The decision Russia made to send military force to Crimea worries many Taiwanese. Taiwan Explore, a blogger who devoted to introducing Taiwan, explained the parallels between Taiwan and Ukraine and why many Taiwanese feel worried about themselves when they watch the news about Ukraine these days.
Latest stories from Quick Reads + China
TeaLeafNation uses China's dominant search engine Baidu's search history to finish half-written questions about different provinces in China. They plot the stereotypes onto an interesting map about China. For example, Beijing was associated with “smog” and Xinjiang was considered as “being chaotic”. The piece has also explained the stereotypes about different provinces in details.
After China's Railway Station attack last Saturday, the tension between Uighurs and majority Han people has escalated. However, a group of ordinary Uighur people started an online campaign “#I’m from Xinjiang#” to fight stereotypes of Xinjiang people. In China, “Uighurs” are often labeled as “thieves,” “unappreciative separatists” and “knife-wielding terrorists.” Read more details from Offbeat China.
A group of Chinese journalists launched a new media production platform for history related content — the New History Cooperative (新历史合作社). Their products — including books, magazines, events and videos — are shared through the internet and through WeChat and Weibo. One of the latest projects is documentary series about 100 “Chinese words” — terms like zheng shen, or “examination of one’s political record,” and jiating chushen, meaning someone’s “political pedigree”.
According to China Media Project, many intellectuals find the project meaningful. Writer Hu Fayun said: “Chinese words are words particular to China, they are words that reveal how China’s unique character came to be.” This documentary series is an opportunity to reflect back on China's history and admonish many aspects of China's present political and social circumstances. Watch the video below about the project overview.
While the current Ukraine revolution has many Chinese asking: “When are we going to take to the streets?”, netizens also learned from Ukraine that democracy isn’t the answer to all problems. Law professor Dong Zhiwei, a long-standing advocate of constitutionalism in China, called the anti-government protests in Ukraine a “coup” that is more of a clash between different power groups than between democracy and authoritarian rule. Offbeat China has more details.
Female students from Wuhan University in Hubei province demonstrated on Valentine's Day, calling for respect for sex workers in China. Beijing Cream has the story.
Beijing has reached Red Alert Levels of Smog during the past few days. China's state media CCTV wrote some comments on Sina Weibo on Feb 15, 2014, blaming Beijing government's impotency:
Several days of silence indicates one problem: with constant smog, people will become numb, the society will turn a blind eye, but the government cannot be blind, it must shoulder its responsibilities, No excuse for ignorance, fearlessness or inaction! So, CCTV Financial channel is asking, is there anyone who's going to solve the smog problem?
After a few hours, users were unable to comment or repost the post.
According to an “official Chinese report,” rampant air pollution in Beijing has rendered the city as “barely suitable” for living.
Roseann Lake from ChinaFile explores why it's hard for Chinese to say “I Love You” in their own language from historical and sociological perspectives. The piece has also introduced an experiment about Chinese brain and its relation to love and romance.
— 变态辣椒 (@remonwangxt) February 11, 2014
In Chinese language, the color yellow also signifies sex and pornography. The crackdown of sex industry and pornographic materials is termed as “cleaning-up the yellow”. Political cartoonist @remonwangxt's latest work is about the “Cleaning-up yellow” campaign in China.
Patrick Lozada from Beijing Cream discussed the phenomena that many dissidents who have left China would turn up joining the Right Wing organizations in the U.S. He pointed out the dilemma of the current situation:
I understand why they do it. You can say bad things about China in China and go to jail, or you can have conservatives pay you enormous amounts of money to do it in the US. Regardless it causes these activists to lose credibility as agents of change in China, and the impact they can have from the States is minimal.
Committee to Protect Journalist released a report on self-censorship practice in Hong Kong and Taiwan under the increasing influence from Beijing:
Self-censorship–it's like the plague, a cancerous growth, multiplying on a daily basis.
Jocelyn Eikenburg describes how she spent the first few days of the Chinese New Year with her husband's family in China.
I’ve already attended four huge dinners with family, where the dining tables often become a cacophony of laughing and shouting (often because of those drinking games involving baijiu). I’ve learned to steel myself for the inevitable topic of children — which used to be a question (“When will you have kids?”) and has now become a command (“This year, you must have a kid!”).
Offbeat China explains why young Chinese want to migrate to first tier cities in spite of the polluted environment and expensive property price.
THE WORLD OF CHINESE takes a look at some of the oldest and biggest Chinatowns in the world, including the ones in San Francisco, Vancouver, Lima (Peru), Havana (Cuba), London, Paris, Manila, Singapore and Melbourne.
China's Xinhua new agency reported on January 28 that Snowden had claimed aliens controlled America. Although the story was soon deleted, it had spread all over Sina Weibo. Weibo users didn't take the story seriously, they even created an image of Alien Obama.Mitchell Blatt from CHINA TRAVEL WRITER BLOG has translated part of the report into English as well as netizens’ reactions.
For most brides and grooms-to-be in China, wedding photo shoots are an important part of wedding planning. The photo shoots, usually require multiple outfit changes and various props, can cost up to $15,000.
ChinaFile features photographer Guillaume Herbaut's wide-angle shots of soon-to-be newlyweds posing (or taking a break from posing) for their portraits. Instead of wedded bliss and joy, the photographer sees alienation and a sense of loneliness.
Sinica Podcast held a discussion about Taiwan from their personal experiences. The discussion explores Taiwanese's personal identity, their culture, media situation, health care system, as well as Taiwan's political relations with the mainland.
Chinese netizens were outraged about such ridiculous performance. The girl Wei Caiqi rotated more than 8000 circles non-stop for four hours as performance. As explained by the TV hosts, the spinning performance is to indicate the Chinese sense of “time” and “history”. It sounds like a mockery.
ChinaSMACK translated some online reaction to the performance.
A happy lunar new year video is circulated in China WeChat. Bill Bishop made a backup in Youtube:
According to Lunar Chinese calendar, starting from January 30, 2014, is the Year of the Horse. In Chinese, Ma (horse) when uses with the word Shang (Up), means coming. The lyric of this new year greeting goes like this:
Horse Horse Horse. Year of the Horse Coming.
Year of the Horse, You get what you want. [Your wishes] will be realized soon.
In the Year of Horse, money, apartment and everything are coming soon.
Year of the Horse Coming, it is cool to greet in the new year.
Happiness is coming. Minions wish you happiness in new year. Happiness is coming.
In the Year of Horse, man and woman, old and young, all be happy.
Year of the Horse is coming, Happiness is coming.
A group of Hong Kong students who met Chinese citizen right activist Xu Zhiyong in seminars before organized a flashmob action to express their support for Xu and demand his release. Xu Zhiyong was sentenced to four year imprisonment for organizing a small protest in Beijing last month.
“300 Shots at Greatness” introduced one of most distinctive alcohol in China. The distilled rice spirit, Yubingshao, has the taste of fat aroma as it is aged with jars filled with pig fat. The blogger describes the taste:
I took a sip, and noted what appeared to be a flat, rather bland rice baijiu. But then the pig hit me on the back end, like getting slapped in the face with a slab of bacon. It was an odd, somewhat salty, somewhat oily finish that I found strangely compelling.
Chinese billionaire activist Wang Gongquan, who was arrested and detained for more than 4 months, was released on bail after making “confessions” that he and another citizen right activist Xu Zhiyong had organized and incited criminal activities to assemble a crowd to disrupt order in public space. Offbeat China has the story.
A song praising Chinese president Xi Jinping’s everyman behavior has been composed in ode to his appearance at a small Beijing eatery late last year. The song will be officially released after the Spring Festival. Offbeat China has translated the lyrics:
(accompaniment) Steamed buns store, steamed buns store
(solo) Here’s the story: A few days before the New Year
I walked into the steamed buns store for lunch
As I was lining up, somebody came in behind me
Look at him, with his robust figure, imposing bearing and ruddy appearance
Hey! Why does he look so familiar?
Surprised, the waiter headed forward
“Please take a seat, sir. I will bring anything you want to eat.”
The man smiled, and waved him off,
He stayed in line behind me, the last one in line
He ordered a set meal. It was only 21 yuan
Pork steamed buns, together with vegetables and pork liver stew
He stood in line with us. He paid for the meal himself
With both hands carrying the tray, he walked towards me
(accompaniment) Where did he sit?
(solo) Oh! Hey! Everybody! Everybody! What a coincidence! He sat right beside me!
He enjoyed his meal, even laughed and chatted with us
I hastily took out my phone to take pictures of people posing next to him
I hurried to Weibo to upload the pictures
The story went viral and netizens rushed to comment
Uncle Xi, warm-hearted man of the people, the “president combo” is now famous
Uncle Xi, warm-hearted man of the people, our incidental encounter at the steamed bun store
Has warmed the hearts of the people in this harsh winter!
Has warmed the hearts of the people in this harsh winter!
Since China's crackdown on the most popular social media Sina Weibo, a new online platform Zhihu has become popular among public intellectuals as a space for rich discussion. Similar to Quora.com, Zhihu allows Chinese web users to post questions, with the best responses upvoted by others. It is free from government censorship, at least for now. TeaLeafNation has more details.
— Amin Sabeti (@AminSabeti) January 20, 2014
The letter said:
To my son Peng,
I’ve made many calls to you, but you never picked up. This ad is probably the only thing that can reach you. Mom and dad won’t force you to get married any more. Please go back home for Spring Festival this year!
Offbeat China explained the cultural and social meaning behind the mom's act.
An online survey has revealed a list of the most objectionable expressions and emoticons in online communication of 2013. More from Nanfang insider.
People's Congress representative from Guangdong province suggested the government to increase civil servants’ salaries. Indeed their basic salaries are low, but they enjoy huge benefits and subsidies. The proposal immediately stirred up hot reactions from netizens. ChinaSMACK curates the story in English.