The World’s First North Korea Travel App, Reviewed

North Korea travel app
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?

Where The Fuck Should I Go For Drinks… In Beijing?

Where The Fuck Should I Go For Drinks 1
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:

6 Injured In Guangzhou Railway Station Knife Attack [UPDATE]

Guangzhou Railway attack
Six people were injured by knife-wielding attackers around 11:30 am today on the plaza in front of Guangzhou Railway Station. They've been sent to the hospital, but their conditions are unknown. A People's Daily tweet from 12:54 pm claims there were four attackers. State media reports that police fired shots at the attackers, hitting at least one of them.

Hemingway Disliked China, But He Was A Champion Drinker

Mme Chiang Kai-Shek, Ernest Hemingway, and Martha Gellhorn in Chongqing (Chungking) in 1941
Peter Harmsen of the excellent China in WW2 blog has a great write-up of Ernest Hemingway and his then-wife, war correspondent Martha Gellhorn, traveling to Chongqing in 1941. You may have heard this story before -- the couple's distaste of the country and Hemingway's dabbling in espionage, among other things -- but there are a few anecdotes I'd like to highlight from Harmsen's piece, titled "For Whom the Gongs Toll."

Latest Chinese Beach Craze Is Full-Assed [UPDATE]

Nude sun bathing Sanya Beach Hainan
There really isn't much to say about these pictures, which were taken on May 3 on a beach in Sanya, Hainan province and tweeted out by China Daily Show just now ("Who says China lacks innovation?"). Excerpt, perhaps, "Why?" A couple more pictures follow. They might not be appropriate for office gawking.

Three Liu Xia Poems Appear In The Latest Issue Of “Words Without Borders”

Liu Xia postcard
Liu Xia, who has never been charged with a crime, has been imprisoned in her home since 2010 because her husband happens to be a Nobel Peace Prize recipient currently serving an 11-year sentence for "subversion of state power." That she clearly needs medical attention for worsening mental health makes no difference to the authorities, who insist on punishing her for the perceived sins of Liu Xiaobo.

This Is Probably The Wrong Situation To Cite China’s One-Child Policy

Malaysia MH370 Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz
China's one-child policy, enacted in 1979, has undoubtedly changed Chinese society. Whether for better -- curbing population growth in a country with dire resource limitations -- or for worse -- creating a generation of "Little Emperors" who are doted on by two generations of extended family -- remains a debate that may never been settled. Of course, there are places where this debate can both be stimulating and appropriate. In the context of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is not one of those places.

Ai Weiwei’s Objection To “The Sandstorm” Results In Its Removal From Kickstarter [UPDATE]

The Standstorm pulled from Kickstarter
We publicized a Kickstarter on April 1 of a 10-minute dystopian sci-fi film set in Beijing by TED Talks director Jason Wishnow that was advertised as "starring" Ai Weiwei. It blew past its $33,000 goal in no time, probably thanks to the attention that Ai Weiwei -- China's most visible artist -- garners around the world. But now the Kickstarter has been removed and the preview for the movie, The Sandstorm, is only available on YouTube. What gives?

Data: Chinese Men Have A Lot Of Sex That Doesn’t Last Very Long

Spreadsheets - Data in bed
Data from Spreadsheets, a mobile app that tracks sex stats such as number of thrusts, average duration and volume level (gamifying performance in bed, if you will), has revealed that while Americans unsurprisingly have the most sex, Australian men last the longest, coming at 4 minutes, 3 seconds. What about China, you ask?

Please Be Kind To People’s Daily, Who Is An Autistic Child

People's Daily is autistic
People's Daily deserves not our scorn but our patience and understanding. I make the comparison with autism with absolutely no intention of being insulting to autistic people or their family and friends, and please accept my apologies if this still sounds offensive. But maybe the proper response to People's Daily -- which has underdeveloped communication skills (despite being the official mouthpiece of the government), difficulty grasping abstract concepts, and fantasies that are simply untenable in the real world -- should be with tolerance, composure, and encouragement?

Chinese Provinces Elegantly Rendered In Colorful Splash Ink

Watercolor provinces - Anhui
Here's a map unlike any you've likely seen. A Chinese artist, using water and ink, has reimagined Chinese provinces as dually simple and abstruse classical paintings. As posted on the website Portal (Chuansongmen), these are hand-drawn outlines of provinces and special administrative regions that are then filled in with splashes of watercolor. We don't quite know what to make of it -- neither does Beyond Chinatown, which has translated the province names. Maybe that's for the better: let these depictions defy easy classification.

No Internet Freedom Without Internet Order, Says Obviously Batshit People’s Daily

People's Daily wearing jester's cap
People's Daily has had an eventful week. Last Monday it called the New York Times "circling vultures" for an article on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370; on Friday it sought "immediate rectification" from a parody Twitter account, @relevantorgans; then, somehow, it got a guest editorial out of Bill Gates. But PD truly tops itself with this next thing, because these are words that someone actually wrote. Via Reuters:

Good Laowai In Tianjin Lend A Dozen Helping Hands

Ultimate Frisbee players help move van
Sometimes, when life throws you an obstacle, simply call on a dozen people to move said obstacle out of the way. In Tianjin on Sunday morning, a van parked in front of a building blocked a coach bus from leaving the enclosed lot via the only road out. That bus happened to be carrying more than two dozen Beijing Ultimate Frisbee players who were in town for a tournament. They had an idea.

These Are Probably The Most Frightening Panda Pictures Ever

Creepy panda by Ami Vitale featured image
The Guardian recently published a series of photos by Ami Vitale, who was given exclusive access to the Wolong National Nature Reserve in Chengdu to photograph the giant panda, a creature that you and I and the general public knows as comely and cute. Vitale, however, reveals a darker, sinister side, a world of paraphilia, cages, and kinkplay in which China's national symbol is transformed into an object of flesh that -- willingly or unwillingly -- engages in deviant sex and/or some sort of atavistic fetishism. Prepare to never look at pandas the same way -- or the bipeds who love them.