Nanjing University under fire for using sex to sell school

Source: SCMP (6/9/21)
Top Chinese university under fire for using sex to sell school
Nanjing University published photos online of beautiful women holding signs with sexually suggestive text. The school removed the photos after an immediate backlash online.
By Phoebe Zhang in Shenzhen

Nanjing University was blasted online for publishing sexually suggestive photos to recruit students, like this one that reads, “Let me be part of your youth”. Photo: Weibo

Nanjing University was blasted online for publishing sexually suggestive photos to recruit students, like this one that reads, “Let me be part of your youth”. Photo: Weibo

One of the top universities in China is under fire for using women to lure applicants in a sexually suggestive online advertisement, with critics saying the college is objectifying women.

Nanjing University (NJU) posted the advertisement on Weibo on Monday, the first day of the gaokao exams, China’s national college entrance tests.

The advertisement featured six photos of current students holding up signs in front of different parts of the campus.

Two of the photos attracted the most criticism. One included a pretty woman holding up a sign that read, “Do you want to live at the library with me, from morning till night?” and the other said, “Do you want me to become part of your youth?” Continue reading

Crackdown on online fanclubs over bullying

Source: The Guardian (6/16/21)
China to crack down on online fanclubs over bullying concerns
Operation launches to target fanclub culture that ‘adversely affects mental health of minors’, says watchdog
By  in Taipei @heldavidson

Young people use their phones in Shanghai, China.

Young people use their phones in Shanghai, China. Photograph: Alex Plavevski/EPA

China’s internet watchdog has launched a crackdown on the country’s “chaotic” online celebrity fanclubs, accusing them of contributing to a culture of abuse and of manipulating public opinion.

In an announcement on Tuesday, the office of the central cyberspace affairs commission said it was launching a two-month special operation targeting fanclub culture, known as fan quanwhich it said adversely affected the mental health of children.

There have long been concerns over bullying and incitements to violence on the message boards and social media accounts of China’s often intense fanclubs, and authorities had warned in May of forthcoming efforts to deal with the situation.

“For a period of time, ‘fan circle’ fan groups have hurled online verbal abuse, cheated the rankings of their idols on charts, spread rumours, and destroyed the online environment, adversely affecting the physical and mental health of minors,” the commission said in its announcement. Continue reading

“Lying flat”

Source: SCMP (6/9/21)
Why China’s youth are ‘lying flat’ in protest of their bleak economic prospects
Young Chinese fed up with gruelling work hours, conspicuous consumption and skyrocketing house prices are protesting by doing the bare minimum. The social resistance movement called ‘lying flat’ is worrying authorities, who see it as a potential threat to China’s dream of national rejuvenation.
By He Huifeng in Guangdong and Tracy Qu

From white-collar workers in bustling cities to university students, young Chinese are adopting a “lie flat” attitude to protest against modern life. Illustration: Lau Ka-kuen

From white-collar workers in bustling cities to university students, young Chinese are adopting a “lie flat” attitude to protest against modern life. Illustration: Lau Ka-kuen

Hu Ai was stuck in traffic with her parents during the Labour Day holiday last month when she finally realised China’s culture of overwork had become too much.

“My boss called and told me to walk from the highway to the nearest subway station and rush back to work on an urgent assignment,” the 33-year-old recalled.

“That’s the first time my parents found out how hard my job is and it made my mum cry in the car.”

In the weeks that followed, Hu – who works for a media company in Shenzhen – found solace in a form of online social protest sweeping through the world’s second largest economy.

Young Chinese fed up with what they see as limited prospects in the face of gruelling work hours, a trend of conspicuous consumption and skyrocketing house prices are choosing to do the bare minimum. Instead of striving to buy a house, car, or even start a family, they are rejecting it all to “lie flat”. Continue reading

Beijing protests a lab leak too much

Perry Link is absolutely right here (see article below), in his guide to how to read the Communist Party’s China. He just got one detail wrong: The regime actually abandoned the wet market theory after only a few months. It was never explained why, but probably because they realized it would soon become obvious that it could not be true (virus contagion was not just at the market, and this fact could not be concealed like the many other things and science data that have been successfully concealed). Since then, the regime has focused, Putin-like, on fabricating and spreading a cascade of disinformation and distractions, such as that Covid came from foreign frozen food, that it originated in Italy, and so on and so forth — the message clearly being: “Anywhere but the lab!” –Which actually supports Perry Link’s position even more.

Even more so with the just-released Chinese film from the Wuhan lab) which shows its camera system, until now a secret, monitoring lab accidents and their handling. It also shows the bats bred at the lab … also news. And, it shows the lionizing of the brave Wuhan lab researchers going to caves and fearlessly and recklessly expose themselves to grave virus dangers. It’s like the earlier cave-researcher hero movie “Youth in the Wild” which, believe it or not, is STILL up on YouTube, showing how the researchers endanger themselves, and the rest of us. As Alina Chan has said all along, the virus route to the city of Wuhan may have been riding on such researchers. She includes this scenario in the range of lab leak/research related hypothesis  — I say, think of this possibility as a version of the recent global frog-killer fungus spreading around the world, where it turned out one major vehicle of the spread was … well-meaning but careless globetrotting frog researchers who brought the fungus on their boots! The flagrant recklessness of the Chinese researchers on display here, and in the new lab video, is comparable.

Sincerely, Magnus Fiskesjö,

Source: Wall Street Journal (6/14/21)
Beijing Protests a Lab Leak Too Much
By Perry Link

I am as eager as anyone to follow the world’s virologists as they try to determine how Covid-19 emerged in Wuhan, China. But as a longtime student of Chinese Communist political language, I will need considerable persuading that the disease came from bats or a wet market. The linguistic evidence is overwhelming that Chinese leaders believe the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the source.

Many years ago a distinguished Chinese writer, Wu Zuxiang, explained to me that there is truth in Communist Party pronouncements, but you have to read them “upside down.” If a newspaper says “the Party has made great strides against corruption in Henan,” then you know that corruption has recently been especially bad in Henan. If you read about the heroic rescue of eight miners somewhere, you can guess that a mine collapse might have killed hundreds who aren’t mentioned. Read upside-down, there is a sense in which the official press never lies. It cannot lie. It has to tell you what the party wants you to believe, and if you can figure out the party’s motive — which always exists — then you have a sense of the truth. Continue reading

Was Taiwan ever really a part of China

Interesting piece on the realities of Taiwan, — but I think the author of the piece is fundamentally wrong about the spineless American actor John Cena. He doesn’t have “opinions,” he’s only performing them. In this, even though he’s compelled only by cold cash and no other concerns, he’s still very much like the parroting enforced in China itself, in those scripted, forced TV confessions preceded by torture. The contrast between the Chinese victims and Cena makes it necessary to pay homage to all those Chinese intellectuals who clearly do have a spine, and some self-respect, to the point that it was necessary for the regime to torture them and threaten their families, before they would sink to this type of self-humiliation. But Cena is cheaper: He sold his integrity for free.

The piece is also interesting in the light of yesterday’s abysmal radio “debate” between various American “experts” on the topic of whether the US should do to Taiwan what they did to the Kurds, and so many others (= abandon an ally, because cheap Trumpian Realpolitik, and here above all, because of weakness and lack of purpose). The main giveaway is how the defaitist, pro-China “experts” are unable to talk about anything other than “China” and its supposed unified will to invade and to be able to enjoy all those martyrs. Yeah, that is what it looks like to these narrow-minded, callous, American defeatists! As if it is the Chinese mother’s wish to send their sons to die in another pointless conquest. As if that is what the “tang-ping” youth wants. Indeed, as if that war of conquest would be something wanted by the Chinese people, — and not just by the obsessed, paranoid, genocidal slice of the elite, that holds power in China today.

Magnus Fiskesjö

Source: The Diplomat (6/10/21)
Was Taiwan Ever Really a Part of China?
John Cena’s apology is a good opportunity to look back at the historical reality of Taiwan’s status and identity over the last 200 years.
By Evan Dawley

The actor and professional wrestler John Cena recently made news around the world for first referring to Taiwan as “the first country” where people would be able to see his new movie, “The Fast and the Furious 9,” then apologizing for an unspecified error in that statement when it brought a backlash from people within China.

Not to criticize Cena – indeed, I applaud him for his rare decision to learn Chinese and interact with native speakers in their own language – but these events nevertheless reveal important and persistent misunderstandings about Taiwan. Continue reading

Wandering elephants

Source: CNN (6/11/21)
Millions of people in China can’t stop watching a pack of wandering elephants
By Julia Hollingsworth and Zixu Wang, CNN

Wild Asian elephants in Jinning District of Kunming, southwest China's Yunnan Province on June 6.

Wild Asian elephants in Jinning District of Kunming, southwest China’s Yunnan Province on June 6.

(CNN) At least a dozen buzzing drones monitor them around the clock. Wherever they go, they’re escorted by police. And when they eat or sleep, they’re watched by millions online.

For more than a week, China has been gripped by a new internet sensation: a herd of 15 marauding elephants, who are large, lost and wrecking havoc in the country’s southwest.

Millions have tuned in to livestreams of the elephants, which have trekked more than 500 kilometers (310 miles) across the country since escaping from a nature reserve in South China last year.

And online, netizens have followed transfixed as the elephants trampled crops, causing more than a million dollars worth of damage, and roamed through towns, prompting local residents to stay inside. Continue reading

The Babel Fallacy Fallacy

Sino-Platonic Papers is pleased to announce the publication of its three-hundred-and-sixteenth issue:

The Babel Fallacy Fallacy: Against the Lack of Interest in and/or Hegemonic Blindness to Translation in Premodern China,” by Lucas Klein

This and all other issues of Sino-Platonic Papers are available in full for no charge.

To view our catalog, visit

Victor H. Mair

Cultural History of Heritage in China

The University of Sydney China Studies Centre
Cultural History of Heritage in China
Time: 1:00PM-2:00PM AEST
Date: Wednesday 7 July 2021

Organised by the Department of Chinese Studies in collaboration with the China Studies Centre ‘Language, Literature, Culture and Education’ cluster and The Australian Society for Asian Humanities (formerly OSA).

This talk discusses how the Chinese understanding and treatment of the past has changed over time, depicting the development from imperial times to Mao-era China. In doing so, the talk pays particular attention to the cultural history of “heritage” over the last century, especially the practices of imperial collections, knowledge transmission and antiquarianism. Chinese treatment of the past has been and continues to be characterised by cycles of destruction and creation in which new dynasties or governments use the past to legitimize their rules. Moreover, members of Chinese society have gone through cycles of antiquarianism – attempts of conserving and collecting the past – to foster a sense of identity during times of uncertainty. Studying the history of heritage ideas and practices in both imperial and modern China, the talk argues that today’s “heritage fever” can be seen as a part of this tradition.

About the speaker

Yujie Zhu is a Senior Lecturer at the Research School of Humanities and the Arts, the Australian National University, Australia. His research focuses on the politics of cultural heritage and memories in modern China. His recent books include Heritage Tourism (Cambridge 2021); Heritage Politics in China (Routledge 2020, with C. Maags) and Heritage and Romantic Consumption in China (Amsterdam 2018). Continue reading

Feng Jicai event

Feng Jicai: Art, Writing, and the Preservation of Old Tianjin
A guided tour of Feng Jicai’s work & Tianjin’s broader artistic legacy, led by world-class experts from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.
Fri, 25 June 2021; 05:00 – 06:00 EDT; 10am British Summer Time / 5pm China Standard Time
Online event: click the link above to register

Sinoist Books, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, and the Feng Jicai Institute are thrilled to bring you Feng Jicai: Art, Writing, and the Preservation of the Old Tianjin. In this seminar, we’ll be exploring the artistic, literary, and cultural history of Tianjin, looking to Feng Jicai as one of its most prominent authors and artists operating in the 20th-21st century.

We’ll be hearing from the author himself, hearing about the significance of his work in Tianjin and beyond, as well as unpacking the intimate connections between his art and his other work.

What’s more, we’ll be looking at Tianjin’s wider artistic culture with Dr Katie Hill, one of Sotheby’s Institute of Art experts, as she shares her knowledge on the Tianjin Yangliuqing woodblock new year pictures.

We’re looking forward to welcoming people from around the globe – this event will be bilingual in Chinese to English sequential translations provided, we’re excited to say!

This event will be recorded for later social media broadcast. Continue reading

History of Chinese animation (1)

The animation industry is always in crisis in China. Every so often an article  appears bemoaning the state of Chinese animation (this one also looks like a promotion for a new department– another important factor in Chinese animation, educational institutions promoting media programs meant to feed the domestic animation industry). The message is generally the same. Once upon a time there was a Golden Age, now things are more dispersed, audiences in China are critical of domestic animation, and the movie isn’t a blockbuster like a film by Disney or Studio Ghibli.

The Golden Age is often represented by Havoc in Heaven aka Uproar in Heaven: “[w]ith its stunning visuals and beautiful music inspired by Peking Opera, [the film] received numerous awards, as well as widespread domestic and international recognition.”

Sure. Once the country opened up and sent the film abroad in the late 1970s and viewers could watch the film abroad and in China, everyone loved Uproar, until they kept playing it on TV over and over and even the kids got sick of it. Uproar was produced in two parts in 1961 & 1964 (Olga Bobrowska* does an excellent reading of the films as such). The first part was well received, the second part not so much. Might have had something to do with the Red Guards appropriating the public domain Monkey King for their own revolutionary activities.

Can animators in China learn anything from Uproar, DIsney, and Studio Ghibli? Will the most recent animation studio/institution create that ever illusive recipe to become the next global blockbuster?

It’s the story, stupid.

Sean Macdonald <>

*See Olga Bobrowska, “Maoist Remoulding of the Legend of Monkey King, or Analyzing Ideological Implications of Wan Laiming’s Havoc in Heaven,” in Twisted Dreams of History, V4 Perspective on Propaganda, Ideology, and Animation, Kraków: Wydawnictwa AGH (AGH University of Science and Technology Press, 2019): 83-104.

Increased access to Unofficial Poetry Journals from China

The Leiden University Library offers online access to a growing digital collection of China’s unofficial poetry journals. Key agents of cultural renewal after the Mao era, these journals are hugely influential yet difficult to access. The Leiden digital collection addresses this paradox.

Click here for a web lecture on the the topic of the journals at large, with abundant visuals. Click here for a video on accessing the online material. The material is best viewed on a computer. Functionality on smartphones and tablets is limited. Loading can be slow but this will hopefully improve in future.

In a major expansion of the collection, it now contains our full holdings for key publications such as Today (今天), Second-Growth Forest (次生林), Them (他们), At Sea (海上), Not-Not (非非), Poetry Reference (诗参考), the nationwide Modern Chinese Poetry (现代汉诗), the groundbreaking women’s writing journal Wings (翼), and the iconoclastic The Lower Body (下半身). A full list is found below. The items were selected with an eye to diversity in terms of poetics and regional provenance.

These recent additions to the digital collection were enabled by a generous gift from Dr. Freerk Heule. The support of Chinese poets and editors has been invaluable for building the physical collection (accessible here in full) and remains so for the digitization project.

We are working together with colleagues at Fudan University to further expand the digital collection. New additions will be announced in due course, depending on funding. If you can help us find potential sponsors or would like to support the project yourself, please get in touch.

Read on for some quick tips on accessing the material and the full list of our digital holdings to date. Enjoy!


Maghiel van Crevel and Marc Gilbert Continue reading

Xi wants a ‘lovable’ country

Source: NYT (6/8/21)
China’s Leader Wants a ‘Lovable’ Country. That Doesn’t Mean He’s Making Nice.
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
Xi Jinping’s remarks to top Communist Party leaders suggest Beijing will focus on courting allies rather than easing its rhetoric against the U.S. and Europe.
By Steven Lee Myers and Keith Bradsher

China’s leader, Xi Jinping, at the National People’s Congress in March. He said last week that China needed a more “lovable and respectable” image. Credit…Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

China’s top diplomats have castigated their American counterparts for hypocrisy and condescension. They icily reminded Europeans of the continent’s experience with genocide. They just accused New Zealand, a country that had been careful not to cause offense, of “gross interference” in China’s affairs.

So when China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, told senior Communist Party officials early last week that they should improve their communications with the rest of the world, some analysts and news reports suggested he was acknowledging that China’s increasingly pugnacious approach to diplomacy in recent months had not been warmly received.

“We must focus on setting the tone right, be open and confident but also modest and humble, and strive to create a credible, lovable and respectable image of China,” Mr. Xi said, according to an account by Xinhua, the state-run news service, of a collective study session at the party’s compound in Beijing.

Mr. Xi’s remarks followed a series of diplomatic setbacks that diplomats and analysts said had seized the leadership’s attention. China is engaged in a “public opinion struggle,” Mr. Xi told members of the party’s governing Politburo, who studiously took notes as he spoke. Continue reading

History of Chinese animation

Source: SupChina (6/2/21)
The history of Chinese animation, from groundbreaking ‘Havoc in Heaven’ to crappy-looking ‘Kung Fu Mulan’
By Jiayun Feng

Havoc in Heaven

Nearly 60 years after the release of “Havoc in Heaven,” the Chinese animation industry is now struggling to generate revenues at home while trying to expand its presence in the global marketplace. What went wrong? This article is brought to you by Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, a leading international joint venture university based in Suzhou, Jiangsu, China.

When the lights went down for the first screenings of Princess Iron Fan 铁扇公主 across war-torn China in 1941, audiences were merely eager to see how the country’s first full-length animated feature had turned out. But the film proved to be nothing short of spectacular, heralding the start of a golden era for Chinese animation and laying the groundwork for what would eventually become Havoc in Heaven 大闹天宫 (also translated as Uproar in Heaven), an indisputable classic that has influenced a generation of filmmakers and animators, both in China and overseas.

But this golden age didn’t last. Nearly 60 years after the release of Havoc in Heaven, the Chinese animation industry is now struggling to generate revenues at home while trying to expand its presence in the global marketplace. To understand the current challenges facing Chinese animators, it is critical to recognize the history of how a once-prosperous industry fell behind its American, European, and Japanese counterparts and strived to regain its footing with radical adjustments.

The Wan brothers: Purveyors of early animation

To talk about the beginnings of Chinese animation is to talk about the life stories of the Wan brothers — Chaochen 超塵, Dihuan 滌寰, Guchan 古蟾, and Laiming 籁鸣. Growing up in a family with no artistic background — their father was a businessman in Nanjing and their mother was a stay-at-home mother — the four brothers were mad about painting and shadow puppetry when they were boys, with American cartoon series like Popeye the Sailor Man and Betty Boop being the backdrop of their childhood. Continue reading

The science suggests a Wuhan lab leak

Source: Wall Street Journal (6/6/21)
OPINION: The Science Suggests a Wuhan Lab Leak
The Covid-19 pathogen has a genetic footprint that has never been observed in a natural coronavirus.
By Steven Quay and Richard Muller


The possibility that the pandemic began with an escape from the Wuhan Institute of Virology is attracting fresh attention. President Biden has asked the national intelligence community to redouble efforts to investigate.

Much of the public discussion has focused on circumstantial evidence: mysterious illnesses in late 2019; the lab’s work intentionally supercharging viruses to increase lethality (known as “gain of function” research). The Chinese Communist Party has been reluctant to release relevant information. Reports based on U.S. intelligence have suggested the lab collaborated on projects with the Chinese military.

But the most compelling reason to favor the lab leak hypothesis is firmly based in science. In particular, consider the genetic fingerprint of CoV-2, the novel coronavirus responsible for the disease Covid-19.

In gain-of-function research, a microbiologist can increase the lethality of a coronavirus enormously by splicing a special sequence into its genome at a prime location. Doing this leaves no trace of manipulation. But it alters the virus spike protein, rendering it easier for the virus to inject genetic material into the victim cell. Since 1992 there have been at least 11 separate experiments adding a special sequence to the same location. The end result has always been supercharged viruses. Continue reading

China Digital Times English editor position

Posted by  | Jun 3, 2021

English Editor

China Digital Times (CDT) is hiring an English editor. We are looking for an energetic, self-motivated person with experience in journalism and an avid interest in China. The position is remote but we prefer candidates based in the San Francisco Bay Area; Vancouver, BC; or elsewhere within the Pacific time zone. We will also consider applicants located elsewhere. This is a full-time position.

We are looking for an experienced editor to help edit and write content for CDT English. A successful candidate will be able to function independently while also being able to work effectively as part of a small team.


  • At least three years experience writing and/or editing, preferably in the journalism field
  • Knowledge of contemporary Chinese society and politics and familiarity with ongoing current events there
  • Fluency in written Chinese and the ability to work in a bilingual environment
  • Detail-oriented, highly organized, and able to work under tight deadlines
  • Familiarity with or willingness to learn the workings of WordPress CMS and basic HTML
  • Strong command of English grammar, spelling, punctuation, and style; familiarity with AP Style preferred

Continue reading