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The Butterfly Lovers

Star-crossed lovers are of course a trope as old as storytelling itself, but Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, the Butterfly Lovers of Chinese mythology may be new to many. Also encompassing tropes such as Sweet Polly Oliver, the legend tells of the tragic love between two students in the Jin dynasty, one a girl disguised as a boy so she could attend school. [more inside]
posted by kmz on Jan 24, 2011 - 5 comments

A little apple pie goes a long way

Hu Jintao, premier of China, is in the middle of his first state visit to the US, whose pomp and circumstance reflects China's growing economic stature and role in world affairs. Due to the linguistic and political differences between the US and China, few Americans know very much about Hu. Many of them will have had their first real look at him during an extended and surprisngly candid joint press conference held with President Obama and lasting well over an hour - something which never happens in China. Fears (or possibly hopes) of a trade war between the US and China a year ago have faded, and instead a trade deal involving $45 billion of American exports was announced, to mixed reactions. He was received less kindly by Congress, whose members expressed disquiet about everything from trade deficits to human rights and whose leaders declined to discuss matters over dinner - perhaps because they did not wish to be lost in the high-powered crowd of attendees. [more inside]
posted by anigbrowl on Jan 20, 2011 - 59 comments

China internet stats - more than 450m users

According to official Chinese stats, make of them what you will, there are now 457 million internet users in China. They are said to include 450m who have broadband, and 303m who use mobile internet. 304m play online games, 140m use online banking, and 63m microblog. These users are estimated to spend an average of 18 hours a week online. As a benchmark, the current US population is estimated at 312m.
posted by philipy on Jan 19, 2011 - 26 comments

Josef von Sternberg's "The Shanghai Gesture"

The other places are like kindergartens compared with this. It smells so incredibly evil! I didn't think such a place existed except in my own imagination. It has a ghastly familiarity like a half-remembered dream. *Anything* could happen here... any moment... Pauline Kael called it "hilariously, awesomely terrible". Others consider it "a forgotten gem of a film that set the gold standard for noir films to come". It was Josef von Sternberg's last major film - The Shanghai Gesture (1941). (parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
posted by Joe Beese on Jan 18, 2011 - 7 comments

For Whom The Toll Bells

Tolls and toll roads are a fact of modern life. If you run past the booth without paying for any reason, you must pay a fine. A Chinese man has been sentenced to life in prison for not paying tolls.
posted by Xurando on Jan 14, 2011 - 36 comments

Demolition of Ai Weiwei's studio

Shanghaiist reports that the Chinese authorities have followed through on their promise to tear down Ai Weiwei's studio. (previously). The artist is under house arrest in Beijing. [more inside]
posted by dubold on Jan 12, 2011 - 20 comments

Is China eating our lunch, or not?

China is eating our lunch, says one columnist. Obama called it a "Sputnik moment." When a Philadelphia football game was delayed because of snow, the governor of Pennsylvania said we had become a nation of wussies, and said, "The Chinese are kicking our butt in everything. If this was in China do you think the Chinese would have called off the game? People would have been marching down to the stadium, they would have walked and they would have been doing calculus on the way down." Not so fast there, says a guest writer to the Seattle Times: "To be sure, our 14th-to-25th ranking in the Program for International Student Assessment is no cause for complacency. Neither is China eating our lunch, or any meal — at least not yet." Which brings up the hokou system, which guarantees that the Chinese students measured for the test are the richest, best of the best in the country, and not the working poor of Shanghai. Some have called the system, which separates "urban" from "rural" workers, "China's apartheid."
posted by Cool Papa Bell on Jan 2, 2011 - 96 comments

J-20 Fighter First Pictures

The first pictures of China's "5th generation" fighter prototype were leaked this week. The aircraft, believed to be the J-20, is expected to have its first flight in early 2011. [more inside]
posted by Simon Barclay on Dec 31, 2010 - 50 comments

2010: The Year in Data Breaches

Wikileaks may have been the big news, but there were numerous other data breaches in 2010. [more inside]
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed on Dec 28, 2010 - 26 comments

It's all ping pong my war to me

Chinese punk you ask? No, we're not talking about heroin. This is Chinese punk. [more inside]
posted by dubusadus on Dec 21, 2010 - 27 comments

That's the biggest dirty photo I've ever seen.

The History of Monuments (slight artistic nudity) is a 42 meter long mural by Wang Qingsong. Before clicking "more inside" try to guess what materials he used to make the work... [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Dec 19, 2010 - 16 comments

Wang Wenlan's Beautiful Bikes.

The Flowing Great Wall is an ongoing photo series by Wang Wenlan, the Director of the photography department at The China Daily. [more inside]
posted by Ahab on Dec 19, 2010 - 4 comments

Chinese ghost cities

Chinese ghost cities. Big bubble.
posted by Meatbomb on Dec 16, 2010 - 45 comments

Amateur Films of 1920's China

When John Van Antwerp MacMurray was dispatched to Asia in 1925 as the American Envoy to the Republic of China, he brought a Kodak motion picture camera with him.
posted by Iridic on Dec 14, 2010 - 4 comments

Soup up.

Should-we-eat-it-filter: A 2,400-year-old vat of soup has been discovered in China. [more inside]
posted by jocelmeow on Dec 14, 2010 - 63 comments

The Decline and Fall of an Ultra Rich Online Gaming Empire

After starring in First Kid with the immortal Sinbad, Brock Pierce was left wondering what to do with the rest of his life. He decided to set out and make his fortune accumulating and selling items in EverQuest and World of Warcraft.
posted by reenum on Dec 10, 2010 - 54 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

Ni hao, Brute

Genetic testing of villagers in a remote part of China has shown that nearly two thirds of their DNA is of Caucasian origin, lending support to the theory that they may be descended from a 'lost legion' of Roman soldiers.
posted by The Lady is a designer on Nov 28, 2010 - 28 comments

made in china

Traditional patterns exquisitely turned into objects of little worth l car | tv | polo shirts by Li Xiaofeng | Twisted porcelain | The Porcelain War Museum and more by Charles Krafft | Manga Ormolu by Brendan Tang | Ming meets the tin can by Lei Xue. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Nov 17, 2010 - 7 comments

Coal Without Carbon

Dirty Coal, Clean Future
To environmentalists, "clean coal" is an insulting oxymoron. But for now, the only way to meet the world's energy needs, and to arrest climate change before it produces irreversible cataclysm, is to use coal—dirty, sooty, toxic coal—in more-sustainable ways. The good news is that new technologies are making this possible. China is now the leader in this area, the Google and Intel of the energy world. If we are serious about global warming, America needs to work with China to build a greener future on a foundation of coal. Otherwise, the clean-energy revolution will leave us behind, with grave costs for the world's climate and our economy. (more here and responses here, here and here)
posted by kliuless on Nov 12, 2010 - 49 comments

"They're not enemies, but frenemies."

Complex China-U.S. currency issue explained in bizarre news animation. "Need a primer on the issues? Check out our US-Sino Currency Rap Battle, featuring Chinese president Hu Jintao and American president Barack Obama. China has mad stacks of US Treasury debt and fears America will inflate its way out the hole by weakening the greenback further. The US, on the other hand, says China is keeping its currency artificially undervalued to protect its exports. It's a battle for the ages. And everything you need to know about US-Sino trade relations can be learned right here."
posted by Fizz on Nov 10, 2010 - 27 comments

Harmonious Society

The Crab Party that got China's most famous artist arrested. [more inside]
posted by Heliochrome85 on Nov 9, 2010 - 50 comments

Chasing Pirates: Inside Microsoft’s War Room

Chasing Pirates: Inside Microsoft’s War Room - From the special thread that Chinese factories counterfeit in mile-long spools that adorns software authenticity stickers, to near-perfect bootleg discs leaving microscopic evidence of their factory origins, to Mexican and Russian gangsters who are dealt with very carefully, the NYT covers Microsoft's multi-pronged, international war on piracy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Nov 7, 2010 - 30 comments

who isn't guilty of inciting subversion of state power

A lesser-known signatory of Charter 08 is an artist and human rights activist named Wu Yuren. And, like this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner, he's now in prison. His wife, Karen Patterson, is a Canadian, from Calgary. And she believes his activism is why he's been detained by Chinese authorities for almost five months.
posted by acro on Oct 23, 2010 - 3 comments

Crab Vending Machine.

Here is the live crab vending machine you have been asking for all this time. Love, China.
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Oct 22, 2010 - 99 comments

Cheap Water

The race is on: India by 2020, China by 2025 - will the US get there at all?
posted by PuppyCat on Oct 21, 2010 - 24 comments

50 Cabbage "kimchi crisis" Warning

The latest crisis in South Korea is not coming from its northern neighbor. The country is reeling from the soaring price of kimchi. China responds with concern. "The politics editor of a major South Korean newspaper called the kimchi situation "a national tragedy,” and an editorial in Dong-a Ilbo termed it “a once in a century crisis.” previously
posted by Xurando on Oct 15, 2010 - 25 comments

Anatomical illustrations from Edo-period Japan

Old anatomical illustrations that provide a unique perspective on the evolution of medical knowledge in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1868) [more inside]
posted by gman on Oct 14, 2010 - 27 comments

Freud in China

Despite the social stigma that still surrounds mental illness, doctors are eager to learn and apply psychotherapy, and thanks to Skype and a healthy supply of retired American therapists, Freudian psychoanalysis is enjoying a renaissance in China.
posted by jetsetlag on Oct 11, 2010 - 27 comments

"For his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China"

The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize goes to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. Beijing had previously warned the Nobel committee not to honour Liu. A BBC biography of Liu from last year: "Now his name is unknown. But one day, even if he's not regarded as a hero, he'll be thought of as a very good citizen - a model example."
posted by WPW on Oct 8, 2010 - 63 comments

We don't need you to type at all

"With your permission you give us more information about you, about your friends, and we can improve the quality of our searches," [Google CEO Eric Schmidt] said. "We don't need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you've been. We can more or less know what you're thinking about... We can look at bad behavior and modify it." The Atlantic's editor James Bennet discusses with Schmidt how lobbyists write America's laws, how America's research universities are the best in the world, how the Chinese are going all-out in investing in their infrastructure, how the US should have allowed automakers to fail, and ultimately Google's evolving role in an technologically-augmented society in this broad, interesting and scary interview (~25 min Flash video) [via]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Oct 4, 2010 - 55 comments

A Compendium of Obscure Things

Res Obscura is a blog by Ben Breen, a graduate student of early modern history, which styles itself "a compendium of obscure things." Indeed, even the asides are full of wonder, such as the one about Boy, the famous Royalist war poodle of the English Civil War, which is but a short addendum to a post about witches' familiars. Here are some of my favorite posts, Pirate Surgeon in Panama (and a related post about 18th Century Jamaica), vanished civilizations, asemic pseudo-Arabic and -Hebrew writing in Renaissance art, and a series of posts about the way the Chinese and Japanese understood the world outside Asia in the early modern period (Europeans as 'Other', Europeans as 'Other,' Redux and Early Chinese World Maps).
posted by Kattullus on Sep 30, 2010 - 16 comments

Chinese BBSes

The BBS scene in China. Here, here and here.
posted by lipsum on Sep 27, 2010 - 12 comments

Welcome to the Evil Federated Empire of Europe

Europe according to... is a project to map stereotypes of European countries according to other countries and groups of people. [more inside]
posted by desjardins on Sep 22, 2010 - 57 comments

Quyi

"He sits at a table and spins his yarn, his only requisites being a small stick, the so-called 'wakening-rod' xingmu (in Yangzhou storytelling called 'talking stopper' zhiyu), a handkerchief and a fan."
A comprehensive guide to the art and tradition of Chinese Storytelling — with photographs, text, audio and video clips illustrating elements of performance.
posted by unliteral on Sep 21, 2010 - 3 comments

The Man Who Makes Your iPhone

The Man Who Makes Your iPhone - Bloomberg Businessweek profiles Terry Gou, the founder and chairman of Foxconn, the controversial manufacturer of consumer electronic devices for Apple, Sony, HP and Dell, among others.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Sep 11, 2010 - 19 comments

Wealthy young Chinese enjoy a classless society

The “Rich Second Generation” (富二代) refers to people who mostly were born after 1980s, Children of early China’s first generation of private entrepreneurs “Rich first Generation” after China’s “opening door policy”. Now they are wealthy because of the inheritance. They enjoy roses, wine tasting, marriage opportunities, studying abroad, 43 luxury vehicles, and legal privileges.
posted by twoleftfeet on Aug 29, 2010 - 16 comments

China's Got Talent

"Pianist Liu Wei sits quietly to compose himself before plunging into the music. Then he takes off a sock. The 23-year-old, whose arms were amputated after a childhood accident, plays the piano with his toes."
posted by gman on Aug 27, 2010 - 16 comments

Still a failed state

Ahmed Rashid writes about The Anarchic Republic of Pakistan as amid the flooding the CIA resumes its drone campaign and Pakistan is to clamp down on Islamist militant charities while the Chinese give Military Assistance. [more inside]
posted by adamvasco on Aug 25, 2010 - 17 comments

Expat parent

Reflections on expat parenting in China
posted by bardophile on Aug 19, 2010 - 23 comments

"This is just the beginning."

China is now the world's second-largest economy.
posted by knave on Aug 16, 2010 - 70 comments

Red Army Orchestra + Beat It (3LYT)

Beat It, as performed by the (Chinese) Red Army Orchestra. Or maybe you would prefer 4 Minutes, or a little bit of context.
posted by haltingproblemsolved on Aug 15, 2010 - 11 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

毛新宇

Pudgy Mao Xinyu is the youngest major general in the Chinese army, perhaps due to nepotism.
posted by xowie on Aug 5, 2010 - 33 comments

Big Ol' Bus

China to build ginormous buses that cars can drive under. [more inside]
posted by Chipmazing on Aug 3, 2010 - 102 comments

The faces we wear

Faces, a short animation by Lei Lei (雷磊), an independent Chinese animator and designer. He's put most of his works on Vimeo, including a short TEDxShanghai talk he gave several months ago. [more inside]
posted by zabuni on Jul 30, 2010 - 5 comments

China Crisis

The Gilded Age: China 2013 - The dystopian novel that's turning China upside down
posted by Artw on Jul 29, 2010 - 26 comments

In the Spotlight, China Re-Finding Religion

This week NPR featured a five part series of stories entitled, "New Believers: A religious revolution in China" that explores the growth and status of religion in China today. [more inside]
posted by Atreides on Jul 23, 2010 - 65 comments

What's the cost to FedEx stuff to China?

Oppressive treatment of Chinese hipsters reaches new highs. Do you like PBR? Seriously? Then you'll have no problem paying $44 a bottle for it.
Price does not include required champagne flute
posted by yerfatma on Jul 20, 2010 - 128 comments

"Google has inadvertently waded into disputes from Israel to Cambodia to Iran"

The Agnostic Cartographer : How Google’s open-ended maps are embroiling the company in some of the world’s touchiest geopolitical disputes.
posted by desjardins on Jul 18, 2010 - 23 comments

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