Violence against doctors

Source: Sup China (1/13/20)
Hospitals Install Security Checks To Stop Violence Against Doctors

Photo credit: SupChina illustration by Derek Zheng

Nanning in Guangxi Province has become the first city in China to require local hospitals to install security checkpoints under new regulations issued last year — around the same time that a doctor in a Beijing emergency ward was reportedly stabbed to death by a patient’s son.

  • Violence against doctors and hospital staff by frustrated patients and their family members is so common it has spawned a Chinese slang word: yinao (医闹 yīnào), which roughly translates as “medical ruckus.”
  • On January 8, the Second People’s Hospital of Nanning became the first medical institution in the city to introduce security checkpoints under the new regulations. That day, the hospital had 38 security officers on duty who found several visitors carrying knives.
  • As many as 85 percent of doctors who responded to a recent survey (in Chinese) said that they had experienced violence in their workplace. Only 29 percent of them said that their employers had enhanced security policies afterward.
  • China’s new healthcare and health promotion law was passed last month. It takes effect in June this year, and specifically criminalizes threatening or endangering the safety of medical staff.

Gao Chengxian’s Reminiscence of the Manchukuo Arts Exhibitions

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of “Negotiating Colonial Visuality: Gao Chengxian’s Reminiscence of the Manchukuo Arts Exhibitions,” introduced and translated by Yanlong Guo, in our online series. The full essay/translation can be read at the follwing url: Find the opening paragraph below.

Kirk A. Denton, editor

Figure 1. “Portrait of Gao Chengxian,” photograph, photographer and date unknown. Source: Gao Chengxian shuhua ji, n.p.

Commemorating the Manchukuo[1] Emperor Puyi’s 溥儀 (r. 1932-1945) Admonitory Rescript to the People on the Occasion of the Emperor’s Return (回鑾訓民詔書), issued in 1935, the newly established State of Manchuria under Japanese colonial rule launched the First Art Exhibition in Commemoration of [Emperor Kangde’s] Visit to Japan and Announcement of the Rescript (第一回訪日宣詔記念美術展覧会) on May 2, 1937 in its New Capital (新京; current day Changchun).[2] The Manchukuo government organized eight such annual “national exhibitions” (國展) until 1945, when the Japan imperial army was defeated.[3] Each year, a review committee was appointed by a responsible institute to select artworks for the exhibition.[4] Accolades and cash stipends were bestowed on artists whose works were deemed the most excellent. The participating artists consisted of Japanese expatriate artists, such as Shouhou Kusakari 首藤春草 (1907-1994) and Yokoyama Shigeyuki 横山繁行 (1894-1946); prominent Chinese artists, such as Yu Lianke 于蓮客 (1899-1980), Wang Guanglie 王光烈 (1880-1953), and Luo Zhenyu 羅振玉 (1866-1940); and underrecognized Manchuria-born Chinese artists. One of the local and emerging artists was Gao Chengxian 高澄鮮 (1913-1990) (fig. 1), whose art activities during the Manchukuo period are known to us thanks to two interviews of him by Lu Ye 盧燁.[5] One of the interviews, published in 1990 and entitled “My Recollections of Participating in the Illegitimate Manchukuo Exhibitions of Calligraphy and Painting” (我參加偽滿書畫展的回憶), is translated below. [READ MORE]

Do coercive reeducation technologies actually work

Source: LA Review of Books (1/6/20)
Do Coercive Reeducation Technologies Actually Work?
By Darren Byler

Photo by the author. A People’s Convenience Police Station in Ürümchi in 2018

For the Provocations series, in conjunction with UCI’s “The Future of the Future: The Ethics and Implications of AI” conference.

Sometime in mid-2019 a police officer tapped a student who had been studying at a university on the West Coast of the United States on the shoulder. The student, who asked me to call her Anni (安妮), after the famous Dutch-Jewish diarist Anne Frank, didn’t notice the tapping at first because she was listening to music through her ear buds. Speaking in Chinese, Anni’s native language, the police officer motioned her into a nearby People’s Convenience Police Station. On a monitor in the boxy gray building, she saw her face surrounded by a yellow square. On other screens she saw pedestrians walking down the street, their faces surrounded by green squares. Beside the high definition video still of her face, her personal data appeared in a black text box. It said that she was Hui, a member of a Chinese Muslim group, and that she was a “converted” or rehabilitated former detainee. The yellow square indicated that she had once again been deemed a “pre-criminal.” Anni said at that moment she felt as though she could hardly breathe. Continue reading

Manchukuo Perspectives

Manchukuo Perspectives: Transnational Approaches to Literary Production
Edited by Annika A. Culver and Norman Smith
Hong Kong University Press, December 2019
328 pp., 6″ x 9″, 17 illustrations HB ISBN 978-988-8528-13-4 Price: HK$520 / US$70

“This first-rate collection offers the most comprehensive overview of Manchukuo literature in any language. Containing an abundance of very original research and analysis, with relevant references to diverse sources in Chinese, English, Japanese, Korean, and Russian, the essays will be welcomed by scholars dealing with literary, historical, political, and colonization issues in Manchukuo and its neighbors.”—Ronald Suleski, Suffolk University, Boston

“Manchukuo Perspectives is an excellent contribution to the field. Manchukuo was a fascinating and fraught experiment. Colonialism, imperialism, modernism, and nationalism were just some of the many different forces at play there. With an impressive set of contributors bringing both breadth and depth to the study of these issues, this collection fills a void in our understanding of the cultural and literary production of Manchukuo wonderfully.”—James Carter, Saint Joseph’s University Continue reading

Tsai Ing-wen re-elected

Source: NYT (1/11/20)
In Blow to Beijing, Taiwan Re-elects Tsai Ing-wen as President
The victory was a remarkable comeback for Ms. Tsai and suggested that Beijing’s pressure campaign had backfired.
By Steven Myers and Chris Horton

China’s efforts to isolate President Tsai Ing-wen’s administration and to punish Taiwan economically failed to deliver the desired outcome. Credit…Carl Court/Getty Images

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan’s voters delivered a stinging rebuke of China’s rising authoritarianism on Saturday by re-electing President Tsai Ing-wen, who vowed to preserve the island’s sovereignty in the face of Beijing’s intensifying efforts to bring it under its control.

Ms. Tsai’s victory highlighted how successfully her campaign had tapped into an electorate that is increasingly wary of China’s intentions. It also found momentum from months of protests in Hong Kong against Beijing’s encroachment on the semiautonomous Chinese territory’s freedoms.

For China’s ruling Communist Party, the outcome is a dramatic display of the power of Hong Kong’s antigovernment protest movement to influence attitudes toward the mainland in other regions the party deems critical to its interests.

China’s authoritarian leader, Xi Jinping, has warned Taiwan that unification between the sides was inevitable. His party has sought to court Taiwanese with opportunities to work in the mainland while isolating Ms. Tsai’s administration and said that China would use force, if necessary, to prevent the island from taking steps toward formal independence. Continue reading

The Culture of Love in China and Europe

The Culture of Love in China and Europe, by Paolo Santangelo and Gábor Boros (Brill 2019)

In The Culture of Love in China and Europe Paolo Santangelo and Gábor Boros offer a survey of the cults of love developed in the history of ideas and literary production in China and Europe between the 12th and early 19th century. They describe parallel evolutions within the two cultures, and how innovatively these independent civilisations developed their own categories and myths to explain, exalt but also control the emotions of love and their behavioural expressions. The analyses contain rich materials for comparison, point out the universal and specific elements in each culture, and hint at differences and resemblances, without ignoring the peculiar beauty and attractive force of the texts cultivating love.

Concerning China, a short survey of theoretical elaborations will cover the millennium from the Song dynasty (960–1279) to the beginning of the 19th century: this period starts from a new phase in Chinese history – according to some historians from the beginning of modern society – and includes early contacts with the west and the first phase of globalisation, before the Opium Wars. The reflection on the literary production will focus on the period of the last two dynasties, Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911), until the beginning of the 19th century. After dealing with the evolution of Neo-Confucian thought on love and emotions, the first question concerns the so-called “cult of qing”, its scope and consistency, and the main themes proposed by its supporters. Secondary questions concern the meaning of “genuine” love and emotions, and the construction of a rhetoric of love, its symbolism and mythology. Examining the rich and varied range of differing attitudes, concepts and approaches and different cases through the creation of fantasy, we see various perceptions. One of the key questions concerns the difference between love and lust, and the role of desires. Some paragraphs are dedicated to the language of seduction and the conditions of deregulation of love rules that help to understand some theories on the process of transmission of emotional codes and falling in love. Two other interesting topics concern the virtuous characters of the correct sexual union (legitimate conjugal love) and the role of the elaboration of the art of the bedchamber and all skills of erotic positions. Gender roles in love is evident in narrative and is reflected in the new male hero, in the active heroines, both shrews or benevolent lovers, fox spirits and femme fatale. We can finally tell of a love-death dyad in Chinese culture and some dark and polluting aspects perceived in love, as well as the dialectical transitions between dream and reality. Continue reading

China Independent Film Fest closes

Source: Reuters (1/11/20)
Independent film festival in China shuts, says ‘impossible’ to pursue independence

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – One of China’s longest-running and largest independent film festivals has suspended operations “indefinitely”, with the organisers saying it was now “impossible” to organise a festival with a “purely independent spirit”.

The China Independent Film Festival (CIFF), which was established in the eastern city of Nanjing in 2003 and has held 14 sessions so far, made the announcement late on Thursday.

It did not provide more details of what pushed it to such a decision, but the move comes amid growing media censorship in China, which has seen regulators crack down on content they believe to violate “socialist core values”.

“We believe, that under current local organisational conditions, that it is impossible to organise a film festival that truly has a purely independent spirit and which is effective,” the CIFF said on its official WeChat account.

“Of course, to those grassroots film festivals that under the mask of security still try to encourage independence, we express our respect.”

CIFF showed around 1,000 films and documentaries since its founding, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper. A number of them touched on topics considered sensitive in China, such as homosexuality and the relocation of residents under the Three Gorges dam project.

Zhang Xianmin, a professor from Beijing Film Academy who has been the CIFF’s core organiser, told the SCMP on Friday that the closure was “normal”.

“We are just back to the usual rule under the Party. We just went back to 20 years ago, when there was no room and opportunity for independent films.”

“If we had promoted the commercialisation of CIFF, that might have made it safer and we could have had the chance to survive.”

The Power of Print in Modern China review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Yue Du’s review of The Power of Print in Modern China: Intellectuals and Industrial Publishing from the End of Empire to Maoist State Socialism (Columbia UP, 2019), by Robert Culp. The review appears below and at its online home: My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk A. Denton, editor

The Power of Print in Modern China:
Intellectuals and Industrial Publishing from the End of Empire to Maoist State Socialism

By Robert Culp

Reviewed by Yue Du
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright January, 2020)

Robert Culp, The Power of Print in Modern China: Intellectuals and Industrial Publishing from the End of Empire to Maoist State Socialism Robert Culp. New York: Columbia University Press, 2019. xviii + 371 pgs. ISBN: 9780231545358.

For Robert Culp, prominent leaders in twentieth-century cultural and political revolutions, such as Hu Shi and Mao Zedong, were not the only major players to implement the cultural transformation of modern China. A group of people Culp calls “petty intellectuals” (小知識分子), who engaged in the production of textbooks, reference books, reprinted classics, and book series at China’s leading commercial publishers, also fundamentally shaped the cultural landscape of China during the late Qing and Republican periods and into the early years of the People’s Republic. Focusing on the Commercial Press (商務印書館), Zhonghua Book Company (中華書局), and other institutions in China’s industrialized publishing sector, The Power of Print in Modern China successfully reconstructs the work lives and cultural activities of editors who were tremendously influential but who have heretofore received inadequate scholarly attention. This reconstruction in turn enables the author to engage with core academic debates on print and media, negotiated power, and modernity in China.

While observing the importance of the introduction of mechanized print technology, Culp distinguishes his work from earlier scholarship (by Christopher Reed and others) by laying out how print industrialism affected the ways in which books were produced and the relationship editors had with their products. To generate a wide range of texts in great numbers and in short periods of time, the most influential publishers in twentieth century China maintained large standing editorial departments, something that made China’s publishing sector globally distinctive. These departments adopted an organizational structure that over time came to resemble the factory assembly line. Staff editors with hybrid classical Chinese and Western educations collaboratively generated new content that they then incorporated into different titles to quickly meet market demand. Culp notes that, on the one hand, this process led to the vast majority of these editors losing control over the dynamics of their labor in this factory-style book production; on the other hand, print industrialism gave these petty intellectuals a direct say in the materials that went into standard products such as textbooks and reference books. Because of these books’ authoritative status, staff editors were able to play a key role in introducing new terms, shaping the modern Chinese lexicon, modeling vernacular writing, and “reorganizing the national heritage” (整理國故). Continue reading

The Wild Goose Lake

Source: SCMP (1/8/20)
Starring Hu Ge and with a plot worthy of Raymond Chandler, film noir by Diao Yinan is a Chinese box office hit, and he says it’s a genre he’ll stick to
Why change a winning hand? Director of The Wild Goose Lake, who’s spun China-set films noir into gold, says he’ll pursue the genre and make films even better. Diao’s films are notable for their style, and he cites influences from Francois Truffaut and Robert Bresson to Chen Kaige and Jia Zhangke.
by James Mottram

Director Diao Yinan (left) and actor Hu Ge in a still from The Wild Goose Lake.

Director Diao Yinan (left) and actor Hu Ge in a still from The Wild Goose Lake.

According to Chinese filmmaker Diao Yinan, there are two types of director.

One will continue pursuing a particular thematic and stylistic trajectory from film to film, “whereas some other directors will take a very different path”, he says. “After one success, they might want to try something thematically or stylistically completely different. Like Kubrick, say.”

As anyone who has seen Diao’s work will know, he’s very much in the former camp, “thinking about continuities”, as he puts it, “and how I’m going to stay on that particular thematic and stylistic track”.

A genre filmmaker who has become increasingly obsessed with the rich framework afforded by film noir, the 50-year-old Diao has already triumphed in this arena, with 2014’s Black Coal, Thin Ice.

Diao’s bleak tale of a murder, in which Liao Fan’s detective tries to piece together the mystery of a dismembered corpse, won the Berlin Film Festival’s top prize, the Golden Bear, with the best actor award also going to Liao.

So it’s no surprise the writer-director has decided to continue on that same neon-soaked path in his latest film, The Wild Goose Lake. Continue reading

Taiwan Studies Revisited

Source: Taipei Time (1/9/20)
Book review: Authors assess their writing on Taiwan
‘Taiwan Studies Revisited’ provides a personal touch on Taiwan’s modern history and the country’s place in academia
By Han Cheung  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Studies Revisited, edited by Dafydd Fell and Hsin-huang Michael Hsiao. 238 pp. Routledge.

As writers, it’s often cringeworthy to read and review one’s old work, especially works that were written decades ago. As Davidson College political scientist Shelly Rigger writes in Taiwan Studies Revisited: “Rereading one’s own previous work is a painful process, at least for me. I focus on the mistakes, the erroneous predictions, the word choices that I never would have made had I not been exhausted and on a deadline.”

But fortunately for the readers, this exercise in asking authors to revisit their books provides an illuminating account of how international academics viewed Taiwan back then and whether things developed according to their predictions. Although still academic in nature, it’s a rare personal look at what Taiwan meant and still means to these experts.

While some chapters are drier than others, the information and ruminations are still invaluable to interested parties, although something contemplative and autobiographical like this could have been a chance for some of these academics to try their hand at livelier writing. An example of this would be the late Bruce Jacobs’ The Kaohsiung Incident in Taiwan and Memoirs of a Foreign Big Beard, which is informative and engaging at the same time. Continue reading

Fairbank Center fellowships 2020-21

2020-21 Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies An Wang Postdoctoral Fellowship

The Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University is pleased to announce the 2020-2021 competition for the An Wang Postdoctoral Fellowships in Chinese Studies.

This year the Fairbank Center is offering two fellowships to support postdoctoral participants in an interdisciplinary research group that will focus on issues of science and technology in the making of modern China. This research group will be led by Professors Susan Greenhalgh (Anthropology), Victor Seow (History of Science), Arunabh Ghosh (History), and Ya-Wen Lei (Sociology).

A strong working knowledge of Chinese and English is required. Applicants must provide confirmation of successful completion of their Ph.D. by August 1, 2020 at the latest. Applicants may not be more than five years beyond the receipt of their Ph.D. and must reside in the Greater Boston area for the duration of the fellowship. Harvard University doctoral degree recipients are not eligible. If you have not received your degree at the time of application, your dissertation adviser must submit the Adviser Confirmation Form by January 22, 2020.

Deadline: January 15, 2020
Fellowship Period: August 1, 2020 – July 31, 2021
Total stipend: $60,000
Health insurance benefits and $1000 for scholarly activities will also be provided to each fellow. Continue reading

At ‘sacred lake,’ Chinese declare love for Xi and CCP

Source: NYT (1/8/20)
At ‘Sacred’ Lake, Chinese Declare Love for Xi and Communist Party
Some come to seek an emotional lift, others to sing patriotic tunes. But they all raise a fist and say an oath, a rite meant to show China’s strength in the 21st century.
By Javier Hernandez

Reciting the Chinese Communist Party oath outside the Nanhu Revolutionary Memorial Hall museum in Jiaxing, China. Credit…Yan Cong for The New York Times

NANHU LAKE, China — He was anxious about China’s trade war with the United States. He was worried about the rise of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong. So Liu Yuanrong, a lifelong member of the Chinese Communist Party, followed the advice of a friend: Go to the lake.

That would be Nanhu Lake, a cradle of Chinese communism in eastern China that in recent years has become a spiritual retreat for the party’s more than 90 million members.

There, near a forest of pine trees one recent day, Mr. Liu straightened his back, furrowed his brow and threw his fist triumphantly into the air.

“I vow to devote my life to defending communism,” said Mr. Liu, a 57-year-old electronics trader from southern China, reciting a party oath. “I vow to sacrifice everything for the party.” Continue reading

How should Western universities respond

Excellent observations and concrete suggestions for Western universities below, in this article by John Fitzgerald.–Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Source: Journal of Political Risk 8, no. 1 (Jan. 2, 2020)
Chinese Scholars Are Calling For Freedom And Autonomy – How Should Western Universities Respond?
By John Fitzgerald, Swinburne University of Technology [1]

Red Guard political slogan on Fudan University campus, Shanghai, China, toward the close of the Cultural Revolution (Spring 1976). ‘Defend party central with blood and life! Defend Chairman Mao with blood and life!’ Source: Wikimedia

In stifling free and open inquiry, China’s universities are being faithful to the party’s Marxist values and authoritarian principles. Universities in the West could display similar backbone by standing up for the values and principles of their own communities, including academic freedom and institutional autonomy, when they deal with education authorities in China. People in China who value freedom and critical inquiry expect nothing less of us.

On December 18, 2019, China’s Ministry of Education announced the latest in a series of revisions of national university constitutions to ensure that the party takes pride of place in their management, curriculum, and international engagements. Public attention was drawn to changes in the charter of Fudan University when footage went viral of students singing their school anthem in protest at the damage done to their school constitution. The Ministry of Education had deleted two phrases from the Fudan charter still preserved in the old school anthem: ‘academic independence and freedom of thought.’[2]

Clearly students in China think academic independence and freedom of thought are worth preserving.  Do scholars in the West agree? If so, how can they help to  defend the fundamental principles and values under assault in Xi Jinping’s China? Continue reading

Mass line internet control

Source: China Media Project (1/6/20))

Mass Line Internet Control

On December 20, 2019, the Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s top body for internet control and regulation, released new rules governing online information, setting out both generally encouraged content types and content that would be regarded as unacceptable — and making clear that all members of Chinese society have a responsibility to take part in internet governance.

The “Provisions on the Governance of the Online Information Content Ecosystem” (网络信息内容生态治理规定), available in translation at China Law Translate, were released in draft form back in September as the CAC formally solicited feedback on the regulations from other departments and the public. The final regulations show little substantive change based on a comparison of the texts, although fines for serious content violations that were specified in the draft version at “100,000 yuan or above, not exceeding 500,000 yuan” were apparently removed in the final version, leaving the question of fines ambiguous. Continue reading

Yangtze paddlefish is extinct

Source: Sup China (1/6/20)
The Yangtze River Paddlefish Is Extinct


SupChina illustration by Derek Zheng

The Yangtze (长江 cháng jiāng) is the longest river in Asia, and the longest in the world to flow entirely within one country, all the way from the Tibetan Plateau to its mouth on the East China Sea near Shanghai.

Sadly, pollution and overfishing have decimated the unique ecosystem of the river, endangering species such as the Yangtze finless porpoise and the Chinese alligator. Last week, the Chinese government announced a 10-year ban on commercial fishing on the Yangtze River. But this came too late for one of the great river’s native species. The South China Morning Post reports:

The Chinese paddlefish, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species and a native of the Yangtze River system, has been declared extinct.

Also known as the Chinese swordfish, the species grows up to 7 meters long and is believed to have vanished between 2005 and 2010. Chinese scientists made the announcement in a research paper published in Science of the Total Environment last week.