Liu Xiaobo released on his last legs

Source: Sup China (6/26/17)
Liu Xiaobo released on his last legs
By Jeremy Goldkorn

One of the most recognizable figures of the quashed pro-democracy movement within China, Liu Xiaobo 刘晓波, has been released from prison on medical parole due to late-stage liver cancer, the New York Times reports (paywall). The Times cites one of Liu’s lawyers as saying that he was initially hospitalized a few weeks ago in the northeastern city of Shenyang, though the disease appears to be “very serious, very serious,” and “at this late stage, the treatment seems much more difficult.” Continue reading

ACCL 2017

Dear friends and colleagues,

I would like to thank all of you who attended the biannual ACCL conference last week, at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). We had over 190 participants present papers, and considerably more attended parts of all of the conference. I am truly grateful for all of the hard work everyone put in to make this conference a success, and am particularly grateful to the colleagues, staff, and students at CUHK!

My final task as ACCL president is to coordinate the election of the next president. Each president serves a two-year term, and his or her primary responsibility is to organize the next biannual conference. (There is considerable flexibility with respect to the parameters of the conference—this year’s event was unusually large, but a smaller, more intimate gathering is also a possibility). If you think you might be interested in being considered for this position, please let me know!

carlos rojas <>
duke university

translation of Gong Zizhen poem?

I have just translated a recent essay by Li Ling 李零. Toward the end of the essay, Li cites a poem by Gong Zizhen 龚自珍 entitled “Yong shi” 咏史 (Intoning history). I’m wondering if there is an English translation of this poem that I can adopt or consult for my translation of Li Ling’s essay. Please send any responses to me directly at the email below.

When True Love Came to China review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Haiyan Lee’s review of When True Love Came to China (Hong Kong UP, 2015), by Lynn Pan. The review appears below, but is best read at its online home: My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC book review editor for literary studies, for ushering the review to publication.


Kirk Denton, editor

How the Chinese Fell in Love with Love, Caveats and All:
Review of When True Love Came to China

By Lynn Pan

Reviewed by Haiyan Lee
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright June, 2017)

Lynn Pan, When True Love Came to China. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2015. vii, 325 pp. ISBN-9789888208807. Hardcover. $65.00/£54.95.

In her novel Dept. of Speculation (2014), Jenny Offill relates the experiments of the nineteenth-century French doctor Hippolyte Baraduc who claimed to have photographed the emotions. Allegedly, he found that different emotions produced different images on the photographic plate: “Anger looked like fireworks. Love was an indistinct blur.”

After Baraduc, no photographer has attempted to replicate this feat. But the wordsmiths of the world—the novelist, poet, playwright, and the occasional philosopher—never cease trying to limn that indistinct blur. And it is, familiarly, the European men and women of letters who have done most of the heavy lifting, with their invention of a sublime, exclusive, all-engulfing, and bound-for-matrimony love that goes by the name of “romantic love” or “true love.” Continue reading

Fo Guang Shan in China

Source: NYT (6/24/17)
Is a Buddhist Group Changing China? Or Is China Changing It?

A statue of the Venerable Master Hsing Yun, the leader of the Buddhist organization Fo Guang Shan, in Yixing. CreditGilles Sabrie for The New York Times

YIXING, China — For most of her life, Shen Ying was disappointed by the world she saw around her. She watched China’s economic rise in this small city in the Yangtze River Valley, and she found a foothold in the new middle class, running a convenience store in a strip mall. Yet prosperity felt hollow.

She worried about losing her shop if she didn’t wine and dine and pay off the right officials. Recurring scandals about unsafe food or tainted infant formula made by once-reputable companies upset her. She recalled the values her father had tried to instill in her — honesty, thrift, righteousness — but she said there seemed no way to live by them in China today. Continue reading

Queer Marxism in Two Chinas review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Jia Tan’s review of Queer Marxism in Two Chinas (Duke UP, 2015), by Petrus Liu. The review appears below, but is best read at its online home here: My thanks to Jason McGrath, MCLC book review editor for media studies, for ushering the review to publication.


Kirk A. Denton, editor

Queer Marxism in Two Chinas

By Petrus Liu

Reviewed by Jia Tan
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright June, 2017)

Petrus Liu, Queer Marxism in Two Chinas. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015. 256pp. ISBN: 978-0-8223-5972-2 (Cloth: $84.95) ISBN: 978-0-8223-6004-9 (Paperback: $23.95)

In the past two decades, the term “queer” has gained increasing academic momentum in China studies across disciplines such as history, sociology, anthropology, film and media studies, communication, and literary studies. What does it mean to queer China studies, and where is this emergent field of queer China studies moving? And conversely, what is the significance of this sub-field for the broader field of queer studies? Petrus Liu’s Queer Marxism in Two Chinas is a timely and highly original book that provides theoretical interventions to the above questions. Taking into account the geopolitical implication of the “two Chinas,” the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, Liu proposes the framework of queer Marxism as an antidote to major debates and concerns in both queer studies and area studies. Continue reading

Shanghai film industry

Source: Sixth Tone (6/22/17)
Is Shanghai’s Film Industry in Terminal Decline?
The city was once renowned worldwide as the ‘Eastern Hollywood,’ so why do its studios lie empty today?
By Chen Changye

This article is the first in a series about the history of filmmaking in Shanghai.

From left to right, the portraits of Ruan Lingyu, Butterfly Wu, and Chow Hsuan, the most prominent Chinese film stars of the 1930s and 1940s, are displayed at Jiangning Imperial Silk Manufacturing Museum in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, May 1, 2013. Liu Birong/IC

The Shanghai International Film Festival is in full swing, welcoming filmmakers and moviegoers from across the world. Yet in the last few years, the festival’s continued presence has posed a slightly embarrassing question to the city’s residents: When will Shanghai’s film industry rise again? Continue reading

Our Seventeen review

Source: SCMP (6/20/17)
Film review: Our Seventeen – Angela Yuen makes impressive star turn in Macau youth drama
Playing a mean-spirited teen who channels her family problems into music and schoolyard bullying, Yuen’s uncannily natural performance alongside singer-songwriter Sean Pang shows she could be a star in the making
By Edmund Lee

From left: Kyle Li, Mary Ma, Angela Yuen, Sean Pang and King Wu in the film Our Seventeen (category IIB; Cantonese, Putonghua), directed by Emily Chan.

A group of troubled high-school students look to rise above their broken family backgrounds and pursue their music dreams in the diverting, if haphazardly scripted, Our Seventeen.

The second narrative film by Macau writer-director Emily Chan Nga-lei – and a full-length spin-off from her eponymous short film from 2014 – it shows a marked improvement over Chan’s first feature, Timing, also from 2014, which was screened at a Hong Kong “premiere” but never received a proper release in the city.

Continue reading

Vol. 29, no. 1 of MCLC

We are pleased to announce publication of vol. 29, no. 1 (Spring 2017) of Modern Chinese Literature and Culture. Find the table of contents below, with links to abstracts. For those of you who are subscribers, you should be receiving your copy within the next few weeks. If you have any questions about your subscription, please contact SHI Jia, my assistant, at We rely on subscriptions for our survival, so please keep your subscription up to date! Shi Jia will also handle new subscriptions and sales of individual copies. A reminder that essays from back issues of MCLC, with a two-year lag, are available in pdf through JSTOR:

Kirk Denton, editor

Volume 29, Number 1 (Spring 2017)


Fan Ho, poet with a camera

Source: SCMP (6/20/17)
How Fan Ho, Hong Kong’s poet with a camera, found his calling – in his own words
In one of his last interviews, Fan Ho, who died a year ago today, aged 84, recalls how he rediscovered his passion for photography – and some old negatives – to finally gain the recognition and respect he longed for

Chinese to English interpreter needed

Dear list members,

I am a PhD candidate doing a research entitled “Forging Development in Western China: A Case Study on Lanzhou City.” I plan to conduct interviews with experts, scholars, and business people in Lanzhou from July 7 to July 17. I need the help of an interpreter to make Chinese to English translation during interviews. Do anyone knows a suitable person in Lanzhou? Or any suggestion for an online way of finding a translator there.

Best Regards,

Veysel Tekdal <>

Universities teach how to go viral

Source: Taipei Times (6/21/17)
In China, universities teach how to go viral online
Young and streaming savvy entrepreneurs, known as ‘wanghong,’ now represent an industry worth billions in a country with 700 million smartphone users
By Albee Zhang  /  AFP, Shanghai

Jiang Mengna live broadcasts in March during a break at the Yiwu Industrial & Commercial College in Yiwu, Zhejiang Province, China. Photot: AFP

A 21-year-old student walked around her campus in China using invaluable skills she learned in class: Holding a selfie stick aloft, she livestreamed her random thoughts and blew kisses at her phone.

Jiang Mengna is majoring in “modelling and etiquette” at Yiwu Industrial & Commercial College near Shanghai, aspiring to join the growing ranks of young Chinese cashing in on internet stardom. Continue reading

Project on Taiwan aborigines

Source: Taipei Times (6/21/17)
Spreading the message
A new project is set to boost the international profile of a Taipei museum and provide fresh material for students interested in Taiwan’s Aborigines
By Tony Phillips  /  Contributing reporter in London

Shung Ye museum posters at an exhibit in London in 2015. Photo courtesy of Niki Alsford

Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines (順益台灣原住民博物館) and London’s Centre of Taiwan Studies, part of the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), are to cooperate in a two-year research program that will give people in the UK a unique insight into Taiwan’s indigenous peoples. Continue reading

China’s mistress-dispellers

Source: The New Yorker (6/26/17)
Letter from Shanghai
China’s Mistress-Dispellers
How the economic boom and deep gender inequality have created a new industry.
By Jiayang Fan

An escalating divorce rate shows the depth of gender inequality in Chinese society. Illustration by Malika Favre

Yu Ruojian was pleased to learn that his target ran a sex shop. Someone who worked in retail would be used to talking to strangers, and it would be easy, posing as a customer in such an intimate store, to bring the conversation around to personal matters. In March last year, he visited the store, in Wuxi, a city about seventy miles from Shanghai, where he lives. He told the proprietor, a gregarious woman in her forties whom I’ll call Wang, that he was looking for herbal remedies to help a friend whose marital relations were hampered by shyness. They chatted for half an hour before exchanging contact details. “I’ll be back to pester you soon enough,” Yu said as he left. “You’d better!” Wang responded, unaware that she’d walked into the first in a series of carefully laid traps.

A month earlier, Yu had heard from a woman in her fifties, the wife of a factory manager in Wuxi, who explained that her husband was having an affair with Wang. She had tolerated it for years, but now she’d found that he had spent more than two hundred thousand yuan—thirty thousand dollars—on her, savings that should have been going toward their old age and a house for their son. Continue reading

Gaokao essay topic exposes urban-rural inequality

Source: Sup China (6/2017)
Gaokao essay topic exposes urban-rural inequality in China
By Jiayun Feng

It has been almost two weeks since this year’s gaokao (高考 gāokǎo — the nationwide college entrance examination) ended on June 8, but millions of participants are awaiting their test results and the grueling examinations are still a popular conversation topic. Earlier this week, a commentary (in Chinese) by a middle-school teacher in Hubei Province went viral on the Chinese internet. The author argues that an essay question in seven provinces, including Hebei, Hunan, and Guangdong, treats students in rural areas unfairly by including concepts that they are unfamiliar with. Continue reading