More 100 cities above 1 million

Source: The Guardian (3/20/17)
More than 100 Chinese cities now above 1 million people
Government policy and a shift westward have fed the staggering scale of China’s urban ambitions – 119 cities as big as Liverpool, and likely double that by 2025

By Benjamin Haas in Hong Kong

China now has more than 100 cities of over 1 million residents, a number that is likely to double in the next decade.

According to the Demographia research group, the world’s most populous country boasts 102 cities bigger than 1 million people, many of which are little known outside the country – or even within its borders.

Quanzhou, for example, on the south-east coast of China, was one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world a millennium ago, when it served as a hub for traders from across Asia and the Middle East. It is now home to more than 7 million people, nearly 800,000 more than Madrid. Continue reading

Age of Empires exhibition

Exhibition Overview

Featuring more than 160 objects of ancient Chinese art, this major international loan exhibition will explore the unprecedented role of art in creating a new and lasting Chinese cultural identity. Synthesizing new archaeological discoveries with in-depth research performed over the last 50 years, Age of Empires will introduce a transformational era of Chinese civilization to a global audience.

The works in the exhibition—extremely rare ceramics, metalwork, textiles, sculpture, painting, calligraphy, and architectural models—are drawn exclusively from 32 museums and archaeological institutions in the People’s Republic of China, and a majority of the works have never before been seen in the West. Highlights include renowned terracotta army warriors and a striking statue of a seminude performer whose anatomical accuracy, unheard of in Chinese art, brings to mind Greco-Roman sculpture first introduced to Asia by Alexander the Great.

Red Legacies in China review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Xing Fan’s review of Red Legacies in China: Cultural Afterlives of the Communist Revolution (Harvard University Asia Center, 2016), edited by Jie Li and Enhua Zhang. The review appears below, but is best read online at:

My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.


Kirk A. Denton, Editor

Red Legacies in China:
Cultural Afterlives of the Communist Revolution

Edited by Jie Li and Enhua Zhang

Reviewed by Xing Fan
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright March, 2017)

Jie Li and Enhua Zhang, eds., Red Legacies in China: Cultural Afterlives of the Communist Revolution>. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2016. 424 pp. ISBN: 9780674737181

Red Legacies in China: Cultural Afterlives of the Communist Revolution pays close attention to three interconnected questions: What constitutes red legacies in post-Mao China? How do these red legacies interact with the present? And what do we make of these interactions? The anthology includes twelve essays whose authors employ multidisciplinary, multifaceted, and multidimensional approaches, interpretations, observations, and reflections. Red Legacies in China is an important title for scholars, educators, students, and general readers who are interested in the cultural legacies of the Communist Revolution, read in the context of China’s economic, political, and ideological transformations. Continue reading

Anthony Kuhn on becoming a viral star

Source: NPR (3/18/17)
For Years, I’ve Been A Correspondent In China. This Month, I Became A Viral Star
By Anthony Kuhn

In Chinese, the back story to a movie or news item is called huaxu, or flower catkins. In other words, fluff.

That’s the headline describing a video clip of me on Sina Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, and the country’s main microblogging platform, with more than 500 million registered users.

The clip shows me asking a question at a government press conference on March 6. Less than a day after its posting, the clip had been viewed 5 million times. Continue reading

Art Basel HK 2017

Source: NYT (3/22/17)
Art Basel Hong Kong: Where Commerce and Creativity Meet

A browser at last year’s Art Basel Hong Kong. Credit Courtesy of Art Basel

It’s hard to imagine a place more hard-wired for commerce than Hong Kong. The territory has a history steeped in trade, from its ceding to the British at the end of the First Opium War to its return to Chinese control in 1997 with a special economic and political status engineered to further economic development.

Buying and selling made the territory what it is. Continue reading

Punishing historical revisionists

Source: China Real Time, WSJ (3/13/17)
China Set to Tweak Civil Code to Punish Revisions of Martyr Lore
By Josh Chin

Chinese People's Liberation Army soldiers stand guard in front of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday.

Chinese People’s Liberation Army soldiers stand guard in front of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Scratching at the legends around revolutionary heroes stands to become a civil offense in China.

Anyone who slanders or otherwise harms the image of Communist Party heroes and revolutionary martyrs could face legal liability under a clause lawmakers added to draft rules for China’s first unified code of civil law. Continue reading

Alienation 101

Source: 1843 Magazine (April/May 2017)
Alienation 101
There were hopes that the flood of Chinese students into America would bring the countries closer. But a week at the University of Iowa suggested to Brook Larmer that the opposite may have happened

As the plane descended over Iowa, Fan Yijia could see a quilt of green and yellow cornfields extending to the horizon. It had taken more than 24 hours – and one missed flight – for the first-year University of Iowa student to travel from Jiaxing in eastern China to the American Midwest. To her weary eyes, accustomed to the crowded streets of her home city of 4m people, the cornfields looked not comforting but disorienting. “I had no idea if I could fit in.” Continue reading

Trinity College position

One-year Replacement Position at Trinity College (CT)

Trinity College (Hartford, CT) invites applications for a one-year, non-renewable visiting assistant professor/lecturer position in post-1900 Chinese literature and culture, to begin July 2017. The position is a full time appointment with a teaching load of five courses. The selected person will teach three courses in advanced-level Chinese language, one course of 20th century Chinese literary survey, and one course in modern Japanese literature/film in translation (No prior knowledge of Japanese language required). Applicants must have a native fluency in Mandarin Chinese, a Ph.D. or ABD status with a specialization in post-1900 Chinese literature/culture, and experience in language and culture teaching in a North American setting.

Details about Trinity College may be found at Continue reading

Theater, Art, and the CR talks

Theater, Art, and the Cultural Revolution: A Presentation featuring Zheng Shengtian and Chen Xiaomei
Wednesday, March 29, 6:30-8:00pm
China Institute
40 Rector Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10006

Tickets $5 each, please Register Here

Beginning in 1966, China’s Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution was a mass movement that shook the foundations of Modern China to its core. The movement’s ubiquitous presence disrupted all aspects of Chinese society, and has had a lasting impact on Chinese culture that continues until today. Continue reading

Restrictions on foreign children’s books (2)

As a person who reads both English and Chinese books to my kids I find this news a pity. In second tier China, it can be tough finding good books for kids to read. The government wants to combat Internet addiction but reduces the amount of choice on books. 

Last weekend I went to the local library which has a 2 great, massive children’s sections. The western section of books was understandably small but we found a version of Disney Frozen that my son got a kick out of. I guess some books like Doctor Seuss have some questioning themes like Green eggs and Ham, and the Snitches on the Beachs (Ones with stars upon thars are better than those without).  This also might have a serious knock on affect to the Massive Disney English franchise that uses Disney books for teaching. 

Chinese kids books vary tremendous and a few seemed downright scary to me. One was about a mother who lost her temper at a kid who was then sucked down a magic black whole to experience worlds that had become extreme according to different ways the kid had been naughty.  Continue reading

Jia Zhangke launches Pingyao film fest

Source: China Film Insider (3/16/17)
Jia Zhangke Launches Pingyao ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ International Film Festival
Small in scale, the Pingyao Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon International Film Festival will be China’s first ’boutique’ film festival and will focus on non-Western films.

Speaking at a press conference at the China Film Directors Center in Beijing on Thursday, the auteur said the new festival represented a dream come true.

“I have been living a double life since the very first film I made when I was 27,” Jia said. “On the one hand, I have been telling stories with films that have deep roots in Shanxi and China. Yet, on the other hand, I shuttled through all kinds of international film festivals around the world with my films.” “I constantly wondered during the journey when we’d be able to have a film festival in our own country, in our own hometown, to let people look at our culture and our work and to contribute our reviews and opinions of the world’s films.” Continue reading

Shenzheners review

Source: Chinese Literature of the Americas 紅杉林: 美洲華人文藝 (12.1, Spring 2017)
China: Loneliness behind Sound and Fury—– On Xue Yiwei’s Shenzheners
Reviewed by Amy Hawkins

There is a temptation commonly indulged amongst China watchers to bemoan the loss of the “real China”. With the rapid urbanisation and globalisation of the past few decades, China is, of course, not what it used to be. Where there were once stony paths and local residents nursing flasks of boiled water, you can now buy decaf soy lattes. The “locals” you meet in any given city in China are unlikely to be anything of the sort – one of the many demographic changes that have reshaped China’s landscape is the huge migration of people towards the cities and new economic centres of China. This is most evident at Chinese New Year, when tens of millions of people return to their hometowns to celebrate Spring Festival with their families, and become part of the biggest annual human migration in the world. The cities are deserted. Continue reading

Murder in the Lucky Holiday Hotel

Interesting feature by the BBC, on the downfall of Bo Xilai, (“built” with visuals and videos):

Murder in the Lucky Holiday Hotel. By Carrie Gracie. BBC, 17 March 2017

The BBC deserves credit for going on with serious reporting even after getting beaten up and having their cameras smashed by thugs, and coerced into “confessing,” only just recently:


Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Dancing East Asia conference at U Michigan

Dancing East Asia: Critical Choreographies and their Corporeal Politics
April 7-8 | Hatcher Library Gallery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

This conference examines the moving body as a medium of artistic experimentation, cultural exchange, and political activism in East Asia. Invited scholars from Asia, Europe, and North America will present new research on dance in the East Asian region, including China, Japan, North and South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Covering late imperial times to the present, the conference will offer a landmark event for the emerging field of East Asian dance studies.

Dancing East Asia has been designated the 2017 “Special Topics Conference” by the Society for Dance History Scholars, the dance studies organization of ACLS.

This conference is one part of an ongoing research project focused on Dance Studies and Global East Asia and an edited volume directed and authored by Emily Wilcox and Katherine Mezur.

Visit the conference website. Continue reading