Posts

A century of China’s new poetry

Source: China Channel, LARB (11/4/19)
A Century of China’s New Poetry
By Kerry Shawn Keys and Ming Di

Six poems by Mo Yan and others, spanning generations – edited by Ming Di
Selected from New Poetry From China: 1917-2017

China’s New Poetry Movement was started in Beijing in 1917 by Hu Shi (1891–1962) and reinforced by the May 4th Movement in 1919. But what was its aesthetic goal, what influence does it still exert on cultural life in China, and what has been challenged? New Poetry From China: 1917-2017, a new anthology, tries to address the many dimensions of the movement, covering works from most of the important poets still relevant today. 120 poets were selected, from Hu Shi to contemporary voices, including dissident poets. Mo Yan and Liu Xiaobo are back to back on the pages, and many other poets are translated into English for the first time. Two major traditions within the New Poetry Movement have been pushing each other forward: Spoken Language Poetry and Neoclassical Poetry, both are experimental in language and form but with different approaches. We hope you enjoy this small sample of six poems below, representing the span of different generations of poets, from Zheng Min, born in 1920, to Su Xiaoyan born in 1992. – Ming Di

Golden Rice Sheaves
Zheng Min 郑敏

Golden rice stands in sheaves
in the newly cut autumn field.
I think of droves of exhausted mothers,
I see rugged faces along the road at dusk.
On the day of harvest, a full moon hangs
atop the towering trees,
and in the twilight, distant mountains
approach my heart.
Nothing is more quiet than this, a statue
shouldering so much weariness—
you lower your head in thought
in the unending autumn field.
Silence. Silence. History is nothing
but a small stream flowing under your feet.
You stand where the rice is, your thought
becoming a thought of the human race.

Translated from Chinese by Ming Di and Kerry Shawn Keys Continue reading

HK’s Monday of mayhem

Source: Sup China (11/11/19)
Hong Kong’s Monday of mayhem

Photo credit: SupChina illustration

For most of the 24 weeks of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, the city has seethed on weekends but returned to something resembling normalcy on weekdays. Only twice have there been significant exceptions to that — a general strike on Wednesday, June 12, and further strikes and an occupation of the airport for days in early August. Today was the third exception, as a protester was shot and critically injured by what appeared to be a traffic cop at about 7:15 a.m., according to the Hong Kong Free Press.

Later in the day, a man was “set alight following a heated argument” with demonstrators, and was admitted to a nearby hospital with severe burns, AFP reports. The South China Morning Post has more on the status of the two injured persons, and other details on what it calls the day’s “unprecedented working-hours mayhem”: Continue reading

EACS 2020–cfp reminder

Reminder: CALL FOR PAPERS: The 23rd Biennial Conference of the European Association for Chinese Studies (EACS 2020) – Deadline: 6 Jan 2020

As the end of 2019 is quickly approaching, we would like to remind those interested that the EACS 2020 papers and panels submission deadline is 6 January 2020, 6 pm CET.

The EACS 2020 will be held at Leipzig University (Germany) from 25 August 2020 to 29 August 2020. Local organisation is provided by the Institute of East Asian Studies, Leipzig University. The EACS biennial conference is the biggest Chinese Studies meeting in Europe, typically featuring between 400 and 500 paper presentations. Continue reading

U. of Amsterdam PhD and postdoc positions

I would like to draw the attention of the MCLC list subscribers to the following PhD and postdoc vacancies at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in a new project on the rise of private museums in the Netherlands, United States, Brazil, Russia, India and China.

https://www.academictransfer.com/en/287064/two-phd-candidates-in-sociology/
https://www.academictransfer.com/en/287061/postdoctoral-researcher-in-sociology/

Kind regards,

Svetlana Kharchenkova

Assistant professor in sociology of China
The Leiden University Institute for Area Studies

Going Home

Source: China Channel, LARB (11/8/19)
Going Home
By  and 

Taiwanese fiction by Loa Ho, translated by Darryl Sterk
Editor’s note: Loa Ho (賴和), also known as Lazy Cloud, was a Taiwanese poet, born in 1894. A doctor by profession, it was his contribution to the literary republic – overlooked today – that led him to be hailed as the “father of modern Taiwanese literature.” This 1932 story, translated and republished in the new collection Scales of Injustice, was first published in the founding issue of Voice of the South (南音), a literary journal where Taiwanese cultural elites hoped to communicate with the wider public.

If a product is not up to standard in the factory you still have the chance to fix it, but if it makes it all the way to the market and customers don’t like it, it’s useless and will get thrown away. That’s how I felt when I arrived home after graduating from university, like a reject. It was an unpleasant homecoming.

Several days after I got home I lost the courage to go out, because every time I did I met relatives or friends who would say, “Congratulations, you graduated!” Which I found terrifying, because it would remind me that I had left the factory and was en route to the market. In the first few days, of course, I was happy to be reunited with my family after a long absence. I didn’t yet feel lonely. But soon I was used to being home again and realized all the adults in the family were busy, and that most of my younger brothers and sisters were still in school. Playing with the youngest, who were not yet old enough for school, made me happy, but it was embarrassing when I tried to discipline them, because they would always start crying. I really didn’t know how to comfort them. Even playing with them, I often made them cry, which opened me to complaints from the one who was actually responsible for taking care of the kids. So I just sat around at home and felt bored and useless. Continue reading

Charles University mired in Chinese influence scandal

Source: Financial Times (11/11/19)
Czech university mired in Chinese influence scandal
Secret payments to academics renew concerns about Beijing’s encroachment
By Kathrin Hille in Taipei and James Shotter in Warsaw

CRBMF1 Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic, Europe

The controversy at the university comes as politicians, civil society groups and academics are pushing back against their country’s alignment with China © Alamy

Prague’s Charles University is being shaken by a scandal over secret Chinese payments to four of its faculty members, amid concerns that Beijing could use its ties with some Czech politicians to build influence in academia.

The university, one of the world’s oldest academic institutions, fired Milos Balaban, until recently head of the university’s Centre for Security Policy (SBP), and two other members of the social sciences faculty last week. The move came after the school discovered they had set up a private company under the name of SBP which was paid by the Chinese embassy for conferences co-organised by the university centre. Continue reading

Beijing asks Chinese students to leave Taiwan

Source: Taiwan News (11/10/19)
Beijing asks Chinese students to leave Taiwan before presidential election: report
Message spreading among Chinese students and their parents
By Teng Pei-ju, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Taiwanese cast their votes.

Taiwanese cast their votes. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Beijing has reportedly asked Chinese students to leave Taiwan before the presidential and legislative elections scheduled for January 11, even though some students have said they would rather stay on the island to observe the voting process themselves.

A Chinese municipal government office that handles the affairs of local residents with children studying in Taiwan has announced that students are advised to return to China before January 11, according to a screenshot sent by a parent to Apple Daily on Saturday (Nov. 9). The message does not provide an explanation, but many believe it is meant to prevent Chinese students from staying in the country while the Taiwanese electorate casts its ballot for the next leader of the country. Continue reading

British report warns of Chinese govt influence on UK campuses

Source: The Independent (11/5/19)
Chinese government confiscating papers and getting events cancelled at British universities, MPs’ report warns
Battle to recruit students must not outweigh ‘risks’ to academic freedom, MPs say
By Eleanor Busby and Kim Sengupta

Papers have been confiscated and events cancelled at British universities as a direct result of interference from Chinese officials, a report by an influential committee of MPs has warned.

An employee of a Russian government-sponsored body also allegedly planted a bugging device to record an academic discussion in the UK, the Foreign Affairs Committee report claims.

Authorities in Britain are not doing enough to protect academic freedom from financial, political and diplomatic pressures from autocratic states, it concludes, adding that the government has “failed” to consider the threat posed by the likes of China and Russia, and that guidance warning universities of potential risks is “non-existent”.

The report warns that the battle to recruit more students and increase funding should not outweigh “serious risks” to academic freedom. Continue reading

Anger in HK after student dies

Source: NYT (11/7/19)
Anger in Hong Kong After Student Dies From Fall Following Clash With Police
The death of the student, Chow Tsz-lok, ignited public fury after months of antigovernment demonstrations.
By Austin Ramzy and

Protesters with placards that read “missing classmate Chow” gathered Friday outside the home of the president of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Credit…Kin Cheung/Associated Press

HONG KONG — A Hong Kong student died on Friday after falling earlier this week from a parking garage where police officers clashed with protesters, a development that further escalated the public’s fury after months of antigovernment demonstrations.

Chow Tsz-lok, who was a student at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, sustained head and pelvis injuries when he fell one story early Monday morning. His death on Friday morning was confirmed by the city’s Hospital Authority.

Anger with the police has run high over the force’s widespread use of tear gas, pepper spray and batons on demonstrators during five months of protest. A key demand of the protest movement, which began over a now-withdrawn extradition bill, has been an independent investigation into the police’s use of force. Continue reading

How real estate looms behind HK’s unrest

Source: Lausan (11/6/19)
How real estate hegemony looms behind Hong Kong’s unrest: an interview with Alice Poon
Economic justice in Hong Kong requires land and tax policy reform.
By Brian Ng

A public housing estate in Wong Tai Sin, 1 October 2019. Photo: Alex Yun

Unaffordable rents, while not explicitly addressed by the movement’s key demands, shape every facet of Hong Kong’s civic life. Nearly half of Hong Kong flats rent for upwards of 20,000 HKD (2,550 USD) a month, more than 70% of median household income—making it the world’s costliest housing market. Even with the availability of underutilized land, the government has failed to build more public housing or reduce rents. This is partially due to Hong Kong’s residual colonial institutions, where authorities tasked with land reacquisition and planning also act as land developers and land premium negotiators; they use taxpayer funding to finance private development without public consultation or oversight.

These labyrinthe semi-public statutory authorities, such as the Urban Renewal Authority (URA), MTR Corporation, and Link Real Estate Investment Trust (Link REIT), are motivated by profit from land premium rather than the public good. For instance, the MTR has increased transit fares disproportionate to the cost of living; Link REIT, the largest real estate investment trust by market capitalization in Asia, has been known to dramatically increase rents and management fees. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government’s dependence on land premiums for revenue has led to nonchalance: on the issue of high transit fares, Chief Executive Carrie Lam remarked publicly in 2017 that “there is really nothing [she] can do.” Continue reading

Reassessing Chinese Independent Cinema–cfp

Reassessing Chinese Independent Cinema: Past, Present… and Future?
Conference, 5-6 June 2020
Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne
Call for Paper Proposals

If Wu Wenguang’s Bumming in Beijing (流浪北京, 1990) is considered to mark the birth of independent cinema in the People’s Republic of China (hereafter China) that cinema will be celebrating its 30th birthday in 2020. But if independence is defined as meaning production without government permission, China’s first film law in 2017 was understood by many as making that practice illegal. The intervening decades saw the emergence of a broader film culture supporting this filmmaking, from film festivals to film criticism, but also this culture’s metamorphosis under pressure from both state and market. Can we still speak of independent cinema in the PRC, and if so, what does it mean to do so?

This seems to be a good moment to take stock of the past, present and future of Chinese independent film. We seek papers that address the current and future state of independent filmmaking in China, but also our understanding of this practice and its history. After thirty years, there is a significant body of literature on the subject, in a range of languages. What have we learned? What is missing? And what is still to be done? Continue reading

KFLC 2020 reminder

Dear Friends,

A gentle reminder on the November 11th deadline for submitting your abstract for the 2020 Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, to be held in our beautiful campus from April 16-18, 2020 in Lexington Kentucky.

Please submit your abstract in the field of East Asian Studies by November 11th, 2019 @ 11:59 pm EST here: https://kflc.as.uky.edu/submit-abstract.

Warm thanks,

Liang

羅靚 Luo, Liang Ph.D.
Faculty Director, International Village Living and Learning Program
Associate Professor of Chinese Studies
Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
University of Kentucky, USA

The Bookworm to close

Source: SCMP (11/5/19)
The Bookworm, a centre of literary life in Beijing, to close, unable to renew its lease amid crackdown on ‘illegal structures’
A cafe, a community centre, a place for lively discussion and for authors to meet their readers, The Bookworm has survived for 17 years in the Chinese capital. Co-founder says it is a victim of clean-up by city planners, and won’t speculate on a political motive; patrons take to social media to voice their sadness.
By Elaine Yau

David Cantalupo, co-founder of The Bookworm, takes a phone call at the bookstore in Beijing on Tuesday as customers look on. The store, a cornerstone of the expatriate literary community in the Chinese capital, announced it would close on November 11 having been unable to renew its lease. Photo: Simon Song

David Cantalupo, co-founder of The Bookworm, takes a phone call at the bookstore in Beijing on Tuesday as customers look on. The store, a cornerstone of the expatriate literary community in the Chinese capital, announced it would close on November 11 having been unable to renew its lease. Photo: Simon Song

Book lovers in Beijing have been left saddened by the impending closure of a cornerstone of the city’s expatriate community.

The Bookworm, a bookshop in the shopping hub of Sanlitun that is beloved by expatriates and locals alike, announced on Tuesday that it would close on November 11.

Its general manager, David Cantalupo, told the Post he was very sad that they had been unable to secure an extension on their lease. Continue reading

HK campuses as political battlefields

Source: SCMP (10/30/19)
Hong Kong university chiefs caught in crossfire as protest tensions risk turning campuses into political battlefields
Backing protesters risks offending authorities; condemning violence will anger students. Students attend lectures dressed in black, equipped to go directly to protests if needed.
By Chris Lau and Gigi Choy

Students make up about a fifth of the 2,711 people arrested over protests since June. Illustration: Perry Tse

Students make up about a fifth of the 2,711 people arrested over protests since June. Illustration: Perry Tse

Chinese University vice-chancellor Rocky Tuan Sung-chi found himself surrounded by his students, some dressed in black, some masked, many upset and in tears.

They demanded that he and the university condemn police brutality in Hong Kong’s ongoing anti-government protests, now in their fifth month. Some called him “a disgrace to Chinese University” for staying silent, while others pointed laser beams at him.

The October 10 meeting took a dramatic turn when a female student whipped off her mask and claimed she was sexually abused while in police custody after being arrested at a protest.

He found himself under fresh attack immediately. Continue reading

Potemkin Xinjiang

Source: Globe and Mail (11/4/19)
‘Like a movie’: In Xinjiang, new evidence that China stages prayers, street scenes for visiting delegations
By NATHAN VANDERKLIPPE, ASIA CORRESPONDENT

People walking past a mosque in Urumqi, the regional capital of Xinjiang, on Sept. 11, 2019. HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

One day last October, eight local officials entered Zumuret Dawut’s home in Urumqi, the regional capital of northwestern China’s Xinjiang region. They came to ask her elderly father to pray – and they promised to pay.

They said, “We will give you 20 renminbi for each time you pray,” Ms. Dawut recalled in an interview. “You will need to pray five times tomorrow. So we will give you 100 renminbi” – about $18.50.

Her 79-year-old father was puzzled. He had long since stopped attending the local mosque out of fear the authorities would see his religious observance as a sign of radicalization and place him in an indoctrination centre, as the government has done with hundreds of thousands of Muslims in the region. The mosque was considered closed. Continue reading