Chengdu Police Bring Down Knife-Wielding Child Kidnapper

Police fight knife wielder in Chengdu featured image
In Chengdu yesterday, a man with a knife reportedly kidnapped a child in Jinniu District. Cops quickly arrived on the scene -- specifically, Weng Hailin and Lu Mingjian -- setting up a dramatic confrontation, part of which you can watch above. According to the Jinniu Public Security Bureau, Weng was stabbed in the left arm, severing artery. The knife-wielder was eventually subdued with the help of surrounding residents. Read more »

The Daily Show On Nanjing’s “Mystery Goo”

The Daily Show on the Nanjing ooze
"Things may be bad, but at least our streets don't burp mystery goo," says Jon Stewart, referring to the ooze that randomly appeared one day out of a street crack in Nanjing. We asked you to come up with guesses for what it can be. "Bird shit and Bisquick," Stewart says. "Corn starch and Foxocnn worker tears." The audience was slightly aghast at that last suggestion. Read more »

“We Live In A Country Without Dreams,” Says Chinese Businessman Signed Up For One-Way Trip To Mars

Mars One
Ma Qiang, a 39-year-old businessman, was among the earliest volunteers for the Mars One project, a one-way trip to the Red Planet with no scheduled return. He sparked a wave of Chinese applicants, to the point that only the US has more willing volunteers for this Netherlands project, and that, in turn, has authorities worried. Read more »

Here’s Ai Weiwei’s Music Video For “Dumbass,” About His Prison Experience

Ai Weiwei in prison video - Dumbass
Ai Weiwei's 81 days in detention in 2011 is the inspiration for his latest work, "Dumbass," a song he wrote with music by rocker/artist Zuoxiao Zuzhou. The accompanying video was released minutes ago, in which he recreates scenes from his imprisonment. "He also portrays fantasies he imagines flitting through the guards’ minds," reports the NY Times. The cinematography is by Christopher Doyle, who has worked with the likes of Wong Kar-wai. Read more »

Another Airport Skirmish, This Time In Shenzhen

Shenzhen airport skirmish featured image
Fun fact: three of the stories we’ve posted in the past two days have been from Shenzhen. It’s where Alicia and I happened to be this weekend (for Ultimate Frisbee), and on Sunday we attempted to fly back. Attempted and succeeded — but barely. A separate Shenzhen-to-Beijing airline ended up being delayed until 2 am, while our flight was only set back two hours, to 11 pm. (To the best of my knowledge, it wasn’t because of bomb threats.) Read more »

Another Public Pooper Caught On Camera In Shenzhen Subway

Shenzhen Subway pooper caught on tape
Yes, we too are beginning to suffer from scat fatigue, but... meh. We sort of have a theme going, and it'd be a shame to neglect it. This one comes via The Nanfang: A picture of a woman pooping on a platform in a station along Shenzhen’s Luobao Line has already been forwarded by three respected, Shenzhen-based microblogs: Shenzhen’s Big and Small Issues, Shenzhen Metropolitan Round-up, and Baoan Life. Read more »

Please Read Murong Xuecun’s Open Letter To His Censor

Murong Xuecun's open letter to his censor
Murong Xuecun has seen all his microblogs deleted (May 11), reinstated (May 17), and deleted again (May 18). Anyone who gets jerked around like this has reason to be upset; Murong, more so, considering he had millions of followers and thousands of entries accumulated over three years, and because, as he himself puts it, "to a writer, the words he writes are more important to him than his life." Read more »

Unsavory Elements: The Good, The Bad, And The Boring Foreigners Of China

Unsavory Elements cover
The problem with gringo lit about the gringo experience in China is it inevitably and unsubtlety reinforces the foreigner's sense of Otherness while feeding his inflated sense of importance. In doses this is not necessarily bad – it can be therapeutic to read, even for lesser voyeurs – but in bulk it becomes obnoxious, not least of which because it is both disingenuous and vapid to pretend that foreigners don't relish, if not secretly rejoice at, their entitled status as Other. “From the moment we step foot in the Middle Kingdom,” editor Tom Carter writes in his introduction on the opening page of Unsavory Elements: Stories of Foreigners on the Loose in China, “foreigners are subjected to an extraordinary range of alien experiences, ranging from appalling to exquisite.” The use of passive voice – are subjected to – places the emphasis strictly on “foreigners,” who are subjects protraying themselves as objects, assailed. The next sentence begins – emphasis mine – “We contend with seething masses of humanity,” and it becomes abundantly clear who are the looked-upon They. Read more »

Jia Zhangke’s Latest Film, “A Touch Of Sin,” Looks Spectacular

A Touch of Sin featured image
One of our favorite Chinese directors just released a new film, and by all indications, it's excellent. Jia Zhangke's A Touch of Sin, starring his wife Zhao Tao, is a Palme d'Or contender at Cannes, where it premiered on Thursday. The 133-minute film has alternatively been described as "a corrosive depiction of Chinese society" (LA Times) and "a scathing portrait of China's economic boom" (Globe and Mail). Read more »

Crazy Kids Use Slanted Rooftop As Slide

Kids sliding off rooftop featured image
Young thrill-seekers in Shenzhen's Bao'an District were caught doing the above on May 15. You'll note that there's no guardrail on the edge of the rooftop, slanted at a scary 45-degree angle. Was this a dare? A challenge that could only have been accepted by eager preadolescents with something to prove, to themselves if not their friends? One thing is for sure: this video not for those afraid of heights. Read more »

China Wants Fewer Sensationalist Anti-Japanese Dramas, For Some Reason

Anti-Japanese dramas too sensationalisticrack down
Even Chinese television execs know when too much is too much, apparently. "China's television regulator has ordered a crack down on dramas about the country's battles with Japan during and before World War Two and demanded they be more serious, state media said on Friday, following viewer complaints about ludicrous storylines," Reuters reports. Read more »

Changsha Breaks Ground On Sky City, The World’s Tallest Building

World's tallest building in Changsha
It's finally happening. "Sky City," by the Chinese firm Broad Sustainable Construction (BSB), will be 838 meters (2,749 feet) tall upon completion, making it taller than the Burj Khalifa by 10 meters. Whether it takes 90 days to complete -- as BSB has advertised -- or longer, it will nonetheless be a huge accomplishment, and another feather in China's architectural cap. Read more »

Guangdong Woman Dances On Police Car; Yes, Is Drunk

Drunk woman dances in street and on top of police car
Alcohol makes us do the damndest things. In Jiangmen, Guangdong province on Tuesday, a young woman flipped off her heels and began dancing on top of a police car. The Nanfang reports: "By the time she was on top of the police car, a large crowd had gathered and, despite not knowing what to do, police eventually managed to subdue her." Read more »

Friday Night Musical Outro: The Sound Stage Profiles Second Hand Rose

Second Hand Rose on Sound Stage featured image
Jonathan Alpart, who legitimately cares about Chinese music for Chinese music's sake, is the one-man driving force behind The Sound Stage, a bilingual show that spotlights local bands you might also care about. This week, he profiles Second Hand Rose, a musical favorite that's been around for 13 years and counting. "No other group blends Chinese elements and sounds with rock and roll music so seamlessly," Alpart writes. Read more »