Dispatches From Xinjiang: Uyghur Urbanism in Recent Modernist Poetry

Uyghur Urbanism
A good while ago the anthropologist Stevan Harrell asked me to consider the unique position of Uyghurs as heirs to an urbanism that predates the rise of Chinese cities in the region. He asked me to think through the ways in which this urban tradition has affected Uyghur social organization. I’m still thinking about this. Read more »

New Rules: How China’s Latest Laws For Foreign Media Affect Us And You

press-card
As some readers may be aware, new measures restricting foreign content online in China (or “Administrative Regulations for Online Publishing Services”) are dropping March 10 – today. Over at China Law Blog, Steve Dickinson has answers to most of the major players and questions, but we felt obliged to follow up with Steve on a... Read more » Read more »

Mega Fail: How A Bestselling American Futurist Lost His Way In China

The Naisbitts with Ken and Tenniel Chu at the world's largest golf resort, where the seminar took place
Kneeling over the toilet at the clubhouse of the “largest golf course in the world,” I’m furiously vomiting gray liquid. It is, most likely, the result of dodgy alcohol from the previous night; then again, it might be the 90-minute speech I just heard from the husband-and-wife American “futurists” as they remorselessly praised China again and again and again. Hard to tell. Read more »

Ursula Gauthier Wrote A Bad Article, And In China That’s A Crime

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Ursula Gauthier, erstwhile Beijing correspondent for the French newsweekly L’Obs, left China for good in the early hours of January 1. It was not, as they say, of her own volition. When the clock struck midnight on 2015, Gauthier’s press visa expired and was not up for renewal. According to official organs, she had offended the Chinese people with her November 18 article written in the aftermath of the November 13 terrorist attacks on Paris. Gauthier’s refusal to publicly apologize for remarks concerning China’s attempts to link Paris with its own problems in Xinjiang was taken as the final straw. Read more »

Sorry, We’re Closed: The Den Shuts It Down

A Russian man expresses his love of The Den
Since 1997 in Beijing, it’s been possible to answer “Where can I get a really nasty Old Fashioned and a 900-gram burger at 5am?” “Who’s showing the goat-wrestling qualifiers?” and “What happened to your phone?” with the same words: The Den. Last weekend, that all changed. According to the Beijinger magazine, quoting someone’s WeChat, the city’s only 24-hour all-in-one sports bar, restaurant, short-time hotel, crisis-counseling centre, divorced men’s networking club, Pattaya tribute venue and dipsomaniacal dog whistle is closing. Read more »

Dispatches From Xinjiang: Uyghurs And “Terrorism”

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In a recent article James Leibold, a scholar at La Trobe University in Australia, discussed the way ethnic minority struggles against police and structural violence has often been officially mislabeled "terrorism." At the same time, in China, as in the United States, violent acts carried out by non-Muslims are read as acts of the deranged and mentally ill, but not as "terrorism." In China, as in the United States, the lives of Muslims which are lost as a result of “terrorist” or “counter-terrorism” efforts go unnoticed and unmourned. All losses of life leave gaping holes in our human social fabric, but why are some more grievable than others? What happens when a population is terrified by the discourse of terrorism? Read more »

Dispatches From Xinjiang: Uyghur Restaurant Eden Arrives In America To Mixed Reviews

Uyghur Restaurant Chain Herembağ featured image
Back in April, signs of the famous Uyghur restaurant chain Herembağ (Eden) began to appear on the streets of San Francisco. A few months later, a location in Fremont was opened in a renovated hotpot restaurant with promises of a third Bay Area location in San Mateo. Like their restaurant locations from Beijing to Astana, Kazakhstan, the American version of Eden serves an upscale version of the traditional Uyghur pasta, lamb, and rice dishes, as well as Hui-inspired northwest specialties such as Big Plate Chicken (dapanji) and Turkish-style döner kebab. Read more »

Dispatches From Xinjiang: New Uyghur Interior Design And Dilmurat Abdukadir’s Fascinating Facsimiles

Xinjiang - Dilmurat Abdukadir’s Abstract Expressionism art 1
On the top floor of the Aq Saray, or White Palace, hotel in Ürümchi is a massive reproduction of Napoleon Crossing the Alps by Jacques-Louis David. It is flanked on its left by a reproduction of Ivan Kramskoi’s Portrait of an Unknown Woman (which everyone associates with Anna Karenina). Across the expansive red room, otherwise decorated in the style of a Russian tea room, gigantic reproductions of Venetian canals and cityscapes fill out the walls. Overhead murals of clouds, star constellations, and pheasants in flight glow against the ornate heavy white archways that surround them. Read more »

Dispatches From Xinjiang: Qurbanjan Semet’s Photobook “I Am From Xinjiang On The Silk Road”

I am Xinjiang Silk Road featured image
Initially many Uyghurs were excited about the Uyghur photographer Qurbanjan Semet’s book-length photo essay I am from Xinjiang on the Silk Road. They were thrilled to see Qurbanjan’s national primetime interview on CCTV News. They were astonished to see it translated into English (by Wang Chiying) and sold alongside Xi Jinping’s boilerplate biography at Book... Read more » Read more »

Fishing In Beijing’s Canals

Fishing in Beijing's canals 2
Every time I biked past the dozens of men (and the occasional woman) fishing in Beijing's canals, I'd assumed they were fishing for their dinner. I shuddered at the thought of eating anything that came out of a stinking canal that already had dead fish floating in it. I mentioned it to my Chinese coworkers and they said it was impossible, that nobody would be crazy enough to eat Beijing's fish. But I wasn't convinced, so camera in hand, I went to find out. Read more »

Beijing Blend: An Ear-Biting Wildling

Beijing Blend ear biting woman
A woman in Heilongjiang province -- accurately described by our Beijing Blend host as "North of the Wall" -- was walking her dog off its leash when a college-age student kicked it. The ensuing tussle saw some ear-biting, Mike-Tyson-style, and a fight worthy of this episode of Beijing Blend. Read more »

Captain Beijing, File016: Fenqing Boy Takes A Stand

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Captain Beijing is a "comical strip" produced by the People's Committee of Panel-Based Cartoon Cultural Enrichment for the purposes of modest entertainment. It is famous and popular at home and abroad, and was solemnly declared "Most Charming and Splendid China Cartoon Art." It will appear on this website every Monday, or the cartoonist will be punished. Read more »