The Tianjin Blast and the Art of Disaster Management

An aerial picture of smoke rising at the site of the explosions is seen at the Binhai new district, Tianjin
“Thanks to the hyper-paranoid system, authorities are doing themselves further disservice by fighting another fire online, badly.” The Oriental Star ferry “disaster management” model, in which the goon squad manages to seize control of the information spigot early on and develops the subsequent narrative, is not the “new normal” in China that some may have... Read more »

Sorry, Xinhua: You’ve Been Out-Bullshitted By CEN

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If you’ve read a story about China in the last couple of years that sounded just too good to be true – that smelled, in fact, more like sweet, sweet horse manure – chances are it came from CEN, a European-based “news agency” whose bluff just got called in exhaustive length by BuzzFeed investigative reporters. Although their offices and staff are in Vienna, CEN’s scope is worldwide – Russia, Argentina, India, Macedonia and the PRC, where it regularly elbows Xinhua aside to publish the least likely version of events.

Reminder: The “Miss Plus Size International Beijing” Happens Tomorrow

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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.

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).

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 »

Did Ken Livingstone Crony and Anti-Occupy Spokesman John Ross “Censor” the Global Times?

John Ross
When John Ross,“former director of London’s Economic and Business Policy to ex-Mayor Ken Livingstone and current Senior Fellow with the Chongyang Institute” at Renmin University, was approached by Chinese tabloid Global Times (GT) for a profile about foreign China Watchers, he was, no doubt, expecting a nice soap-job.

Foreigners Told: Stay Off The Drugs – And Twitter?

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New details have emerged about last weekend’s drug raid in Beijing, which allegedly saw five foreigners deported and a similar number of Chinese detained – sending local Twitter users into collective shock. A comprehensive report on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s website by correspondent Stephen McDonell explains how he’d headed down to dirty dawg bar Dos... Read more »

Deep Trouble: On The Set Of China’s Most Expensive, Possibly Worst Film (Part 2)

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Editor’s note: Empires of the Deep, with a budget exceeding $100 million, was supposed to be China's Avatar. But as our correspondent, Dale Irons, found out on set, this extravagant 3-D epic was plagued from the beginning by incompetence and misfortune -- to say nothing of dangerous working conditions, a rampaging horse, and the tide. Five years after production began, there's little reason to believe this film will ever see a big-screen release. This is Part 2 of Dale's two-part diary from the set of what might be China's most expensive -- and worst -- movie ever. --RFH

Deep Trouble: On The Set Of China’s Most Expensive, Possibly Worst Film (Part 1)

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Editor’s note: Empires of the Deep is a much-delayed 3-D epic film that seems destined to disappear forever. Neither the film -- known rather generously as "China’s Avatar," starring Bond girl Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) -- nor the full story may ever be officially released. It’s now been five years -- an appropriate anniversary -- so, tired of waiting, we here publish the “production diaries” of a young Australian-British man, Dale Irons, who found himself back in 2009, for various reasons, on the set of allegedly the most expensive Chinese film ever made -- and possibly the worst. Big words? Read for yourself. --RFH

Don’t Be This Guy: “Biggest Douchebag In Shanghai” Orders From Sherpa’s

Foreigner douchebag orders from Sherpa's
First published in November 2008 on the old Danwei under the headline "RMB 3 million foreign douche bag in Shanghai" -- aged mp3 link newly restored! -- this tape is a genuine recording from Sherpa’s from a freewheeling customer who really likes comped hamburgers and isn’t afraid to show it. At one point the brutal laowai -- use of the term here meant as pejoratively as possible -- tells the Sherpa's operator, who gives her name as Sunny, that she doesn't have a "sunny disposition" and chastises her on lacking a "sunny attitude."

Savills Is Offering Bullshit Medical Advice: “Tricks To Protect You From Haze”

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When it comes to toadying up to authority, you can’t beat foreign business. While smog comes and goes like a dissident in the night, its legacy lives on -- for example, in the missive below from Savills, the London-based real estate agency, which wins our coveted Beijing Cream Corporate Whore of the Month Award with “Twelve tricks to protect you from haze.”

BJC Brings You The Cream Of Beijing’s Literary Festivals

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"Festival Fever," declares the cover of relentlessly upbeat Time Out Beijing. Coming at the end of what might just be China’s worst week in recent history – starting with a massacre in Kunming and ending with 230 people, including 140 Chinese, seemingly disappearing into the Twilight Zone – it’s hard to share their enthusiasm.

At Least One Foreigner Stabbed Again In Sanlitun This Week

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Some breaking news here (in that it happened three days ago and we’ve only just learned about it): a foreign man has been hospitalized and another injured following a stabbing around Sanlitun Bar Street in the early morning of Tuesday, February 25. Information is scant. The news was first posted at 4:32 am by a man claiming to be an employee of the Village edition of Starbucks, and he sounded pretty shaken up about it.

Blonde Ambition: How Xinhua Used A Foreign “Reporter” To Sex Up Its Propaganda

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Xinhua host and moonlighter for the Daily Mail’s venerable China Bureau Nikki Aaron has been blissfully peddling the British tabloid yarns of her “China adventures” for the last few months. All well and good. Here’s her latest, on dating, a subject she has visited before. The extremely confessional tone of the Mail piece begs the question: who is Nikki Aaron?

“It’s Good To Sleep With Virgins”: A Global Times Editorial That Never Was

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The information that follows was compiled by BJC editor-at-large RFH after a chat with the shadowy Tan Guan, whose position at Global Times is unknown. All views expressed below are to be... A certain article in a particular newspaper has caused some people on the Western Internet to debate so-called “virginity values." Yesterday, even the WSJ China editor chimed in on Sina Weibo: “How was a misogynistic article like this published?” this person asked.

Reuters Interviews Rich Crank, Concludes Luxury Bikes Are Cool In Greater China

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Foreign commissioning editors get a lot of pitches like this: “The Chinese are now watching Homeland / eating caviar / behaving like us.” These activities usually owe to the fact that a few ultra-wealthy Chinese have found some new, pointlessly expensive Western habit — like high-end gold hi-fi aficionado clubs, or bottles of purified Moon water... Read more »

What If Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom” Were Set In China?

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By TAR Nation and RFH Ed's note: TAR and RFH have diametrically opposed opinions about Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom, starring Jeff Daniels as a news anchor who, in one lapse of honesty, sees his world turned upside-down. Characters sing "arias of facts," as the New Yorker's review put it, which sounds a lot like what news organizations closer to home -- in China -- do. So, TAR and RFH set aside their disagreements about The Newsroom to write a pitch for a show called Chinese Newsroom. TV producers out there: pick this up!