The Classic Chinese Text That Ivanka Trump’s Kids Recited for Xi Jinping Was Long Banned in China

Zheping Huang
Quartz
For decades, Sanzijing had been banned from all public kindergartens and schools in China as the Communist regime cracked down on non-socialist ideas.

Liberating China’s Past

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
With the closing of this month’s National People’s Congress, China’s political season is upon us. It will culminate in the autumn with Xi Jinping’s almost certain reappointment to another five-year term. With Xi rapidly becoming the most important...

Books

02.16.17

Chinese Theology

Chloë Starr
In this groundbreaking and authoritative study, Chloë Starr explores key writings of Chinese Christian intellectuals, from philosophical dialogues of the late imperial era to micro-blogs of pastors in the 21st century. Through a series of close textual readings, she sheds new light on such central issues in Chinese theology as Christian identity and the evolving question of how Christians should relate to society and state.Reading these texts in their socio-political and traditional literary contexts, Starr opens a new conversation about the nature of Chinese theology and the challenge it offers to a broad understanding of how theology is created and contextualized. Concentrating on those theologians who have engaged most actively with their cultural and political milieus, Starr argues throughout her readings, as she examines how Chinese literary traditions and reading patterns have shaped Chinese theology, that text is as important as context. —Yale University Press{chop}

To Speak is to Blunder

Yiyun Li
New Yorker
My brain has banished Chinese. I dream in English. I talk to myself in English. It was a crucial decision to be orphaned from my mother tongue

Author’s Vision of a Future Beijing Looks to China’s Present

Karoline Kan and Javier Hernandez
New York Times
Meet Hao Jingfang, author of "Folding Beijing,” the science-fiction novelette that beat out Stephen King to win a Hugo Award. ...

Inside and Outside the System: Chinese Writer Hu Fayun

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Over the summer, I traveled to Wuhan to continue my series of talks with people about the challenges facing China. Coming here was part of an effort to break out of the black hole of Beijing politics and explore the view from China’s vast hinterland...

Culture

09.27.16

The Perils of Translating a Classic Novel from the Chinese Page to the American Stage

Nick Frisch
Welcome to my dream,” says a Chinese monk pacing along the stage of the San Francisco Opera. So begins Dream of the Red Chamber, a new opera based on the classic Chinese novel of the same name. Its central story is a love triangle framed as Buddhist...

A New Literary Genre Critiques the Scariest Part of Life in China: Reality

Adrienne Matei
Quartz
Enter chaohuan, the "ultra-unreal"...

Once a Voice of Young China, Han Han Stakes Out a Different Path

Karoline Kan
New York Times
Han Han discusses his writings, the turns his life has taken and what people in the West fail to understand about China

Culture

04.19.16

A Newly Translated Book Revisits Japan and China’s Wartime History

Karen Ma
Award-winning screenwriter and author Geling Yan has written more than 20 novels and short story collections about China, many adapted to film or TV, including Coming Home and The Flowers of War, both of which became feature films directed by Zhang...

If Mao Had Been a Hermit

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
At the annual meeting of BookExpo America that was held in New York last May, to which most leading U.S. publishers sent representatives, state-sponsored Chinese publishers were named “guests of honor.” Commercially speaking, this made sense. China’...

What Is the I Ching?

Eliot Weinberger from New York Review of Books
The I Ching has served for thousands of years as a philosophical taxonomy of the universe, a guide to an ethical life, a manual for rulers, and an oracle of one’s personal future and the future of the state. It was an organizing principle or...

Sinica Podcast

12.22.15

While We’re Here: China Stories from a Writers’ Colony

Kaiser Kuo, David Moser & more from Sinica Podcast
When Ernest Hemingway somewhat presciently referred to Paris as a movable feast (“wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you”) he captured the concerns of the long-term expat rather concisely. So why does everyone like to compare...

China: Novelists Against the State

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
Can writers help an injured society to heal? Did Ōe Kenzaburō, who traveled to Hiroshima in 1963 to interview survivors of the dropping of the atomic bomb on that city eighteen years earlier, and then published a moving book called Hiroshima Notes,...

Yan Lianke: Understand the Enemy

Huffington Post
"I think that my fate cannot be separated from literature."...

Caixin Media

10.23.15

Hemingway's Literary Escape

Sheila Melvin
One noonday in 2002, a friendly acquaintance of mine—I’ll call him Q—left his office in a Beijing concert hall to go to lunch and never returned. After a series of inquiries, his wife and colleagues learned that he had been arrested. Various charges...

Media

10.02.15

Meet China’s Salman Rushdie

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On a warm late afternoon in June, I sat with Perhat Tursun as he slowly exhaled a puff of smoke from a blue cigarette with shiny gold trim. Arrayed on the pale lace tablecloth before us was an assortment of nuts, sunflower seeds, and wine. The...

Science-Fiction Prize Is Awarded to Chinese Writer for First Time

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
The Chinese writer Liu Cixin has won the 2015 Hugo Award, the first time the prestigious prize has gone to a Chinese writer.

Media

06.02.15

Top Chinese Authors Show Up at Book Expo, but Where Are the Readers?

Zhang Xiaoran
Last week, 20,000 publishers convened in New York’s Javits Center for BookExpo America (BEA), the publishing industry’s annual trade show. Among their ranks was a delegation from China 500 strong, attending the convention in the capacity of “guest...

Culture

06.01.15

Chinese Writers and Chinese Reality

Ouyang Bin
My first encounter with Liu Zhenyun was in 2003. At the time, cell phones had just become available in China and they were complicating people’s relationships. I witnessed a couple break up because of the secrets stored on a phone. I watched people...

Mao’s China: The Language Game

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
It can be embarrassing for a China scholar like me to read Eileen Chang’s pellucid prose, written more than sixty years ago, on the early years of the People’s Republic of China. How many cudgels to the head did I need before arriving at comparable...

Caixin Media

05.05.15

A Byronic Hero for China’s Supremo

A little known vignette about Xi Jinping’s fondness for Song Jiang, a fictional hero in the 14th century classic novel The Water Margin, gives a peek into the private thoughts of China’s most powerful man. For someone born with a red spoon in his...

The Wonderfully Elusive Chinese Novel

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
In teaching Chinese-language courses to American students, which I have done about thirty times, perhaps the most anguishing question I get is “Professor Link, what is the Chinese word for ______?”

China Says Web Authors Must Use Real Names

New York Times
Guidelines aim to force online authors to “take better responsibility” for their works. 

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...

Sinica Podcast

11.07.14

David Walker on China in the Australian Mind

Kaiser Kuo & Jeremy Goldkorn from Sinica Podcast
{vertical_photo_right}This week on Sinica, Kaiser and Jeremy are delighted to be joined by Professor David Walker, Chair of the Australian Studies department at Peking University and historian with a special focus on Australian immigration policies...

Reading Howl in China

Guo XIaolu
Aeon Magazine
My generation, once impassioned by the Western literature of rebellion, is now lulled by ‘Wealthy Socialism.’

The Most Popular Books in China, and Why

MICHELLE TANG
Ozy
Five of China’s best-sellers could give us some telling insights into the nation’s psyche.

Blood-Drenched Chinese Story to Finally Grace Big Screen … in Korea

Lillian Lin
WSJ: China Real Time Report
The film “Chronicle of a Blood Merchant,” based on the 1995 novel of the same name by best-selling Chinese writer Yu Hua, has finally begun shooting nearly 14 years after it was first announced. But it won’t be a Chinese film.

Culture

07.01.14

Inside the Mind of a Chinese Hacker

Emily Parker
In May, the U.S. announced the indictment of five Chinese hackers for breaking into the computers of U.S. companies. The men went by code names like UglyGorilla and KandyGoo. A recent report revealed that the hackers, who worked for Unit 61398 of...

Sinica Podcast

05.03.14

Shoptalk on Publishing

Jeremy Goldkorn, Alice Xin Liu & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Jeremy Goldkorn is pleased to be joined by two people navigating the English-language publishing industry as it involves China: Alice Xin Liu, Editor of Pathlight magazine, and Karen Ma, first-time author of the well-received...

Culture

02.21.14

Stranger Than Fiction

Zhang Xiaoran
In the short twenty years since Yu Hua, a fifty-three-year-old former dentist, has been writing, China has undergone change enough for many lifetimes. His country’s transformations and what they leave in their wake have become the central theme of...

Chinese Novelist Guo to Jonathan Franzen: American Lit. ‘Massively Overrated’

Wall Street Journal
“The worst way to be universal is to try to be universal,” Franzen said in response.

C. T. Hsia, Who Brought Chinese Literature to the West, Dies at 92

William Yardley
New York Times
Hsia argued that Chinese writers suffered from an "obsession with China."...

The Curious, and Continuing, Appeal of Mark Twain in China

Amy Qin
New York Times
Mark Twain’s “Running for Governor” was taught alongside the writings by Mao Zedong and other prominent Chinese thinkers and literary figures in middle schools across China for more than 40 years.

Q. & A.: David Der-wei Wang on C.T. Hsia, Chinese Literary Critic

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
C.T. Hsia, the Chinese literary critic who died in New York on Dec. 29, aged 92, had a “legendary career” as “a true cosmopolitan, shrewd, critical and brilliant,” says David Der-wei Wang, Professor of Chinese Literature at Harvard University, in an...

China of My Mind

Virginia Pye
New York Times
When I tell people that I have recently published a novel set in China, one of the first questions they ask is whether I’ve been there. My response seems to be a letdown.

Culture

12.19.13

Chinese Literature Online

Michel Hockx
In July of last year, Brixton, U.K.-based novelist Zelda Rhiando won the inaugural Kidwell-e Ebook Award. The award was billed as “the world’s first international e-book award.” It may have been the first time that e-writers in English from all over...

Culture

11.19.13

Why You Should Read Pearl Buck’s ‘New’ Novel

Sheila Melvin
When I first heard that The Eternal Wonder, a new novel by Pearl Buck, was scheduled for publication by Open Road Media on October 22 of this year, I assumed the announcement was either a mistake or a joke.Buck, of course, is the author of The Good...

The Challenges of Conveying Absurd Reality: An Interview with Yu Hua

Megan Shank
Los Angeles Review of Books
Thus, Los Angeles Review of Books Asia Co-editor Megan Shank and Yu exchanged Chinese-language e-mails about history’s most over- and underrated Chinese writers, the evolution of an ancient language and why Yu will never read&...

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...

A Novel About A Dystopian Future China Wins the Chinese Nebula Awards

Charlie Jane Anders
Gawker
‘The Waste Tide’ by Chen Qiufan is the winner of the Best Novel category in this year's China's Xingyun (Nebula) Awards. It’s hard to imagine the novel, which paints a pessimistic, dark view of a corrupt near-future China...

Why Aren’t Chinese People Reading Books Anymore?

Helen Gao
Atlantic
China’s once-robust trade in serious literature has withered under an increasingly materialistic, results-oriented society.

Books of the Times—“Five Star Billionaire”

Dwight Garner
New York Times
Shanghai For Strivers: Tash Aw’s new novel captures China’s changes.

Joyce’s ‘Finnegans Wake’ Takes Off in China

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
International Herald Tribune
 “Finnegans Wake” in Chinese may strain the imagination of many, given the almost unsolvable challenges of the original English, but Ms. Dai Congrong, an associate professor of Comparative Literature at Fudan University,...

Books

05.09.13

Lao She in London

Anne Witchard
Lao She remains revered as one of China’s great modern writers. His life and work have been the subject of volumes of critique, analysis and study. However, the four years the young aspiring writer spent in London between 1924 and 1929 have largely been overlooked. Dr. Anne Witchard, a specialist in the modernist milieu of London between the wars, reveals Lao She’s encounter with British high modernism and literature from Dickens to Conrad to Joyce. Lao She arrived from his native Peking to the whirl of London’s West End scene—Bloomsburyites, Vorticists, avant-gardists of every stripe, Ezra Pound and the cabaret at the Cave of The Golden Calf. Immersed in the West End 1920s world of risqué flappers, the tabloid sensation of England’s “most infamous Chinaman Brilliant Chang” and Anna May Wong’s scandalous film Piccadilly, simultaneously Lao She spent time in the notorious and much sensationalised East End Chinatown of Limehouse. Out of his experiences came his great novel of London Chinese life and tribulations—Mr. Ma and Son: Two Chinese in London. However, as Witchard reveals, Lao She’s London years affected his writing and ultimately the course of Chinese modernism in far more profound ways. —Hong Kong University Press

Sinica Podcast

03.08.13

Mo Yan and the Nobel Prize

Kaiser Kuo, David Moser & more from Sinica Podcast
When Chinese author Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize for literature last year, many critics were fast to pounce on his selection, accusing the committee of making a political choice that glossed over what many consider to be pervasive self-censorship in...

Mo Yan Grants First Interview Since Winning Nobel Prize

Anthony Tao
Beijing Cream
A look at the highlights from a Der Spiegel interview with Mo, covering Ai Weiwei’s and Liao Yiwu’s criticism of the author, his comments on the Cultural Revolution, and his relationship with the government. 

Translation of “Finnegan’s Wake” Sells in China

Didi Tang
Associated Press
The Chinese version is no easier to read than the original, the loyal-minded translator assures, but James Joyce‘s “Finnegans Wake” has still sold out its initial run in China — with the help of some big urban billboards.

Out of School

12.24.12

Politics and the Chinese Language

Perry Link
The awarding of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature to the Chinese novelist Mo Yan has given rise to energetic debate, both within China’s borders and beyond. Earlier this month, ChinaFile ran an essay by Chinese literature scholar Charles Laughlin...

Why Salman Rushdie Should Pause Before Condemning Mo Yan

Pankaj Mishra
Guardian
Mo Yan, China's first Nobel laureate for literature, has been greeted withsome extraordinary hostility in the west. This week Salman Rushdie described him as a "patsy" for the Chinese government...

In the People’s Liberation Army

Mo Yan
New York Review of Books
Mo Yan, recent recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, describes an experience in the People's Liberation Army in the 1970s. This text is excerpted from his part fiction, part memoir Change...

Culture

12.11.12

Sheng Keyi on Mo Yan: “Literature Supersedes Politics and Everything Else”

In a recent conversation at the Asia Society, novelist Sheng Keyi said she felt the critism of Mo Yan’s Nobel Prize was unjustified. The controversy, she said, arises from Mo Yan’s politics rather than his literature, “and I think to critique him on...

Culture

12.11.12

Yu Jie: Awarding Mo Yan the Nobel Prize Was a “Huge Mistake”

Ouyang Bin
Mo Yan accepted his Nobel Prize for Literature in Stockholm on December 10.The 57-year-old novelist often writes stories based on memories of his village childhood, and his work and his political views have triggered wide debate. In...

Out of School

12.11.12

What Mo Yan’s Detractors Get Wrong

Charles Laughlin
When Chinese novelist Mo Yan accepted the Nobel Prize in Literature earlier this week, the relationship between literature and politics attracted much attention. The award is often given to writers who forcefully oppose political repression. When...

Mo Yan and the Hazards of Hollow Words

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
In Chinese, there are an impressive number of ways to describe saying nothing at all. When a person is determined to speak at length but not in depth, he can embark on a long jog of feihua—literally, wasted words—or perhaps pass the time at...

Perry Link: Does This Writer Deserve the Prize?

Perry Link
New York Review of Books
On October 11 Peter Englund, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy in Stockholm, announced that the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2012 will go to the fifty-seven-year-old Chinese writer Guan Moye, better known as Mo Yan, a pen name that means “...

Does This Writer Deserve the Prize?

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
On October 11 Peter Englund, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy in Stockholm, announced that the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2012 will go to the fifty-seven-year-old Chinese writer Guan Moye, better known as Mo Yan, a pen name that means “...

The Headache of Mo Yan, China’s Nobel Prize Winner in Literature

Zhang Jie
Washington Post
Mo Yan had a tuxedo made for the December 10 prize gala in Stockholm and is studying the waltz, in case he's invited to dance...

Culture Books Han Suyin obituary

John Gittings
Guardian
Chinese-born author best known for her 1952 book A Many-Splendoured Thing. The film of her 1952 book A Many-Splendoured Thing may have been just a classic weepie, but the original novel shocked Hong Kong with its tale of her love affair...