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Posts from the ‘1510 digest’ Category

Law and ethics in cases of rape


This is the 1510 Digest, a weekly roundup of recent essays and articles published on the Chinese web, with links to translations on the Marco Polo Project.

China just celebrated International women’s day, even offering women half a day off work. This celebration of women’s contribution to society aligns with the communist rhetoric of women ‘holding half the sky’. However, a long road remains to gender equality, and Chinese women in their daily life are still exposed to multiple forms of violence and discrimination.
Today’s post will look more closely into sexual violence against women – with articles analysing the question of rape from different angles. The selection below does not pretend to cover the full extent of the debate, but only serve as a starting point for further reflection. Sociologist and gender specialist Li Yinhe lines up arguments in favour of punishing marital rape, historian Liu Zhaoxing questions why so few rapes were recorded in former periods of Chinese history, and Shi Po discusses the growing phenomenon of ‘date rape’.

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There’s a void called the countryside – visions of dying village life


This is the 1510 Digest, a weekly roundup of recent essays and articles published on the Chinese web, with links to translations on the Marco Polo Project.

Migrant workers tend to be presented as an anonymous mass, and thought of either as a problem for Chinese cities and infrastructures, or an example of inequalities and discrimination in contemporary China. This week’s post invites us to look at rural-urban migrations from a different angle, by focusing on the relationships and continuity between cities and country towns. Zhang Zejia’s ‘There’s a void called the countryside’ and Li Tianqi’s ‘These old people back home who ‘got old’ both explore this ongoing attachment to the rural hometown. Through the vision of a dying rural world, they also reveal the complexities of personal attachment to rural memories, the strength of family networks, and the significance of yearly return journeys to the rural hometown for city dwellers.

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How to deal with other people’s verbal violence – reflections on the use of language


This is the 1510 Digest, a weekly roundup of recent essays and articles published on the Chinese web, with links to translations on the Marco Polo Project.

From weibo politeness to SMS abuse, this week’s digest brings together three pieces reflecting on the role of language as social lubricant or source of symbolic violence. Novelist Pian Pian offers an advice column on how to deal with passive aggressive personality types; cultural commenter Kan Chai advocates a more formal use of weibo @’ing; film critic Cui Weiping warns against the dangers of symbolic language, and articulates instead an ethics of intellectual and literary realism.

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The dance of sounds – solitude and aesthetic pleasure


This is the 1510 Digest, a weekly roundup of recent essays and articles published on the Chinese web, with links to translations on the Marco Polo Project.

China has experienced tremendous economic growth over the last thirty years, with massive impact on many people’s everyday life and environment. How does this change affect individuals’ perception of their surrounding, and their possibilities for intimate pleasure? This week’s selection will give us insight into the way various city dwellers relate to their environment, and their sources of sensual pleasure and intimate satisfaction. Liu Shisan’s ‘The dance of sound’ describes the aesthetic exhilaration she gets from her sense of hearing; Ran Lan’s ‘Aesthetics of slowness’ draws on the memories of years spent in Guilin to develop a broader reflection on ‘slow life’; Li Yinhe’s ‘Praise of solitude’ identifies the state of the solitary individual as one of potential happiness and freedom.

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The benefits of allowing free land trade – reflections on land allocation in China


This is the 1510 Digest, a weekly roundup of recent essays and articles published on the Chinese web, with links to translations on the Marco Polo Project.

Although China controls an extensive territory, pressure on land is high. A large proportion of the country is not suitable for human habitation, and the government exerts strict control on land allocation.
The pieces in today’s digest propose various perspectives on land allocation mechanisms in China. Economist Mao Yushi suggests that a more flexible market for farm land would have positive social and economic effects. Zhou Qiren describes administrative procedures for deciding what area will be considered urban or rural. Finally, Tu Motuo’s ‘On mountains’ presents a meditative counterpoint, by offering a more personal reflection focusing on the significance of inhospitable landscapes.

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It’s just that we can’t see them – reflections on class and poverty


This is the 1510 Digest, a weekly roundup of recent essays and articles published on the Chinese web, with links to translations on the Marco Polo Project.

Over the last thirty years, along with remarkable economic development, China has seen the gap between rich and poor increase widely. But how do these statistics translate into daily life and experiences?
Today’s digest proposes two pieces that consider the impact of this distance as it applies to the individual. Hong Kong University lecturer Zhou Baosong offers a philosophical reflection on the Evils of poverty by conjuring up the figure of a struggling ‘Mr Zhang’; a post by ‘W’, a Chinese student in America, shows a young person’s perspective on the question of class.

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Impressions of Kashgar


This is the 1510 Digest, a weekly roundup of recent essays and articles published on the Chinese web, with links to translations on the Marco Polo Project.

Kashgar, in Xinjiang, is China’s Westernmost city. A traditional stop on the Northern silk road, with a strong Central Asian flavour – Kashgar replaced Kabul as setting for the shooting of ‘The Kite Runner’ – it remains an exotic place for city dwellers of the eastern seaboard. Today’s post offers an insight into the way Han visitors may experience Kashgar through two different narratives. Although both acknowledge the beauty of the place and Uyghur hospitality, the tone differs. Ji Shuoming’s ‘Experiencing a different Kashgar’ proposes the vision of an integrated, developing and Mandarin-embracing Kashgar, whereas Wang Zhongwei’s piece, ‘Impressions of Kashgar’, gives a stronger sense of distance and alienation, in particular around the status of women.
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Celebrating Singles’ day


This is the 1510 Digest, a weekly roundup of recent essays and articles published on the Chinese web, with links to translations on the Marco Polo Project.

On November 11 – 11/11 – China celebrated ‘Singles’ day’. The origins of the festival are somewhat obscure – it allegedly started within a group of friends on the Nanjing campus in the early 90s – but it has since become a popular celebration. The festival has grassroots origin, and its fame spread over the internet, though business has also encouraged this festival, seeing urban singles as an attractive consumer group. A form of ‘bachelor pride’ for unmarried young people, singles’ day is an occasion for them to come together and indulge, or – for others – it is a day to get married and say goodbye to single’s life.

This festival also reflects changes in contemporary Chinese relationships and families, which this week’s digest will focus on. Li Yinhe’s post looks through the causes for the growing number of single-person households in China; Peng Peng reflects on the reasons why Singles’ day turned into an e-shopping festival; and Wang Feng’s more melancholy piece, ‘Chinese lonesomeness’, gives us insight into the spiritual life of a single Chinese urbanite.
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A trip to Qinghai


This is the 1510 Digest, a weekly roundup of recent essays and articles published on the Chinese web, with links to translations on the Marco Polo Project.

This week’s digest takes us on a trip to the West, to a less familiar part of China. The large inland province of Qinghai is a traditional point of contact between Tibetan, Central Asian Muslim, Mongolian and Han Chinese cultures; but with the lowest GDP of all Chinese regions and the second lowest GDP per capita, it is among the least developed parts of the country. ‘Memories of Qinghai’, Carrie S’s short travel narrative reflects on the contrast between cultural wealth and economic poverty, giving us insight into the way an East coast dweller may look at Western China. Li Yehang’s ‘Trip to Qinghai’ focuses more specifically on the practice of Tibetan Buddhism and its broader connection to the Qinghai environment. Read more

How to build a good public life?


This is the 1510 Digest, a weekly roundup of recent essays and articles published on the Chinese web, with links to translations on the Marco Polo Project.

This week’s digest brings together two recent pieces which, in different ways, show the influence of the Western cannon on Chinese intellectual life. In ‘How to build a good society’, Zhant Tianpan reviews professor Ren Junfeng’s book on civic virtue and civic government, itself based on a reading of Toqueville’s “Democracy in America”. In ‘Love and Justice’, Professor Chen Hongguo proposes a ‘reading list’ of nine key texts for thinking broadly about this topic, a majority of which reflect ‘universal’ European and American experience. Read more