HK showed China is a threat to democracy

Source: The Guardian (7/16/19)
Hong Kong showed China is a threat to democracy. Now Europe must defend Taiwan
By Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Beijing is bullying another democratic neighbour. The EU must stop ignoring authoritarianism for the sake of stability and cash

China’s sole aircraft carrier, the Liaoning

China’s aircraft carrier, the Liaoning. China ‘has stepped up its aerial missions violating Taiwanese airspace, sailing warships near or in Taiwanese waters’. Photograph: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

Hong Kong’s administration has backed down over the controversial extradition bill, but the canary in the coalmine of China’s tacit acceptance of democracy is already dead.

Under China’s “one country, two systems” model, Hong Kong was given the guarantee that the freedoms of its citizens would be preserved and respected. Meanwhile, for a long time in the west, the consensus was that, as its economy grew, China would start to look more like Hong Kong. Regrettably, in recent years the opposite has happened and Hong Kong looks more like China by the year. Perhaps we were naive to believe that this erosion of Hong Kong’s democracy was not inevitable. Beijing makes no secret of its view that democracy and Chinese civilisation are incompatible. The protesters in the streets of Hong Kong would beg to differ, and I hope they succeed through peaceful means. Continue reading

Liao Yiwu’s Prison Poetry published

I’d like to announce the publication of my translation of Liao Yiwu’s collection of prison poetry and other writings as Love Songs from the Gulags on June 4, 2019, in London, UK, by Barque Press:

Excerpts from the launch, including poetry readings by Liao Yiwu, can be viewed here:

Michael Martin Day (

International Young Scholars Conference 2019–cfp

The 1st “Sinophone Studies in Europe and the Americas” (SEA) International Young Scholars Conference Call for Abstracts is now open. We are pleased to announce this Call for Abstracts for the oncoming 1st SEA International Young Scholars Conference. More Info on this link

To submit an abstract, the following criteria must be met:
Submitter should be Post-doctoral researcher, Ph. D. or Master Degree student.
Abstract and full paper can be written in English or Chinese. If written in Chinese, submitter will need to provide a briefing of paper in English.Presentation in Chinese is preferable, but not required. Continue reading

HK’s new political lexicon

Source: LA Times (7/8/19)
Hong Kong’s new political lexicon

Hong Kong’s new political lexicon

Anti-extradition bill protesters take part in a march to West Kowloon railway station in Hong Kong, China, July 7, 2019. (Chan Long Hei /EPA-EFE/REX)

For many of my fellow citizens in Hong Kong, June 2019 has broken new ground in the city’s political imagination. With mass street rallies against the extradition of criminal suspects to China, violent police crackdowns and the storming of the Legislative Council Complex, we’ve entered a time of living dangerously and truthfully — in opposition to an autocratic and intransigent government and in solidarity with the youth on the front line and their moral clarity.

Hong Kongers are first and foremost quick-witted pragmatists. They don’t typically embrace theories or ideologies about consciousness liberation. But that is what’s happening today, and in the process, they have added new keywords to the city’s political lexicon. This must be recognized as a victory, regardless of the fate of the extradition bill and Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her government. Continue reading

New translation of Yecao

We are pleased to announce the publication of a new translation of Lu Xun’s Weeds (野草), the first in English since the Yangs’ monumental translation, by poet and translator Matt Turner. Featuring an introduction my professor Nick Admussen, and woodcuts by the artist Monika Lin. Seaweed Salad Editions, a small press in Shanghai, is the publisher.

The book is available from Small Press Distribution or through the publisher’s website.

No one here needs an introduction to the work of Lu Xun, but here are what some people had to say about the translation:

Weird syntactical swerves, psychological scratch loops, and rocket trajectories characterize these poems. Certainly, they never yield to Western Modernism’s economies. Instead, Lu Xun’s oneiric imagery is ever chocked and gusty; unexpected pronouns pop up like masked faces at a window. It would take a poet-translator as deft, daring, and refractory as Matt Turner to take on the sarcasm, playfulness, mystery, and aggressive invention of these poems in Chinese. If ever the worms of boredom have settled into your heart, this is the book that will draw them out, unthread them through your pores, and leave them to dangle until “they squint at each other and, slowly, slowly, scatter.” Continue reading

Radical realist view of Tibetan Buddhism

Source: NY Review of Books (7/13/19)
A Radical Realist View of Tibetan Buddhism at the Rubin
By Ian Johnson

Photo by Thierry Ollivier/RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY. Kingdom of Shambhala and the Final Battle, Mongolia, nineteenth century

One of the hallmarks of the past few decades has been the rise of religious-based nationalism in, for example, India, the United States, and the Middle East. And it has become routine in discussing these areas to make a link between politics and religion—be it Hinduism, Christianity, or Islam.

Buddhism, though, continues to flummox us. People are often shocked that it could be central to the violence of Sri Lanka or Myanmar, or the more than a hundred self-immolations that took place in Tibet in the early 2010s—self-inflicted acts of political violence that confounded both the Chinese government and many onlookers in the West. For many, Buddhism is “a religion of peace” and its adaptation for political purposes, even to inspire violence, feels flat-out wrong. Continue reading

Xu Zhangrun vs. Tsinghua

Source: China Heritage (7/10/19)
The Case for Humanity Over Bastardy: Xu Zhangrun vs. Tsinghua University, Voices of Protest and Resistance (XXIX)
Geremie R. Barmé

Making a Case for Humanity Over Banditry 《人間不是匪幫》, published by Oxford University Press, is a selection of commentaries, essays, reviews and memoirs written by Xu Zhangrun between September 2012 and February 2019. Many of the chapters have previously appeared online, while some were composed following the publication of the author’s controversial July 2018 essay ‘Imminent Fears, Immediate Hopes’ 我們當下的恐懼與期待 (China Heritage, 1 August 2018). Although the ninety essays contained in Xu’s new book range over many topics, they reflect an abiding theme in the author’s thinking: humanity and decency, as opposed to the hypocrisy and lawlessness of one-party autocracy.

Below, we first pause to introduce the Introduction of Professor Xu’s book by offering an essay from the collection itself. ‘A Life at the Lectern’ 一輩子站講台 originally appeared in March 2016 and, unbeknownst to its author at the time, it would be something of an envoi to his previous life since, due to his increasingly outspoken criticisms of the Chinese Communist Party dating from that year, he would eventually be banned from his beloved career as a university lecturer. From late 2018, he was cautioned against all forms of public engagement and, from March 2019 further explicitly banned by ‘special investigators’ assigned to his ‘case’ at Tsinghua University from publishing, be it on Mainland China, in Hong Kong, Taiwan or elsewhere. His response to such interdictions has been that of unswerving recalcitrance and although Xu’s fate alerted people both in- and outside China to the increasingly blighted intellectual landscape of the People’s Republic, his work as well as the voices of his supporters have been a warning and a clarion call to all those who oppose and who are willing to resist Communist Party dominion…. [continue reading]

AAS panel on satire/humor–cfp

We are seeking one panelist for our session on “Satire/Humor in (Post-)Socialist China” at the AAS annual meeting in Boston next year. If your research has led you to investigate how satire/humor works, evolves, and interacts with the state and the general public in (post)socialist China, please consider joining us. All disciplines are welcome. If interested, please share a 250-word paper abstract with us by July 22. Feel free to contact us should you have any questions.


Hongjian Wang (Assistant Professor of Chinese and Asian Studies, Purdue University,

Xi Tian (Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies, Bucknell University,

Experimental Chinese Literature review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Jacob Edmond’s review of Experimental Chinese Literature: Translation, Technology, Poetics (Brill 2018), by Tong King Lee. The review appears below and at its online home: My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, editor

Experimental Chinese Literature:
Translation, Technology, Poetics

By Tong King Lee

Reviewed by Jacob Edmond
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright July, 2019)

Tong King Lee, Experimental Chinese Literature: Translation, Technology, Poetics. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2018. viii + 182 pp. ISBN: 978-90-04-29337-3.

“In translating a work, I mistake it for my own,” writes Taiwanese poet Chen Li 陳黎. More and more writers today are making their texts from other texts through translation, cultural borrowing, and, increasingly, through the affordances of new media technologies. Around the world, their readers are likewise searching for new ways of understanding and reading this literature of repetition, translation, and remediation.

Tong King Lee 李忠慶 takes up this challenge in his book Experimental Chinese LiteratureTranslation, Technology, Poetics. Lee cites Chen Li’s statement in making the case for the inextricable relationship between poetic creation and translation in contemporary Chinese experimental literature (80). Lee defines experimental literature as “works that tap into various technologies in foregrounding their materiality.” For Lee, “experimental literature is . . . characterized by the interplay between the corporeality of the sign . . . and the travel of the text across languages and media” (166). Lee’s concern is thus primarily with works of poetry and contemporary art that highlight their own material qualities—the texture of the page, the shape that writing makes on a flickering screen, or in the space of a park in an open-air exhibition—and that explore textual translations not just between languages but also, importantly, between media. Continue reading

Global TV Images of Female Masculinity–cfp

CFP: Roundtable “Global TV Images of Female Masculinity” at 2020 SCMS Conference, Denver, USA
(proposal deadline August 5th, 2019)

Roundtable Theme:

Global TV Images of Female Masculinity


Co-chaired by Jamie J. ZHAO (XJTLU) and Eve NG (Ohio U)


In recent years, TV representations of female masculinity have proliferated and diversified worldwide. Notable examples include the white lesbian landowner Anne Lister in the historical drama Gentleman Jack (BBC/HBO, UK/USA, 2019-), the African American lesbian Denise in the web series Master of None (Netflix, USA, 2015-2017), the tomboyish participants of the reality singing competition Super Girls’ Voice (HTV, China, 2004-2016), the cross-dressing female protagonist raised as a boy in the drama Bromance (SETTV, Taiwan, 2015-2016), and the butch lesbian beauty contest segment, “That’s My Tomboy,” in the Philippine daytime variety show It’s Showtime (ABS-CBN, Philippines, 2009-). Continue reading

Mouse vs Cat review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Xiaorong Li’s review of Mouse vs Cat in Chinese Literature: Tales and Commentary (University of Washington Press, 2019), translated and edited by Wilt Idema. The review appears below and at its online home: My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, editor

Mouse vs Cat in Chinese Literature: 
Tales and Commentary

Translated and introduced by Wilt Idema

Reviewed by Xiaorong Li

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright July, 2019)

Mouse vs. Cat in Chinese Literature: Tales and Commentary, translated and introduced by Wilt L. Idema. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2019. 272 pp. ISBN 9780295744834 (paperback); 9780295744858 (hardcover)

Mouse vs Cat in Chinese Literature is a new book by Wilt Idema, yet another showcase of his extraordinary scholarship and translation skills. Judging by its cover, the book might appear to be just a collection of translated cat-mouse tales with the translator’s introduction, but it is much more than that. In addition to the translation of important texts, it is a broad and rich survey not only of literary representations of mouse versus cat within the larger context of Chinese history, but also of anthropomorphism in world literature.

The book begins with an introduction on animal tales in various literary traditions around the world and continues with general observations on the distinctive ways in which Chinese literature of different historical periods and cultural genres features animals. Although there is a lack of “talking animals” in the classics or other forms of high literature, popular entertainment literature, Idema observes, is rich in animal characters that plead for justice, such as the mouse in underworld court case stories. Continue reading

Imperfect Understanding review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Li Guo’s review of Imperfect Understanding: Intimate Portraits of Modern Chinese Celebrities (Cambria 2018), by Wen Yuan-ning, edited by Christopher Rea. The review appears below and at its online home: My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, editor

Imperfect Understanding:
Intimate Portraits of Modern Chinese Celebrities

By Wen Yuan-ning and others
Edited by Christopher Rea

Reviewed by Li Guo
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright July, 2019)

Imperfect Understanding: Intimate Portraits of Modern Chinese Celebrities by Wen Yuan-ning and others Edited by Christopher Rea. Amherst: Cambria Press, 2018. 315 pp. ISBN: 978-1-60497-943-5.

Part of the Cambria Sinophone World Series, edited by Victor H. Mair, Christopher Rea’s edited collection Imperfect Understanding: Intimate Portraits of Modern Chinese Celebrities by Wen Yuan-ning and others presents in their entirety the essays in the column “Unedited Biographies,” which ran from 1934 to 1935 in the prominent Republican English-language journal The China Critic 中國評論週報. As Rea points out, “The China Critic, for which Wen [Yuan-ning] served as a contributing editor, is emblematic of the robustness of foreign-language publishing in 1930s China” (4). Having appeared weekly for a dozen years before the war, the journal was one of the many general or specialist foreign-language periodicals that published in English, French, Japanese, German, Russian, and other languages in Republican China. From January through December of 1934, the journal published a series of fifty-one succinct “Unedited Biographies” of contemporary celebrities in China. Midway through the year, the column was retitled “Intimate Portraits.” In 1935, seventeen of these popular essays, all authored by Wen Yuan-ning 溫源寧 (1900-1984), were republished as the book Imperfect Understanding. As Rea insightfully states, the essays “testify to the vitality of Anglophone literary cosmopolitan culture in 1930s China, with flashes of wit, erudition, and panache” (2). For today’s readers, these biographical essays on key cultural figures draw scholarly attention to the scene of Republican multilingual print media and their representation of socio-political topics and discussions of culture and entertainment. Continue reading

Xinjiang schools used to separate children from families

Source: BBC News (7/4/19)
China Muslims: Xinjiang schools used to separate children from families
BBC News, Xinjiang

The BBC’s John Sudworth meets Uighur parents in Turkey who say their children are missing in China

China is deliberately separating Muslim children from their families, faith and language in its far western region of Xinjiang, according to new research.

At the same time as hundreds of thousands of adults are being detained in giant camps, a rapid, large-scale campaign to build boarding schools is under way.

Based on publicly available documents, and backed up by dozens of interviews with family members overseas, the BBC has gathered some of the most comprehensive evidence to date about what is happening to children in the region.

Records show that in one township alone more than 400 children have lost not just one but both parents to some form of internment, either in the camps or in prison. Continue reading

Tiananmen 30 Years On

Announcing the June/July issue of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, the “Tiananmen Thirty Years On” feature, edited by Tammy Lai-Ming Ho and Lucas Klein, along with a special feature of poems by and in mourning of Meng Lang 孟浪.

The following CONTRIBUTORS have generously allowed us to showcase their work:

Tammy Lai-Ming Ho, Gregory Lee, Ding Zilin (translated by Kevin Carrico), Andréa Worden, Shuyu Kong (with translations of poems by Colin Hawes), Ai Li Ke, Anna Wang, and Sara Tung

Bei Dao (translated by Eliot Weinberger), Duo Duo (translated by Lucas Klein), Liu Xiaobo (translated by Ming Di), Xi Chuan (translated by Lucas Klein), Yang Lian (translated by Brian Holton), Xi Xi (translated by Jennifer Feeley), Meng Lang (translated by Anne Henochowicz), Lin Zhao (translated by Chris Song), Liu Waitong (translated by Lucas Klein), Chan Lai Kuen (translated by Jennifer Feeley), Mei Kwan Ng (translated by the author), Yibing Huang (translated by the author), Ming Di (translated by the author), Anthony Tao, Aiden Heung, Kate Rogers, Ken Chau, Ilaria Maria Sala, Ian Heffernan, Reid Mitchell, Lorenzo Andolfatto, Joseph T. Salazar Continue reading

ANU positions

Applications are now open for the China in the World and CHL joint positions in Chinese Literature/Media and Chinese History and the Australian National University. Please see details below.

Job no:  529657
Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor or Professor (Chinese Literature/Media)
Job Closing date: 21/7/2019

ANU Jobs Page:

Job no: 529658
Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor or Professor (Chinese History)
Job Closing date: 21/7/2019

ANU Jobs Page: Continue reading