Two new ‘ethnic’ novels from China for 2020

Source: Paper Republic (1/26/20)
Two New “Ethnic” Novels from China for 2020
By Bruce Humes

cover image

Two potentially controversial novels — one by a Uyghur author, and the other by a Tibetan — have recently been published in English. They are part of the Kaleidoscope Series of China’s Ethnic Authors sponsored by China Translation & Publishing House, a dozen or so novels by authors that highlight tales in which non-Han culture, motifs and characters play a key role (民族题材文学).

Patigül’s Bloodline (百年血脉) relates the semi-autobiographical tale of a Xinjiang native, daughter of a Uyghur father and Hui mother, who marries a Han, and struggles to bring up a family in mainstream Chinese society. Told in the first person, it unflinchingly describes her mother’s mental illness, her brother’s agonizing death from an STD and tribulations of a “mixed” marriage. For an English excerpt, visit here.

Tsering Norbu’s Prayers in the Wind (祭语风中) narrates the subsequent life of a Buddhist monk who attempts — unsuccessfully — to exit China in the wake of the 1959 Tibetan uprising and the Dalai Lama’s flight to India. For an excerpt, visit here.

Global Storytelling

Global Storytelling
January 28 -30, 2020
CVA1022 Communication and Visual Arts Building
Hong Kong Baptist University 5 Hereford Road Kowloon Tong HK

The symposium explores the affect and effect of storytelling across regional borders, platforms, and genres including narrative features and documentaries, serial and series dramas on network TV, Netflix, & HBO, narratives on podcast and radio programs, long narrative video journalism and short format video/personal essays on YouTube, and other online platforms. The symposium serves as a platform for the launch a new academic journal: Global Storytelling: Journal of Film and Moving Image. Housed in the School of Communication at the Hong Kong Baptist University with Professor Ying Zhu serving as the founding editor, the journal will be published by the University of Michigan Press.

Symposium Chair
Professor Ying Zhu
Director, Centre for Film and Moving Image Research FMIR
Academy of Film School of Communication Hong Kong Baptist University Continue reading

Indiescape HK and the Post-Handover Film World

Indiescape Hong Kong and the Post-Handover Film World
Feature Topic in the journal Ex-position
Guest editor, Kenny NG (Hong Kong Baptist University)

“Independent cinema” in Hong Kong has gained much currency both in academia and in film production and reception circles since the 1997 handover. Despite the fact that the term itself is frequently invoked in critical discourse and film festival programming, the meanings and contours of independent cinema as it is practiced in Hong Kong remain a matter of debate, except for the general consensus that being “independent” in moviemaking confers a disposition of distancing from the mainstream film industry in terms of styles, genres, modes of production and exhibition, financing, or public reception. Independent filmmakers can be bona fide auteurs who have greater control over the subject matter and stylistic choices of their works compared with their mainstream counterparts. Still, creative autonomy is never absolute and always comes with a cost. Filmmakers have to play by the rules of the emerging habitus of independent cinema, while the dynamic and ambivalent exchanges between independent and mainstream cinema are constantly at play in Hong Kong when an independent filmmaker (or film) enters mainstream production and circulation.

This special topic features articles that examine independent cinema in the context of post-handover Hong Kong, and attempt to reinvent or interrogate the notion of Hong Kong Indiescape.

All the articles are available at the journal’s website:

Continue reading

Warwick Tranlates summer school 2020

Warwick Translates Summer School
8-12 July 2020, Warwick University, UK

Following the success of the inaugural Warwick Translates in 2019, we are delighted to announce that the summer school will be returning in 2020. And, as last year, there will be a Chinese-To-English option, with the workshops led by Nicky Harman. This link has details:

Nicky Harman

Coronavirus updates

Source: NYT (1/24/20)
Coronavirus Live Updates: China’s Travel Limits Now Cover 35 Million People
Shanghai Disneyland and other tourist sites across the country plan to shut down, at an unknown cost to the economy. RIGHT NOW: Beijing’s propaganda machine strikes a positive note as online anger persists over the government’s response.

A deadly outbreak is growing. Here’s what you need to know.

A construction site for a field hospital being built to treat patients with the new coronavirus in Wuhan, China, on Friday.

China restricts travel for 35 million people as the death toll rises.

The authorities on Friday greatly expanded a travel lockdown in central China to include 12 cities near the center of the outbreak, effectively penning in 35 million residents — nearly the population of Canada — in an effort to contain the deadly virus.

The new limits — abruptly decreed ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, China’s busiest travel season — were an extraordinary step that underlined the governing Communist Party’s deepening fears about the outbreak of a little-understood coronavirus. Continue reading

U of Minnesota student jailed in China over tweets

Source: Axios (1/23/20)
University of Minnesota student jailed in China over tweets
By Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian

Images of a cartoon villain

The images Luo allegedly posted.

A Chinese student at the University of Minnesota has been arrested in China and sentenced to six months in prison for tweets he posted while in the United States, according to a Chinese court document viewed by Axios. Some of the tweets contained images deemed to be unflattering portrayals of a “national leader.”

Why it matters: The case represents a dramatic escalation of the Chinese government’s attempts to shut down free speech abroad and a global expansion of a Chinese police campaign to track down Twitter users in China who posted content critical of the Chinese government.

What’s happening: Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) called on China to release the student. “This is what ruthless and paranoid totalitarianism looks like,” said Sasse. Continue reading

U of Sydney position

Exciting research and teaching opportunity in the Department of Chinese Studies
• Located at our Camperdown / Darlington campus
• Full-time continuing position (Academic Level B) and remuneration package$125,848 p.a which includes leave loading and up to 17% superannuation

About the opportunity 
The Department of Chinese Studies within the School of Languages and Cultures is seeking to appoint a Lecturer in Chinese Language and Culture, with specialisation in any discipline of China-related language or culture studies.
In this role you will:

• contribute to core units in the Chinese Studies major including developing and teaching Chinese language classes at different levels
• make an active contribution to interdisciplinary teaching by developing elective units for inclusion in at least one of the following majors: Chinese Studies, Asian Studies, International and Comparative Literature, and/or in the Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Translation in Practice) degree. Areas of focus should reflect the applicants’ area of expertise, highlighting the close link between interdisciplinary teaching and research encouraged within the School
• maintain a research profile compatible with the Department’s research programmes through publication and research grant application Continue reading

Hollywood losing ground the Chinese blockbusters?

Source: Taipei Times (1/20/20)
Hollywood losing ground to Chinese blockbusters?
In the world’s soon-to-be largest market, audience preferences may be shifting toward local productions

Movie poster for Detective Chinatown 3, which will be showing in China during the Lunar New Year holiday. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

China’s biggest week of the year for movie-goers is packed with at least 12 new releases — all in the local language — a sign that Hollywood studios are headed for another challenging year in their No. 1 overseas market.

The lineup of potential Lunar New Year blockbusters from Jan. 24 to Jan. 30 is drawing even more attention than usual because China is set to overtake the US as the world’s largest movie market this year. The milestone is important as well for US filmmakers that have come to rely on revenue from China to backstop big-budget “tentpoles,” films made to be big earners to offset the financial riskiness of a studio’s other titles.

“Chinese and American audiences are tired of these tentpole movies,” said Beijing-born Jean Su, a producer and co-founder of Broadvision Pictures, a Los Angeles-based independent film and TV studio that focuses on movies for global audiences including North America and China. She said some recent tentpoles haven’t done well in the US and may not get the box office they expected in China, either.

The rising dominance of Chinese blockbusters is in line with a broader shift toward local goods as a trade war with the US stokes nationalism. Older American franchise films like Fast & Furious and Transformers, that used to offset mediocre box-office sales in the US with big China receipts, have seen their share of China’s estimated US$29 billion movie market dwindle. Continue reading

HK protests inspire film fest organizers

Source: SCMP (1/21/20)
Hong Kong protests inspire film festival organisers from Rotterdam to New York
From a 1992 film about life in a cage-home apartment to dystopian feature Ten Years to newly shot short films, Rotterdam event aims to set protests in context. New York’s Metrograph Cinema programme To Hong Kong With Love is billed as a series of Hong Kong New Wave films paired with documentaries about the protests
By Richard James Havis

A still from the new documentary film If We Burn by James Leong and Lynn Lee, which will be showing at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

A still from the new documentary film If We Burn by James Leong and Lynn Lee, which will be showing at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

It is difficult for Hongkongers to see locally made films about the ongoing anti-government protests in Hong Kong cinemas. But interest in the demonstrations has led foreign cinemas and film festivals to programme documentaries and feature films relating to Hong Kong’s political movements.

This month, the Netherlands’ International Film Festival Rotterdam, one of the world’s top-10 film festivals, is screening a programme called Ordinary Heroes: Made in Hong Kong, which comprises more than 20 documentaries, features and short films that focus on the “umbrella movement” in 2014 and the current protests. The festival opens on January 22.

In New York, the popular Metrograph Cinema on Manhattan’s Lower East Side will present a programme titled To Hong Kong With Love, which it describes as a “series of Hong Kong New Wave films paired with timely documentaries about the current protest movement”. The programme opens on February 1. Continue reading

#MeToo at CAFA

Source: Sup China (1/21/20)
#MeToo At China’s Most Prestigious Art School


Photo credit: SupChina illustration by Derek Zheng

A group of students at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), China’s top art school, are calling on school authorities to fire a professor who has been disciplined for sexual misconduct but has retained his teaching position.

The demand first made headlines on January 10, when one alleged victim posted an audio recording (in Chinese) to social media. The clip features a conversation between her and a member of the school’s discipline committee in which she asks why classes taught by Yáo Shùnxī 姚舜熙, who was found violating policies against sexual misconduct, were on the course schedule again.

In June 2019, dozens of students filed a collective complaint against Yao, accusing him of multiple instances of sexual harassment, selling students’ artworks without their permission, taking bribes, and fabricating allegations against other instructors at the school. Continue reading

Graduate Workshop on China in the Urban Age–call

University of Sydney China Studies Centre
Call for Applications – 2020 Graduate Workshop on China in the Urban Age

The University of Sydney China Studies Centre is organising the 2020 Graduate Workshop under our multidisciplinary research agenda China in the Urban Age. The workshop theme isHealth, Food and Waste in the Chinese City: practical, utopian and systemic solutions, seeking to include contributions from any branch of the sciences, humanities and social sciences.

See the detailed workshop overview on our website.

Dates and location
The Graduate Workshop will be held at the University of Sydney Centre in China (Suzhou, China) from 3 to 9 August, 2020.

It will include lectures and seminars with leading experts and a series of discussion fora that will try to expand the conversation through knowledge sharing around these important challenges. See the 2019 Graduate Workshop program here. Continue reading

Mapping Hong Kong-A History Workshop–cfp

Mapping Hong Kong—A History Workshop
The University of British Columbia, Vancouver
29–31 May 2020

The UBC Hong Kong Studies Initiative, in partnership with the Hong Kong History Project at the University of Bristol, is pleased to announce a history workshop to be held at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, on May 29–31, 2020.

The theme “Mapping Hong Kong” invites reflections on how Hong Kong’s past could be mapped onto a wide range of historical scales or contexts. Whether it has to do with the lived experiences of particular individuals at certain (critical) moments or the transnational movements of goods, ideas, and people over time and space, a common challenge for historians (of Hong Kong or not) is to place their subject in a proper frame of analysis. But what makes a frame “proper”? And how do we as historians attend to the politics of framing? Continue reading

Gay romance Suk Suk wins top prize in HK

Source: SCMP (1/20/20)
Young directors honoured in 2019 Hong Kong Film Critics Society awards, with top prize going to gay romance Suk Suk
Director Ray Yeung’s first Chinese-language feature, Suk Suk tells of an affair between two elderly men; along with top prize, it earns best actor for Tai Bo. Derek Tsang named best director for Better Days, his second feature, while screenwriting award goes to My Prince Edward, debut feature of Norris Wong
By Edumd Lee

Tai Bo (left) and Ben Yuen in a still from gay romance Suk Suk, the first Chinese-language feature by Ray Yeung, named best film of 2019 by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society. Most of the awards went to films that were the first or second features of young directors.

Tai Bo (left) and Ben Yuen in a still from gay romance Suk Suk, the first Chinese-language feature by Ray Yeung, named best film of 2019 by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society. Most of the awards went to films that were the first or second features of young directors.

Melancholic gay romance drama Suk Suk has been voted the best Hong Kong film of 2019 by a panel of critics, the Hong Kong Film Critics Society announced on Monday.

The first feature directed by filmmaker Ray Yeung in the Chinese language, Suk Suk was previously nominated in five categories at the 2019 Golden Horse Awards in Taipei, even though it came home empty-handed on that occasion. The film tells of the affair between two closeted elderly men – played by Ben Yuen Fu-wah and Tai Bo – who are both married and have families.

Tai Bo is one of two actors recognised by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society: he shared the best actor honour with Terrance Lau Chun-him, a theatre and television actor making his big-screen debut in Beyond the Dream. Continue reading

SUV in Forbidden City prompts rage

Source: NYT (1/18/20)
S.U.V. in Forbidden City Prompts Rage at China’s Rich
Two women posed with a Mercedes in a revered site usually barred to vehicles, and became unwilling symbols of the wealth and privilege President Xi Jinping has promised to rein in.
By Javier Hernandez

Posing for photos by the south gate of the Forbidden City in Beijing. President Xi Jinping has sought to make it a global symbol of Chinese heritage. Credit…Roman Pilipey/EPA, via Shutterstock

BEIJING — The photos prompted outrage almost as soon as they were posted.

They showed two women inside one of China’s most sacred spaces, the Forbidden City in Beijing, smiling as they showed off a glistening Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle.

On Weibo, a Twitterlike site, one of the women bragged about getting exclusive access to the palace, a notoriously congested tourist site, saying she had gone there to “run wild.”

The photos, which were posted on Friday, have set off debate in China about the privileges enjoyed by wealthy families, at a time when President Xi Jinping is trying to persuade the public that he is working to eliminate corruption and to reduce the gap between rich and poor. Continue reading