Detention camps turn to forced labor

Source: NYT (12/16/18)
China’s Detention Camps for Muslims Turn to Forced Labor
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
By Chris Buckley and Austin Ramzy

Chinese state television showed Muslims attending classes on how to be law-abiding citizens. Evidence is emerging that detainees are also being forced to take jobs in new factories.

KASHGAR, China — Muslim inmates from internment camps in far western China hunched over sewing machines, in row after row. They were among hundreds of thousands who had been detained and spent month after month renouncing their religious convictions. Now the government was showing them on television as models of repentance, earning good pay — and political salvation — as factory workers.

China’s ruling Communist Party has said in a surge of upbeat propaganda that a sprawling network of camps in the Xinjiang region is providing job training and putting detainees on production lines for their own good, offering an escape from poverty, backwardness and the temptations of radical Islam. Continue reading

Wanda to build theme park in Yan’an

Source: SCMP (12/14/18)
Wanda to build a US$1.74 billion theme park in the cradle of the Chinese Communist revolution to cash in on ‘red tourism’
The investment is the second major push by Wang Jianlin’s company to hew to the government’s preferred agenda
By Zheng Yangpeng

A group of visitors to the Jinggang mountains in Jiangxi province, considered the birthplace of the People’s Liberation Army on July 13, 2018. Many tours make it mandatory for visitors to dress up in Red Army uniforms. Photo: SCMP/ Josephine Ma 

Wanda Group, the property and theme park conglomerate built by former People’s Liberation Army officer Wang Jianlin, will spend 12 billion yuan (US$1.74 billion) to build a theme park in the Communist Party’s revolutionary birthplace Yan’an to cash in on the growing trend of so-called “red tourism”.

The theme park, in the loess plateau of Shaanxi province near Gansu and Shanxi, will feature shopping malls, indoor parks, theatres and hotels built in the style of the 1930s when the prefectural city was used as the headquarters of the Communist Party. The project, measuring 1.26 square kilometres in size, will begin construction in the first quarter of 2019 for completion by the first half of 2021 in time for the ruling party’s centenary celebration, Wanda said. Continue reading

Remembrance for Meng Lang

For info: There will be a remembrance for Meng Lang, in Queens, NYC, this coming Saturday 2pm:

Quoting the announcement:



地点:131-23 31st Ave. Flushing NY 11354,中国战略分析智库会议室
联系人:荣伟(646-595-5888) 张杰(312-752-0875)


–posted by Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Lu Guang shows China’s dark side

Source: NYT (12/8/18)
A Photographer Goes Missing in China
Lu Guang’s images have shown the world China’s dark side.
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
By Robert Y. Pledge (Robert Pledge is an editor, curator and co-founder of Contact Press Images, a photojournalism agency.)

A factory worker in Wuhai City, Inner Mongolia, in 2005. Due to a lack of environmental safety standards they would get ill after one or two years on the job.CreditCreditPhotographs by Lu Guang/Contact Press Images

For five weeks, the world has had no idea where Lu Guang is.

Lu Guang is an internationally acclaimed photographer from China, and he has been my friend for more than 15 years. I’m proud that the agency I co-founded represents and distributes his work. We first met in Beijing in 2002. He was already a well-known and widely awarded documentary photographer in his country, and he would soon win a slew of international awards, including some of the world’s most prestigious. Continue reading

Ma Jian finds echoes of Mao and Orwell

Source: NYT (12/14/18)
A Dissident Chinese Novelist Finds Echoes of Mao, and Orwell
By Mike Ives

“Only in literature can we fully express the injustices of society, the extremes of human nature and our hopes for a beautiful future,” said Ma Jian while he was in Hong Kong for the annual literary festival. CreditCreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

HONG KONG — Ma Jian, an exiled Chinese novelist who lives in London, took the stage at a packed Hong Kong theater last month and asked the audience a question: Who among them had read “1984”?

Mr. Ma, 65, was at the annual Hong Kong International Literary Festival to promote “China Dream,” his satirical novel about President Xi Jinping’s eponymous domestic propaganda campaign. He told the crowd that the book, published last month in English (Counterpoint will offer it in the United States in May 2019), showed how the dystopian future that George Orwell’s fiction once warned about had become a reality in the Chinese mainland under Mr. Xi’s leadership. Continue reading

Meng Lang passes away (1)

Thank you for this posting.

I myself first knew Meng Lang in the 1980s when I was also very much into literature and poetry (and translations), and worked in Beijing; Meng Lang and I rejoined contact again in recent years, over the Chinese state kidnapping in late 2015 of our fellow friend, Gui Minhai, the Swedish citizen and HK publisher who was also part of the same poetry and literary circles in China in the 1980s onwards. In exile, Meng Lang devoted much time and energy to the Independent Chinese PEN club he co-directed, and especially to defending and helping imprisoned fellow writers, including Gui Minhai, and I much admire him for it.

I wrote on Twitter, that I will always remember him as the kind, warm, fundamentally decent human being that he was. Brave, which you used, is another most suitable word for Meng Lang. I think there will be many more tributes to Meng Lang and his life’s work. Continue reading

USC Pre-Modern Studies position

Full Professor of Pre-Modern Studies

The Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California (Los Angeles, California) invites applications for a tenured position in pre-modern (pre-1500) studies. The search is at the rank of Professor, and applications from all humanities disciplines are welcome. The successful candidate will bring a distinguished record of innovative research and publication, a record of leadership in the field, and must hold a Ph.D. degree in an appropriate field of study. Experience in organizing research initiatives, institutes, or centers is preferable. We expect that the successful candidate will take a leading role in the establishment of a new center for the study of the pre-modern world.

Interested candidates should provide a letter of application and a curriculum vitae. Application materials must be combined into and uploaded as one PDF document. In order to be considered for this position, applicants are required to submit an electronic USC application; follow this job link or paste in a browser: . Applications will begin to be reviewed on January 15, but the position will remain open until filled. Inquiries may be directed to the search chair, Professor Lisa Bitel (

USC is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, protected veteran status, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law or USC policy. USC will consider for employment all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring ordinance.

Posted by: Brian Bernards <>

Meng Lang passes away

I’m sad to share the news that Meng Lang passed away on Dec. 12 from lung cancer. I’m grateful that I had the chance to meet him in 2016 and to work with him on translating some of his poetry that he wrote in tribute to Liu Xiaobo. Just this February he published an anthology of poetry in Liu Xiaobo’s memory, The Contemporary (同时代人:刘晓波纪念诗集). He did brilliant, brave work as long as he was able.中国/20181212-中国异议诗人孟浪病逝香港

Anne Henochowicz 何安妮

Graffiti artists to go on trial

Source: SCMP (12/13/18)
China’s ‘Banksy’ and associate go on trial for defacing city walls with graffiti
Pair charged with ‘provoking trouble’ after spray painting more than 10 walls in south China city. One defendant said he wanted his work to be seen by more people
By Alice Yan

Two graffiti artists went on trial last week for decorating the walls of a south China city. Photo:

Two graffiti artists went on trial in southern China last week charged with “provoking trouble” after an evening of spray painting walls failed to impress the local police.

The male defendants, neither of whom was named, appeared in court in Zhaoqing, Guangdong province on Friday in the first trial of its kind, Beijing Youth News reported on Thursday.

One was identified as a 20-year-old university student who was quoted as saying he had a passion for graffiti and wanted his work to be seen by more people. Continue reading

Animation that deconstructs itself

Source: Association for Chinese Animation Studies (12/14/18)
The Animation that Deconstructs Itself—Liu Jian’s Piercing I and Have a Nice Day
By Yiman Wang

Liu Jian, a Nanjing-based animator and director with a background in painting, has single-handedly launched the genre of black humor adult animation in China, and further catapulted it into the international limelight with two feature-length works, Piercing I (2010) and Have a Nice Day (2018). Produced by the Le Joy Animation Studio, which was founded by Liu in 2007, both works are a testament to what Liu calls “One person’s animation film” (yigeren de donghua dianying).[1] Breaking away from the industry convention of collective assembly work, Liu was individually responsible for the script, drawings, animation, editing, music selection, and many other aspects of making and marketing these films. Have a Nice Day took four years to make. During this period, Liu worked ten hours a day and drew forty-four thousand cells; the finished film is composed of eight hundred shots. His artisanal and auteurist approach ensures that the films carry his trademark black humor, cartoonish minimalist aesthetics, and absurdist narrative. Continue reading

Michigan to close Confucius Institute

Source: Caixin Live (12/11/18)
University of Michigan to Close Confucius Institute
By Tanner Brown

The University of Michigan said Monday it will not renew its agreement with the Confucius Institute when the partnership expires in 2019.

The university cast the reasoning as a desire to expand its own internal China-focused programs.

“This transition is driven by a desire to more broadly include the work of exploring and studying Chinese visual and performing arts within U-M’s regular academic and cultural units,” said James Holloway, vice provost for global engagement and interdisciplinary academic affairs, according to a university announcement.

Confucius Institutes, which are affiliated with China’s Ministry of Education, have provoked concerns about political influence on the universities where they are hosted. Several in the U.S. have closed amid such concerns.

By the end of last year, 525 Confucius Institutes and 1,113 Confucius Classrooms had been established in 138 countries and regions in the 14 years since the first one was opened in Seoul, South Korea.

Make China marxist again (1)

If Marxism is this malleable, it’s meaningless. I wonder if this went to press before the authors had time to mention the irony of freezing Marxist groups at universities and arresting/disappearing avowed Marxist student activists involved in organizing workers at Jasic. The absence of these recent developments deserves at least an addendum on Dissent‘s website.

Anne Henochowicz 何安妮

Conducting research in Xinjiang

See below: “I came to the conclusion that not only was my proposed study unfeasible, but also that it would be ethically indefensible for me to continue pursuing ethnographic research in [Xinjiang] for the foreseeable future.” –Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Source:, Asia Now Blog (12/12/18)
Change of Plans: Conducting Research in Xinjiang
By Elise Anderson

A slogan painted on a wall in a Turpan neighborhood, which reads in Uyghur: “Loving the homeland and Xinjiang; unity—making contributions; working hard; helping one another; opening up; progressing.” This and all other photos by the author, June 2018

In April 2018, the China and Inner Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies awarded me a Small Grant to travel to Ürümchi (Urumqi, Wulumuqi), Xinjiang, China, to conduct a two-week feasibility study on the topic of “Gender and Music in Uyghur Society.” I planned to draw on my extensive connections in the region to conduct preliminary interviews and participant-observation, as well as to collect written and audio/visual resources, all with the goal of eliciting themes related to how gendered social expectations impact music-making and other forms of cultural production for members of the Uyghur minority. I envisioned this trip as marking the start of my first post-Ph.D. project. Continue reading

Vintage movie magazines

Source: CNN (12/9/18)
Vintage Chinese movie magazines capture a glamorous bygone era
By Oscar Holland, CNN

Credit: Paul Fonoroff / University of California, Berkeley

If Hollywood’s golden era can be understood through magazines like Silver Screen and Photoplay, then China’s early film industry can also be viewed through the most popular movie publications of their day.

For film critic and historian, Paul Fonoroff, this means studying the elaborate, colorful pages of titles like Movie Weekly, Silver Flower Monthly and the supremely popular Chin-Chin Screen. Continue reading