Polyamory in the PRC

Source: Sup China (2/13/18)
Polyamory In The PRC: A Brief History Of Sex And Swinging In Modern China
Article 301 of China’s 1997 Criminal Law bans “group licentiousness,” and has been used in the past to bust would-be swingers. But why?
By Robert Foyle Hunwick

Illustration by Katie Morton

It was women who brought down Ma Yaohai 马尧海. The older, nosier kind — not the ones he liked to watch having sex.

In 2010, the then-53-year-old bespectacled academic became the face of Chinese swinging when he was arrested for “group licentiousness.” Although one of 22 charged, it was Ma’s refusal to quietly roll over and plead guilty, coupled with his professorial status, that made him a cause célèbre; it was thusly revealed, to many in China, that orgies are technically illegal.

The case symbolized the division between an older, staunchly conservative establishment and its more progressive, post-Reform juniors, who take freewheeling, pluralistic runs at formerly forbidden fare. Continue reading

Chinese govt gave money to Georgetown Chinese student group

Posted by Magnus Fiskesjö, nf42@cornell.edu
Source: Foreign Policy (2/14/18)
Chinese Government Gave Money to Georgetown Chinese Student Group
Growing party influence on campuses nationwide has cast a pall over academic freedom.

A statue of John Carroll, founder of Georgetown University, sits before Healy Hall on the school’s campus August 15, 2006 in Washington, DC. Georgetown University was founded in 1789 and it is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the U.S. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Founded in the early 2000s, the Georgetown University Chinese Students and Scholars Association hosts an annual Chinese New Year gala, organizes occasional academic forums, and helps Chinese students on campus meet and support each other. The group has also accepted funding from the Chinese government amounting to roughly half its total annual budget, according to documents and emails obtained by Foreign Policy.

The total sum may not be large, but the documents confirm a link between the Chinese government and Chinese student organizations on American campuses that is often suspected but difficult to verify. Continue reading

China’s surveillance state

Scary stuff, Orwell’s 1984 already arrived and in place now.–Magnus Fiskesjö <nf42@cornell.edu>

Source: The Atlantic Monthly (2/2/18)
China’s Surveillance State Should Scare Everyone
By Anna Mitchell and Larry Diamond

A security camera is attached to a pole in front of the portrait of former Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, on May 19, 2017. Thomas Peter / Reuters

Imagine a society in which you are rated by the government on your trustworthiness. Your “citizen score” follows you wherever you go. A high score allows you access to faster internet service or a fast-tracked visa to Europe. If you make political posts online without a permit, or question or contradict the government’s official narrative on current events, however, your score decreases. To calculate the score, private companies working with your government constantly trawl through vast amounts of your social media and online shopping data.

When you step outside your door, your actions in the physical world are also swept into the dragnet: The government gathers an enormous collection of information through the video cameras placed on your street and all over your city. If you commit a crime—or simply jaywalk—facial recognition algorithms will match video footage of your face to your photo in a national ID database. It won’t be long before the police show up at your door. Continue reading

update on Gui Minhai

Update on the Swedish publisher Gui Minhai, imprisoned in China since October 2015:

The good news is that his daughter Angela accepted the International Publishing Assn. Voltaire prize, for freedom of publishing, for her father currently imprisoned in China. The prize was issued in Delhi. See:

https://publishingperspectives.com/2018/02/gui-minhai-daughter-ipa-congress-freedom-to-publish/   (English)
https://www.svt.se/kultur/gui-minhais-dotter-om-tv-framtradandet-uppenbart-manusfort  (Swedish/English w. video) Continue reading

Update on Gui Minhai

Here is an update on the dramatic new turn for the worse for Gui Minhai, the HK-based published and writer kidnapped from Thailand in October 2015, then detained in China and forced (twice, in 2016) to make fake confessions on Chinese state TV, and detained (while his HK bookstore and publishing business was destroyed and silenced) until mid-October 2017 when the Chinese authorities said he was free.

Gui is a Swedish citizen only, and on Jan. 20, my country’s embassy had arranged for him to travel to our embassy and see a doctor for the grave signs of illness that he has developed while in Chinese detention. On the train there, in the presence of the two Swedish diplomats accompanying him on the trip, Gui was suddenly seized and hauled off by ten plainclothes men. It took China two weeks to acknowledge it was indeed China’s government (and not some random rogue gang) that had seized him again, despite their words. When, finally, China’s government acknowledged thru their own foreign ministry that it did this, they also issued threats against our country, in the manner typical of previous times China has intimidated other countries — such as it recently did to Norway and to others. Continue reading

Who killed more: Hitler, Stalin, or Mao

Source: NY Review of Books (2/5/18)
Who Killed More: Hitler, Stalin, or Mao?
By Ian Johnson

Chairman Mao attending a military review in Beijing, China, 1967 (Photo by Apic/Getty Images)

In these pages nearly seven years ago, Timothy Snyder asked the provocative question: Who killed more, Hitler or Stalin? As useful as that exercise in moral rigor was, some think the question itself might have been slightly off. Instead, it should have included a third tyrant of the twentieth century, Chairman Mao. And not just that, but that Mao should have been the hands-down winner, with his ledger easily trumping the European dictators’.

While these questions can devolve into morbid pedantry, they raise moral questions that deserve a fresh look, especially as these months mark the sixtieth anniversary of the launch of Mao’s most infamous experiment in social engineering, the Great Leap Forward. It was this campaign that caused the deaths of tens of millions and catapulted Mao Zedong into the big league of twentieth-century murders. Continue reading

What it’s like to live in a surveillance state

Source: NYT (2/5/18)
What It’s Like to Live in a Surveillance State
查看简体中文版 查看繁體中文版

CreditBrian Stauffer

Imagine that this is your daily life: While on your way to work or on an errand, every 100 meters you pass a police blockhouse. Video cameras on street corners and lamp posts recognize your face and track your movements. At multiple checkpoints, police officers scan your ID card, your irises and the contents of your phone. At the supermarket or the bank, you are scanned again, your bags are X-rayed and an officer runs a wand over your body — at least if you are from the wrong ethnic group. Members of the main group are usually waved through.

You have had to complete a survey about your ethnicity, your religious practices and your “cultural level”; about whether you have a passport, relatives or acquaintances abroad, and whether you know anyone who has ever been arrested or is a member of what the state calls a “special population.” Continue reading

China confirms arrest of Gui Minhai

Source: Al Jezeera (2/6/18)
China confirms arrest of bookseller Gui Minhai

China confirms arrest of bookseller Gui Minhai

Gui disappeared while on holiday in Thailand in October 2015 [Anthony Wallace/AFP]

An ailing Hong Kong-based bookseller was arrested by Chinese authorities last month for allegedly breaking the law, China’s foreign ministry said.

China confirmed Gui Minhai’s detention for the first time on Tuesday, after his daughter said Chinese police had arrested him in January while he was travelling to Beijing for medical help, accompanied by two Swedish diplomats.

“Gui Minhai broke Chinese law and has already been subjected to criminal coercive measures in accordance with the law by relevant Chinese authorities,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters. Continue reading

Agnes Chow has China worried

Source: The Guardian (2/3/18)
Enemy of the state? Agnes Chow, the 21-year-old activist who has China worried
Hong Kong pro-democracy campaigner who was banned from office says an entire generation of young people is being targeted
By Benjamin Haas in Hong Kong

Agnes Chow

If China has its way, Agnes Chow’s political career will be over before it begins.

The self-described “average schoolgirl” who transformed into a thorn in the side of the Chinese leadership was last week blocked from running for political office in Hong Kong because of her party’s pro-democracy manifesto.

The unprecedented move penalises mere affiliation with a political idea and was designed to prevent Chow and her Demosisto party colleagues from entering the Legislative Council. Continue reading

Hip hop ban not about hip hop

Like so many things in China, the trouble with hip hop is its popularity–its ability to draw a crowd.–Anne Henochowicz  <annemh2@gmail.com>

Source: Magpie Digest (1/25/18)
China’s Hip Hop Ban is Not Really About Hip Hop
This is issue #9 of the Magpie Digest newsletter, originally sent on 1/25/2018

Co-champions of Rap of China, GAI and PG One

On January 18th, Rap of China co-champion GAI was abruptly pulled from the celebrity-studded entertainment reality TV show 歌手 (“The Singer”) right before the second episode aired, despite a wildly successful performance the week before. The next day, Sina Entertainment reported that his hasty removal from the show was likely due to a broader governmental crackdown on “countercultural content” on television. Continue reading

Propaganda on my morning commute

Source: NYT (1/28/18)
The Propaganda I See on My Morning Commute

In Sanlitun Soho, a commercial and office complex in Beijing, a giant electronic billboard displays this message from the Chinese Communist Party: “The people have faith. The nation has hope. The state has strength.” Credit Gilles Sabrié for The New York Times

BEIJING — People joke that it’s now easier in many Chinese cities to use Communist Party slogans rather than street names to give directions.

Looking for a bank in Downtown Beijing?

Walk past the screen proclaiming, “The people have faith,” take a right at the poster glorifying President Xi Jinping and cross the footbridge with the banner declaring a new era of prosperity for China. Continue reading

SAPPRFT issues “recommended” online lit

Source: Global Times (1/26/18)
Chinese online literature blossoms with more diverse themes

Chinese online literature is shifting from a focus on pure fantasy to a kaleidoscope of themes, as suggested by a recently released official recommendation list.

A total of 24 pieces of online literature, including “The Road To Rejuvenation,” “Fighter of Destiny,” “Stay-at-home Mothers Go Forward” and “Candy Marriage” were featured in the list of recommendations jointly released by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) and China Writers Association (CWA), which have released similar lists for three consecutive years.

“We saw a significant increase in realistic subjects reflecting people’ s everyday lives in online literature this year,” said Chen Qirong, director of the CWA’s online literature committee. Continue reading

HKU rallies behind suspended students

Source: Sup China (1/25/18)
Hong Kong University Groups Rally Behind Students Suspended For Protesting Mandarin Test
“We urge the president of other universities to stand out to safeguard free speech and academic freedom at Hong Kong universities”: joint statement from more than 10 Hong Kong university student unions.

Andrew Chan Lok-hang 陈乐行 (left) and Lau Tsz-kei 刘子颀, Hong Kong Baptist University students

Lau Tsz-kei 刘子颀, the university’s student union president, and Andrew Chan Lok-hang 陈乐行, a fifth-year student at the HKBU School of Chinese Medicine, were barred from classes for violating the HKBU students’ code of conduct. They were involved in an eight-hour standoff at the school’s language center last week, in which they used foul language and appeared to aggressively confront the staff.

According to Chin, the decision had nothing to do with politics and was made because teachers at the scene felt threatened and insulted by the students’ behavior. He said that both he and the school were facing immense pressure due to the incident — from whom or what, he did not specify — adding that the ongoing disciplinary proceedings would take a few weeks to complete. At one moment during the announcement, Chin appeared to hold back tears. Continue reading

Hip-hop culture faces crackdown

Source: BBC News (1/24/18)
China’s fledgling hip-hop culture faces official crackdown
By Beijing bureau, BBC News

Rap of China poster

Image copyrightIQIYI. PG One was the first of China’s A-list rappers to fall from grace

Last summer, a reality show called The Rap of China took the country by storm.

The show brought hip-hop music from the underground into the limelight and made it a multi-million dollar business. Several of the top contestants shot to stardom.

In the past few weeks, however, things took a surprising turn and the buzzing hip-hop scene was quickly muzzled.

It all started with PG One, one of the two rappers who won The Rap of China. He was accused of having an affair with a married celebrity. Continue reading