Amazon looking to adapt Three-Body Problem

Source: Shanghaiist (3/22/18)
Amazon is looking to turn ‘Three-Body Problem’ into blockbuster sci-fi television series
The company is reportedly likely to earmark $1 billion for project involving the ultra-popular Chinese science fiction trilogy

Chinese sci-fi fans are bubbling over with excitement today following a report that beloved science fiction trilogy “The Three-Body Problem” may be made into a high-budget television series by Amazon.

The Financial Times reported yesterday that the American video subscription service will likely earmark $1 billion in order to acquire the rights to the extremely popular trilogy of novels written by Liu Cixin and produce three seasons of episodes. Continue reading


Source: Sup China (3/27/18)
How ‘Self-Media’ In China Has Become A Hub For Misinformation

Illustration by Hannah Bae / @eatdrinkdraw

As Facebook and Twitter attempt to combat the spread of misinformation, China is having its own “fake news” problem. What can — or should — the government do about it?

Last October, two days after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history left 58 dead in Las Vegas, a Chinese self-media publisher released a story on WeChat titled, “After Las Vegas Shooting, People in Texas Bring Guns onto the Street.” It was accompanied by images of moms in supermarkets wearing assault rifles, and others openly carrying firearms in restaurants and on campus. The story was widely circulated, with multiple self-media accounts and major media outlets referencing the story, including giant online news portals like Sohu. China Daily even published a cartoon featuring, if not exactly the same images, precisely the same idea, with the caption: “After worst incident of gun violence ever in the U.S., people start bringing their weapons onto the street.” Continue reading

‘Modern Chinese intellectuals are spineless’

Source: Sup China (3/27/18)
‘Modern Chinese Intellectuals Are Spineless’: Peking University Vice Dean Reportedly Resigns After Provocative Essay

Li Chenjian and Cai Yuanpei

Rumors are flying (in Chinese) at Peking University that Li Chenjian 李沉简, vice dean of the school’s Yuanpei College 元培学院, has resigned after circulating an essay that rebukes his colleagues and Chinese intellectuals in general for rampant “shamelessness and cynicism,” and becoming increasingly “spineless” in fear of suppression from the establishment.

Judging from a screenshot of Li’s statement on WeChat, the article was a commemoration of Cai Yuanpei 蔡元培, an influential educator and former president of Peking University, only meant to be shared internally at Yuanpei College. But soon after its publication, the essay was censored, which only attracted more attention on social media. Li also said in the statement that though he had left Yuanpei, he would still teach at the university’s school of life sciences. Continue reading

Li Chenjian’s “Stiffen the Backbone and Refuse to be Cynics”

The vice dean of Yuanpei College at Beida, Li Chenjian, has written an essay commemorating Cai Yuanpei’s “backbone” in standing up for freedom. He and other administrators have resigned from the college.–Kirk

Source: China Digital Times (3/22/18)
李沉简:挺直脊梁 拒做犬儒(北大一二〇纪念)
来自微信公号:飞蜗牛研习社FlySnailLab(ID: FlySnail_Lab)

3 月 22 日,传闻北京大学元培学院常务副院长李沉简发送文章《挺直脊梁 拒做犬儒》后辞职,通识副院长张旭东、院长鄂维南一并辞职(知乎网友指出李沉简、张旭东早在二月底的内部会议上辞职)。3 月 22 日下午 6:00 公众号「大帅直通车」推送文章,6:40 公众号被要求关闭,院内老师以微信语音、打电话等方式要求学生删除转发文章。


戊戌变法、北大建校一百二十年,我们纪念蔡元培校长。在中国近代史上,元培先生当之无愧是现代教育之父。他留给我们的“兼容并包,思想自由”是北大的精神火炬,代代相传。蔡校长在人们的印象里总是一个谦谦君子式的思想领袖。其实蔡校长的另外一个侧面同样是万世师表,那就是一个挺直脊梁、拒绝做犬儒的男子汉。 Continue reading

SAPPRFT bans parodies

Source: Sup China (3/22/18)
SAPPRFT Bans Parodies Of Classic TV Shows And Films
By Jiayun Feng

As we reported yesterday, China’s top media authorities, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), is set to hand over a big chunk of its duties to the publicity department of the Communist Party of China. But this doesn’t mean that SAPPRFT will abandon all of its power in regulating the media industry.

Today, March 22, SAPPRFT released an urgent notice to ban “defaming, distorting, and parodying” classic TV shows and films, which SAPPRFT thinks might “cause misunderstanding of the works’ original meaning.” Continue reading

Media changes

Source: Sup China (3/21/18)
China Gears Up To Better Project Its Image Abroad — And Control Its Message At Home

Three separate developments, all happening on the heels of a major government restructuring plan, show that the Communist Party of China is getting serious about finding its voice and making it heard.

First, it is literally publishing its voice. The Voice of China, a new merged entity of China Central Television (CCTV), China Radio International (CRI), and China National Radio (CNR), is being created, according to a notice (in Chinese) posted by Xinhua on March 21. The news was first reported by Bloomberg, which noted: Continue reading

Thoughts of Chairman Xi

Source: Radio Free Asia (3/19/18)
‘Thoughts of Chairman Xi’ Book Appears As President Begins Indefinite Term in Office

A book by Chinese President Xi Jinping is shown in a shop window in Beijing, Feb. 28, 2018.

A book by Chinese President Xi Jinping is shown in a shop window in Beijing, Feb. 28, 2018. AFP

Chinese President Xi Jinping began a second term in office on Monday, after the country’s rubber-stamp parliament endorsed him in the job and approved his closest political ally Wang Qishan as vice president.

The approval of Xi and Wang as the highest-ranking Chinese leaders comes after the National People’s Congress (NPC) nodded through constitutional changes that will enable both men to stay in post indefinitely, instead of stepping down in 2023. Four new vice premiers have also been announced after NPC approval. Continue reading

Voice of China

Source: Bloomberg (3/20/18)
China Approves Giant Propaganda Machine to Improve Global Image
By Keith Zhai

China has approved the creation of one of the world’s largest propaganda machines as it looks to improve its global image, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The new broadcaster will be called “Voice of China,” the person said, mimicking the U.S. government-funded Voice of America that started up during World War II to advance American interests. Bloomberg News had previously reported the new entity would be created through merging China Central Television, China Radio International and China National Radio. Continue reading

Reporter rolling her eyes goes viral

Source: NYT (3/13/18)
A Reporter Rolled Her Eyes, and China’s Internet Broke
查看简体中文版 | 查看繁體中文版
By Paul Mozur

SHANGHAI — It was the eye roll seen across China.

As the annual meeting of the country’s legislature stretched into its second week, the event’s canned political pageantry and obsequious (and often scripted) media questions seemingly proved too much for one journalist on Tuesday.

With a fellow reporter’s fawning question to a Chinese official pushing past the 30-second mark, Liang Xiangyi, of the financial news site Yicai, began scoffing to herself. Then she turned to scrutinize the questioner in disbelief. Continue reading

Gaming slang enters popular culture

Source: World of Chinese (3/7/18)
Slang for Noobs
The chatter of the online gaming community has become part of popular Chinese culture
By Sun Jiahui (孙佳慧)

China is already one of the world’s largest and most rapidly growing online gaming markets. According to Statista, a market research and business intelligence portal, the country’s online gaming sector was worth 216 billion RMB in 2017 and is estimated to reach 324 billion RMB by 2020.

Whether PC or mobile games, people are increasingly turning on fantasy role-playing hits such as Honor of Kings or South Korea’s gory “battle royale” phenomenon Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, currently known as the “world’s hottest video game” (the latter has also been given a “socialist makeover” in China, AP reported).

In the process, many gaming terms and jargon have begun to embed themselves into Chinese popular culture and language (much like “Easter egg,” “pwn,” “noob,” “frag,” and other terms have in English). For example, during this year’s Black Friday, phrases like the following were repeated ad nauseum on online banner ads:

Black Friday promotion: all products seckilling for 50 percent off!
Hēiwǔ cùxiāo: Suǒyǒu shāngpǐn wǔ zhé miǎoshā!
黑五促销:所有商品五折秒杀! Continue reading

‘I Object’

Source: China Heritage (3/5/18)
Objecting (Dog Days IV)

‘I Object’ is a poem that circulated on the Chinese-language Internet following the Lunar New Year. It appeared around the time that Beijing announced a proposed revision of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China that would open the way for the unlimited tenure of state leaders (see The Real Man of the Year of the Dog — Dog Days (III)China Heritage, 2 March 2018). Online expressions of outrage and objection were swiftly quelled.

Due both to the timely appearance as well as to the tenor of ‘I Object’, we are including it in our 2018 series of Dog Days (for more of these, see below). My thanks to Linda Jaivin for suggesting ‘I object’ for wǒ fǎnduì 我反對.

— Geremie R. Barmé
Editor, China Heritage
5 March 2018

I Object 我反對
By Anonymous 無名氏
Translated by Geremie R. Barmé

我 : weapons, to kill (Warring States era); later similar in use to the perpendicular pronoun ‘I’ in English, and ‘me’ Continue reading

China expands internet censorship abroad

Let’s reject all this censorship from the Chinese regime–it’s cowardly. –Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Source: NYT (3/2/18)
China Presses Its Internet Censorship Efforts Across the Globe

China is using its status as home to the world’s largest population of internet users to help get what it wants outside of its borders. CreditSim Chi Yin for The New York Times

SHANGHAI — Within its digital borders, China has long censored what its people read and say online. Now, it is increasingly going beyond its own online realms to police what people and companies are saying about it all over the world.

For years, China has exerted digital control with a system of internet filters known as the Great Firewall, which allows authorities to limit what people see online. To broaden its censorship efforts, Beijing is venturing outside the Great Firewall and paying more attention to what its citizens are saying on non-Chinese apps and services. Continue reading

The Age of Irreverence review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of David Moser’s review of The Age of Irreverence: A New History of Laughter in China (University of California Press, 2015), by Christopher Rea. The review appears below, but is best read online at: My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC book review editor for literary studies, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk A. Denton, editor

The Age of Irreverence:
A New History of Laughter in China

By Christopher Rea

Reviewed by David Moser
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright March, 2018)

Christopher Rea, The Age of Irreverence: A New History of Laughter Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015. ix-xvi + 335 pp. ISBN: 9780520283848 (Hardcover: $70.00)

Chinese Humor and its Discontents

A generation ago, China scholars were to be forgiven for having the impression that Chinese culture suffered from a puzzling humor deficit. Much was made of the fact that the Chinese word for “humor” youmo 幽默 is borrowed from English (in the same way the loan word luoji 逻辑 “logic” was used as evidence that Chinese philosophy lacked this feature as well). Anthologies of Chinese folk humor were usually just joke collections framed as anthropological data (usually badly translated) rather than case studies of laughter. Early popularizing books on Chinese humor tended to merely highlight nuggets of subtle irony mined from Zhuangzi or Dream of the Red Chamber, or to cherry pick passages from the works of a Lao She or Lu Xun. This paucity of examples left the impression that Chinese culture may have produced a few gems of gentle mockery, but the full, variegated range of what we call “humor”—particularly humor that is irreverent, challenging, and even cathartic—was simply not in the Chinese cultural DNA. Continue reading

‘Find the thing you love and stick with it’

Source: Sup China (2/26/18)
‘Find The Thing You Love And Stick With It’: Xi Jinping And The Perfect Meme
A. A. Milne’s anthropomorphic giggling teddy resurfaces in China, if only briefly.

The Communist Party of China Central Committee proposed to remove the expression that the President and Vice-President of the People’s Republic of China “shall serve no more than two consecutive terms” from the country’s Constitution

— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) February 25, 2018 Continue reading

China dismisses criticism of blackface skit

Source: SCMP (2/22/18)
China ‘opposes’ racism but dismisses criticism of CCTV blackface skit
Foreign ministry says backlash over Lunar New Year comedy sketch is ‘futile’ effort to drive a wedge between China and African nations
By Catherine Wang

Beijing on Thursday said it was against any form of racism but dismissed widespread criticism of state broadcaster CCTV’s annual holiday variety show as an attempt to drive a wedge between China and African nations.

A comedy sketch on the country’s biggest and most popular Lunar New Year television show caused uproar for using a Chinese actress in blackface and giant fake buttocks to depict an African character, and a black performer playing a monkey. Continue reading