In a recent discussion held as part of the inaugural Lean In Beijing Mentorship Event, a college student in my circle noted, “In China, it’s so difficult to stand out sometimes. We all pursue the same goals, we all do the same things, we all study hard and we all have similar experiences and ideas. In order for us to stand out and be unique, I really think we have to be unafraid to be different.”
It’s true, especially in a country of 1.4 billion people. But it’s not common to see young Chinese doing what's necessary to stand out: pushing themselves to their limits and going beyond their comfort zone. Which is why Ivan Xu's project, the Ultimate Ride, is interesting:
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."
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.'"
With so much attention on the violence emanating from Xinjiang, many of you may have missed the parade of Uyghur dancers who have recently taken the stage on the Chinese version of “So You Think You Can Dance” (Zhongguo Hao Wudao). Not only do we have the child-star-turned-adult-tap-dancer Yusupjan, the nine-year-old break-dancer Surat Taxpolat (who goes by the stage name “Little Meatball”), and the teenage break dancer Umid Tursun, but we also have the model family of Gulmira Memet, a young dance instructor from the Xinjiang Art Institute in Ürümchi.
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.