China’s Leftover Women review (1)

Leftover in China: The Women Shaping the World’s Next Superpower by Roseann Lake

With regard to the above-referenced book — a review of which was posted yesterday on MCLC — I would like to draw attention to the fact that the author, Roseann Lake, appears to nowhere acknowledge in print how much her work and her text are indebted to Leta Hong-Fincher, whose 2014 book, Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China, Lake’s work closely parallels. Lake seems to poach upon the latter’s research, thematics, and acumen, while never citing Hong-Fincher as either source or inspiration. Since Hong-Fincher’s 2011 Ms. magazine article on “leftover women,” through to the publication of her book in 2014, Lake has been in contact with Hong-Fincher a number of times; Hong-Fincher even sent Lake an early summary of the book’s argument and research in the form of a paper written in 2012 for a Sociology conference. In addition, Lake has been at numerous of Hong-Fincher’s presentations in Beijing. In short, Lake was well aware of Hong-Fincher’s work and the thematics of Lake’s book are very similar to Hong-Fincher’s. And yet Lake has deliberately presented her work as unique and as uniquely her own.

This is very troubling. At the very least, Lake should acknowledge publicly the prior work upon which her narrative and analysis stand, and Norton, her publisher, should compel her to do so. As of 2/16, Norton has written to Hong-Fincher to acknowledge the problem and apologize. It is unclear what remedy will be pursued.

Rebecca Karl <>
New York University

China’s Leftover Women review

Source: What’s on Weibo (2/9/18)
Leftover in China: The Women Shaping the World’s Next Superpower by Roseann Lake
In a new book on China’s Leftover Women, author Roseann Lakes highlights the strength and merit of China’s unmarried women.
By Manya Koetse

With Leftover in China – The Women Shaping the World’s Next Superpower, author Roseann Lake brings a deeply insightful and captivating account of China’s so-called ‘leftover women’ – the unmarried females who are shaping the future of the PRC. A must-read book for this Spring Festival holiday.

As the count-down for China’s most important event of the year, the Spring Festival, has started, countless unmarried daughters and sons anticipate the reunion with their parents and relatives with some horror. “Why are you still single?” is amongst the top-dreaded questions they are facing during the New Year’s dinners at the family dining table. Continue reading

Ban in China’s coal country

Source: NYT (2/10/18)
In China’s Coal Country, a Ban Brings Blue Skies, Cold Homes

A black market coal store in Qiaoli, China. The nearby city of Linfen was once one of the world’s most heavily polluted cities. CreditGilles Sabrié for The New York Times

QIAOLI, China — A monument to China’s efforts to wean itself from coal rises on the outskirts of this village deep in the heart of the nation’s coal country.

Scores of old coal stoves have been dumped in a lot, removed by government decree in recent months in favor of cleaner-burning natural gas furnaces.

“Defend blue sky and breathe together,” an exhortation painted on the brick wall surrounding the lot says. “Manage haze and work together.” Continue reading

Poets’ war of words

Source: Sixth Tone (2/8/18)
Two Poets’ War of Words Shows China’s Yawning Generation Gap
An ugly spat between two popular writers shows how Chinese literature is abandoning the collective spirit in favor of the individual.
By Xu Xiao [Xu Xiao is a poet. He is also a journalist currently working at The Paper, Sixth Tone’s sister publication.]

Left: poet Guo Lusheng, or ‘Shizhi’ gives a speech in Beijing, July 10, 2010. VCG; right: poet Yu Xiuhua talks to audience in Beijing, March 26, 2016. Zhan Min/VCG)

When the then-20-year-old poet Guo Lusheng, better known by his nom de plume “Shizhi” or “Index Finger,” completed his “Ocean Trilogy” in 1968, the Cultural Revolution was still in its infancy. Comparing himself to a drop of water in the oceanlike collective, his works marked the start of a period in which he composed some of his most influential poems. Today, Guo is known as a visionary whose work particularly inspired the so-called Misty Poets, a group of writers who, in the late 1970s, challenged the restrictions of the time on artistic freedom. Continue reading

Photographer documents left-behind kids

Source: CNN (2/4/18)
Photographer documents the plight of China’s left-behind kids
By Nanlin Fang and Katie Hunt, CNN

Photographer documents plight of China’s left-behind children For more than a three years, photographer Ren Shichen has traveled around China taking portraits of the country’s left-behind children. Each child poses in a classroom with a message for their absent parents on the blackboard behind them. Here, Gou Lingyu, 6, from Gaomiao Elementary School, Balipu County asks: “Mommy, where did you go? Mommy left home when I was six months old. Daddy cooks for me every day and works in the field and takes me to school. On the left hand side of the board is written: “Mommy, are you coming back?”

(CNN)For more than three years, photographer Ren Shichen has traveled across China taking portraits of the country’s left-behind children — some of the estimated nine million young kids that are currently growing up without Mom or Dad in China.

His goal is to shed light on the psychological costs of China’s economic boom — the ones borne by rural children whose parents have left their villages to work in China’s cities, often for years at a time, leaving them in the care of grandparents or other relatives. Continue reading

Eden Qingdao to feature highest indoor waterfall

Source: The Guardian (2/2/18)
Chinese Eden Project to feature world’s highest indoor waterfall
Qingdao counterpart of Cornish attraction will cost £150m and will be themed around water
By Steven Morris 

Part of an artist’s impression of Eden Qingdao. 

The world’s highest indoor waterfall is to be the centrepiece of a Chinese outpost of the Cornish eco attraction the Eden Project.

Work on the £150m scheme at the coastal city of Qingdao, north-east China is due to begin this year and open to the public in 2020.

While the Cornish Eden is very much a landlocked project, with its iconic biomes set in a disused clay pit, its Chinese counterpart will be themed around water. Continue reading

Hip hop ban not about hip hop

Like so many things in China, the trouble with hip hop is its popularity–its ability to draw a crowd.–Anne Henochowicz  <>

Source: Magpie Digest (1/25/18)
China’s Hip Hop Ban is Not Really About Hip Hop
This is issue #9 of the Magpie Digest newsletter, originally sent on 1/25/2018

Co-champions of Rap of China, GAI and PG One

On January 18th, Rap of China co-champion GAI was abruptly pulled from the celebrity-studded entertainment reality TV show 歌手 (“The Singer”) right before the second episode aired, despite a wildly successful performance the week before. The next day, Sina Entertainment reported that his hasty removal from the show was likely due to a broader governmental crackdown on “countercultural content” on television. Continue reading

Teachers demand pensions

Source: Chinese Labour Bulletin (2/1/18)
Teachers from across China gather in Beijing to demand payment of pensions

Community teachers from Jilin join the 29 January protest in Beijing. Photo: 维权网

Hundreds of elderly teachers from all over China gathered in the Chinese capital on Monday 29 January to demand payment of long delayed pensions and other benefits.

It was the first time that retired community teachers, retired substitute kindergarten teachers and substitute teachers from Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Jilin, Guangxi, Hebei, Jiangsu, Shandong, Sichuan, Hunan, Hubei, Inner Mongolia and Beijing had managed to organize a protest of this scale during their long-running battle with local governments for the same pay and benefits as civil servants of an equal grade, as stipulated by the 1993 Teachers Law. Continue reading

Foreign study doesn’t bring gender equality

Source: Sixth Tone (1/29/18)
For Chinese Women, Foreign Study Doesn’t Bring Gender Equality
Middle-class families may be willing to plow money into their daughters’ educations, but still expect them to cleave to traditional gender roles.
By Tu Mengwei (Tu Mengwei is a lecturer in sociology at East China University of Science and Technology.)

College students take graduation photos in Wuhan, Hubei province, July 2, 2017. Feiyu/VCG.

Over the past two decades, the number of women from China’s one-child generation studying in the West has surpassed that of their male counterparts. In 2014, women comprised 51 percent of Chinese students in the United States, 55 percent in Canada, and 63 percent in the United Kingdom.

Every year, Chinese international students secure jobs and settle in the U.K. after they graduate. These new immigrants are a largely elite group: They hold degrees from well-regarded British universities, have permission to reside in the country, and hail from relatively wealthy families. Unlike the marginalization experienced by earlier generations of Chinese immigrants, this new group integrates more fully into mainstream British society. Their work and social circles are not limited to the Chinese community. Continue reading

Middle-class revolt

Source: Index on Censorship (1/16/18)
China’s middle-class revolt
As China’s economy slows, an unexpected group has started to protest – the country’s middle class. Robert Foyle Hunwick reports on how effective they are

China’s middle class protest, Rebel Pepper/Index On Censorship

Park Avenue, central Beijing, is known for its luxurious serviced apartments, landscaped gardens and Western-style amenities, certainly not its dissident population. Yet, strolling past the compound one weekend, I was surprised to see a protest in progress.

A small group of around two dozen had assembled with signs and were milling around outside a locked shop, arguing with a harassed-looking man in the Chinese junior-management uniform of white shirt and belted black trousers. The cause of all the chaos: a swanky gym that had opened in the gated community a few months before, promising unparalleled 24-hour access to upscale fitness machines and personal trainers, had used a recent public holiday to sell all its equipment and, apparently, make off with everyone’s membership fees. Now a dispute was in full swing over who was going to take responsibility for this fiasco. The building management, who presumably had vetted the gym? The police? The residents? Continue reading

Buddy talk internet slang

Source: The World of Chinese (1/24/18)
Buddy Talk: A guide to internet slang for friendships, real and fake
By Tan Yunfei (谭云飞)

Friendship is a lasting theme in human life and literature. However, the proper way to address one’s friends has evolved over time. Poetic co-dependencies like ancient China’s “eight-bow friends” probably still exist, but these terms are seldom used now.

Fortunately, the internet is always evolving new buzzwords to supplement our Chinese friendship vocabulary.

“Old iron”(老铁)

老铁(lǎotiě) is a term usually associated with northeastern China, meaning a trustworthy buddy or alternative to “brother.” It has gained popularity online due to the predominance of northeastern anchors in live streaming, and can be applied to friends of any gender. Continue reading

‘Me Too’ censorship

Source: NYT (1/23/18)
‘Me Too,’ Chinese Women Say. Not So Fast, Say the Censors

Zhang Qiongwen, 22, says she was sexually abused by a dean at a university in southern China. She wrote about it online. CreditGiulia Marchi for The New York Times

BEIJING — They call themselves “silence breakers,” circulate petitions demanding investigations into sexual harassment and share internet memes like clenched fists with painted nails.

But Chinese women are finding it difficult to organize a far-reaching #MeToo movement, going up against not just a male-dominated culture but also the ruling Communist Party itself.

Government censors, apparently fearing social unrest, are trying to hobble the campaign, blocking the use of phrases like “anti-sexual harassment” on social media and deleting online petitions calling for greater protections for women. And officials have warned some activists against speaking out, suggesting that they may be seen as traitors colluding with foreigners if they persist. Continue reading

Porn consumption in China

Source: Sixth Tone (1/10/18)
Porn Consumption in China: The Hard Facts
A series of national surveys show that viewing sexually explicit content has no effect on rates of sex crimes.
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 is the third article in a series on gender and sexuality in China. Parts one and two can be found here.

Sola Aoi is a well-known former adult film star in Japan with legions of young fans in China, including more than 18 million followers on Weibo, a microblogging platform. She has called for friendship between China and Japan and is an enthusiastic advocate of public welfare, traits that have led Chinese netizens to bestow upon her an endearing nickname: Teacher Aoi.

Aoi is one of the most popular stars among Chinese porn viewers. Between 2000 and 2015, I conducted four nationwide surveys into the country’s sexuality, all of which asked the following question: “Currently, there are many videos, DVDs, images, and photographs that depict explicit sexual content. Have you viewed any in the past 12 months? It does not matter how you came into contact with them.” Continue reading

Life-size replica of the Titanic

Source: NPR (1/8/18)
A Life-Size Replica Of The Titanic Is Under Construction In China’s Countryside
By Rob Schmitz/NPR

A 30-foot by 30-foot mock-up of the Titanic replica now under construction stands near the construction site in China’s Sichuan Province. Rob Schmitz/NPR

A lot of questions spring to mind on arriving at the construction site for a full-scale Chinese replica of the Titanic:

Why is this being built in the remote countryside, 1,000 miles from the sea? Why is this being built? And simply: Why?

The infomercial the developer screens for visitors at the site in the town of Daying, Sichuan Province, leaves these questions unanswered. Continue reading

Xiao Meili open letter on sexual harassment

Source: Sup China (1/8/18)
China Must Combat On-Campus Sexual Harassment: An Open Letter
One of China’s most prominent women’s rights activists pushes the #MeToo conversation forward: “It’s imperative that Chinese colleges construct a mechanism to prevent sexual harassment on campus.”

Xiao Meili 肖美丽 (real name Xiao Yue 肖月, pictured) is one of China’s best-known women’s rights activists, having made international headlines in 2015 for organizing an “armpit hair contest” to redefine “feminine beauty,” and before that from 2013-14 for walking 1,400 miles to raise awareness of sexual abuse on college campuses, and before that in 2012 when she protested domestic violence by wearing a bloody wedding gown.

On Monday, Xiao — inspired by a former Beihang University student coming forward with her story of experiencing sexual harassment — penned an open letter to her alma mater, the Communication University of China (CUC) in Beijing, detailing a plan to prevent sexual harassment on college campuses. Sixteen other people signed the letter, with many more publicly offering support after its publication.

Below is a full translation.

An open letter from former students of the Communication University of China to propose a system to prevent on-campus sexual harassment

Dear Principal Hu Zhengrong 胡正荣, and the faculty and students of the school,

We are a group of Communication University of China alumni who have for years closely followed gender equality as a social problem. Recently, news of Luo Qianqian 罗茜茜, a former student at Beihang University, reporting her Ph.D. advisor Chen Xiaowu 陈小武 of long-term sexual harassment has ignited lots of discussion in society, and was applauded by many as the start of a #MeToo movement in China. Within a few days, students and alumni from more than 20 institutions — including Xi’an International Studies University, Beihang University, Nanhua University, Beijing Normal University, Nanjing Normal University, Zhongshan University, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Xi’an Peihua College, Shandong University, Hubei University, Zhejiang University, Changan University, Southwest University, Central China Normal University, Northeast Normal University, Northwest University, Shantou University, Dalian International Studies University, Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, Shaanxi Normal University, Tianjin University of Commerce, Chuzhou University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Peking University, and Wuhan University — wrote letters to their schools. Continue reading