Source: Sup China (11/13/19)
More Than 70 Percent Of Divorces In China Are Initiated By Women
By JIAYUN FENG
Disrupting long-held assumptions that Chinese women tend to endure unhappy marriages due to societal expectations and economic pressures, a recent speech given by Zhōu Qiáng 周强, president of the Supreme People’s Court, revealed that over 70 percent of divorces in China are initiated by women.
Zhou, China’s highest-ranking judge, made the striking revelation on November 6, in a speech (in Chinese) at Beijing’s Tsinghua University. Commenting on the topic of China’s overall divorce rate, which has been rising continuously since 2002, Zhou said that roughly 74 percent of the divorces handled by Chinese courts were filed by women. He also pointed out that contrary to the popular belief that most couples start to unravel at the seven-year mark, Chinese marriages are inclined to fall apart as soon as three years after the wedding. Continue reading
Posted by Magnus Fiskesjö <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Source: BBC (11/6/19)
Why Chinese rappers don’t fight the power
Many of China’s best-known rappers have decided to voice their politics, but in contrast to rap’s anti-establishment roots, these artists are asserting a distinctly nationalist tone.
By Yi-Ling Liu. BBC Music
The Higher Brothers are one of a new breed of Chinese hip-hop acts eyeing international success (Credit; Getty Images)
In 2015, Chinese hip-hop group Higher Brothers learned something the hard way: be very careful when your songs turn political.
The source of controversy was an anti-Uber song. “I don’t write political hip-hop,” spat out by the group’s rapper Melo. “But if any politicians try to shut me up, I’ll cut off their heads and lay them at their corpses’ feet. This time it’s Uber that’s investigated. Next time it will be you.” It led to the song being blocked by Chinese censors, and Melo called in for questioning by the local Public Security Bureau.
Since then, Higher Brothers have garnered widespread success both at home and abroad, partly thanks to landing their first American tour to promote their album Journey To The West. Alongside many of China’s rising crop of hip-hop artists, they’ve stormed onto both the local and global stage – and largely steered clear of politics. Continue reading
Source: NYT (11/16/19)
THE XINJIANG PAPERS: ‘Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims
More than 400 pages of internal Chinese documents provide an unprecedented inside look at the crackdown on ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region.
By AUSTIN RAMZY AND CHRIS BUCKLEY
HONG KONG — The students booked their tickets home at the end of the semester, hoping for a relaxing break after exams and a summer of happy reunions with family in China’s far west.
Instead, they would soon be told that their parents were gone, relatives had vanished and neighbors were missing — all of them locked up in an expanding network of detention camps built to hold Muslim ethnic minorities.
The authorities in the Xinjiang region worried the situation was a powder keg. And so they prepared.
The leadership distributed a classified directive advising local officials to corner returning students as soon as they arrived and keep them quiet. It included a chillingly bureaucratic guide for how to handle their anguished questions, beginning with the most obvious: Where is my family?
“They’re in a training school set up by the government,” the prescribed answer began. If pressed, officials were to tell students that their relatives were not criminals — yet could not leave these “schools.” Continue reading
Roundtable: ‘LGBTQ+ Rights and the Struggle for Democracy in Hong Kong’
Date: 25 Nov 2019
Venue: Room UG05, 309 Regent Street, W1B 2GW, University of Westminster, London
ALL ARE WELCOME but registration is required here.
Photo credit: Hong Kong Pride 2018 (with permission from Dr Daniel Conway)
Hong Kong has been gripped by widespread protests and demands for greater democracy in recent months. While studies have begun to address the engagement of other marginalized groups such as women and ethnic minority in social movements and protest, the roles that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer plus (LGBTQ+) people play in non-LGBTQ+ specific politics have been given little academic attention. This invisibilization of LGBTQ+ people in wider social movement raises many questions. This roundtable will begin to explore the level of engagement of LGBTQ+ people in the movement for democracy in Hong Kong, pose questions about the intersections between LGBTQ+ rights and democracy and social justice, and ask whether these rights are articulated in intersectional terms, or whether LGBTQ+ communities and rights are being overlooked or in the current protests in Hong Kong. We will also discuss comparisons with LGBTQ+ people and rights discourses in other struggles for democracy and social justice.
Speakers: Dr Suen Yiu Tung (Chinese University of Hong Kong), Eliz Wong (London School of Economics and Political Science) and Dr Daniel Conway (University of Westminster) Continue reading
Source: SCMP (11/5/19)
The Bookworm, a centre of literary life in Beijing, to close, unable to renew its lease amid crackdown on ‘illegal structures’
A cafe, a community centre, a place for lively discussion and for authors to meet their readers, The Bookworm has survived for 17 years in the Chinese capital. Co-founder says it is a victim of clean-up by city planners, and won’t speculate on a political motive; patrons take to social media to voice their sadness.
By Elaine Yau
David Cantalupo, co-founder of The Bookworm, takes a phone call at the bookstore in Beijing on Tuesday as customers look on. The store, a cornerstone of the expatriate literary community in the Chinese capital, announced it would close on November 11 having been unable to renew its lease. Photo: Simon Song
Book lovers in Beijing have been left saddened by the impending closure of a cornerstone of the city’s expatriate community.
The Bookworm, a bookshop in the shopping hub of Sanlitun that is beloved by expatriates and locals alike, announced on Tuesday that it would close on November 11.
Its general manager, David Cantalupo, told the Post he was very sad that they had been unable to secure an extension on their lease. Continue reading
Source: Globe and Mail (11/4/19)
‘Like a movie’: In Xinjiang, new evidence that China stages prayers, street scenes for visiting delegations
By NATHAN VANDERKLIPPE, ASIA CORRESPONDENT
People walking past a mosque in Urumqi, the regional capital of Xinjiang, on Sept. 11, 2019. HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
One day last October, eight local officials entered Zumuret Dawut’s home in Urumqi, the regional capital of northwestern China’s Xinjiang region. They came to ask her elderly father to pray – and they promised to pay.
They said, “We will give you 20 renminbi for each time you pray,” Ms. Dawut recalled in an interview. “You will need to pray five times tomorrow. So we will give you 100 renminbi” – about $18.50.
Her 79-year-old father was puzzled. He had long since stopped attending the local mosque out of fear the authorities would see his religious observance as a sign of radicalization and place him in an indoctrination centre, as the government has done with hundreds of thousands of Muslims in the region. The mosque was considered closed. Continue reading
Source: NYT (11/1/19)
Professors, Beware. A ‘Student Information Officer’ Might Be Watching
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By Javier C. Hernández
You Shengdong, a professor, was fired by a university in China last year after students reported him for questioning a political slogan favored by Xi Jinping, the country’s leader. Credit: Jeenah Moon for The New York Times
CHENGDU, China — With a neon-red backpack and white Adidas shoes, he looks like any other undergraduate on the campus of Sichuan University in southwestern China.
But Peng Wei, a 21-year-old chemistry major, has a special mission: He is both student and spy.
Mr. Peng is one of a growing number of “student information officers” who keep tabs on their professors’ ideological views. They are there to help root out teachers who show any sign of disloyalty to President Xi Jinping and the ruling Communist Party.
“It’s our duty to make sure that the learning environment is pure,” Mr. Peng said, “and that professors are following the rules.” Continue reading
David Bandurski’s meditation on the exploitation of Huang Wenxiu brings to mind Milan Kundera’s extended reflection on the role of kitsch, especially in totalitarian societies.
“Before we are forgotten, we will be turned into kitsch. Kitsch is the stopover between being and oblivion.”
A. E. Clark <email@example.com>
Source: China Media Project (10/24/19)
MAKING POLITICAL MYTHOLOGY
by David Bandurski
For generations in China, the status of self-effacing soldier Lei Feng as the pre-eminent model of the ideal citizen has seemed unassailable. The myth of Lei Feng has been dusted off and recycled periodically over the decades, the last peak coming in 2013 to mark fifty years since Mao Zedong’s formal launch of the “Learn from Comrade Lei Feng” campaign — which came in 1963 with the widespread publication of the hero’s greatly embellished diary.
The tales and imagery surrounding this hero of the people, with overwrought messages of self-sacrifice, seem absurdly theatrical today. Lei Feng weeps as he resolves to donate his mooncakes during Autumn Festival to a hospital where those injured in the struggle to build a socialist society are recuperating. We are told how, with devoted hands-on study, he teaches himself how best to throw a hand grenade — without any apparent recognition on the part of myth-makers or military commanders of the total folly this involves. He takes smiling joy in basic acts like shoveling manure and darning his own socks. Continue reading
I am glad to announce the publication of the latest issue of the Made in China Journal. You can download the pdf for free at this link: https://madeinchinajournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Made-in-China-03-2019.pdf
Below you can find the editorial:
Bless You, Prison: Experiences of Detention in China
‘Bless you prison, bless you for being in my life. For there, lying upon the rotting prison straw, I came to realise that the object of life is not prosperity as we are made to believe, but the maturity of the human soul.’–Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956
With these words, Soviet star dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn exalted the transformative role of the gulag—where he had been imprisoned for eight years—in reconfiguring his soul. Just like his account of life in the labour camps played a fundamental role in shaping public perceptions of the Soviet labour camps, our views of the Chinese detention system are also widely shaped by the writings and testimonies of former political prisoners, whether victims of the mass campaigns of the Mao era or more recent crackdowns against dissident voices. Reading these accounts, detention easily assumes the tragic connotations of martyrdom, and detainees come to be surrounded by a halo of heroism. But what about those uncountable prisoners who are detained for common crimes or less-noble causes? What about the reality of murderers, thieves, drug addicts, and prostitutes? Is prison a blessing for them too? Continue reading
Source: NYT (10/22/19)
China Sharpens Hacking to Hound Its Minorities, Far and Wide
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By Nicole Perlroth, Kate Conger, Paul Mozur
Uighur teenagers on their phones in Kashgar in China’s Xinjiang region. Chinese hackers have secretly monitored the cellphones of Uighurs and Tibetans around the globe. Credit: Gilles Sabrié for The New York Times
SAN FRANCISCO — China’s state-sponsored hackers have drastically changed how they operate over the last three years, substituting selectivity for what had been a scattershot approach to their targets and showing a new determination by Beijing to push its surveillance state beyond its borders.
The government has poured considerable resources into the change, which is part of a reorganization of the national People’s Liberation Army that President Xi Jinping initiated in 2016, security researchers and intelligence officials said.
China’s hackers have since built up a new arsenal of techniques, such as elaborate hacks of iPhone and Android software, pushing them beyond email attacks and the other, more basic tactics that they had previously employed. Continue reading
Lecture Title: “Chinese individualisation and Confucian revival: Parental actions in emerging Confucian education”
Speaker: Dr Canglong Wang (University of Hull)
Date: 6 Nov 2019 Wednesday
Venue: Room 152, 309 Regent Street, University of Westminster W1B 2HW
ALL ARE WELCOME
The current research on the individualisation of Chinese society in relation to the recent Confucian revival has remained a relatively unexplored topic. This talk offers a theoretically informed analysis of interview data with parents involved in a Confucian school, and contributes to offering insight into the scholarly gaps in both theory and evidence by exploring how the parental actors arise as critical individuals in the emerging domain of Confucian education, their disembedding actions from the mainstream state school system, and the paradox of regaining ‘safety’ in struggling to return. Continue reading
On the enforced confessions in the camps: I think of it as an “identity conversion therapy”: Detainees are forced to reject their ethnic and cultural identity and stop speaking their native language, on pain of extra punishment. They are forced to find fault in themselves, and reject themselves, including especially their personal everyday faith, by way of interpreting the “faults” (= doing things like eating halal food) as would-be extremism. The procedure could be called “anti-religious,” rather than religious – but then detainees are also forced to endlessly chant Xi Jinping’s words, which also could be seen as a kind of religious worship.
It is of course the Chinese regime that is extremist here. As regards the violence, I think there is a spiral of violence involved, begetting more and more violence and cruelty. There is nothing blocking violence from festering and escalating, when the leader’s permit it, encourage it, and, cover it up. I wrote about this aspect here: http://theasiadialogue.com/2018/10/24/the-xinjiang-camps-as-a-stanford-prison-experiment/ Continue reading
Ha-Aretz has published a remarkable testimony from an ethnic-Kazakh woman who claims to have escaped from a re-education camp and has found asylum in Sweden.
The article, by David Stavrou, includes extended quotations from Professor Fiskesjö, and alludes to accounts published elsewhere that paint a consistent picture.
Some nuances may have been obscured by serial translation.For example, she says that inmates were frequently required to write out confessions of their “sins.” The word “sins” suggests that standard CCP self-criticism was given a religious tinge — but by whom? The guards (adapting their message to the culture of their victims) or the prisoners (interpreting the requirement in terms of their religious experience)?
Concerning the atrocities (especially the widespread rapes), I have to wonder where the dividing line runs between high-level policies of cultural extermination and a low-level lack of discipline among the police.
The article also describes an employment contract with Chinese characteristics:
She was told she had been brought there in order to teach Chinese and was immediately made to sign a document that set forth her duties and the camp’s rules. “I was very much afraid to sign,” Sauytbay recalls. “It said there that if I did not fulfill my task, or if I did not obey the rules, I would get the death penalty. The document stated that it was forbidden to speak with the prisoners, forbidden to laugh, forbidden to cry and forbidden to answer questions from anyone.
A. E. Clark <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Source: Sixth Tone (10/9/19)
A Chinese Drama Is Digitally Erasing Its Scandal-Plagued Actors
The producers of ‘Win the World’ say they’re replacing Fan Bingbing and Gao Yunxiang with stars who have yet to fall from grace.
By Kenrick Davis
A promotional image for the costume drama “Win the World.” From Douban.
Two scandal-struck megastars in the long-delayed costume drama “Win the World” are being digitally scrubbed from the show, according to its producers.
In a statement Tuesday, Talent Television and Film Co. Ltd. said it had enlisted Tmall Technology, a company under e-commerce giant Alibaba, to replace Gao Yunxiang and Fan Bingbing with as-yet-unnamed “top-tier actors” by means of “scene refilming, technological tools, audio re-recording, etc.” The studio also assured potential viewers that the estimated 60 million yuan ($8.4 million) in changes, slated to be completed by the end of this year, would not adversely affect the quality or integrity of the show. Continue reading