China’s Bill O’Reilly, Sima Nan, Is Now Pro-Free Speech, Anti-Moron

Sima Nan, Zhou Xiaoping, and Fang Zhouzi featured image
Until this week, the social critic Sima Nan was best known for getting his head stuck in an escalator at Dulles Airport. That moment was particularly precious because Nan, a devoted neo-Maoist, had just posted another of his anti-America screeds on Sina Weibo before flying to DC. But China’s most famous wumao is now back in the news for a more impressive reason: as an impassioned defender of free speech. Read more »

Hong Kong Artist Chronicles Month Of Protests In One Cartoon

Hong Kong protests - Carol Hung featured image
Want a graphic summary of the past month of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong? Local graphic designer and artist Carol Hung has you covered. She posted the above (click to enlarge) last night on Facebook, a calendar showing the main events that have led us to where we are today: the pepper spray, the umbrellas, the arrests, the barricades, the Kenny G... Read more »

Ancient Murders And Suicides: The Haunted Houses Of Beijing

Beijing Haunted House chaonei-no.81-1
If you haven’t made any plans for your Halloween night, consider a trip to one of Beijing’s haunted houses. Not to be confused with the spooky amusement destinations that pop up throughout the US and Canada at this time of the year, these haunted houses are the sites of ancient murders and suicides. Tales of wandering spirits, unusual sounds and paranormal activity have persisted for more than a decade at some of these locations... Read more »

Dispatches From Xinjiang: The Uyghur Blockbuster “Money On The Road”

Money on the Road featured
A few weeks ago, just in time for the long ten-day break for National Day holiday and Qurban, the Uyghur comedian Abdukerim Abliz released his first full-length Uyghur language feature film (with Chinese and English subtitles). The comedy Money on the Road (Money Found on the Way in Chinese) features an ensemble of stars, including a cameo by the famous singer Abdulla. It follows the misadventures of three Uyghur farmers who come to the city as migrant workers to participate in Ürümchi’s urban renewal. Read more »

The Past As Told By Posters

Wang Yuqing  - the past as told by posters
Most people might not give Chinese posters a second thought, but Wang Yuqing has dedicated himself to collecting and studying them as historical records. Often dismissed as propaganda, the posters reveal much about the social culture, economy and politics of modern Chinese history. Read more »

I Nearly Lost A Testicle In A Beijing Hospital

Painful ball hospital introduction to Beijing
I knelt at the top of the hospital escalator, partly from exhaustion, mostly out of surrender. My moans and cries recalled childhood Halloween nights spent puking up entire plastic jack-o-lanterns of candy. My tears blurred reality. Loud, distracted, exotic shapes and figures brushed past me, unimpressed by my misery, misery unlike any I'd felt before. This wasn't how I imagined my first week in China would go. Read more »

Refrigerator, Rambo Top Our List Of Favorite Chinese-Chosen English Names

Hello My Name is Refrigerator
CCTV recently published an article called "Tips for Chinese choosing an English name," which is frankly exactly the type of piece I think CCTV should be publishing more of. It features delightful sentences such as, "Many Chinese like to pick names that are in fact, not names," and, "Meanwhile, Dong and Wang is used as slang for male genitalia. So avoid anything like ‘Bunny Wang’ at all times." It got us thinking: what are the best Chinese-chosen English names we know? Read more »

For 1st Time In 23 Years, Beijing Marathon Not Won By Chinese Woman. Also, Smog

Beiijng Marathon 2014
Congratulations to Ethiopians Girmay Birhanu Gebru and Fatuma Sado Dergo, the men's and women's winners of the 34th Beijing International Marathon that was run today in "very unhealthy" to "hazardous" air. It was so bad that Xinhua even called it "smog" in an article that begins with this incredible factoid: Read more »

Dispatches From Xinjiang: Sheep, Sangza And Happiness: Xinjiang Celebrates Eid al-Adha

Dispatches from Xinjiang - Eating Sheep featured image
On the last day of the four-day celebration of the biggest Uyghur holiday of the year, Qurban Heyt, or Eid al-Adha, it rained hard and cold. By the next morning a light dusting of snow covered the tops of the mountains overlooking the city. Like many holidays of sacrifice and harvest, this "Feast of the Sacrifice" signals the end of the season of growth and the beginning of the long hard winter. People were already beginning to sell long underwear in the walkway at the intersection of Solidarity and Victory Road next to the Grand Bazaar, and in a week, the heat would be turned on across the city. Read more »

Hong Kong Protests Surge Amid Growing Tension, Falling And Rising Barricades

Occupy Central 10.13.14a
On Monday morning, Hong Kong media reported that the barricades around Admiralty would be removed after two-plus weeks of bulwarking pro-democracy protesters in their concrete campground near government offices. The evidence was right there on the tele: moving pictures of police clearing the roads! And so, after lunch, I found myself in a friend's dad's car going from Wan Chai in the direction of our final destination in the western Mid-levels. We had just gotten onto Queensway and could see Pacific Place, a luxury complex of business and commerce, when we encountered... a barricade. Read more »

Watch: Hong Kongers Skirmish As Occupy Central Barricades Removed

Hong Kong Occupy Central students block road 3
Many of the barricades near Occupy Central began coming down this morning, but not without resistance. I took the above video at 1:40 pm today on Queensway in Admiralty, just below Hong Kong's police headquarters, a few blocks from the main protest grounds. A group of older men, apparently frustrated that the two-week Occupy Central protests have blocked their streets, rip down the barricades while others chant, "Open the roads." Some quick-thinking Occupy protesters immediately plant themselves in the middle of the street for an impromptu sit-in. Read more »

Muralist Seeks To Recapture Lost Cultural Roots Of Tang Dynasty

Tang mural 1
Artists and writers seeking the pinnacle of Chinese civilization often turn to the Tang Dynasty, an era of openness and innovation credited with fostering some of the finest art and poetry in the history of Han civilization. It’s no surprise that such an amazing era would provide similar inspiration to Xu Songbo, a professor at the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, who attempts to capture the Tang spirit in his breathtaking oil compositions. They are collected in Tang Feng, his exhibition open until this Thursday at New Millennium Gallery in 798 Art District. Read more »

Did Ken Livingstone Crony and Anti-Occupy Spokesman John Ross “Censor” the Global Times?

John Ross
When John Ross,“former director of London’s Economic and Business Policy to ex-Mayor Ken Livingstone and current Senior Fellow with the Chongyang Institute” at Renmin University, was approached by Chinese tabloid Global Times (GT) for a profile about foreign China Watchers, he was, no doubt, expecting a nice soap-job. Read more »

An Update On Beijing Cream

BJC logo The Situation is Excellent Week in Review
Some of you have rightly wondered what’s happened to the Cream – no thrice-weekly links, no videos of stupid people falling out of buildings, no reminders that traffic violations can (hilariously, tragically) happen, etc. What’s going on? The simple answer is, after taking a summer break, we’ve decided that the landscape of the English-language "Chinese" Internet has become both wearily homogenized and sufficiently pluralistic for us to take a step sideways. It's transition time. Read more »