Crime of filial neglect

Source: SupChina (9/18/18)
The crime of filial neglect, and shifting senior care to families
“Five siblings have been punished for not fulfilling filial duties after their elderly father died alone last year,” reports Sixth Tone.

  • The man’s son and four daughters “have each been sentenced to up to two years in jail for abandoning him, the Beijing News reported Monday.”
  • Has this happened before?” asked New York Times reporter Chris Buckley, to which Mark Jia, a research fellow at the East Asian Legal Studies program at Harvard University, replied: “Fascinating. I had thought that the Elderly Law only provided civil remedies…but clearly not.”
  • Jia also links to this article in Bull World Health Organ: “Laws on filial support in four Asian countries.”

As China’s population ages, it seems certain that the Chinese government will seek to place at least some of the burden of senior care on families rather than on state organizations.

Fan Bingbing has vanished

Source: Time (9/17/18)
China’s Leading Actress Fan Bingbing Has Vanished. Here’s What to Know

In past years, actress Fan Bingbing was a regular presence on film festival red carpets and fashion catwalks from Barcelona to Busan. And then, suddenly, she wasn’t.

Film fans are expressing alarm at Fan’s disquieting recent disappearance from public life: she was last seen on July 1, while visiting a children’s hospital. Her account on China’s popular Sina Weibo social media network, where she has 63 million followers, has been silent since July 23.

Speculation is linking the disappearance of Fan, one of cinema’s top-earners, to an alleged tax evasion scandal at a time when China’s state-controlled film industry is cutting back on bloated budgets and star-driven blockbusters. Continue reading

Crazy Rich Asians may not fly in China

Source: NYT (9/6/18)
‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Has Soared, but It May Not Fly in China
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
By Amy Qin

“Crazy Rich Asians” does not yet have a release date in China. Under China’s strict quota system, a limited number of foreign films are approved for import every year and some experts are skeptical about the movie’s chances there.CreditCreditSanja Bucko/Warner Bros. Entertainment, via Associated Press 

HONG KONG — “Crazy Rich Asians,” the first major Hollywood studio release in 25 years with an all-Asian cast, has been hailed as a breakthrough in the United States, one that has topped the North American box office three weekends running. It has been dominating in other markets with large ethnic Chinese populations as well, including Taiwan and Singapore, where the film is set.

With its cast of mostly ethnic Chinese characters, a soundtrack featuring a number of Chinese artists and story notes that emphasize Chinese culture, it would also seem assured of success in China, the world’s second-largest film market, which is playing a growing role in Hollywood’s calculations. The movie even opens with a quote from Napoleon: “China is a sleeping giant. Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will move the world.” Continue reading

Muslim detentions

Source: NYT (9/8/18)
China Is Detaining Muslims in Vast Numbers. The Goal: ‘Transformation.’
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
By Chris Buckley

“That was a place that will breed vengeful feelings,” Abdusalam Muhemet said of the internment camp in Xinjiang, in western China, where he and other Muslims were held for months.CreditCreditErin Trieb for The New York Times

HOTAN, China — On the edge of a desert in far western China, an imposing building sits behind a fence topped with barbed wire. Large red characters on the facade urge people to learn Chinese, study law and acquire job skills. Guards make clear that visitors are not welcome.

Inside, hundreds of ethnic Uighur Muslims spend their days in a high-pressure indoctrination program, where they are forced to listen to lectures, sing hymns praising the Chinese Communist Party and write “self-criticism” essays, according to detainees who have been released. Continue reading

Yu Hua on China’s shocking pace of change

Source: The Guardian (9/6/18)
‘Human impulses run riot’: China’s shocking pace of change
Thirty years ago, politics was paramount. Now, only money counts. China’s leading novelist examines a nation that has transformed in a single lifetime.
By Yu Hua

Souvenirs featuring portraits of Mao Zedong and Xi Jinping, Beijing. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters

When I try to describe how China has changed over the past 50 years, countless roads appear in front of me. Given the sheer immensity of these changes, all I can do is try first to follow a couple of main roads, and then a few smaller ones, to see where they take us.

My first main road begins in the past. In my 58 years, I have experienced three dramatic changes, and each one has been accompanied by a surge in suicides among officials. The first time was during Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, which began in 1966. At the start of that period, many members of the Chinese Communist party woke up one day to find they had been purged: overnight they had become “power-holders taking the capitalist road”. After suffering every kind of psychological and physical abuse, some chose to take their own lives. In the small town in south China where I grew up, some hanged themselves or swallowed insecticide, while others threw themselves down wells: wells in south China have narrow mouths, and if you dive into one headfirst, there is no way you will come out alive. Continue reading

Supernatural Taiwan

Source: Taipei Times (8/30/10)
Spirits, ghosts, deities and monsters
Ho Ching-yao, author of a compendium on Taiwan’s supernatural beings, creatures and folktales, discusses his research and its significance as Ghost Month enters full swing
By Han Cheung  /  Staff reporter

Illustrator Chang Chi-ya’s rendering of Na Tao Ji, a spurned widow who haunts screw pine trees in Taiwan. Illustration courtesy of Chang Chi-ya

On the first day of Ghost Month every year, a sinister, chilly wind would sweep through the streets of Taniao (打貓). The wind would bring the cries of hungry ghosts, terrifying the local populace for the entire month.

On occasion, a 10-meter tall being with a blue face, protruding fangs and twin spiral horns clad in bright red armor would appear, flickering its extremely long tongue covered in flames. Whenever it appeared, the winds would stop and the ghosts would quiet down.

The people were grateful to this deity, who eventually became known as Dashiye (大士爺), and worshiped it every first of July by creating an effigy of it and hiring monks to ease the suffering of the ghosts. Continue reading

Olympic name change referendum

Source: Taipei Times (9/4/18)
Over 520,000 join call for Olympic name change
The campaign nearly doubled the required number of signatures to qualify for the referendum to change the national sports team’s name in 2020
By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Olympic bronze medalist and National Policy Adviser to the President Chi Cheng, back row seventh left, and civic groups yesterday hold a news conference outside the Central Election Commission in Taipei as they deliver 526,688 signatures for a referendum proposal to change the national Olympic team’s name from “Chinese Taipei” to “Taiwan.” Photo: CNA

Civic groups yesterday delivered to the Central Election Commission more than 520,000 signatures collected for a referendum proposal to change the national sports team’s name from “Chinese Taipei” to “Taiwan” for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

At a news conference in front of the commission headquarters, Olympic medalist and campaign spokeswoman Chi Cheng (紀政) thanked supporters for helping them reach the threshold of 281,745 signatures and urged people to vote on the referendum, which is to take place alongside the nine-in-one local elections in November. Continue reading

Family planning and sexual harassment

Source: SupChina (8/28/18)
No family planning, and sexual harassment defined in the Civil Code
By Jeremy Goldkorn


“‘Family planning’ is gone?” is the headline of one story (in Chinese) published yesterday. What happened?

  • The Procuratorial Daily yesterday reported (in Chinese) on the latest draft of China’s Civil Code, which was submitted to the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress for deliberation. Proposed amendments to the marriage and family sections of the Civil Code include:
  • Having certain diseases will no longer be an impediment to marriage, as long as the person with the illness informs their spouse to be.
  • A one-month cooling-off period after filing for divorce is mandated. During this period, either party may withdraw the divorce application from the registration authority. Continue reading

China mulling the end of birth restrictions

Source: The Guardian (8/27/18)
China could scrap two-child policy, ending nearly 40 years of limits
Draft of civil code being discussed this week contains no references to ‘family planning’
By Benjamin Haas

a group wedding held at the Happy Valley amusement park in Shanghai, China

A group wedding in Shanghai, China. These couples may have a future free of family planning restrictions. Photograph: Imaginechina/REX/Shutterstock

China is mulling scrapping its controversial birth restrictions, reversing nearly four decades of family planning policies as birth rates fall.

Chinese couples are limited to two children at present, after rules were relaxed from the infamous one-child policy that was in force from 1979 to 2016. Now officials are poised to enact a wide-ranging civil code that would end a policy that has been enforced through fines but was also notorious for cases of forced abortions and sterilisation in the world’s most populous country. Continue reading

Reproduction fund

Source: SupChina (8/16/18)
Subsidies for having kids? The Chinese internet is not impressed
By Jiayun Feng

Since China eased its decades-long one-child policy in 2016, the central and local governments have been aggressive in encouraging people to have babies. In recent months, the campaign has become noticeably more intense.

Earlier in August, a People’s Daily opinion piece that urges Chinese citizens to have more babies as a “national issue” caused a backlash online. The online sentiment is perhaps best summarized in this comment (translated from Weibo): “When you don’t want children, you force people to get sterilized. When you want more, you urge us to give birth. What do you think I am?” Continue reading

Hot words

Source: BBC Capital (8/10/18)
China’s rebel generation and the rise of ‘hot words’
By Kerry Allen with additional reporting from Stuart Lau

SHANGHAI, CHINA – AUGUST 05: (CHINA OUT) Girls take a selfie in a house where “flowers” cover all the space with the help of a projector at Plaza 66 on August 5, 2015 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Language Matters is a new column from BBC Capital exploring how evolving language will influence the way we work and live.

Mandarin Chinese is one of the most complex languages in the world. Opening a Chinese dictionary, you find around 370,000 words. That’s more than double the number of words in the Oxford English dictionary, and almost three times those in French and Russian dictionaries.

But these many words have been joined in recent years by a bunch of upstarts. Reci – literally translated as ‘hot words’: are slang terms that young Chinese are creating and using online to communicate how they really feel about current affairs and trends. Continue reading

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).

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

Queer Comrades review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Ari Larissa Heinrich’s review of Queer Comrades: Gay Identity and Tongzhi Activism in Postsocialist China (NIAS, 2018), by Hongwei Bao. The review appears below and can also be read online at  My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk A. Denton, editor

Queer Comrades: Gay Identity and
Tongzhi Activism in Postsocialist China

By Hongwei Bao

Reviewed by Ari Larissa Heinrich
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright August, 2018)

Hongwei Bao, Queer Comrades: Gay Identity and Tongzhi Activism in Postsocialist China. Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2018. vi-xii + 265 pp. ISBN: Hardback 978-87-7694-234-2, £65.00; ISBN: Paperback 978-87-7694-236-6, £22.50

Followers of the mainstreaming and globalizing of gay rights, with antennae pointed toward the Sinosphere, may remember the controversial McDonald’s McCafe “coming out” ad released in Taiwan in 2016. In the ad, a boy comes out to his father by writing “I like guys” on his coffee cup. Spoiler alert: the father, who initially seems annoyed, eventually borrows his son’s pen and adds a few words of his own, so that the writing on the coffee cup now reads “I [accept that you] like guys.” Music swells as tears of relief well up in the son’s eyes. For me and for many of the students in my large undergraduate lecture classes on “Queer Chinese Cultures,” the ad’s carefully choreographed emotional manipulation is so successful that, even after viewing it many times, I still sometimes feel weepy at the end. How embarrassing. For though on the surface the ad seems to paint a utopian picture of familial acceptance in the age of same-sex marriage, historically speaking the ad actually reinforces ideas about patriarchal family values and the ideal citizen-consumer in Taiwan. When working with students for whom such a course may be the only substantive introduction to LGBTQ-spectrum issues that they ever have, I sometimes struggle to articulate how ads like this may seem to offer straightforward support of a liberal politics, when in fact they effectively obscure the many histories in which “coming out” is actually a late-breaking and ideologically complicated addition to the story of sexualities in Sinophone contexts. As Hongwei Bao indicates in the introduction to his new book Queer Comrades: Gay Identity and Tongzhi Activism in Postsocialist China, citing Fran Martin and others, many scholars have pointed out how the authenticity of one’s identity is not determined by concealment or disclosure. On the contrary, concealment and disclosure “are historically contingent. Indeed, for many gays and lesbians in China, one does not need to be completely ‘in’ or ‘out.’ Being ‘in’ and ‘out’ depends on the particular social setting and on the person they are with. When to conceal and when to disclose one’s identity, together with to whom, becomes a matter of politics” (53). Now that the coming-out narrative has reached the stage where it can be folded (alongside “marriage equality”) into mainstream commercial idioms, it becomes even more urgent to understand the specific history of how “gay” came to be defined in Sinophone settings. Hongwei Bao’s new book contributes substantially to this agenda, by providing an eminently teachable resource for students interested in understanding some of the early twenty-first century figurations that have informed contemporary Mainland Chinese cultural practices around gay identities. Continue reading

Buddhist abbot denies sexual abuse allegations

Source: SupChina (8/1/18)
Abbot Of Beijing Longquan Temple Denies Sexual Abuse Allegations
Venerable Master Xuecheng, a Buddhist monk and president of the Chinese Buddhist Association, has been accused of seducing multiple female nuns by convincing them of “purification” through physical contact.
By Jiayun Feng

The abbot of Longquan Temple in Beijing, Xuecheng 学诚, is the latest public figure to be accused of sexual misconduct in China. The “Venerable Master” of Longquan, one of the highest-profiled monasteries in the country, has called the allegations “false” and “misleading.”

In a 95-page expose titled “Report on important matters,” which was shared on WeChat on July 31 and instantly went viral, two former masters at Longquan Temple, Xianjia 贤佳 and Xianqi 贤启, said Xuecheng has been preying on bhikkhunis (ordained female monastics) for years, specifically that he has had sex with multiple nuns by persuading them they could be “purified” through physical contact. (Celibacy is one of the tenets of Buddhist monasticism.) Continue reading

Keywords in Chinese Internet Subcultures

Source: China Daily (7/18/18)
Decoding the language of the young
By Mei Jia | China Daily

Cover of The Book of Wallbreaking: Keywords in Chinese Internet Subcultures. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A new book tries to make sense of what the younger generation is saying, Mei Jia reports.

Peking University associate professor Shao Yanjun, 50, is not the first one to discover that the younger generation, growing up with smart devices and the internet, actually use a different language when they are online, and sometimes, offline too, which is not easy to understand for her and her peers.

Therefore she has become the first to direct and guide her doctoral and master’s students to write a book about keywords in Chinese internet subcultures.

A pioneer and established scholar on internet culture/literature studies, Shao began to give lectures on the campus about web novels and online literature in 2011. However, outside class, she felt at loss.

“Their language differed from what they used in class, and I noticed jargon,” she says.

“And sometimes the phrases seemed to be standard Chinese that you’re familiar with, but referred to different things,” she adds. Continue reading