Top-of-the-Week Links: Japanese tourists killed in Hebei snowstorm, a graphic novel Kickstarter about English teachers in China, and trimming Politburo seats?

Putting uniformed men to work in Beijing, via NetEase

Momo Monday is today, 7:30 pm at Fubar. Or… links.

Prepare for a lot more of this kind of stuff in the next few days. “To outside observers, the move may appear to be little more than bureaucratic reshuffling: trim two seats from the nine-member body that governs China by consensus at the pinnacle of the Communist Party. // But the proposal by Chinese leaders to downsize the body, the Politburo Standing Committee, offers one of the clearest windows available into the priorities of the party and the mechanics of power-sharing and factional struggles as the leadership transition nears its climax at a weeklong congress scheduled to open Nov. 8.” [NY Times]

CCTV America. “‘China has a place in the world economy, so it’s only befitting that China has a place in the global media platform,’ a senior CCTV executive told them, according to Makori. ‘The reason you people are before us is because we want to be recognized as a legitimate, objective journalistic force,’ he continued. ‘The idea is for this to be not a Chinese mouthpiece, not a Chinese propaganda tool, but a global channel produced with a Chinese flair.’” [Foreign Policy]

A change in the way you’re notified that you’ve been naughty with your search. “Instead of blaming laws for their inability to serve the user what it wants, Sina Weibo has decided to unilaterally shift to a more non-transparent error message stating that no results are found for sensitive keywords.” [Blocked on Weibo]

Corollary: Which of Wen Jiabao’s relatives can you search on Weibo? [Blocked on Weibo]

Still ahead of the censors. “As Beijing enters extreme lock-down prior to the 18th National Party Congress (十八大 or ‘shi ba da’ in Chinese), social media users have invented a new coded reference – ‘Sparta’ – to talk about this otherwise censored topic on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter. A search for Sparta (斯巴达) yielded more than 3.2 million results on Sina Weibo.” [Tea Leaf Nation via The Atlantic]

A story that starts, “The other day I saw a balloon seller in Changsha, Hunan province.” “…That balloon had led to several moments which may not have happened otherwise. I wasn’t out to make any grand discoveries, although you never know what can happen. Just meeting a few more people was enough to make it a good investment.” [Brian Glucroft, Isidor's Fugue]

Chinese political joke: “Recently the imperial capital’s weather suddenly changed. In the evening, a security old man said: ‘look! suddenly the sky has changed!’ A old lady replied in haze, ‘don’t say sky changed, say the temperature has fallen’. The old man pondered and replied: ‘We can’t even say the temperature fallen.’” [Global Voices, if you need an explanation]

A message to expat wives with foreign husbands, take it or leave it. “The local girls will take your husband from you like an iPhone 5 left behind on a table in McDonalds. How can he resist the honey-coloured skin, high heels and miniskirts just waiting to pounce on their new, handsome foreign boss? Here’s the answer for that one: He won’t.” [the_villain, Sinolicious]

Composer wins award. “Tan Dun received the 11th ‘Shistakovich’s music awards’ on Saturday. He is the first artist from China to have won the award.” [Xinhua]

Street ball in Beijing interlude:


Two Japanese tourists killed in Hebei snowstorms. [Xinhua]

Kickstarter worth checking out: Owen Tucker’s graphic novel about teaching English in China. [Kickstarter, via Two Americans in China]

Mao Zedong portrait created by 9,000 hand-painted plastic figurines. [Daily Mail]

Interview with Mike Sui. [the Beijinger]

Finally, finally…

Pictures of a disappearing Shanghai, by Howard French, Rendezvous:

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