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Chinese students at UW-Madison speak out

Channel C WISC is a YouTube channel where UW-Madison undergrads from China talk about the experience of being Chinese at a big public American university, with the aim of both helping newly arrived international students understand what's going on around them, and helping American students have some sense of what's going on with their Chinese classmates. Videos include "Why Chinese Students Don't Party,", "Chinese Names,", "Pretty Chinese Women", "Who are the Chinese Second Generation Rich?", "Why Chinese Students Don't Speak English," and many more.
posted by escabeche on Nov 1, 2013 - 31 comments

"Big waste country, the U.S."

To a Chinese Scrap-Metal Hunter, America's Trash Is Treasure: Johnson Zeng is a Chinese trader who travels across the U.S. in search of scrap metal. By his estimate, there are at least 100 others like him driving from scrap yard to scrap yard, right now, in search of what Americans won’t or can’t be bothered to recycle. His favorite product: wires, cables, and other kinds of copper. His purchases, millions of pounds of metal worth millions of dollars, will eventually be shipped to China. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 7, 2013 - 29 comments

'让我介绍一个哥们儿'

Xiaoou is a Norwegian artist who raps in Mandarin Chinese about income inequality in China, his love for Beijing, and going through a breakup.
posted by klue on Jul 26, 2013 - 8 comments

The Balinghou

Generation Gap: "The parents of China’s post-1980 generation [the bā líng hòu (八零後)] (themselves born between 1950 and 1965) grew up in a rural, Maoist world utterly different from that of their children. In their adolescence, there was one phone per village, the universities were closed and jobs were assigned from above. If you imagine the disorientation and confusion of many parents in the West when it comes to the internet and its role in their children’s lives, and then add to that dating, university life and career choices, you come close to the generational dilemma. Parents who spent their own early twenties labouring on remote farms have to deal with children who measure their world in malls, iPhones and casual dates." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 7, 2013 - 16 comments

A Chinese Princess and a magic well

Historically, the city states of the Malay Peninsula often paid tribute to regional kingdoms such as those of China and Siam. Closer relations with China were established in the early 15th century during the reign of Parameswara, founder of Melaka, when Admiral Zheng He (Cheng Ho) sailed through the Straits of Malacca. Impressed by the tribute, the Yongle Emperor of China is said to have presented Princess Hang Li Po* as a gift to Mansur Shah, then Sultan of Malacca (+/-1459 AD). Tradition claims the courtiers and servants who accompanied the princess settled in Bukit Cina, intermarried with the locals and grew into a community known as the Peranakan. Colloquially known as Baba-Nyonya, the Peranakan or Straits Chinese, they retained many of their ethnic and religious customs, but assimilated the language and clothing of the Malays. They developed a unique culture and distinct foods. Nyonya cuisine is one of the most highly rated in the South East Asian region, considered some of the most difficult to master but very easy to love and enjoy.
posted by infini on Dec 24, 2012 - 25 comments

Water buffalos in Yunnan

"Our bull is very strong, so let's call him Optimus Prime." A look at the sport of water buffalo fighting in southwest China. (Don't miss the video on the article page.)
posted by mark7570 on Aug 28, 2012 - 13 comments

Welcome to The Long Wall of 10,000 Li

The Great Wall of China (長城) took 2000 years to build, and stretches for 5500 miles. Yet pictures of that wonder of the world in popular media are typically restricted to the tourist-visited sections closest to Beijing. (There are several sections of the wall near that city.) Kuriositas has gathered some images that present the Wall from other areas.
posted by zarq on Jul 22, 2012 - 32 comments

Boom! Boom! Boom!

Mike McHenry has posted several photo pages of the Chinese firecracker and firework labels he's been collecting since 1968.
posted by gman on Jul 5, 2012 - 28 comments

"What appears as discipline or “tough love” from one perspective often appears as abuse from another."

On Tiger Moms: "What the controversy surrounding Chua demonstrates, however inadvertently, is that parenting techniques are always grounded in basic assumptions about the way things are and what matters to us. And they are always guided by some answer to the most fundamental of ethical questions—how to live?" [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 7, 2012 - 52 comments

Europe on fifteen hundred yuan a day.

Evan Osnos joins a tour group from China as they traverse Europe. In the front row of the bus, Li stood facing the group with a microphone in hand, a posture he would retain for most of our waking hours in the days ahead. In the life of a Chinese tourist, guides play an especially prominent role—translator, raconteur, and field marshal—and Li projected a calm, seasoned air. He often referred to himself in the third person—Guide Li—and he prided himself on efficiency. “Everyone, our watches should be synchronized,” he said. “It is now 7:16 P.M.” He implored us to be five minutes early for every departure. “We flew all the way here,” he said. “Let’s make the most of it.” [more inside]
posted by WalterMitty on Jul 28, 2011 - 71 comments

Michelangelo Antonioni's "Chung Kuo"

[Michelangelo Antonioni's Chung Kuo] as a documentary film was one which was draped with fascination for both filmmakers as well as an audience, rather than championing anti-whatever sentiments from either side of the world. Not having seen many movies, either features, shorts or documentaries made during the Cultural Revolution era or about that era in question (propaganda included), I think this Antonioni film has more than made its mark as a definitive documentary that anyone curious about the life of the time, would find it a gem to sit through.
posted by Trurl on Jul 11, 2011 - 3 comments

Ain't No Party Like a Leninist Party

"The handover to a new president and premier has generated plenty of speculation in the press, about who the leaders are and what is will all mean, but sometimes it’s useful to go back and fill in the very basics, since China has a unique and in some ways quite confusing political system." A Primer on China's Leadership Transition. [via]
posted by spiderskull on May 16, 2011 - 5 comments

Ceaseless generation of new perspectives

Zhuangzi as Philosopher Essay by Brook Ziporyn made available (there's also some other prefatory matter there) at the website of the publishers of his translation of the Zhuangzi, one of the seminal texts of Daoism, putatively authored by Zhuang Zhou in the fourth century BCE. Via, where there's plenty of other informed discussion on Zhuangzi, Daoism and other ancient Chinese thought.
posted by Abiezer on Mar 14, 2011 - 24 comments

How Hou Yi Shot The Suns

In the time of the Chou Dynasty it was believed there existed Ten Celestial Suns. Each day, one sun would be harnessed to a jade dragon and drawn across the heavens, bringing life and light to the world. It was their duty, all they had known - but in their hearts a cold and secret fire grew... [more inside]
posted by Effigy2000 on Dec 6, 2010 - 22 comments

The Sinica Podcast

What's China up to in Africa? What books should I read on the world's most populous nation? How's their environment doing? This, and much more from the weekly updated Sinica podcast. Hosted by Popup Chinese.
posted by klue on Aug 15, 2010 - 5 comments

An Obsolete Practice

The use of movable type in China is now a rare business. Invented in China by Bi Sheng during the Song Dynasty, movable type was created as a system to print lengthy Buddhist scripture. This traditional method has mostly been replaced by offset and digital printing, but lately, there has been discussion about collecting these existing artifacts and setting up printing museums or digitizing the complete fonts.
posted by netbros on Jul 3, 2010 - 10 comments

汉字不灭,中国必亡

Widely regarded as the greatest Chinese writer of the twentieth century, Lu Xun was so deeply unimpressed by the Chinese character-based writing system that he is reported to have said "if Chinese characters do not fade away, China will perish!". In his 1934 "An outsider's chats about written language" (menwai wentan), he discussed the matter using the pseudonym Hua Yu, which means both "China's Prison" and "China's Language". [more inside]
posted by moorooka on Oct 31, 2009 - 36 comments

Goodbye, "Leih Hou Ma," Hello "Ni Hao Ma!"

"Chinatown" communities across the United States (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco) are undergoing a shift in linguistic identity, as recent immigrants are more likely to natively speak Mandarin (the official spoken language of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan,) instead of Cantonese. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 22, 2009 - 56 comments

Uh oh.

It's armageddon all over again. Chinese have created a black hole.
posted by strangeguitars on Oct 19, 2009 - 66 comments

Two Chinese Brothers

"This is a novel born out of the intersection of two eras. The first is a story of the Cultural Revolution, a time of fanaticism, repressed instincts, and tragic fates, similar to the European Middle Ages. The second is a story of today, a time of subverted ethics, fickle sensuality, and every kind of phenomena, even more like the Europe of today. A westerner would have to live four hundred years to experience the vast differences of the two eras, but a Chinese would only need forty years for the experience." Yu Hua's Brothers, a sprawling, foul-mouthed, comic-historical epic, and the best-selling novel in China's history, is available in English. [more inside]
posted by escabeche on Oct 18, 2009 - 25 comments

One giant leap for Chinese Internet Censorship

Chinese news site dispense with user anonymity. Includes an updated list of sites China actively blocks, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International (?!? - both links work only outside of China). prev
posted by allkindsoftime on Sep 9, 2009 - 40 comments

"Chinese poetry, as we know it today, is something invented by Ezra Pound." - T. S. Eliot

[Ezra Pound] worked on and for poetry as others might work on a major scientific discovery or a drawn-out military mission. Thus, as Sieburth reminds us in his introduction to The Pisan Cantos, when, on May 3, 1945, Pound was arrested at his home in the hills above Rapallo, he immediately put a small Chinese dictionary and a copy of the Confucian classics in his pocket. Working as he then was on his Confucian translations, he knew that, wherever the military police were taking him, he would need these books.
From Pound Ascendant by Marjorie Perloff. Ezra Pound's ability as a translator of Chinese poetry has long been disparaged by sinologists, such as George A. Kennedy in Fenollosa, Pound and the Chinese Character. Other academics have sought to defend him. Two examples are Zhaoming Qian's Ezra Pound's encounter with Wang Wei: toward the "ideogrammic method" of the Cantos and Stephen Tapscott's In Praise of Bad Translations: Ezra Pound and the Cultural Work of Translation (pdf). Eric Hayot draws the contours of this long-running debate and explores its significance in Critical Dreams: Orientalism, Modernism, and the Meaning of Pound's China. Pound's Cathay in full and a public domain audiobook version (iTunes link).
posted by Kattullus on Apr 30, 2009 - 16 comments

Shanzhai: I know a genuine Panaphonics when I see one.

In Chinese, Shanzhai (山寨) literally means "mountain stronghold" and connotes a place with limited accessibility -- i.e. beyond the reach of authorities. In the past couple of years, it has come to refer to the manufacture of illicit tech gadgets by unauthorized factories: show us your shan zhai ji! But shanzhai can be used more broadly to describe knockoff culture, cheeky brand subversion, grassroots industrial creativity, and a certain DIY ethos. The latter may be best exemplified in these videos of a "Shanzhai Glider" in action. Apologies if the Chinese sites are slow-loading or unreachable for Western audiences. Mouse over links for descriptions, if so inclined.
posted by milquetoast on Feb 3, 2009 - 32 comments

Sleeping Chinese

Photographs of Chinese people napping in public. via
posted by Knappster on Dec 3, 2008 - 25 comments

Electric Shadows

China Film Journal "a bilingual website dedicated to Chinese-language cinema from around the world."
posted by Abiezer on Nov 11, 2008 - 10 comments

Chinese Poems

Chinese Poems is a simple, no frills site with over 200 classical Chinese poems, mostly from the Tang period. The poems are presented in traditional and simplified chinese characters, pinyin and English translation, both literal and literary. Here's Du Mu's Drinking Alone:
Outside the window, wind and snow blow straight,
I clutch the stove and open a flask of wine.
Just like a fishing boat in the rain,
Sail down, asleep on the autumn river.

Among other poets featured are Li Bai (a.k.a. Li Po), Du Fu and Wang Wei. As a bonus, here's the entire text of Ezra Pound's Cathay, most of whom are from Li Bai originals.
posted by Kattullus on May 19, 2008 - 15 comments

Lee press-on car

The Tata Nano (pic) is a car that costs less new than the amount I've spent on gas during single car trips, recently announced to the auto market in India. The Chery QQ ^, successful , widely exported, and recognized as the Hostage Taker's Vehicle of Choice by China Car Times, is the runner-up for the world's cheapest car but is still approximately twice as expensive. Yes indeed, the price of gas is not going to come back down. So much for my coast-to-coast road trips. [more inside]
posted by XMLicious on Feb 3, 2008 - 42 comments

I love the smell of free trade in the morning...smells like antifreeze

First hundreds of pets were killed by the poisonous food additive, melamine, from China. Then it turns out that this poison got into the human food chain leading to humans. Then there was the flap about cough syrup killing thousands of people. Then, there was that warning a couple days ago about imported monkfish actually being deadly puffer fish. And now the FDA has issued warnings that toothpaste imported from China has ethylene glycol in it. Yes, the same ethylene glycol that keeps your engine running in the winter. China responds to the warnings by saying "Hey, we printed the ingredients on most of the labels, it's not our fault if antifreeze kills you."
posted by dejah420 on Jun 4, 2007 - 73 comments

Free The Bile Bears

I researched and put an infopiece together after recently learning of bile bears here on Metafilter. Even as an animal professional, I was unaware of the existence of bile bears. Now I know: Bile Bears are live moon bears that are turned into living crated "bile kegs," the bear's bile being extracted by means of a surgically implanted tube and used to treat conditions as varied as gallstones, kidney disorder, and (of course) impotence. After the long-suffering bear dies, the creature's body parts are then sold off individually for further monetary gain. Indeed, it is an appalling practice, but worse I learned the practice is spreading, and in fact demand for bear products is now affecting the bear population of North America, as North American bears are being illegally hunted and harvested for their parts to be used domestically and abroadin the preparation of traditional Chinese medicine.
posted by mongonikol on Nov 30, 2006 - 43 comments

Big Mountain

How can one bit actor have hundreds of millions, perhaps over a billion adoring fans and yet be a virtual unknown in his native land? Ask Mark Rowswell, aka DaShan. In 1988, Rowswell won a scholarship to study Chinese at the prestigious Peking University. More than twenty years later he has one of the most recognizable faces in China. He's been awarded and investigated for his work in film, on stage, in television, in commercials and for charity. So just who the heck is he?
posted by Pollomacho on Nov 28, 2006 - 57 comments

Microsoft reverses blog policy

Microsoft won't delete blogs without proper legal notice. Microsoft has changed its blog censorship policy, previously discussed on MeFi.
posted by b1tr0t on Jan 31, 2006 - 11 comments

Google Images Censored in China

Google Images Censored in China A picture says 1000 words, and Google.cn is censoring them all. Check out the side-by-side screens of a search for "tiananmen+square" in Google.com and Google.cn images. Looks like a nice place, with little historical significance. You can try the search yourself. The text on the bottom left is the censorship disclaimer. Very different than our results. A far cry from Google's claim that they do not censor results. Nice to know that they stand up to the government here but not abroad.

A good spoof of the whole thing.
posted by FeldBum on Jan 30, 2006 - 57 comments

Intresting headline for an intresting article.

The life of an average Wang.
posted by delmoi on Aug 11, 2005 - 28 comments

From cells to bells, 10 things the Chinese do far better than we do

From cells to bells, 10 things the Chinese do far better than we do Ah, those clever Chinese. First they invent gunpowder and a few other essentials of modern civilization. Now they're gunning their economic engines. Yet who would have thought that, after a millennium of poverty, they'd already do so many things better than we? In fact, compiling a Top 10 list of what China does better than Canada isn't easy. There are so many items. To whittle it down, let's assume it's unfair to count anything related to cheap labour. So we won't include the wonderfully thorough mop-ups of supermarket spills: The staff don't plunk down those yellow you-can't-sue-us caution signs. They actually fan the floor with a broken sheet of Styrofoam until it is dry. Nor will we mention the exquisite, free head-and-shoulder massages that come with every shampoo and haircut....
posted by Postroad on Nov 23, 2004 - 72 comments

A Canadian Chinese Celebrity

A Canadian Chinese Celebrity - (LA Times - reg required) Use this to get login. "The lanky Ottawa native, a virtual unknown in Canada, is most renowned for his Chinese TV appearances as the quick-witted foreigner who does amusing skits and the first Westerner to perform the ancient Chinese art of xiangsheng, or comedic dialogue."
posted by blahblah on Jun 21, 2004 - 14 comments

China Avant-Garde

China Avant-Garde is a wonderful site for exploring Chinese post Cultural Revolution art, with excellent accompanying texts. Browse the featured artists and see an Exhibition from a Private Collection. Also, Inside Out: New Chinese Art is a beautiful site focusing on this recent "explosion of diverse work that is simultaneously exhilarating and bewildering", and you will find more great examples at Chinese Contemporary (click on the artist's name for information and all thumbnails for that artist), plus marvelous Chinese avant-garde posters at Rene Wanner's poster pages and Who's Who in Chinese Posters, and at the Hochschule der Kuenste, Berlin (view works here).
posted by taz on Jan 19, 2004 - 2 comments

The army list is in twelve scrolls

The Ballad of Mulan in Chinese calligraphy by, er, Mi Fei; also translated into English. Via the Mulan FAQ.
posted by nthdegx on Dec 26, 2003 - 6 comments

Civilization

Masterpieces of 20th-Century Chinese Painting, and more at Civilization.
posted by hama7 on Nov 13, 2003 - 6 comments

Chinese Pop Posters

Chinese Pop Posters. More :- Guangzhou's racing track, patrolling despair, Cuba, under New York, Bombay bazaar, and Chinese rural architecture. All from the excellent Atlas magazine - more here.
posted by plep on Jul 21, 2003 - 10 comments

When you eat grapes, don't spit the grape skins out.

Explore a Chinese Language. The Ting Chinese English Center is a database of tools to learn Mandarin or English, and it's fun to boot. Don't miss the tongue twisters, and try to guess how to pronounce the color before clicking on the sound file.
posted by frykitty on Apr 30, 2003 - 11 comments

The Motherland Speaks Back

Section VIII Double Standards in International Field of Human Rights

In retaliation to the annual report by the US state department critical of China’s current human rights record, China slings back with a report of its own, this time critical of the US for its human rights record.

Is this the superpower propagandist equivalent of schoolyard name calling, or does the Chinese report make some salient points, ones better left unsaid in the conquest of International Pax Americana
posted by jazzkat11 on Apr 3, 2003 - 13 comments

Chinese sold Iraq 'dual-use' chemical

Chinese sold Iraq 'dual-use' chemical And France helped broker the deal. Now do we boycott not only French bread and wine but all Chinese food too?
posted by Postroad on Mar 15, 2003 - 41 comments

The Year of the Goat

Let the celebrations begin! According to the Chinese calendar, tomorrow begins the year 4700. The festivals and superstitions surround the celebration for the new year are fascinating in China as well as Korea. Which animal year were you born in and do you follow the Chinese, Japanese, or Korean zodiac? Finally, the mathematics behind the calendar are truly fascinating.
posted by Plunge on Jan 31, 2003 - 15 comments

AIDS in China

"China's catastrophic mismanagement of its AIDS crisis has come to this: Xie Yan is trying to give away her son. Ms. Xie's husband died last year of AIDS, and she has the virus as well. They are the victims of government-backed blood-selling schemes that have left about one million people infected here in Henan Province in central China. Multiply Ms. Xie's heartache a millionfold, and you understand the cost of the Chinese government's cover-up of its AIDS crisis. If China continues to be more concerned with hiding the tragedy than confronting it, then today's Chinese leaders could kill millions of people over the next two decades. We in the West must exert strong pressure on China to act quickly to address the AIDS challenge."
posted by homunculus on Dec 1, 2002 - 1 comment

Tales from the Land of Dragons.

Tales from the Land of Dragons. 100 years of Chinese paintings. From the overview :- 'In China, painting is one of the "Three Perfections," linked with calligraphy and poetry as the most refined of artistic endeavors. This exhibition ... focuses on the years in which the great traditions of Chinese painting were established, during the Tang, Song, and Yuan dynasties ... '
posted by plep on Nov 3, 2002 - 10 comments

Chinese culture. Calligraphy, and Chinese rural architecture.
posted by hama7 on Oct 31, 2002 - 13 comments

Hell Bank Notes

Hell Bank Notes are a chinese funeral custom of burning paper money in specialized cemetary ovens for use in the afterlife (Some even feature US Presidents JFK and LBJ). I have heard of instances where entire paper houses or cars are burned in tribute. Find out more about contemporary chinese funeral practices, such as funerary music like Mei Hua Ts'ao (Plum Blossoms) [3 meg mp3] and personal insightful interviews. What unique funeral practices have you witnessed or participated in?
posted by Stan Chin on Sep 7, 2002 - 33 comments

If Yao plays in NBA for 10 years, half of his earnings will be enough to host as many seasons of the CBA league.

If Yao plays in NBA for 10 years, half of his earnings will be enough to host as many seasons of the CBA league. Chinese Basketball Association player in the NBA is required to send big money back home.
posted by Leonard on Apr 30, 2002 - 10 comments

Chinese presidential plane bugged

Chinese presidential plane bugged with advanced satellite spying devices. Could this be a rerun of the spyplane incident? (News link also at the Financial Times and Yahoo! News)
posted by dai on Jan 19, 2002 - 7 comments

this is very odd indeed

this is very odd indeed chinese news media's flash tribute for the WTC tragedy rough translation for the song: elderly american goes to work
was very frightened someone drove a plane into the building and it fell down but he was very fit so he ran down 937 stairs and got away the news people asked him to say a few words that was all he could say he said someone crashed a plane into the building they were terrorists this is bad because it affects ordinary people
posted by quarsan on Dec 10, 2001 - 15 comments

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