French-Chinese artist couple disappeared (2)

It’s good the woman is well, but what about the husband, Hu Jiamin? The reports say he was hauled off separately, and is still incomunicado, according to several news media, such as: Continue reading

Man sentenced for running VPN

More bad news from China’s cowardly censors: What a merry Christmas — in jail. Fwd by Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Source: The Guardian (12/21/17)
Man in China sentenced to five years’ jail for running VPN
By Benjamin Haas

As part of an internet ‘cleanup’, Wu Xiangyang was also fined an amount equal to his profits since starting service in 2013

Internet cafe in Guilin, Guangxi Province

Wu ran his virtual private network service from 2013 until June this year. Photograph: Alamy

A man in China has been sentenced to five and a half years in jail for selling software that circumvented the country’s pervasive internet censorship controls, a sign authorities are stepping up a campaign meant to “clean up” the internet.

Wu Xiangyang was also fined 500,000 yuan (£56,800), an amount equal to his profits since starting the service in 2013, according to a report in the newspaper of China’s national prosecutor’s office. Wu ran a virtual private network (VPN), a tool that allows unfettered access to websites normally blocked by China’s massive censorship network. Continue reading

French-Chinese artist couple disappeared

A French-Chinese artist couple has just been disappeared in Shenzhen, apparently by Chinese plainclothes police/thugs. See story below for full report and pictures of the artwork, a mural painting of an empty chair, which apparently aroused the paranoid censors:–fwd by Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Source: BBC News (12/22/17)
France couple in China unreachable after Liu Xiaobo tribute

Hu Jiamin and Marine Brossard beside their mural

Two artists from France have been unreachable in China after they painted a tribute to the late Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, sparking concern over their whereabouts.

Hu Jiamin and Marine Brossard painted a mural showing an empty blue chair at an art exhibition in Shenzhen last week.

The mural was quickly covered up and plainclothes policeman took the couple away, Hong Kong media report. Journalists and friends say they have since been unable to contact the duo. Continue reading

Global backlash against China

Source: Washington Post (12/19/17)
The global backlash against China is growing
By John Pomfret

[John Pomfret, a former Washington Post bureau chief in Beijing, is the author of “The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, 1776 to the Present.”]

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing in February. (Associated Press)

A global backlash is brewing against the People’s Republic of China. In Australia, China’s efforts to use surrogates to funnel money into the Australian political system led one senator to quit last week, and has prompted the government to unveil a series of laws to crack down on foreign influence. In Europe, alarm is growing at Chinese mercantilist practices and China’s desire to snap up European firms with innovative technologies. In the United States, the business community, long the ballast in America’s relations with China, is no longer united over the issue of how to pursue relations with Beijing. Many American firms have suffered losses in China. As a result, a slew of other issues — such as China’s industrial espionage, its demands for forced technology transfer, its use of Chinese state-run media to broadcast pro-Beijing propaganda in the United States and its attempts to influence U.S. educational institutions — is prompting calls for a response. Already, Chinese firms seeking to buy American high technology are facing more difficulties. And there’s talk in Congress of forcing China’s state-run TV and wire service operations in the United States to register as agents of a foreign power. Continue reading

Hua Yong detained and released on bail

Source: Sup China (12/18/17)
Artist who filmed Beijing eviction aftermath detained, then released on bail
By Lucas Niewenhuis

Hua Yong 华涌, the artist who documented the destruction and social turmoil that resulted from Beijing’s migrant evictions, had quite the weekend.

  • He made it out of Beijing to Tianjin, where he filmed several tense videos in which he says that police “have arrived” at his door (he also records banging on his door and himself speaking with the people) and an emotional video in which he sings “Happy Birthday” to his three-year-old daughter and wishes that China could be “just, fair, free, democratic and have freedom of speech.”
  • Police detained him for “gathering a crowd to disrupt traffic,” his friends told the AFP, but then released him on bail.
  • The New York Times notes (paywall) that his form of bail “allows the police to continue investigating for up to a year,” and that though he likely won’t face charges, he “can be monitored and face restrictions on his ability to travel and speak publicly.”
  • Hua is now far away from Beijing in Chengdu, the capital city of southwestern Sichuan Province, where his daughter lives, a friend said.

Liu Xia ‘going mad’ under detention

Source: The Guardian (12/17/17)
‘I live like a plant’: Nobel winner’s wife ‘going mad’ under Chinese detention
Liu Xia, poet and widow of democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo, suffering deep depression after living under house arrest without charges since 2010
Agence France-Presse

Liu Xia with a picture of her husband, Liu Xiaobo, who died in Chinese custody in July 2017.

Liu Xia with a picture of her husband, Liu Xiaobo, who died in Chinese custody in July 2017. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images.

Friends of the late Chinese democracy advocate and Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo have voiced concern about his widow’s health after she sent a letter showing signs of deep depression.

The poet Liu Xia, 56, has been under police watch without charges since her husband was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 2010, a recognition that deeply angered the Communist regime.

In a letter written in the form of a poem to the 2009 Nobel laureate for literature, Herta Mueller, Liu said she was “going mad”. Continue reading

Poetry and translation in times of censorship

Source: Critical Inquiry Blog (12/13/17)
Poetry and Translation in Times of Censorship; or, What Cambridge University Press and the Chinese Government Have in Common
By Jacob Edmond

What is lost in translation? It’s a perennial concern for someone like me, but it took on a new twist when I was recently asked to approve a Chinese translation of a review of Maghiel van Crevel’s book Chinese Poetry in Times of Mind, Mayhem and Money (2008). My review of the original English version appeared in The China Quarterly back in 2011, but I gave permission for it to be translated and published in China following the release of the Chinese translation of Van Crevel’s book, Jingshen yu jinqian shidai de Zhongguo shige 精神与金钱时代的中国诗歌 (2017). This Chinese version of my review will formally be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Modern Chinese Studies (现代中文学刊), but you can already read it here.

A translation of a review published as a review of the translation: the complexities only begin here. Readers of Chinese will already have noted the title change in the Chinese translation of Van Crevel’s book: “money” (金钱) and “mind” (精神) remain, but “mayhem” has disappeared. That omission also signals a larger one: the Chinese version lacks the chapter on “Exile,” which includes discussion of poems written by Bei Dao 北岛, Wang Jiaxin 王家新, and Yang Lian 杨炼 after the Chinese government’s violent 4 June 1989 suppression of dissent.

No one familiar with working and publishing in China will bat an eyelid at such changes. Yang Lian’s own collected poems were published in China with some works removed and the titles of others changed. “To A Nine-Year-Old Girl Who Died in the Massacre” (给一个大屠杀中死去的九岁女孩) became “To a Nine-Year-Old Girl Who Died Suddenly” (给一个猝死的九岁女孩). Journals and publishers that engage with China—The China Quarterly and its publisher, Cambridge University Press, among them—face a similar pressure to avoid sensitive topics in disseminating their work in the country. Continue reading

Artist flees Beijing after filming mass evictions

To view the accompanying video clips, go to the NYT link.–Kirk

Source: NYT (12/13/17)
Artist Flees Beijing After Filming Devastation of Mass Evictions

HONG KONG — When Hua Yong, a painter in Beijing, first witnessed the eviction of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers from the Chinese capital last month, he worried no one would believe the scope of it.

After a deadly fire in November, Beijing officials introduced an aggressive campaign to tear down apartment buildings and evict migrants from poorer sections of the city. Some residents were given just hours to leave.

Mr. Hua feared China’s strictly controlled news media would not cover the evictions accurately, so he decided to document and publish online his own videos of the crackdown.

Starting in November, he posted to YouTube and WeChat dozens of videos he shot with his mobile phone and a selfie stick. Often, he filmed himself walking past the rubble of demolished buildings, or interviewing the laborers who were promised work and a better life in the capital only to have everything suddenly upended.

It felt like a disaster, he said.

Continue reading

Taiwan moves to erase Chiang legacy

Posted by: Martin Winter <>
Source: South China Morning Post (12/6/17):
Taiwan moves to erase Chiang Kai-shek’s authoritarian legacy with new law
Renaming of streets and schools, removal of related symbols made compulsory under new ‘transitional justice bill’
By Agence-France Presse

Tributes to Taiwan’s former dictator Chiang Kai-shek will be removed across the island after lawmakers voted in favour of the mandatory axing of symbols of its authoritarian past.

The so-called transitional justice bill, which was passed late on Tuesday, means that streets and schools will be renamed and statues taken down.

It also paves the way for a full investigation into Chiang’s “White Terror” – a purge of his political opponents between 1947 and his death in 1975.

As Taiwan struggles with Chiang Kai-shek’s legacy, a look at how China’s rulers treated their predecessors. Continue reading

Low-end population

Source: Sup China (12/1/17)
We are all low-end population
By Jeremy Goldkorn

This week, for a few days, you could go to Chinese websites and buy hoodies emblazoned with the characters 低端人口 dī duān rénkǒu — literally, “low-end population.” This refers to migrant workers and the displaced lumpenproletariat who comprise the underclass of cities like Beijing.

low end hoodie.jpg large

The low-end population was the talk of China’s capital this week, as intellectuals and petite bourgeoisie alike found themselves shocked by the swift and thorough purge of tens of thousands of migrants who work in factories, deliver food and online purchases, and operate informal businesses of every kind.

The purge is part of a long-term plan to reduce the population of Beijing, develop the economies of surrounding areas, reduce traffic congestion, and clean up the center of the city. All of these aims make sense. But what was shocking was that the Beijing authorities used a deadly fire on November 18 that killed 19 people as a reason for harsh safety inspections, and evictions with just a couple of days’ notice. Outrage on the internet was suppressed with very thorough censorship. Continue reading

Lee Ming-che sentenced to 5 years for subversion

Source: Sup China (11/28/17)
China jails Taiwanese activist for five years for ‘subversion’
By Lucas Niewenhuis

China has sentenced Taiwanese activist Lee Ming-che 李明哲 to five years in prison for “subverting state power,” the BBC reports.

  • Lee disappeared in China in March and was not heard from for 172 days. In September, he received a trial and gave a scripted confession to the crimes.
  • Chris Horton writes (paywall) in the New York Times that from Taipei, many viewed the case as “the latest shot fired in China’s psychological war on Taiwan” that has heated up since Tsai Ing-wen 蔡英文 was elected president in 2016.
  • Because Lee’s only apparent crime was spreading information about democracyvia Facebook and his connections in China, it has had a “chilling effect” on human rights organizations in Taiwan, one organizer said.
  • Taiwan’s government has called the ruling “unacceptable,” the Taipei Times reports, with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party adding in a statement that the case “indicates China’s indifference to the universal values of democracy and human rights, and damages its international reputation, while hurting the feeling of Taiwanese.”

Speaking of indifference to human rights, Jiang Tianyong 江天勇, a lawyer convicted of crimes similar to Lee’s, received the backing of a group of United Nations human rights experts last week, the Hong Kong Free Press says. In their statement, they noted that “Jiang’s trial clearly fell short of international standards” and argued that his “only crime was to exercise his rights to free speech and to defend human rights.”

The People’s Republic of the Disappeared (1)

Follow up on the new book on the People’s Republic of the Disappeared (

The book was reviewed and excerpted in the New York Times

Also, Teng Biao, lawyer in exile from China, doctor of jurisprudence from Beijing University, who wrote the preface for that book, also published this surprisingly optimistic article in the newsletter of the IAS, the Insittute for Advanced Study:

Promoting Human Rights and Democracy in China: The Costs and Risks of Fighting for Human Dignity and Freedom
By Teng Biao. Published 2017.

Posted by: Magnus Fiskesjö <>

‘Ruthless’ campaign to evict migrant workers

For a round-up of this story, see also Sup China: –Kirk

Source: The Guardian (11/26/17)
China: ‘ruthless’ campaign to evict Beijing’s migrant workers condemned
City officials have declared a campaign against ‘illegal structures’ that house millions of migrant workers who run the city’s restaurants and shops
By Benjamin Haas in Hong Kong

Chinese security guards block a gate to stop people from entering a clothes wholesale market which is closed due to Beijing’s new urban planning policy.

Chinese security guards block a gate to stop people from entering a clothes wholesale market which is closed due to Beijing’s new urban planning policy. Photograph: Wu Hong/EPA

More than a hundred Chinese intellectuals and scholars have decried a “ruthless” campaign to evict thousands of migrant workers from Beijing.

The latest round of evictions began in the wake of a fire on 18 November that killed 19 people in an industrial neighbourhood in south Beijing, and 17 of the victims were migrants. City officials have declared a 40-day campaign against “illegal structures”, which for years have housed the millions of migrant workers who run Beijing’s restaurants, delivery companies, construction sites, retail shops and a host of small factories. Continue reading