China's anti-porn crackdown -- its latest, I mean, in a long line of many -- isn't going as well as planned, because apparently porn is hard to block and everyone watches it, so the propaganda spinners have gone into overdrive to frame the story in a new light. If you want to see Chinese state media at its best / worst, these are the moments you cherish, when it completely jumps the shark.
As in many Islamic societies around the world, Uyghurs listen to cassettes and MP3s of sermons, poetry, and essays as a way to tune in to the sensibilities of the rapidly changing social world and to find their place within larger communities. Those who listen to these forms of media are ordinary Uyghurs, people who work as farmers and seamstresses, small-scale traders, and handymen. They send their children to schools with red scarves tied around their necks and worry that their kids won’t be able to find their way in the new world. Many of the most popular recordings focus on ethical action, on living right, and on what the world “out there” is like. They are both entertaining and instructive.
Oklahoma and Texas play an annual football game called the Red River Rivalry. When it comes to actually red rivers though, none compare to the one found in Boluo County near Huizhou, Guangdong province earlier this week. It's like the jungle's menstruating.
There was a Dutch website called Beautiful Agony that asked people to upload videos of their orgasm face as a "multimedia experiment." This was done in the name of art. There was a video we watched in high school biology of a live childbirth, PBS Nova's The Miracle of Life. This was done in the name of science. Now there's a reality show on Shenzhen Television, "Laiba Haizi" (Come On, Child), that shows the faces of women in labor. This is done in the name of...
From a place that loves quantifying the unquantifiable, such as happiness (congrats Haikou!), and numerical rankings of everything, and buzzwords such as "harmony," it's no surprise that a Chinese academy has reportedly mastered the science of measuring collective "honesty and mutual trust," among other things. Here's Xinhua with an explanation:
Chinese premier Li Keqiang just finished a four-country African tour on Sunday, so leave it to Global Times to summarize the trip in an unreadable "op-ed" featuring economic stats and sentences such as, "Such a robust momentum of development calls for higher standards in a myriad of cooperation projects." At least the illustration -- by Liu Rui -- was, um, eye-catching. GT even tweeted it.
It’s odd to imagine Jesus, in China, is more discussed than historic leaders, but Weibo chatter suggests precisely that.
An infographic published by Foreign Policy (non-paywalled version here) last month showed that discussion of Christian terms is several times more common than similar political phrases.
While the disparity may be exaggerated by attempts to create a healthy environment for discussion, it reflects a growing trend as young adults born in the 1980s and 1990s rediscover religion.
Most people know better than to eat street malatang, which -- if you don't know -- basically consists of pieces of veggie and tofu and fish balls and squid and other indecipherable foodstuff stabbed on sticks and boiled/drowned in oil and spices. It's disgusting and no one likes it. But sometimes, because you're drunk or too prideful to say no to a dare, you do eat, and your stomach dies a little.
HBO's Game of Thrones arrived in China last week, but the fit-for-CCTV broadcast was so rigorously edited to conform to some "public morality" that one netizen hilariously called it "a medieval European castle documentary." But amid all the articles about this development, we may have lost sight of a more amazing fact: Game of Thrones -- a show about political wrangling, skulduggery, sabotage, dissolution, sex, etc. -- was allowed to air on Chinese TV. It took two whole days before we got this Ishaan Tharoor post on the Washington Post, titled:
When Chinese video streaming sites pulled down all episodes of The Big Bang Theory on orders from China's official censors, it angered fans across the country -- and also, it turns out, the show's creator, Chuck Lorre. The following is what Lorre wrote on one of his "vanity cards" that appeared at the end of Big Bang's May 1 episode (as noticed by the Wall Street Journal):
A new North Korea travel app hit the stores today. Creator Chad O’Carroll, who runs the indispensable NK News website, told CNN that the app “is designed for armchair travelers as well as people who are actively interested in visiting.” Niche? For sure (though not as niche as targeting fans of Playboy who literally do “buy it for the articles.”) But does it have wider applications?
Take note: if you go on a slashing rampage in public, you'll be shot and treated like a rabid dog, held down by metal poles. Take a look at the video, which shows police manhandling a knife-wielding suspect who wounded six passersby yesterday at Guangzhou Railway Station.
The best search engine for finding random bars is Where the Fuck Should I Go for Drinks, which China watcher and delightful alcoholic Ray Kwong helpfully notes "even works in China." But how well does it work? We gave it a try, and results included: