This notice has been going around Twitter and Facebook all day, so it's likely you've seen it, but we want to hear from the students in Beijing -- what happens if you say no to this "study tour" that "all foreign students have to attend"? Drop us a line.
Because it's politically expedient to do so -- proven by Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, etc., to work -- Beijing conducted a drug investigation that recently culminated in a bust of street-level slingers in Sanlitun. This news doesn't affect the vast majority of Beijingers, foreign or local, which is to say, there's little reason any of us should cheer. If anything, we should cringe, knowing these "crackdowns" almost always disproportionately affect those on society's fringes who are most powerless to defend themselves.
Attention, writers of Beijing: we're holding a flash fiction reading on Sunday, July 13 at Great Leap Brewing's Original No. 6 location (Doujiao Hutong No. 6). Space is limited, so we're asking those interested to register by emailing us -- spots will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. The cost is 50 RMB, which includes a select GLB beer, with all proceeds going to the charity Educating Girls of Rural China. Also, importantly: we're seeking readers!
On December 10, 2013, Chinese dissidents Liao Yiwu, Bei Ling, Wang Yiliang, Meng Huang, and Wang Juntao streaked outside Stockholm Concert Hall during Nobel ceremonies to protest the continued incarceration of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. Yesterday, an animated video was released recounting that night and the events that led up to it.
It really doesn't take much to impress local Chinese if you're white, does it? Spotted in Qingdao and posted to the Sina Weibo account of @天璇妈妈, here's a foreigner picking up trash. "The Weibo post heated up discussions among netizens, racking up hundreds of likes on Weibo," reports Sina. "Some bloggers said we should learn from the foreign man, even foreigners are help protecting our environment."
Ready for another Olympics, Beijingers? This city's joint bid with Zhangjiakou (in neighboring Hebei province) for the 2022 Winter Games has come a long way since it was announced last November. Back then, we called Beijing's chances "slim," but look what's happened in the months since:
Matthew Niederhauser, who's putting finishing touches on a film called Kapital Creation that documents Beijing's development, recently uploaded a Vimeo featuring stunning aerial footage of this city. It's interesting how a simple rotation of perspective can completely change how we view a place -- and makes you realize the value of a window office atop a skyscraper (or a blimp). Watch the video; you're unlikely to find urban Beijing rendered more beautifully.
If you find yourself needing transportation around Bajiao Amusement Park on Subway Line 1, Tiantong Yuan North Station on Line 5, or Longze Station on Line 13, perhaps it's best to take the bus or a cab. (This is the first and only time I'll recommend taking a taxi over the subway, considering this city's traffic). If you need a reason, check out the video above.
Have a nice weekend links. Speaking of weekend... on Sunday, in an event that will probably be cancelled (shh, don't tell anyone), professors Yan Hongbiao and Ding Dong will talk about "ordinary Chinese people's views of the Cultural Revolution" from 3 to 5 pm at the Crossroads Centre (18 Da Shiqiao Hutong, Jiu Gulou Dajie; directions and contact info here). 40 rmb (30 rmb for students). The talk will be in Chinese, if it happens.
On Wednesday, Tunghai University student Cheng Chieh (Zheng Jie), 21, got on a subway from downtown Taipei and began indiscriminately stabbing people. Four were dead and 24 injured when the horrific attack ended, a portion of which was captured on video, above.
Two vehicles rammed into pedestrians in an open market at 7:50 this morning on Gongyuanbei Street in Urumqi, Xinjiang, killing at least 31 people and injuring more than 90, according to Chinese state media. AP reports that "the Xinjiang regional government said in a statement that the early morning attack was 'a serious violent terrorist incident of a particularly vile nature.'"