Tell the Shaanxi government, we’re very angry

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

Today’s first posting is the tale of an angry citizen calling Shaanxi provincial government offices to complain about the recent forced abortion scandal.

Tell the Shaanxi provincial government, we’re very angry
By Li Puman, June 25 2012
Angered by the Feng Jianmei forced abortion scandal, the author of this post decided to use government hotlines and contact numbers to make his dissatisfaction known. The article follows the author’s vocal odyssey through Chinese bureaucracy. Although no solution is found, he resolves to keep on calling, and invites readers to imitate his actions, using phone inquiries as a tool to curb the arbitrary powers of local governments.
Original link: 告诉陕西省政府,我们很愤怒

American apologies for the Chinese exclusion act and black protests in Guangzhou
By Bai Yulin, June 24 2012
The US Parliament just issued formal apologies for the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. Taking this apology as a starting point, this post reflects on growing racial tensions in China. Recently, a Nigerian man died in police detention in Guangzhou; the demonstrations from African residents that followed generated negative and often xenophobic reactions online. The author brings together the satisfaction of Chinese people at receiving American apologies for past racism, and the shouts of ‘Africans out’ heard in Guangzhou, before suggesting a possible connection between Chinese racism and the history of oppression in China, including administrative systems excluding part of the population from enjoying the fruits of development, such as the household registration system.
Original link: 美国道歉《排华法案》与广州黑人抗议事件

By Ah Gang, June 23 2012

In a series of short vignettes that take us from Xi’an to Beijing, this post explores a young man’s encounters with various pick-pockets or crooks, his attempts at fighting back, and the support he gets, or doesn’t get, from those around him and the police. A personal approach to crime, an invitation to push for justice.
Original link: 遭遇战

Equal opportunity
By Zhou Baosong, June 25 2012

This post is explores the concept of ‘equal opportunity’ in the Chinese context. Zhou starts by interrogating the underlying metaphor – defining equal opportunity as a competitive environment where each participant has an equal chance to win – and poses that building such an environment is a desirable political goal. Zhou articulates what needs to change so that a ‘fair’ system of competition can be established in China: processes and criteria for official appointments must become transparent, and special treatments for the well-connected be prohibited; the requirements for any job must be based exclusively on the nature of the work. Finally, the author stresses that simply establishing an ‘equal starting point’ is not sufficient for a system to qualify as offering ‘equal opportunity’. Differences in background and education mean the children of the rich are better trained to succeed; and therefore, equal opportunity requires that the government take proactive measure to reduce inequalities arising from different family backgrounds.
Original link: 论机会平等


All articles in this digest and a large range of other Chinese readings are accessible at Some are available in English, French and Spanish translation. (You can join the project if you’d like to help with translations.)

Danwei is an affiliate of the Australian Centre on China in the World at The Australian National University. This posting is a result of one project that is part of that on-going collaboration.

China Heritage Quarterly and East Asian History are two other publications supported by the Australian Centre on China in the World.

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