China’s Xinjiang policy

“Genocide is an ugly word—but it should be applied to what’s happening in Xinjiang”–Mei Fong in The Atlantic. Posted by: Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Source: The Atlantic (July 11, 2020)
China’s Xinjiang Policy: Less About Births, More About Control
Like the one-child policy, Beijing’s repressive actions against minority Uighur Muslims are about preserving power.

A group of young boys stands close to two large posters extolling the one-child policy.

A group of young boys stands near posters extolling the one-child policy in China’s Henan province.DIDIER RUEF / LUZPHOTO / REDUX

For years, when I was giving talks or discussing my reporting on China’s one-child policy, well-meaning audience members would inevitably ask a question that I had come to expect: “Of course forced abortions and sterilizations are bad,” they would say, “but isn’t the one-child policy good, in some ways? Doesn’t it help lift millions of people out of poverty?”

This has always been the Chinese Communist Party’s narrative. The one-child policy, it claimed, was a difficult but necessary move that was crucial for the country’s advancement. Deng Xiaoping, then China’s paramount leader, insisted in 1979 that without a drastic fall in birth rates, “we will not be able to develop our economy and raise the living standards of our people.” Continue reading

China’s silent axis on human rights

Source: China Media Project (7/9/20)
China’s Silent Axis on Human Rights

China’s Silent Axis on Human Rights

Screenshot from UN TV of Cuba making its statement on Hong Kong’s national security law at the Human Rights Council on June 30, 2020.]

On the afternoon of July 1, as Hong Kong residents grappled with a new national security law and wondered how much space would be left to “act out our freedom,” a new media platform operated by Shanghai’s Liberation Daily, the official organ of the municipality’s CCP Committee, was busy keeping score. The headline in the Shanghai Observer was euphoric: “27:53! A test of strength plays out at the Human Rights Council over Hong Kong’s national security law.”

The Shanghai Observer report responded to events at the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council the previous day, at which two statements had been delivered back to back. The first statement (available here), was delivered by Julian Braithwaite, the UK’s ambassador to the WTO and UN in Geneva, on behalf of 27 countries. Braithwaite emphasized that the Joint Declaration between China and the UK is “a legally binding treaty, registered with the United Nations,” and that China’s passing of a national security law “without the direct participation of Hong Kong’s people, legislature or judiciary of Hong Kong undermines ‘One Country, Two Systems.’” Continue reading

HK bans protest song and political expressions at schools

Source: NYT (7/8/20)
Hong Kong Bans Protest Song and Other Political Expression at Schools
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
Singing “Glory to Hong Kong,” posting slogans and forming human chains as a form of protest are banned under new guidelines issued by the city’s education secretary.
By Gerry Mullany

Students formed a human chain during a pro-democracy protest near their school in Hong Kong last month. Credit…Isaac Lawrence/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Hong Kong’s education secretary on Wednesday banned students from singing the protest anthem “Glory to Hong Kong,” posting slogans with political messages or forming human chains, saying “the schools are obliged to stop” such activities.

The statement by the secretary, Kevin Yeung, ratcheted up the pressure on the pro-democracy movement as Hong Kong residents struggle to determine what is acceptable behavior under a strict new national security law that China imposed on the semiautonomous territory last week.

Students, including middle schoolers, have been a driving force in Hong Kong’s protest movement. Beijing’s imposition of the national security law last Wednesday — and the subsequent arrests of teenagers at protests — has led some families to express concerns that their children could be in jeopardy for singing pro-democracy songs or even for expressing such sentiments in their homes. 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

The Last Kings of Shanghai

Source: Sup China (7/2/20)
A fresh look at the 1930s Jewish refuge, in ‘The Last Kings of Shanghai’
Jonathan Kaufman’s latest book provides an engaging, colorful history of Shanghai’s past that fully explores, but does not romanticize, the cosmopolitanism and colonialism of that era.
By Alex Smith


SupChina illustration by John Oquist

When I was living in Shanghai in the mid-2010s, two very different landmarks became constant tour stops as I played guide to visiting friends and family: the 1920s throwback Fairmont Peace Hotel, and the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum, housed in an old synagogue in Shanghai’s Hongkou District, once known as the Shanghai Ghetto. Jonathan Kaufman’s latest book, The Last Kings of Shanghai, provides an engaging history of how the iconic hotel and the Shanghai Ghetto came to be.

Kaufman traces the interconnected histories of two entrepreneurial families: the Sassoons, once known, due to their wealth and influence, as “the Rothschilds of Asia” — a term Kaufman notes the Sassoons themselves considered somewhat of an insult, since the Rothschilds were mere nouveau riche — and the Kadoories, depicted as the Sassoons’ less connected but determined distant cousins. Continue reading

John Thompson photo exhibit

From July 18th to mid-October 2020, ShungYe Museum of Formosan Aborigines (順益台灣原住民博物館) in Taipei will exhibit fifty photos of Taiwan in April 1871 (and related 30 original woodcuts) by John Thomson, travelling with fellow Scotsman Dr James Laidlaw Maxwell — who established the first Presbyterian chapels in Taiwan and its first western style medical dispensary.

Practically no silver-based albumen prints of this series have survived. The fifty pigment-based digital prints exhibited are by Michael Gray, from his (film contact) high-resolution scans  of Thomson’s original glass-negatives preserved at Wellcome Library.

This exhibition is an updated version of a first one by Françoise Zylberberg and René Viénet in 2006  during Taipei International Book Exhibition, then in 2008 at National Taiwan University Library, with lectures by Richard Ovenden, John Falconer, William Schupbach, Barbara & Michael Gray —  together with the only known framed set of the original 96 collotypes plates (218 views) from Thomson’s “Illustrations of China and its people…Continue reading

Xu Zhangrun seized

Source: NYT (7/6/20)
Seized by the Police, an Outspoken Chinese Professor Sees Fears Come True
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Xu Zhangrun, who has long taught law at the prestigious Tsinghua University, is one of the few academics in China who have harshly criticized the ruling Communist Party.

Xu Zhangrun, a law professor in China who was detained by the police in Beijing on Monday. Credit…The New York Times

The Chinese law professor had stored a few pairs of underwear and a toothbrush in a small bag, close at hand for the day when the police detained him for his unsparing criticism of the Communist Party under Xi Jinping.

That day appears to have arrived.

On Monday morning, the police showed up in force at the home of the scholar, Xu Zhangrun, in northern Beijing and took him away, according to three friends. He was detained on an accusation of consorting with prostitutes, according to Geng Xiaonan, a friend who said she had spoken to the scholar’s wife and students.

“It’s just the kind of vile slander that they use against someone they want to silence,” said Ms. Geng, a businesswoman involved in film and publishing. Continue reading

HK security law and police powers

Source: Hong Kong Free Press (7/6/10)
Hong Kong security law: Police handed power to do warrantless searches, freeze assets, intercept comms, control internet

national security committee

Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR. Photo: GovHK.

Hong Kong police will be authorised to conduct searches at private properties without a warrant, restrict suspects’ movements, freeze their assets, intercept communications and require internet service providers to remove information, as the city’s leader handed more powers to the force for implementing the new national security law.

On Monday night, the government gazetted the details of Article 43 of the controverisal legislation, which criminalises secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference. It came after the first meeting of the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR, chaired by Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

According to the latest legal document, an officer of – or above – the rank of assistant commissioner can authorise officers to enter premises without a warrant under “urgent” situations to search for evidence. Police can also apply for a warrant to demand suspected violators of the national security law to surrender their travel documents to restrict them from leaving the territory. Continue reading

The Art of Zhou Xiaoping in Aboriginal Australia

Source: Chinese Museum (nd)
Convergence: The Art of Zhou Xiaoping in Aboriginal Australia
Online from 25th June 2020, with the physical exhibition later in 2020.

Zhou Xiaoping’s art sheds light on traditions of art making that have been overlooked within the cannon of Western art history … he helps us look at cross-cultural art production in ways that are reinvigorating, respectful and enlightening. In so many ways the work of Zhou Xiaoping remains new and confronting.

Professor Robyn Sloggett (2020)
Director, the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation of the University of Melbourne

Artist Zhou Xiaoping in his Melbourne studio

Artist’s statement

The world suddenly seems to be a roaring lion that does not welcome a human invasion.

In 2020, under the worldwide attack of the coronavirus, humans seem to be awakening. The humans who have occupied the world are not powerful as we thought. We may fall in an instant. It is very frustrating that if the world is without humans, it will still continue in its life and beauty. So people in this world are more like guests. Continue reading

Pro-democracy books pulled from HK libraries

Source: BBC News (7/5/20)
Hong Kong security law: Pro-democracy books pulled from libraries

Protesters demonstrate against the national security law in Hong Kong (01/07/20)

There have been protests against the new law in Hong Kong, despite fears of stiff punishments. AFP

Books by pro-democracy figures have been removed from public libraries in Hong Kong in the wake of a controversial new security law. The works will be reviewed to see if they violate the new law, the authority which runs the libraries said.

The legislation targets secession, subversion and terrorism with punishments of up to life in prison. Opponents say it erodes the territory’s freedoms as a semi-autonomous region of China. Beijing rejects this.

Hong Kong’s sovereignty was handed back to China by Britain in 1997 and certain rights were supposed to be guaranteed for at least 50 years under the “one country, two systems” agreement.

Since the security law came into effect on Tuesday, several leading pro-democracy activists have stepped down from their roles. One of them – one-time student leader and local legislator Nathan Law – has fled the territory. Continue reading

Newman Prize 2021 nominees

The 2021 Newman Prize for Chinese Literature Nominations are in! Its an amazing group of authors (and jurors)!: Xu Xiaobin 徐小斌 nominated by Chen Xiaoming (Beijing University); Lung Yingtai 龍應台 nominated by Eileen Chow (Duke University); Su Tong 苏童 nominated by Huang Yunte (UC Santa Barbara); Wu He 舞鶴 nominated by Andrea Bachner (Cornell University); and Yan Lianke 阎连科 nominated by Eric Abrahamsen (Paper Republic).

The Newman Prize is sponsored by the University of Oklahoma’s Institute for US-China Issues, and is awarded every other year in recognition of outstanding achievement in prose or poetry that best captures the human condition. It is given solely on the basis of literary merit: any living author writing in Chinese is eligible. A jury of five literary experts nominated the five candidates and will select the winner in October through a transparent voting process. The winner will receive $10,000USD, a commemorative plaque, and a bronze medallion at an academic symposium and award banquet at OU in Norman in early March 2021. The event will be hosted by Jonathan Stalling, the Harold J. and Ruth Newman Chair for US-China Issues and Co-Director of the OU Institute for US-China Issues, which seeks to advance mutual trust in US-China relations. The inaugural Newman laureate Mo Yan (2009) went on to win the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature, and other Newman Prize winners have included Han Shaogong, Yang Mu, Chu T’ien-wen, Wang Anyi, and Xi Xi. The Newman Prize honors Harold J. and Ruth Newman, whose generous endowment of a chair at the University of Oklahoma enabled the creation of the OU Institute for US-China Issues. The University of Oklahoma is also home to Chinese Literature Today, the Chinese Literature Translation Archive, World Literature Today, and the Neustadt International Prize for Literature.

Human rights and social justice radio show

Soundcloud recording of the radio show “Human rights and social justice” on in Ithaca, NY, USA, July 3, 2020, Friday.

I speak with program host Ute Ritz-Deutch, about China’s crackdown on Hong Kong, and genocide in Xinjiang (East Turkestan):

“Magnus Fiskesjö, anthropology professor at Cornell University, talks about China’s new security law for Hong Kong, which makes it easier to prosecute demonstrators and further undermines the city’s autonomy. The details of the law were not revealed until after it already passed. This is a blow to the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, where Chinese officials can now arrest critics (even foreigners) without involving local authorities. He also gives an update on the Muslim Uyghur minority on mainland China. Over one million have been detained in camps and many are now working in slave labor conditions in manufacturing sites across China. For more information visit”

On HK: from 0-30:00; on Xinjiang: from 30:00-

Sincerely, Magnus Fiskesjö <>

China won’t be ‘threatened’

Source: SCMP (7/3/20)
National security law: China won’t be ‘threatened’ but is braced for US financial sanctions, Beijing official says
Hong Kong adopted the national security law on Tuesday which criminalises behaviour and acts under the four categories of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with a foreign power. US lawmakers on Thursday passed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act that requires sanctions against individuals and banks over the erosion of the city’s autonomy
By Frank Tang in Beijing

Hong Kong adopted the national security law on Tuesday, with protetests taking place in the city the following day. Photo: Sun Yeung

Hong Kong adopted the national security law on Tuesday, with protetests taking place in the city the following day. Photo: Sun Yeung

China is braced for possible financial sanctions from the United States over the Hong Kong national security law, but still hopes to ease tensions with Washington, according to a source close to China’s financial authority.

“The Chinese mainland and Hong Kong financial authorities certainly have prearranged plans. We won’t allow others to threaten or make trouble freely,” the source, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the topic, told the South China Morning Post.

The official did not elaborate on China’s possible responses after the controversial national security law was adopted by Hong Kong law on Tuesday evening amid international outcry. Continue reading

Stephen Soong Translation Awards 2019-20

Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards (2019–2020)
03 July 2020

It is with great pleasure that I hereby announce the results for the 22nd Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards (2019–2020) set up by Research Centre for Translation, Institute of Chinese Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards (2019–2020) Standard Awards:

JIANG Fan (Graduate Institute of Interpretation and Translation, Shanghai International Studies University)

“透過翻譯現象深化文學關係研究—— 再論亞瑟·韋利和王際真在《紅樓夢》英譯中的“夢境”之爭” [An Intertextual Approach to Literary Relations: Rethinking Arthur Waley and Wang Chi-chen’s “Dream Controversy” in the English Translation and Adaptation of Hongloumeng] (in Chinese), Translation Quarterly 翻譯季刊 91 (March 2019), pp. 27–58. Continue reading