measures this year. Test centers in Inner Mongolia will use finger vein recognition (as opposed to fingerprint recognition) to verify test takers’ identities, according to the South China Morning Post. Metal detectors, facial recognition, and fingerprint recognition are expected to be commonplace around the country.

Gen Z candidates shrug off gaokao

Source: SCMP (6/6/18)
China’s Generation Z gaokao candidates shrug off college entrance exam’s reputation for making or breaking futures
China’s gaokao exam season moves into a new era as students born in the 21st century take the rigid national college entrance examinations for the first time
By Zhuang Pinghui

Students born in the 21st century are to take China’s gaokao, or national college entrance examinations, for the first time this week. Photo: EPA

China’s gaokao exam season will move into a new era this week as students born in the 21st century take the rigid national college entrance examinations for the first time.

Their scores will determine whether they can go to university, which institutions will accept them and what careers await them.

But many of the 9.75 million secondary school students who will sit for the exams, officially known as the National Higher Education Entrance Examination, for between two and three days from Thursday, reject the popular view that gaokao can make or break their futures, according to a new survey. Continue reading

China Matters

On this day of June 4, China Matters Ltd in Australia saw fit to publish this mumbo-jumbo about the mysterious, and very pure, profundity of China. See below. The author recycles several falsities, notably the very old misunderstanding of Chinese writing as pure pictures:

“On a purely linguistic note, … Chinese language as a pure logogram and European languages which are all phonogram … ”

–But such theories have been debunked by all the linguists! For how long now? Centuries?

It goes on. Take this for example: “Classical Chinese does not operate under a set of grammatical rules,” (!!) … and so on.

But perhaps the fakery doesn’t matter, if one’s fantasy “China” matters more — as it seems to, at China Matters Ltd.?

One writer on Twitter labelled this “pure bullshit,” and there’s something to that. However, I think it is also an example of what Andrea Ghiselli in the latest China Quarterly called “Cherry-Picking” (see: “Revising China’s Strategic Culture: Contemporary Cherry-Picking of Ancient Strategic Thought,” China Quarterly, Volume 233, March 2018 , pp. 166-185. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0305741018000413).

This strategic “Cherry-Picking” is, I think, very closely related to Trumpian fakery, which also cares nothing for the facts except as the raw material with which to fashion a semi-plausible new truth that will fool some, at least.

One could use the same term for both. And the current industry of “Cherry-Picking” to mystify-and-glorify China deserves much more research, analysis, and exposure.

(In my recent article I took on the longstanding, but fake, narrative that China was always peaceful, never an empire, etc etc.: The Legacy of the Chinese Empires, in: Education About Asia 22.1, (2017), pp. 6-10, download at: http://aas2.asian-studies.org/EAA/TOC/index.asp)

yrs.
Magnus Fiskesjö <nf42@cornell.edu>


Source: China Matters.org (6/4/18)
A Piece to the Puzzle: Reading China’s Strategic Mindset
By Kelvin Chau

Australia will need to study Chinese cultural knowledge more comprehensively to remain competitive in the ongoing Asian Century. Studying Chinese strategic culture, notably Chinese conflict management principles, is both necessary and the first step to take. To put it simply, the importance of understanding the role of strategy in the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) business culture and policy formulation is captured by the title of Professor Xuetong Yan’s book “Ancient Chinese Thought, Modern China’s Power”. Continue reading

Vagina Monologues cancelled at Fudan

Source: Sup China (5/31/18)
Student Group At Fudan University Forced To Cancel Annual Production Of ‘The Vagina Monologues’
By JIAYUN FENG

This year at Fudan University in Shanghai, there will not be any students talking loudly about female genitalia. Zhihe Society 知和社, an on-campus student organization committed to addressing gender issues, was forced to cancel its annual performance of the feminist play The Vagina Monologues (阴道独白 yīndào dúbái), which was set to take place on May 31.

Written by American playwright and activist Eve Ensler in 1994, The Vagina Monologues is a celebration of women’s rights, bodies, and sexual experiences.

In 2004, students at Fudan University performed the Chinese version of The Vagina Monologues for the first time on campus, making the school the first Chinese college to produce the play. In subsequent years, the student group constantly adapted the original play for the contemporary Chinese context, and the annual production has evolved into a well-received cultural event among college students in Shanghai. Continue reading

Patriotic writer draws ire

Source: Sup China (5/29/18)
Patriotic Chinese Writer Draws Ire After Trying To Enroll Her Kid At An American School
By CHAUNCEY JUNG

Yuan Xiaoliang, from her Weibo account

Yuan Xiaoliang 袁小靓 made a name for herself by bashing democracy. In 2013, she called India a nation “raped” by democracy, and said Chinese fans of Apple products were American “slaves.” A year later, she wrote, “Despite how good America is, it is someone else’s motherland. No matter how bad a mother China is, it is my home. I don’t need a reason to love her and protect her, yet there are reasons aplenty.”

Her pro-China stances on social media have been widely cited by Chinese state media. In an article published on guancha.cn in 2012, Yuan called herself the “chairwoman” of the 50-Cent Party — a moniker given to those who voice online support for the Chinese Communist Party and China in general. (For what it’s worth, Yuan also claimed to have not made a cent from the Chinese government.) Continue reading

Seminars in modern Chinese fiction

Two Seminars in Modern Chinese Fiction at the Lau China Centre, Kings College London
Thursday 7th and Thursday 14th June, 10-12, at Bush House, KCL

The first seminar will consider ‘I Love Dollars’ by Zhu Wen, originally published in Chinese in the late 1990s, and the second ‘The Story of Ah Q ‘ by Lu Xun, first published in Chinese in 1921.

The seminars are presented by journalist and writer Poppy Sebag-Montefiore, will be discussions on short stories from bestselling classics from either end of the 20th century.

Through close reading, the sessions will explore the ways the texts deal with sexuality, patriarchy, filial piety, women, masculinity, the individual, romantic love, society and the state. They will also consider the tone of the writing, the use of humour, parody and the absurd, and consider the ways in which they experiment with the story form. Continue reading

Classrooms monitor facial expressions

Source: Sup China (5/16/18)
No Sleeping In Class: Chinese High School Installs Cameras To Monitor Student Facial Expressions
By JIAYUN FENG

A network of surveillance cameras backed by facial-recognition technology has been introduced to every classroom at a high school in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. Praised by the school’s principal as “insightful eyes,” the cameras are capable of capturing and analyzing students’ body movements and facial expressions during class, offering teachers real-time feedback on how attentive their students are.

According to Sina News (in Chinese), with the newly installed cameras that can tell who might be discreetly taking a nap, students at Hangzhou No. 11 High School are more focused in class than ever. “Before the introduction of these cameras, I sometimes took naps or did other stuff while having classes that I don’t like,” one student told reporters, adding that his classmates all felt the same. “But now, I always feel there are mysterious eyes staring at me, so I don’t dare do things that are unrelated to class anymore.” Continue reading

Students at NTU march to defend school autonomy (1)

According to other reputable sources, the controversy at NTU is a bit more complex than the version in the SupChina essay, which mainly blames the DPP government… See, for example, the article below.–Sebastian Veg <veg@ehess.fr>

Source: New Bloom (4/30/18)
Block of Kuan’s Appointment Unlikely to End NTU Presidential Controversy
By Brian Hioe

NATIONAL TAIWAN UNIVERSITY CAMPUS. PHOTO CREDIT: RESTPETW/WIKICOMMONS/CC

AFTER MUCH back and forth, the decision by the Ministry of Education to block Kuan Chung-ming from being named president of National Taiwan University (NTU) has at least settled the matter that Kuan will not be the next president of NTU. But one does not expect controversy regarding Kuan’s blocked appointment to end anytime soon.

Namely, the matter has long since become one that the KMT and members of the pan-Blue camp have latched onto as a way to claim that the DPP is politically persecuting political dissidence and that university autonomy is under siege. The DPP has probably not helped matters for itself by allowing the matter to drag on for so long without offering clear resolution and the scandal has already claimed the career of Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung, who resigned due to the lack of resolution regarding the scandal. Continue reading

Students at NTU march to defend school autonomy

Source: Sup China (5/3/18)
Students At National Taiwan University March To Defend School Autonomy
By JIAYUN FENG

Students at the prestigious National Taiwan University (NTU) in Taipei are planning a protest — dubbed the “New May Fourth Movement” — on Friday, May 4, to object to the Taiwanese government’s interference in the election of the school’s president.

The organizers condemn the “government’s attempt to undermine university autonomy.” Their main complaint is that Taiwan’s Ministry of Education has been attempting to delegitimize NTU’s election of Kuan Chung-ming 管中閔 as its new president. Kuan, a former Kuomintang (KMT) minister, was elected on January 5 by 21 members of the school’s Presidential Search Committee. Since then, the Ministry of Education has accused him of ethical lapses, and said there was a conflict of interest with one of the voting members of the Presidential Search Committee, according to the Taipei Times. Continue reading

Beida student silenced over rape claim petition

Source: The Guardian (4/24/18)
Student says Peking university trying to silence her over rape claim petition
Young activist publishes letter alleging harassment over role in movement calling for more accountability over campus sex assaults
By Lily Kuo

Peking University

Peking University Photograph: Sipa Press / Rex Features

A student activist calling for transparency over an alleged rape at China’s top university has accused the university of trying to silence her.

Earlier this month, former classmates of a literature student at Peking University (PKU) who killed herself in 1998 came forward to say she had been raped by her professor, Shen Yang, who denies the allegation. PKU and two other universities subsequently cut ties with Shen and a group of current PKU students petitioned the school to hand over all documents related to the case. Continue reading

Graduate student suicide

Source: Sup China (4/5/18)
Graduate Student’s Suicide Raises Questions About The Professor-Student Power Dynamic On Chinese Campuses
By TIANYU M. FANG

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The suicide of a graduate student at the Wuhan University of Technology’s School of Automation two weeks ago has sparked a discussion online about the relationship between mentors and mentees at Chinese universities.

Tao Chongyuan 陶崇园, a graduate student at Wuhan University of Technology’s School of Automation, jumped off the sixth floor of his dormitory building on March 26, reportedly after being mentally abused by his supervisor, Professor Wang Pan 王攀.

Tao’s sister, a doctor at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST), wrote on her Weibo account that her brother was coerced into assisting Wang with his personal affairs; under the request of Wang, Tao went to Wang’s apartment at night to prepare meals for him and do his laundry. Continue reading