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Posts from the ‘Traditions’ Category

Satan Lucky’s Floating World

Satan Lucky is the pen name of cartoonist and illustrator based in Beijing. He publishes some of his work on Weibo. His style is based on Ukiyo-e — literally “pictures of the floating world”, the traditional Japanese style of woodblock prints and paintings of nature, history, scenes from the theater and of geishas and other urban decadences.

Some of Satan Lucky’s cartoons depict fantastic beats that seem to have no connection with contemporary reality, while others can be read as critical commentary In the gallery below, for example, 404 (the error number most Web browsers indicate when trying to access a blocked site in China) is depicted as a beast that sits on the computer, blocking access to Youtube and Facebook, while Flesh Net Beggar refers to the way in which resourceful people can avoid paying fines to the Flesh Net Beggar and “jump over” the Great Firewall.   Read more

Chinese Dream? American Dream?

This article is by Chris Marquis and Zoe Yang, Associate Professor and Research Associate of the Harvard Business School. An edited and translated version was published as “中国梦?美国梦?” (literally “Chinese Dream? American Dream?”) in the June 2013 issue of China Economic Report (《中国经济报告》 of the State Council Research Center. The full Chinese text is here, and an English summary is on Civil China, a new website by the authors of this piece.

Comparing the American dream with the new Xi Jinping buzzword Chinese Dream (or China Dream), Marquis and Yang use data mined from Sina Weibo by social media analytics firm Crimson Hexagon to answer the question: What do Chinese people, at least those on the Internet, talk about when they talk about the Chinese dream?

“The great Chinese dream,” President Xi Jinping said during a speech at the National Museum’s “Road to Revival” exhibit on November 29th, two weeks after his appointment to General Secretary and Commander-in-Chief, “is the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” No phrase in recent Chinese history has captured the imagination so quickly and completely; the phrase has gained significant momentum in recent months as state media launched a series of “Chinese Dream” campaigns, including essay contests, performances, and other Party-sanctioned Dream activities at schools and work units across the nation. Yet, there is also much debate as to what the Chinese Dream encompasses. Is it about the collective achievement of the Chinese nation, or rather, like the American Dream it evokes, a vision of individual achievement? Read more

“I was here” graffiti all over Yunnan

When a Chinese teenager named Ding Jinhao (丁锦昊) in Egypt last week was revealed to have defaced an ancient frieze with the graffito “I was here” (丁锦昊到此一游), there was widespread condemnation of the teen vandal who did so much to damage the image of Chinese tourists abroad. Yet after conducting its own survey of the scenic spots in the province of Yunnan, the Spring City Evening News today reports that “I was here” and other graffiti can in fact be seen all over Yunnan. Ancient buildings and parks have been scarred by innumerable “black hands”, and the paper says that poor Ding Jinhao has now been given all the blame for what many others do all the time in China itself. In fact, the “I was here” graffiti tradition goes back all the way to the Monkey King in the classic fable Journey to the West (西游记).
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Small Hubei community has been free from fireworks for eight years (and loving it)

For eight years already now, a small workers’ residential community in Jingzhou, Hubei province has “quietly” been living a revolution. In 2005, errant fireworks caused a fire on a balcony in this community, and drawing the (painfully obvious yet in China excruciatingly absent) conclusion that fireworks on the whole just isn’t worth it, decided to ban the stuff altogether. As the front page of the Jingzhou Evening News reports today, for the last eight years Beiling has been living in a near nirvana-like state of calm and serenity. So can we all Learn from Beiling?

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The elegant new spokesperson vs. the steadfast old cultural icon

Today is Lei Feng Day, but there’s an elegant and amiable woman who stole his thunder on China’s newspaper front pages today.

Who would you put on your front page today? There’s the elegant, amiable, humble, eloquent and female new spokesperson of the Two Sessions who held her first news conference yesterday…


And then there’s this guy who turns fifty today….

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Did you lose something? Micro Lei Feng can help

Is there no end to the multifarious usefulness of the paragon of selflessness and virtue that is Lei Feng? A little early for Lei Feng Day on March 5, but the front page of the South-East Business Daily (东南商报) from Zhejiang province today tells us that, in order to encourage the study of the spirit of Lei Feng and of volunteerism, we present: “Ningbo Micro Lei Feng!” (宁波微雷锋) Read more

Shenyang anti-spitting campaign, take two

The city of Shenyang is getting tough (or tougher) on spitting and other such unhygienic habits. The Shenyang Evening News front page reports today that 200 specialist hygiene supervisors have been appointed, and they will be able to dish out fines of 20 yuan for each person spitting in public, among other such offences and their corresponding fines.

On 8 October 2010, however, an almost identical headline appeared on exactly the same spot on the front page of the selfsame newspaper, announcing that spitting will now incur a fine of 10 yuan, and 100 specialist hygiene supervisors have been appointed to monitor unhygienic behavior and dish out fines for spitting, among other offences.

So we’ll say good luck this time Shenyang, or see you next year for the 3o yuan fine/300 supervisors upgrade.

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How to have a “convenient” Spring Festival transport rush

“It must be said, says Shenzhen Evening News today, “that going home for Spring Festival is a deeply ingrained desire of all Chinese people.” That’s to say, all of 1.3 billion Chinese people. Hence the annual Spring Festival rush is a migration of epic proportions characterized by pushing, waiting, queuing, standing for hours, and generally having your stamina severely tested. So why haven’t more things been invented to make this difficult journey just a little more convenient? The front page of the Shenzhen Evening News today illustrates that some attempts have actually been made in this regard, and it showcases some odd contraptions such as the Hard Seat Helper and the Ostrich Pillow. There’s even a new portable “convenience” tool to help you go when you can’t go. So if you are going to do the Spring Festival rush this year, consider getting yourself one of the following (somewhat) helpful gadgets. Read more

Liu Jing and his comic book history of China, Volume Two

In November 2011 Danwei published a brief excerpt and short Q&A with Liu Jing, a Beijing-based entrepreneur and comic book artist. Our post showcased Liu’s Understanding China through Comics, Volume One, a comic book on Chinese history for iPad and Kindle (Amazon and iTunes). The first volume in the series focused on the Yellow Emperor through the Han Dynasty (ca. 2697 BC – 220 AD).

In 2012 Liu released Understanding China through Comics, Volume 2 (Amazon and iTunes), focusing on the Three Kingdoms through the Tang Dynasty (220 – 907). As Liu himself put it, “To the Chinese, China’s rise to world power in the 21st century is called ‘the great restoration.’ But we learn from history that this rise is the result of embracing other cultures, not isolation or prejudice.” In Volume 2 Liu illustrates a key driving force in Chinese history, namely the evolution of Chinese philosophy. Thus he notes that without adopting Buddhism, which originated in India, the Tang Dynasty China would not have reached the heights it did.

There are still two forthcoming volumes in the series, namely Volume Three: The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms through the Yuan Dynasty (907 – 1368), and Volume Four: The Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 – 1911). Read more

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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