Disgust at China’s state-sponsore ‘Uyghurface’

Fascinating article copied below, on elected officials in New Zealand going along with Chinese state propaganda using “Uyghurface” Han Chinese enactments to try to project a happy face and twist back China’s image, so deeply tarnished in the wake of the recent, unending flood of revelations about the genocide Xinjiang (East Turkistan). A few things to keep in mind:

–“Uyghurface” is very much like the loathed “Blackface” in the US: At their core, both are enactments that obviously represent the moves by dominant supremacist elites to enact and sadistically enjoy their own secret wish of a smiling, obedient slave figure — in the current Chinese case, this is the fantasy “happy dancing Uyghur,” which contrasts with the stark reality of the ongoing genocide, with its massive racial profiling and extralegal internment; mass slavery; the decapitation of their people’s entire cultural elites; bulldozing of their history (cemeteries, pilgrimage sites, mosques), forced assimilation, including by way of the mass confiscation of children for Chinese-only state rearing; the mass prevention of births of new indigenes, and more (cf. my bibliography; or The Xinjiang Documentation Project).

— “Uyghurface,” the term newly coined, is of course also of great scholarly interest as a variety of “Cultural Appropriation” – here, Jason Baird Jackson’s new article “On Cultural Appropriation” (Journal of Folklore Research, Vol. 58, No. 1, 2021 • doi:10.2979/jfolkrese.58.1.04) is of great interest: Jackson impressively takes on the entire problem of “cultural appropriation” and usefully points out that as cultural borrowing, it is something common in human history, and as such it’s by no means always evil — yet it certainly can be evil and offensive, especially in situations of, precisely, systematic inequality and domination expressed in mockery and humiliation — such as in the situation of the Uyghurs, right now.

— There is also an important geopolitical context here. The small country of New Zealand is currently heavily targeted, as low-hanging fruit, by the Chinese regime’s state propaganda apparatus and by its United Front, which attempts “elite capture,” as in this act: making local elites buy into, obey, and promote the Chinese regime’s agenda. This “Uyghurface” incident is but one of many expressions of this. The Chinese regime actually won a major victory just recently, when it got the NZ government to berate neighboring Australia (!) for the current standoff in Aussie-Chinese relations, even though it’s clearly and entirely about Chinese political and economic intimidation unfairly piled on Australia as punishment (wine and other trade boycotts, etc. etc.), after its government dared criticize China’s atrocities in Xinjiang, and also for leading the world in demanding an open international inquiry into the origins of the Covid pandemic. (Thank you Australia; I am on my third box of 12 bottles of nice Australian wines now, since all this started).

–Magnus Fiskesjö, nf42@cornell.edu

Source: Newsroom (2/26/21)
Disgust at China’s State-Sponsored “Uyghurface” in Wellington
As further reports of torture and systemic rape emerge from Xinjiang, the PRC’s propaganda machine is hard at work in New Zealand. Laura Walters looks at why a Chinese New Year performance in Wellington was more than just cultural appropriation
By Laura Walters

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster is the latest New Zealand politician to be used as a propaganda tool in China’s campaign against Uyghur Muslims. Photo: Facebook

State-sponsored appropriation of Uyghur culture has been labelled “disgusting” and “disrespectful” by those whose families and communities are being persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party. Continue reading

Made in China Journal 5.3

Dear Colleagues,

I am glad to announce the publication of the latest issue of the Made in China Journal. You can download it for free at this link: https://madeinchinajournal.com/2021/02/10/the-chinese-worker-goes-abroad.

Below you can find the editorial:

The Chinese Worker Goes Abroad

China’s increased global engagements in recent years have been the source of unending controversies. While public attention generally focuses on geopolitical, economic, or even environmental issues, labour also plays an important part in emerging narratives surrounding the ‘spectre of global China’. The media in countries that have received a significant influx of investment from mainland China has often complained about ‘invasions’ of Chinese workers, who are allegedly snatching away job opportunities from local workers. In many places, there are pervasive rumours that Chinese workers are nothing less than convicted felons sent abroad by the Party-State to expiate their crimes, which would explain why they seem to work without interruption day and night, at a pace that some believe no free person would deem acceptable. This has also led to concerns that workers from China are playing an important role in driving down labour standards in countries where institutions are weak and legal enforcement lacking. Inflows of Chinese workers have also been associated with surges in crime and prostitution that supposedly have wrought havoc on local communities. In the best of circumstances, these narratives flatten the figure of the Chinese worker abroad into that of an agent unwittingly promoting the agenda of the Chinese Party-State abroad; in the worst, they frame these overseas Chinese labourers as criminals. In so doing, the complex dilemmas that these workers face, their inner conflicts, and the rights violations that they themselves are subjected to go unnoticed. Continue reading

China’s efforts to show off its vaccines is backfiring

Source: NYT (1/25/21)
China Wanted to Show Off Its Vaccines. It’s Backfiring.
Delays, inconsistent data, spotty disclosures and the country’s attacks on Western rivals have marred its ambitious effort to portray itself as a leader in global health.
By Sui-Lee Wee

Brazilian indigenous people waiting in São Paulo to receive the vaccine from the Chinese company Sinovac. Brazilian officials have complained that Chinese companies have been slow to ship the doses and ingredients.

Brazilian indigenous people waiting in São Paulo to receive the vaccine from the Chinese company Sinovac. Brazilian officials have complained that Chinese companies have been slow to ship the doses and ingredients. Credit…Victor Moriyama for The New York Times

China’s coronavirus vaccines were supposed to deliver a geopolitical win that showcased the country’s scientific prowess and generosity. Instead, in some places, they have set off a backlash.

Officials in Brazil and Turkey have complained that Chinese companies have been slow to ship the doses and ingredients. Disclosures about the Chinese vaccines has been slow and spotty. The few announcements that have trickled out suggest that China’s vaccines, while considered effective, cannot stop the virus as well as those developed by Pfizer and Moderna, the American drugmakers.

In the Philippines, some lawmakers have criticized the government’s decision to purchase a vaccine made by a Chinese company called Sinovac. Officials in Malaysia and Singapore, which both ordered doses from Sinovac, have had to reassure their citizens that they would approve a vaccine only if it has been proven safe and effective. Continue reading

The Roots of Anti-Asian Racism in the US

Alexa Alice Joubin, “The Roots of Anti-Asian Racism in the U.S.: The Pandemic and ‘Yellow Peril’.” Global Social Security Review Vol. 15 (Winter 2020): 50-59.

Abstract: COVID-19 has exacerbated anti-Asian racism—the demonization of a group of people based on their perceived social value—in the United States in the cultural and political life. Offering strategies for inclusion during and after the pandemic, this article analyzes the history and language of racism, including the notion of yellow peril. Racialized thinking and racial discourses are institutionalized as power relations, take the form of political marginalization of minority groups, and cause emotional distress and physical harm.

Journal website: https://www.kihasa.re.kr/web/publication/periodical/list.do?menuId=53&tid=38&bid=991

Asian Collections outside Asia

Edited by Iside Carbone and Helen Wang
Online publication, open access: http://www.kunsttexte.de/index.php?id=58

Carbone, Iside and Helen Wang (eds), 2020. Asia Collections in Museums outside Asia: Questioning Artefacts, Cultures and Identities, Transcultural Perspectives 2020, issue 1, thematic issue in Kunsttexte. Humboldt University. Berlin.

Introduction to Special Issue: Asia Collections outside Asia: Questioning Artefacts, Cultures and Identities in the Museum
–   Iside CARBONE and Helen WANG

Challenging the Framing of Asia and the Role of the KVVAK (Royal Asian Art Society in the Netherlands): The Asian Pavilion of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam
–   Annette LOESEKE

Imagining the Orient: Early Collecting at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
–   Laura VIGO

The Museo Nacional de Arte Oriental in Buenos Aires: From European Taste for Oriental Art to Genuine Interest in the East

The Collections of the Orient Museum (Fundação Oriente-Museu do Oriente): Polysemy and Metonymy
–   Sofia CAMPOS LOPES Continue reading

Yeng Pway Ngon dies aged 73

Source: The Straits Times (1/12/21)
Acclaimed Chinese-language writer Yeng Pway Ngon dies aged 73
By Olivia Ho

Yeng Pway Ngon's work spanned genres, ranging across poetry, essays, plays and more.

Yeng Pway Ngon’s work spanned genres, ranging across poetry, essays, plays and more. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE – Yeng Pway Ngon, one of Singapore’s most eminent Chinese-language writers, died on Sunday (Jan 10) after a long battle with cancer.

The Cultural Medallion recipient and three-time Singapore Literature Prize winner was 16 days shy of his 74th birthday.

He wrote more than 20 works, including acclaimed novels such as Unrest (2002), Trivialities About Me And Myself (2006) and Art Studio (2011).

The latter two were selected by the journal Asia Weekly for its prestigious annual list of the 10 Best Chinese Novels in the World, alongside works by Nobel laureate Mo Yan and Yan Geling. Continue reading

Surviving a Uighur ‘re-education’ camp

Source: The Guardian (1/12/21)
‘Our souls are dead’: how I survived a Chinese ‘re-education’ camp for Uighurs
After 10 years living in France, I returned to China to sign some papers and I was locked up. For the next two years, I was systematically dehumanised, humiliated and brainwashed
By  with 

Gulbahar Haitiwaji, a Uighur woman who spent two years in a re-education camp in western China.

Gulbahar Haitiwaji. Photograph: Emmanuelle Marchadour

The man on the phone said he worked for the oil company, “In accounting, actually”. His voice was unfamiliar to me. At first, I couldn’t make sense of what he was calling about. It was November 2016, and I had been on unpaid leave from the company since I left China and moved to France 10 years earlier. There was static on the line; I had a hard time hearing him.

“You must come back to Karamay to sign documents concerning your forthcoming retirement, Madame Haitiwaji,” he said. Karamay was the city in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang where I’d worked for the oil company for more than 20 years.

“In that case, I’d like to grant power of attorney,” I said. “A friend of mine in Karamay takes care of my administrative affairs. Why should I come back for some paperwork? Why go all that way for such a trifle? Why now?” Continue reading

Open letter in support of Teng Biao

Endangered Scholars Worldwide has launched an open letter, which anyone can sign, in support of Chinese dissident, activist, and rights lawyer Teng Biao — against the harassment that he and his family is facing in the US right now, by extremist elements who also threaten and assault other Chinese people in exile around the world. The open letter is here.

–fwd by: Magnus Fiskesjö, nf42@cornell.edu

(ps. My personal view: Nobody seems to know who is really behind the Guo/Bannon stuff, but if it isn’t the Communist Party itself secretly subcontracting this violence along the lines of how they subcontract street mobsters in HK to help the police beat people up with impunity, then I think it certainly must be secretly cheering on it, almost as much as they cheer on Americans beating each other up, like when Mr Bannon threatened to decapitate his fellow American government officials jihadist-style, and put their heads on stakes in DC.)

Poetry on verge of extinction in Xinjiang

Source: The Guardian (12/5/20)
Poetry, the soul of Uighur culture, on verge of extinction in Xinjiang
Uighurs in the diaspora are fighting to keep the art form alive as poets and writers in Xinjiang are silenced or detained
By Lily Kuo (Taipei)

A Uighur woman look out from the window of an apartment Urumqi, China.

A Uighur woman look out from the window of an apartment Urumqi, China. Photograph: Ng Han Guan/AP

A few weeks ago Mamutjan Abdurehim was trying to remember a poem that he and his wife used to teach their four-year-old daughter. The rhyming couplets were easy to remember instructions on etiquette at the dinner table – to say bismillah before eating and to start with one’s right hand. He hoped that by helping his daughter recite the qoshaq, a traditional Uighur folk poem, she would remember where she came from even as the family was living overseas.

Memories like these are dear to Abdurehim who has not been able to see or speak to his family in Xinjiang in almost five years. His daughter is 10 years old now; his son would be 5. He believes his wife has been detained in an internment camp or sent to prison, one of more than one million Uighurs caught up in what human rights advocates say is a state-led campaign of cultural genocide. Abdurehim, now living in Sydney, asked his friends on Facebook if anyone knew the rest of the poem but no one could remember. Continue reading

How Steve Bannon and Guo Wengui created a right-wing sensation

Source: NYT (11/20/20)
How Steve Bannon and a Chinese Billionaire Created a Right-Wing Coronavirus Media Sensation
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
Increasingly allied, the American far right and members of the Chinese diaspora tapped into social media to give a Hong Kong researcher a vast audience for peddling unsubstantiated pandemic claims.
By Amy QinVivian Wang and Danny Hakim

Dr. Li-Meng Yan’s interview on Tucker Carlson’s show in September racked up at least 8.8 million views online. Facebook and Instagram flagged it as false information. Credit…Fox News

Dr. Li-Meng Yan wanted to remain anonymous. It was mid-January, and Dr. Yan, a researcher in Hong Kong, had been hearing rumors about a dangerous new virus in mainland China that the government was playing down. Terrified for her personal safety and career, she reached out to her favorite Chinese YouTube host, known for criticizing the Chinese government.

Within days, the host was telling his 100,000 followers that the coronavirus had been deliberately released by the Chinese Communist Party. He wouldn’t name the whistle-blower, he said, because officials could make the person “disappear.”

By September, Dr. Yan had abandoned caution. She appeared in the United States on Fox News making the unsubstantiated claim to millions that the coronavirus was a bio-weapon manufactured by China.

Overnight, Dr. Yan became a right-wing media sensation, with top advisers to President Trump and conservative pundits hailing her as a hero. Nearly as quickly, her interview was labeled on social media as containing “false information,” while scientists rejected her research as a polemic dressed up in jargon. Continue reading

Unearthing Chinese Australia

China Studies Centre 
Researching global issues in China 
Workshop: Unearthing Chinese Australia

Photo credit: Wedding portrait of Tutoy Chinn and Charles Wong Hee from Museum of Chinese Australian History Collection, P00614

The workshop Unearthing Chinese Australia has been organised to mark the establishment of the Museum of Chinese in Australia. MOCA will be housed in a dedicated community space in the Haymarket district of Sydney, the city’s oldest surviving, and largest, Chinatown. The Museum will create a centre for discovery, preservation and promotion of the history, heritage and material culture of the Chinese in Australia. It will play an important role in communicating the story of Chinese settlers and their descendants for future generations. This workshop gathers emerging and established research in this timely field, and includes glimpses of Chinese Australian history in the material collections of Australia.

The full program is available as a downloadable PDF file .Free online event, registration essential.

Thursday 3 December 9:00am-3:30pm
Friday 4 December 9:00am – 2:45pm
Location: Online event
Register for event

Posted by: Yanping Zhang <yanping.zhang@sydney.edu.au>

The erasure of Mesut Özil

Source: NYT (10/26/20)
The Erasure of Mesut Özil
A year ago, he was one of the Premier League’s highest-paid players. Now, after angering China and refusing a pay cut, he has simply vanished.
By Rory Smith and Tariq Panja


Mesut Özil

LONDON — Everything started with a tweet. Mesut Özil knew the risks, in December last year, when he decided to offer a startling, public denunciation both of China’s treatment of the Uighurs, a largely Muslim minority in the region of Xinjiang, and the complicit silence of the international community.

Friends and advisers had warned Özil, the Arsenal midfielder, that there would be consequences. He would have to write off China as a market. His six million followers on Weibo, the country’s largest social network, would disappear. His fan club there — with as many as 50,000 signed-up members — would go, too. He would never play in China. He might become too toxic even for any club with Chinese owners, or sponsors eager to do business there.

Özil knew this was not fearmongering. He was aware of China’s furious response — both institutionally and organically — to a tweet by Daryl Morey, the general manager of the N.B.A.’s Houston Rockets, only a few weeks earlier. Yet Özil was adamant. He had been growing increasingly outraged by the situation in Xinjiang for months, watching documentaries, consuming news reports. He believed it was his duty, he told his advisers, not so much to highlight the issue but to pressure Muslim-majority nations — including Turkey, whose president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had served as best man at Özil’s wedding — to intercede.

And so he pressed send. Continue reading

Epoch Times influence machine (1)

The Epoch Times has responded to the NYT article–Leila M. <elenamierce@gmail.com>

Source: The Epoch Times (10/25/20)
New York Times’ 8-Month-Long ‘Investigation’ of The Epoch Times: Light on Facts, Heavy on Bias

The New York Times on Oct. 24 published an article by tech columnist Kevin Roose about The Epoch Times. The article was published on the front page of the NY Times’ Sunday edition on Oct. 25.

Roose worked on this article about The Epoch Times for at least eight months. The result, however, is disappointing. Instead of attempting to give a fair portrayal of The Epoch Times as an up-and-coming media outlet, Roose resorts to factual errors, innuendo, and misrepresentations in an attempt to smear a competing media outlet.

Furthermore, previous social media comments made by Roose and NY Times media columnist Ben Smith (who contributed to Roose’s article) about The Epoch Times, in which they appear to discuss a collective effort against The Epoch Times, raise questions about the intent behind this article (see the section “Personal Bias” below). Continue reading

Anti-China Politics in the US Election

Critical China Scholars Presents:
Anti-China Politics in the US Election
Cosponsored by: Justice is Global, Made in China Journal, positions politics
Organizer: Jake Werner, Boston University

Though US elections generally turn on domestic issues, the relationship with China this year has become a potent campaign issue. Years of rising tension between elites in the two countries coincided with the mass trauma of the coronavirus pandemic and the Republicans’ attempt to racialize it. In the process, American military, economic, and racial anxieties are finding new expression, posing a complex challenge to progressive movements. This webinar will discuss the impact of anti-China politics in the US election domestically and internationally and explore how anti-racist and global solidarity activists are responding.

Christian Sorace, Colorado College
Shen Lu, Chinese Storytellers
Khury Petersen-Smith, Institute for Policy Studies
Tobita Chow, Justice Is Global

Date: Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 PM EST


Epoch Times influence machine

Source: NYT (10/24/20)
How The Epoch Times Created a Giant Influence Machine
Since 2016, the Falun Gong-backed newspaper has used aggressive Facebook tactics and right-wing misinformation to create an anti-China, pro-Trump media empire.
By Kevin Roose


Credit…Adam Ferriss

For years, The Epoch Times was a small, low-budget newspaper with an anti-China slant that was handed out free on New York street corners. But in 2016 and 2017, the paper made two changes that transformed it into one of the country’s most powerful digital publishers.

The changes also paved the way for the publication, which is affiliated with the secretive and relatively obscure Chinese spiritual movement Falun Gong, to become a leading purveyor of right-wing misinformation.

First, it embraced President Trump, treating him as an ally in Falun Gong’s scorched-earth fight against China’s ruling Communist Party, which banned the group two decades ago and has persecuted its members ever since. Its relatively staid coverage of U.S. politics became more partisan, with more articles explicitly supporting Mr. Trump and criticizing his opponents. Continue reading