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2011

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

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Being Blacklisted By China, And What Can Be Learned From It, James A. Milward Aug 2011

Being Blacklisted By China, And What Can Be Learned From It, James A. Milward

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

Bloomberg, and more recently The Washington Post, have run stories about the visa problems of scholars who contributed to Xinjiang: China’s Muslim Borderland, a volume edited by Frederick Starr and published by M.E. Sharpe in 2004. The Bloomberg piece was exhaustively reported; the reporters who wrote it, Dan Golden and Oliver Staley, conducted interviews with Chinese as well as western participants in the episode, and all in all did a good job with a complicated story. Inevitably, however, the Bloomberg piece creates some misconceptions, and these are as likely to be reinforced as cleared up in news reports ...


Not Drowning But Waving?, Tom Bannister Jan 2011

Not Drowning But Waving?, Tom Bannister

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

There are many migrant workers in China. Look from any urban window and you will doubtless see several hundred constructing the next high-rise apartment block in that city’s endless stream of development. The migrant worker is one of the most remarkable features of the reform era; with numbers in the range of 200 million, they represent around 3% of the world’s population and would form the world’s fifth most populous country. Together they have created the phenomenon of China’s ‘floating population’ (Liudong renkou, 流动人口), the largest peacetime movement of people in history. However, this is not ...


Shanghai Spaces And Histories: Thoughts On Reading Qiu Xiaolong’S Years Of Red Dust, Daisy Yan Du Jan 2011

Shanghai Spaces And Histories: Thoughts On Reading Qiu Xiaolong’S Years Of Red Dust, Daisy Yan Du

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

In Shanghai Modern, Leo Lee, a prominent specialist in Chinese literary studies, focuses much of his attention on urban space as a marker of modernity in Republican Shanghai (1912-1949). His mappings of the city include places that are located mostly in the concessions, where Western (and later Japanese) influences dominated: the high-rise buildings in the Bund, the department stores located on or near Nanjing Road, and the cafes in the French Concession, as well as dance halls, public parks, race clubs, and cinemas. Lee also touches upon the lanes populated by native Chinese, but his main focus is on the ...


China Beat On Break Jan 2011

China Beat On Break

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

We’re going to put China Beat on hiatus from now until early July so I can get settled in Shanghai (where I’ll be based for the next couple of months) and all of our consulting editors and contributors can enjoy some summer vacation.


Excerpt: The Tree That Bleeds: A Uighur Town On The Edge, Nick Holdstock Jan 2011

Excerpt: The Tree That Bleeds: A Uighur Town On The Edge, Nick Holdstock

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

Nick Holdstock, who readers might remember from a piece on the 2009 riots in Xinjiang he posted here last month, has a new book coming out later this week from Luath Press. In The Tree That Bleeds: A Uighur Town on the Edge, Holdstock recounts the story of his year teaching English in Yining, a border town that in 1997 saw an outbreak of violence, and his efforts to discover the truth about what happened there. Here, in two excerpts from the book’s introduction, Holdstock explains what brought him to Yining and describes his journey to and first encounters ...


China’S Water Challenges: A Quick Q & A With Environmental Historian Kenneth Pomeranz, Jeffrey Wasserstrom Jan 2011

China’S Water Challenges: A Quick Q & A With Environmental Historian Kenneth Pomeranz, Jeffrey Wasserstrom

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

Ken Pomeranz, Kate Merkel-Hess and I had various reasons for launching this blog at the start of 2008. One thing that led us to start the venture, at a time when Kate was the only one of us with any blogging experience, was simply a sense that some of the things that we were saying to one another over lunch and in the hallways at UC Irvine might be of interest to people in other places who were working on, living in, or just curious about China. As much as the venture has developed since then (adding new contributors continually ...


Ai Weiwei At The Venice Biennale, Jon Wiener Jan 2011

Ai Weiwei At The Venice Biennale, Jon Wiener

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

At the world’s biggest art event this summer, the Venice Biennale, the world’s most famous imprisoned artist, Ai Weiwei, was not exactly neglected—but his case received virtually no official acknowledgment.


Asia’S Disappearing Daughters, Jeffrey Wasserstrom Jan 2011

Asia’S Disappearing Daughters, Jeffrey Wasserstrom

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

Last week witnessed the publication of Mara Hvistendahl’s Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men (Public Affairs, 2011), and over the weekend my take on the book appeared online at the recently relaunched Asian Review of Books. That review is reposted here with the kind permission of the ARB, almost exactly as it ran there. Those who are interested in learning more about Hvistendahl’s arguments after reading my essay can, of course, buy the book, but U.S.-based followers of the blog have another option as well: catch one ...


Your Discourse Or Mine?, Silvia Lindtner Jan 2011

Your Discourse Or Mine?, Silvia Lindtner

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

As scholars we speak frequently in public and are confronted with various interpretations of our work by others who at times do not share our own viewpoints. Though this often brings with it excitement at the opportunity to form bridges between academic and other discourses, reaching audiences beyond our own disciplines and engaging a wider public still remains a challenge for many of us. We look at these conversations as opportunities for further debate, for mutual learning, and for being introduced to different perspectives on our work. At times, how one’s work finds resonance elsewhere surprises, illuminating the scholar ...


Excerpt: Why Taiwan Matters: Small Island, Global Powerhouse, Shelley Rigger Jan 2011

Excerpt: Why Taiwan Matters: Small Island, Global Powerhouse, Shelley Rigger

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

Taipei 101, the blue-green glass tower that reigned for six years as the world’s tallest building, is everywhere in Taiwan. Its image appears on advertisements, magazine covers, brochures, guidebooks, and billboards; the soaring structure itself is visible from nearly everywhere in Taipei City. As ubiquitous as Shanghai’s Oriental Pearl TV tower—and considerably more graceful—Taipei 101 has become the iconic image of contemporary Taiwan.


Humiliation And Normalization: A Tale Of Two New China Books, Jeffrey Wasserstrom Jan 2011

Humiliation And Normalization: A Tale Of Two New China Books, Jeffrey Wasserstrom

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

Henry Kissinger and Robert Bickers don’t have much in common. One is a U.S.-based octogenarian; the other a U.K.-based scholar roughly half as old. Only one, Kissinger, has been characterized by Christopher Hitchens (among others) as a perpetrator of war crimes. And only one, ironically Kissinger again, has won a Nobel Peace Prize. Kissinger spent some time as a professor, but then went on to work as a diplomat and business consultant. Bickers, however, while writing about diplomats and entrepreneurs (along with policemen and other kinds of people), has made his career solely within the ...


Chinese Tour Groups In Europe, Chinese Tour Groups In Yunnan: Narrating A Nation In The World, Tami Blumenfield Jan 2011

Chinese Tour Groups In Europe, Chinese Tour Groups In Yunnan: Narrating A Nation In The World, Tami Blumenfield

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

The first winter I stayed with a Moso (sometimes spelled Mosuo) family in southwest China, my weeks of Naru language tutoring did not help me get very far in understanding their conversations. I had trouble sorting out the names and relationships of the ten to eighteen family members who ate meals together and lived in that household. The apu (grandfather) joked to me that I, an American citizen who had been living in China, was now in the foreign country’s foreign country; no wonder I was disoriented. Their corner of Yunnan was culturally and linguistically distinct from other parts ...


Q&A: Robert Bickers, Author Of The Scramble For China, Jeffrey Wasserstrom Jan 2011

Q&A: Robert Bickers, Author Of The Scramble For China, Jeffrey Wasserstrom

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

Several months ago, I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advance copy of The Scramble for China: Foreign Devils in the Qing Empire, 1832-1914, Robert Bickers’ fascinating new book. Published in the United Kingdom and most other parts of the world in February, this work will be released in the United States later this month. In anticipation, I caught up with Robert (an old friend and sometime co-author of mine, as well as a past contributor to China Beat) and asked him some questions about the book. A stylishly written and carefully researched work, it contains everything ...


China In 2010: A Baker’S Dozen Of Links, Jeffrey Wasserstrom Jan 2011

China In 2010: A Baker’S Dozen Of Links, Jeffrey Wasserstrom

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

Last month, many commentators offered up lists of top books and top news stories of 2010, sometimes focusing on a particular place or topic. It would be easy to follow suit here, in my first 2011 blog post about China. After all, there were plenty of books on the country published last year (some of which I reviewed individually or in groups). There were also plenty of China-related headlines, from those twelve months ago detailing rising tensions between Washington and Beijing, to summer ones reporting that the nation had surpassed Japan to become both the world’s number two economy ...


Chicago And The Future Of U.S.-China Summits, Jeffrey Wasserstrom Jan 2011

Chicago And The Future Of U.S.-China Summits, Jeffrey Wasserstrom

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

Except in the Windy City itself, where Hu Jintao heads today and will spend tomorrow, the reporting and speculative commentary on the Chinese leader’s second visit to the United States has tended to focus on it’s just-concluding Washington leg. To me, though, the stop in Chicago seemed from the start the most potentially interesting and novel part of Hu’s trip. After all, this is the first time that a visit to Chicago, an economically important crossroads city with a colorful history and famous architectural landmarks, has figured in the itinerary of the head of China’s Communist ...


Reading Round-Up, 2/27/2011 Jan 2011

Reading Round-Up, 2/27/2011

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

• Guest-blogging for James Fallows last week, Jeremiah Jenne devoted several of his posts to discussions of protests and the possibility of a “Jasmine Revolution” in China. His columns on this topic include “China: Not Quite a Revolution,” “After Protests, Beijing Cracks Down,” and “In China, Droughts Bring the Crazy.” Jenne also provided on-the-spot reporting today from Wangfujing in Beijing, the site of a planned protest that was primarily attended by security forces and foreign journalists.


Reading Round-Up, 1/11/11 Jan 2011

Reading Round-Up, 1/11/11

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

• When a football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings was canceled in late December due to heavy snow in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell was not pleased. Calling the United States “a nation of wusses,” Rendell went on to say


On Chinese Mothering And Amy Chua Jan 2011

On Chinese Mothering And Amy Chua

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

Yale Law professor Amy Chua’s article on “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” is still in the top five most-emailed stories at the Wall Street Journal’s website, four days after its publication last Saturday. Chua has attracted a considerable amount of attention with her article (and newly released book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother), which examines Chinese parenting techniques and compares them to Western approaches to raising children:


Misunderstanding A Nationalist Cause, Angilee Shah Jan 2011

Misunderstanding A Nationalist Cause, Angilee Shah

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

The plight of Uyghurs in China entered U.S. consciousness after 9/11. Since 2002, 22 migrant Uyghurs were detained at Guantánamo Bay after being turned over to the United States by bounty hunters in Pakistan. By 2008, the men were no longer considered enemy combatants. Seventeen of them have been released to Switzerland, Palau, Bermuda and Albania. The United States so far has not accepted any of the innocent detainees, nor is the State Department willing to send them back to China where they would likely be persecuted as separatists.


Upcoming Events Jan 2011

Upcoming Events

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

Happy New Year from China Beat! If you’ve just purchased a 2011 calendar, here are some upcoming China-related events—featuring quite a few China Beatniks—to jot down in it:


Pre-Summit Positioning, Scott Kennedy Jan 2011

Pre-Summit Positioning, Scott Kennedy

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

Preparations for Wednesday’s state visit by Hu Jintao have been underway for several months. Most of that time was spent negotiating over what deals would be reached, whether there would be a joint statement, and what food would be served. I’m particularly interested to see: 1) Whether Chinese first lady Liu Yongqing will eat the standard fare put on the table as everyone else. She typically travels with her own chef and food; and 2) Whether the American media will get a good photo of the back of Hu Jintao’s head to determine once and for all ...


Book Review: Mao Zedong And China In The Twentieth-Century World, Jeremy Tai Jan 2011

Book Review: Mao Zedong And China In The Twentieth-Century World, Jeremy Tai

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

Mao Zedong may no longer be the sublime object of desire in China, but in recent decades his image has been continuously invoked and consumed in countless guises – both familiar and new – ranging from pop art portraits to the ubiquitous face of Chinese banknotes, from Cultural Revolution kitsch to the ObaMao souvenirs currently found in tourist traps around China. The reproduction of Mao in his various postmodern manifestations suggests a loss of meaning and depoliticization; at the same time, however, the deep-seated clash between sentimental and polemical cultural representations also makes clear that there is still much at stake in ...


China Beat Birthday: Now We Are Three Jan 2011

China Beat Birthday: Now We Are Three

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

China Beat very quietly celebrated its third birthday last Friday, making the site now almost a senior citizen in the constantly enlarging arena of China blogs. While we’re very happy with the work we’ve been doing for the past three years—and we hope China Beat readers and contributors are equally pleased with our efforts—it’s always nice to shake things up a bit. For that reason, China Beat is now undertaking a collaborative venture with the journal Twentieth-Century China, a move that we hope will continue to bring together the worlds of online and print publishing.


“The Rise Of The Hans”: A Critique, Thomas S. Mullaney Jan 2011

“The Rise Of The Hans”: A Critique, Thomas S. Mullaney

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

“Rise of the Hans,” by Joel Kotkin, is a troubling article to find published in a high-profile venue such as Foreign Policy. It reinforces misleading ideas about China and is problematic for a variety of specific reasons, the biggest of which has to do with Kotkin’s use of key terms.


Soft Power Struggle: Ai Weiwei And The Limits Of Sino-German Cultural Cooperation, Adam Cathcart Jan 2011

Soft Power Struggle: Ai Weiwei And The Limits Of Sino-German Cultural Cooperation, Adam Cathcart

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

As an attempt to drain the seemingly endless reserves of paranoia fed by China’s rise, the extension of Chinese “soft power” [ruan shi li 软实力] into Western Europe is one of the more interesting stories of our day. How the Chinese Communist Party uses culture and cultural exchange to shape its image in Europe varies, like any good guerrilla strategy, depending on conditions. In the performing arts, PRC-sponsored groups tour European stages, acting out a meta-drama that pits twirling autonomous-region Uighurs against the ubiquitous Falun Gong-affiliated Shen Yun ballerinas (and their army of granny pamphleteers). Embassy-sponsored photographic exhibits celebrating ...


Havel, China And Africa, Howard W. French Jan 2011

Havel, China And Africa, Howard W. French

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

I am eager to read Chinese news accounts of the life and death of Vaclav Havel, whose central message might be summed up as the necessity for individuals everywhere to cast off their apathy and assume their rights – and agency – as citizens.

The death of this figure of major importance to the history of the late- and post-Cold War world will inevitably generate talk that is heavily focused on Europe, just as the attention of the Western media and foreign ministries tended to stay almost exclusively bracketed on this region (with China, for a time, serving as a crucial exception ...


Straight Out Of Wukan: A Quick Q & A With Journalist Rachel Beitare, Jeffrey Wasserstrom Jan 2011

Straight Out Of Wukan: A Quick Q & A With Journalist Rachel Beitare, Jeffrey Wasserstrom

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

Earlier this year, a Beijing-based Israeli journalist named Rachel Beitare contacted me out of the blue to set up an interview about the impact the Arab Spring events might have in China. I ended up impressed by the caliber of the questions put to me, so I started keeping an eye out for her byline, in case she published things in English (much of her work comes out in Hebrew, which I don’t read). I wasn’t disappointed, as before long Foreign Policy ran a smart commentary, ”Guilty By Association,” in which Ms. Beitare looked at the way the ...


Bow Before The Portrait: Sino-North Korean Relations Enter The Kim Jong Un Era, Adam Cathcart Jan 2011

Bow Before The Portrait: Sino-North Korean Relations Enter The Kim Jong Un Era, Adam Cathcart

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

The pigs were being slaughtered in the streets when the news of Kim Jong Il’s death arrived in Dachuan, a small logging village in the mountains of western Sichuan province. Over the immense and extended cacophony of the blood-letting, the retired head of the local bank explained, with a bit of apologetic joy, that the villagers were getting ready for Spring Festival, then turned back to the news from Pyongyang, shaking his head at the retrograde tendencies of China’s Korean socialist brothers.


Book Review: Behind The Gate: Inventing Students In Beijing, Ling Shiao Jan 2011

Book Review: Behind The Gate: Inventing Students In Beijing, Ling Shiao

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

By drawing our attention to the previously unexamined question of space for student activism, Fabio Lanza has successfully remapped the May Fourth Movement, despite the fact that it is perhaps the most well-travelled terrain in historical research of modern China. This is not a revisionist study that seeks to de-center May Fourth in China’s passage from tradition to modernity by looking for pre-May Fourth modern experimentations and the continuity between the late Qing and May Fourth periods. In fact, Lanza travels back to the historical site of Beijing University (hereafter Beida) and the canonical moment of the May Fourth ...


Liminal City, Rian Dundon Jan 2011

Liminal City, Rian Dundon

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

He says he’s lost his city and his society. We drive past a group of demonstrators protesting land seizures. He points out the scene and the gaggle of police cruisers nearby and grins in English “this is Chi-na”, emphasizing the play-on-words between “Chi” and “Chai” (chai, or 拆 being Chinese for “dismantle” or “demolish”). He sees the city’s recent prosperity through a filter of isolation, exclusion, and greed. Tells me how the doors are all closed. How peoples’ sense of self worth is determined by the number of contacts in their cell phones. How they are drifting further ...