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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...

Rising in the East

Holly Williams
CBS News
China's film industry has grown so big so fast, that it is now looking to compete with Hollywood...

Viewpoint

04.06.16

Will China Ever Have Its Own Cinematic Superhero?

Anthony Kao
As Batman v Superman attempts to barnstorm cinema box offices worldwide, including in China—now the world’s No. 2 movie marketplace—I’ve been watching a different kind of hero movie: Jian Bing Man.This 2015 Chinese blockbuster isn’t exactly a...

Depth of Field

04.03.16

Meet ‘Depth of Field’: The Month’s Best Chinese Photojournalism

Yan Cong, Ye Ming & more from Yuanjin Photo
Welcome to ChinaFile’s inaugural “Depth of Field” column. In collaboration with Yuanjin Photo, an independent photo blog published by photographers Yan Cong and Ye Ming on the Chinese social media platform WeChat, we will highlight new and...

Reality Show Singer Breaks China's Cultural Revolution Taboo

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Yang Le sings of how he lost his father in Mao’s crackdown on perceived enemies 50 years ago.

Media

03.29.16

‘River Town’ the Movie

Jonathan Landreth from China Film Insider
Not since Iron and Silk premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1991 has a movie based on a memoir about teachers on the front lines of U.S.-China relations come to the big screen. Director Shirley Sun’s mostly-English-language film adaptation of...

Market for Chinese Art Is Increasingly in China

Scott Reyburn
New York Times
Chinese decorative art and antiques was one of the few auction sectors that grew in 2015.

Excerpts

03.22.16

Beyond ‘Chicken or Beef’ Choices in China Debates

Jeffrey Wasserstrom
Growing up in California with no special interest in China, one of the few things I associated with the big country across the Pacific was mix-and-match meal creation. On airplanes and in school cafeterias, you just had “chicken or beef” choices,...

Conversation

03.04.16

Xi Jinping: A Cult of Personality?

Jonathan Landreth, Taisu Zhang & more
By some accounts, Chinese Presdient Xi Jinping is the most powerful leader the country has  had since Mao Zedong. One arrow in his quiver that echoes Mao’s armory is Xi’s embrace of popular song, listened to these days not on the radio or...

China Could Beat Hollywood by 2017

Bloomberg
The country’s box-office sales are growing an average of 34 percent a year.

China: No More Weird Buildings

Matt Rivers and Chung Fun
CNN
New guidelines will forbid the construction of "bizarre" and "odd-shaped" buildings that are devoid of character or cultural heritage...

Lost in China’s Exploding Future

Ian Buruma from New York Review of Books
Chinese director Jia Zhangke’s new movie, Mountains May Depart, begins with a disco dance in a bleak mining town to the sounds of “Go West” by the Pet Shop Boys. It is the lunar New Year, 1999. Outside, the end of the millennium is celebrated in a...

Media

01.29.16

‘The New Yorker’ on China

Jiayang Fan, Peter Hessler & more
Following is an edited transcript of a live event hosted at Asia Society New York on December 17, 2015, “ChinaFile Presents: The New Yorker On China.” (The full video appears above.) The evening, introduced by Asia Society President Josette Sheeran...

Conversation

01.13.16

Does Chinese Investment Pose a Threat to Hollywood?

Jonathan Landreth, Stanley Rosen & more
The Wanda Group, China’s leading real estate developer, on Monday paid $3.5 billion for a controlling stake in Hollywood studio Legendary Entertainment, maker of Jurassic World, among other global blockbusters. At a time when Hollywood is...

Culture

01.05.16

In ‘Mr. Six,’ China’s Changing and Staying the Same

Jonathan Landreth from China Film Insider
Playing an aging gangster railing against the “little punks” who kidnapped his son in Beijing, Feng Xiaogang gives a solid performance as the title character of Mr. Six: a gravel-throated vigilante shaken when his go-it-alone rescue effort puts him...

China's Wanda Acquiring Controlling Stake in Legendary Entertainment

Patrick Brzesk and Borys Kit
Hollywood Reporter
Wanda aims to be a global entertainment giant, buying the No. 2 U.S. cinema chain AMC for $2.6B in 2012.

After Mysterious Disappearance, Hong Kong Publisher Claims He Is In China ‘Cooperating with Authorities’

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
Lee Bo specializes in books critical of the Communist Party.

China's Alibaba Pictures Ousts Senior Board Member After Graft Allegations

Patrick Brzeski
Hollywood Reporter
The company hasn't been able to contact the former Tencent executive since he was detained by authorities in July...

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...

A Wordless Elegy for China’s War Dead

DIDI KIRSTEN TATLOW
New York Times
Mr. Wang explained why he wanted to write a requiem about a war that ended 70 years ago.

Q. and A.: Jindong Cai on ‘Beethoven in China’

Ian Johnson
New York Times
Jindong Cai, 59, is an orchestra conductor and a professor at Stanford University.

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,...

Media

11.10.15

Chinese Hits Miss Out on the Global Box Office

Jonathan Landreth from China Film Insider
If he’d had the time after meeting American captains of industry in Seattle and Barack Obama at the White House, Chinese President Xi Jinping might have ducked out at the close of his United Nations appearance and into a New York movie theater to...

Culture

11.04.15

Zhang Yimou: ‘Even Though Our Market Is Growing Fast, We’re Still Not Satisfied’

Jonathan Landreth
Hollywood has Steven Spielberg and China has Zhang Yimou, the senior statesman of moviemaking in the People’s Republic. From Red Sorghum, his 1987 debut right out of the Beijing Film Academy, through Hero, which grossed more in America in 2002 than...

Showing Another Side of China - via Instagram

Celia Hatton
BBC
One night last spring, two veteran photojournalists working in Beijing came up with an interesting idea.

Media

10.29.15

Ai Weiwei Doesn’t Need Anyone to Give Him Legos

James Palmer
The noted Chinese artist and perennial dissident Ai Weiwei recently announced that Lego, a Denmark-based company, had refused his request to purchase more than a million of the tiny toy bricks for an Australian display of his work “Trace,” a...

Culture

10.26.15

Xi Jinping on What’s Wrong with Contemporary Chinese Culture

from China Film Insider
At the Beijing Forum on Literature and Art last October, President Xi Jinping spoke to a high-level audience of arts professionals about the role of arts and culture in China. The event, along with excerpts of the October 15, 2014 speech, given in...

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...

Mao and Other Cultural Inspirations

RANDY KENNEDY
New York Times
“An army without culture is a dull-witted army,” Mao Zedong wrote, “and a dull-witted army cannot defeat the enemy.”

Culture

10.07.15

Jia Zhangke on Finding Freedom in China on Film

Jonathan Landreth
Jia Zhangke is among the most celebrated filmmakers China has ever produced—outside of China. His 2013 film, A Touch of Sin, a weaving-together of four tales of violence ripped from modern-day newspaper headlines, won the Best Screenplay award at...

A Painting of China’s First Lady, Before a Rise to Stardom

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
On the exhibition notes, the painting of Peng Liyuan by Jin Shangyi is identified only as “a well-known singer.”

Culture

10.02.15

In Zhang Yimou’s ‘Coming Home’ History is Muted But Not Silent

Eva Shan Chou
Coming Home, directed by the celebrated Zhang Yimou and released in the U.S. last week, begins as a man escapes a labor camp in China’s northwest and tries to return home. But he is captured when he and his wife attempt to meet, after their daughter...

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...

From Amateur to Professional: A 25-Year Photographic Journey

Mark Leong
National Geographic
These old photos are a record of a time now gone, not just for a developing China but also for an updated version of myself. 

Sinica Podcast

09.24.15

Hip Hop in China

Kaiser Kuo, David Moser & more from Sinica Podcast
Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are joined today by Jerry Chan and Matt Sheehan for a look at hip-hop in China. Both guests should be familiar to long-time listeners in Beijing. Jerry has been involved with the local music scene for over a decade and now...

China Teaching Troops Folk Dances to Make Friends in Xinjiang

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
China's military tries to improve relations with the minority people who live there...

‘I Try to Talk Less’: A Conversation with Ai Weiwei and Liao Yiwu

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
In late July, Chinese authorities renewed travel privileges for conceptual artist and political activist Ai Weiwei, ending a five-year prohibition following his arrest in 2011. He promptly flew to Munich and then Berlin, where he has accepted a...

Culture

09.11.15

French Director’s Chinese Movie Balances Freedom With Compromise

Jonathan Landreth
In 2012, French movie director Jean-Jacques Annaud got a warm welcome in China after more than a dozen years as persona non grata there for having offended official Chinese Communist Party history with his 1997 film Seven Years in Tibet—the story of...

China: Through the Looking Glass

Orientalism is generally understood as a bad thing. What the “Through the Looking Glass” exhibit designers attempted to do was reclaim Orientalism, demonstrating that Western designers might only have a superficial understanding of China, but that...

Japanese Demons and Crotch Bombs: The Tense State of Asian Cinema

Patrick St. Michel
Atlantic
Movies from South Korean, China, and Japan have become increasingly nationalistic, thanks to ongoing territorial disputes and the 70th anniversary of World War II.

Culture

09.09.15

The Met Goes to China

Jeffrey Wasserstrom
In July, while in New York, I toured The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s much buzzed about “China: Through the Looking Glass,” a visually stunning multimedia exhibit that showcases the varied ways that Western fashion designers have been inspired by...

‘Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation’ Revs to Record Opening Day in China

Pamela McClintock
Hollywood Reporter
The Tom Cruise movie scored the top opening of all time for a 2D Hollywood title with $18.5 million on Tuesday.

China Accused of Fraud as Government-Backed Film Outperforms Terminator: Genisys

Ben Child
Guardian
The state allegedly offered money for bogus box-office data for "The Hundred Regiments Offensive."...

I’m with the Banned: China Blocks Bon Jovi Gigs

Jennifer Duggan
Guardian
U.S. group were due to perform first China shows next week, but previous use of Dalai Lama image may have prompted officia intervention.

Not for Kids: Forbidden City’s Adult Coloring Book

Alyssa Abkowitz and Lilian Lin
Wall Street Journal
Psychologists have hailed coloring as a good relaxation technique, and some have likened it to meditation.

Warner Bros. in Talks to Make Movies in China

Ben Fritz and Shalini Ramachandran
Wall Street Journal
The joint venture would produce local-language films for Asian audience.

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.

Culture

08.20.15

Banned in China, Independent Chinese Films Come to New York

Jonathan Landreth
Three years ago this week I watched the 9th Beijing Independent Film Festival crumble under the weight of official fear—fear that the gritty low-budget, experimental dramas and documentaries screening in a remote Beijing suburb reflected a touch...

Culture

08.18.15

Has Chinese Film Finally Produced a Real Hero?

Ying Zhu
“This Is an Era That Calls for Heroes”—the boldface Chinese characters scream from a publicity poster for the Chinese animation film, Monkey King: Hero is Back, which made headline news in July for breaking the animation box-office record in China...

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...

Alibaba Names Former Goldman Sachs Executive as President

Michael De La Merced
New York Times
Alibaba on Tuesday named J. Michael Evans, who already serves on its board, as its president.

The Melancholy Pop Idol Who Haunts China

Hua Hsu
New Yorker
Teresa Teng’s influence is particularly powerful in China, which her parents had fled after the revolution.

China’s Film Industry Is Gaining on Hollywood

Bilge Ebiri
Chinese audiences are growing, more theaters are being built, and the movies are getting better.

Media

07.23.15

Why Taylor Swift’s 1989 Merchandise Is Not Going to Get Her Banned in China

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On July 20, one of China’s largest e-commerce websites, JD.com, announced that it is partnering with popular American singer Taylor Swift to become the first authorized retailer of her merchandise in China. That news likely wouldn’t have turned...

Chinese Art Curator Admits to Faking Masterpieces

William Kazer and Olivia Geng
Wall Street Journal
A prestigious art institute in Guangzhou has discovered that it had forged artwork in its collection — faked by none other than one of its curators.

This Instagram Account Offers a New Perspective on China

Time
Some photographs show the surprisingly mundane moments in the life of regular Chinese, such as Albertazzi’s image of a group of men playing cards in their swim shorts on a hot summer afternoon in Beijing; others are images from long-term documentary...

China Box Office Booms with $284-Million Week; Foreign Films Remain Shut Out

Julie Makinen
Los Angeles Times
The depth and variety of local films suggests growth in China’s domestic production.

'The Autobots' Hits Theaters, and Many Chinese Say They've Seen It Before

Amy Qin
New York Times
Many expressed outrage over the newest animated children’s movie, “The Autobots,” which bears an uncanny resemblance to Disney's "Cars.”...

Local Filmmakers Must Raise Their Game to Compete With Hollywood

Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
Chen Kaige says that while the movie industry booms in China, local filmmakers need to raise their standards to compete with Hollywood.

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