Distrust of China jumps to new highs

Source: NYT (10/6/20)
Distrust of China Jumps to New Highs in Democratic Nations
The sharpest rise in negative views was in Australia, while unfavorable opinions jumped in the United States and Europe, a Pew survey found.
By Chris Buckley

In many Western countries, public distrust of China and its leader, Xi Jinping, has soared in the past year. Credit…Wu Hong/EPA, via Shutterstock

SYDNEY, Australia — Xi Jinping celebrates China’s battle against the coronavirus as a success. But in the United States and other wealthy democracies, the pandemic has driven negative views of China to new heights, a survey published on Tuesday showed.

The illness, deaths and disruption caused by the coronavirus in those countries have intensified already strong public distrust of China, where the virus emerged late last year, the results from the Pew Research Center’s survey indicated.

“Unfavorable opinion has soared over the past year,” said the survey on views of China taken this year in 14 countries including Japan, South Korea, Canada and Germany, Italy and other European nations. “Today, a majority in each of the surveyed countries has an unfavorable opinion of China.” Continue reading

Blogger loses status after extreme post

Source: China Media Project (10/2/20)

Blogger Zhao Shengye

Last month, CMP reported on the firestorm surrounding well-known blogger and amateur scientist Zhao Shengye (赵盛烨), who in a post to his more than three million social media followers appeared to advocate a Chinese policy of earth-wide destruction should the Trump administration be “bent on fighting against China.” Posts expressing extreme nationalism on Chinese social media are often afforded great latitude from censors, but Zhao’s violent advocacy of global destruction to spite the US was too much for many Chinese, and after Zhao was widely criticized the post was finally taken down.

In a rare case of public backlash having consequences for extreme nationalist views online, the China Computer Federation (CCF) issued a notice on September 24 saying it had revoked Zhao Shengye’s membership in the organization after his “extreme comments” on his official WeChat account had had a “huge negative impact” on the organization. The CCF said in its notice that it had received numerous official complaints from other members. Continue reading

Jiefang ribao (1)

Jiefang Ribao is included in WiseSearch ( from Wisers in Hong Kong starting from the issues August 2000 onwards. Many libraries subscribe to this database.

You can also try the 全国报刊索引 ( They have indexed  解放日报(上海) 1955-2019 (but I am not sure how complete the index is). You can order individual articles for scanning. Some libraries offer to cover this for their readers.

Best wishes,

Joshua Seufert

Chinese Studies Librarian
East Asian Library
Princeton University

Four types of Chinese nationalism

Source: China Channel, LARB (10/2/20)
Four Types of Chinese Nationalism
How nationalism in today’s China is far from monolithic
By Chang Che

71 years ago, at 3pm on October 1 1949, Mao Zedong stood at a podium above Tiananmen square to found the People’s Republic of China. Soldiers in pine-green tunics marched across the square in triumphant celebration of victory in the Chinese civil war, four years after Japanese occupation ended. Now the anniversary is commemorated with a military parade, nighttime firework displays, and an extended national holiday called “Golden week.” Yet October 1, National Day, is not fully analogous to a day of independence. It commemorates not a nation’s birth, but a nation under new management — that of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

After seven decades, the Party has undergone a marked transformation. Once a fledgling faction with revolutionary ambitions, it is now a ruling party that detests radicalism and claims exclusive representation over the interests of the Chinese people. National Day is an occasion for patriotic festivities, yet hides within it a hidden premise: by presenting an anniversary for the Party as one for the country, it implies the nation and the Party are one and the same.

That assumption is becoming more plausible now. Due to Party reforms that have reduced barriers to membership, the CCP is now made up of a large cross-section of civil society. Today, the 92 million members in the Party include such diverse groups as entrepreneurs, doctors, academics, tech employees and scientists; many are not ideologues. Moreover, a decade-long opinion poll released in July by the Harvard Ash Center concluded that 93% of Chinese citizens were “satisfied” with their central government in 2016. Regardless of the forces behind such support – which, apart from performance, could include censorship, propaganda and even fear – the fact of the matter remains the same: the Party is intricately bound to the life of the country, and projections of a popular upheaval remain illusory. Continue reading

Socialist Hot Noise lecture

I am scheduled to give a talk “at NYU” this coming Friday, Oct 9, on “socialist hot noise” (loudspeakers and open air cinema in Maoist China). I hope some of you can attend. Find a link and info below. Many thanks.–Jie Li

Socialist Hot Noise
Jie Li–jie-li.html


Abstract: Excavating a media history of loudspeakers and open-air cinema in Maoist China, this talk proposes a new conceptual framework of “socialist hot noise” to describe a participatory sociothermic affect and a synergy between body and electricity that soldered scattered populations into the “revolutionary masses.” Drawing on archives, gazetteers, memoirs, and oral histories, the first half examines the state-sponsored development of loudspeaker networks as well as grassroots listening experiences and practices, from broadcast rallies to rooftop broadcasting, from labor competitions to quasi-karaoke, from enhancing the Mao cult to engendering violence and terror. The second half discusses open-air cinema as a “hot noise of attractions” that generated revolutionary energy through “cinematic liturgies” led by mobile projectionists before, during, and after screenings. I argue that Maoist cinema was a “physical and spirit medium,” whose improvised and impoverished infrastructure contributed to the Mao “cult,” converted skeptics of communist “miracles,” and “exorcized” class enemies. The conclusion addresses the revival of loudspeakers and open-air cinema in a postsocialist media ecology. Continue reading

Vlogger set on fire by ex during live stream

Source: BBC News (10/2/20)
Chinese vlogger dies after ‘set on fire by ex during live stream’

GETTY IMAGES: A phone using the Douyin app. Lamu was allegedly live streaming when she was attacked

A Chinese influencer has died after her ex-husband allegedly doused her in petrol and set fire to her as she was attempting to live stream, said local media reports.

Lamu was popular on Douyin, China’s version of TikTok, where she had hundreds of thousands of followers.

Lamu suffered burns on 90% of her body and died two weeks after the attack.

The case has prompted conversation on social media about violence against women in China.

Lamu, 30, from China’s Sichuan province, was known for her happy posts on rural life and was praised for not using make up in her videos, which had millions of likes. Continue reading

Politburo takes charge of archaeology

Massimo Introvigne writes on the latest chapter in the political mobilization of Chinese archaeology, which follows on earlier instructions from Global Times to make the archaeology of Xinjiang serve the purpose of Chinese colonialism there, as I discussed in an earlier post about how the repurposed nationalistic Chinese archaeology is exported abroad. Now, the regime doubles down on this front, too, and Chinese archaeology is openly politicized throughout–and, anyone who believed studying ancient China could somehow remain a-political, will have to be re-thinking.

Magnus Fiskesjö,

Source: Bitter Winter (10/2/20)
While the World Confronts China, Xi Jinping Calls a Meeting of the Politburo—on Archeology
Faithful to Chairman Mao’s teaching “to use the past in service of the present,” the CCP hopes that archeologists, of all people, can solve some of its problems.
by Massimo Introvigne

The Terracotta Army of Shaanxi, China’s most famous archeological finding

The Terracotta Army of Shaanxi, China’s most famous archeological finding (credits)

These are difficult times for the CCP. Criticism of its human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, and crackdown on all forms of dissent and all kinds of religion is growing. Even the usually cautious President Macron of France has decided to speak out, while economic and other retaliation against China is at the center of the electoral campaign in the United States.

It comes as no surprise that President Xi Jinping has called for a group study session, on September 28, of the Political Bureau of the CCP Central Committee. The theme of the meeting? Not international criticism, foreign policy, or human rights. No, the subject discussed was—archeology. Continue reading

China sets sights on ‘the Taiwan problem’

Source: The Guardian (10/2/20)
After Hong Kong: China sets sights on solving ‘the Taiwan problem’
An invasion may not be imminent but experts say armed forces could have capacity to mount one by the end of the decade
by  and 

Taiwanese soldiers raise the flag of Taiwan in Taipei.

Taiwanese soldiers raise the flag of Taiwan in Taipei. Photograph: David Chang/EPA

Soon after China imposed the new national security law that effectively ended Hong Kong’s limited autonomy, a hawkish legal academic in Beijing spelt out a warning to Taiwan.

The law was not just about ending a year of protests in Hong Kong, Tian Feilong said in an interview with DW News, it was also sending a message to Taipei – and to Washington, which has recently approved new arms sales and high-level visits by US officials to self-rule Taiwan.

The provisions being used to crush dissent across Hong Kong could provide a template, he argued, for tackling “the Taiwan problem”.

“I believe that in the future, you could just change the name of the Hong Kong national security law, and substitute instead ‘Taiwan national security law’,” said Tian. Continue reading

Zhang Jingyuan

Jingyuan Zhang
Associate Professor Emerita
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

It is with great sadness that we report the passing on September 23 of Jingyuan Zhang, Associate Professor Emerita in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Georgetown University, and member of the Steering Committee for the Comparative Literature Program. Professor Zhang joined the faculty at Georgetown in 1994, and retired this past summer. She held a B.A. and M.A. in English from Sichuan University of International Studies, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Cornell University. She held a tenured position in the Chinese Department and Institute of Comparative Literature at Peking University for three years before returning to the United States to teach at Cornell, U.C. Berkeley, and finally Georgetown. Her main research interests were in modern Chinese literature and culture, particularly in the relationship between Chinese psychoanalytic thought and literary practice, on which topic she was a leading authority. She published in both English and Chinese (including short stories and a newspaper essay column), and her work as a translator also made works by a number of important Chinese scholars accessible to English-speaking audiences. As Georgetown’s specialist on modern Chinese culture, she taught on a wide range of topics including Lu Xun and other major writers of the May 4th era, images of women in contemporary Chinese film, contemporary Chinese women writers, modern Chinese drama, and Chinese avant-garde fiction. Above her desk hung framed portraits of the leading Chinese authors of the 1930’s, alongside Virginia Woolf. At various times she also taught the introduction to Comparative Literature, bolstered the basic Chinese language program by teaching upper-level language courses, and mentored countless senior projects for both the Chinese and Comparative Literature programs. Continue reading

Rain in Plural

Rain in Plural by Fiona Sze-Lorrain (Princeton University Press, 2020)

The highly anticipated new collection from a poet whose previous book was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. To purchase, please click here (US) or here (Europe, UK, Asia, and elsewhere), or at the press website.

Rain in Plural is the much-anticipated fourth collection of poetry by Fiona Sze-Lorrain, who has been praised by The Rumpus as “a master of musicality and enlightening allusions.” In the wholly original world of these new poems, Sze-Lorrain addresses both private narratives and the overexposed discourse of the polis, using silence and montage, lyric and antilyric, to envision what she calls “creating between liberties.”

The poems travel from Shanghai, Singapore, Kyoto, Taipei and Sumatra to New York and the American West to Milan and back to Paris. With a moral precision embracing us without eschewing I, she rethinks questions of citizenship, the selections of sensory memory, and, by extension, the tether of word and image to the actual. She writes, “I accept the truth in newspapers / by holding the murder of my friends against my chest. // To each weather forecast I give thanks: / merci for every outdated // dusk/dawn.” Agrippina the Younger, Franz Kafka, Bob Dylan, a butoh performance, an unnamed Raku tea bowl—each has a place here. Made whole by time and its alteration in timelessness, synchrony, coincidences, and accidents, Rain in Plural beautifully reveals an elegiac yet ever-evolving inner life. Continue reading

Independent films about the 2020 pandemic

The 2nd Red Bird Student Film Festival
Time: October 1-November 1, 2020
Location: Online

When the 2020 pandemic suspended mainstream filmmaking activities around the world due to social distancing rules, about 15 students from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology were making independent films in different parts of the globe: Wuhan, Kunming, Shijiazhuang, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London.

Each student established a one-man’s studio and made a documentary film about the impact of the pandemic. As amateurs, they audaciously engaged in “extreme filmmaking,” that is, filmmaking under extreme conditions: pandemic, no funding, no professional equipment, no teammates. They started shooting in early February and kept tracking the pandemic week by week until June or September. They made 15 films in total, including documentaries, fictional documentaries, animated documentaries, and stop-motion animation. The lengths of their films vary: animated films are around 6-8 minutes and live-action films 10-20 minutes, with the exception of a feature-length documentary about Wuhan lockdown.

These films epitomize the Humanities’ take on the 2020 pandemic. To watch these films and cast your vote for the best three films (deadline: November 1, 2020), please click: Continue reading

The Condition of Music and Anglophone Influences in the Poetry of Shao Xunmei review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Nick Admussen’s review of The Condition of Music and Anglophone Influences in the Poetry of Shao Xunmei, by Tian Jin. 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 Denton, editor

The Condition of Music and Anglophone
Influences in the Poetry of Shao Xunmei

By Tian Jin

Reviewed by Nick Admussen

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright September, 2020)

Tian Jin, The Condition of Music and Anglophone Influences in the Poetry of Shao Xunmei Wilmington: Vernon Press, 2020. li + 123 pgs. ISBN: 978-1-64889-051-2.

Shao Xunmei (邵洵美, 1906-1968) is a fascinating figure. A poet, translator, critical essayist, and editor, his cosmopolitan, decadent, deeply Shanghainese voice both influenced and, in some ways, epitomized a certain strand of Republican-era literature. Shao also led a famously romantic life, some of which was captured by his literary collaborator, opium-partner, and lover, Emily Hahn, in a series of books and New Yorker articles. But Shao’s legacy has been much colored by leftist disdain for his upper-class background and rightist excoriation of his licentious tastes. Lu Xun said that “Money makes the world go round, maybe even the universe, but it won’t make you a good writer, and the poetry of the poet Shao Xunmei demonstrates this” (xvii). Dismissals like this meant that after 1949, even critical consideration of his writing became difficult, and the Cultural Revolution-era charge that he was engaged in international espionage (for writing a letter to Emily Hahn asking for money) was not vacated until 1985.

Tian Jin’s monograph, The Condition of Music and Anglophone Influences in the Poetry of Shao Xunmei, is therefore an early entry into the field of Shao studies, which is a decade behind the study of other writers from the same period. It is a short dissertation-style book with a healthy 42-page introduction that sets out Shao’s biography and reception history, especially useful since Shao has been left out of most literary histories. The book focuses on the way that tropes of music in Shao’s poetry and criticism are drawn from Anglophone writers, specifically Algernon Charles Swinburne, Edith Sitwell, and George Augustus Moore. As it does so, it uses feminist critique to demonstrate that Shao’s gender politics are affected by, and affect, his poetics. Continue reading

HKBU PhD fellowships


The Department of Chinese Language and Literature at Hong Kong Baptist University attaches great importance to diversity of experience in both teaching and research.

Our staff have received their qualifications and previously worked in various academic institutions in, among others, Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, USA, UK and Germany.

Their research expertise covers areas as diverse as poetics and literary theory, canonical studies and commentaries, Sino-Korean cross-cultural studies, pre-classical inscriptions, paleography, excavated manuscripts, as well as modern and contemporary Chinese literature and culture.

The department is associated with a number of noted institutions such as the Jao Tsung-I Academy of Sinology (JAS), the Sino- Humanitas Institute (SHI), and the Centre for Chinese Cultural Heritage (CCH). Among the most recent academic exchange partners of our department are Waseda University, National University of Singapore, Yonsei University, Heidelberg University and others.

Dozens of MPhil and PhD students have benefited from the department’s vibrant and diverse academic environment and community. Having flourished in rigorous programs offered by the department and associated institutions, our graduates have gone on to various paths of their careers. 2 PhD candidates from Ukraine and Germany are currently studying in the department as recipients of the Hong Kong PhD Fellowships Scheme (HKPFS). And they are enjoying the scholarship HK$42,100 per year, HK$25,000 per year for procurement of research materials and books, HK$31,800 per year plus the University’s provision of HK$20,000 for conference and research-related travel allowance. Continue reading

Sex education controversy

Source: SupChina (9/22/20)
Sex education advocates push back after Chinese parent denounces reproductive anatomy lesson in primary school
Although the State Council, China’s Cabinet, urged all schools to make sexual and reproductive health education part of their compulsory curriculums in 2011, lessons covering sex-related topics are still limited and not offered at all in many Chinese schools.
By Jiayun Feng

sex education china

A Chinese mother of a nine-year-old girl recently shared her indignation over how her child was taught about human anatomy and reproduction at school, accusing her daughter’s teacher of providing sex education too early.

Her complaint, however, was swiftly dismissed as prudish and backward by an overwhelming number of people on social media, who leveraged the situation to call for more candid conversations about sex in Chinese classrooms.

According to a series of screenshots of WeChat messages shared by the parent, she decided to reach out to the teacher after her daughter came home from school one day, telling her what she learned about “pregnancy” and “anatomical differences between men and women.” Continue reading