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 (three years ago) Permalink

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 (three years ago) Permalink

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


Sanpaku, Friday, 13 March 2015 16:19 (three years ago) Permalink


, Friday, 13 March 2015 17:44 (three years ago) Permalink

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 (three years ago) Permalink

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

, Friday, 13 March 2015 18:48 (three years ago) Permalink

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 (three years ago) Permalink


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 (three years ago) Permalink

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 (three years ago) Permalink

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 (three years ago) Permalink

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 (three years ago) Permalink

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 (three years ago) Permalink

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 (three years ago) Permalink

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 (three years ago) Permalink

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 (three years ago) Permalink

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 (three years ago) Permalink


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



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 (three years ago) Permalink


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

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

, Friday, 13 March 2015 22:36 (three years ago) Permalink

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 (three years ago) Permalink


dylannn, Monday, 23 March 2015 07:45 (three years ago) Permalink


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 (three years ago) Permalink


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


, Thursday, 26 March 2015 12:39 (three years ago) Permalink


Who wants to go with me

, Saturday, 4 April 2015 12:04 (three years ago) Permalink

always appreciate your links, thanks

sleeve, Saturday, 4 April 2015 15:24 (three years ago) Permalink

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 (three years ago) Permalink


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 (three years ago) Permalink

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 (three years ago) Permalink

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 (three years ago) Permalink

Nice it is a noize trip

, Thursday, 30 April 2015 01:37 (three years ago) Permalink

how do you get to there

gbx, Thursday, 30 April 2015 01:41 (three years ago) Permalink

Start digging s tunnel

, Thursday, 30 April 2015 01:48 (three years ago) Permalink


dylannn, Thursday, 30 April 2015 02:09 (three years ago) Permalink

pls somebody email that to noah feldman

een, Thursday, 30 April 2015 21:48 (three years ago) Permalink

is ed hardy a thing in china

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

No idea

, Saturday, 2 May 2015 19:34 (three years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...


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

potpourri, snack, or both?

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

Chinese flower/herbal tea is the best fuiud

, Wednesday, 20 May 2015 13:17 (three years ago) Permalink

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 (three years ago) Permalink


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 (three years ago) Permalink


, Monday, 1 June 2015 11:22 (three years ago) Permalink

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

etc, Monday, 1 June 2015 15:06 (three years ago) Permalink


F# A# (∞), Saturday, 5 May 2018 05:17 (nine months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

The 'City in the Sky' of Larung Gar (Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan, China) in 2015, before the mass demolition ordered by the Chinese authorities. pic.twitter.com/Qqwq3djfXa

— Irène DB (@UrbanFoxxxx) May 18, 2018

some 2015/16 photos of an incredible looking Tibetan prefecture formerly dubbed a "city in the sky", which has probably been completely ethnically gentrified/destroyed by now.

calzino, Saturday, 19 May 2018 09:35 (eight months ago) Permalink

The 'City in the Sky' of Larung Gar (Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan, China) in 2015, before the mass demolition ordered by the Chinese authorities. pic.twitter.com/Qqwq3djfXa

— Irène DB (@UrbanFoxxxx) May 18, 2018

some 2015/16 photos of an incredible looking Tibetan prefecture formerly dubbed a "city in the sky", which has probably been completely ethnically gentrified/destroyed by now.

calzino, Saturday, 19 May 2018 09:35 (eight months ago) Permalink

oops doublepost.

calzino, Saturday, 19 May 2018 09:35 (eight months ago) Permalink

good reporting from xinjiang summing up the situation

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Saturday, 19 May 2018 15:35 (eight months ago) Permalink

i have a conflicted relationship with the country and it seems strange to make this post right after one about ethnic cleansing in china's borderlands.
i'm going to be in beijing from mid-june to august. i haven't spent any significant time in the city except the airport since around 2006. any hot tips, gang?

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Saturday, 19 May 2018 15:38 (eight months ago) Permalink

NY mag just published this. looks eh imo http://nymag.com/travel/urbanist/beijing-is-a-city-that-rewards-those-who-delve-deep.html

, Monday, 21 May 2018 01:04 (eight months ago) Permalink

some of that stuff isn't bad? i guess, but kinda confirms—not a major revelation—beijing has changed greatly and become even more dull over the last decade.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Monday, 21 May 2018 06:23 (eight months ago) Permalink

So uh my little brother wrote this about Taiwan! https://www.wantaiwantravel.com/2017/10/06/old-taipei-in-12-hours/

which do u hear yanny or (in orbit), Monday, 21 May 2018 13:24 (eight months ago) Permalink

I think he used pics he already had to accompany it. Unfortunately he didn't take any of the food, I feel like he missed a chance there.

which do u hear yanny or (in orbit), Monday, 21 May 2018 13:26 (eight months ago) Permalink

i'm going to be in beijing from mid-june to august. i haven't spent any significant time in the city except the airport since around 2006. any hot tips, gang?

I'm going to be in Beijing for about five days towards the end of June. ILX China FAP?

Elvis Telecom, Sunday, 27 May 2018 02:17 (eight months ago) Permalink

my plans changed, so i'll be there june 2-9 + going back in august for the book fair.
what have you got planned in bj?

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Sunday, 27 May 2018 07:35 (eight months ago) Permalink

We're going to see Hedgehog (http://hedgehogrock.com) on June 23, but really our plan is to just outside and see what's going on. Never been to China before and Beijing will be the last stop after GZ, HK, and Shanghai.

Elvis Telecom, Tuesday, 29 May 2018 05:17 (eight months ago) Permalink

ive got some work stuff to do but basically just hanging around, too. ive lived in china incl a stint in guangzhou but never had any inclination to visit beijing. unfortunately, everyone i need to see is there, though.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Thursday, 31 May 2018 09:53 (eight months ago) Permalink

one month passes...


F# A# (∞), Wednesday, 18 July 2018 04:35 (seven months ago) Permalink

i like balding and this was interesting.
come on an american libertarian getting upset because everyone cuts in line, stewing over the fact that nobody respects the law, "the pure rule of the jungle with unconstrained might imposing their will and all others ignoring laws to behave as they see fit with no sense of morality or respect for right" yeah uh-huh
and again the tired argument that china is fucked up because people lack values and respect for the individual while he calls for more of that good free market AND sympathizes with xi jinping's authoritarian revival, taking to bloomberg to call for more aggressive neoliberal marketization and opening up of the chinese economy to western capital.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Wednesday, 18 July 2018 05:28 (seven months ago) Permalink

Wake me up when protests begin again

El Tomboto, Wednesday, 18 July 2018 05:36 (seven months ago) Permalink


Libertarianism isn’t a free for all or chaos dude

F# A# (∞), Wednesday, 18 July 2018 05:50 (seven months ago) Permalink

sure, i guess that's fair. but can't i appreciate christopher balding simmering with rage in a kfc line in shenzhen, reconsidering xi jinping's strike hard campaign against queue jumpers?

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Wednesday, 18 July 2018 07:25 (seven months ago) Permalink

balding is good on the chinese economy especially the writing on his own site, and he understands the subject more than most people. but the idea -- and i'm simplifying his take -- that economic restructuring to remove state control + protecting freedom of speech will eventually sort things out is not a good one.
in this piece in particular, though, he seems to write off economics entirely and seems to see problems ("complete and utter lack of respect for the individual or person" / "brutally chaotic because there are no rules" / "no concept of justice" / "no value system" / "no exogenously held right or wrong") as being result of some fallen culture (perhaps resulting from the excesses of maoism although he doesn't say that) + authoritarianism, rather than any economic factors (or not authoritarianism hand in hand with neoliberal economic policy) (and post-reform and opening china is at the 40 year mark while maoist china lasted 30 years, 20 years if you put it great leap forward and the hard push for collectivization to september of 76).

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Wednesday, 18 July 2018 07:34 (seven months ago) Permalink

two months pass...


F# A# (∞), Saturday, 22 September 2018 03:33 (four months ago) Permalink

This Fan Bingbing situation is really creepy. Has this happened to anyone else as high profile?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 24 September 2018 17:51 (four months ago) Permalink

maybe the closest is zhao benshan. he is/was arguably more famous or recognizable than fan bingbing, traded on his celebrity to build a business empire, net worth estimated in the hundreds of millions, but around 2014, after bo xilai (popular party chief of chongqing, mayor of dalian, etc. possible choice for politburo standing committee), a buddy of his, was sent to prison for life, rumors started to circulate, but whatever happened, he basically disappeared / completely blackballed. unlike fan bingbing he wasn't doing much in overseas media.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Monday, 24 September 2018 18:10 (four months ago) Permalink

Making the rounds everywhere today:: The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies

Elvis Telecom, Thursday, 4 October 2018 19:36 (four months ago) Permalink

the testers found a tiny microchip, not much bigger than a grain of rice


oder doch?, Thursday, 4 October 2018 23:05 (four months ago) Permalink

i hope everyone reads this piece on yan lianke

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Tuesday, 9 October 2018 10:39 (four months ago) Permalink

Thanks D

calstars, Tuesday, 9 October 2018 15:58 (four months ago) Permalink


Leon Carrotsky (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 9 October 2018 16:01 (four months ago) Permalink

that's a great piece

ogmor, Tuesday, 9 October 2018 18:05 (four months ago) Permalink

at the beijing book fair in august, it was interesting to see the combined jealousy (at yan's literary skill? but also his overseas buzz, the sweet deal he has with grove, the best treatment any chinese writer has gotten in translation) and let's say wariness with yan lianke, weird situation where literary heavyweights like jia pingwa struggles to get published in english and published in the right places (jia's translations have come out on a combination of academic presses, tax writeoff schemes that mostly public self-help books, and amazon's imprint), because it's a good look, politically, but yan lianke gets reviewed in prestigious places, books coming out on grove (without having to have his foreign publishing bankrolled by deals between publishers and chinese instuitions and/or chinese grant money), and he's politically doing decent (provincial writers' associations and literary federations-level okay) but he's also treading a very, very fine line and is probalby doing less well financially/politically than other heavyweights.
the foreign publishers (incl a guy from grove) that were there talked glowingly about yan lianke while translators, chinese publishers and writers looked uncomfortable.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Tuesday, 9 October 2018 19:20 (four months ago) Permalink

Haven't read anything by him, but will give it a go, some great quotes there that really ring true.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 9 October 2018 19:26 (four months ago) Permalink

dylannn where's your list of top ten cities in china?

, Saturday, 13 October 2018 12:22 (four months ago) Permalink

i dunno. don't see it on the rolling china threads. was it best ten cities to live in?

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Saturday, 13 October 2018 14:10 (four months ago) Permalink

something like that. dalian and kaifeng were both on it

, Sunday, 14 October 2018 00:10 (four months ago) Permalink

thoughts on a zhengzhou / kaifeng / luoyang trip? partially inspired by that yan lianke profile.

, Sunday, 14 October 2018 00:11 (four months ago) Permalink

Do it !

calstars, Sunday, 14 October 2018 00:19 (four months ago) Permalink

oh okay, based on that kaifeng thing i found the post: here
but that's 2009 dylannnnnnn, i can't stand by any place on that list.

kaifeng, especially, i've been back to kaifeng since then.
when i went the first time in 2006, the central city was mostly still there, lots of twisting lanes, everyone out in the street on a summer night, the famous night market still shabby and fun, the museum to judge bao and the area along the lake the only concession to the tourist trade. these places, though, you know especially kaifeng, with not much going on, the money flowing in and a mayor with a five year mandate to radically change things: a lot was torn down since 2006. kaifeng was one of those cities where they destroyed the old city to rebuild an old city more capable of housing retail and condos, bringing in tourists. this 2012 article says they planned on taking down 5.8 million square meters of old buildings in the next four years. they had to move a third of the city's population out to new suburbs. so. i mean, that's happened everywhere but the resulting tourist infrastructure that dominates the center of kaifeng is completely uninteresting to me, personally. partly out of spite, i hesitate to recommend anyone visit kaifeng.
luoyang is better off, maybe becuase it had more actual history to preserve and less to create, so less of the city is fucked up, good mix of redeveloped fake old and lively real old. also if you;ve never been to the longmen grottoes and especially if you can go outside of the summer busy season it's impressive, white horse temple there, a chance to see the villages out along the way. luoyang is good.
zhengzhou is something else entirely. it would make my places i'd like to live if i was 24 years old again list.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Sunday, 14 October 2018 04:39 (four months ago) Permalink

here is that list Living/Working in China

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Sunday, 14 October 2018 04:39 (four months ago) Permalink

of the cities listed only yantai is still an option.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Sunday, 14 October 2018 04:41 (four months ago) Permalink

Really agree about that dylannn, was so sad to see all the life sucked out of the cities I lived in, even in somewhere modern like Zhuhai there were barbecue restaurants all along the seafront which are all gone now as part of some "civilised city" campaign, anywhere with tourists is doomed it seems. The only places less touched by this stuff are my in-law's hometowns in rural Hubei, and that's because there is nothing to see there (except, of course, really good food) so hardly something to recommend. I usually advise people to go straight to Yunnan / Guangxi where at least they have amazing natural scenery and local culture, but even there places like Guilin and Yangshuo have gone the same way.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Sunday, 14 October 2018 07:20 (four months ago) Permalink

pretty much everywhere i've ever lived in china has been wiped out by redevelopment.
i married a girl from xuzhou, her parents lived in an old factory dormitory that had luxury-ish gated compounds go up around it and they waited for years to get the cash or the property to move out, ended up going to the edge of the city, dormitories taken down, and now even their new house is slated to be taken down to put up an extension of a mining college / residential complex, and that building has been standing only like... just over a decade? and that area around the dormitories, she remembers it as the very edge of the edge of the city, almost rural, and now it's just on the edge of the central city, but the city itself has expanded dozens of miles past there. first time i was there, in 2006, the center of town had a carrefour and two gaudy department stores GOLDEN EAGLE and GOLDEN something else, but the rest was mostly older neighborhoods, built in the 80s at the latest. all of that is gone, now, and there's a wal-mart and a bunch of new apartments, and they've remade the central square for the 5th time in the past two decades. the old neighborhood around the train station, between the river and the train station, it was one of the oldest in the city, narrow lanes, the last place with a community feeling after the area around ximatai was redeveloped, but it was allowed to decay when the high speed rail station went up far from the center of town—and this was never a particularly nice place, stunk of diesel all the time, and parts of it were slumlike, lot of rough shops popular with the men that came in from xinyi and fengxian or further to work in the city, cinder block shacks for the prostitutes and dog meat restaurants—and then it was piece by piece dismantled and everyone sent away... but all the places i remember going in the city are basically gone now, pretty much.
dalian, i lived way out past the airport in ganjingzi pao'ao, in an apartment built on a landfill, with nothing but gravel quarries past it. area still had a few red brick buildings with cultural revolution slogans stenciled on them. they started building big ol apartments nearby and next time i went back, almost everything i recognized had been taken down. same with datong, where the mayor geng yanbo had a plan to completely clear out the old city and put up a city wall and tear down the old temple complex to put up a copy of the old temple with more room for tourists. the situation in the old city was shit because nobody had ever given a fuck until it was time to absolutely clear it out: not much compensation, slow to come, sending people way out to the middle of nowhere in whatever NEW AREA whatever DEVELOPMENT ZONE neighborhoods.
just in beijing, i mean, that's an old story by now, from the first time i visited to the most recent time, unrecognizable, and even going back between march? and august, the lama temple area was being bricked up so fast that you could see things disappearing, that quickly.
get used to everything you love being wiped away and replaced with people and places that are less interesting.

some of it's normal and to be expected, since the housing that people are living in in some places is atrocious, but the compensation offered (and sometimes not paid)(and if you're renting in beijing and your place goes up for demolition, you've just got to move and the landlord walks away with the compensation) and the places that people are forced to relocate to are not very good.
beijing is a whole other story, currently being completely remade, evicting the undesirables, bricking up everything interesting. rest of the country, neoliberal restructuring of the real estate market is part of the problem, combined with the money to be made by local governments redeveloping land, no real protection for those that get turfed out, no effective social housing scheme, but before those get fixed, and this might be just as improbable, it would be great to have a legit local election for mayor and party secretary and head of the local public security bureau... maybe it would result in more farsighted development instead of mayors and party secretaries bouncing around trying to make their name, perhaps some accoutnability, possibly slightly less corruption, fewer guys like ji jianye (mayor of yangzhou and then nanjing who helped bulldoze many interesting features of the city while taking millions in bribes and getting sentenced to 15 years), geng yanbo (subject of the documentary the chinese mayor who displaced 500k residents bulldozed 200k homes in a failed attempt to turn datong into a tourist destination), zhang zhongsheng (vice-mayor in a shanxi backwater who got the death penalty for taking usd 100 mil+ in bribes), li lianyu, zhou liangen, chen baogen... names go on and on.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Sunday, 14 October 2018 12:24 (four months ago) Permalink

living in japan now, different situation for a couple reasons, not least of which is that japan gets fucked up by earthquakes, landslides and typhoons regularly, but pretty much everything not wrecked by bombing or previous chaos was torn down when the country boomed, led by the construction state, concrete dumped over most interesting stuff. especially all the stuff not old enough to have been preserved over time, like an old fishing village or whatever, old machiya houses, even gaudy bubble era stuff, torn down or set to be torn down. they're better at making tasteful fake old stuff here, though, and nobody complains about all the castles having been rebuilt from ferrocement in the mid-1980s.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Sunday, 14 October 2018 12:29 (four months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

“The Quad”: As the effort to contain China gathers momentum we may be hearing more about the entente btw US, India, Japan and Australia first conceived during Bush administration. https://t.co/UjasZavTzY

On the background check out:https://t.co/xrhmlpdrgH pic.twitter.com/GWdvzWNGBF

— Adam Tooze (@adam_tooze) November 18, 2018

calzino, Sunday, 18 November 2018 19:38 (three months ago) Permalink

Big article by Philip P Pan in the NY Times today - nothing really new here, but seems like a good overview, and looks like its the start of a series which could be better.


mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Sunday, 18 November 2018 21:22 (three months ago) Permalink

china, the new america


Beijing is heavily focused on its neighbors, lending them money for extensive road-building projects. Pakistan is running out of money to repay the loans, part of a broader pattern of what critics call China’s “debt trap” diplomacy.

China has a different view when it comes to labor and environmental strictures. To staff overseas projects, Chinese companies have flown in their own workers by the thousands, drawing complaints that they are doing little to create local jobs. Safety standards have been uneven.

And Beijing continues to export polluting technologies like coal-fired power plants, even as such projects have become unpopular in China.

Western governments and multinationals generally steer clear of politically volatile countries. The Chinese government has been less skittish, lending heavily to nations like Venezuela, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

But China’s lending is not usually largess. Countries that run into financial trouble must renegotiate their loans, putting them deeper into debt. Sometimes projects are left in limbo.

Ecuador spent over $1 billion to prepare a site for a $12 billion Chinese refinery that was supposed to be finished in 2013. It’s stalled.

F# A# (∞), Wednesday, 21 November 2018 18:40 (two months ago) Permalink

china's at it again


He’s choice to edit the gene called CCR5 could prove controversial as well. People without working copies of the gene are believed to be immune or highly resistant to infection by HIV. In order to mimic the same result in embryos, however, He’s team has been using CRISPR to mutate otherwise normal embryos to damage the CCR5 gene.

The attempt to create children protected from HIV also falls into an ethical gray zone between treatment and enhancement. That is because the procedure does not appear to cure any disease or disorder in the embryo, but instead attempts to create a health advantage, much as a vaccine protects against chicken pox.

For the HIV study, doctors and AIDS groups recruited Chinese couples in which the man was HIV positive. The infection has been a growing problem in China.


Behind the Chinese trial also lies some bold thinking about how evolution can be shaped by science. While the natural mutation that disables CCR5 is relatively common in parts of Northern Europe, it is not found in China. The distribution of the genetic trait around the world—in some populations but not in others—highlights how genetic engineering might be used to pick the most useful inventions discovered by evolution over the eons in different locations and bring them together in tomorrow’s children.

Such thinking could, in the future, yield people who have only the luckiest genes and never suffer Alzheimer’s, heart disease, or certain infections.

The text of an academic website that He maintains shows that he sees the technology in the same historic, and transformative, terms. “For billions of years, life progressed according to Darwin’s theory of evolution,” it states. More recently, industrialization has changed the environment in radical ways posing a “great challenge” that humanity can meet with “powerful tools to control evolution.”

It concludes: “By correcting the disease genes … we humans can better live in the fast-changing environment.”

F# A# (∞), Monday, 26 November 2018 17:39 (two months ago) Permalink

allegedly at it.

I have measured out my life in coffee shop loyalty cards (silby), Monday, 26 November 2018 17:45 (two months ago) Permalink

there is at least one confirmed couple who is going through with the birth of genetically modified sisters

F# A# (∞), Monday, 26 November 2018 18:00 (two months ago) Permalink

Some high-quality content here from Global Times, enjoy!


mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Saturday, 8 December 2018 11:23 (two months ago) Permalink

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