Whoa, Sandstorm

Beijing sandstorm
As widely prophesied on weather apps this morning, a sandstorm smote us this evening. Around 6 pm, our editor-at-large received an ominous warning about said sandstorm devastating Changping. Minutes later, it was we in Sanlitun amid its yellow maw. I wonder if people noticed...

The Creamcast, Ep.19: Tech In China (Bookworm Literary Festival)

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On March 21 as part of the Bookworm Literary Festival, Mark Natkin (founder and managing director of Marbridge Consulting), Kaiser Kuo (director of international relations at Baidu), and Josh Gartner (senior director of international relations at JD.com) sat down with Eric Jou for a panel discussion called Tech in China. They spoke on artificial intelligence, O2O, censorship, the market, and woolly mammoths -- all of which you can listen to in this week's episode.

The Creamcast, Ep.18: JUE Festival

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JUE | Music + Art is an annual labor of love, a privately run, basically not-for-profit gathering of creatives in Beijing and Shanghai, with live performances, workshops, exhibitions, and talks. Founded in 2009 as a protest against "the big, homogenous mega-festivals emerging in China at that time," JUE Festival has just concluded its 7th program, featuring acts from around the world.

The Creamcast, Ep.17: The Female Voice In Contemporary Chinese Art

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On February 5, 1989, at the opening of the China Avant-Garde Exhibition at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing, a young performance artist by the name of Xiao Lu fired two gunshots at her work, two telephone booths with figures engaged in conversation inside. Her act -- part of the performance piece titled "Dialogue" -- became synonymous with the exhibition, caused the entire show to be temporarily shut down, and contributed to her and her boyfriend's arrest.

Meet The Poets: Poetry Beijing At The Bookworm Literary Festival

Poetry Beijing 2
This Sunday at 2 pm at the Bookworm, as part of the 9th annual Bookworm Literary Festival, seven community poets will join two visiting writers/performers for Poetry Beijing, a celebration of verse and the power of the spoken word. But more importantly, it'll be a spotlight for this community's regular literary events and the people who run them. For example...

A Brief History Of Bootlegging In Beijing

Bootlegged DVDs in Beijing
Lately I’ve been thinking about a particular aspect of Beijing history that doesn’t get written about much: bootlegging. VHS never caught on in China as it did in the West. It was only when CDs, VCDs, and DVDs landed that things shifted dramatically from state-sponsored TV and film to virtually anything that could be dubbed to disc. Suddenly the French New Wave, Chuck Norris, and Buster Keaton -- even whole historical collections from foreign national archives -- were available to anyone who had a few kuai to rub together.

Bookworm Literary Festival Events Not To Overlook

Bookworm Literary Festival events not to overlook
Tickets to the Bookworm Literary Festival went on sale on Saturday. This year's program is impressive for both its diversity of content — two journalism panels, stand-up comedy, art, environment, tech, trivia – and the strength of the visiting authors -- Chang-rae Lee, Yasmina Khadra, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Willis Barnstone, Victoria Hislop, Michael Meyer. Many events will probably go overlooked. They shouldn't be.

The Creamcast, Ep.15: North Korea, Or “Do Animals Cry?”

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Welcome to the reboot of The Creamcast! From the studio of Popup Chinese, RFH and I welcomed Andray Abrahamian, Executive Director at Choson Exchange, and Simon Cockerell, general manager of Koryo Tours, to talk about all things North Korea -- spying, journalism, coffee, reunification, and whether animals cry (this was really a predominant theme).

Announcing: Poetry Beijing At The Bookworm Literary Festival

Poetry Beijing 2015
Hello, poets of Beijing. The Bookworm Literary Festival -- one of the largest bilingual cultural events in China -- has renewed our community poetry event for this year's program, which means it's time to get writing, reading, and workshopping. Last year's event, Poetry Night in Beijing, attracted a standing-room only crowd, and we can only hope to again get that kind of support. Consider this an open call. If you're interested, read on.

Fireworks Usher In Lunar New Year In Beijing

Chinese New Year fireworks 2015i
For the first time ever, New York City set off fireworks to commemorate Chinese New Year. It happened over the Hudson and was synchronized and jubilant. At one moment it looked like skyscrapers were melting out of the night. Colorful. Impressive. Yet it was still mere facsimile for the real thing. You see, for my money, the most noteworthy -- if not outright best -- New Year’s celebration happens in Beijing.

ARRESTED: Beijing ‘gang’ alleged to have targeted foreigners with bats

Galsworthy (left) takes an image of his injuries shortly after the attack
A trio of Chinese men armed with baseball bats and metal pipes has been detained, following a violent assault on students at one of Beijing’s best-known universities. The case bears strong similarities to a series of racially tinged assaults alleged to have recently occurred in several foreign-centric districts, including Sanlitun, Houhai and Wudaokou, in which... Read more »

No Subway Line 2 Halloween Party This Year, Because You Could Be Arrested

Anthony Tao's homemade Optimus Prime costume in Hong Kong subway
Happy Halloween, everybody. For those of you wondering, the some-years-strong Beijing tradition of dressing up and riding Subway Line 2 on the weekend before Halloween will come to a close this year. Authorities are worried about the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, so they don't want their public transportation clogged with beer-guzzling foreigners doing weird shit and attracting crowds.

Ancient Murders And Suicides: The Haunted Houses Of Beijing

Beijing Haunted House chaonei-no.81-1
If you haven’t made any plans for your Halloween night, consider a trip to one of Beijing’s haunted houses. Not to be confused with the spooky amusement destinations that pop up throughout the US and Canada at this time of the year, these haunted houses are the sites of ancient murders and suicides. Tales of wandering spirits, unusual sounds and paranormal activity have persisted for more than a decade at some of these locations...

I Nearly Lost A Testicle In A Beijing Hospital

Painful ball hospital introduction to Beijing
I knelt at the top of the hospital escalator, partly from exhaustion, mostly out of surrender. My moans and cries recalled childhood Halloween nights spent puking up entire plastic jack-o-lanterns of candy. My tears blurred reality. Loud, distracted, exotic shapes and figures brushed past me, unimpressed by my misery, misery unlike any I'd felt before. This wasn't how I imagined my first week in China would go.

Watching The Hong Kong Protests Inside China Central Television

Watching HK protests on CCTV
I work for a sub-branch of CCTV geared toward international video news, and we have several TV screens in the office that run 24-hour feeds of CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Al Jazeera and others – ostensibly to keep up with the competition. But I returned from our canteen this past Sunday evening to find six or seven of my Chinese colleagues glued to a screen showing a live-feed from CNN.