Chen Zhifeng is a “self-made” billionaire, founder of the Western Regions Photography Society, and a major force in Xinjiang’s art scene. He is part of a newly minted cohort of Xinjiang capitalists: the Xinjiang 8 (or 9), who have taken advantage of Chinese-Central Asian market development and the post-Reform oil and gas economy. His Wild Horses Corporation brings in an annual income of $700 million selling Chinese-made women’s underwear and TVs in Russia and Kazakhstan.
Yet, unlike some other Xinjiang elites, Chen has reinvested his wealth in Xinjiang.
After a handful of English-language publications declared that authorities had "shut down" the Beijing Independent Film Festival (BIFF), many people likely dusted their hands of the matter, thinking censorship had once again triumphed over artistic expression. But as James Hsu discovered more than a week after the festival’s supposed cancellation, BIFF held a successful, albeit quiet, closing ceremony following a full program of screenings and panels.
So what happened? A few days after the closing, I met with artistic director Dong Bingfeng to ask him about that and other issues on censorship, film in China, and independent festivals in the future.
Therese Mendez (Amy's roommate!) speaks to John Artman and Amy Daml about teaching young -- very young -- children in China, getting peed on, biking under the influence (BUI), and getting mugged. She also talks about her culture shock after arriving from Boulder, Colorado in 2009 -- her first time out of the country -- and takes us inside a women's locker room in Beijing. The shower orgasm story is at the 27:30 mark.
Last week I wrote about the way endearing child stars such as the seven-year-old Berna are being mobilized as a method for securing the future of Uyghur ways of knowing and speaking. Yet Uyghur “mother tongue fever” has a long legacy. The famous Uyghur poem Ana Til, or “Mother Tongue,” was composed by the poet Haji Qutluq Shewqi in the mid-19th century when a love of Uyghur was directed in opposition to the dominance of Persian and Arabic in Uyghur education. While the vectors of linguistic force have found new centers of gravity in the past few decades...
As has been well documented in discussions of the cultural situation in Xinjiang, many minority people in Xinjiang feel the future of their language and culture is insecure. Efforts to replace Uyghur-medium education begun in 2004 have intensified as the capillary spread of Chinese capitalism embeds its network and ideology deeper and deeper into southern Xinjiang.
A big thank you to everyone who attended Chug-Off for Charity at Great Leap Brewing on Saturday. We raised 5,000 RMB for Magic Hospital, which will continue its excellent work providing happiness to sick, orphaned, and neglected children in Beijing.
The tournament featured 16 teams, but unfortunately we could only have one winner. Congratulations to Go on the Pikies, consisting of Colin (a Dubliner visiting from London) and Tiggi (from Leeds, the manager of Paddy O’Shea’s).
The beneficiary of tomorrow's Chug-Off for Charity at the new Great Leap Brewing is Magic Hospital, a 10-year-old organization based in Beijing that organizes activities to cheer up sick, orphaned, abused, and generally neglected children. They're a wonderful foundation, and to tell you more about it, here's Lesley Sheppard, Magic Hospital's volunteer communications director.
Luo Lin’s voice and melodies are extremely catchy. In a true sense of the term, he catalyzes -- that is, he channels energy toward, and thereby accelerates -- an aspirational ethos for many migrant workers in Northwest China.
Last week I wrote about those who resist his catalytic charge by jealously guarding their indigenous cultural heritage. Yet, clearly, critiquing Luo Lin’s “Dao Lang” persona does not deny the very real force of his voice. He is an immensely talented performer; he has proved himself to be very adept at tuning in to desires particular to a Chinese rendering of an alien environment inhabited by displaced people.
Badr Benjelloun -- Beijing Daze curator, IT captain at True Run media, ESL forum operator, former Tangshan teacher, capoeira practitioner, guy who does business on the side, cook, and owner of the best rum bar / Moroccon eatery in Beijing, Cu Ju -- is... um... sorry, we lost our train of thought. Badr does a lot around Beijing. We're very happy he's here.
I first heard of “Dao Lang” from an economics professor on the way to a fancy dinner at a four-star hotel on the northwest corner of the People’s Square in downtown Urumqi. We had been discussing taste in cars as we slowly careened across three lanes of traffic and walkers. The professor said she found the American Hummer to be the best car, and then turning, as though catalyzed by the brawn and force of a combination of army machine and Michigan muscle, she asked if I had ever heard of Dao Lang. She said he was the best Xinjiang singer.
North Korea scholar Andray Abrahamian was rudely informed recently that his Barclays bank account, which he's held for 20 years, had been cancelled. And all because he works for a Singaporean non-profit that dares to engage North Korean citizens.
A smart person once told me that the feeling she gets when certain people enter the room is the same feeling she gets when she encounters the dank scent of mildew on damp, bath towels. It’s a livable smell, that palpable acrid taste in the air, but for her it also brings with it a constant grating and discomfort. Even worse, people who project this feeling on others with condescending smiles and cheerful helping hands are often “true believers” with the very best of intentions. They move and talk as though under an ideological spell. Their hope is that when they enter the atmosphere of a situation the positive vibes, the affect, or “wisdom of the body,” they emit will radiate like an emotional contagion.
Think you're the fastest beer-chugger in Beijing? Prove it. Sign up for the inaugural Beijing Cream Chug-off for Charity on Saturday, August 24 at 2 pm at the new Great Leap Brewing (between Sun City and Chunxiu Lu). All proceeds will go to Magic Hospital, a local charity that "strives to help in the healing of sick, abused, neglected and orphaned children by restoring an element of fun in their day." It's absolutely a good cause, which we'll tell you more about in the coming days. Great Leap is very generously donating all the beer that will be used at the event.
"Mr. Kim Jong Un! Channel 4 News, UK!” yelled the journalist at the back of Kim Jong Un’s head.
The Great Marshall stopped. He slowly turned and smiled, his visage a million shining suns. The room, which had been full of raucous cheers, came to a hush. In perfect English he replied, “Yes? How may I help you?”
Just kidding. That last part didn’t happen.
Welcome to Three Shots with Beijing Cream, where local personalities may or may not get drunk on camera, depending on their alcohol tolerance. Produced and directed by Gabriel Clermont and Anthony Tao.
Vicky Mohieddeen arrived in China halfway by accident with no long-term plans, but in an opportunity-rich place like Beijing, it didn't take long for her to find a calling. Or several, as it were.
Please give a hearty Beijing Cream welcome to Beige Wind, an anthropology doctoral student who studies urban living, popular culture and the arts in the cities of Northwest China. He runs the website The Art of Life in Chinese Central Asia, and will swing by these parts periodically to enlighten us with stories from Xinjiang.
This is the third post in a multi-part series on Abdulla Abdurehim.
As a lover of home-made water crafts, I recently set out to build my own Beijing boat. The blueprint is simple, the supplies are all within striking distance, and the finished product unlocks a lot of free fun in parks, canals and places like Houhai.
The largest factory I ever visited was an automobile tire-manufacturing complex with more than 10,000 workers. At the time, I was working with a professor on a project to calculate the environmental impact of tire recycling. My colleague – let’s call her Kate – and I were dispatched to take a tour of the complex and see tire manufacturing firsthand. That was the ostensible reason, anyway. The real reason we were there was to schmooze with the plant managers in the hopes of obtaining one of their environmental audit reports.
Boarding an airplane can put you through the rawest five minutes of judgement you'll ever face, especially if you're a foreigner. Like a slow, awkward fashion show, you amble down the aisle in fits and starts while everyone already seated simply stare.
On my recent Guilin-bound Chengdu plane, I was generally spared of any finger-pointing or comments before I slid into my middle seat, wedged between A and C.
But then the 20-year-old boys came.
Candice Lee is leaving China, and that doesn't seem fair for those of us who can't imagine a Beijing without her -- including the bowling league, the annual kickball tournament, those random nights at 4corners or Great Leap Brewing when she would be merrily blitzed from a boozy dinner and talk about things no one would remember the day after.