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Category Archives: China

Glenn Beck thinks (about China) outside the reality box

“Whether it’s true or not … no longer matters” - Glen Beck
Glenn hasn’t been studying his diagram:

If you want to criticize anyone for woolly thinking about anything, Glenn Beck is very, very low-hanging fruit. We should all just ignore him and hope he goes away. But, like everyone else, I have finally succumbed to temptation.
Shanghaiist […]

Why Le Duc Tho refused his Nobel Peace Prize

On Friday, the BBC’s website published the very surpising claim that in 1973 Vietnam’s Le Duc Tho rejected his Nobel Peace Prize “without explanation”.
It’s surprising because Le Duc Tho wrote to the Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee at the time giving clear and precise reasons for rejecting the prize and these reasons were widely reported. I […]

Goodbye Joan Hinton

I never thought I’d be grateful to George Bush and Tony Blair for anything. But there is just one thing I could thank them for. It was the struggle against their illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 that brought me together with some of the extraordinary people who were my friends in Beijing, without whom […]

Tweet not tweet - Hu Jintao’s non-microblog

A whole lot of people must have been smoking too many fireworks during the Spring Festival holidays. Newspapers and TV stations all over the place have been chattering with great excitement about President Hu Jintao’s supposedly genuine People’s Daily microblog. (A few examples in Chinese; and some more in English).
In his profile, “Hu Jintao” describes […]

Gladys Yang

I never knew Gladys Yang and Yang Xianyi. I had their old sofa but that doesn’t really count, does it? They died ten years apart, almost to the day: November 18, 1999 and November 23, 2009.

Yang Xianyi died a month after I left China. Gladys died the year I arrived. Back then I was working […]

They built something outside my flat

Half of it seems to have ended up on my window. How close is that building that wasn’t there a few months ago? This close:

There isn’t much light in my living room anymore. Good job I’m moving, really.

Sorry, your ethnic group can’t use the internet

Translated from a blog post by 27-year-old Uighur photographer Kuerbanjiang Saimaiti during the National Day holiday:
The people of Xinjiang are “welcome” throughout the country
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Yesterday I arrived here in Shenyang for the first time, and for the first time experienced the “warm” hospitality of the people of Shenyang. Because of this “warmth” I […]

Ai Weiwei’s surgery in Munich

Ai Weiwei’s surgery in Munich apparently went smoothly - two holes drilled in his head on Tuesday (or Monday evening?) to remove 30 ml of fluid from his skull. He says the pressure in his head has gone and so has the pain.

He’d been suffering from headaches since police burst into his hotel room in […]

Before Urumqi: the 2002 needle attacks in Tianjin and Beijing

There’s nothing new about the use of hypodermic needles to threaten and rob people. It happens all over the world. What is unusual is for an entire city like Urumqi to be gripped by fear, with hundreds of people claiming to have been stabbed, and rumors swirling about separatists deliberately spreading AIDS.
But this is not […]

When weird tank-things drove down Chang’an Avenue

I originally planned to post this months ago, but other things got in the way and I forgot all about it.
It was just after 11 o’clock one night in April and there was nothing happening at work so I popped out to the shop. I was just starting to cross the road near the Millennium […]