Investigation into US prof sparks debate

Source: BBC News (9/11/20)
Investigation into US professor sparks debate over Chinese word
By Kerry Allen, BBC Monitoring

Prof Patton has been suspended since his 20 August seminar

Professor Patton has stepped back from his post since his 20 August seminar. Image Twitter.

A US university investigation into one of its professors has ignited a debate over the use of a seemingly innocuous Chinese word.

Professor Greg Patton at the University of Southern California (USC) was telling students in a communications lecture last month about filler, or pause words, such as ‘err’, ‘umm’ or ‘you know’ in English.

Footage of his lecture, which has now gone viral, shows Prof Patton saying: “In China, the common pause word is ‘that, that, that’. So in China, it might be na-ge, na-ge, na-ge.” Continue reading

How my mother and I became Chinese propaganda

Source: The New Yorker (9/7/20)
How My Mother and I Became Chinese Propaganda
Immigrant struggles in America forged a bond that became even tighter after my mother’s A.L.S. diagnosis. Then, as COVID-19 threatened, Chinese nationalists began calling us traitors to our country.
By Jiayang Fan

mother daughter

The author and her mother came to the U.S. in 1992. “Desperation burnished in my mother a raw, enterprising grit.” Illustration by Tyler Comrie; photographs courtesy the author

The messages wishing me a gruesome death arrive slowly at first and then all at once. I am condemned to be burned, raped, tortured. Some include a video of joyful dancing at a funeral, with fists pounding on a wooden casket. The hardest ones to read take aim at my mother, who has been immobilized by the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis since 2014. Most of the messages originate in China, but my mother and I live in New York. As the COVID lockdown has swept the city, I find out that the health aides she depends on are to be banned from her facility and take to Twitter to publicize my despair. But this personal plight as a daughter unexpectedly attracts the attention of Chinese nationalists who have long been displeased with my work as a writer reporting on China. In short order, my predicament is politicized and packaged into a viral sensation. “Has your mom died yet?” China15z0dj wants to know. “Your mom will be dead Haha. 1.4 billion people wish for you to join her in Hell. Haha!”

At some point, I stop scrolling. The messages I dread the most come not from Internet strangers but from people who know me—my aunt, my uncle, my mother’s childhood best friend. On WeChat, they link to various Chinese-language articles about me and ask, “Have you read this?” The next question would be almost funny if it weren’t so painfully earnest: “Do you know this Jiayang Fan?” Continue reading

HK Security Law reaches into US classrooms

Source: WSJ (8/19/20)
China’s National-Security Law Reaches Into Harvard, Princeton Classrooms
Professors at elite U.S. universities turn to code names, warning labels to protect students
By Lucy Craymer

Part of the challenge is the growing list of subjects Beijing considers off-limits, said Kerry Ratigan, an assistant professor of political science at Amherst College. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCK

The effect of the new national-security law that China imposed on Hong Kong is extending far beyond the territory to American college campuses.

Classes at some elite universities will carry a warning label this fall: This course may cover material considered politically sensitive by China. And schools are weighing measures to try to shield students and faculty from prosecution by Chinese authorities.

At Princeton University, students in a Chinese politics class will use codes instead of names on their work to protect their identities. At Amherst College a professor is considering anonymous online chats so students can speak freely. And Harvard Business School may excuse students from discussing politically sensitive topics if they are worried about the risks. Continue reading

Made in Hollywood, censored by Beijing

Too long to post in its entirety, here’s the introduction to an article from PEN about the extension of PRC censorship into Hollywood. –Kirk

Source: (nd)
Made in Hollywood, Censored by Beijing
This report was written by James Tager, PEN America’s Deputy Director of Free Expression Research and Policy, with substantial research and drafting contributions from PEN America consultant Jonathan Landreth.

The U.S. Film Industry and Chinese Government Influence


This report examines the ways in which Beijing’s censors have affected and influenced Hollywood and the global filmmaking industry. Stories shape the way people think, and the stories told by Hollywood reach billions. As an anti-censorship organization dedicated to the celebration of open cultural and artistic expression, PEN America has sought to understand how one of the world’s most censorious regimes is extending its influence over the global locus for filmmaking here in the United States, shaping what is perhaps the world’s most influential artistic and cultural medium.

PEN America defends and celebrates freedom of expression in the United States and globally. Our work has included a decades-long advocacy engagement on China, where dozens of members of our sister PEN organization—the Independent Chinese PEN Center—have been imprisoned or persecuted by Beijing.1 The most influential of those colleagues was Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo, who was serving an 11-year prison sentence for his writings when he died of liver cancer.2 Our work has involved advocacy campaigns, detailed research reports, literary exchanges, and other efforts aimed at pushing back against Beijing’s censorship policies and its criminalization of dissent. Continue reading

Being a Chinese student in the US

Source: BBC News (8/3/20)
Being a Chinese student in the US: ‘Neither the US nor China wants us’
BBC Chinese Service, Washington

American and Chinese flags painted on cracked wall background

The US-China relationship is now at one of it lowest points in years. GETTY IMAGES

Stranded abroad by the coronavirus pandemic and squeezed by political tensions, Chinese students in the United States are rethinking their host and home countries.

Eight years ago, Shizheng Tie, then aged 13, moved alone from China to rural Ohio for one sole purpose: education. She once had a budding American dream, but now she says she is facing hostility in that country.

“As a Chinese living in the US, I am very scared now,” she says. Tie, now a senior student at Johns Hopkins University, describes America as “anti-China” and “chaotic”.

Some 360,000 Chinese students are currently enrolled in schools in the US. In the past months, they have experienced two historical events – a global pandemic and unprecedented tensions between the US and China, which have reshaped their views of the two nations. Continue reading

Virtual kidnapping scam

Source: BBC News (7/27/20)
Chinese students in Australia targeted in virtual kidnapping scam

Police-supplied image of a woman bound and gagged in a staged kidnap

NSW POLICE: Pictures of the staged kidnappings were provided to police

Chinese students in Sydney are being targeted in a kidnapping scam forcing them to pay massive ransoms to fraudsters, Australian police say.

In many cases, blackmailed students were forced to stage their own kidnapping and send video proof to relatives in China to obtain funds.

Eight “virtual kidnappings” have been reported this year, including one where a A$2m (£1.1m;$1.43m) ransom was paid.

Victims had believed they or their loved ones were in danger, police said. Continue reading

The Art of Zhou Xiaoping in Aboriginal Australia

Source: Chinese Museum (nd)
Convergence: The Art of Zhou Xiaoping in Aboriginal Australia
Online from 25th June 2020, with the physical exhibition later in 2020.

Zhou Xiaoping’s art sheds light on traditions of art making that have been overlooked within the cannon of Western art history … he helps us look at cross-cultural art production in ways that are reinvigorating, respectful and enlightening. In so many ways the work of Zhou Xiaoping remains new and confronting.

Professor Robyn Sloggett (2020)
Director, the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation of the University of Melbourne

Artist Zhou Xiaoping in his Melbourne studio

Artist’s statement

The world suddenly seems to be a roaring lion that does not welcome a human invasion.

In 2020, under the worldwide attack of the coronavirus, humans seem to be awakening. The humans who have occupied the world are not powerful as we thought. We may fall in an instant. It is very frustrating that if the world is without humans, it will still continue in its life and beauty. So people in this world are more like guests. Continue reading

China steps up moves to influence diaspora communities

Source: WSJ (6/8/20)
China Steps Up Moves to Influence Diaspora Communities
Countering the effort requires heightened vigilance by democratic countries, new report says
By Kate O’Keeffe

Chinese President Xi Jinping walks past applauding delegates at the National People’s Congress in Beijing on May 28. PHOTO: ROMAN PILIPEY/EPA/SHUTTERSTOCK

WASHINGTON—China is making fresh efforts to influence Chinese communities around the world to advance Beijing’s interests, requiring heightened vigilance from democratic countries, a new study says.

A unit in China’s ruling Communist Party known as the United Front Work Department [中共中央统一战线工作部] engages thousands of organizations to collect intelligence, encourage technology transfer, counter dissident movements and generate support for other Beijing objectives, said the report by the nonpartisan Australian Strategic Policy Institute. The department focuses its influence operations overseas on Chinese diaspora communities and foreign elites, the report said.

While Beijing has used the united front system for decades, President Xi Jinping renewed the department’s mission as part of a push to make China a global power.

In recent years it has turned to increasing its control over Chinese-language media abroad, funding research at prominent think tanks and using China’s popular WeChat messaging platform and other social media to censor, surveil and shape dialogue on policy issues, it said. Continue reading

Covid-19 and spectres of quarantine for the Chinese Canadian community

Source: Fete Chinoise (4/20/20)
Covid-19 and the Spectres of Quarantine for the Chinese Canadian Community
Written by Angie Wong (Lecturer, Women Studies, English, and Indigenous Learning,
Lakehead University)

( The Asianadian, vol. 2, no. 4. Cover Image courtesy of The Asianadian Co-founder, Cheuk Kwan)

(The Asianadian, vol. 2, no. 4. Cover Image courtesy of The Asianadian Co-founder, Cheuk Kwan)

The crisis of COVID-19 has ushered in a new ‘normal’ for Canadians. Handshaking is now a dangerous proposition. Masks are being donned on the streets of Canadian cities, and it is not only Asian Canadians wearing them. Indeed, the entire world is now being forced to adopt some of the very symbols and practices that previously marked Asian Canadians as different (even suspect). But rather than creating a larger feeling of solidarity or common struggle between Chinese and other Canadians, the crisis of COVID-19 has once again made it scary to be Chinese in Canada, and North America more broadly. The coronavirus is a disease that has been racialized as the “Chinese virus,” loudly echoing the Orientalist notion of the Yellow Peril and the racist idea that ‘China is the sick man of Asia’. Of course, this is hardly the first time that Chinese people have been feared in Canada. Continue reading

Why virus cases have spiked in HK, Singapore and Taiwan

Source: NYT (4/9/20)
Why Coronavirus Cases Have Spiked in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
By K.K. Rebecca Lai

Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan — once heralded for early successes in battling the pandemic — are now confronting a new wave of coronavirus cases, largely fueled by infections coming from elsewhere. Singapore is also seeing a rise in local transmissions, with more than 400 new cases in the past week that have been linked to migrant worker dormitories.

The first confirmed cases in all three places were connected to people who had traveled to Wuhan, China, where the pandemic began, followed by small clusters of cases among residents with no travel history. Despite their proximity to mainland China, however, they had all managed to keep their case counts low for weeks, through vigilant monitoring and early intervention.

None of these places had a single day with more than 10 new cases until March, even as the coronavirus spread around the world.

That changed in the past two weeks, as both Hong Kong and Singapore saw new cases in the double digits for consecutive days, with the bulk attributed to those who have traveled from abroad. Singapore’s numbers are now triple-digits, with large clusters of cases linked to dorms for migrant workers. Continue reading

Australian Yang Hengjun charged over espionage

Australian citizen Yang Hengjun charged with espionage. It’s the usual stomach-turning pattern: Chinese authorities disappearing you, faking some “legal” moves (as if China had courts, judges, etc. other than the Communist bosses who are behind this), and then only to hide it behind vague espionage accusations and secret trials — as they have done with so many others, incl. our Swedish citizen #GuiMinhai. No-one can believe them, esp. now, given what we know of their propaganda machinery’s attempts to cover up “secrets” like the Xinjiang camps, the virus in Wuhan, etc.–Magnus Fiskesjö <>
Source: ABC News (3/24/20)
Chinese Government moves to formally charge Australian Yang Hengjun over espionage allegations
By Echo Hui and Dylan Welch

Dr Yang in military uniform with the Australian flag and Chinese MSS symbol in the background.

The Chinese Government has moved to formally charge Australian citizen Yang Hengjun over an ill-defined espionage allegation more than a year after first detaining him, ABC can reveal.

Key points:

  • Dr Yang has been detained for more than 420 days over as yet unexplained allegations relating to espionage
  • Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne has previously said Dr Yang’s ongoing detention is “unacceptable”
  • Dr Yang is now almost certain to now face trial in China

The news brings to an end Australian attempts to have the writer and democracy activist returned to Australia before he is fully enmeshed in the byzantine workings of Beijing’s judicial system. Continue reading

She accused a tech billionaire of rape

Source: NYT (12/13/19)
She Accused a Tech Billionaire of Rape. The Chinese Internet Turned Against Her.
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
Liu Jingyao, a college student, describes what it’s like to be slut-shamed by 800 million people.

Liu Jingyao, a student at the University of Minnesota, has accused the Chinese billionaire Richard Liu of rape. Credit…Caroline Yang for The New York Times

MINNEAPOLIS — When Liu Jingyao introduced herself, in the lobby of her apartment building, I didn’t recognize her. It was a puzzling feeling. For an entire year, photos of her had blanketed the Chinese internet. Like tens of millions of other Chinese, I had watched and rewatched surveillance video of her in this very building. She was one of the most talked about and mysterious women in China, and I thought I knew what she looked like.

In the video, she wanders the halls of a mazelike building, with a man trailing along. They get in and out of several elevators. She seems unsure about how to get to her apartment. She wears striking waist-length hair and a long, dark knit dress. She doesn’t look glamorous, exactly, but for a 21-year-old college junior, she is dressed smartly.

But on a morning in early August, she greeted me in a loosefitting checkered dress. Now 22, she looked pale and nervous. Her lips were chapped. She invited me upstairs, and began an intense conversation that continued for 18 straight hours. Continue reading

HK poet Mary Jean Chan wows Britain

Source: SCMP (12/5/19)
How Hong Kong poet Mary Jean Chan is wowing Britain’s literary circles with first collection, Flèche
Since moving to London, Chan has been named among top 10 most influential BAME writers in Britain. In 2017, aged 27, she became youngest shortlisted nominee for Forward Prize for a single poem
By James Kidd

Hong Kong poet Mary Jean Chan at the Forward Arts Prizes 2017, in London, Britain. Photo: Adrian Pope

Hong Kong poet Mary Jean Chan at the Forward Arts Prizes 2017, in London, Britain. Photo: Adrian Pope

The business school at the Chinese University of Hong Kong has not perhaps inspired many poets. But when Mary Jean Chan describes her journey to becoming one of the world’s most promising and admired young writers, she names her decision to leave the business school as a pivotal moment.

“It was desperation really,” she says. “I was in a very bad place bordering on depression. My parents saw that and knew something had to change.”

Talking to 29-year-old Chan a decade later, in her adopted home city of London, it’s hard to believe she enrolled in the first place. Sensitive and thoughtful, she seems the antithesis of a hardbitten banker or financier. “I always knew I didn’t have a talent for numbers. Maths was my worst subject. My parents were taken aback [by her decision to leave]. My teachers wanted to talk about it.” Continue reading

Panopticism with Chinese Characteristics event cancelled

Alert: Columbia University in NYC just bowed to Chinese pressure/intimidation, canceling an event, Thursday, Nov. 14 2019. I personally think it’s very likely that the effort to shut down the event was organized from the Chinese consulate in NYC, using proxies from clubs like the CSSA. I think everyone is now asking, will they reschedule it? When? Will Columbia University be able to defend the freedom of expression, and the right to hold this event? Below, the organizer’s statement issued last night. Magnus Fiskesjö,

Source: Students for a Free Tibet

Free Speech in American Universities Under Attack From Beijing
November 15, 2019
Panopticism with Chinese Characteristics

The event that was cancelled: “Panopticism with Chinese Characteristics: the human rights violations by the Chinese Communist Party and how they affect the world.” Continue reading