Sinica Podcast

05.26.17

Chinese Power in the Age of Donald Trump

Jeremy Goldkorn, Kaiser Kuo & more from Sinica Podcast
When Joseph Nye, Jr., first used the phrase “soft power” in his 1990 book Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power, China did not factor much into his calculus of world order: It had relatively little military and economic power, and...

U.S. Reps, Dalai Lama Take Aim at China Sore Spot Tibet

Katy Daigle, Ashwini Bhatia 
Washington Post
As President Donald Trump appears to be warming to China, a bipartisan group from the U.S. House of Representatives took aim Wednesday at one of Beijing’s sore spots: Tibet.
04.23.17

How Does the Law Apply to Non-Profit Performing Arts or Other Cultural Groups?

According to the NGOs in China blog’s summary of guidance provided by the Ministry of Public Security at a 2016 Q&A session, “Article 21 [of the law] permits foreign NGOs to use ‘other funds legally acquired within China’ for their...

Welcome to Yiwu: China’s Testing Ground for a Multicultural City

Helen Roxburgh
Guardian
Unlike Guangzhou’s African community—who have faced prejudice and hostility—Yiwu’s foreign residents enjoy an ‘unusual freedom of worship,’ with the municipal government even consulting international traders on city business

Features

02.04.17

Why’s Beijing So Worried About Western Values Infecting China’s Youth?

Eric Fish
In early December, Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered the country’s universities to “adhere to the correct political orientation.” Speaking at a conference on ideology and politics in China’s colleges, he stressed that schools must uphold the...

Sinica Podcast

01.31.17

Talking ’Bout My Generation: Chinese Millennials

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Alec Ash, a young British writer who lives in Beijing, has covered “left-behind” children in Chinese villages, the “toughest high-school exam in the world,” and Internet live-streaming, among many other subjects. He is the author of Wish Lanterns,...

Sinica Podcast

12.19.16

Beijing Meets Banjo: Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Wu Fei is a classically trained composer and performer of the guzheng, or traditional Chinese 21-string zither. Abigail Washburn is a Grammy Award–winning American banjo player and fluent speaker of Chinese. They’ve been friends for a decade and are...

WWE’s China Hopes Rest on Bin Wang’s Big Shoulders

Jessica Toonkel
Reuters
Wang will be joined by seven other Chinese athletes hand-picked by WWE Inc, in the hope that one of them will become the first Chinese WWE "superstar"...

Silicon Valley’s Culture, Not Its Companies, Dominates in China

Paul Mozur
New York Times
Looking to break from a rigid workplace culture, Silicon Valley has captured the minds of China’s young entrepreneurs and investors

Animosity in a Burmese Hub Deepens as Chinese Get Richer

Jane Perlez
New York Times
Locals view Chinese as taking advantage of Mandalay’s location and resources. Chinese view locals as beneath them, slow at business and making money.

New Wave of Chinese Restaurants Challenge “Cheap” Stereotype

Esther Wang
NPR
A new generation of immigrant restaurateurs is aiming to offer an updated spin on the Chinese restaurant, with prices to match

China Revives “Comrade” in Drive for Communist Party Discipline

Lucy Hornby
Financial Times
Anti-corruption watchdog orders return of outmoded greeting now embraced by gay men

Ancient Town in China Enjoys Profitable Rebirth as a ‘Beautiful Stage’

Amy Qin
New York Times
With selfie-ready backdrops — flowing green canals and sloping tiled roofs — Wuzhen, China, takes off with tourists

Peyton Manning is Looking for the Yao Ming of Football in China

Bloomberg
Former quarterback says ‘no-brainer’ for NFL to play in China

HBO Asia, China Movie Channel to Co-Produce Martial Arts Flicks for TV

Patrick Brzeski
Hollywood Reporter
The project will be HBO’s first Chinese-language production starring Chinese talent.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Chinese in Africa But Were Too Afraid to Ask

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
The Chinese presence in Africa has been so sudden and so all-encompassing that it’s left a lot of people confused. Chinese farmers now compete for space and customers in Lusaka’s open-air markets, Chinese textiles are undercutting Nigerian...

As Economy Worsens, Chinese Migrants in Africa Confront New Challenges

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Thousands of Chinese migrants who settled in Africa over the past 10 years now face mounting uncertainty as economic growth slows across the continent and back home in China. While there are no reliable estimates as to how many Chinese migrants...

Sinica Podcast

02.09.16

Sauced: American Cooking in China

Kaiser Kuo & David Moser from Sinica Podcast
Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are joined this week by Howie Southworth and Greg Matza, creators of the independent video series “Sauced in Translation,” a reality show that journeys into the wilder parts of China in search of local Chinese specialties...

Xi'an City Wall: How China Turned A Military Site Into A Unique Park

Shen Lu
CNN
Xi'an, China's 637-year-old city wall is a relatively new kid on the block...

‘Kingdom of Daughters’ in China Draws Tourists to Its Matrilineal Society

AMY QIN
New York Times
It was morning in the lakeside village of Luoshui here in southwestern China.

Nobel Renews Debate on Chinese Medicine

IAN JOHNSON
New York Times
As China basks in its first Nobel Prize in science, few places seem as elated, or bewildered, by the honor as the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences.

In ‘The Assassin,’ a Director Blends the Fantastical and the Realistic

MEKADO MURPHY
New York Times
The director has made a film rooted in martial arts, but with imagery and settings that make “The Assassin” feel almost painterly.

Once Seed Was Planted, Chinese Headwear Fad Grew Like Weeds

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Across China, grown-ups are sporting plastic decorations on their heads in the shape of vegetables, fruit and flowers.

Chinese Youth Admire American Culture But Remain Wary of U.S. Policy

CHRIS BUCKLEY
New York Times
“We really like American culture, but we also like to have a government that doesn’t show weakness abroad.”

Respect Your Elders: Confucian Kindergartens Catch On in China

Jeremy Page
WSJ: China Real Time Report
The Party is now introducing traditional culture classes in state-run kindergartens and other levels of schooling.

Is Romance Dead? France Seeks New Image in China

MICHEL ROSE
Reuters
France's finance minister wants to persuade Chinese officials to set aside their romantic image...

How Chinese and Americans Are Misreading Each Other—And Why It Matters

Fu Ying
Huffington Post
Young Chinese don't like it when Americans see China as a monolith. ...

Movie Review: ‘Wolf Totem’ Offers Majestic Vistas and Real Wolves

Mark Jenkins
Washington Post
The Movie lures and repels lovers of nature into the theater.

Chinese State Media Blasts ‘Stereotypical’ and ‘Prejudiced’ BBC Documentary

Ryan Kilpatrick
Hong Kong Economic Journal
China’s state media Xinhua has lashed out at a recent documentary series by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Culture

08.11.15

Japan’s Soft Power Leader in China is a Fat Blue Cartoon Cat

David Volodzko
On July 28, costumed in vibrant colors, throngs of fans flocked toward the early morning light of Victoria Harbor, queueing outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center for the last day of the 17th Ani-Com & Games Hong Kong. The...

Chinese Cultural Diplomacy in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The Chinese government has spent billions of dollars in Africa on public diplomacy initiatives that are intended to improve the country’s image. Central to that strategy is the growing network of Confucius Institutes (CIs) spread across the...

Culture

04.10.15

A New Opera and Hong Kong’s Utopian Legacy

Denise Y. Ho
This year, the 43rd annual Hong Kong Arts Festival commissioned a chamber opera in three acts called Datong: The Chinese Utopia. Depicting the life and times of Kang Youwei (1858-1927), a philosopher and reformer of China’s last Qing dynasty, it...

Beyond Ai Weiwei: How China’s Artists Handle Politics (or Avoid Them)

Christopher Beam
New Yorker
Westerners are often criticized for looking at Chinese art through a narrow political lens.

Who Knew? Madagascar Has Africa’s Third Largest Chinese Population

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The Chinese population on the east African island of Madagascar defies many of the poorly-informed, albeit widely-held, stereotypes about Chinese migrants on the rest of the continent. First, the community in Madagascar isn't small or isolated...

Culture

03.23.15

Wordplay

Nicholas Griffin
Way back when, let’s say in 2012, the city of Miami and the country of China rarely mixed in sentences. Since then, connections between the Far East and the northernmost part of Latin America have become more and more frequent. Three years ago, a...

Media

03.10.15

China’s Good Girls Want Tattoos

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
“It seems that Chinese men don’t want to marry a girl with tattoos,” complained one such girl on the Chinese online discussion platform Douban. She posted a picture of her body art, an abstract design on her lower back. “In East Asian cultural...

Caixin Media

01.06.15

In Praise of Hu Feng

Sheila Melvin
Hu Feng (1902-85) is a name that most students of P.R.C. history have undoubtedly encountered at one time or another. I remember reading it for the first time years ago in Jonathan Spence's "The Search for Modern China." It stuck in...

Conversation

11.12.14

Xi Jinping’s Culture Wars

Stanley Rosen, Michael Berry & more
Given China’s tightening restrictions on film, TV, art, writing, and journalism, and the reverberations from President Xi Jinping’s recent speech on culture, we asked contributors why they think Beijing has decided to ramp up its involvement in the...

Cultural Reflection Can Improve Modern Governance

Xinhua
Xinhua
During the latest in a series of collective studies among the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, Xi said the CPC should follow successful examples in Chinese history to learn from their merits and avoid shortcomings.

Culture

08.11.14

The Bard in Beijing

Sheila Melvin
At the end of a rollicking production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream—directed by Tim Robbins and staged in China in June by the Los Angeles-based Actors’ Gang—the director and actors returned to the stage for a dialogue with the...

Undermining China, One Knockout at a Time

Amy Qin
New York Times
While blustering essays stoking Chinese nationalism are nothing new, Zhou Xiaoping’s piece on the “real-life war” being waged on the Internet seems to have enjoyed unusually broad circulation. 

Sinica Podcast

06.02.14

OMG, in Conversation With Jessica Beinecke

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn interview Jessica Beinecke, host of the VOA-funded OMG Meiyu, a Chinese show on English slang that has earned Jessica hundreds of thousands of followers in China. Now the owner of her own production company, Jessica is...

The Growing Allure of Designed-in-China Fashions

Christina Larson
Businessweek
Guo Pei, a couture designer based in Beijing, says she’s seeing increased demand for custom-made gowns as Chinese performers and socialites have more formal occasions to attend.

Back in China, Watching My Words

Helen Gao
New York Times
Back in China after many years in the U.S., Yuxin Gao feels alienated and silenced, and many ask why she returned. 

Media

01.03.14

Coming to Chinese Headlines in 2014

Chinese people have spent another year breathing dirty air, fretting about food safety, poking fun at corrupt officials, and complaining about tightening censorship—but as a discerning consumer of international news, you probably knew that already...

Sinica Podcast

12.20.13

Rectifying Chinese Names

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Living in a community of China watchers, we are unceasingly assaulted by words and phrases for which definitions are unclear, or ambiguous, or over which there is controversy or disagreement. And so, bearing Confucius’ admonition that the most...

China: Five Pounds of Facts

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
No one seems to have measured exactly how old Chinese civilization is, but Endymion Wilkinson can probably give a more precise answer than anyone else. “1.6 billion minutes separate us from the Zhou conquest of the Shang,” he informs us at the...

Sinica Podcast

10.29.13

Chinese Literature in Translation

Jeremy Goldkorn, Linda Jaivin & more from Sinica Podcast
This week, Sinica is delighted to be joined by Linda Jaivin and Alice Liu for a discussion on Chinese literature in translation. As many listeners will know, Linda is a long-standing force in the Chinese literary community and the author of many...

The Puzzle of Identifying as Chinese

Didi Kristen Tatlow
New York Times
In the U.S.A., there’s a tension between the self that is invented and the self that is inherited,” Chinese-American writer Gish Jen said. “But in China, it’s 20 percent of one and 80 percent of another,” whereas in America, “it’s the...

Phonemica: A Quest to Save China’s Languages

Wendy Qian
Atlantic
Phonemica, or xiangyinyuan, is an innovative project that documents China’s myriad dialects and languages, many of which are slowly disappearing due to state-sponsorship of Mandarin as the national language.  

Chinese Restaurants in America

G.H. Danton
China Story
In his 1925 account of Chinese restaurants in America, G.H. Danton introduces the reader to the cuisine, clientele and commercial considerations of the industry which had ‘supplanted the Chinese laundryman in typifying for America where China is’...

Sinica Podcast

05.10.13

Humor in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Feel that your jokes have been falling flat lately? Enough that you’ve even started wondering whether China is a grand experiment in irony and deadpan humor? This week on Sinica, hosts Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn are delighted to invite guests...

Books

04.12.13

Lin Shu, Inc.

Michael Gibbs Hill
How could a writer who knew no foreign languages call himself a translator? How, too, did he become a major commercial success, churning out nearly 200 translations over twenty years? Lin Shu, Inc. crosses the fields of literary studies, intellectual history, and print culture, offering new ways to understand the stakes of translation in China and beyond. With rich detail and lively prose, Michael Gibbs Hill shows how Lin Shu (1852-1924) rose from obscurity to become China’s leading translator of Western fiction at the beginning of the twentieth century. Well before Ezra Pound’s and Bertolt Brecht’s “inventions” of China revolutionized poetry and theater, Lin Shu and his assistants—who did, in fact, know languages like English and French—had already given many Chinese readers their first taste of fiction from the United States, France, and England. After passing through Lin Shu’s “factory of writing,” classic novels like Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Oliver Twist spoke with new meaning for audiences concerned with the tumultuous social and political change facing China. Leveraging his success as a translator of foreign books, Lin Shu quickly became an authority on traditional Chinese culture who upheld the classical language as a cornerstone of Chinese national identity. Eventually, younger intellectuals—who had grown up reading his translations—turned on Lin Shu and tarred him as a symbol of backward conservatism. Ultimately, Lin’s defeat and downfall became just as significant as his rise to fame in defining the work of the intellectual in modern China. —Oxford University Press

Books

04.03.13

From the Dragon’s Mouth

Ana Fuentes
From The Dragon’s Mouth: Ten True Stories that Unveil the Real China is an exquisitely intimate look into the China of the twenty-first century as seen through the eyes of its people. This is one of the rare times a book combines the voices of everyday Chinese people from so many different layers of society: a dissident tortured by the police; a young millionaire devoted to nationalism; a peasant-turned-prostitute to pay for the best education for her son; a woman who married her gay friend to escape from social pressure, just like an estimated 16 million other women; a venerated kung fu master unable to train outdoors because of the hazardous pollution; the daughter of two Communist Party officials getting rich coaching Chinese entrepreneurs the ways of Capitalism; among others.   —Penguin{chop}{node, 3048, 4}

China Launches Screenwriting Competition for U.S. Writers

Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
The competition is the Chinese authorities’ latest attempt to get the country more exposure in international markets through voices that might be more in touch with the tastes of foreign audiences.  

A Streak Of Brooklyn In Beijing

Mitch Moxley
New York Times
Gulou residents have been joined by a new breed of Chinese and expatriate clad in skinny jeans, riding fixed-gear bikes and a loyal customer base for restaurants that offer locavore menu options.

Chinese Family Memories, Recycled

Kerri MacDonald
New York Times
Thomas Sauvin's photo project, composed of discarded negatives, "starts with birth, [and] ends with death... It talks a bit about love. People go to the beach. People travel." In short, it's about life. ...

Man Who Had Mother Executed Wants Tomb Honored

Zhou Qun and Chen Baocheng
The 60-year-old Zhang Hongbing, who was among the most radical Red Guards during the tumultuous 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, describes his life as one full of regret.