Biden’s opportunity to reverse course on China (1)

Yes. Spot on. America should bow down, and make sure to steer clinically clear of any hint of the genocide, oppression, and slavery going on in China, such as that which goes into solar panels. Because since when did Americans care about slavery or genocide?

ps. today the researchers at Sheffield Hallam U released their latest report on Chinese slavery on export to the US:

Built on Repression: The very floors we walk on could be made with forced labour. Sheffield Hallam University, Helena Kennedy Centre. [June 14, 2022].

And see their series, here’s the solar panels slavery report.

A nice writeup on today’s report:
TOXIC TILES: How Vinyl Flooring Made With Uyghur Forced Labor Ends Up at Big Box Stores. Mara Hvistendahl. The Intercept, June 14 2022, 9:00 a.m.

Magnus Fiskesjö <>

‘You can do it’–phrase of the week

Soruce: SupChina (6/10/22)
‘You can do it!’ — phrase of the week
What do purple buttocks have to do with China’s college entrance tests? For students who sat for gaokao exams this week, hard work was key, but so, too, were superstitions about what to eat or wear for good luck.
By Andrew Methven

Illustration by Derek Zheng

Our phrase of the week is: You can do it! (紫腚能行 zǐ dìng néng xíng!).


A record 11.93 million Chinese students sat for the grueling national college entrance exams, also known as the gāokǎo 高考, in schools across China on June 7 and 8 this week.

The gaokao tests are notoriously hard in normal times, but with the added stress of COVID and lockdowns, this year’s university hopefuls faced even greater challenges, and needed all the luck they could get.

Different regions in China have their own traditions for bringing good luck, or avoiding bad results on exams. Cooking certain meals the night before, or saying certain things on the day, are all important final superstitious touches to the months of preparations and hard work.

In northern China, one way to wish students good luck has become popular across the country in recent years, and especially in 2022:

Today is the gaokao, I’m sure you can do it!
jīn tiān gāokǎo le, wǒ juédé nǐ zǐ dìng néng xíng! Continue reading


The 6th Workshop on Innovations in Cantonese Linguistics (WICL-6) is an exciting conference hosted by faculty and grad students in the departments of East Asian Languages and Literatures and Linguistics at Ohio State University. Presenters are from four different regions of the world: North America, Europe, East Asia, and Australia!

WICL-6 will be held virtually via Zoom on May 27 and May 28, 2022. It is free and open to the public, although online registration is required. Details on the program schedule and online registration are available at the WICL-6 website:

See you there if you are planning to attend WICL-6!

WICL-6 Organizing Committee

WICL 6–cfp

Call for Papers: 6th Workshop on Innovations in Cantonese Linguistics (WICL-6)

The 6th Workshop on Innovations in Cantonese Linguistics (WICL-6) will take place as a virtual conference via Zoom on 27-28 May 2022 (EDT), to be hosted by The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A. As in the case of WICL-5, which held virtually at OSU in April 2020 due to the pandemic, we will do our best to arrange the WICL-6 program schedule to accommodate presenters in North America and in East Asia.

The WICL conference — an event hosted every two years by different institutions in North America — focuses on new advances in Cantonese Linguistics, including innovations in methodologies, tools, and/or computing software. New approaches and research on language variation within the Cantonese (or “Yue”) subgroup of the Chinese language family, language contact phenomena, and new subfields and their interfaces are especially welcome.

The biennial WIL events, with presentations delivered in English, are free and open to the public, although pre-registration is needed.

Keynote Speakers

  • Professor Alan Yu (University of Chicago)
  • Professor Elaine Francis (Purdue University). Continue reading

When war isn’t war

Source: China Media Project (3/12/22)
When War Isn’t War
While for much of the world the conflict in Ukraine is “Russia’s war,” Chinese media have opted for other terms, including “special military operation.” In this closer look at Chinese media coverage, we document this official framing — but also find some surprising and encouraging exceptions.
By David Bandurski

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy walks under a camouflage net in a trench as he visits the war-hit Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, Dec. 6, 2021. Image by manhhai available at under CC license.

Throughout most of the world, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine is “Russia’s war.” But as international media have reported, China has refused to talk about an “invasion” or a “war” in the two weeks since Vladimir Putin launched his military attacks. In its first press conference on February 24, the day attacks began, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs set the tone by saying that China had noted Russia’s “special military operation in eastern Ukraine.”

Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) seemed finally to break the pattern Thursday in a meeting with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, in which he said that China supports “a ceasefire to stop the war.” Nevertheless, voices critical of Putin, or even calling for peace, continue to be systematically removed from Chinese social media platforms, and content critical of Ukraine and the West, particularly the United States, proliferates.

To examine China’s framing of “Russia’s war” more closely, the China Media Project studied a randomized sample of reports over the past seven days. From among 721 total reports returned in the Wisenews database including the term “Russia-Ukraine” (俄乌) in mainland China, we isolated a subset of these reports including the word “war” (战争), yielding a total of 114 articles (87 print and 27 online). Randomizing these results we focused on just 25 articles for analysis. Continue reading

UBC Cantonese lectureship

The Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, is inviting applications for a lecturer position in Cantonese language and culture, to commence on September 1, 2022. This is a full-time, non-tenure-track position for an initial term of up to three years. The position is renewable for successive terms, subject to availability of funds and demonstration of excellence in teaching and service.

The Lecturer in Cantonese Language and Culture will join a department ( with a stellar reputation for its teaching and research of Asia as well as a vibrant community of teacher-scholars associated with the UBC Cantonese Language Program ( and the UBC Hong Kong Studies Initiative (

Details for this position can be found on the Asian Studies website ( Deadline for applications is 18 April 2022.

Leo Shin
Chair, Cantonese Language and Culture Search
Associate Professor, History and Asian Studies
The University of British Columbia, Vancouver

“Colonized” (1)

I wonder if anyone has seen signs of awareness or discussion in China, of the fact that China is really a settler-colonialist empire with its own “colonizers” in Xinjiang, Tibet and beyond.

I don’t think its possible that thinking people in China don’t realise there are direct and striking parallels to other empires and settler-colonialist projects in history.

But this is of course difficult to talk about in China, which is described by the government only as a victim and not an aggressor, just like Putin’s aggressor Russia does. In fact the whole Chinese mythology of peacefulness, which dominates in schools and in media, is a monstruous denial of the truth of China’s bloody history of conquest, inculcated in everyone like a gigantic taboo — along the lines of what Margaret Hillenbrand talks about in her book Negative Exposures: Knowing What Not to Know in Contemporary China.

I wrote before about how Westerners have been duped by this — many are susceptible because of they suffer from a self-centered West-and-the-rest syndrome.

But the main target of the ruse and cover-up of China’s imperial legacy is the Chinese people. Yet we also know they can’t fool all Chinese people all the time. So I am wondering if others have seen signs of counter-awareness — even in the recent totalitarian decade?

Magnus Fiskesjö <>


Source: China Media Project (2/18/22)
The CMP Dictionary: Colonized 殖人
By Stella Chen

At left, the image from a Dior photoshoot that brought severe criticism of photographer Chen Man (at right) online.

The term “colonized,” or zhiren (殖人), is an epithet often applied by nationalists online in China to attack those who hold opposing views on political and human rights issues. Generally, the term describes individuals who are seen as having been seduced and colonized by Western culture and values, but the term can sometimes also serve as an adjective describing certain subjects as examined through a generalized Western gaze.

Over the past three years, beginning around 2019 and Hong Kong protests over a planned bill allowing extraditions to mainland China, the term “colonized” (殖人) arose as a way for Chinese internet users to criticize and belittle calls by Hong Kong protestors for greater democracy – this being seen as stemming from a lingering colonial mentality after more than a century of British rule in the territory.

By the summer and fall of 2019, protests in Hong Kong were growing increasingly tense and unruly, with protestors facing off against police firing tear gas and rubber bullets. On July 1, 2019, the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from the UK to China, protestors stormed the premises of the Legislative Council (LegCo), defacing the regional emblem of Hong Kong and spraying graffiti on the walls. Several weeks later, protestors defaced the entry to China’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong. Though many of the protests were peaceful, these acts in particular angered many Chinese online, and they were reported in the state media (which played up the “chaos”) as “absolutely intolerable.” Continue reading

Save Cantonese at Stanford secures endowed gift

Save Cantonese at Stanford secures $1M endowed gift following a year-long campaign

I am writing as a member and co-organizer of Save Cantonese, a global community-driven movement to preserve Cantonese language and culture for future generations. Our campaign was launched in response to budget cuts that eliminated the only Cantonese lecturer position at Stanford University. Students, alumni, and concerned community members mobilized to Save Cantonese at Stanford: Our initial petition drew 4,000 supporters and global media attention.

After a year-long campaign, we now have the pleasure to announce that S.J. Distributors has made a $1,000,000 commitment to endow Cantonese language classes at Stanford University. This is a very important first step towards restoring and expanding the Cantonese program at Stanford.

I would like to thank everyone who signed our petition and supported us along the way (the link to the petition has been shared on the MCLC blog as well). We hope to build up on this success and continue to protect Cantonese language and culture in the United States and around the world. Everyone who shares our vision and would like to learn more about our efforts is welcome to contact us (savecantonese [at]

The full press release can be found here.


Maciej Kurzynski
Ph.D. Candidate, Stanford University

China increasingly rejects English

Source: NYT (9/9/21)
‘Reversing Gears’: China Increasingly Rejects English, and the World
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
A movement against Western influence threatens to close off a nation that succeeded in part by welcoming new ideas.
By Li Yuan

Credit…Jialun Deng

As a student at Peking University law school in 1978, Li Keqiang kept both pockets of his jacket stuffed with handwritten paper slips. An English word was written on one side, a former classmate recalled, and the matching Chinese version was written on the other.

Mr. Li, now China’s premier, was part of China’s English-learning craze. A magazine called Learning English sold half a million subscriptions that year. In 1982, about 10 million Chinese households — almost equivalent to Chinese TV ownership at the time — watched “Follow Me,” a BBC English-learning program with lines like: “What’s your name?” “My name is Jane.”

It’s hard to exaggerate the role English has played in changing China’s social, cultural, economic and political landscape. English is almost synonymous with China’s reform and opening-up policies, which transformed an impoverished and hermetic nation into the world’s second-biggest economy.

That’s why it came as a shock to many when the education authorities in Shanghai, the most cosmopolitan city in the country, last month forbade local elementary schools to hold final exams on the English language. Continue reading

The man behind China’s aggressive new voice

Source: NYT (7/7/21)
The Man Behind China’s Aggressive New Voice
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
How one bureaucrat, armed with just a Twitter account, remade Beijing’s diplomacy for a nationalistic era.
By Alex W. Palmer

Credit…Illustration by Olivier Bonhomme

On the morning of Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, the Australian prime minister Scott Morrison was working from his official residence when an aide alerted him to a tweet by a Chinese foreign-ministry spokesman. Morrison was about to finish a two-week quarantine after returning from a brief diplomatic visit to Japan, and he had spent most of the morning on the phone with Australian wine exporters, discussing Chinese tariffs that had just taken effect — some as high as 212 percent — the latest in an escalating string of punitive economic measures imposed on Australia by Beijing.

But the tweet, posted by a diplomat named Zhao Lijian, represented a different kind of aggression. “Shocked by murder of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian soldiers,” he wrote. “We strongly condemn such acts, & call for holding them accountable.” Attached was a digital illustration of an Australian soldier restraining an Afghan child with a large Australian flag while preparing to slit the boy’s throat. “Don’t be afraid,” the caption read, “we are coming to bring you peace!” When the tweet appeared online that morning, there were audible gasps in Australia’s Parliament House.

Earlier that month, the inspector general of the Australian Defense Force had released the results of a four-year investigation into alleged war crimes committed by elite Australian troops in Afghanistan. The investigation, which described a systemic culture of brutality and lawlessness, implicated 25 soldiers in the unlawful killing of 39 civilians and prisoners, with most of the incidents taking place in 2012. The report dominated news headlines for weeks and sparked a torturous national reckoning in Australia. To then see the country’s most grievous sins — already documented by its own government — weaponized in a sarcastic tweet from a foreign official was an almost incomprehensible insult. “I don’t think you could imagine a communication that could’ve been more perfectly shaped to be inflammatory in Australia, and so perfectly insensitive,” a former senior Australian government official said. Continue reading

Decoding China Tech Corporate Gibberish

Source: China Narrative 52 (7/5/21)
Trained, Tamed, Coined: Decoding China Tech Corporate Gibberish

Photo by Akson on Unsplash.

Greetings from Chinarrative!

Our previous newsletters featured the stories of employees trapped in the grueling “996” work culture of China’s booming tech industry. In this issue, we learn about a common gripe of newcomers to the sector — its overwhelming tide of meaningless corporate jargon, known in Chinese as heihua (“黑话”).

While the topic is lighthearted, it illuminates important ways that the Asian nation’s tech giants operate. In recent years, these firms have increasingly used their dominant market positions to project their corporate values, invoking their supposedly unique ways of thinking to justify their supremacy.

Like their counterparts in Silicon Valley, the ideological posturing of Chinese internet firms serves several purposes. It buttresses their claims of working for the greater social good and dilutes their reputation for ruthless profit-seeking. It helps them to attract employees seeking meaningful work, not just a salary. And it strengthens ties within the organizations by popularizing language that outsiders can’t understand.

But the strategy has a darker side as well. It can be used to justify long hours and inefficient work practices. It reflects the rising cognitive barriers to entry in China’s tech industry. And it popularizes empty, vague or counterintuitive terminology.

The story below, which originally appeared on the Chinese nonfiction platform Renwu, shows how Chinese tech firms have become hotbeds of gibberish. Some of the terms they use are made up and lack clear definitions; others imbue existing words with new meanings. Don’t worry if the corporate dialect leaves you scratching your head; in most cases, that’s exactly what it’s supposed to do. 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

National University of Singapore position


The Department of Chinese Studies, National University of Singapore, is one of the leading institutions in the world in the fields of Chinese Studies and Chinese Language and a major academic and research centre in Southeast Asia.   We invite applications for the post of Tenure Track or Educator Track (Open Rank) in Chinese Applied Linguistics and/or Translation/Interpretation. Appointments on the Educator Track are aimed at faculty members who approach teaching as scholarly practice in addition to research in their field of study.

Applicants for this position should have a PhD and be an active researcher or practitioner in a subfield of applied linguistics, broadly interpreted, including but not limited to Translation/Interpretation research or practice.  Scholars who can contribute to interdisciplinarity in research or teaching, whether with humanities or science fields, are particularly encouraged to apply. Continue reading

CCP slogans for 2021

Source: China Media Project (4/14/21)

CCP Slogans for 2021

The site of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China. Image available at Wikimedia Commons under CC license.

In a report yesterday, CMP noted the release by the Central Office of the CCP of a propaganda blueprint for the promotion of the 100th anniversary of the Party this year. The “Notice,” which was reported on the front page of the People’s Daily, defines the key propaganda themes that will likely dominate the Chinese media in 2021.

Along with the CCP notice, propaganda authorities released a list of 80 propaganda slogans to be used in this year’s campaign. Such a top-down national release of propaganda slogans was unprecedented in the reform era before 2019, when a list of 70 propaganda slogans was issued for the 70th anniversary of the PRC.

Below is our brief analysis of six key points gleaned from the list of 80 slogans. Continue reading