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.

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 Film Group Takes Role in Hollywood

Ben Fritz and Laurie Burkitt
Wall Street Journal
With a ten percent stake in ‘Furious 7’ China Film Group had, for the first time, an incentive to award an import a good release date.

Wild Pigeon

Photos by Carolyn Drake, words by...
Daylight
“The underlying theme I heard when talking to people was that how you interpret things is how they will be, so its best to look at the bright side of things. You don’t mention bad dreams, or you try to interpret them in a positive way. People told...

The Netflix of China Is Invading the US With Smartphones

Cade Metz
Wired
LeTV launched its Internet video streaming service three years before Netflix (2004 versus 2007). 

China: What the Uighurs See

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Xinjiang is one of those remote places whose frequent mention in the international press stymies true understanding. Home to China’s Uighur minority, this vast region of western China is mostly known for being in a state of permanent low-grade...

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...

Books

04.09.15

Revolutionary Cycles in Chinese Cinema, 1951-1979

Zhuoyi Wang
A comprehensive history of how the conflicts and balances of power in the Maoist revolutionary campaigns from 1951 to 1979 complicated and diversified the meanings of films, this book offers a discursive study of the development of early PRC cinema. Wang closely investigates how film artists, Communist Party authorities, cultural bureaucrats, critics, and audiences negotiated, competed, and struggled with each other for the power to decide how to use films and how their extensively different, agonistic, and antagonistic power strategies created an ever-changing discursive network of meaning in cinema. —Palgrave Macmillan{chop}

China Escalates Hollywood Partnerships, Aiming to Compete One Day

David Barboza
New York Times
Chinese studios are moving up the value chain, helping to develop, design and produce world-class films and animated features.

Environment

04.02.15

‘Wolf Totem’ Trainer Sees Risks, Rewards for Hollywood in China

from chinadialogue
Wolf trainer Andrew Simpson has just wrapped up three years in Beijing coaching wolves to perform in the film version of the novel Wolf Totem. The Sino-French adaptation of Jiang Rong’s best-selling 2004 novel opened in Beijing and Europe in...

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.

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...

Books

03.16.15

The China Collectors

Shareen Blair Brysac and Karl E. Meyer
Thanks to Salem sea captains, Gilded Age millionaires, curators on horseback, and missionaries gone native, North American museums now possess the greatest collections of Chinese art outside of East Asia itself. How did it happen? The China Collectors is the first full account of a century-long treasure hunt in China from the Opium Wars and the Boxer Rebellion to Mao Zedong's 1949 ascent.The principal gatherers are mostly little known and defy invention. They included "foreign devils" who braved desert sandstorms, bandits, and local warlords in acquiring significant works. Adventurous curators like Langdon Warner, a forebear of Indiana Jones, argued that the caves of Dunhuang were already threatened by vandals, thereby justifying the removal of frescoes and sculptures. Other Americans include George Kates, an alumnus of Harvard, Oxford, and Hollywood, who fell in love with Ming furniture. The Chinese were divided between dealers who profited from the artworks' removal, and scholars who sought to protect their country's patrimony. Duanfang, the greatest Chinese collector of his era, was beheaded in a coup and his splendid bronzes now adorn major museums. Others in this rich tapestry include Charles Lang Freer, an enlightened Detroit entrepreneur, two generations of Rockefellers, and Avery Brundage, the imperious Olympian, and Arthur Sackler, the grand acquisitor. No less important are two museum directors, Cleveland's Sherman Lee and Kansas City's Laurence Sickman, who challenged the East Coast's hegemony.Shareen Blair Brysac and Karl E. Meyer even-handedly consider whether ancient treasures were looted or salvaged, and whether it was morally acceptable to spirit hitherto inaccessible objects westward, where they could be studied and preserved by trained museum personnel. And how should the U.S. and Canada and their museums respond now that China has the means and will to reclaim its missing patrimony?—Palgrave Macmillan {chop}

China Blocks Web Access to ‘Under the Dome’ Documentary on Pollution

Edward Wong
New York Times
The drama over the video has ignited speculation over which groups supported it and which sought to kill it.

The Cowboys (and Indians) of Sichuan: Photographers Search for China's Billy the Kid

Stephanie Borcard and Nicolas Metraux
South China Morning Post
The people of remote Tagong in the southwestern grasslands resemble the cowboys and Indians of North American history.

China’s Premier Vows to Promote Film, TV Industries, “Core Socialist Values”

Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
Li Keqiang pledging to promote  entertainment industry as delegates renewed calls for film classification system.

Media

03.04.15

The Other China

Michael Meyer & Ian Buruma
Writers Michael Meyer and Ian Buruma engage in a discussion co-sponsored by The New York Review of Books centered on Meyer’s new book, In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China, which combines immersion...

Sinica Podcast

03.02.15

Keep in Touch, Nightman

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
In 1997, Beijing was smaller city, and Keep in Touch, Jamhouse, and Nightman were the hippest venues around. There was no traffic on the ring roads, and if you got tired of Chinese food you might take a trip to Fangzhuang to visit this Italian...

In China, Suspicions Cloud Trade Dispute Involving Tech Companies

Paul Mozur and Jane Perlez
New York Times
Top Internet regulator has warned foreign companies to behave if they want to stay in China’s $450 billion technology market.

China Looks West to Bring ‘Wolf Totem’ to Screen

New York Times
French director Jean-Jacques Annaud was reportedly long-banned from China for “his 1997 film "Seven Years in Tibet."...

In China, Oscars Ceremony Touches Nerves Over Hong Kong, Snowden

Simon Denyer and Xu Yangjingjing
Washington Post
Common spoke about dreams of better lives, including “people in Hong Kong fighting for democracy."...

Media

02.19.15

Why 700 Million People Keep Watching the Chinese New Year Gala, Even Though It’s Terrible

Rachel Lu
The Chinese New Year Gala, which aired live on February 18 on Chinese Central Television (CCTV), is a four-and-half hour variety show with song and dance, comedic skits, magic tricks, acrobatic acts, and celebrity cameos. The show celebrates the...

Culture

02.18.15

Cai Guo-Qiang’s Love Affair With Fireworks

Orville Schell
New York City-based artist Cai Guo-Qiang, one of the most celebrated contemporary artists born in China, has become the Godfather of a spectacular new kind of fireworks displays which he calls “explosion events.” Having done large-scale events...

With Lunar New Year Show, Another Link to China for a New York Fireworks Family

Kirk Semple
New York Times
The Central Academy of Fine Arts, China’s largest art academy, is involved in the celebrations this year.

Sinica Podcast

02.09.15

The Changing Look of China, Myanmar, and Visual Journalism—A Chat With Jonah Kessel

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Jeremy and Kaiser are joined by Jonah M. Kessel, former freelance photographer and now full-time videographer for The New York Times who has covered a wide range of China stories, traveled widely through the country, and...

A Softer Touch on Soft Power

David Bandurski
China Media Project
Soft power has become strategically important for China because cultural productivity and influence are now regarded as important components of comprehensive national power.

China Says Web Authors Must Use Real Names

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