Sorry, We’re Closed: The Den Shuts It Down

A Russian man expresses his love of The Den
Since 1997 in Beijing, it’s been possible to answer “Where can I get a really nasty Old Fashioned and a 900-gram burger at 5am?” “Who’s showing the goat-wrestling qualifiers?” and “What happened to your phone?” with the same words: The Den. Last weekend, that all changed. According to the Beijinger magazine, quoting someone’s WeChat, the city’s only 24-hour all-in-one sports bar, restaurant, short-time hotel, crisis-counseling centre, divorced men’s networking club, Pattaya tribute venue and dipsomaniacal dog whistle is closing. Read more »

Dispatches From Xinjiang: Uyghurs And “Terrorism”

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In a recent article James Leibold, a scholar at La Trobe University in Australia, discussed the way ethnic minority struggles against police and structural violence has often been officially mislabeled "terrorism." At the same time, in China, as in the United States, violent acts carried out by non-Muslims are read as acts of the deranged and mentally ill, but not as "terrorism." In China, as in the United States, the lives of Muslims which are lost as a result of “terrorist” or “counter-terrorism” efforts go unnoticed and unmourned. All losses of life leave gaping holes in our human social fabric, but why are some more grievable than others? What happens when a population is terrified by the discourse of terrorism? Read more »

Dispatches From Xinjiang: Uyghur Restaurant Eden Arrives In America To Mixed Reviews

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Back in April, signs of the famous Uyghur restaurant chain Herembağ (Eden) began to appear on the streets of San Francisco. A few months later, a location in Fremont was opened in a renovated hotpot restaurant with promises of a third Bay Area location in San Mateo. Like their restaurant locations from Beijing to Astana, Kazakhstan, the American version of Eden serves an upscale version of the traditional Uyghur pasta, lamb, and rice dishes, as well as Hui-inspired northwest specialties such as Big Plate Chicken (dapanji) and Turkish-style döner kebab. Read more »

Dispatches From Xinjiang: New Uyghur Interior Design And Dilmurat Abdukadir’s Fascinating Facsimiles

Xinjiang - Dilmurat Abdukadir’s Abstract Expressionism art 1
On the top floor of the Aq Saray, or White Palace, hotel in Ürümchi is a massive reproduction of Napoleon Crossing the Alps by Jacques-Louis David. It is flanked on its left by a reproduction of Ivan Kramskoi’s Portrait of an Unknown Woman (which everyone associates with Anna Karenina). Across the expansive red room, otherwise decorated in the style of a Russian tea room, gigantic reproductions of Venetian canals and cityscapes fill out the walls. Overhead murals of clouds, star constellations, and pheasants in flight glow against the ornate heavy white archways that surround them. Read more »

Dispatches From Xinjiang: Qurbanjan Semet’s Photobook “I Am From Xinjiang On The Silk Road”

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Initially many Uyghurs were excited about the Uyghur photographer Qurbanjan Semet’s book-length photo essay I am from Xinjiang on the Silk Road. They were thrilled to see Qurbanjan’s national primetime interview on CCTV News. They were astonished to see it translated into English (by Wang Chiying) and sold alongside Xi Jinping’s boilerplate biography at Book... Read more » Read more »

Fishing In Beijing’s Canals

Fishing in Beijing's canals 2
Every time I biked past the dozens of men (and the occasional woman) fishing in Beijing's canals, I'd assumed they were fishing for their dinner. I shuddered at the thought of eating anything that came out of a stinking canal that already had dead fish floating in it. I mentioned it to my Chinese coworkers and they said it was impossible, that nobody would be crazy enough to eat Beijing's fish. But I wasn't convinced, so camera in hand, I went to find out. Read more »

Beijing Blend: An Ear-Biting Wildling

Beijing Blend ear biting woman
A woman in Heilongjiang province -- accurately described by our Beijing Blend host as "North of the Wall" -- was walking her dog off its leash when a college-age student kicked it. The ensuing tussle saw some ear-biting, Mike-Tyson-style, and a fight worthy of this episode of Beijing Blend. Read more »

Captain Beijing, File016: Fenqing Boy Takes A Stand

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Captain Beijing is a "comical strip" produced by the People's Committee of Panel-Based Cartoon Cultural Enrichment for the purposes of modest entertainment. It is famous and popular at home and abroad, and was solemnly declared "Most Charming and Splendid China Cartoon Art." It will appear on this website every Monday, or the cartoonist will be punished. Read more »

The Tianjin Blast and the Art of Disaster Management

An aerial picture of smoke rising at the site of the explosions is seen at the Binhai new district, Tianjin
“Thanks to the hyper-paranoid system, authorities are doing themselves further disservice by fighting another fire online, badly.” The Oriental Star ferry “disaster management” model, in which the goon squad manages to seize control of the information spigot early on and develops the subsequent narrative, is not the “new normal” in China that some may have... Read more » Read more »

Captain Beijing, File015: Toxic Emissions Have Already Dropped To Safe Levels

CB 15 featured image
Captain Beijing is a "comical strip" produced by the People's Committee of Panel-Based Cartoon Cultural Enrichment for the purposes of modest entertainment. It is famous and popular at home and abroad, and was solemnly declared "Most Charming and Splendid China Cartoon Art." It will appear on this website every Monday, or the cartoonist will be punished. Read more »

The Age Of The Intranet: WeChat Gets Its Weibo Moment

Wechat gets its Weibo moment
Sina Weibo's watershed came in 2011 after two high-speed trains crashed in Wenzhou: as officials bungled the response, and then censored news stories, netizens stormed onto Sina's microblogging platform to voice their outrage and fill gaps of knowledge with educated speculation. Four years later, just as Weibo has seemingly run its course, a different program is stepping into its place as the prime facilitator of unfettered discussion in this country of shackled exchange. Read more »

Incredible Sights And Sounds From The Tianjin Warehouse Explosion

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Tianjin was woken last night by a massive warehouse explosion that killed at least 44 and injured 500 others -- numbers which will surely rise in the coming days. As authorities investigate the cause -- was it arson? -- we sit here sifting through some amazing photos and videos of the incident. You may have seen some of these already. But they're worth another look. Read more »

Two Videos Of The Sanlitun Stabbing [Graphic]

Sanlitun Uniqlo stabbing featured image
We have two videos from the stabbing this morning, in which a man wielding a meter-long sword attacked -- seemingly at random -- two people outside Uniqlo in Sanlitun, Beijing. The first video, above, is graphic, and I wouldn't recommend it if you'd rather not watch a woman bleeding from stab wounds. Read more »