US universities in China

Source: Asia Society (5/19/17)
Podcast: American Universities in China — Free Speech Bastions or Threat to Academic Freedom?
By Eric Fish

A student walks past the entrance to New York University’s Shanghai campus. (Eric Fish/Asia Society)

The Asia In-Depth podcast provides deep audio analysis on everything from China’s economy to “honor killing” in Pakistan. See the complete episode archive.Learn more

In 1986, Johns Hopkins University opened a study center in Nanjing University, making it the first American institution of higher education allowed to establish a physical presence in China during the Communist era. Since then, dozens of other institutions have followed suit, armed with guarantees that they can maintain the same standards of free speech and academic freedom that they enjoy in the U.S. … so long as those freedoms stop at the university door. Continue reading

novel-writing police chief executed for grisly murder

Source: SupChina (5/26/17)
Novel-writing police chief executed for grisly murder

Reuters reports that authorities executed Zhao Liping (赵黎平), the “former police chief of the northern region of Inner Mongolia, after convicting him of murder, bribery, and possession of firearms and explosives.” In 2016, overseas Chinese news and gossip siteWenxue City reported (in Chinese) that Zhao was the first senior official to be guilty of personally murdering someone with his own hands since 1949. There is some debate on the Chinese internet about the true story of Zhao’s crimes, but the broadly accepted facts seem to be:

  • Zhao Liping was called the “cultured cadre” by his colleagues in the Inner Mongolian police force. He published several novels and personal essays — some under the pseudonym of Mr. Dead Tree 槁木先生 — and was a member of the Chinese Writers Association. You can read Mystery in Wangling 王陵疑案, a novel that Zhao co-authored, at this link. Continue reading

journalism professor resignation note goes viral

Source: SupChina (5/26)/17
Journalism professor’s resignation note goes viral

On May 25, Xia Qiong 夏琼, who served as head of Journalism at the School of Journalism and Communication at Wuhan University for 12 years, posted a resignation letter on her WeChat Moments social media feed. The letter was circulated and discussed widely on the Chinese internet. Xia wrote: “During my 12 years serving as the head, I accomplished nothing and made no contributions to the school.” She added: “I asked for the school’s approval of my resignation.”

In a later post, Xia further stated: “After fighting for years against a flawed higher-education administration system that has no respect for teaching, tramples on teachers’ dignity, and undervalues students’ intelligence, I eventually realized that all my efforts are meaningless and of no value… It’s extremely difficult to be a dedicated teacher.”  Continue reading

Building cultural confidence

Source: Xinhua (5/24/17)
Political advisors discuss building cultural confidence

Yu Zhengsheng (C, back), chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), presides over a meeting on how to build the country’s cultural confidence and tell China stories well, in Beijing, capital of China, May 23, 2017. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)

BEIJING, May 23 (Xinhua) — Chinese political advisors met on Tuesday to discuss how to build the country’s cultural confidence and tell China stories well.

Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the top advisory body, chaired the meeting. Continue reading

Stop feeding the egos of China’s cyber-nationalists (1)

Thanks. This was a refreshing take, on the tragic incident with the harassment of the Chinese student in Maryland.

I sympathize with the suggestion not to help spread the vitriol. However, it may not be like this SCMP contributor seems to assume, that “patriotic” campaigns like this is all done by actual extremists, who are the ones responsible for the “cesspools on the internet” that we should  ignore. I think it may be more serious than that.

Sure, many real-life ultranationalists feel compelled to join, or people are caught up in this “Red Guard”-style, — about these real-life people, see also;,, and
Continue reading

what sex workers tell us about China

Source: Sixth Tone (5/23/17)
What Sex Workers Can Tell Us About China’s Transformation
Scholar Ding Yu explains how sex work reflects changing times, from ‘xiaojie’ to ‘compensated dating.’
By Qian Jinghua

A sex worker lies on her bed in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, March 6, 2010. Li Qin/VCG

In the 1990s, if you were a young woman in any Chinese city, everyone from waiters to taxi drivers would call you xiaojie. Ten years later, the once-ubiquitous term had become a euphemism for female sex workers. Some government offices even passed guidelines banning their employees from referring to their colleagues as xiaojie.

Though prostitution was outlawed in China in 1949, it has proven to be an extensive and resilient industry. Chinese economist Yang Fan has estimated that up to 20 million people are engaged in some form of sex work — from mistresses in private apartments and “money boys” in high-end clubs to street-based workers of all genders. Massage parlors, karaoke clubs, mahjong game rooms, and hair salons are all common sites for commercial sex. Continue reading

Stop feeding the egos of China’s cyber-nationalists

Source: SCMP (5/25/17)
My Take: Stop feeding the egos of China’s rabid cyber-nationalists
Online rants about a Chinese student’s comments about the US and an actress’ dress are not worth paying attention to: don’t give them the oxygen of publicity
By Alex Lo

Yang Shuping, a graduate student at the University of Maryland in the United States, who praised United States’ fresh air and freedom of speech has been forced to apologise after she was slammed as a liar and told to stay in America by nationalistic netizens. Photo: Handout

China’s army of cyber-nationalists really doesn’t leave much room for discussion or celebration of the nation. A mainland student in the United States making a few complimentary statements about her host country in her graduation speech has been angrily denounced on the internet for belittling her motherland. Meanwhile, actress Xu Dabao was rounded on for walking on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival with a dress with a design that mimics the national flag. Continue reading

Curious rise of the “white left” as an insult (1)

Here’s the Global Times‘ take on the “white left” phenomenon. See also –Kirk

Source: Global Times (5/22/17)
Chinese baizuo gibe a rebuttal to West’s moral superiority
By Zhang Yi

A Chinese-created term is catching attention on American social networks. Baizuo, or literally the “white left,” has triggered heated discussions about how it should be interpreted.

The term can now be found on Urban Dictionary, a crowdsourced online dictionary of slang words and phrases. The dictionary describes the buzzword as “meaning a naive Western-educated person who advocates for peace and equality only to satisfy their own feelings of moral superiority.”

A baizuo only cares about topics such as immigration, minorities, LGBT and the environment. The term first became a hit amid the European refugee crisis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel was the first Western politician tagged with the baizuo label because of her open-door refugee policy. Reporters said that Chinese students and job hunters complained that they had to try hard to stay in Europe, while unskilled refugees could just claim asylum and get welfare. Continue reading

Folding Beijing to be made into a movie

Source: (5/24/17)
Award-winning short story Folding Beijing will now be a movie
By Agency

Award-winning short story Folding Beijing will now be a movie

Author Hao Jingfang wrote the award-winning Folding Beijing. Photo: SCMP

The Hugo Award-winning science fiction short story Folding Beijing will be adapted into a movie, author Hao Jingfang told science fiction conference Melon Hong Kong recently.

The film will be directed by Korean-American screenwriter Josh Kim, whose previous credits include 2015’s How To Win At Checkers (Every Time). Continue reading

Five LGBT-themed movies from Taiwan

Source: SCMP (5/24/17)
Five great LGBT-themed movies from Taiwan, model of openness in Asia
In the week that Taiwan’s highest court made history by approving same-sex marriage, we look back at five films with lesbian, gay or bisexual themes
By Edmund Lee

(From left) Joseph Chang, Bryant Chang and Kate Yeung in Eternal Summer.

Taiwan’s top court made history this week by ruling in favour of same-sex marriage – the first Asian territory to do so. Taiwanese society has long been at ease with alternative sexuality, as reflected by these five great LGBT-themed films by Taiwanese directors.

The Wedding Banquet (1993)

Long before his modern classic Brokeback Mountain, Taiwanese-American filmmaker Ang Lee made his international breakthrough with this enthralling family dramedy, about a New York-based gay man who stages a sham marriage in order to please his conservative Chinese parents. Continue reading

Stand, special issue on Chinese writing

Stand Issue 213, Volume 15 Number 1

Cover image by Ruihua Zhang

Stand Issue 213, Volume 15 Number 1 (March – May 2017)
Chinese Journeys: a special issue on new Chinese writing featuring poetry, prose, translations and commentary

Table of Contents

Frances Weightman, Editorial

Yan Ge 颜 歌, The Panda Suicides Continue reading

Drug addicts call for divine intervention

Source: Sixth Tone (5/22/17)
China’s Drug Addicts Call for Divine Intervention
As illegal drugs continue to infiltrate the villages of Yunnan province, users are turning to a Christian rehab center to overcome addiction.
By Denise Hruby

Residents close their eyes while praying at the Gospel Rehabilitation Center in Baoshan, Yunnan province, March 18, 2017. Thomas Cristofoletti for Sixth Tone.

YUNNAN, Southwest China — Minus a handful of Bibles and a poster of Jesus, the dark, stuffy room where a group of men hold mass every Sunday looks nothing like a church.

“A long night covers the road ahead. This is the road I must walk, but you are my lamp, my light on the road,” they sing piously, most of their tenors and deep baritones off-key. The lyrics resonate with the group, who have voluntarily come to this Christian-run rehabilitation center with hopes of leaving behind drug addiction, with God as their guide. Continue reading

Art out of polluted air

Source: National Geographic (5/19/17)
Three Quirky Projects Make Art Out Of China’s Polluted Air
Filthy air has inspired Chinese citizens to speak out—and in some cases, to create art.
By Beth Gardiner

Artist Liu Bolin wears a mask and vest with 24 mobile phones as he live broadcasts dirty air in Beijing. It was December 19, 2016—the fourth day after a red alert was issued for dangerous pollution.

BEIJING, CHINA: Dirty air is part of life in China, unavoidable and in your face. It has inspired a tremendous boom in renewable energy, as the Chinese government begins to try to wean the country off coal. It has also inspired a level of citizen action that is unusual in an autocratic country.

And some of those active citizens are artists. Continue reading

China’s hottest ‘boy’ band (1)

Here’s another piece on Acrush.–Kirk

Source: NYT (5/20/17)
The 5 ‘Handsome Girls’ Trying to Be China’s Biggest Boy Band

The women of Acrush at a dance studio in Beijing in April. There are slick boy bands and foxy girl groups, but Acrush seeks to appeal to those who reject gender norms. CreditGilles Sabrié for The New York Times

BEIJING — In a small dance studio in Beijing, the members of China’s newest entry in the national pop-music pageant ran through a sequence of pulsing pelvic thrusts and choreographed crotch grabs.

After a three-minute workout, the group’s leader, Lu Keran, breathlessly asked the band’s manager: “Now can I go to the bathroom?” Continue reading

The Platormization of Chinese Society–cfp

Special Issue of Chinese Journal of Communication (CJC) CALL FOR PAPERS
Extended Abstract Submission Deadline: July 1, 2017 Full Paper Submission deadline: February 28, 2018.

Please click here to download the call for papers.

Guest Editors:

Jeroen de Kloet (Ph.D. Professor of Globalisation Studies, University of Amsterdam)
Thomas Poell (Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam)
Zeng Guohua (Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Institute of Journalism and Communication, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)

The general aims and focus of the Special Issue

Social media like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, as well as platforms for collaborative consumption such as Airbnb and Uber, are emerging as new power players that challenge older institutions and disrupt economic sectors like news, hospitality, and transport. While online platforms are celebrated as vehicles of the ‘participatory society’ and the ‘sharing economy’, these platforms often prove less progressive than they appear at first sight. Rather than simply stimulating citizen participation and entrepreneurialism, they enable the ‘datafication’ and ‘commodification’ of all social relations: collecting, algorithmically processing, circulating and selling user data (Couldry 2015; van Dijck & Poell 2013; Fuchs 2013; Turow 2012). Furthermore, platform corporations skillfully circumvent national labor laws and trade unions, intensifying labor precarization, and undermining existing businesses and institutions, such as newspapers, hotels, and taxi companies, which operate within established regulatory frameworks (Scholz, 2016). Continue reading

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