Grannies going viral

Source: NYT (11/22/22)
China’s Grandparents Are Done Babysitting and Ready to Go Viral
Rapping grannies, crooning 70-year-olds and gamers in their 80s are challenging traditional Chinese views about aging and what it means to have a long and happy life.
By Alexandra Stevenson and Zixu Wang

The four members of Glamma Beijing shooting a video in the Chinese capital.

The four members of Glamma Beijing shooting a video in the Chinese capital. Credit…Gilles Sabrié for The New York Times

HONG KONG — The 65-year-old woman crouches in a field and holds up a head of cabbage. Behind her, two friends sway back and forth, cucumber and radish in their hands. “This rotten cabbage, let’s pull it out, eat it, achieve some foodie freedom,” Guo Yifen, the woman with the cabbage, raps in a low and creaky voice in the song “Spicy Hot Pot Real Rap.”

The trio, known as Sister Wang Is Coming, is known for sharing playful videos on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok. Ms. Guo and her musical partners, Wang Shuping, 64, and Wang Xiurong, 66, have more than half a million followers who watch their food-related music videos, featuring jams like “Fried Mushrooms” and “Country Food Rap.”

The group is part of a growing number of older Chinese who have found viral success sharing their daily lives online. In this corner of the Chinese internet, octogenarians croon, septuagenarians tango and gray-haired fashionistas strut down catwalks and offer makeup tips to millions of fans. There’s even an 86-year-old man who just sits and plays video games like Call of Duty. Continue reading

American farm style

Source: The China Project (11/17/22)
Posing like American farmers is the latest trend among Chinese influencers
After “U.S. high schoolers” and “shopping in Los Angeles,” pretending to be on an autumnal American farm is the latest “Americore” aesthetic to take over Chinese social media.
By Zhao Yuanyuan

All images from Xiaohongshu

A woman wearing denim overalls sits on a straw bale against the backdrop of a wall of hay; two girls lean against a wood fence on a seemingly boundless grassland; a man in a full-out cowboy outfit poses with a horse standing behind him.

At first glance, one might think these photos posted on Xiaohongshu, a lifestyle and ecommerce app often referred to as China’s Instagram, are taken in the American Wild West. But these images are actually from various locations across China, where pretending to be on an American farm or ranch has become the latest aesthetic that has taken Chinese influencers by storm.

What is “American farm style”?

In the past few months, an aesthetic known as “American farm style” has been embraced by scores of good-looking, impeccably dressed Chinese men and women. On Xiaohongshu, there thousands of posts bearing the hashtag “American farm style” (#美国农场风# měiguó nóngchǎng fēng), in which props depicting a typical American farmer’s life in the fall — such as piles of hay, farm animals, and seasonal crops like pumpkins — are frequently seen.

“There’s a new stunning Instagrammable spot in the city that gives American farm vibes. It has a classic retro color palette and you can make photos taken here look like fashion editorials,” reads the recommendation of a community garden in Chengdu. Continue reading

Best drama series

Source: The China Project (11/14/22)
The best Chinese-language drama series with English subtitles you can stream right now
From an alternate-reality crime show about a sexual assault survivor to a visually stunning fantasy drama featuring a forbidden romance, these are 2022’s best Chinese-language TV series coming out that you can find on popular streaming services.
By Zhao Yuanyuan

A still image from ‘Shards of Her.’

Chinese-language TV series are overshadowed by the more popular offerings from South Korea, but there are a number of noteworthy new Sinophone shows, mostly from Taiwan, that you can binge-watch right now.

Mandarin-language shows are more accessible than ever these days thanks to streaming services such as Netflix, which routinely purchases broadcasting rights for series that generate conversations domestically, and are increasingly working with local creators to co-produce programs with a global reach in mind.

These are the five best Mandarin-language series of 2022 that are available for streaming with English subtitles on Netflix and HBO.

Shards of Her | Official Trailer | Netflix

Shards of Her 她和她的她 tā hé tā de tā
Where to stream: Netflix Continue reading

Repositioning Taiwan–cfp

Call for Proposals: Resistance and Resilience: Repositioning Taiwan
28th NATSA Annual Conference | June 22-24, 2023 | Irvine, California

Recent years have seen challenges, both new and old, for the global community. Such new challenges include the expansion of authoritarian influence and aggression, a global pandemic that has reignited debates on different forms of governance, polarization in democratic societies, and technological developments further enabling digital authoritarianism and inequality. Old modes of domination and marginalization, such as those pertaining to race, ethnicity, gender, religion, colonialism, and beyond also continue to persist and interweave with new global conditions. These dynamics play out not only in entrenched ways of seeing and framing but also in the dominant narratives, subject matters, and methodologies in academic research. Standing at this historical juncture of instability and change, we seek reflexive and critical engagements that can open up opportunities to reimagine ways of coping with, navigating, and collaboratively shaping the new realities of today’s world.

The North American Taiwan Studies Association (NATSA) has, since its inauguration, dedicated itself to being a platform that can exhibit the diverse perspectives and values of Taiwan and Taiwan Studies. We believe that the inclusivity and diversity of Taiwanese society provide a space for developing alternative views, theories, and narratives that deconstruct and destabilize dominant and hegemonic perspectives. It is in the midst of transitions and transformations that different modes of resistance, resilience, and repositioning emerge. We see these new opportunities as a fluid process of recognizing power dynamics, implementing multifaceted methods of ensuring inclusivity and sustainability, and negotiating meaning-making paradigms that span the wider relations of scholars/practitioners/activists and the communities we work with/for. We welcome proposals that shed light on different modes of resistance, resilience, and repositioning using Taiwan as a case, a method, a theory, a practice, a substantive area, or in any other capacity.

Click here for the full Call for Papers.

Chinese ‘police stations’ in the US

Source: The Guardian (11/17/22)
FBI director ‘very concerned’ by reports of secret Chinese police stations in US
Christopher Wray says the FBI is investigating the existence of stations in New York, which could violate sovereignty
By Reuters

Christopher Wray

Christopher Wray said the FBI was looking into the legal parameters of Chinese ‘police stations’ in the US Photograph: Michael McCoy/Reuters

The United States is deeply concerned about the Chinese government setting up unauthorised “police stations” in US cities to possibly pursue influence operations, FBI director Christopher Wray has said.

“I’m very concerned about this. We are aware of the existence of these stations,” Wray told a US Senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee hearing, acknowledging the FBI’s investigative work on the issue but declining to give details.

“But to me, it is outrageous to think that the Chinese police would attempt to set up shop, you know, in New York, let’s say, without proper coordination. It violates sovereignty and circumvents standard judicial and law enforcement cooperation processes.”

Wray, asked by Republican Senator Rick Scott if such stations violated US law, said the FBI was “looking into the legal parameters”. Continue reading

An Wang Postdoc Fellowships 2023-24

The Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University is pleased to announce the 2023-2024 competition for the An Wang Postdoctoral Fellowships in Chinese Studies. Applications from all academic disciplines are welcome for the 2023-24 application cycle. The application deadline is January 17, 2023.

Two postdoctoral fellow positions are available. During the one-year fellowship, each fellow will be expected to pursue their own research, be in residence in the Cambridge/Boston area, and contribute to Fairbank Center programs. Research topics may cover contemporary China or focus on any historical period. Priority will be given to candidates working in the humanities or social sciences; however, we also welcome applications from scholars in other fields. Priority will be given to applicants who are planning to work with specific Harvard faculty members.

The one-year fellowship period is from August 1, 2023, to July 31, 2024.  An Wang Fellows are expected to reside in the Greater Boston area for the duration of the fellowship.

Total annual stipend for An Wang Postdoctoral Fellows: $62,500. In addition to a health insurance benefits package, $3,000 in research funding for scholarly activities will also be provided to each fellow.

For more information about the An Wang Postdoctoral Fellowships opportunity and application requirements see: Continue reading

Rare protest in Guangzhou

Source: NYT (11/16/22)
Covid Lockdown Chaos Sets Off a Rare Protest in a Chinese City
Weary migrants thronged a street in the manufacturing hub of Guangzhou to protest food shortages and lengthy stay-at-home orders under China’s strict “zero-Covid” policy
By Chang Che and John Liu

Social media footage showed a large crowd confronting Covid workers in hazmat suits and tearing down fences installed as virus control measures in Guangzhou, China. It was unclear whether there were any casualties.CreditCredit…Video Obtained by Reuters

A lengthy lockdown and shortages of food prompted residents to take to the streets in China’s southern manufacturing hub of Guangzhou, a rare protest that reflected the growing public frustration with disruptions caused by the country’s Covid restrictions.

China maintains the world’s most stringent approach to Covid, a policy that relies heavily on mass lockdowns, quarantines and mandatory near-daily testing across the country. Whole regions and cities, including Shanghai, have been placed under strict lockdowns, derailing millions of people’s lives, forcing businesses to close and stirring public outrage.

The psychological toll of China’s “zero-Covid” policy is mounting. Earlier this month, a poorly managed outbreak in the world’s largest iPhone assembly complex in Zhengzhou led to a worker exodus and a delay in iPhone shipments around the world. Continue reading

Volcanic Passions

The Chinese Film Classics project is pleased to announce the publication of Christopher Rea’s translation of the film VOLCANIC PASSIONS 火山情血 (Sun Yu 孫瑜, dir., 1932):


In a tropical land at the foot of a volcano, “a deep grudge rankles, and ignites!”

This pulpy story of revenge and romance features takes several tried-and-true Lianhua Studio character types—innocent villagers and warlord predators, moralizing men and leggy starlets—and transports them to an exotic South Seas setting. Zheng Junli 鄭君里, who plays the anguished hero, later played the romantic lead in New Women 新女性 (1935) and went on to be a major director, celebrated for Spring River Flows East 一江春水向東流 (1947) and Crows and Sparrows 烏鴉與麻雀 (1949). Hula dancing sequences featuring Li Lili 黎莉莉, an emerging Lianhua star, gesture to her pre-cinema career as a member of Li Jinhui’s 黎錦暉 Bright Moon Song and Dance Troupe, which toured Southeast Asia.

This subtitled version of the film uses an open-access digital copy reproduced from VHS by the Columbia University Library: Continue reading

Feminisms with Chinese Characteristics–cfp

CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS—Feminisms with Chinese Characteristics: A Scholarly and Creative Collaboration

What do feminisms mean to you? Whose feminisms? Do Chinese interpretations of feminisms accord with or contradict your own views? Perhaps you have not thought of these questions, especially the last one. This special collaboration between editors of 𝐹𝑒𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑖𝑠𝑚𝑠 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝐶ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑒 𝐶ℎ𝑎𝑟𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑠, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, and Chinese Literature and Thought Today aims to bring together scholarly work and creative endeavours on feminisms.

We are looking for a group of creative writers to participate in a unique scholarly and creative collaboration. In this experiment, each writer will create an original piece of creative work in response to one essay in 𝐹𝑒𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑖𝑠𝑚𝑠 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝐶ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑒 𝐶ℎ𝑎𝑟𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑠 (Syracuse University Press, 2021), edited by Ping Zhu and Hui Faye Xiao. Each creative work should be at least 3 pages; it can be a long poem, a short story, a literary memoir, an inventive interview, and more—please surprise us.

Selected pieces by Ho, Xiao, and Zhu will be published in 𝐶ℎ𝑎 as a special feature and their authors will be invited to read their work in online events alongside the academics. Each selected creative writer will be awarded an honorarium for their contribution.

The collaboration is co-sponsored by the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Kansas, 𝐶ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑒 𝐿𝑖𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑇ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑇𝑜𝑑𝑎𝑦, and 𝐶ℎ𝑎.

If you are interested in taking part in this project, please write to 𝐶ℎ𝑎’s editor Tammy Lai-Ming Ho ( with a short biography of no more than 300 words by Friday 23 December 2022. Writers who are chosen to participate in this experiment will be notified by the end of 2022. They will be given 80 days to complete their creative work. The online events to present the creative pieces are tentatively scheduled to take place in April-May 2023.

LINK to 𝐹𝑒𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑖𝑠𝑚𝑠 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝐶ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑒 𝐶ℎ𝑎𝑟𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑠:

Ping Zhu <>

Censors delete article on Hu Jintao

Source: China Digital Times (10/25/22)
Censors Delete History Journal Article on Hu Jintao after Exit from Party Congress
By Alexander Boyd

On Saturday, October 22, Xi Jinping’s predecessor Hu Jintao was unceremoniously escorted out of the closing of the 20th Party Congress in front of the domestic and international press. Hu’s highly unusual exit, a major departure from the strict political choreography characteristic of Party Congresses past, left observers across the world questioning what, exactly, had happened. In an English-language tweet, official state news agency Xinhua claimed: “When he [Hu Jintao] was not feeling well during the session, his staff, for his health, accompanied him to a room next to the meeting venue for a rest. Now, he is much better.” There was no accompanying Chinese-language report and no other Chinese outlets ran pieces on Hu’s removal. China Central Television, the state-run broadcaster, included a clip of Hu attending the Party Congress in an evening broadcast but did not mention his exit. CDT has re-published a video, in Chinese, from Singapore’s CNA (Channel NewsAsia) showing the circumstances of his exit:

Continue reading

CUHK positions

The Department of Chinese Language and Literature of The Chinese University of Hong Kong is inviting applications for the posts of Professor / Associate Professor / Assistant Professor in the area of modern Chinese literature. Applicants with research interests in 1) modern Chinese literature, transnational/global Chinese literature, and 2) Chinese film and media studies are particularly preferred. Areas of specialization are open, but preference will be given to candidates whose research falls in the period of 1970s and beyond for the post in modern Chinese literature. Click here for more information and to apply.

Carole HOYAN <>

Journal of Chinese Cinemas is on Twitter now

Journal of Chinese Cinemas (JCC) has launched a Twitter account to establish a social media presence.

Published by Taylor & Francis, JCC is a major refereed academic publication devoted to the study of film and media as practiced in Chinese-speaking communities. Read its latest issue on film exhibitions in the Chinese film culture here.

Roderic Wang <>

Wang Baoqiang article

I recently published an article that might interest MCLC members. It concerns the comedian Wang Baoqiang, neoliberal subjectiviy, and the man-child trope. Wang Baoqiang is one of the most successful film comedians in China, but the cultural significance of his comedies and star images are underdeveloped in non-Chinese media. My article, “Wang Baoqiang: the Man-Child Bumpkin in Chinese Comedy Films,” investigates two comedies starring Wang, focusing on the tropes “bumpkin,” “holy fool,” and “man-child,” and how they negotiate neoliberal subjectivity in China. Here’s a link to the article published in Genre en séries: cinéma, télévision, médias:

Yung-Hang Bruce Lai <>

Biden-Xi meeting

Source: The Guardian (11/14/22)
Joe Biden decries China’s ‘coercive and aggressive actions’ toward Taiwan
US leader also raises human rights concerns at first in-person meeting with Xi Jinping since taking office
By Justin McCurry

The Chinese president, Xi Jinping (left), with his US counterpart, Joe Biden, on the sidelines of the G20 leaders' summit in Bali

Xi Jinping (left) with Joe Biden at the G20 in Bali on Tuesday. The meeting was seen as an attempt to reduce tensions over Taiwan and trade that have sent US-China ties to their lowest level in decades. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Joe Biden has objected to China’s “coercive and increasingly aggressive actions” toward Taiwan and raised human rights concerns during his first in-person meeting with Xi Jinping since the US president took office, the White House said.

Biden and Xi met on Monday at a luxury resort hotel in Bali, Indonesia, where they are attending the G20 summit.

The meeting, which lasted more than three hours, was seen as an attempt to reduce tensions over Taiwan and trade that have sent US-China ties to their lowest level in decades.

In a statement, the White House said Biden told Xi that the US would “continue to compete vigorously” with China, but that “competition should not veer into conflict”.

The leaders also agreed that “a nuclear war should never be fought” and couldn’t be won, “and underscored their opposition to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine”. Continue reading

Malaysian Crossings

Dear MCLC readers,

I’d like to announce the publication of my book, Malaysian Crossings: Place and Language in the Worlding of Modern Chinese Literature. This book uses Malaysian Chinese (Mahua) literature to propose that local literary formations are capable of fostering meaningful styles of covert globality by capitalizing on their own internal diversities and connected histories. Columbia UP is offering a 20% discount on their website with the code CUP20.

The book will be launched on Nov 26, 2022. Colleagues in Singapore are very welcome to attend.


Cheow Thia Chan <>