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.

Culture

01.29.13

Director Zhang Yuan, Still Kicking

Sun Yunfan
Zhang Yuan, a veteran rebel among Chinese filmmakers, recently came to New York for the premiere of his film Beijing Flickers at the Global Lens 2013 series at the Museum of Modern Art. Ever since Mama, his 1990 debut about a mother and her mentally...

Will China Buy a Hollywood Studio?

Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
All of China's recent investment in Hollywood raises the question: Is China positioning itself to buy a major studio? Three reasons why it will, and one why it won't...

Media

01.25.13

Former China State TV Director Bemoans Anti-Japanese Propaganda: “Where’s the Creativity?”

Are Chinese audiences growing weary of anti-Japanese propaganda? It would seem that some, at least, are growing sick of the pathetic villains, superhuman heroes, and lame endings that many Chinese movies and television series about World War II, or...

Former Porn Star is China’s Hottest New Politician

John Chin and Te-ping Chen
Wall Street Journal
Actress Diana Pang, known for starring in “Erotic Ghost Story–Perfect Match,” caused a stir by attending the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Congress in Gansu.

“Cloud Atlas” Cut by 38 Minutes for China Audience

Louise Watt
Associated Press
Nearly 40 minutes were cut from the Hollywood film “Cloud Atlas” for Chinese audiences, deleting both gay and straight love scenes to satisfy local censors. 

Earthbound China

01.23.13

Appalachia Comes to Anhui

Leah Thompson
This past fall, my colleague Sun Yunfan and I were preparing to bring Coal+Ice, the documentary photography exhibition we produce for Asia Society, to rural Anhui Province to participate in the Yixian International Photography Festival. Upon hearing...

When Tibet Loved China

Isaac Stone Fish
Foreign Policy
Rare Cultural Revolution Era photos from the Land of Snows.

An Overture from China Has Yet to Win Hollywood

Michael Cieply
New York Times
In September, China’s Dalian Wanda Group chairman and president said he would invest $10 billion in the U.S. To judge from the deal-making pace, it may take a while.

Crime With Chinese Characteristics

Ilaria Maria Sala
Wall Street Journal
A review of “The Civil Servant’s Notebook,” the first book by popular novelist Wang Xiaofang to be translated into English. 

Culture

01.17.13

An Alternative Top Ten

Shelly Kraicer
Most accounts of the last year in Chinese cinema are dominated by films that were made for the ever-expanding domestic box office, and the local film industry’s struggle for screen time in competition with Hollywood imports. On the one hand, we...

Culture

01.16.13

Hong Kong’s Bard of the Everyday

Ilaria Maria Sala
 I have your words, that you put down on paperbut nothing at hand to return, so I write downpapaya. I cut one open: so many dark points, so many undefined things On Sunday, January 6, when Leung Ping-kwan, author of these lines,...

Culture

01.11.13

Top Floor Circus

Sun Yunfan
At nine o’clock on a recent Monday morning, Lu Chen, the slender and polite lead singer of Top Floor Circus, the first rock band to sing in Shanghainese—and a man whose transformative stage persona sees him swearing, stripping nearly naked, and...

Culture

01.10.13

Punks Are All Sissies - Lyrics

Sun Yunfan
“Punks Are All Sissies” is a song by the Shanghai rock band Top Floor Circus, off of their third album Timmy Revisits Lingling Road 93 (2005). The album generally is seen as a parody of punk music, making references to Bob Dylan, GG Allin, a Beijing...

Culture

01.10.13

Be a Nice Guy - Lyrics

Sun Yunfan
“Be a Nice Guy” is a song by the Shanghai rock band Top Floor Circus off of their fourth album 13 Classic Hits of Shanghai Pop Rock (2010). The album celebrates the everyday life of the Shanghainese. Lu Chen, the lead singer of the group, sings the...

A Retailer Discovers China’s New ‘It‘ Girl: Grandpa

Laurie Burkitt and Josh Chin
Wall Street Journal
Retired Farmer Becomes Fashion Sensation; He's 5-8, Thin and Looks Great in Crimson...

Media

01.09.13

Why is a Mediocre, Low-Budget Comedy Taking China’s Box Office by Storm?

December 2012 saw hot competition in Chinese cinema. It began with Life of Pi, which was directed by Ang Li, an Oscar-winning director, followed by 1942, a historical movie by director Feng Xiaogang, and The Last Supper, by up-and-coming director Lu...

China, the American Press, and the State Department

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
It’s time for the State Department to take up the matter of American reporters in China, and Chinese reporters in America. 

A Meaty Tale, Carnivorous and Twisted

Dwight Garner
New York Times
Nobel laureate Mo Yan's latest novel to be issued in English, “Pow!,” is a red-toothed fantasia about meat production and meat consumption...

Telling China's Stories Through Food

Rebekah Denn
Seattle Times
Former Associated Press reporter Audra Ang, talks about To the People Food is Heaven, her journey through a complicated, sometimes maddening, sometimes breathtaking society.

Caixin Media

12.28.12

Uncertain Future for Architectural Treasures

Nestled between mountains and a winding river in a scenic corner of Shanxi province is Zhongyang County, the home of an exquisite Confucian temple built during the Ming dynasty.The colorful wooden temple graced this idyllic valley for hundreds of...

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...

Video

12.20.12

Stars in the Haze

Joshua Frank
Flying kites is the quintessential Chinese pastime. But “wind zithers” or “paper sparrow hawks,” as they are known in Chinese, also have a long history as tools. Over millennia, Chinese have used them for measuring the wind, gauging distances, and...

Chinese Directors Call for Censorshp Reform

Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
Chinese filmmakers are calling for a system of classifying films according to their suitability for audiences of different ages.

CCTV Airs “V for Vendetta”

Anne Henochowicz
China Digital Times
When CCTV aired, uncut V for Vendetta about an anti-totalitarian masked crusader, viewers couldn’t believe their eyes.

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...

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...

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 “...

A Place for Asia

Rebecca Liao
Dissent
Pankaj Mishra, acclaimed novelist and historian of Asia’s modern development, would have none of it. In a scathing essay published in the London Review of Books, Mishra gutted Ferguson for his dishonestly humanitarian...

Nobel Literature Winner Skirts Support for Dissident

Anna Molin
Wall Street Journal
Nobel literature prize winner Mo Yan dodged requests Thursday to repeat comments supportive of Chinese countryman and jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo, and said censorship may be necessary to stop the dissemination of untrue rumors and insults but that...

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 “...

China Dismisses Nobel Demands for Liu's Release

AFP
Agence France-Presse
China rejected a call from 134 Nobel laureates for the release from prison of dissident 2010 Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. 

Media

12.04.12

“Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” Hits the Road

Jonathan Landreth
Debut filmmaker Alison Klayman has been on a global tour with her documentary—Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry—a film about one of China’s most provocative artists and activists, which this week, was named one of fifteen films put on a short list to be...

China Bans Rowdy Game Show After Mother's Rant about Turning her Daughter into 'Sexy Goddess' of China

The Associated Press
Associated Press
China suspended a broadcaster after an unaired segment of a TV game show leaked online showing a shouting match with a woman who calls her daughter the next Lady Gaga.

China Will Top U.S. as Biggest Film Market in the World by 2020: Study

Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
Box office haul in China, which now stands as the second-largest film market in the world after Japan, will surpass that in the U.S. by 2020, according to Ernst & Young.

Howard French’s Images of Shanghai

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
The writer who can really shoot—the dream of generations of penny-pinching newspaper editors—is the rarest of creatures. Because I’ve failed at it enough times to know the difference between snapping off a few frames between interviews and really...

State Meddling Stifles China's Film Industry

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
The release of Lu Chuan's latest film was delayed until after the recent leadership transition. The film depicts the bloody machinations of the first Han emperor's wife...

Culture

11.27.12

Remember to Tell the Truth

Maya E. Rudolph
The recording of memory brings history to life and creates a legacy of its own. In 2010, documentary filmmaker Wu Wenguang launched the Memory Project to try to shine a light on the long-shrouded memories of one of modern China’s most traumatic...

Ai's Song: Elton John Praises Artist in Beijing

Carlos Tejada
Wall Street Journal
Elton John struck a note of support for dissident artist Ai Weiwei at his show in Beijing, but did he also strike a blow at China’s live music scene?

China's 'Beijing Blues' Wins at Taiwan Film Fest

The Associated Press
Associated Press
Director Gao Qunshu's drama is about a Beijing police detective's battle against crime with a squad of plainclothes crime-hunters...

Culture

11.21.12

A New Tower of Babel

Sheila Melvin
Xu Bing, the renowned Chinese artist whose many laurels include a MacArthur Foundation “genius” award and an appointment as vice president of China’s Central Academy of Fine Arts, has long demonstrated a fascination with the written word.His...

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...

Getting Over Ai Weiwei

Paul Gladston
Randian
There are, though, significant dangers in the upholding of Ai as our sole representative/mediator of artistic resistance to authority within China. While Ai’s bluntly confrontational and often bombastic stance can be readily digested within Western...

The Saturday Profile: Peng Liyuan, First Lady of China

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
The top pop-folk icon is beloved for a glass-cracking soprano and her range of roles, from Tibetan yak herder to stiff-lipped general. 

China Film Regulator: Don't Blame us for Hollywood Hiccups

Laurie Burkitt
Wall Street Journal
Beijing says it was the market that decided to bar imported films from domestic cinemas this summer, not film regulators.

China, at Party Congress, Touts its Cultural Advances

Ian Johnson
New York Times
Party guidance is the "soul” of China's moves to privitize and promote industries that can spread soft power abroad. ...

China Museum Builder Lets History Speak

Julie Makinen
Los Angeles Times
Fan Jianchuan, an obsessive collector and wealthy developer, uses his massive museum cluster to carefully display objects related to touchy subjects.

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...

Media

11.02.12

Chinese Movie Mogul Promises New Party Leaders Will Open Market to Hollywood

Jonathan Landreth
A wise old cartoon turtle in Kung Fu Panda advises Po, the portly black and white star of the 2004 DreamWorks Animation blockbuster film, not to fret about honing his fighting skills, but rather to focus on the moment and do his...

Viewpoint

10.29.12

Hollywood Film Summit Draws Chinese Movie Moguls

Jonathan Landreth
LOS ANGELES—Hollywood and Chinese movie makers and industry hangers-on will gather Tuesday at the third annual Asia Society U.S.-China Film Summit on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles.At a gala dinner Tuesday night, organizers...

For RZA, Hip-Hop Was Just a Prelude to Kung Fu

Dave Itzkoff
New York Times
“The Man With the Iron Fists,” which RZA directed and stars in, is a martial-arts epic set in a mythical Chinese feudal state, where a dispute between a monarch and a nefarious gang draws in a rogue British soldier (played by Russell Crowe), a madam...

Video: A Visit with Ai Weiwei

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
Earlier this year, we invited the artist Ai Weiwei to visit the United States to take part in the New Yorker Festival, held in early October. At the time, the Chinese government had barred Ai from traveling abroad—an unofficial form of punishment...

Is Mo Yan a Stooge for the Chinese Government?

Brendan O'Kane...
Rectified.name
Even before the Swedish Academy announced Mo Yan as the 2012 Nobel Literature Prize winner, the Chinese internet was abuzz with discussion of his work and his relationship with the Chinese government. 

China in Hollywood, Hailed and Investigated

Michael Cieply
New York Times
Movie mogul Han Sanping soon will receive an Asia Society award even as U.S. investigators' continue to question Hollywood studios' dealings with Han's company...

Mo Yan Calls for Liu Xiaobo’s Release

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
Mo Yan, the new Nobel laureate who strenuously avoided antagonizing the Communist Party during much of his literary career, stepped into a political minefield on Friday by calling for the release of Liu Xiaobo, the imprisoned writer and...

Review: Ai Weiwei at the Hirshhorn

Roberta Smith
New York Times
Mr. Ai, who seems to lose his sense of humor only rarely, has characterized his increasingly dangerous jousting with the Chinese government as a kind of performance art. 

Mo Yan Mines a Deep Well

Richard Bernstein
New York Times
Mo Yan's work recalls a Soviet dissident's quip that in his country “reality and satire are the same.”...

Media

10.11.12

Netizens React to Mo Yan’s Nobel Prize

Ouyang Bin
Upon hearing the news that novelist Mo Yan was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature, a flurry of messages about the fifty-seven-year-old Shandong native circulated on weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, expressing decidedly mixed opinions...