Joy, Hardship And Ultimate Frisbee: Ivan Xu’s Unique Ride Across Europe

2014 August- About to start the day to cycle in Nancy France
Back in June, we brought your attention to the adventures of Ivan Xu, a Chinese youth who planned to bike alone around Europe for 100 days for Ultimate Frisbee and charity. He ended up cycling across 14 countries and visiting 11 high-level Ultimate Frisbee clubs* from June 18 to September 25, beginning in Brest, Belarus and ending in Berlin. His adventures have been profiled by media around the world, including CCTV-4, Estrepublicain.fr, Pärnu Postimees, Belarusian CTV, Russia-Belarus TPO TV and OHT TV, so what follows is hardly an exclusive. But here's an update anyway.

Sindicator, APEC Special: In Case You Missed It…

Sindicator - APEC featured image
Our beloved China, the new social-political-economic butterfly on the scene, wowed at APEC before jetting off for the ASEAN East Asia Summit and the G20 Summit. Hosting APEC for the first time since 2011, Beijing did things 大气, spending $6 billion on a lakeside campus, a new elevated expressway, and a no-costs-spared spectacular opening complete with fireworks. But how did they really do?

Introducing: “The New Masters,” A Documentary On MMA In China

The New Masters 1
Ed's note: First, watch the above trailer. It's awesome, isn't it? It's the preview for The New Masters, a proposed full-length documentary about mixed martial arts in China directed by Christopher Cherry and David Dempsey. You can learn more about it, which has the makings of something special, over on its Kickstarter page. Or keep reading, as screenwriter and producer Sascha Matuszak explains the inspiration behind this project.

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.

Sindicator, Ep.04: Chai-Na, Development By Destruction

Sindicator - Chai-na
Chairman Mao once said, "Without destruction there is not construction. The destruction is the criticism, the revolution. The destruction comes first, it of course brings the construction.” In recent years this quote has been taken literally, and the character 拆 (chāi), which means to "tear down," adorns the entrances of many-a-doomed domiciles. The phenomenon has evolved so that the Chinese have nicknamed their country 拆那 (chāinà - get it?), referring to the daily razings that make way for growth.

Is This Gutter Oil Being Scooped From A Shanghai Alley?

Gutter oil Shanghai
Disclaimer: We can't be certain this oil being extracted from a gutter in Shanghai's Tianzifang, a trendy "historic district" filled with kitschy shops and overpriced restaurants and bars, will be used on hotplates and woks and pans. But it sure is possible, isn't it? Sing their praises: Jiiiiianbing. Guaaaanbing. Shen jian bao! Tian youtiao! GIMMAY GIMMAY GIMMAYYYY.

Police Identify Arsonist Who Set Hangzhou Bus On Fire

Hangzhou bus fire
On Saturday morning, a middle-aged man boarded Bus No. 7 in Hangzhou and lit a package of flammable liquids. The ensuing flames injured at least 32 passengers, with 24 in critical condition. You can watch the frightening scene above, and also check out the scene from the street, outside the flaming bus.

Things That Taste Like Purple: A Baijiu Poem, Illustrated

Things That Taste Like Purple featured image
Last September, when Literary Death Match swung through Beijing, I performed a poem called Things That Taste Like Purple about the devilry of baijiu, a.k.a. sorghum liquor (dust of the attic, wine of the gutter... with a long finish into the fetor of fragrance). Unbeknownst to me, one of my friends in the audience, the artistic and talented Amy Sands, would go on to create a series of watercolors to accompany my words. The video, which she shot, I post here with deepest gratitude and humility.

“Gangster Panda” Is Incredible

Gangster Panda 3
So, before I begin, I guess I should get one thing out of the way: I write that show that all expats seem to hate but Chinese people seem to like – see the sketch I wrote about potatoes. Yes, of course you could no doubt do it better; and yes, I agree, why do they even bother employing us? We’re not even funny. Now that I’ve saved you the hassle of leaving those sentiments in the comments section, I’ll get to the nitty gritty.

Here’s Today’s Flag-Lowering Ceremony At Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen flag-lowering ceremony
It was just another day on the Square, though it seemed there were slightly fewer people than usual. Many must have gotten turned away at the security line underground, as officers informed, "If you don't have ID, don't bother waiting in line." The sternest reprimand we heard all day came from an officer who halted a woman sauntering past the queue. "Go wait in line," he barked. "Do you not see all these people waiting?"

Here’s An Animation Of Liao Yiwu Streaking In Stockholm

Streaking in Stockholm animation
On December 10, 2013, Chinese dissidents Liao Yiwu, Bei Ling, Wang Yiliang, Meng Huang, and Wang Juntao streaked outside Stockholm Concert Hall during Nobel ceremonies to protest the continued incarceration of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. Yesterday, an animated video was released recounting that night and the events that led up to it.

Beijing From Above: Aerial Shots Render City In Amazing New Light

Kapital Creations featured image
Matthew Niederhauser, who's putting finishing touches on a film called Kapital Creation that documents Beijing's development, recently uploaded a Vimeo featuring stunning aerial footage of this city. It's interesting how a simple rotation of perspective can completely change how we view a place -- and makes you realize the value of a window office atop a skyscraper (or a blimp). Watch the video; you're unlikely to find urban Beijing rendered more beautifully.

You Should Probably Avoid These Beijing Subway Stations

Beijing security check on subway 2
If you find yourself needing transportation around Bajiao Amusement Park on Subway Line 1, Tiantong Yuan North Station on Line 5, or Longze Station on Line 13, perhaps it's best to take the bus or a cab. (This is the first and only time I'll recommend taking a taxi over the subway, considering this city's traffic). If you need a reason, check out the video above.

Wrenching Heartstrings: Zhang Yimou’s “Coming Home” Trailer, Reviewed

Coming Home featured image
When a movie makes Steven Spielberg cry, you can be sure of one thing: it was written for the express purpose of making people cry. Please take a look at the trailer for Coming Home, the new film by Zhang Yimou starring his muse Gong Li and the distinguished Chen Daoming. Then consider how Sinosphere described one particular audience's reaction after a screening:

College Girl Fighting For Her Life After Eating Malatang

Malatang victim dying college girl
Most people know better than to eat street malatang, which -- if you don't know -- basically consists of pieces of veggie and tofu and fish balls and squid and other indecipherable foodstuff stabbed on sticks and boiled/drowned in oil and spices. It's disgusting and no one likes it. But sometimes, because you're drunk or too prideful to say no to a dare, you do eat, and your stomach dies a little.