― http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1tAYmMjLdY (dayo), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 11:47 (1 year ago) Permalink
― dylannn, Saturday, 18 February 2012 14:30 (1 year ago) Permalink
<-------------------- posting from linyi after a 25 minute dalian-yantai shandong airlines flight and a yantai-xuzhou bus breakdown in the middle of the shandong countryside. famous for: forced abortions, pollution, christian bale visiting chen guangcheng.
― dylannn, Saturday, 18 February 2012 14:38 (1 year ago) Permalink
eric x. li trolls the nytimes
― http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1tAYmMjLdY (dayo), Saturday, 18 February 2012 20:40 (1 year ago) Permalink
speaking of chen guangcheng, latest reports are not very encouraging :(
― http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1tAYmMjLdY (dayo), Saturday, 18 February 2012 20:41 (1 year ago) Permalink
man, fuck anybody who protests against this
― flagp∞st (dayo), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 12:15 (1 year ago) Permalink
american ethnographer works food cart in shanghai suburb
― dylannn, Sunday, 26 February 2012 22:52 (1 year ago) Permalink
― flagp∞st (dayo), Monday, 27 February 2012 01:54 (1 year ago) Permalink
her blog has a shaggier shorter version of the piece with pictures. really innaresting stuff, esp sliceoflife trenches of ethnography fun and the writing on telecom/how phones are actually used in china, like this.
― dylannn, Monday, 27 February 2012 02:06 (1 year ago) Permalink
this story has been making the rounds, just comical really:
― flagp∞st (dayo), Monday, 27 February 2012 22:14 (1 year ago) Permalink
xp she looks like she's doing really great work - I'm jealous! wish I had the courage to drop it all and go in hard on something like that
my mom, after nearly 50 years, was finally able to share with me a little about what happened to her and her family during the cultural revolution. rough times!!
― flagp∞st (dayo), Sunday, 4 March 2012 14:03 (1 year ago) Permalink
― flagp∞st (dayo), Sunday, 4 March 2012 14:05 (1 year ago) Permalink
governor of tokyo is a rape of nanking denier
― flagp∞st (dayo), Sunday, 4 March 2012 14:10 (1 year ago) Permalink
diggin this tom of finland-esque reimagining of the cultural revolution!
― flagp∞st (dayo), Sunday, 4 March 2012 14:14 (1 year ago) Permalink
great string of links, the Dafen copies of the Tian'anmen photo are O_o almost as much as the pornographic propaganda posters...
― Doctor Casino, Sunday, 4 March 2012 17:48 (1 year ago) Permalink
I think the 'propaganda' posters are more subtle than that - don't think the CCP would ever endorse that kind of explicit, strong female sexuality. I think it's important that the artist is a woman. apologies if I'm being male-gazey though :/
― flagp∞st (dayo), Sunday, 4 March 2012 18:04 (1 year ago) Permalink
i really get the idea behind the dafen tiananmen paintings. most of the painters working there were probably born around the same time as or after 6。4 and nobody knows the picture in china, even if they know about the event....
― dylannn, Sunday, 4 March 2012 21:39 (1 year ago) Permalink
i'm often confused by this sort of thing with tiananmen. there are so many examples of people recreating this experiment: show chinese people pictures from tiananmen, ask them if they know what's up in the picture, express quiet shock that they don't. in the tank man pbs documentary the filmmakers do exactly that with a picture of tank man and some students at beijing university. the kids either don't know or politely play dumb and we're SHOCKED that they don't know about the tiananmen massacre.
― dylannn, Sunday, 4 March 2012 21:44 (1 year ago) Permalink
then you get those horrible conversations where the western interlocutor runs up against the person who says, "yeah, dude. we know about tiananmen. they did what they had to do. sorry, bud."
let's understand what's happened politically/socially/economically in the country over the last 25 years before forcing china to come to terms with tiananmen. at this point, the stakes are pretty low with tiananmen, especially compared to the various fucked up shit happening in the country right now.
― dylannn, Sunday, 4 March 2012 21:54 (1 year ago) Permalink
<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/02/world/asia/tibetan-writer-says-china-is-blocking-her-from-award.html?_r=1">Tibetan Writer Says China Is Blocking Her From Award</a>
<a href="http://woeser.middle-way.net/">woeser</a> locked down
<i>Since last March, at least 22 Tibetans in western regions have set fire to themselves to protest rule by the Han, the dominant ethnic group in China. Fourteen of those died. In recent months, there have also been clashes between security forces and Tibetans in towns across the Tibetan plateau; in several cases, security forces opened fire with live ammunition, reportedly killing some of the protesters.</i>
not sure about the "rule by the han"... makes it sound like tibetan complaints have a more explicitly racial element than they do. like, the problem isn't that the oppressors are han chinese but mostly that they're brutally oppressive. :)
― dylannn, Sunday, 4 March 2012 22:05 (1 year ago) Permalink
fuck, i always forget to hit that convert simple html to bbcode button
Tibetan Writer Says China Is Blocking Her From Award
woeser locked down
Since last March, at least 22 Tibetans in western regions have set fire to themselves to protest rule by the Han, the dominant ethnic group in China. Fourteen of those died. In recent months, there have also been clashes between security forces and Tibetans in towns across the Tibetan plateau; in several cases, security forces opened fire with live ammunition, reportedly killing some of the protesters.
it's not just about race though? it's about race + claim to sovereignty
― flagp∞st (dayo), Sunday, 4 March 2012 22:28 (1 year ago) Permalink
I've been thinking about the situation in taiwan and how it's similar to tibet - like, the han chinese who are there now and who form the ROC, basically took taiwan from the japanese, who took it from qing dynasty dudes + taiwanese aboriginals. or rather, I've been thinking about taiwanese aboriginals and how nobody talks about them when they talk about taiwan belonging to the ROC.
― flagp∞st (dayo), Sunday, 4 March 2012 22:32 (1 year ago) Permalink
like, there's this
― flagp∞st (dayo), Sunday, 4 March 2012 22:33 (1 year ago) Permalink
wondering if this was written by a mainland nationalist
just interesting to me, how taiwan is propped up by western media &c. as a 100% legitimate democratic alternative to the CCP and PRC in china
― flagp∞st (dayo), Sunday, 4 March 2012 22:43 (1 year ago) Permalink
You ever see City of Sadness? It's set during the White Terror. Everything I know about that era is from the film and the little reading I've done around it (and handful of films set a decade later), so I can't say how accurate or interesting it is in relation to the real thing, but it's a great movie.
― C0L1N B..., Sunday, 4 March 2012 22:49 (1 year ago) Permalink
nah, but I am making a pact to watch all of HHH and Edward Yang's movies before i die
― flagp∞st (dayo), Sunday, 4 March 2012 22:50 (1 year ago) Permalink
I'm just thinking out loud here as I find out that what it means to be 'taiwanese' is actually really complicated
― flagp∞st (dayo), Sunday, 4 March 2012 22:51 (1 year ago) Permalink
oh yeah, race is part of it. but when the writer says "to protest rule by the han" i guess i just thought it'd be better to express that they're protesting more loss of sovereignty, erosion of cultural autonomy or SOMETHING than simply that it's some chinese dudes. haha, okay, maybe it's better to just say "rule by the han," sorry. i just wanted to say: i wish it was more clear why they were lighting themselves on fire.
― dylannn, Sunday, 4 March 2012 22:53 (1 year ago) Permalink
the taiwanese aborigines : tibetans thing... both situations are sort of born during the qing, sorta, or at least the stickier aspects of chinese->other ethnicities. there's lots of good writing on the qing and ethnicity!
― dylannn, Sunday, 4 March 2012 22:54 (1 year ago) Permalink
You should definitely see all the Yangs (including the omnibus film In Our Time, which is explicitly about post-ROC Taiwanese history, but mostly elides the kind of questions you're asking here). HHH's filmography is a little spottier, imo, but I guess that's a minority opinion.
― C0L1N B..., Sunday, 4 March 2012 22:56 (1 year ago) Permalink
Hu Jintao Draws Blood with the Wang Lijun Scandal
i don't know who's been seriously following wang lijun's recent problems (vice mayor of chongqing/head of psb, who helped bo xilai smash the gangs of chongqing, gets kicked out of office, rushes to chengdu and spends the night at the us consulate, comes out and gets put under house arrest) but this is a good summary of the bigger picture, i think.
― dylannn, Monday, 5 March 2012 21:49 (1 year ago) Permalink
link doesn't work
― flagp∞st (dayo), Monday, 5 March 2012 21:53 (1 year ago) Permalink
― dylannn, Monday, 5 March 2012 21:58 (1 year ago) Permalink
wow that post is really inside baseball
― flagp∞st (dayo), Monday, 5 March 2012 22:16 (1 year ago) Permalink
peregrine 2 ----- check out the essay on chinese scifi by kun kun at the start, lots about liu cixin etc. and more peregrine, one of v v v v v v v v v few places to read contemporary chinese fiction in translation by the few people that are in the business of translating it. #6 has brendan okane translating my girl sheng keyi is about as good as this kind of stuff gets (this is me saying: it's okay and i'm excited about it but it's still got the problems that chinese-engl translation often has + it all reads like howard goldblatt + it's a bit boring).
― dylannn, Tuesday, 6 March 2012 10:11 (1 year ago) Permalink
more inside baseball, lei feng: http://www.jamestown.org/programs/chinabrief/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=39091&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=25&cHash=004f169fa675b5370f16042eebf39216
― dylannn, Tuesday, 6 March 2012 10:20 (1 year ago) Permalink
Learning How to Argue: An Interview with Ran Yunfei
ran yunfei has some of the worst traits of chinese internet intellectual guys... zero useful political insight (he actually believes in the "jasmine revolution" -------- so does jon huntsman) + catnip to western chinawatchers (here, he's noticed by ian johnson, who's into writing stuff about MAO'S VICTIMS and FALUN GONG and like... this, about the rise of DAOISM in china and manages to quote lao-tzu and mention little yue yue getting run over)... unforgivably boring (he patronizingly criticizes ai weiwei for reacting "excessively")... BUT
i'm sort of interested in reading the book he mentions, a sort of microhistory of a temple in chengdu. i guess it's sort of impossible to find, though.
I finished it last year before being detained and it was printed. But then after I was detained the publisher refused to release it. So I told this to the guobao and they said, “You are detained but you haven’t been convicted so you can publish. You’re not yet a criminal and you have the right to publish.” I said, “Hey, can’t you tell the publisher that?” They said, “No way, we can’t call up the publisher like we’re your agent or something. Anyway, we’ll frighten them to death! But you can tell them our views.” So I did and they published it but it’s not available on any online service. We had a press run of 5,000 and I’ve sold about 2,000. They sell it at the temple but only if you ask for it. It can be bought but it’s unavailable.
― dylannn, Thursday, 8 March 2012 10:29 (1 year ago) Permalink
i find i follow shit like utopia <a href="http://www.wyzxsx.com/">乌有之乡</a> because even if the majority of opinions they publish or sympathize with are mostly newfarleft stuff, i dig it because-- the writers are more likely to have a much deeper knowledge of how politics/economics/the SYSTEM works in china and when they criticize the leadership (when not attacking american imperialism and eulogizing kim jong il and shouting nationalist slogans), they are a lot sharper and realistic, whereas guys like ran yunfei believe in the jasmine revolution and want to tell us that lei feng was FAKE oh my god THE PARTY HAS LOST ITS WAY.
― dylannn, Thursday, 8 March 2012 10:40 (1 year ago) Permalink
anyways. reminded of tricia wang dump1ings for sale piece + factory girls obv, the veggie vendors-- excerpt from Eating Bitterness: Stories from the Frontlines of China’s Great Urban Migration
― dylannn, Thursday, 8 March 2012 10:48 (1 year ago) Permalink
thought that was a weird headline to see at the top of my qq news, just 'cause not every headline mentions the "tragedy of the cultural revolution"
wen jiabao answers reporter questions after nat people's conference
"after reform and opening, the party set about rectifying a bunch of historical problems. but the excesses of the cultural revolution and the influence of feudalism have not been completely wiped out.
"along with economic reform comes problems like financial inequality, lack of credibility, and corruption. we can't concentrate on economic reform but also must look to political reform, especially reform of how the party and the nation are governed. ... with reform nearing a crucial period of time, we have to complete political reform to succeed economically. the successes of reform and opening can be lost. these new social problems we're seeing can't be ignored. historical tragedies like the cultural revolution can happen again. every party member and leading cadre should feel a sense of urgency.
"of course, reform is difficult. to change things, we need the everyone's enthusiasm, awareness, and support. in this nation of 1.3 billion people, we must proceed step by step, as the conditions of the country dictate, to establish socialist democracy. this isn't an easy. but reform can only march onwards. we can't let things stagnate. we can't stop. we can't go backwards. the only way is to go forward.
"i know people are going to say, this is all talk. but just watch me. let me tell you everyone right now, i will fight until my last breath for the project of reforming and opening china to the outside world."
― dylannn, Wednesday, 14 March 2012 04:46 (1 year ago) Permalink
it's interesting becauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse, it just shows you why EVERYONE loves him... because there's something in there for the new left people and the laid off workers who still yearn for the days of central command economy: he's attacking shit like financial ineq, corruption, which new left guys say was introduced by all the neoliberal economists that run the party now + everyone in china can get behind hating on corruption. and like, if you're a reform minded person, you could think, hey, yeah, we do need political reform to catch up to economic reform (wei jingsheng went to prison for 15 years for something like that)
― dylannn, Wednesday, 14 March 2012 04:51 (1 year ago) Permalink
but just as always, there are no actual concrete suggestions what political reform actually is or who's going to look after it. and there seems to be no movement in that direction, either. so.
― dylannn, Wednesday, 14 March 2012 04:52 (1 year ago) Permalink
lot of great stuff in there! May 35, everybody. also that awesome song about grass-mud horses, so naughty and sensitive
― Sébastien, Wednesday, 14 March 2012 16:22 (1 year ago) Permalink
while wen jiabao talks about inequality and corruption...
richpeople npc delegate internetlaughs:
Should Chinese political delegates wear Should Chinese political delegates wear Should Chinese political delegates wear Should Chinese political delegates wear $2,000 suits?,000 suits?,000 suits?,000 suits?
CPPCC delegate, CEO of China Power International Development Ltd, Li Xiaolin, wears a salmon pant suit from Emilio Pucci’s spring-summer 2012 collection, prcied at 12,000 yuan. That amount could help 200 chldren wear warm clothes, and avoid the chilly attacks of winter. Li Xiaolin has said, “I think we should open a morality file on all citizens to control everyone and give them a "sense of shame".”
Netizens Scour High-Res Photo of ‘Two Sessions’, Mock Members
― dylannn, Thursday, 15 March 2012 07:47 (1 year ago) Permalink
<a href="http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/evanosnos/2012/03/china-and-the-unofficial-truth.html">China and the Unofficial Truth</a>
damn li xiaolin, daughter of li peng
― dylannn, Thursday, 15 March 2012 07:53 (1 year ago) Permalink
China and the Unofficial Truth
I'D CRACKDOWN ON HER PRO-REFORM DEMONSTRATIONS AM I RIGHT FELLAS
― dylannn, Thursday, 15 March 2012 07:55 (1 year ago) Permalink
"my dad could crush your dad with tanks"
― dylannn, Thursday, 15 March 2012 07:58 (1 year ago) Permalink
...that’s what happened on Thursday, when Mo Yan, the vice chairman of the state-run Chinese Writers’ Association, won the Nobel Prize in Literature.
i mean, i am as sick as anyone of reading mo yan's vigorous polemics in defense of the communist party's undemocratic rule and all of their many crimes... but...
― dylannn, Sunday, 14 October 2012 06:03 (1 year ago) Permalink
xiaobing tang, professor of comparative literature at umich: Didi Kirsten Tatlow’s tirade at Mo Yan being awarded the Nobel Prize inliterature, upon close reading, is really directed at the Nobel Prizecommittee. How could you?! How could you bestow such a prestige on aChinese writer still living in China? A Chinese writer who is not inprison or banned, but rather enjoys a reputation and an official status?How could you not understand, for God’s sake, that the heart of the matterhas nothing to do with what he has written as a writer, but everything todo with the political symbolism of him being emphatically a Chinese writerand, listen, with the political purpose of the Nobel prize in literature? She seethes at the Nobel prize committee for staging a Kafkaesque mockeryand betrayal, but as a political animal, she also knows she can’t affordto discredit this powerful institution, so she turns on the Chinese stateand the writer himself. Her logic: Mo Yan may have been given the prize,but he has brought it disgrace. A gift is given, but the recipient doesnot understand what it is and therefore does not deserve it. It is farless troublesome to question the awardee than the gift from an entrenchedWestern establishment. A larger source of frustration for Tatlow and other puzzled pundits is thefact that they do not have a good narrative to comprehend the complexityof contemporary Chinese culture and society. They simply cannot, for the life of them, accept that there is amainstream Chinese literature, that this literature is diverse,innovative, and energetic in its own way, and that it is a vital part ofcontemporary Chinese culture. They do not see Chinese society as a livingand complex system with many institutions, and, because they never acceptthe legitimacy of the Chinese political order, they refuse to believe thatmany cultural practices and institutions there serve functionsstructurally symmetrical to their counterparts in a Western democracy.They regard China still as an alien and ultimately threatening other, sothey eagerly seek and endorse any and all signs of what they like, anddismiss what they do not like or understand as either outlandish ordraconian. In this particular case, they are quick to quote certain netizens’spontaneous comments on Mo Yan as representing the public opinion inChina, but they have no interest in covering the measured responses inmainstream media or from respected opinion makers. It is beyond Tatlow to ask what the latest award means for the Nobel prizeitself. If we agree that such a prize is always a subjective andcontingent affair, instead of an absolute and universal standard, wecannot but wonder about the Nobel committee’s decision finally torecognize a prominent Chinese writer living and writing in China,especially in light of previous Nobel prizes related to the topic ofChinese literature or China at large. It is a decision that can beassessed from many perspectives. Ultimately we realize this award is not so much an assessment of Mo Yanand his literary achievements or, for that matter, of contemporary Chineseliterature, as it allows an assessment of the Nobel committee’s ability toassess. The final question Tatlow raises is as naïve as it is duplicitous. Hereshe seems to buy into the myth of a “lasting” or “eternal” literaturecreated in a vacuum. Make no mistake about it. When necessary, she willturn around and embrace a literature presumably created under oppressionbut expressing aspirations she wants to see embraced everywhere. This is a familiar doublespeak. When you do not like a writer’s politicsor political stance, you use the rhetoric of pure or eternal literature todiscount him/her; when you approve a writer’s politics, you praise him/herfor being brave and relevant to our time. This doublespeak stems from theblindness inherent in the liberalist vision that Tatlow wholeheartedlysubscribes to. The world should be diverse and colorful, she reassuresus, but we should all be the same too, just like us.
― dylannn, Sunday, 14 October 2012 06:04 (1 year ago) Permalink
i think this is the crucial part:
They simply cannot, for the life of them, accept that there is amainstream Chinese literature, that this literature is diverse,innovative, and energetic in its own way, and that it is a vital part ofcontemporary Chinese culture. They do not see Chinese society as a livingand complex system with many institutions, and, because they never acceptthe legitimacy of the Chinese political order, they refuse to believe thatmany cultural practices and institutions there serve functionsstructurally symmetrical to their counterparts in a Western democracy.They regard China still as an alien and ultimately threatening other, sothey eagerly seek and endorse any and all signs of what they like, anddismiss what they do not like or understand as either outlandish ordraconian.
i think it's even relevant to the asinine WHY NO CHINESE GANGNAM question, in which the answer is given to us already that it's because of brutal state control of all media.
a "living and complex system" with "cultural practices and institutions" that are "structurally symmetrical to their counterparts in a Western democracy" YES
― dylannn, Sunday, 14 October 2012 06:10 (1 year ago) Permalink
zizek has a big thing about this - that china and the west (and south america, and russia, etc) are both performing local variations of the same capitalism
― Mordy, Sunday, 14 October 2012 06:14 (1 year ago) Permalink
I hadn't heard of Mo Yan before, but his work sounds interesting. I'd like to read something by him. I agree the criticism of him for not being enough of a dissident is misplaced. Obviously there is plenty of room for free expression in China and for a vibrant, complex, and lively popular culture. I think most artists and writers in China have a pretty good idea of where the out-of-bounds areas are, and as long as they stay away from those, I doubt they have much to fear from the state censors. Thankfully ideological purity does not seem to be a big deal in China. I think the emphasis on trangression of taboos in literature is often overdone by Western critics.
― o. nate, Monday, 15 October 2012 16:07 (1 year ago) Permalink
Good interview with a scholar of Chinese literature about the Mo Yan win:
― o. nate, Monday, 15 October 2012 19:33 (1 year ago) Permalink
― o. nate, Thursday, 25 October 2012 14:34 (1 year ago) Permalink
cranky:whenever i read about something being praised for being "banned in china" my fucking eyes glaze over.the "chinese netizen" reaction i've seen is: lame. he dances around + a five year old meme. the fuck is this?ai weiwei didn't "coin" "grass mud horse" and i really hope this doesn't unleash another avalanche of "CHINESE NETIZENS ARE FIGHTING CENSORSHIP BY CLEVER MEANS WHICH I WILL EXPLAIN TO YOU BECAUSE IT'S AN IMPORTANT THING." (this shit is easy to cover with a very elementary grasp of chinese language+society while other, real social movements and shit in china are ignored: we get that fat fuck on this american life and coverage of ai weiwei).
but hey. i dunno. it's cute. it's fun if you know who the people in the video are. i'm glad the guy can make a living.
― dylannn, Friday, 26 October 2012 02:14 (1 year ago) Permalink
...the dance phenomenon is turned into a powerful statement about liberty.
The original Gangnam video is unchallenging pop-culture pap. Ai’s cover version is part of a daring artistic campaign aimed at waking up the largest nation in human history.
― dylannn, Friday, 26 October 2012 02:20 (1 year ago) Permalink
― 乒乓, Friday, 26 October 2012 02:26 (1 year ago) Permalink
Best political story in the NY Times today.
― saltwater incursion (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 7 November 2012 16:07 (1 year ago) Permalink
taiwanese reporter hanging out in beijing man on street perspective old people upset about reform and opening old news but good primer on working class resentment
― dylannn, Friday, 16 November 2012 07:14 (1 year ago) Permalink
chattin in a park in old beijing
one day, with the 18th national congress on and nothing else to do, i decided i'd spend the time wandering around one of beijing's most historic temples. the temple yard was fantastically quiet; i felt the years of history and the peaceful air of religion wash over me. there was such a great contrast between the beijing outside, the beijing that hung banners to welcome the the party's 18th national congress, and the tranquil atmosphere of the temple. under the winter sun, i watched the elderly citizens of the capital chatting in the courtyard, passing the day with a deck of cards or a chess table. i watched women pushing their husbands in wheelchairs, both of them enjoying the sun. i picked an oldtimer named zhang out of the beautiful scene and sat for a chat with him. when he heard i had come all the way from taiwan, he called over a few of his friends to join in. i was an interloper there, a journalist come to chat, to interrupt the tranquility of their afternoons with my questions. the old men and women of the courtyard alternated between pontificating and teaching, climbing atop the soap box, then climbing down to conduct a quick tutorial, as if instructing a wayward pupil. i felt as if i had convened my own congress.
zhang and the others were all former workers in state owned enterprises, laid off following opening up and reform. he talked about buying a house. how could anyone buy a house in beijing on the wages of a government employee? i didn't have an answer for that. he said that nobody in beijing could afford to buy their own house. when the houses provided by the state were demolished by that same state, they were given a pittance with which to purchase a new home. but they were forced out of their old home, old beijing, and driven to the suburbs beyond the fifth ring road. if they got sick, it could bankrupt them. and even going to the temple to offer incense and say a prayer-- even that cost money. he told me that the new people replacing them in old beijing were outsiders. he asked me, do you think they're using their paycheck to buy a house? no, he said, they got rich from business and family connections: nepotism. they come to beijing and buy a house and a car and drive up the price of everything. the end result is that real beijingers are booted out of their homes.
an old man named yang entered the temple courtyard and zhang called to him, we've got a young fella from taiwan here to talk to us. he had a few things to say about zhang and his theories about rich outsiders driving up prices in beijing. he told me he was from hebei, the province which borders the megacity. outsiders, he said, are even poorer than native beijingers. people like him come to beijing as a last ditch effort, when life back home becomes unbearable. but life in beijing is often just as bad for them.
the crowd around me began to grow and i the grievances of old beijing flowed like a sewer, all the corruption and cruelty of life in the city exposed. they told me about the cost of healthcare far outstripping their insurance, and the mean realities of modern medical care that saw them as just another poor customer, someone to be rushed in the door and back out. in their eyes, the china that was created by reform and opening was one that existed for the benefit of the party and its cronies. i think the best reform in china would be if everyone stopped pushing reform, zhang said. a man named xu, who had been playing cards, interjected, hu jintao and wen jiabao, they all say we need to reform the party to save the party and the country. the whole thing is a goddamn mess.
another old guy interjected, look at all the people walking around with those red armbands now that the congress is on! public security, my ass. they're looking at everyone sideways now. where did all the people threatening public security come from? who is the party trying to protect itself from?
from the other side of the circle, someone answered, they've got a guilty conscience.
the conversation had been getting out of hand, with everyone joining in to offer an opinion. but i also noticed a few people listening but a few avoided saying much. coincidentally, those in the second group were also the ones quick to defend the legacy of mao, saying that when mao was in charge was the greatest time of their lives, a time when people were civil. i couldn't help being a bit shocked by this. but perhaps it's the same as the first time mainlanders went to taiwan and heard people talking about the taiwan independence movement.
deeply perplexed, i asked this group of archaic maoists about the cultural revolution. how could they say that china was the most civil during mao, when the cultural revolution had torn friends and families and the country apart? zhang was the first to speak. he hesitantly admitted, you're right. that was a great time.
another in the group explained that the gap between rich and poor in the new china was what disturbed them. the nostalgia for the maoist era was nostalgia for a time of relative equality. let me tell you, he said, when chairman mao was around, how much did a local politician make? even if he wanted to be corrupt, there wasn't enough money to make it worth it! we sweated our balls off working in a factory, but the boss of the factory wasn't exactly sitting in an airconditioned office, was he? but look at how it is now. everyone is on the make. yang from hubei added, they suck every drop they can from people like us. that's how these people get rich.
i asked them what they thought of hu jintao and wen jiabao? how had they done over the last ten years? would the new leadership be any better? one of the group said, i've got no clue how they've done. how can you have any idea if what they're saying is true or not?
prodding a bit, i asked, but you guys are spending the day here, not suffering at all. you've got houses in the city. what are you doing grumbling about the government? an old man in the group piped up, what are we? farm animals? i have a house that's seven square meters. zhang patted me on the shoulder, tell taiwan not to bother coming back.
i kept prodding: but reform has made china rich and powerful. china is a superpower now! as soon as i said it, an old guy named wei spat a mouthful of phlegm into the dirt, as if to punctuate my remark. zhang laughed, we're only lying to ourselves about the superpower thing. if china was so powerful, why did they get into the mess with the diaoyu islands? if they were a superpower, wouldn't they just take them back? japan might be little but they've got powerful allies. old wei added, hu jintao says that in 2020, we'll be done building a prosperous society. in 2020, people like us are still going to be living like animals. they've been rich as hell for ten years. if they're going to be any richer in 2020, i'd rather not be here.
my own little congress went on for about an hour and then the group slowly peeled away one by one.
when everyone had left, i thanked zhang and went to catch a taxi. my driver was a man of 44, who had seen 30 years of reform and opening in china. i asked him what he thought of the national congress. he shyly said that he didn't really follow the news and didn't know much about political stuff. but i caught a glimmer in his eye in the rearview and after a few moments, he started talking with genuine enthusiasm: reform and opening was a great thing. people can live in peace now. this is what the party gave us. the 18th congress is when the people can show their love to the party.
when i told him about my conversation in the park, he was shocked. he finally stammered, how... how could they tell those things to an outsider?
― dylannn, Friday, 16 November 2012 07:32 (1 year ago) Permalink
ty for that, dylannn.
― etc, Friday, 16 November 2012 08:06 (1 year ago) Permalink
― 炒面kampf (Autumn Almanac), Sunday, 18 November 2012 01:31 (1 year ago) Permalink
(probably posted before)
― 炒面kampf (Autumn Almanac), Sunday, 18 November 2012 01:32 (1 year ago) Permalink
The Chinese first started buying chateaux in Bordeaux in 2008, with some turned into luxury hotels for high-end Chinese clientele. China is now the biggest importer of Bordeaux wines with consumption up by 110 percent in 2011 alone, and it is even building a Saint-Emilion-inspired wine theme park in the northern Dalian resort, due to open this year.
― Swole Miss (Nilmar Honorato da Silva), Monday, 19 November 2012 03:33 (1 year ago) Permalink
― dylannn, Saturday, 24 November 2012 10:00 (1 year ago) Permalink
― 乒乓, Friday, 30 November 2012 14:10 (1 year ago) Permalink
― 乒乓, Saturday, 1 December 2012 13:47 (1 year ago) Permalink
― 乒乓, Wednesday, 5 December 2012 20:44 (1 year ago) Permalink