We're still awaiting word from Astrill support, but in case you're wondering, yes, the popular VPN service is down -- both the website and service itself. We don't know if it has anything to do with China, but probably not -- "technical problem," says Astrill.com. Look at that emoticon - that is the sorriest goddamn sad-face I've ever seen. Read more »
Stephy Chung of Crane.tv and Em Jaay bring us this wonderful music video of Beijingers dancing through the record smog the city saw this last week. Check out cameos from Heyrobics guy, Comedy Club China’s Toby Jarman, and many more! Read more »
...Sure, Hunan-based Better Life probably hung the portrait simply out of respect for their native son. But I would also believe it if someone told me that Better Life’s CEO is a dyed-in-the-wool capitalist who always believed Mao’s communist fantasies were folly and, now swollen with riches from selling jewelry and clothes to China’s ovine masses, has decided to take a victory lap by hanging a portrait where Mao’s weary, unblinking stare will forever be greeted by the former proletariat scrambling for earthly pleasures on the ruins of his communes. Read more »
The definition of irony has always been difficult to pin down, even for the most seasoned of wordsmiths, but here’s an attempt through example: an artist who achieved fame by defacing or destroying other artists’ work sees one of his defaced works defaced by another artist.
The famous artist is Ai Weiwei, whose 1995 photographic triptych Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn is undoubtedly one of the pieces that propelled him to international art world fame and fortune. Read more »
We're rapidly approaching the March 1 submission deadline for those interested in reading at Poetry Night in Beijing, a curated community event on March 16 that's part of the Bookworm Literary Festival. If you're wondering whether you should submit, please heed the advice of Eleanor Goodman, one of our curators: "Submit! There’s nothing lonelier than a poem sitting unread on a laptop or in a notebook." Read more »
Starting from the age of 10, Jiangnan Yiling, editor-in-chief of Size Outdoor magazine, traveled with his father to snowy mountains, harsh deserts, Buddhist shrines, and the Tibetan steppe. Last month, he spoke at UCCA about his travels and the inspiration for his charity projects.
A visit to an elementary school in Yushu, Qinghai province changed his life in 2009. Read more »
Heavy smog couldn't deter runners of the annual "naked pigs run" in Beijing's Olympic Park on Sunday. According to China Daily, more than 300 participants -- "only allowed to wear underwear" -- partook in the event. (Clearly some people wore more than underwear, but let's let that be neither here nor there.) Some wore gas masks, making for interesting photos: Read more »
A nine-year-old boy is dead as the result of a firecracker dropped into a sewer. Reports say he was playing with another boy around 3 pm on Saturday near Fenghu Building in Shenzhen when one of them lit a firecracker and threw it down the drain. The ensuing explosion popped off two manhole covers, one of them flying as high as five meters. The victim, a third-grader in nearby Luohu district, reportedly fell in. His lifeless body was recovered about three hours later. Read more »
"Nail house" refers to the homes of owners too stubborn to give in to developers. These people stand alone, with their house, while their neighbors depart, and their neighborhood crumbles, and a new world stamps the words BEYOND HELP onto their heads. Often, that stamp looks like this: 拆. Sometimes, it looks like the above: walls leaning against one another to keep from falling; a roof halfway torn off by a force of mankind. Here it is: the poverty of living in modern China. Read more »
About a month ago Douban, as part of its ongoing "Beyond the Billboard" event series, invited two bands from Chengdu to perform at Café XP in Beijing - Sound and Fury and Hiperson. I got to interview both bands for the show before the concert. The band featured here is the former, which plays shoegaze, a style that seems to have become very prominent with Chinese indie types late last year. Read more »
The folks over at the Bespoke Beijing travel agency put together this hilarious spoof promo for the CCTV Tower using a recording of the building's audio tour. Among other things, I learned that romance is worth 298元. Read more »
For those worried about peace and stability in East Asia, there is plenty to keep you up at night: an international pariah armed with nuclear weapons under the apparently tenuous control of a young adult of questionable maturity; messy historical relations between regional powers; and territorial disputes that tie up political capital, inflame public opinion, and increase the chance of hostilities. If it's Tuesday, there must be a flare-up in the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. Read more »
The China Dream is in trouble according to a recent report by The Mirror. The investigative report, published on February 7, said the number of impoverished counties in China rose from 331 in 1985 to 592 in 2012.
This purported slide into poverty runs contrary to three decades of explosive economic growth and seriously clashes with the government’s official reporting of 98.9 million people in poverty nationwide.
But rather than unmasking a hidden class of impoverished citizens... Read more »
I’ve asked many people why Abdulla “Aka” (Older Brother) Abdurehim is the undisputed King of Uyghur music. It’s not that he has the gravitas of a young Elvis Presley, the steely resolve of Johnny Cash, the working-class poetics of Bruce Springsteen, or the song and dance routine of the trickster Bob Dylan. People talk about the catchiness of his melodies, the way the best song writers flock to him like pigeons to a master, and women flutter around him like moths to a flame. Yet these explanations always leave me unsatisfied. Abdulla is, after all, an average-looking middle-aged man from Kashgar. He’s average height. He has a moustache. Read more »