"Is Beijing about to Boot the New York Times?" asks the headline to this Foreign Policy article (not paywalled!) by Isaac Stone Fish. It's a fair bit of speculation: 12 Times journalists are apparently anxiously waiting for their annual visa renewals, as revealed by two sources speaking to FP on background. (Emphasis on either "anxious" or "still waiting," depending on your level of cynicism about media / China.) About a dozen Bloomberg journalists are reportedly in the same boat.
A group of Chinese dissidents and exiles ran naked on a chilly night outside the Stockholm Concert Hall on Tuesday, December 10, and published a declaration undersigned by Liao Yiwu (pictured above), Bei Ling, Wang Yiliang, Meng Huang, and Wang Juntao. As translated by China Change, the declaration begins:
The New York Times reports that the foreign ministries of the Czech Republic, Portugal, Bulgaria, Latvia and Hungary have been hacked by the Chinese ("traced to Chinese hackers"). As we've said before, however, "hacked," as used in popular media, is an incredibly broad term meant to encompass a wide variety of malicious online activity, when in fact its actual connotation is much narrower, signifying a sort organized, targeted attack against an individual or institution. In our digital age, we'd do well to employ more specific words when the occasion calls for it -- "phishing," for instance, which is what appears to have happened with the above European countries.
Just as the monthly nationwide freakout over Chinese air was winding down, Chinese Central Television had to go ahead and publish an article, since deleted, that lauded the "Five Surprising Benefits From China’s Haze." I really have nothing to add to a topic already covered by Tea Leaf Nation ("Although it may be satirical, the article reads more as a tin-eared attempt to wring an Upworthy.com-style listicle from a genuine environmental menace"), Time, etc., but I do want to share the below video, from The Onion, posted three years ago.
Ed's note: China's first-ever expat anthology, Unsavory Elements, held a large group AMA (“Ask Me Anything”). In honor of the 20-plus contributors who joined in, here are the highlights from this historic AMA.
Authorities in Beijing's have reportedly used concrete to seal off wells that had served as makeshift homes for migrant workers in a particularly impoverished area in Chaoyang district. Hug China reports:
Shanghai, China’s financial hub, appears determined to compete with Beijing, China’s political epicenter, in every aspect, including pollution.
Starting Thursday, smog has shrouded Shanghai and nearby provinces, with PM2.5 readings shooting from 200 micrograms per cubic meter to as high as 700 at some air quality monitoring stations.
As of 1 pm Friday, the average PM2.5 reading in Shanghai reached an off-the-charts level of 602.5; the PM10 reading reached 671, with the highest reading recorded at 726 in Putuo district.
The latest column from New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan is about China: an article that first summarizes why it's becoming increasingly difficult for foreign correspondents to work here, then reminds its readers that the Times remains -- unlike Bloomberg, I think is clearly one implication -- a news company first and foremost.
Today on C4: China goes for bronze with a soft moon landing attempt. Plus, this:
Stuart: "Chang'e, by the way, is the goddess of the moon... and the shuttle is her Jade Rabbit."
Rob: "Her Jade Rabbit, I bet she has a lot of fun with that, doesn't she?"
Editor’s note: Yesterday, the UK brewery BrewDog issued an open letter on its website to call out a “fake” BrewDog pub in Changzhou, Jiangsu province. “I’ll be along to visit soon – I’m looking forward to trying the 6AM Saint and the Funk IPA,” wrote James, one of the owners. “I do still nurture a small hope, though, that imitation is the starting point for imagination for you. If next time, rather than knocking up a do-it-yourself BrewDog bar with an odd red logo, you go one step further and have a stab at your own craft beer, then you will really be onto something.” What follows is the China Craft Beer Association’s reply, written by Great Leap Brewing owner Carl Setzer.
In 1935, cartoonist Zhang Leping created one of Asia’s most enduring characters: Sanmao. The emaciated boy, named for the three hairs on his head, lent a friendly face to Shanghai’s nameless street urchins and children orphaned by Japanese attacks.
But more importantly, Sanmao’s bitter adventures captured the spirit of social injustice in the city’s “golden era.”
Illustrator Josh Cochran posted the following, a veritable visual crossword highlighting the year in pop culture, two weeks ago on his Tumblr. The artist has generously allowed us to republish the image, on which we'll highlight two China-related elements: Edward Snowden ("there are 10 Edward Snowdens here," Cochran writes; see how many you can find), and the sharks. We really hope it's an allusion to this shark story from Shanghai.
Sharon Kui Yee-Tak, a 25-year-old former teacher’s aide at Frost School, a Maryland-based private school for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities, is believed to have fled to Hong Kong, where her brother resides.
The Silk Road of Pop (2013: 53 min) ends with a young rapper saying he wants the world to know Uyghurs exist. The man, a sculpted crop of hair jutting from his chin, says, “Aside from China, who knows that Uyghurs exist? Zero percent.” As a view from a train window merges into film credits while the Uyghur musician Perhet Xaliq and his wife Pezilet sing an old song of Uyghur youth “sent down” from the city, the pathos of the rapper's plea seems to resonate with the atmosphere of the land, the tight cement block apartments, the frozen sidewalks paved with Shandong tiles.
Our favorite Masshole in China, Donnie, has done his best work yet, pretending to be Roger Federer on the streets of Shanghai. "Wo ai Zhongguo," he says, which is exactly what the real Rog would've said, probably.
Not to be missed is the girl who covers her mouth and nearly giggles herself into oblivion, thinking Roger Federer just told her (in Chinese!) that she's "very cute."