Posthumanism in Modern Chinese Culture–cfp

Call for Papers: Posthumanism in Modern Chinese Culture
September 29th-30th, 2018, University of New Hampshire

Keynote Speaker: Xudong Zhang (Professor of Comparative Literature and East Asian Studies, New York University)

As with other modern cultures, China in the 20th and 21st century faces the fundamental challenge of re-defining what it means to be human under the changed historical situation. Humanism has unsurprisingly gained wide currency along the way. Humanist discourse not only played a crucial part in launching the New Culture Movement in early 20th century and in re-orienting the intellectual culture in the post-Mao era of 1980s, it also functions as a general underlying principle for many cultural productions and intellectual discussions in modern China. Continue reading

Hollywood Made in China review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Darrell William Davis’s review of Hollywood Made in China (University of California Press, 2017), by Aynne Kokas. The review appears below, but is best read online at: My thanks to Jason McGrath, MCLC media studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, MCLC Editor

Hollywood Made in China

By Aynne Kokas 

Reviewed by Darrell William Davis
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright January, 2018)

Aynne Kokas, Hollywood Made in China. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2017. 272pp. ISBN: 9780520294011 (Cloth: $85.00) ISBN: 9780520294028 (Paperback: $29.95)

Hollywood Made in China is an elegant account of Hollywood’s evolving engagements in China’s commercial film environment. In six concise chapters, Aynne Kokas details the myriad flows of policy, investment, deployment, and rewards of Sino-US media co-productions. Her aim is mostly large-scale entertainment schemes, including contemporary blockbusters, theme parks, and studio co-ventures. Because China is now becoming the world’s largest film market, Hollywood is courting Chinese executives and regulators, the better to ensure access to viewers and returns for American pictures. The objective is market access, in return for which Hollywood players are willing to cede control, a tradeoff the author calls “transformative” (33). This is a transaction not available to Silicon Valley (e.g., Google, Facebook, Netflix), and despite frustrations of piracy and capricious regulations, Hollywood may well count itself fortunate. In any case, Kokas demonstrates that the Sino-US co-production enterprise is a work in progress, always in a state of renegotiation and revision, as she aptly puts it: “The Hollywood dream factory and the Chinese Dream work together, while mired in a state of perpetual negotiation” (20).  A combination of Hollywood “thirst” for ever-larger markets (old) and China’s “cultural trade deficit” (new) brings potential synergies and symbiosis (2-3). It also brings evolving forms of contention and conflict (13). With every new co-production, new standards and practices appear in the playbook. Aynne Kokas makes a strong case for the “interaction and variability” (8), the unpredictability inherent in this volatile relation. Continue reading

Is HK really part of China?

Source: NYT (1/1/18)
Is Hong Kong Really Part of China?
By Yi-Zheng Lian

HONG KONG — One could say that long before 1997, the year that Britain handed Hong Kong back to China, the leaders of the city’s major pro-democracy parties had come to a tacit understanding with the Chinese government. The pan-dems, as these politicians are known here, would support the absorption of Hong Kong into a greater, unified Chinese state on the understanding that in time Beijing would grant Hong Kong genuine electoral democracy. That, at least, seemed to be the intention driving Hong Kong’s foundational legal text, the Basic Law. Continue reading

Beijing prof suspended after harassment allegations

Source: Sup China (1/2/18)
Beijing Professor Suspended After Sexual Harassment Allegations

A professor at Beihang University (北京航空航天大学 Běijīng Hángkōng Hángtiān Dàxué) has been suspended over accusations of sexual harassment made by a former student, as announced by the university on Sina Weibo on Monday.

The student, Luo Qianqian 罗茜茜, reported Chen to the university in October. She made her story public on Monday in a WeChat post that begins: “My name is Luo Qianqian, I entered Beihang as an undergraduate in 2000 and received my doctorate in 2011, I want to openly report Beihang professor of the Changjiang Scholars Program Chen Xiaowu 陈小武 for persistent sexual harassment of his female students.” She claims Chen sexually harassed multiple women in his 15 years as a teacher. She exhorts the women of Beihang, “Don’t be afraid, if you face harm, we need to have the courage to stand up and say no.” Continue reading

Contacts, Collisions, Conjunctions–cfp

Call for Papers: Contacts, Collisions, Conjunctions [deadline 15 January] – The Society of Fellows in the Humanities, 9-10 May 2018, The University of Hong Kong

The Society of Fellows in the Humanities at HKU invites scholars working in all fields of the humanities to an international and interdisciplinary conference exploring contacts, collisions and conjunctions. Situated in Hong Kong, the Society of Fellows is located at a place of various contacts, collisions and conjunctions throughout history: it has been a centre for communication and commerce, colonized and incorporated into the Chinese, British and Japanese empires, and known for its ethnic and socio-cultural diversity. Migration, labour and capital, as well as cultural production, made Hong Kong a vibrant and cosmopolitan metropolis with multiple temporalities materializing in the coexistence of colonial legacies and late capitalist forms of trade, consumption and exploitation. Continue reading

Taiwan’s lost commercial cinema–cfp

CFP: Taiwan’s Lost Commercial Cinema: Recovered and Restored

Did you know regular filmmaking on Taiwan only started in the 1950s? With a Taiwanese-language film industry? Between then and the 1970s, 1000+ Taiwanese-language features were made. However, the budgets were miniscule, the companies short-lived, and there was no archive. They were quickly forgotten, and only 200+ survive. However, with the establishment of the Chinese Taipei Film Archive in 1979 and the end of martial law in 1987, Taiwanese-language cinema of the 1950s–1970s, once seen as a disposable entertainment, is now being revalued as an art form and window on old Taiwan, and new scholarship is revealing more complex dimensions of the phenomenon.

We are pleased to announce that Journal of Chinese Cinemas has agreed to our proposal to submit a dossier of articles for consideration as a special section or issue of the journal. To be considered for inclusion, please submit your 200-300 word abstract to us ( and by 31 January 2018. If accepted, the deadline for submission of the full draft essay will be 30 April 2018, and we will be submitting the dossier to Journal of Chinese Cinemas during the summer of 2018.

Chris Berry and Ming-Yeh Rawnsley

Professor Chris Berry
Dept. of Film Studies
King’s College London
Strand, London

Making China great again

Source: The New Yorker (1/8/18)
Making China Great Again
As Donald Trump surrenders America’s global commitments, Xi Jinping is learning to pick up the pieces
By Evan Osnos

In an unfamiliar moment, China’s pursuit of a larger role in the world coincides with America’s pursuit of a smaller one. Illustration by Paul Rogers

When the Chinese action movie “Wolf Warrior II” arrived in theatres, in July, it looked like a standard shoot-’em-up, with a lonesome hero and frequent explosions. Within two weeks, however, “Wolf Warrior II” had become the highest-grossing Chinese movie of all time. Some crowds gave it standing ovations; others sang the national anthem. In October, China selected it as its official entry in the foreign-language category of the Academy Awards.

The hero, Leng Feng, played by the action star Wu Jing (who also directed the film), is a veteran of the “wolf warriors,” special forces of the People’s Liberation Army. In retirement, he works as a guard in a fictional African country, on the frontier of China’s ventures abroad. A rebel army, backed by Western mercenaries, attempts to seize power, and the country is engulfed in civil war. Leng shepherds civilians to the gates of the Chinese Embassy, where the Ambassador wades into the battle and declares, “Stand down! We are Chinese! China and Africa are friends.” The rebels hold their fire, and survivors are spirited to safety aboard a Chinese battleship. Continue reading

Best books in Chinese 2017

Dave Haysom has just compiled this brilliant list on Paper Republic.

2017: Best Books in Chinese

Which works of sci fi were worth reading this year? Whose fiction has forged a new way of representing dialect in literature? Why are Chinese authors reading the critic James Wood? And what was life like for Communist guerrillas in the jungles of 1980s Malaysia? Find out in our list of the best books published in Chinese in 2017, as chosen by Paper Republic and friends!

Nicky Harman

Taiwanese cinema year in review

Source: Taipei Times (12/28/17)
Year in Review: Taiwanese Cinema
By Han Cheung  /  Staff reporter

Blue Lan, left, and Chu Ko Liang play a father and son in Hanky Panky. Chu died in May at the age of 70. Photo courtesy of Hualien Media

Suffering through a number of terrible local movies throughout the year makes the good ones truly worth it. Three favorites in particular come to mind — but first, let’s pay tribute to Chu Ko Liang (豬哥亮), the legendary and often crass Taiwanese entertainer who died at 70 years old in May.

Liang’s sixth-straight and unfortunately his final Lunar New Year blockbuster Hanky Panky (大釣哥) continues his over-the-top act with plenty of melodrama and his trademark bathroom humor, although he does rein in the weirdness at times for some surprisngly emotional scenes. The resulting product is an unspectacular yet solid Liang-style comedy with a decent storyline and a surprising amount of chuckles, which was exactly what people are looking for in a holiday blockbuster. Liang should not be remembered as a fool just because of his bumbling on-screen persona. There’s a reason he was been able to stay relevant despite pulling the same old tricks decade after decade. He knew how to tell a story, and most importantly, he knew how to make fun of himself — which is where most other Taiwanese screwball comedies fall short. Continue reading

Hakka made an official language in Taiwan

Source: Taipei Times (12/30/17)
Hakka made an official language
Townships in which half the people are Hakka are to make Hakka the primary language, while some civil servants are to take a language test
By Cheng Hung-ta and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Hakka has been made an official national language after the Legislative Yuan yesterday passed amendments to the Hakka Basic Act (客家基本法).

According to the amendment, townships in which Hakka people make up at least one-third of the population are to be designated key developmental areas for Hakka culture by the Hakka Affairs Council, and Hakka is to be used as one of the main languages for communication.

Such areas should strive to bolster the teaching and speaking of Hakka, as well as the preservation of Hakka culture and related industries, the amendment said. Continue reading

Changpian 16

With Tabitha Speelman’s permission, MCLC will begin posting her newsletter, Chanpian, on non-fiction writing in China. Here is no. 16. Our thanks to Tabitha–Kirk

Changpian // Longform

Welcome to the 16th edition of Changpian, a selection of feature and opinion writing in Chinese. With other resources devoted to the many interesting sound bites from Chinese social media, this newsletter focuses instead on some of the wealth of longer writing that is produced in Chinese, both in traditional news media and on platforms like WeChat.

Changpian includes any nonfiction writing, from stories and investigations to interviews and blog posts, that I found worth my time – and that you might like as well. It aims to be relevant to an understanding of Chinese society today, covering topics in and outside the news cycle.

The selection is put together by me, Tabitha Speelman, a Dutch journalist and researcher currently based in Leiden, The Netherlands. As always, feedback is very welcome ( or @tabithaspeelman). Back issues can be found here. Thanks for the support and all the best in the new year.

干货// Ganhuo // Dry Goods

In this section, I highlight any (loose) themes that stood out in my recent reading.

To Be in Beijing

Much Chinese coverage of the massive eviction of migrant workers and others from their Beijing homes this winter and the responses it triggered has been censored, with many of the links I was hoping to share now dead. Still, thanks to (re-)postings by China Digital Times and other 墙外 outlets, some stories can still be accessed. See for instance a Caixin blog on one family’s last days in Beijing (“我们走了,再也不回来了”) and a piece titled “嘿,他们不是低端劳动力,他们是人by social enterprise C计划, one of the first stories to be widely shared after early evictions following the Nov. 18 fire in Daxing. Continue reading

Dhondup Wangchen flees to US

Source: NYT (12/28/17)
Tibetan Filmmaker Flees to U.S. After ‘Arduous’ Escape from China
查看简体中文版 | 查看繁體中文版

Protesters demanding the release of the Tibetan movie director Dhondup Wangchen protest outside the Chinese embassy in Tokyo in 2009. Credit Toshifumi Kitamura/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A prominent Tibetan filmmaker, who was jailed for making a documentary about Tibetans living under Chinese rule and had been under police surveillance since his release three years ago, has fled to the United States after an “arduous and risky escape” from China, according to his supporters.

Dhondup Wangchen, 43, arrived in San Francisco on Dec. 25 and was reunited with his wife and children, who were granted political asylum in the United States in 2012, according to Filming for Tibet, a group set up by Mr. Wangchen’s cousin to push for his release. Continue reading

Stage tribute to Lao She

Source: China Daily (12/28/17)
Stage tribute to literary master
By Chen Nan | China Daily

The theater plays Five Acts of Life is adapted from five short stories by Chinese author Lao She, including Assuming Office and Death Dealing Spear. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

A play comprising five short stories by Lao She returns to Beijing after its recent two-month nationwide tour. Chen Nan reports.

Theater director Lin Zhaohua met Shu Yi, the son of novelist and playwright Lao She (1899-1966), after Lin premiered his play Hamlet, adapted from William Shakespeare’s work, in October 2008.

While congratulating Lin on his take on the classic, Shu talked about commemorating his father’s 110th birth anniversary. Continue reading

Meng Lang’s poetry in Italian

Dear MCLCers,

On behalf of Meng Lang, I would like to announce that his collection of poetry about Tiananmen is now available in Italian.

SULL’EDUCAZIONE, Un diario poetico su Tian’anmen 1989 is translated by Claudia Pozzana of the University of Bologna and Alessandro Russo. This follows the publication of the bilingual edition, Views on Education: Twenty-five Poems (教育詩篇 二十五首), which was translated by Denis Mair. More information on Sull’educazione is available from the publisher, Damocle Edizioni:

The book is available on Amazon:

Anne Henochowicz
Commission Editor, China Channel