Critical China Scholars statement on the “lab-leak” investigation (2)

It is mystifying to me how otherwise really intelligent people willfully misread the recent CCS Statement on the ‘lab-leak hypothesis.’

The statement says clearly: we call for a multilateral inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 for the purposes of global health and international scientific cooperation; we are skeptical of any US-led inquiry because the inflamed politics of the bilateral relationship politicizes any such inquiry and renders it suspect from the onset; and we are clear that the PRC government would not cooperate with any US-led inquiry.  We are not unaware of the strong likelihood that both the Chinese and the US governments have been lying about many things concerning the virus, and we continue to be clear that the antagonisms of state politics will not resolve the questions, but rather will further inflame them. We link the COVID-19 origins stories and the further inflaming of bilateral antagonisms to anti-Asian racisms in the United States and elsewhere in the West, because we are not representing China or the Chinese, we are critical China scholars who reside outside of China. Our organization has issued clear condemnations of the Chinese state for the systemic racist violence they are perpetrating in Xinjiang, and anyone who is interested can certainly look on our website ( to find our positions on that and many other things.

In conclusion, I’d ask that those who might wish to disagree with us do so on the basis of what we’ve actually said.

Rebecca Karl (as an individual)

US kicks out Chinese students for ties to military

Source: SupChina (9/10/20)
U.S. kicks out 1,000 Chinese students for alleged ties to ‘military-civil fusion’
The Trump administration says that it has cancelled more than 1,000 visas of Chinese students since a May 29 proclamation that put graduate students connected to China’s “military-civil fusion” in the crosshairs.
By Lucas Niewenhuis

middle school connected to the northwestern polytechnic university in china

A flag-raising ceremony at the middle school attached to Northwestern Polytechnic School in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province. Several Chinese undergraduate students in the U.S. who had their visas cancelled said they had previously attended this middle school. Photo via Baidu.

On May 29, 2020, the White House issued a proclamation that made clear the following: Any Chinese graduate student in the U.S. with even a vague connection to “military-civil fusion” in China was at risk of losing their visa.

What was less clear is how many students might end up being affected — one official estimate was “at least 3,000” of the approximately 360,000 Chinese students in the country — or whether the Trump administration would ever make transparent its criteria for determining whether or not a Chinese student was too close to the military for comfort.

  • Universities at the time were “deeply concerned that the order could lead to vast overreach, wrongly shutting out students whose work is non-military, openly published and critical to American research efforts in fields ranging from climate change to energy storage,” the LA Times reported.

Continue reading

Sino-Japanese War as Portrayed in Youth Literature

The Sino-Japanese War as Portrayed in Youth Literature — interview with Dr Minjie Chen, Cotsen Children’s Library, Princeton

“That’s how I decided that a study of the representation of the Sino-Japanese War in children’s books was overdue. Little did I know, that quiet afternoon of leafing through a picture book would kick off several years of obsession with any publication about World War II. I combed through library catalogs and bibliographies, collected Chinese comic books, searched for entries in children’s magazines, photocopied pages from school textbooks, hunted out-of-print American children’s novels, and watched more movies than I can name about the Sino-Japanese War and the Pacific War. In addition, I interviewed elderly women in my hometown, recorded their recollections of when the mountain town hosted the Zhejiang provincial government in exile until the end of the war, and compared their private experiences with what information was publicly available to youth.” – interview with Dr Minjjie Chen, Cotsen Children’s Library, Princeton

China ravages Xinjiang cultural heritage (1)

Rian Thum just published a new article on how the sacred and historical sites of the Uyghurs are being destroyed or desecrated by the Chinese authorities – and he also puts this in the context of regime’s broad campaign against Uyghur culture (down to the force-cleansing of native cultural heritage of private home interior design). Highly recommended.

It can be read alongside other reports, such as the URHRP on Kashgar,  kashgar-coerced-forced-reconstruction-exploitation-and-surveillance-cradle, and on mosques,  Hanlon’s on Turpan, and others.

Yet as far as I know, ICOMOS, UNESCO and other heritage organizations and cultural heritage, architects and other professionals and academic organizations, are still preserving their silence on China’s mass destruction of culture and heritage in Xinjiang/East Turkestan.

It’s a malfunctioning of the world’s conscience. Was the world also as shamefully silent in the 1960s-70s, when the Chinese under Mao smashed up their own temples, as well as those of others, in Tibet and beyond?

In any case, the destruction today is genocidal in character. Over this past summer, new evidence and new testimonies on the systematic abuse and killing of women and children in the Uyghur region appeared, bringing about a clear realization around much of the world that the Chinese government is committing genocide, as defined under the 1948 Genocide Convention – under which Burma is currently being prosecuted in the Hague. Continue reading

Oberlin position

The East Asian Studies Program at Oberlin College invites applications for a one-semester, full- time non-continuing faculty position in Chinese Language and Culture. Appointment to this position will begin in the spring semester of the academic year 2020-2021 (Jan. – April 2021) and will carry the rank of Visiting Assistant Professor or Instructor.


Oberlin’s Chinese language curriculum, offering five levels of Chinese, is lodged within the East Asian Studies Program, which includes Japanese, Chinese, and Korean Studies, and the disciplines of Anthropology, Art History, Cinema Studies, Religion, History, Environmental Studies, and Politics.


The incumbent will teach a total of three courses (in Chinese language at the intermediate level and Chinese Studies). The Chinese studies courses will be taught in English. The incumbent will participate in co-curricular activities in the Chinese Language Program and in East Asian Studies.


Among the qualifications required for appointment is the Ph.D. degree (in hand or expected by the first semester of the academic year 2020-2021). Candidates must demonstrate interest and potential excellence in undergraduate teaching. Successful teaching experience at the college level is required. Native or near-native proficiency in Chinese and in English is also required. Finally, candidates must demonstrate proof of Ohio residency. Continue reading

AAS 2021–cfp

Dear Friends,

Please see the following important information regarding AAS 2021 call for proposals:


Liang Luo
AAS 2021 Annual Conference Program Committee

Dear Colleagues:

On behalf of the Program Committee for the Association for Asian Studies, I am pleased to issue the Call for Proposals for the AAS Annual Conference to be held March 25-28, 2021 at the Sheraton Grand Seattle Hotel and the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, Washington.

The 2021 Annual Conference will include both in-person and virtual presentations and will also include options for virtual registration/attendance. For more information, please visit the conference registration page.

We are pleased to invite colleagues in Asian studies to submit proposals for Organized Panels, Roundtables, Workshops, and Individual Paper proposals. The program committee seeks sessions that will advance knowledge about Asian regions and, by extension, will enrich teaching about Asia at all levels. AAS Membership is not required to submit a proposal nor to present at the conference. Continue reading

HK dismissal petition

Posted by Magnus Fiskesjö,
[HKSAAF] Invitation for Signing a Statement on the sudden dismissal of Shiu Ka-chun of the Hong Kong Baptist University and Benny Tai of the University of Hong Kong

Dear all,

We would like to invite you to kindly consider being a co-signatory of the following statement regarding the dismissals of Mr. Benny Tai of the University of Hong Kong and Mr. Shiu Ka-chun of the Hong Kong Baptist University.  The Chinese version will be placed at the top, followed by the English one. The statement will be sent to the press. If you want to sign, please click the links below. Thanks for your time.

*   Chinese Version:
*   English Version:

Best regards,

Scholars’ Alliance for Academic Freedom Continue reading

HK tycoon pitches new city idea to Ireland

Source: The Guardian (7/28/20)
Hong Kong property tycoon pitches new city idea to Ireland
Ivan Ko hopes to find site between Dublin and Belfast to host 50,000 fellow Hongkongers
By Rory Carroll, Ireland correspondent

View from Castlecoe Hill looking north towards Dundalk. Ko said Ireland’s attractions included is low population density.

View from Castlecoe Hill looking north towards Dundalk. Ko said Ireland’s attractions included its low population density. Photograph: Christopher Briggs/Alamy Stock Photo

A Hong Kong property tycoon wants to build a city in Ireland to host 50,000 emigrants from the semi-autonomous city.

Ivan Ko, the founder of the Victoria Harbour Group (VHG), an international charter city investment company, hopes to find a 50 sq km site between Dublin and Belfast to create a new city, named Nextpolis, from scratch.

Ko has pitched the plan, which would include schools that teach in Cantonese, to Irish officials, arguing it would fit the government’s stated desire to develop regions outside the capital. Continue reading

HK voters defy Beijing

Source: NYT (7/13/20)
Hong Kong Voters Defy Beijing, Endorsing Protest Leaders in Primary
Voters turned out in high numbers to cast ballots in an unofficial primary for the city’s pro-democracy camp despite government warnings it might be against the new security law.
By Austin Ramzy, Elaine Yu and Tiffany May

Voters waited to cast ballots in a primary the opposition camp held over the weekend to select candidates for the upcoming elections. Credit…Jerome Favre/EPA, via Shutterstock

HONG KONG — Defying warnings from local officials that the Hong Kong opposition’s unofficial primary vote could be illegal under a sweeping new security law, hundreds of thousands of people chose avowedly pro-democracy candidates to run in citywide elections this year, results released Monday showed.

Early returns showed that the more than 600,000 people who had voted favored candidates who were prominent supporters of the months of demonstrations that have gripped the semiautonomous Chinese city. Their choices indicated a desire to see the goals of the protest movement pressed within the government itself, but could lead to an intensifying confrontation with the authorities, who could bar some from running.

“So many people came out to vote despite the threat that it may violate the national security law,” said Lester Shum, a 27-year-old activist and candidate who was among the front-runners on Monday. “That means Hong Kong people have still not given up.” Continue reading

HK law chokes a broadcaster RTHK

Source: NYT (7/8/20)
China’s Leash on Hong Kong Tightens, Choking a Broadcaster
RTHK, a government-funded news organization, has a fierce independent streak that has long angered the authorities.
By Austin Ramzy and Ezra Cheung

The “Headliner” set at Radio Television Hong Kong in June. The show, which has taken pointed jabs at the police, was suspended after government complaints. Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

HONG KONG — Hong Kong’s public broadcaster has long been a rare example of a government-funded news organization operating on Chinese soil that fearlessly attempts to hold officials accountable.

The broadcaster, Radio Television Hong Kong, dug into security footage last year to show how the police failed to respond when a mob attacked protesters in a train station, leading to widespread criticism of the authorities. The broadcaster also produced a three-part documentary on China’s crackdown on Muslims in Xinjiang. One RTHK journalist, Nabela Qoser, became famous in Hong Kong for her persistent questioning of top officials.

Now, RTHK’s journalists and hard-hitting investigations appear vulnerable to China’s new national security law, which takes aim at dissent and could rein in the city’s largely freewheeling news organizations. The broadcaster, modeled on the British Broadcasting Corporation, has already been feeling pressure. Continue reading

Documetary on the plight of Chinese miners

Source: SCMP (4/28/20)
‘It’s better than dying of hunger’: plight of Chinese miners with deadly lung disease exposed in new documentary
Miners, the Horsekeeper and Pneumoconiosis tells the story of an iron ore miner in Hunan, central China, dying of lung disease after toiling in an illegal mine. The film can only be seen at private screenings, says director Jiang Ningxie, because he won’t submit it to censors. Film censorship is too strict, he says.
By Elaine Yau in Beijing

Chinese iron ore miner Zhao Pinfeng, who died from pneumoconiosis at home in Hunan province, China, is one of the subjects of new documentary Miners, the Horsekeeper and Pneumoconiosis.

Chinese iron ore miner Zhao Pinfeng, who died from pneumoconiosis at home in Hunan province, China, is one of the subjects of new documentary Miners, the Horsekeeper and Pneumoconiosis.

From the age of 15, Zhao Pinfeng worked for two decades as an iron ore miner in a remote, mountainous area of Hunan province in central China.

Several years ago Zhao, who by then had two children and whose wife is mentally challenged, was diagnosed with pneumoconiosis, a fatal lung disease. He lost the ability to work and had to breathe through a ventilator. On one fateful night in 2018, an electricity outage at his village stopped his ventilator. He died the next day.

Zhao’s final days were recorded for a documentary feature, Miners, the Horsekeeper and Pneumoconiosis. Directed by Jiang Nengjie, the 81-minute film revolves around Hunan villagers who relied on the illegal mines for a living before they were closed down by the government. They include porters who transport the mine explosives and iron shards, and miners like Zhao. Continue reading

Guo Jing’s Wuhan Lockdown Diary

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Hongwei Bao’s essay “Diary Writing as Feminist Activism: Guo Jing’s Wuhan Lockdown Diary (2020).” The essay appears below and at its online home: My thanks to Hongwei Bao for sharing this important work with the MCLC community.

Kirk Denton, editor

Diary Writing as Feminist Activism:
Guo Jing’s Wuhan Lockdown Diary (2020)

By Hongwei Bao

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright April 2020)

Figure 1: Cover of Guo Jing’s Wuhan Lockdown Diary.

For seventy-seven days from January 23 to April 8, Wuhan, a Chinese city with a population of eleven million people, was locked down to contain the spread of the coronavirus. This extreme measure was “unprecedented” in world public health history.[1] The total number of Covid-19 infection cases recorded in the city stood at 50,333, with 3,869 deaths, as of April 17, 2020.[2] While a lot has been written about the Chinese government’s response to the epidemic, our understanding of the human cost and social impact of the epidemic has just begun. A lot of questions remain in the unpredictable aftermath of the lockdown: How did people cope with the lockdown physically, psychologically and emotionally? How did people live their lives during and after such a tremendous disruption? Can life go back to normal, if “normality” is so desired? Examining the situation in Wuhan, a city that has experienced such a dramatic and traumatic historic event, has significant implications for our understanding of and responses to the global pandemic.

During the Wuhan lockdown, a 29-year-old social worker and feminist activist named Guo Jing 郭晶 kept a diary, which she shared online and through social media with her friends and followers. Almost immediately after the lockdown, in early April 2020, Guo’s diary, titled Wuhan Lockdown Diary (武汉封城日记), was published by Taipei-based Linking Publishing (联经出版), making the book the first officially published Wuhan lockdown diary by a literary press (fig. 1).[3] In the diary, Guo keeps a daily account of her own life and the lives of many other people she met online and offline. She also documents some of her thoughts on society and social issues, including her gender perspectives. With seventy-seven entries and totaling around 80,000 words, the diary is an important record of the lockdown history.[4] Continue reading

Fearing for my mother in Wuhan, Sinophobia in the US

Source: NYRB (April 6, 2020)
Fearing For My Mother in Wuhan, Facing a New Sinophobia in the US
Jiwei Xiao

From Zhao Liang’s Mask Series

Wuhan is far away. My annual trip to the city was long and exhausting, a pilgrimage. A fourteen-hour international flight would take me from Newark to an airport in Beijing or Shanghai, where I would wait another few hours before boarding a domestic flight to complete the journey. I went back again last June to visit my mother. The dusk gave way to night when the cab driver dropped me off under our big camphor trees. The scent of locust flowers filled the early summer air. The ceaseless noise of Wuhan streets became remote.

I had to walk my last fifty steps with my luggage in tow to reach the gate of the apartment building. The night, not yet too hot, had a fantastic unreality. In the dark I could see the white tips of gardenia flower buds on the tall bush in my mother’s half-abandoned front yard and the light pouring from her bedroom window to the balcony. I could even hear her low voice talking to someone and her shuffling steps. My heart beat a little faster when I buzzed the door. Continue reading

Diao Yinan’s The Wild Goose Lake

Hi all,

Want to share my NYR Daily piece on Diao Yinan’s The Wild Goose Lake with you: You can find out if it is still shown in theaters near you:

Source: New York Review Daily (3/14/20)
Into the Uncharted Zone: Diao Yinan’s ‘The Wild Goose Lake’
By Jiwei Xiao

Film Movement. Hu Ge as Zenong Zhou, back left, in Diao Yinan’s The Wild Goose Lake, 2019

The story of Diao Yinan’s new film, The Wild Goose Lake, is simple, almost allegorical: a man of the underworld is thrust onto a perilous journey to death to redeem himself. Zhou Zenong (Hu Ge) leads a gang that specializes in stealing motorbikes in the streets of Wuhan. After mistakenly killing a cop on the road, Zhou knows he is doomed. So he hatches a scheme to turn the hefty bounty on his head into a final gift for his family. After a botched attempt to get his wife (Wan Qian) to report him to the police, another woman Liu Ai’ai (Gwei Lun-mei), a “bathing beauty,” steps into the accomplice role and helps him finally accomplish the mission against tremendous odds. The film ends with Ai’ai and Zhou’s wife walking together side by side, carrying a bag of cash.

Zhou Zenong is resigned to his imminent death not because the crime squad is particularly capable. In one scene in which Captain Liu (Liao Fan) gathers his team to set up the operation, the officers are so unconfident about using firearms that they ask for retraining. What really makes Zhou sure about his sealed fate is his realization that he has committed an unforgivable crime and that he cannot escape an all-out man hunt in a surveillance society. Continue reading

Coronavirus source found in pangolins

The wildlife trail re-emerges: The pangolin, known as the target of massive over-harvesting for Chinese markets, an over-exploitation which is driving the animal to extinction across the world. In the wake of the Corona epidemic some writers have tried to paint criticism of Chinese over-harvesting as anti-Chinese racism, but if you just look at the pangolin, you realize this is at best gross ignorance and at worst, papering over the speed-rushed extinction of wildlife. Criticism of unsustainable foods and fake “medical” use, like with rhino horns etc. is not racism at all. It is necessary.–Magnus Fiskesjö,

Source: Daily Maverick (2/7/20)
Coronavirus source found in pangolin meat
By Don Pinnock and Tiara Walters

A picture made available on 30 June of Hook the pangolin resting on a tree stump while zoo keeper Suman looks on in the Singapore Zoo, 29 June 2008. EPA/HOW HWEE YOUNG

As the death toll climbs in the China pandemic, researchers reveal new origins for the coronavirus in Earth’s most threatened mammal.

The deadly novel coronavirus pandemic has been traced to pangolins, the world’s most trafficked and endangered mammal, according to researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. This had been confirmed by researchers at the South China Agricultural University.

Today Our Burning Planet can reveal that DNA analysed by the Baylor researchers appears to offer a near-perfect match for the current outbreak of novel coronavirus (nCoV-2019), an acute respiratory disease that has killed hundreds. Continue reading