穹顶之下: Rolling 中华人民共和国 / People's Republic of China (PRC) Thread

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Let's just have one going forward for now I doubt we'll break ILX

, Friday, 13 March 2015 14:38 (seven years ago) link

dylannnnnn do you know this guy? I thought this was pretty good:



The books on magic speak of a certain species of miraculous grass, whose power is such that not even the most complex and difficult lock can withstand it. The words uncap my imagination. From deep within the mountains the harvesters come searching for it, bright blue-green, to close it tightly inside a wooden box and leave to dry for many days; then when it is dry and yellowed, it possesses unmatched arcane power. Grief has long held me captive in darkness and mystery, left me pacing up and down before my own door like a man banished from Paradise. Sometimes, I would rather be one of those children peddling matches—go out in the frigid night and scrape golden sparks from off the wall like opening a window, maybe catch a glimpse of happiness shimmering inside. Only now do I realize that the key I am searching for is really a blade of grass, extinct from common use and unknown to men.

Not a few magical rituals have already disappeared from practice. When I was a child, I often heard that in the nearby city, in a district filled with small-time salesmen and the broken poor lived an unemployed and solitary man, who spent all day walking in ragged clothes and flapping shoes up and down one narrow street, his left hand shuffling a couple of old bronze coins held in his right. He’d shuffle, shuffle and shuffle—and suddenly there would be another coin in there. That was how he earned the money to eat every day. “So how come he’s still so poor?” I would ask, usually to a barber or a shoemaker, who were all the fans of this strange man. “Money like that can’t be saved up. You have to use it as you get it.” But again, how come? Gradually I came to understand the principle: students of magic had to swear an oath to their masters that they would accept some kind of unpleasant handicap as the price of enlightenment—become blind, crippled, unable to have children. This explanation alarmed me and my fantasies, and inspired a fear of magical power, as well as a genuine sympathy for that remarkable poor friend of mine.

Yet it by no means diminished my attraction to magic, and I still listened intently when, beneath lamplight or by fireside, the wondrous legends were told. One of my ancestors over a hundred years ago was just such a legendary character, and knew much magic. I once went to sweep his tomb at Qingming*; I saw that the carving on the black stone steps and on the stele itself was rough and unaffected, not like the other tombs, and made me conscious of the difference of the times.

When I was that age, the magical ability I envied most was the freeze-frame—to instantly make a man believe that he stood on the sheer edge of a cliff or was surrounded on all sides by water, so that he didn’t dare move in the slightest. They said that my old ancestor frequently went out traveling, on foot and leaning on a cane; if he were accosted by some rude young man, he would cast this spell and leave him frozen stock-still by the roadside. Then he would continue on until he met someone ahead with whom he could leave the magic words to set the kid free. All the witches of the day respected him. On one occasion, he went to some family’s house to observe witches perform a ritual. But the idiots there (who perhaps didn’t recognize the famous old man) received him carelessly, so he found an opportunity to slip quietly out the door, and immediately two massive stones from the courtyard leapt into the house, bounded into the main hall and began accompanying the witches in their dance, frightening the party into sudden realization of who their erstwhile guest had been.

And yet, my ancestor never suffered from any sort of visible handicap. Though they say that when he got older, it became necessary to send him away on holidays when the family wanted to slaughter a pig; otherwise, if he heard the squeal of the doomed pig, and his heart but fluttered once, the animal was suddenly impossible to kill. Perhaps this made him weary of his magic. Yes, in his heart he must have undergone endless consideration, endured all kinds of hidden torment, and that was why he never passed on his magic but took it to his grave with him. Yet I was only a child then, and never considered any of that. I merely listened enraptured to the stories they told about him.

In addition to his store of secret knowledge, it was said, my ancestor was also an educated man. For a long time, he hosted in his house another old man of humbler origin who was writing an annotated version of The Book of Changes. The two often sat in the study, animatedly discussing and flipping through pages tangled with notes. On hot summer afternoons the family sent them in refreshments; they would take the food, dip it in a pot of ink and eat it, leaving the sugar untouched. Every time his family celebrated a marriage or the New Year, he would sling his books over his shoulder, pick up a cane and travel home. Yet, having arrived, he’d find a shady spot somewhere near the house and sit down to rest, then pull out a book and read until it got dark, at which point he could only put himself together and go all the way back again, then take a rickshaw home the next day. Eventually, his annotated Book of Changes made it into print, and his great-great-grandson, who formally presented the book to the Imperial Court and who knew how to divine with tortoise shells, was my childhood mentor.

I saw that book once amid the disordered pile of other books in my trunk (it may have fallen apart by now) but never paid much attention to it. At the time I was looking for a book on magic; then adrift in tide of war, as adults were agonizing day and night over how to avoid disaster, I dove unhindered into fairy tales and novels, finding there a space for my imagination. I was most enchanted by a kind of invisibility grass spoken of in one of the stories; merely tie one blade of it to your body and no one could see you.

Just now, beneath the lamplight, I have written a title on a piece of white paper: The Origins of Magic. I want to use a pessimistic perspective to explain that the nascence of magic was an entirely natural occurrence, like the arrival of dreams at night. The true Sage, having lost the Self, should be dreamless; and while that state of being is certainly a pure one, we everyday people are still repelled by its emptiness. My pen suddenly halts in its course over the page. Eh, there you go daydreaming again. And to what distant land has your mind flown off to this time? Nowhere, I answer myself, my mind has stayed right here, beneath the cone of this light. Lamplight, like white fog, compasses its boundary all around me, as a tomb does its guest. I throw down my pen. It’s at a time like this I’d really like to have a little White Lotus sorcery—a covered basin of clear water, a small canoe of woven grass, and I’ll venture out on my own private ocean.

*The traditional Chinese holiday “Clear and Bright,” known to us as the Tomb-Sweeping Festival, held in early April.

, Friday, 13 March 2015 14:42 (seven years ago) link

Chai Jing's Under the Dome: Investigating China’s Smog, banned after 200 million views.


Sanpaku, Friday, 13 March 2015 16:19 (seven years ago) link


, Friday, 13 March 2015 17:44 (seven years ago) link

where's that?

...the number of criminal trials held in Xinjiang rose more than 40 percent to more than 29,500 last year compared to the number of criminal trials in 2013.

The number of trials for obstructing social administrative order doubled to more than 4,500 in 2014, the report said, noting that authorities use this category to target unauthorized Islamic and Christian groups. It also covers the distribution of religious materials as well as assemblies and demonstrations.


dylannn, Friday, 13 March 2015 18:24 (seven years ago) link

Xinjiang, photographed by Carolyn Drake - check out entries under 'Wild Pigeon' http://carolyndrake.com/

, Friday, 13 March 2015 18:48 (seven years ago) link

Why don't American students who want to get a job in China just go there and get a job washing dishes at Pizza Hut or Outback Steakhouse and live 8 to a room w/o papers?

― 龜, Friday, March 13, 2015 12:04 PM (8 hours ago)

i think the maybe equivalent of that is teaching english in an unlicensed school in a third tier city. plenty are still up for doing that.

i would say there are lots of lucrative jobs in china but not many of them require chinese lang proficiency or they require actual chinese lang proficiency + serious literacy + understanding of the country, but not much in the middle.

dylannn, Friday, 13 March 2015 20:39 (seven years ago) link


dalai lama says he might not reincarnate

Zhu Weiqun, a Communist Party official who has long dealt with Tibetan issues, told reporters in Beijing on Wednesday that the Dalai Lama had, essentially, no say over whether he was reincarnated. That was ultimately for the Chinese government to decide, he said, according to a transcript of his comments on the website of People’s Daily, the party’s main newspaper.

dylannn, Friday, 13 March 2015 20:43 (seven years ago) link

how many europeans or north americans without chinese ancestry get to that level of proficiency

pom /via/ chi (nakhchivan), Friday, 13 March 2015 20:45 (seven years ago) link

people learning languages without spending enough time to get anywhere is one of the most delusory practices

pom /via/ chi (nakhchivan), Friday, 13 March 2015 20:47 (seven years ago) link

I think learning languages is fine if it's a hobby, can be fun, but agree if it's for vocational purposes

, Friday, 13 March 2015 20:55 (seven years ago) link

i think europeans or north americans without chinese ancestry that get to that level are rare and most are dedicated hobbyists or in academia. but there are lots of people that speak the language well and can't claim anything close to near native literacy and lots in academia with great literacy that speak the language competently but not fluently. it requires i think time in country or longterm immersion combined with longterm, serious study.

dylannn, Friday, 13 March 2015 21:14 (seven years ago) link

Something I've noticed/struggled a bit with is also most high level instruction teaches you very standard PTH

Which is great if all you hang around with are highly literate and educated CCP types or academics

And also great if you're in business, probably

But it's also very hard to learn the local dialect and there aren't many resources to turn to other than find a local dude and hang out w/ dude n buddies

This is true even in Beijing, home of "PTH"

, Friday, 13 March 2015 21:24 (seven years ago) link

i guess i kind of agree but at the same time teaching dialects or even listening to nonstandard accents is pretty much impossible and native speakers i think are even worse at it than non sinophone learners (they're more used to guessing at phrases from context, less tuned to tonal quirks that throw off native speakers). but it is kind of surprising that even for languages like wu or cantonese with hundreds of millions of speakers and their own distinct culture and literature the learning resources are few.

dylannn, Friday, 13 March 2015 21:29 (seven years ago) link

but http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guangzhou_Television_Cantonese_controversy type of stuff so it's not really surprising

dylannn, Friday, 13 March 2015 21:30 (seven years ago) link

now that i'm kind of attempting to learn japanese i get discouraged by flashbacks to sitting at my desk writing characters over and over again, the shame of seemingly not being able to competently ask for the right type of zhongnanhai even after studying the language in university, years of trying to feel my way through conversations that i understood ten percent of, prepping for classes with remarks that i hoped would seem improvised and trying to predict possible professor questions while also trying to figure out a photocopied never translated into english story about an aristocratic family in late ming china written in a combination of vernacular and classical chinese. so, flipping through introduction to hiragana and a book of simple greetings, i know that even mastering those things will take too long and my mastery will be unsatisfying and i will look and feel like an idiot over and over again, even if i work at it for years. but when i get that six figure salary working for toyota it will have been worth it. #futureintlangofbusiness

dylannn, Friday, 13 March 2015 21:32 (seven years ago) link


pom /via/ chi (nakhchivan), Friday, 13 March 2015 22:10 (seven years ago) link



Photo shows a female SWAT member in Sichuan ripping apart a steel wash basin barehanded. Four hours physical training every day turns an ordinary woman into an invincible soldier. (Photo/CCTV)

, Friday, 13 March 2015 22:28 (seven years ago) link


pom /via/ chi (nakhchivan), Friday, 13 March 2015 22:31 (seven years ago) link

Example of the strength of Chinese soldiers, or of the poor quality of Chinese manufacturing

, Friday, 13 March 2015 22:36 (seven years ago) link

Idk if anybody else still watches 非诚勿扰 but lately they've had an 'anonymous' woman on who only appears in Avatar makeup?


, Sunday, 15 March 2015 17:38 (seven years ago) link


dylannn, Monday, 23 March 2015 07:45 (seven years ago) link


weibo user returns to hometown of handan, hebei. "reports most funerals in the area feature strippers to 'liven things up.' spectators don't know whether to laugh or cry. as soon as the funeral dirge concludes, the strippers hit the stage."

dylannn, Monday, 23 March 2015 09:32 (seven years ago) link


Kinda cliche'd by this point but I still love it


, Thursday, 26 March 2015 12:39 (seven years ago) link


Who wants to go with me

, Saturday, 4 April 2015 12:04 (seven years ago) link

always appreciate your links, thanks

sleeve, Saturday, 4 April 2015 15:24 (seven years ago) link

can confirm even without having visited toxic lakes that baotou is one of the worst places on earth

dylannn, Wednesday, 8 April 2015 08:09 (seven years ago) link


i keep feeling like i'm missing something with the detention of these women... they were going to be "distributing stickers and leaflets protesting molestation in buses and subways"? on international womens day? i'm more proparty than the average chinawatcher and i can usually see the fucked up logic they operate on but i really must be missing something here. hillary clinton otm.

dylannn, Wednesday, 8 April 2015 08:13 (seven years ago) link

two weeks pass...


Despite perceptions of China’s allegedly influence over Pyongyang, China operates in a generally unstable climate in which North Korea’s response to overtures such as building roads to connect it to Chinese-financed cross-border activities, indicating intention to restart Six-Party Talks, or toning down relations with South Korea, is tentative and unconvincing. China, therefore, appears to be treading on relatively thin ice.


While China has made certain moves in the past year and a half to “normalize” the relationship with North Korea (meaning to deal with North Korea under the auspices of the Foreign Ministry rather than ILD), the appointment of another ILD bureaucrat to staff the Embassy in Pyongyang could indicate that Beijing is not yet prepared to move things too quickly in that direction.

dylannn, Wednesday, 29 April 2015 18:04 (seven years ago) link

Who wants to go with me

― 龜, Saturday, April 4, 2015 7:04 AM (3 weeks ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i'm in

gbx, Thursday, 30 April 2015 01:25 (seven years ago) link

Nice it is a noize trip

, Thursday, 30 April 2015 01:37 (seven years ago) link

how do you get to there

gbx, Thursday, 30 April 2015 01:41 (seven years ago) link

Start digging s tunnel

, Thursday, 30 April 2015 01:48 (seven years ago) link


dylannn, Thursday, 30 April 2015 02:09 (seven years ago) link

pls somebody email that to noah feldman

een, Thursday, 30 April 2015 21:48 (seven years ago) link

is ed hardy a thing in china

LMAO. GOLD Chrisso. regards, REB (nakhchivan), Saturday, 2 May 2015 19:32 (seven years ago) link

No idea

, Saturday, 2 May 2015 19:34 (seven years ago) link

two weeks pass...


da nubian gangsters (nakhchivan), Wednesday, 20 May 2015 12:50 (seven years ago) link

potpourri, snack, or both?

head clowning instructor (art), Wednesday, 20 May 2015 12:57 (seven years ago) link

Chinese flower/herbal tea is the best fuiud

, Wednesday, 20 May 2015 13:17 (seven years ago) link

I hadn't heard of the term "nail house" before encountering it in this article: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-32900601

Google image search of "nail house" turns up some pretty incredible photos.

o. nate, Saturday, 30 May 2015 01:16 (seven years ago) link


Macau casino revenue down 37%, leading to 24% YOY decline in regional revenue. It's being linked to a crackdown on corruption on the mainland.

Petite Lamela (ShariVari), Monday, 1 June 2015 09:52 (seven years ago) link


, Monday, 1 June 2015 11:22 (seven years ago) link

More Korea than China, but there's a bit of MERS going around:

etc, Monday, 1 June 2015 15:06 (seven years ago) link

The protesters?

I don't speak Chinese, nor have I followed this closely.

My impression is that the PRC needed some protester activity that would enrage the mainland public before they could move in. As ineffectual as a daily peaceful demonstration might have been, it wouldn't have given the PRC the licence to roll over the protests with martial law and the armor/mechanized infantry elements of Southern Theater (~ 6 divisions).

As for the PRC, whose major concern is unrest in the mainland, this played well for them. To mainlanders, the government probably looks overly tolerant.

hedonic treadmill class action (Sanpaku), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 10:39 (two years ago) link

The music is Chinese state media's choice:


hedonic treadmill class action (Sanpaku), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 10:45 (two years ago) link

But nothing came of the peaceful demonstrations? Violent crackdown in Hong Kong would be devastating to the financial economy there, no? A lot of capital flight, I'd assume.

Frederik B, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 11:03 (two years ago) link

Read the article Dylann posted

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 11:04 (two years ago) link

That does not really seem to be a view from the ground as much as standard leftist explanations I could read everywhere?

Frederik B, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 11:14 (two years ago) link

xp: There will be shiploads of people fleeing, but capital? Capital doesn't give a damn about liberal democratic ideals, so long as there's reliable property rights, contract law, and tolerably low corruption.

hedonic treadmill class action (Sanpaku), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 11:17 (two years ago) link

freddie b how much more from the ground do you need? wilfred chan is in hk currently and was there for 2014 as well, born and bred hong konger. i thought it was a pretty good summing up of what the hell is going on over there.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 15:05 (two years ago) link

on capital flight i think i agree with sanpaku. it wouldn't be a violent crackdown on protest that would cause capital flight but the potential for beijing to fuck with the money, which is why business elites are not into the extradition bill either. all that money is flowing into hk from the prc now, for the reason that it's safer/more reliable, not because they're a quasi-democracy still. they're also the most vulnerable to interference from beijing. who cares about dissidents getting dragged over to shenzhen, since that's already going on, just ask gui minhai, but if a ceo or two get nabbed and put on trial and they go after their ill-gotten gains, it's a problem. xiao jianhua getting kidnapped from the hong kong four seasons to stand trial in beijing was a sign of things to come.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 15:08 (two years ago) link

He could be as much a Hong Konger as possible, but if the story begins with neoliberalism and ends with a call to support Bernie Sanders it's just completely useless to me. Thousands could write exactly the same thing all over the world. And does. I know all that already, so what's the point?

Frederik B, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 15:14 (two years ago) link

lol fair enough i missed the part about bernie
i think the meat of it though was that hk no longer has the leverage to demand much since their usefulness to the prc is mostly gone, it's become pool of dirty mainland money meaning that the political and business elite can't risk shutting off the tap by calling for political change. those people are out of the game. they've made their plans already. but for most people the place has become an unliveable shithole and they can't get out and are pissed off about their living conditions and the failure of protests in 2014 (and smaller protests through the 2000s and before). so now the protests are "about" about extradition (or the five demands, which are mostly about police brutality, and throw in universal suffrage as an afterthought, bottom of the list, completely impossible) but more about anger, frustration at the state that the political and business elite has left hong kong in, but they're destined to fail because there's no direction, no leadership, "no obvious escape routes, no postcolonial models of self-determination."

i dunno, what's your take on it so far b?

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 15:29 (two years ago) link

That it's the most important news story of the year... That's basically my take away, and I'm just following along to see what happens. But just looking at history in a broad sense I think it's way too early to dismiss what happens because it's not having direction or leadership, that seems to me to be a misreading of historical upheavals in general. The anger is the point, it's not that they have, like, the right anti-neo-liberal way to look at it. The mainland ledership will seem to have everything under control until the exact point they don't.

Frederik B, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 15:43 (two years ago) link

same here, buddy. just following along. but i tend to think this is the end of something, the final convulsion of what started in 2005 or 2010, rather than the beginning. i'm not writing it off because of the lack of leadership or direction, but that makes it tougher to call what "their" next move is, and it's nearly impossible to make a call on a prc-managed crackdown with reinforcements from across the border, since there's no precedent and we have no access to what's going on at top levels in beijing.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 16:02 (two years ago) link

one more question, frederik b... talking about "historical upheavals in general," which do you think provide the best lessons for those involved here or map onto this protest most accurately? just to name one so that i seem better informed, is it the orange revolution in ukraine?

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 16:06 (two years ago) link

how do i embed tweets

Police officer had his baton taken from him and was attacked with it. Drew his pistol and aimed at protesters. Astonished nobody killed here tonight. pic.twitter.com/Wox8yziDnz

— Mike Bird (@Birdyword) August 13, 2019

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 16:07 (two years ago) link

how many times in a situation like that would a cop just shoot someone dead? fucking hell.

calzino, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 16:12 (two years ago) link

No, I'd agree, it seems like an end, almost knowingly trying to confront the PRC into doing... something... no matter what. The obvious historical comparison seems Tiananmen, or the Green revolution in Iran, or the various failed protests against Putin. Although what's going on there at the moment is really interesting as well.

Frederik B, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 16:13 (two years ago) link

also following the story of the alleged undercover cop who was being struggled, and currently strapped to a luggage cart, it seems.

Pan-dem lawmakers Fernando Cheung and Kwok Ka-ki are now negotiating with protesters who have tied the man to a luggage trolley. Very ugly scene pic.twitter.com/Xk578seTYL

— Austin Ramzy (@austinramzy) August 13, 2019

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 16:14 (two years ago) link

There's a lot of stress in the world right now, where you can't really be half a dictator anymore, to paraphrase a shitty American tv show.

Frederik B, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 16:14 (two years ago) link

he was wearing a press vest, they grabbed him, thinking he was a cop, and then found an I❤️警察 t-shirt in his bag...

ICYMI let’s fill in some blanks https://t.co/21Fhvs6QQF

— tricialing (@tricialing) August 13, 2019

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 16:16 (two years ago) link

hope it doesn't turn out like this

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 16:18 (two years ago) link

i dunno, imho ideally stop this and get back to occupying government buildings and scuffling with triad thugs


XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 16:21 (two years ago) link

attacking other HK citizens is terrible tactics, even if they have "i heart the bizzies" t shirts or are wankers who are the HK equivalent to the UK FBPE posse.

calzino, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 16:29 (two years ago) link

turns out he was a reporter for global times.

live feed from hkg


XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 16:33 (two years ago) link

how do i embed tweets

Police officer had his baton taken from him and was attacked with it. Drew his pistol and aimed at protesters. Astonished nobody killed here tonight. pic.twitter.com/Wox8yziDnz
— Mike Bird (@Birdyword) August 13, 2019
― XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Tuesday, August 13, 2019 12:07 PM (forty-three minutes ago)

This video is crazy. It was only after watching it a few times that I noticed the bystander with the wheeled luggage trying to hurry by and getting caught in the melee.

Mazzy Tsar (PBKR), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 17:02 (two years ago) link

congrats on the bbc finding some myopic, thick as pigshit UK twat describing it as a "bitter pill to swallow" cos it has inconvenienced his honeymoon, hope she's shagging the milkman by next week ya weapon!

calzino, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 17:17 (two years ago) link

five months pass...

My (wife's) family in Hubei are in full meltdown about the Coronavirus. Sister-in-law is actually due to fly from Wuhan to the UK next week. Bit concerned.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Wednesday, 22 January 2020 11:05 (two years ago) link

There's a lot of racist crap out there about "Chinese eat anything" but this cunt has not done anyone any favours, ridiculous that this sort of thing is still being permitted anywhere in 2020.

Photo from Douban of a menu at #Wuhan Huanan Seafood Market. Don't know when it was taken, but they sell all kinds of wild animals incl. live wolf pups & palm civets. 2nd photo taken after outbreak discovered shows this storefront (3rd left) covering word “野 (wild)” in its name. pic.twitter.com/HiQlzX4XBX

— Muyi Xiao (@muyixiao) January 21, 2020

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Wednesday, 22 January 2020 11:09 (two years ago) link

There's a lot of racist crap out there about "Chinese eat anything" but this cunt has not done anyone any favours, ridiculous that this sort of thing is still being permitted anywhere in 2020.

Photo from Douban of a menu at #Wuhan Huanan Seafood Market. Don't know when it was taken, but they sell all kinds of wild animals incl. live wolf pups & palm civets. 2nd photo taken after outbreak discovered shows this storefront (3rd left) covering word “野 (wild)” in its name. pic.twitter.com/HiQlzX4XBX

— Muyi Xiao (@muyixiao) January 21, 2020

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Wednesday, 22 January 2020 11:09 (two years ago) link

My sister-in-laws's flight has been cancelled, so I guess out of our hands now and not to worry about so much, but parents-in-law are in Ezhou, and our feeling is that there the response is a bit half-hearted. it's a sleepy town of a million or so people, lots of them commute into wuhan, seems like an obvious place for the disease to spread from.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Thursday, 23 January 2020 15:50 (two years ago) link

Hu Xingdou, an independent political economist, said Chinese people’s love for eating wildlife had deep cultural, economic and political roots.

“While the West values freedom and other human rights, Chinese people view food as their primary need because starving is a big threat and an unforgettable part of the national memory,” Hu said.

“While feeding themselves is not a problem to many Chinese nowadays, eating novel food or meat, organs or parts from rare animals or plants has become a measure of identity to some people.”

I would like to know more about this identity claim. Does the rarity of what's eaten give social prestige, or is it something more personal than that?

juntos pedemos (Euler), Thursday, 23 January 2020 16:00 (two years ago) link

things that are rare (to be eaten or otherwise) can get you a degree of social prestige, yes, but also certain animals are supposed to have particular medicinal qualities (not just as an aphrodisiac) which combine with the "you have to be rich to afford this" factor in a way which parallels alleged "superfoods" in the west.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Thursday, 23 January 2020 16:09 (two years ago) link

Ok, thanks. Is the "wild"ness of the animal a factor in its having these medicinal qualities?

I know a little about bushmeat practices in Africa but little about them in China, except for the little I've gleaned from time spent in Chinatowns around the world.

juntos pedemos (Euler), Thursday, 23 January 2020 16:11 (two years ago) link

CHANG: And why are wild animals so popular as a delicacy in China?

SI: Eating wild animal is considered a symbol of wealth because they are more rare and expensive. And wild animals is also considered more natural and, thus, nutritious, compared to farmed meat. It's a belief in traditional Chinese medicine that it can boost the immune system, you know? Of course, some people eat wild animals just because they were driven by curiosity.

CHANG: (Laughter).

SI: It's really difficult to change the mindset of, you know, eating wild animals is better than eating farmed animals. But it's a common kind of mindset in many parts of China.

Ok, this clarifies things a bit more. The wildness is thought to contribute to its naturalness, and thus its goodness. I don't know much about Chinese Romanticism but now I want to!

juntos pedemos (Euler), Thursday, 23 January 2020 16:15 (two years ago) link

I live with it, my wife is training to be (eventually) a TCM doctor (but not the bad kind that use animals! there are a few very different schools of TCM, I have found out)

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Thursday, 23 January 2020 16:48 (two years ago) link

two months pass...

He adds that certain species, including primates, bats, and rats, are higher risk than others, because of the number of diseases they harbor and the likelihood of those diseases making the genetic leap required to infect humans. “Some of the Southeast Asian rats are quite big and I’m sure they’re very tasty. There’s nothing wrong with eating them per se, but rodents carry a large number of viruses with zoonotic potential—having them in the food chain is really, really high risk,” he says.

With the Covid-19 pandemic, though, interest in these foods appears to be rapidly diminishing: a survey of almost 100,000 Chinese conducted in the midst of the Wuhan outbreak found that nearly 97 percent of respondents opposed eating wild animals, up from about 50 percent in the 2014 study.

“These are not traditional habits,” says Kang, citing, as an example, how a drink made from antelope horn, a traditional remedy given to children to treat colds, has become a widely consumed daily tonic. “It’s a combination of traditional concepts with business people promoting a modern concept of, ‘We should try interesting new things because we have more income’. Eating exotic species is about people showing on social media that they are cool.”

China’s propaganda machine has recently gone into full gear to undermine that idea. Kang says a spontaneous social media backlash has also driven the point home. A hashtag that translates as #TheSourceoftheNewCoronavirusisWildAnimals quickly racked up 1.2 billion hits on Weibo, the main social media platform in China.

“In my friend circle, there is a person who in the past liked to showcase his experience with wild animal food on social media,” says Kang. “Previously, my friends would say nothing, or they’d say ‘cool’. But now he can’t post those things, because people would say if you continue to do that, you’re not cool.”


Deflatormouse, Friday, 27 March 2020 21:58 (two years ago) link


Deflatormouse, Friday, 27 March 2020 22:02 (two years ago) link

I am seeing plenty of racism against Chinese online of late, especially from supposedly left-wing animal rights people. Bit depressing, though I knew it was under the surface anyway.

Wuhan!! Got You All in Check (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Saturday, 4 April 2020 21:07 (two years ago) link

Animal rights people sus af to begin w

silby, Sunday, 5 April 2020 04:00 (two years ago) link

Yes. The thing I have been trying to explain to people today is that "wet market" doesnt mean "exotic meat slaughterhouse" and that the vast majority of what is sold there is vegetables, just with some live chickens in one corner, and that if you are "campaigning to shut the wet markets" you are campaigning for factory farming and supermarkets.

Wuhan!! Got You All in Check (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Sunday, 5 April 2020 06:42 (two years ago) link

I have never found “trying to explain” to be a profitable use of time but the problem is likely on my end

silby, Sunday, 5 April 2020 06:54 (two years ago) link

it's true that I am probably wasting my time.

Wuhan!! Got You All in Check (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Sunday, 5 April 2020 07:02 (two years ago) link

I mean not everything we do has to be profitable

silby, Sunday, 5 April 2020 07:11 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

China are using this unprecedented time to make another power grab in HK. There is rioting going on at the moment.

More tear gas rounds are fired in Causeway Bay, near the Sogo. pic.twitter.com/UlNmUiJ5NL

— Hong Kong Free Press HKFP (@HongKongFP) May 24, 2020

Wuhan!! Got You All in Check (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Sunday, 24 May 2020 13:50 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

Close to $100bn wiped off the edtech market today, following a leaked document saying that the government intends to force tutoring companies to go not-for-profit and ban foreigners from online teaching. The bricks-and-mortar tutoring sector has already been crushed by COVID.

Scampo di tutti i Scampi (ShariVari), Friday, 23 July 2021 22:19 (one year ago) link

The rationale for this is supposedly the idea that intensive tutoring is stressful for kids, makes education more expensive at a point when the government is trying to encourage people to have more children and makes it easier for wealthier parents to get their kids into selective schools and universities. The more cynical take is that too many middle-class kids are competing for those places with the genuinely well-off, who will still be able to afford 1-to-1 tutoring.

Leaving aside the general academic stuff, it’s hard to see how this wouldn’t lead to a fairly hard stop on the growth of English proficiency, particularly in smaller cities, or even a regression. State provision of English is variable but generally a lot weaker than the private sector can offer and companies like VIPKids that recruit teachers from the Philippines deliver a pretty good, affordable service to millions outside of the big cities, in places where traditional private language schools have been patchy. If New Oriental and others are forced to scale back, it may also impact the number of students going to university abroad.

Scampo di tutti i Scampi (ShariVari), Saturday, 24 July 2021 06:14 (one year ago) link

Which would be a blow to the cashflow of a lot of large universities…

Clara Lemlich stan account (silby), Monday, 26 July 2021 00:29 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

These last few months have seen a series of increasingly troubling announcements from Beijing, not sure if calling it the "second cultural revolution" is right, but the direction is certainly not great.


My in-laws have not been allowed to renew their passports, and at work all of the Chinese students have decided to work virtually rather than travel to the UK.

edited to reflect developments which occurred (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Friday, 10 September 2021 09:56 (eleven months ago) link

the growing cultural authoritarianism of Xi seems very dangerous, but the extreme violence and mass murder that occurred during the OG cultural revolution ... well that was the cultural revolution to end all cultural revolutions or perhaps not. I heard this bizarre shit on the radio a few weeks back on CCCP rappers doing propaganda raps about how great the govt is etc. They can't foist any of that shit on K-Pop ultras!

calzino, Friday, 10 September 2021 10:33 (eleven months ago) link

four weeks pass...

My sister works at a NGO and scuttle among the world traveller, NGO, panglobalist crowd is that some sort of Taiwan action will occur in the next year or two (my sister bets that it'll happen right after the Winter Olympics in February)

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 8 October 2021 06:26 (ten months ago) link

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