Some disappointing news for this year’s Bookworm Literary Festival, which launched on Friday: headline act Roxane Gay, an American writer, critic and literary figure whose books include the bestselling Bad Feminist, has cancelled her much-anticipated visit, citing “personal reasons.”
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.
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.
Sina Weibo's watershed came in 2011 after two high-speed trains crashed in Wenzhou: as officials bungled the response, and then censored news stories, netizens stormed onto Sina's microblogging platform to voice their outrage and fill gaps of knowledge with educated speculation. Four years later, just as Weibo has seemingly run its course, a different program is stepping into its place as the prime facilitator of unfettered discussion in this country of shackled exchange.
We have two videos from the stabbing this morning, in which a man wielding a meter-long sword attacked -- seemingly at random -- two people outside Uniqlo in Sanlitun, Beijing. The first video, above, is graphic, and I wouldn't recommend it if you'd rather not watch a woman bleeding from stab wounds.
As heard on social media, there was a stabbing this morning outside the Uniqlo in Sanlitun, one of the busiest areas of foot traffic and commerce in Beijing. Police appear to have subdued the assailant and roped off the area.
It doesn't have to be Uniqlo. (Actually, better if it isn't -- spread the wealth.) It doesn't even have to be a dressing room. But here's an honest chance for us, the little people, to make a real difference in the fight against censorship: we can -- by a simple bit of sex in a public place, a camera phone, and an Internet connection -- show the world just how fucking dumb this fucking government can sometimes fucking be.
I passed by Uniqlo just now on my way home, the infamous Sanlitun branch where a young man and woman had sex in the fitting room and put the video of it online. Maybe that part of Sanlitun Village always has a large crowd of young folks milling about. Maybe there are those who ironically take selfies in front of retail chains, and journalists often un-ironically do work there (CNN!). I don't know. Or maybe shoppers are lining up for this season's hottest new item:
If you've been anywhere near WeChat or Weibo today (or China's corner of Twitter, for that matter), you've likely heard that a young man filmed himself having sex with a young woman in a fitting room in the Sanlitun branch of Uniqlo in Beijing recently. The video was uploaded to the Internet yesterday evening and has been making the rounds. It's out there. Someone was gonna post it. [...] Here it is.
May 27 saw the gathering of several writers in The Bookworm for an event called Scotch and Stories, presented by the Anthill in collaboration with Whisky Wednesday and with support from Ai Whisky. We're reliving that event in today's podcast, timed with the last of those stories going online on the Anthill and The Bookworm's launch of its new whisky menu.
Only a week ago we were lamenting the dearth of female presence at a UN Women's event in Beijing; now comes an event that celebrates a plus size of it.
The Miss Plus Size International pageant, to be held this Saturday at a luxury hotel in downtown Beijing, isn’t a contest one would immediately associate with China, but – fuck it, it's happening, and there's nothing we can do about it.
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...