Hong Kong’s sinkhole

Source: Verso Books (10/11/19
Hong Kong’s Sinkhole
By Pang Laikwan
The protests in Hong Kong continue to escalate. Yet, the Western left has struggled to come to terms with the situation – torn between the contradictory desire to support the movement and the mainly liberal democratic demands of the protestors themselves. In this article, Pang Laikwan analyses the nature and stakes of the movement.

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I am often asked how Xi Jinping compares to Mao Zedong, and whether another cultural revolution is approaching. To this, my responses are always consistent: Xi might want to model himself on Mao for his leadership skills and charisma, and they might share a common will to power; but from the perspective of political philosophy the two Chinese leaders are polar opposites. The former Party chief truly believed in revolution, while the current one seems to be interested only in protecting the status quo. Mao was an exceptional Chinese leader, willing China into chaos with an, ultimately unrealistic, hope that only a radical social upheaval could save the Chinese people from feudalism and capitalism. Xi however understands and appeals to the deep Confucian and pragmatic psychology of the Chinese people with the promise of perpetual order and wealth. Under Xi’s leadership, there is no chance of a repeat of the 1966 Cultural Revolution in China. Yet what is possible is a new political movement, one that could happen at any time and taking a completely different form to wreak havoc once more. Continue reading

Beautifying Uyghur bodies

Source: The Contemporary China Centre Blog, University of Westminster (10/11/19)
Beautifying Uyghur Bodies: Fashion, “Modernity”, and State Power in the Tarim Basin
By Timothy Grose

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) routinely stages public fashion shows in Uyghur communities of the Tarim Basin (present-day Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region). In Yopurgha County (Ch. Yuepuhu), Kashgar Prefecture, young girls, teenagers, and middle-aged women sit patiently as Uyghur beauticians dab face whitening cream, draw perfectly symmetrical eyebrows, and paint lush red lips on their faces. Meanwhile groups of Uyghur women, organized by age and dressed in either blue jeans, mini-skirts, or pencil skirt-business coat ensembles, are paraded on stage to display age appropriate attire. Usma, henna, braided hair and other (secular) grooming habits typical to Turkic Muslims of the Tarim Basin and Fergana Valley are notably absent from the stages. Continue reading

One country, no arguments

Source: NYT (10/11/19)
China’s Political Correctness: One Country, No Arguments
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
The Communist Party has spent decades preparing the people to defend a united homeland. Hong Kong’s protests show it has paid off.
By Li Yuan

A military parade honoring the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China was held in Beijing in October.CreditCreditWu Hong/EPA, via Shutterstock

Hong Kong’s protests have disrupted Yang Yang’s family life. Though the 29-year-old lives in mainland China, he was inspired by the demonstrations to write a song about freedom and upload it to the internet. When censors deleted it, he complained to his family.

They weren’t sympathetic. “How can you support Hong Kong separatists?” they asked. “How can you be anti-China?” His mother threatened to disown him. Before Mr. Yang left on a trip to Japan in August, his father said he hoped his son would die there.

Hong Kong’s protests have inflamed tensions in the semiautonomous Chinese city, but passions in the mainland have been just as heated — and, seemingly, almost exclusively against the demonstrators. Continue reading

Critical Perspective on Chinese Infrastructures–cfp

Below is a brief CFP for a panel being organized by a colleague (Leif Johnson, University of Kentucky Dept. of Geography) and myself (Goeun Lee, University of Kentucky Dept. of Anthropology), for the upcoming Association for Asian Studies conference in Hong Kong, June 2020. We are looking for contributions from geographers and anthropologists doing research on or around topics including the construction, maintenance, planning, or discourse surrounding Chinese infrastructure, particularly within China.

Due to the structure of the AAS’ panel organization system, the deadline for panel proposals is quite soon, and we would hope to be able to have a clear idea of who will be participating by October 25th, which will give us time to submit requests for financial support for participants who need it, and draft a fleshed-out proposal to submit to AAS by the 30th of October. If you are interested, even with doubts about timing or funding, please get back to us as soon as possible! Continue reading

The Political Myth of ‘Brainwashing’ (1)

It’s eerie to have this article, which argues brainwashing is a pointless Cold War term only bounded about for political purposes and with no analytical purchase either on the past or on today, with no reference at all to the recent waves of forced-confession spectacles which are the results of months of “brainwashing” (exchange with another word if you don’t like it), surely the polar opposite of “individuals’ active attempts to re-examine their own ideas,” — whether or not that was an original sense of this word xinao, as the article says it was.

Worse, if you don’t like the term “brainwashing,” then what will you call the violent conversion therapy currently practiced on hundreds of thousands of concentration camp detainees in Xinjiang?

Even if Mitchell is right that “the term is used frequently by ideologues of all stripes to define the opinions of those whom they disagree with as the result of external mind control rather than an independent thought process,” how is it remotely possible to even write on this topic without touching on the massive campaign forcing people at gunpoint, in the Xinjiang camps, to regurgitate CCP dogma and then denounce themselves and deny their identity day out and day in — as copiously documented by numerous witnesses — surely a full-throated contemporary revival of Maoist CCP torture-brainwashing? Continue reading

The Political Myth of ‘Brainwashing’

Source: Made in China (10/8/19)
China and the Political Myth of ‘Brainwashing’
By Ryan Mitchell

‘Investigative Study of Brain Essence’, article and diagrams in the Zhixin Bao, 1897. Source: 全国报刊索引 database.

‘Brainwashing’ is a ubiquitous word, a basic part of the vocabulary in various languages around the world. In fact, the allegation is used so frequently in modern discourse that we might be puzzled as to how political arguments ever got by without its striking, pejorative imagery. It is de rigueur to describe those with different viewpoints as incapable of independent thought—instead, for example, Mainland Chinese citizens must have been ‘brainwashed’ into fervent nationalism, or, alternatively, Hong Kong protesters must have been ‘brainwashed’ by Western media or governments. Though it was the English word that became globalised from the middle of the twentieth century, writers on the topic have long claimed, with varying degrees of certainty, that it was in turn a calque of a preexisting Chinese term: xinao (洗脑), literally ‘to wash the brain’. Continue reading

Media attacks on Apple, NBA inflame nationalism

Source: NYT (10/9/19)
Chinese Media’s Attacks on Apple and N.B.A. Help Inflame Nationalism
Outlets are trying to intimidate multinational companies into toeing the party line while Beijing tries to rein in the Hong Kong protests.
By Javier C. Hernández

An Apple store in Hong Kong. The company has previously shown a willingness to block apps in China. Credit: Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

BEIJING — The editorial was scathing.

People’s Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, was taking aim at Apple, accusing it of serving as an “escort” for “rioters” in Hong Kong by providing an app that allows protesters to track police movements.

“Letting poisonous software have its way is a betrayal of the Chinese people’s feelings,” warned the article, which appeared this week and was written under a pseudonym, “Calming the Waves.”

As China seeks to contain pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong, state-run news outlets are increasingly lashing out at foreign companies, accusing them of enabling the protest movement. Continue reading

South Park creators offer fake apology

Source: NYT (10/8/19)
‘South Park’ Creators Offer Fake Apology After Show Is Erased in China
“Like the N.B.A., we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts,” the show’s creators said in a tongue-in-cheek response. “We too love money more than freedom and democracy.”
By Daniel Victor

Last week’s episode of “South Park,” titled “Band in China,” mocked Chinese censors and American businesses that bend over backwards to appease them. Credit: Comedy Central

HONG KONG — “South Park,” the long-running Comedy Central cartoon whose mockery has spared few touchy topics, was erased from major platforms in China after an episode last week taunted Chinese censors and the far-reaching effect they often have on American entertainment.

The government’s censors, who routinely quash news and commentary deemed undesirable by the ruling Communist Party, wiped out video clips and discussions of the show, which premiered in 1997 and has lasted 23 seasons. Once known mostly for the raunchy humor coming from the mouths of its elementary-school-age main characters, the show has in recent seasons focused on political and cultural satire, without abandoning its boundary-pushing ways. Continue reading

China censorship problem creeps into geek culture

Source: The Geekiary (10/8/19)
The China Censorship Problem Creeps Into Geek Culture
By Angel Wilson

The China censorship issue isn’t new – it’s been creeping into geek culture topics for quite a while – but the recent Hong Kong protests have made their reach much more noticeable.

China Censorship Blitzchung

The most recent example of China’s censorship in geek circles comes from the Esports community.  Hong Kong based Hearthstone player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai was banned from a Blizzard tournament after making pro Hong Kong protest statements in an interview.  He has now been suspended for one year from participating in Hearthstone tournaments and was forced to give up his Grandmaster prize money as a result of his comments. Blizzard states his comments violated Section 6.1 of the tournament’s rules, which prevents players from making statements that “offends a portion or group of the public.” Continue reading

Silk Road Tales

Source: Paper Republic (10/8/19)
Silk Road Tales: A Look at a Mongolian-Chinese Storybook
By Bruce Humes

cover image

The new emperor’s Belt & Road Initiative has already resulted in scores of contracts for highways, railways and port construction in Central Asia, Southeast Asia and even East Africa. Perhaps less well known is China’s solidly financed soft power campaign that aims to create or translate, publish and disseminate texts in the languages of the “Silk Road” peoples — land- and sea-based — that relate to the history of the ancient trade routes. This post features the tale of Zhang Qian, diplomat and explorer of the “Western Realm” during the reign of Emperor Wu of Han (141-87 BCE). It is one of a bilingual picture-book series aimed at children aged 5-6 who live in Inner Mongolia.To facilitate comparison, the blogger has provided the text in three languages, five scripts: the original Chinese and Inner Mongolian script (vertical); Hanyu Pinyin; Cyrillic Mongolian (used in the Republic of Mongolia); and a translation of the text into English.Students of Chinese and Central Asian history may note that one related “episode” has been left out of this rendition. As noted in the storybook, after years of imprisonment at the hands of the Xiongnu, Zhang Qian escaped and was welcomed by the ruler of Da Yuan. We learn that “With the help of the king of Da Yuan, Zhang Qian visited many countries and gained a great deal of knowledge of the culture and geography of the countries of the Western region.” Continue reading

China’s ‘mainstream’

Source: China Media Project (10/8/19)
China’s Mainstream
By Staff

China’s “Mainstream”

Understanding China requires a high-level of sensitivity to the nuances of the political language used by the Chinese Communist Party, and also how that language impacts our imagined points of connectivity with China. Simple words like “innovation,” an apparent reference to Silicon Valley-style disruption through technology, can signal things we might not associate — such as tighter political and social controls, and widespread surveillance.

In the realm of media and public opinion, one of the most misunderstood words in contemporary mainland Chinese, completely co-opted by CCP discourse, is “mainstream,” or zhuliu (主流). Continue reading

Jing Daily positions

Ads for seven positions at Jing Daily, a digital publication on luxury consumer trends in China.

Jing Daily – Head of Sales (New York, NY)

https://www.businessoffashion.com/careers/jobs/sales/united-states/jing-daily/head-of-sales-11

Job Description

Jing Daily is looking for an entrepreneurial head of sales to oversee sales strategy in a time of rapid expansion. The main purpose of this position is to drive revenue growth and develop relationships with potential partners within the luxury landscape for events, content collaborations and creative solutions.

To succeed in this role you need to be an excellent, sales-minded communicator who loves sharing Jing Daily’s position as the leading voice for news on luxury in China with prospective clients. This is an exceptional opportunity to become part of an innovative, fast-moving company as we enter a period of expansion to further engage our community. Continue reading

China and Taiwan clash over Wikipedia edits

Source: BBC News (10/5/19)
China and Taiwan clash over Wikipedia edits
By Carl Miller

Jamie Lin

Jamie Lin – seen on the left – is one of many Taiwanese Wikipedians concerned about changes being made to the online encylopedia

Ask Google or Siri: “What is Taiwan?”

“A state”, they will answer, “in East Asia”.

But earlier in September, it would have been a “province in the People’s Republic of China”.

For questions of fact, many search engines, digital assistants and phones all point to one place: Wikipedia. And Wikipedia had suddenly changed.

The edit was reversed, but soon made again. And again. It became an editorial tug of war that – as far as the encyclopedia was concerned – caused the state of Taiwan to constantly blink in and out of existence over the course of a single day.

“This year is a very crazy year,” sighed Jamie Lin, a board member of Wikimedia Taiwan.

“A lot of Taiwanese Wikipedians have been attacked.” Continue reading

Golden Horse devoid of China and HK nominees

Source: Variety (10/1/19)
Golden Horse Awards Almost Completely Devoid of China and Hong Kong Nominees
By PATRICK FRATER

Detention scores 12 nominations at Golden Horse Awards. CREDIT: COURTESY OF 1 PRODUCTION FILM CO.

Films from mainland China are completely absent from the list of nominees announced Tuesday for the annual Golden Horse Awards. And with only a handful of titles from Hong Kong on the list, the competition has devolved into a mostly Taiwanese affair.The awards, based in Taiwan and chaired by Oscar-winner Ang Lee, have traditionally been considered the most prestigious prizes for films in the Chinese language. But a political spat at last year’s ceremony, where a Taiwanese award-winner infuriated mainland Chinese attendees and the Beijing regime by giving a speech in favor of Taiwanese independence, sparked a pullout by mainland films from this year’s contest. China considers self-governing, democratic Taiwan as part of its rightful territory, to be retaken by force if necessary. Continue reading