China blocks earthquake memorial service (1)

One can compare what Charlene Makley wrote about the statist ‘spectacle of compassion’ and how Tibetan buddhists’ contributions were curtailed and obscured after the earthquake:

Charlene Makley (2014). “Spectacular Compassion: ‘Natural’ Disasters And National Mourning In China’s Tibet.” Critical Asian Studies, 46:3, 371-404, DOI: 10.1080/14672715.2014.935132

Magnus Fiskesjö <nf42@cornell.edu>

China blocks earthquake memorial service

Source: NYT (5/12/18)
China Blocks a Memorial Service to Sichuan Earthquake Victims
查看简体中文版 | 查看繁體中文版
By Chris Buckley

Attendees on Saturday marked a minute of silence in front of the former Xuankou Middle School, destroyed in the 2008 earthquake.CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images

BEIJING — On the 10th anniversary of China’s deadliest earthquake in decades, the police on Saturday detained an outspoken pastor and blocked a planned service to mourn the 70,000 or more people killed when whole towns and villagers were crushed.

The anniversary of the earthquake, which rippled across Sichuan Province in southwest China on May 12, 2008, has been a time of renewed mourning for survivors, while the ruling Communist Party has used the date to praise China’s reconstruction of devastated areas. Continue reading

After-shocks of the 2008 earthquake

Source: NY Review of Books (May 9, 2018)
After-Shocks of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake
By Ian Johnson

Ruins from one of the most significant earthquakes in Chinese history, pictured a month before the tenth anniversary of the earthquake, Beichuan county, Mianyang, Sichuan, China, April 5, 2018. VCG/VCG via Getty Images

The province of Sichuan is a microcosm of China. Its east is flat, prosperous, and densely settled by ethnic Chinese. Its mountainous west is populated by poorer minorities, but possesses resources that help make the east rich.

In Sichuan, the highlands’ bounty is water and silt, which rush down from the Tibetan Plateau to the plains below through an ingenious set of irrigation waterworks at the town of Dujiangyan. Soon after this system was built, some 2,300 years ago, the intensive agriculture that it made possible turned the region into one of China’s economic dynamos, producing so much wealth that it helped the first emperor of China consolidate numerous fragmented states into one powerful realm. Continue reading

Anger over earthquake-themed model photo shoot

Source: SCMP (5/9/18)
Anger over Sichuan earthquake-themed model photo shoot
Organisers cancel event after criticism of plans to take pictures of models amid rubble to mark the 10th anniversary of the disaster that killed 69,000 in southwest China
By Keegan Elmer

A file picture of a memorial to the Sichuan earthquake in 2008. Photo: Simon Song

A social media channel in China has been strongly criticised online for promoting a photo shoot with attractive models on the theme of the Sichuan earthquake, a newspaper reported.

The channel on the messaging app WeChat invited photographers to pay 999 yuan (US$157) to take pictures during the shoot called “Blooms in the Rubble”, marking the 10th anniversary of the disaster, Beijing Morning Post reported. Continue reading

Brain-reading technology

Source: SCMP (4/29/18)
‘Forget the Facebook leak’: China is mining data directly from workers’ brains on an industrial scale
Government-backed surveillance projects are deploying brain-reading technology to detect changes in emotional states in employees on the production line, the military and at the helm of high-speed trains
By Stephen Chen

Deayea, a technology company in Shanghai, says its brain monitoring devices are worn regularly by train drivers working on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail line. Photo: Deayea Technology

On the surface, the production lines at Hangzhou Zhongheng Electric look like any other.

Workers outfitted in uniforms staff lines producing sophisticated equipment for telecommunication and other industrial sectors.

But there’s one big difference – the workers wear caps to monitor their brainwaves, data that management then uses to adjust the pace of production and redesign workflows, according to the company. Continue reading

Queer Comrades

Bao, Hongwei. Queer Comrades: Gay Identity and Tongzhi Activism in Postsocialist China. Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2018.

http://www.niaspress.dk/books/queer-comrades
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Queer-Comrades-2018-Postsocialist-Gendering/dp/8776942368/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

• First book on gay identity and queer activism in the PRC examined from a cultural studies perspective.
• An interdisciplinary project that combines historical and critical analysis of queer cultural texts and ethnographic studies of queer public culture in urban China.
• Offers keen insights on identity, power and governmentality in China. Continue reading

Attractive women to ease coders’ stress

Source: NYT (4/24/18)
Wanted at Chinese Start-Ups: Attractive Women to Ease Coders’ Stress
查看简体中文版 | 查看繁體中文版
By Sui-Lee Wee

Shen Yue, who has a degree in civil engineering, giving a colleague a massage in her role as a “programmer motivator” at Chainfin.com in Beijing.CreditGiulia Marchi for The New York Times

BEIJING — China’s vibrant technology scene is searching for people like Shen Yue. Qualifications: Must be attractive, know how to charm socially awkward programmers and give relaxing massages.

Ms. Shen is a “programmer motivator,” as they are known in China. Part psychologist, part cheerleader, the women are hired to chat up and calm stressed-out coders. The jobs are proliferating in a society that largely adheres to gender stereotypes and believes that male programmers are “zhai,” or nerds who have no social lives.

“They really need someone to talk to them from time to time and to organize activities for them to ease some of the pressure,” said Ms. Shen, a 25-year-old who has a degree in civil engineering from a university in Beijing. Continue reading

People’s Republic of Desire

Source: Slate (4/25/18)
A Documentary Reveals the Dangerous Fickleness of Online Fame in China
In The People’s Republic of Desire, Hao Wu films the lonely shadows where the lines between online and offline dissolve.
By CHRISTINA LARSON

“Should I be ashamed? How about you?” The 21-year-old woman stares into her webcam, eyes flat under heavy false eyelashes and her long hair parted, half spilling over her left shoulder. “You self-righteous douchebags!”

It’s taken Shen Man just three years to amass a following of 5 million fans by singing, chatting, and flirting online as a hostess on the Chinese livestreaming platform YY. With large eyes, porcelain skin, and a tapered chin, Shen Man matches the modern Chinese ideal of doll-like beauty. Her voice is usually soft, almost cooing. She’s had plastic surgery to augment her nose, eyelids, temples, and chin, and been professionally coached in how, precisely, to tilt her head and lilt her voice—all preparation to become a virtual girlfriend to lonely hearts across China. Continue reading

Gender discrimination in job ads in China

Source: Human Rights Watch (4/23/18)
“Only Men Need Apply”: Gender Discrimination in Job Advertisements in China
简体中文

© 2018 Brian Stauffer for Human Rights Watch

Four decades of rapid economic growth in China have created unprecedented economic opportunities for women, but gender discrimination in employment remains widespread.

By some key measures, the problem is getting worse: a smaller proportion of women are working. Only 63 percent of the female labor force worked in 2017, down from 65.5 percent ten years earlier. The gender gap in labor force participation has also grown. While the women’s labor force participation rate was 83 percent in 2007, it had dropped to 81 percent of the male rate by 2017. The pay gap in urban areas has also increased. And according to a report by the World Economic Forum, China’s gender parity ranking in 2017 fell for the ninth consecutive year, leaving China in 100th place out of the 144 countries surveyed (in 2008 China had ranked 57th). 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

A migrant worker’s struggle

BBC Capital (4/17/18)
‘I hadn’t been home for three years’: One migrant’s struggle
China is home to nearly 300 million migrant workers who must leave the countryside for difficult, dangerous jobs in the big city.

Guo Jie, a migrant worker in Shanghai, makes a living by loading enormous stacks of polystyrene foam boxes on her bike, pedalling around Shanghai to re-sell them to wholesalers.

Unwieldly, dangerous and by her own admission a bit scary, it’s a job that proves a challenge to navigate busy roads. It also hints at the struggles the nearly 300 million rural migrant workers face in China. As their country undergoes rapid development, many people from rural communities must leave home behind to look for jobs in the city, where there are more opportunities. Continue reading

China’s changing sex lives

Source: Sixth Tone (4/17/18)
More Open, More Anxious: China’s Changing Sex Lives
Young people are having sex earlier and earlier, but performance anxiety is on the rise.
By Pan Suiming

[Pan Suiming is a professor emeritus and the honorary director of the Institute for Research on Sexuality and Gender at Renmin University of China in Beijing. This article is part of a series on gender and sexuality in China. Previous articles can be found here.]

Many people think of China as a sexually repressed society. While this is true to some extent, the results of four nationwide surveys I led between 2000 and 2015 show that young Chinese people are becoming increasingly open about sex.

During those 15 years, the average age at which Chinese people reported having their first sexual encounter trended steadily downward. In 2000, sexually active men under age 30 lost their virginity at 22.6 years old on average. For women in the same group, the average was 21.7 years old. By 2015, these ages had dropped to 19.5 for men and 20.4 for women. These figures are highly significant: In just 15 years, men had their first sexual encounter a full three years earlier, and the age for women dropped by nearly a year and a half. Continue reading

First gay-ish film widely released

Source: Sixth Tone (4/16/18)
First Gay-ish Film Widely Released in China
Despite suspected cuts from media regulators, advocates see ‘Looking for Rohmer’ as an important step toward LGBT acceptance.
By Qian Zhecheng

A promotional poster for the recently released film ‘Looking for Rohmer.’

Gay cinemagoers in China are finding “Looking for Rohmer” a bit of a letdown.

Long heralded on Chinese social media as the first gay-themed film to be approved for nationwide release, “Looking for Rohmer” — also known by its prerelease title, “Seek McCartney” — premiered on Friday to mixed reviews. When Sixth Tone’s reporter attended a Shanghai screening on Friday evening, the only three other viewers in the theater were all gay men.

After the final credits, a 35-year-old consultant told Sixth Tone that “Looking for Rohmer” was more arthouse film than “gay film.” He declined to give his name for fear of publicly revealing his sexuality. Continue reading

Weibo reverses gay content ban (1)

Source: Sup China (4/16/18)
Weibo revokes ban on homosexual content after uproar
By Jiayun Feng, Jeremy Goldkorn

A rare piece of good news for freedom of expression in China: Sina Weibo, confronting a colossal backlash from the public following its ban on homosexual content issued last Friday, announced today that it had reversed the decision, limiting the cleanup campaign to only pornographic and violent comics and games.

“We won’t target gay content anymore in this cleanup of games and anime,” the Weibo administration announced (in Chinese) on April 16, a mere three days after the initial ban was issued. “Instead, we’ll focus on content with pornographic and violent themes. Thank you for your discussions and suggestions.”

The reversal constituted a rare case in the history of Weibo, one of the biggest and most popular social media platforms in China: It is highly unusual to lift censorship of a certain topic in direct response to user feedback. The decision also marked an unprecedented triumph for the gay community in China. Continue reading