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

Maura Cunningham
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
Businessweek
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.

Foreign Films Rise Again at China’s Box Office

Laurie Burkitt
Wall Street Journal
China’s movie market is booming, with $3.3 billion worth of ticket sales in the first half of the year, up nearly 50% from the same period in 2014.

'Ghost Fleet' Depicts War Between China, U.S.

Tom Risen
USA Today
Peter Singer and August Cole expand their research as analysts into the realm of imagination about a future that could find the U.S. at war with China.

Dalai Lama at Glastonbury Music Festival

Alex Ritman
Hollywood Reporter
The Dalai Lama praised the Pope's recent comments on climate change before Patti Smith and attendees sang "Happy Birthday" ahead of his 80th birthday...

Rare Access to China's Restive Far West

Wyatt Massey
CNN
Raphael Fournier's "Around Taklamakan," is a series of photographs from China's Xinjiang province which emphasize cultural tensions and daily life...

Books

06.25.15

City of Virtues

Chuck Wooldridge
Throughout Nanjing’s history, writers have claimed that its spectacular landscape of mountains and rivers imbued the city with “royal qi,” making it a place of great political significance. City of Virtues examines the ways a series of visionaries, drawing on past glories of the city, projected their ideologies onto Nanjing as they constructed buildings, performed rituals, and reworked the literary heritage of the city. More than an urban history of Nanjing from the late 18th century until 1911―encompassing the Opium War, the Taiping occupation of the city, the rebuilding of the city by Zeng Guofan, and attempts to establish it as the capital of the Republic of China―this study shows how utopian visions of the cosmos shaped Nanjing’s path through the turbulent 19th century.―University of Washington Press{chop}

China's Alibaba Pictures Investing in Paramount's 'Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation'

Abid Rahman, Georg Szalai
Hollywood Reporter
Alibaba Pictures says 'Mission: Impossible 5' will be its first Hollywood investment. ...

CAA China’s Leader on Censorship, Why China Needs a Global Hit and Translating for Spielberg

Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
The first U.S. talent agency with full-time representation in China marks 10 years in Beijing.

‘Jurassic World’ Speaks A Universal Language

Neda Ulaby
NPR
Jurassic World was No. 1 last week in China, where only about 30 Hollywood movies may screen officially each year.

China Blacklists 38 Cartoons, Violence, Porn Cited

Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
Among the banned are a 2014 animated TV series set in a Tokyo after a terrorist attack has destroyed the city.

Tencent Customers Come for the Music, Stay for the Perks

Juro Osawa
Wall Street Journal
Internet giant tries to pull off something few have achieved in China: get people to pay for digital music.

Media

06.09.15

Chinese Censorship of Western Books Is Now Normal. Where’s the Outrage?

Alexa Olesen
In September 2014, I was commissioned by the New York-based free speech advocacy group PEN American Center to investigate how Western authors were navigating the multibillion-dollar Chinese publishing world and its massive, but opaque, censorship...

Alibaba to Invest in China Business News

Wei Gu and Gillian Wong
Wall Street Journal
E-commerce giant to pay about $200 million for a 30% stake.

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...

Chubby Blue Cat Hints at Thaw in Ties Between China and Japan

Vanessa Piao
New York Times
In September, three Sichuan newspapers attacked the animated cat Doraemon as a tool of Japan’s “cultural invasion.”

Should Authors Shun or Cooperate With Chinese Censors?

Elliott Spirling, Chan Koonchung, John...
New York Times
A PEN American Center report found some books were expurgated by Chinese censors without the authors knowledge.

China’s Invisible History: An Interview with Filmmaker and Artist Hu Jie

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Though none of his works have been publicly shown in China, Hu Jie is one of his country’s most noteworthy filmmakers. He is best known for his trilogy of documentaries about Maoist China, which includes Searching for Lin Zhao’s Soul (2004), telling...

Corrupting the Chinese Language

Murong Xuecun
New York Times
The author fears Orwell’s prediciton: “If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”

Star Wars to Screen in China for First Time Ever

Time
The Shanghai International Film Festival will screen the original six films.

Taiwan’s Hou Hsiao-hsien Wins Cannes Best Director Award for 'The Assassin'

Agence France-Presse
The Guangdong-born director’s film is a study in contemplative art despite its action-packed premise.

Conversation

05.21.15

Censorship and Publishing in China

Andrew J. Nathan, Zha Jianying & more
This week, a new PEN American Center report “Censorship and Conscience: Foreign Authors and the Challenge of Chinese Censorship,” by Alexa Olesen, draws fresh attention to a perennial problem for researchers, scholars, and creative writers trying to...

PLA Daily Warns of Internet's Revolutionary Potential

Song Miou
Xinhua
The military should not only safeguard traditional national sovereignty and security, but also "protect ideological and political security on the invisible battleground of the Internet"...

Liu Xiaobo Locked Up in China, Locked Out of Translation of Paul Auster Novel

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Liu Xiaobo’s arrest was cut from the Chinese translation of Auster's novel without his knowledge...

‘Crotch Bomb’ in Anti-Japan War Drama Blasted by Chinese Netizens as 'Lewd, Bizarre'

Kathy Gao
South China Morning Post
When a prisoner pulls his hand from underneath the heroine's dress, he is holding a bomb, which he then detonates...

In China, ‘Breaking Bad’ is Real

Wall Street Journal
Chinese police have arrested a Chinese college chemistry professor for joining forces with a drug kingpin.

Why Hong Kong is Clamping Down on Creative Writing

Madeleine Thien
Guardian
The decision to close City University’s MFA program is plainly intended to limit free expression.

Sinica Podcast

05.18.15

Leonard Bernstein and China

Kaiser Kuo, David Moser & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are delighted to host Alexander Bernstein, son of Leonard Berstein and director of the Bernstein Family Foundation, who is now in China on part of a cultural tour. Accompanied by Alison Friedman of...

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...

Media

04.30.15

Will China Ban Katy Perry?

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On April 28, American pop singer Katy Perry gave her first-ever concert in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, the self-governing island which mainland China considers to be its sovereign territory. Tense relations between Taiwan and mainland China mean...

Three Days in Beijing with the Global Dissident Elite

Kashmir Hill
Fusion
Poitras, Oscar-winning Citizenfourdirector, came to Beijing to shoot a film about Appelbaum and Ai meeting and making art.

Wang Jianlin, a Billionaire at the Intersection of Business and Power in China -

Michael Forsythe
New York Times
Wang tends to present himself as the pragmatic face of big business in China.