Politics of gratitude

Source: China Media Project (3/23/20)

The Politics of Gratitude

This month, as China has moved into a new phase in the fight against the novel coronavirus epidemic, and as CCP leaders have been keen to claim victory, the question of gratitude has become a contentious one – both inside and outside China. On March 4, a commentary from Xinhua News Agency balked at the suggestion from a host on Fox News that China, as the origin of the virus, owes the world an apology.

Recently, a view is being promoted that China owes the world an apology. This is extremely absurd. China has made massive sacrifices in fighting the coronavirus epidemic, and paid an immense economic cost to cut off the path of transmission of the coronavirus. No other country has made such huge sacrifices and put in so much effort in the midst of this epidemic.

The commentary then turned the tables, suggesting that the world in fact owes China a debt of gratitude. “Right now we should firmly say that America owes China an apology,” it said, “and the world owes China thanks.” Continue reading

Wolf Warrior diplomats

Source: SCMP (3/23/20)
China’s Wolf Warrior diplomats battle on Twitter for control of coronavirus narrative
Donald Trump’s favourite social media platform is the latest arena for back-and-forth blame game between US and China. The real audience for strident Chinese diplomacy is probably at home, in an effort to fuel nationalist sentiment, analysts say
By Sarah Zheng

Actor Wu Jing as the Wolf Warrior, title character in a Chinese film of the same name, which is also being used to describe the aggressive diplomats trying to change the narrative on China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Handout

Actor Wu Jing as the Wolf Warrior, title character in a Chinese film of the same name, which is also being used to describe the aggressive diplomats trying to change the narrative on China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Handout

Chinese diplomats are taking an increasingly strident tone on US President Donald Trump’s favourite battleground Twitter, as Beijing works to shift the narrative away from its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, which was first reported in central China last year.

Chinese state-run media outlets and at least 115 identifiable Twitter accounts belonging to diplomats, embassies and consulates have been ramping up what some have described as a “Wolf Warrior” style of diplomacy – after a 2015 patriotic film, and its 2017 sequel, of the same name. Continue reading

Studies in Translation History–cfp

This e-mail is the call for submissions for the latest publication project “Book Series: Young Researchers’ Studies in Translation History” planned by the Research Centre for Translation, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. For more information, please click here.

本電郵為香港中文大學翻譯研究中心最新出版計劃「新芽翻譯史研究論叢」徵稿宣傳郵件。如未能看到以下內容,請點 此處

Why You Should Read Bi Shumin’s Novel Coronavirus (1)

Xiaomei Yu’s detailed synopsis of Bi Shumin’s Coronavirus brings to mind another, older work which is timely: Hu Fayun’s 如焉@sars.come, still available ;-) in English as Such Is This World@sars.come. Mr. Hu’s recent interviews for Dutch and Austrian periodicals (unfortunately paywalled)

contain some gems. He said that the fate of Dr. Li Wenliang exceeded anything he could have imagined as a novelist:

Und Li Wenliang? “Er war kein Whistleblower”, sagt Hu. “er hat Kollegen informiert. Seine Nachrichten wurden dann aber nicht einfach nur gelöscht, die Polizei zwang ihn, ein Schuldeingeständnis zu unterschreiben, dass er falsche Behauptungen verbreitet habe. Er wurde zurück zur Arbeit geschickt, an einen Ort, an dem er sich anstecken konnte. Genau das passierte, und er starb.” Was mit Li geschah, übersteigt Hus Fantasie, er habe sich das nicht vorstellen können, auch nicht, als er seinen Roman schrieb. “Das übertrifft alles, was ich während der Sars-Epidemie erlebt habe.”

And Li Wenliang? “he was no whistleblower,” says Hu. “He passed the word to his colleagues. And then not only were his posts deleted, the police made him sign a confession that he had spread false statements. He was sent back to work in a place where he could get infected. And that is exactly what ensued, and he died.” What happened to Li exceeded Hu’s wildest imagination. He could not have dreamed it, even when he was writing his novel. “It goes beyond anything I saw during the SARS epidemic.”

Both of the interviews were written by Julie Blussé.

A.E. Clark
Ragged Banner Press

Why You Should Read Bi Shumin’s Novel Coronavirus

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of “Why You Should Read Bi Shumin’s Novel Coronavirus,” by Xiaomei Yu. The essay can be found here:

I thank the author for drawing our attention to this novel, which is so obviously relevant to our present circumstances.

Enjoy the essay. Hopefully the novel’s happy ending portends a happy ending for us.

Kirk Denton, editor

Virus hits Europe harder than China (2)

Agree. And the NYT also is wrong that China has sobered up. It writes that “While China stumbled in the early going … it then addressed the crisis seriously.” (BTW, this way of talking about China as “it” is a sign that reveals a writer has not sufficiently grasped the fundamental, key distinction between the selfish regime, and China the country, people, culture). It isn’t true. See inter alia this evidence that “China” the regime is not sobering up, but instead continues to spread the virus by political default. Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Source: Kyodo News (3/19/20)
Wuhan’s virus patient numbers manipulated for Xi visit: local doctor

BEIJING – The number of novel coronavirus patients in Wuhan, the epicenter of China’s virus outbreak, was manipulated in time for President Xi Jinping’s visit last week, a local doctor told Kyodo News Thursday.

A number of symptomatic patients were abruptly released from quarantine early while a portion of testing was suspended, the doctor said.

China’s health authorities on Thursday reported no new cases of coronavirus infection in Wuhan, marking the first time for the city to have no instances of local transmission since the viral epidemic began late last year. Continue reading

Interview with Guo Yuhua

Source: China Channel, LARB (3/15/20)
Guo Yuhua: China’s Suffering Class
By Jonathan Chatwin
An anthropologist of China’s underclasses talks to Jonathan Chatwin

Guo Yuhua next to the Nujiang River (courtesy of the interviewee).

Guo Yuhua is Professor of Anthropology at Tsinghua University in Beijing. She has spent the majority of her career researching and writing about the lives of rural Chinese people. Her work The Narration of the Peasant: How Can ‘Suffering’ Become History? is based on oral histories collected during her research in Ji village in northern Shaanxi province. She has written: “one of the ways to defeat the hegemony of official texts and official discourse is to write the history of ordinary people, the history of the ‘sufferers’.”

Professor Guo is currently undertaking research on food safety and peasant workers suffering from pneumoconiosis, a lung disease which affects workers in coal mines, quarries and foundries. Guo’s books are banned in China. As part of the China Conversations series, Guo Yuhua spoke from Beijing with writer Jonathan Chatwin.

What is your memory of studying history at school?

My college life was in the 1980s, the era of reform and opening up; we were all enthusiastic that China had embarked on the road of modernization. My graduate major was folklore and social anthropology – studying culture and folk custom – and the relationship between tradition and modernity. I hoped to discover which factors affected the habits and mores in Chinese society, and why China had lagged behind the world for many years. That was the reason for my interest in history. Continue reading

Reclaiming Dr. Li

Source: China Media Project (3/19/20)

Reclaiming Doctor Li

Dated January 3, 2020, this letter of reprimand signed by Li Wenliang acknowledges to Wuhan police that his sharing of information through WeChat on December 30, 2019, about a SARS-like illness originating at the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market in Wuhan was “illegal.”

China’s anti-corruption agency has announced the results of its investigation into the summoning and formal reprimand by the Wuhan Public Security Bureau of Li Wenliang, the 34-year-old Wuhan doctor who tried to warn colleagues in December about the deadly coronavirus outbreak in his city. The investigation was a response to Dr. Li’s death from the coronavirus on February 7, which prompted a wave of public anger and turned Li into a symbol for many of personal and professional courage in the face of a callous and unaccountable system.

The message from China’s leadership today: Li Wenliang belongs to the Chinese Communist Party, and any attempt to portray him as a folk hero or oppositional figure is unacceptable. Continue reading

Virus hits Europe harder than China (1)

In reply to the article from the NYT: While draconian measures in China like city-wide lockdowns may have controlled the spread of COVID-19, the government’s inability to trust medical professionals allowed the virus to spread and become what it is now. From ” Globally speaking, authoritarianism can limit pandemic control since it can limit the expertise and transparency required for good decisionmaking, to make the best use of resources, and to communicate status to the regional and global citizens.”

Anne Henochowicz <>

Virus hits Europe harder than China

Source: NYT (3/19/20)
Virus Hits Europe Harder Than China. Is That the Price of an Open Society?
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
The epidemic is now bigger in Europe, where governments aren’t used to giving harsh orders, and citizens aren’t used to following them.
By Richard Pérez-Peña

Patients arriving at a newly opened Covid-19 hospital wing in Rome on Thursday. Credit…Nadia Shira Cohen for The New York Times

The macabre milestones keep coming. By Wednesday, Europe had recorded more coronavirus cases and fatalities than China. On Thursday, Italy — by itself — passed China in reported deaths.

While China claims to have lowered its rate of new cases essentially to zero, Europe’s numbers grow faster each day — about 100,000 confirmed infections and 5,000 deaths in all so far — suggesting that the worst is yet to come.

So how is it that the new disease, Covid-19, has hit harder in Europe, which had weeks of warning that the epidemic was coming, than in China, where the virus originated and where there are twice as many people? Continue reading

University of Botswana positions

Job openings in the beautiful country of Botswana!–Magnus Fiskesjo <>

Lecturer–Chinese Studies Programme (2 positions)
Faculty of Humanities

The Chinese Studies Programme in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Botswana (UB) aims to produce graduates with a high level of proficiency in Mandarin Chinese who are able to work in academic, public and private positions where extensive and expert knowledge of China is required. The Programme is currently seeking to recruit two (2) lecturers.

Duties: The successful candidate will be expected to: (i) teach Mandarin Chinese at all levels and courses on Chinese society and culture (taught in English) for the Bachelor of Arts in Chinese Studies Programme; (ii) undertake individual research or in collaboration with colleagues within or outside the Programme; (iii) contribute positively to the governance of the University, the professional development of the discipline and engagement of the community at local, national and international levels; and (iv) carry out any other duties that may be assigned by the Programme Coordinator and Chair. Continue reading

China banishes US journalists

Source: WSJ (3/181/20)
China Banishes U.S. Journalists from Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post
Beijing takes further measures against Voice of America and Time; Secretary of State Pompeo criticizes action

The Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing. PHOTO: ARTYOM IVANOV/TASS/ZUMA PRESS

BEIJING—China said it would revoke the press credentials of Americans working for three major U.S. newspapers in the largest expulsion of foreign journalists in the post-Mao era, amid an escalating battle with the Trump administration over media operating in the two countries.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday it was demanding all U.S. nationals working for The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Washington Post whose credentials expire by the end of the year turn those credentials in within 10 days.

The measure would affect most of the U.S. journalists working at those newspapers in China, which issues press credentials for up to 12 months and has recently limited them to six and, in some cases, as little as one month. Continue reading

Spaces of Encounter (JCC) special issue–cfp

Call for Paper: Spaces of Encounter
Journal of Chinese Cinemas, Special Issue 2021

This special issue seeks innovative research that explores the many spaces in which cinema (broadly defined) is exhibited and encountered in China and the Sinophone world from the late nineteenth century to the present.

Where do we encounter cinema? As digital technologies transform the ways in which moving images are produced and consumed, they also call attention to the extent to which cinema has previously been defined and theorized through a specific exhibition space, namely, the movie theater. American film historian William Paul, for example, asks “if movies are no longer inescapably an art of the theater, have we lost an understanding of the art form that seemed self-evident to past audiences?” But in China and the Sinophone world, cinema was never bound up with the movie theater. From its first appearance in luxurious hotels and tea gardens, cinema has been exhibited in many venues alongside the commercial movie theater, such as classrooms, village squares, workers’ clubs, video halls (luxiang ting), museums, long-distance buses, and the living room. In addition, theme parks and tourist sites offer entry into filmed worlds through characters and landscapes. Large urban screens and personal mobile devices turn sidewalks, malls, and public transit into potential screening spaces (or what Francesco Casetti calls hypertopias). New digital spaces of exhibition afford users novel ways of interaction and performance, such as danmaku/danmu commentaries and the ability to easily create gifs from the video browser. Continue reading

Disappearance of Perhat Tursun

Meanwhile, the massive racist atrocities in Xinjiang continue unabated — Fwd by Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Source: Art of Life in Chinese Central Asia (3/13/20)
Scenes from the Disappearance of Perhat Tursun, a Preeminent Modernist Uyghur Author
Written by Darren Byler

Perhat Tursun smoking his trademark Xuelian cigarettes in his home in Ürümchi in 2015. Image by Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian.

Perhat was disappeared at the height of his powers by the Chinese state, a victim of the government’s re-education campaign in Xinjiang.

Perhat Tursun is a slight man with a receding hairline. To look at him, you wouldn’t know that he is one of the most influential contemporary Uyghur authors in the world. When I met him for the first time at a reception for a Uyghur-language publishing house in February 2015, his importance was clear from the way other Uyghurs looked at him as he moved through the crowd. He cut a wide swath. After we chatted for a bit at the reception, he said he was really bored. He hated formal gatherings and performing for strangers. He left immediately after the ceremony was finished, glad-handing and mumbling under his breath as he shuffled through the banquet hall. Many people stopped to shake his hand as we walked together to his house.

His house was on the 26th floor of a new apartment building owned by the Uyghur grocery franchise Arman. Many Uyghur celebrities lived in the building. While we were waiting for the elevator, we nodded at Qeyum Muhemmet, the TV actor who was later sent to a reeducation camp along with more than 400 other public figures in 2017. Perhat’s house smelled more of  cigarette smoke than most Uyghur homes. He had some abstract paintings in yellow painted by the celebrated Uyghur artist Dilmurad Abdukadir, which seemed to reflect the complexity of Uyghur traditional urban architecture. Otherwise, his living room was filled with carpets and a coffee table covered with dried fruit. Continue reading