China’s 2014 was a year of protests, tigers and flies, tilted fruit trucks, pandas, and censorship. Come to think of it, so was 2013. But not everything about last year was the same. Take these 10 longreads that first appeared on this site, well worth revisiting, among our favorite posts of 2014.
1. One Beijing Summer: A Tale Of Status, Sex, And A Chinese Pop Star
By Hannah Lincoln | Read full post
On a crisp September 1st morning in Beijing, I stood before a locked iron door. On the other side was a hutong that led to the streets and eventually my university dorm. On my side was a scruffy courtyard home, a room with no couch and only one big bed – on which slept my Chinese boyfriend. It was dawn, and the hutong roofs were limned by a light morning mist, releasing the heat of the night into a new day. Inside, I was trapped, faced with an undesirable decision: to take a hammer to the door, or to return to the bed and have sex with a person I no longer respected.
2. China’s Bill O’Reilly, Sima Nan, Is Now Pro-Free Speech, Anti-Moron
By Valentina Luo | Read full post
The talk of the Chinese Internet has been the overnight elevation of a new leader to the wumao ranks, “online writer” Zhou Xiaoping. Zhou reportedly was invited to attend a Forum on Art and Literature on October 15 held by “Uncle” Xi Jinping, where he posted a rather blurry selfie that featured the chairman in the background. That he wasn’t wrestled to the ground indicated Zhou’s star was in the ascendancy.
3. Did Ken Livingstone Crony and Anti-Occupy Spokesman John Ross “Censor” the Global Times?
By RFH | Read full post
Ross, meanwhile, is a loyal toady of the new world order. The Marxist economist is so committed to serving the people that, back in 2004, he gracefully accepted a massive salary of £110,000 – more than the then-Mayor of New York – as one of “Red” Ken Livingstone’s closest crony-advisors. (The post was not advertised, which might have struck even Tony Blair as rather non-egalitarian.)
4. Hong Kong Protests Surge Amid Growing Tension, Falling And Rising Barricades
By Anthony Tao | Read full post
Above on the overpasses, pedestrians peered at the action below, snapping pictures as if at a zoo. Underneath Pacific Place, in the Admiralty subway station, a poster extolled “New rail lines for a better Hong Kong” while advertisements cycled between Calvin Klein models and McDonald’s burgers. All the way home via public transport, we heard no chatter about the protests, which seemed to exist in a different realm altogether, a small but significant part of the city that created its own vortex while everyone else went about their day, now night, undisturbed by visions of democracy or the prospect of economic disenfranchisement.
5. I Nearly Lost A Testicle In A Beijing Hospital
By Bryce Lewis | Read full post
Die? How do balls just die? I refused to believe it. This wasn’t serious, nothing a little ice couldn’t solve. These Chinese doctors just wanted to rob the clueless foreigner. I called my sole Beijing friend, Lisi, to get a second opinion. She listened to me choke through tears, then told me she was too busy to come right away but would make some calls.
6. Deep Trouble: On The Set Of China’s Most Expensive, Possibly Worst Film (Part 1)
By Dale Irons | Read full post
After a brief reading, we were asked if we had any “fighting or action experience.” Yes: tons. For my friend — built like a tank with a voice so deep he was actually able to bass you out of a conversation — this wasn’t actually so far from the truth, although the acting was mostly of the “fucking and fighting” variety, in assorted bars and clubs. With my shoulder-length hair and somewhat effete manner, I cringed at the thought of a demonstration of such skills. Luckily, they took my word for it.
7. Chinese Version Of “The Wolf Of Wall Street” Is The Blockbuster That Will Never Be Made
By Warner Brown | Read full post
I was watching the movie for a second time – still puzzling as to why my initial viewing so enthralled me – when a random manager (or someone claiming to be such) added me on WeChat, China’s red-hot mobile messaging app. As I gazed upon Leonardo DiCaprio’s character enjoying a three-way, I fended off the manager’s requests for explicit photos to prove I was man enough to do the same. Finally, I made the connection: in spirit, if not quite in the details, The Wolf of Wall Street embodies the hidden, hedonistic thrill that drives so much of China’s official corruption.
8. Watching The Hong Kong Protests Inside China Central Television
By J. Stevens | Read full post
A CNN reporter stood live from Central Square in Hong Kong amid a sea of students wearing plastic coverings over their eyes and mouths. I had kept up with the story, having seen pictures like this on my Facebook newsfeed for the past several days, mostly from Hong Kong friends who were proud of the protesters and shocked at the sudden intensity of the police response. But I realized this must have been the first time many of my colleagues had seen these images.
9. Dispatches From Xinjiang: Shiralijan’s Fist And The Xinjiang Spirit
By Beige Wind | Read full post
He punched the air with his right hand while his left hand grabbed his bicep. Relating the gesture to the semiotics on the Uyghur countryside where he’s from, most Uyghur onlookers immediately interpreted the gesture as a “fuck you” to the crowd that had been chanting “East Turkistan stupid cunt,” or “DongTu shabi,” for the past three days. According to some Uyghur observers, Shiralijan was reacting as any self-respecting minority might to targeted ethnic slurs.
10. The Great Wall Of China As Sunken Treasure
By Christina Lauritsen | Read full post
The Wall pokes out of the water to form small islands, giving us a couple of reference points. However, they’d be useless once our masks slipped below the surface. The first five meters was entirely particulate matter and there was no visibility — this is apparently consistent for any time of year. Once below the silt, we were hit by the abrupt cold and absolute blackness. The only light came from our torches. Not a drop of sunlight penetrated the silt and algae above us. It was like entering another world, with all our senses altered — nothing came into focus until we spotted the Wall.
Here’s to a great 2015.