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 (four 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 (four 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 (four years ago) Permalink


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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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


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


Who wants to go with me

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

always appreciate your links, thanks

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

Nice it is a noize trip

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

how do you get to there

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

Start digging s tunnel

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


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

pls somebody email that to noah feldman

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

is ed hardy a thing in china

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

No idea

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

two weeks pass...


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

potpourri, snack, or both?

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

Chinese flower/herbal tea is the best fuiud

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


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

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

etc, Monday, 1 June 2015 15:06 (four years 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 (eight 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 (eight months ago) Permalink

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

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

something like that. dalian and kaifeng were both on it

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

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

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

Do it !

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

here is that list Living/Working in China

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

of the cities listed only yantai is still an option.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Sunday, 14 October 2018 04:41 (eight 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 (eight 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 (eight 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 (eight 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 (seven 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 (seven 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 (six 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 (six months ago) Permalink

allegedly at it.

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

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


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

two months pass...

okay friends that know something about how intelligence services operate
not knowing anything, i start to wonder, what are the odds that spavor in particular, who met kim jong un and was deep with the dprk, wasn't "debrief" by csis or the cia / wasn't an "asset" (quotes around words i'm not sure i know the full meaning of here)

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Tuesday, 5 March 2019 02:33 (three months ago) Permalink

on the other hand, i know "stealing national secrets" is an easy enough charge for china to make over some weak evidence, and you could make it on just about anyone that publishes work about the country

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Tuesday, 5 March 2019 02:40 (three months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Facial recognition in China: when you ignore traffic signals, your face will be displayed with warning ⚠️ pic.twitter.com/it2VM1StQq

— Carl Zha (@CarlZha) March 20, 2019

easy ways to lose social credit.

calzino, Wednesday, 20 March 2019 20:02 (two months ago) Permalink

One of my least favourite bits of living in China was the utter contempt for pedestrians.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Wednesday, 20 March 2019 20:34 (two months ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

One of my least favourite bits of living in China was the utter contempt for pedestrians.

In Wuhan, at least, pedestrians beg for contempt.

cakelou, Thursday, 11 April 2019 13:07 (two months ago) Permalink

I got married in Wuhan, first three things to happen to me when I arrived there:

1. I couldn't find my train ticket and had to be smuggled out of the station through a secret door as they wouldn't let me leave without it
2. We stood in the rain trying to get a taxi, but every time we hailed one someone else jumped in first in the five seconds it took to pick up our bags
3. The taxi we eventually got tried to rip us off.

They still have the best breakfasts in China, I'll give them that.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Thursday, 11 April 2019 13:13 (two months ago) Permalink

What are Chinese breakfasts like?

☮ (peace, man), Thursday, 11 April 2019 13:26 (two months ago) Permalink

Depends where you are. In Wuhan there are "hot dry noodles" with sesame and chilli sauce, doupi which is sticky rice with a tofu skin and these savoury donuts, all of these things are 10/10. In the north they have long fried dough sticks and soymilk, in the north and in the east there are various kinds of steamed or fried buns, some of which are also excellent, worst is probably Guangdong where they have boring noodles, so better to wait a couple of hours and do dimsum instead. Everywhere seems to have tea eggs. Quite often people will tell you they had a "western breakfast" which is an abomination featuring a slice of untoasted bread with no toppings and a carton of uht milk.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Thursday, 11 April 2019 15:30 (two months ago) Permalink

Jack Ma = one of the most evil fuckers in the world


mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 16 April 2019 21:34 (two months ago) Permalink

one month passes...


this piece on the significance of tiananmen was interesting to me, an ignoramus

ogmor, Wednesday, 5 June 2019 11:59 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Re: Tiananmen, this photographers insta account has some astounding original photos: https://instagram.com/gregforaday
(This is also the dude who was involved with putting together the City of Darkness book about Kowloon)

calstars, Wednesday, 5 June 2019 12:08 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Thanks for linking to that story Ogmor, fascinating read. (and thanks to cals and camarade for the photos!)

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Wednesday, 5 June 2019 15:39 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Anyone else following today's events in Hong Kong?

On one hand I'm really glad that they've shown the Chinese govt that they won't be a pushover

On the other, worried about what might happen next

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Wednesday, 12 June 2019 12:33 (one week ago) Permalink

I've just been following it loosely through WS reports. God knows what is coming next. I'm sure they don't want tiananmen 2 on their hands but also they don't seem like they'd maintain a "gently gently" approach, well lol plastic bullets rather than tanks. It was weird listening to someone saying: as we were a UK colony for over a century London should be putting diplomatic pressure on the CCP. They'll be lucky with this current shower and the mess they are in, not that it would make a difference.

calzino, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 12:50 (one week ago) Permalink

So true, comrade Lam. We love all our children dearly, but sometimes we have to ruthlessly suppress them with military force for their own good. https://t.co/JK5Leg0Mia

— The Relevant Organs (@relevantorgans) June 12, 2019

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Wednesday, 12 June 2019 18:19 (one week ago) Permalink

the pics of the 2 million people protest are astonishing. The CCP issuing an apology seems quite.. unexpected. Some knobhead in the Torygraph seems to think they had regular elections under British rule after spotting a protester with a union jack. Well they certainly didn't according to the Chinese expat I follow on twitter.

calzino, Monday, 17 June 2019 08:56 (two days ago) Permalink

it's not the ccp issuing the apology though, it's carrie lam (not a party member) and the hk government, and this is still one country two systems. without knowing that much, if forced to describe the situation pre 1997, i'd say: there was never universal suffrage in hong kong, but it loosened up with demands from citizens and also the british governors in the 80s and 90s especially when they knew 97 was coming up but at the same time prc meddling also increased.

i guess this is so huge because 1) 2003, 2005, then 2014 umbrella protests barely slowed the integration and it's clear it's coming down to the wire, 2) unlike the battle of hk politics which would be fine for many or not change their situation much, you have like a threat to every any segment of society, so feminist activists or government critics or labor organizers but also bankers and anyone that's moving cash through hk, so all bets are off now, 3) the prc even since 2014 has become even more fucked up, 4) hk is fucked up in lots of other ways not necessarily connected to prc integration that are getting worse.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Monday, 17 June 2019 11:19 (two days ago) Permalink

I heard someone from HK saying on WS that half of their problems are the evil oligarchs within.

calzino, Monday, 17 June 2019 11:27 (two days ago) Permalink

yeah agrees with my limited understanding of hong kong politics. it's guess it's easier to get people out in the streets when 20% and climbing are below the poverty line, longest working hours, can't take part in the benefits of economic growth, zero hope of ever buying a house or having a life there, and i think a lot of that resentment is channeled into anti prc stuff with good reason (or always sold in western media as purely a democracy movement?)

shit i mean i said it's not carrie lam apologizing but i guess xi jinping has to have approved it or given his blessing or maybe even pushed her. that border is very thin and you've got tens of millions of migrant workers and active labor activists ready to go across guangdong and up the coast.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Monday, 17 June 2019 11:43 (two days ago) Permalink

I’m in Central, Hong Kong, near the site of the recent protests against the China extradition bill. I want to show you a few things that might give us hints about where the protests are coming from. Follow this thread for a quick walking tour!

— Alan Wong (@alanwongw) June 16, 2019

thread here about the pro-democracy movements roots as a reaction to tiananmen, but without giving you much of a clue about the internal social ills of HK though. But i think this is pretty much how western media are portraying it as well.

calzino, Monday, 17 June 2019 12:19 (two days ago) Permalink

temporarily changing the topic


i don't like liu cixin much, he's a reactionary and a bad writer, but this is a very good piece by jiayang fan who wrote the yan lianke piece i linked upthread, sensitive portrait and a good summing up of his work and philosophy.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Monday, 17 June 2019 15:17 (two days ago) Permalink

Hey, this is a total n00b request but a friend of mine is reading the Three Body Problem and is amazed at how much anger there is at the Cultural Revolution in it, considering the book has a good standing in China - I'm aware times have moved on and etc. but what's the general take wrt that period from official sources?

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 19 June 2019 09:40 (ten hours ago) Permalink

couldn't answer that at all but a really brutal, first hand account of the murderous chaos of that era in the Daoxian region is Tan Hecheng's The Killing Wind. Would be also be interested if that is banned in China, cos it doesn't pull any punches.

calzino, Wednesday, 19 June 2019 09:53 (nine hours ago) Permalink

many people still look back fondly/ambivalently/indifferent on the cultural revolution, and not only left maoists (a mostly powerless far left faction associated with the utopia group, other old men, a few young folks active on boards like redchinacn, while the new left, who are now completely sidelined, mostly tried to distance themselves from ultraleftism, and you have guys like bo xilai, who took over chongqing and had people sing cultural revolution anthems, but even he was not really into the bombard the headquarters rhetoric), especially since many people that benefited from the period haven't been #1 in line to enjoy the benefits of market reforms.

but official stance since the 80s has been: that was a very bad time, when factions within the party (blame is mostly shifted away from the party itself to those renegades, like the gang of four, lin biao, chen boda, kang sheng, etc.) made terrible errors that led to a decade of turbulence. (some western journalists covering china have taken to calling the prc under xi jinping a new cultural revolution but that's a bad comparison for a number of reasons—it's viewed as a turbulent wild time in china, rather than a period of authoritarianism.)

i'm not really familiar with what liu cixin has written about the cultural revolution, but contrasting the leftwing madness of the 60s and 70s with the steady hand on the rudder authoritarianism and entrepreneurial socialist harmony of the present is just fine. it would definitely be more unusual if he had written in praise of the period. also these books were all written in the mid-2000s a relative golden age for writers and academics, before the political climate turned chillier post xi jinping accession in 2012. it's definitely not completely forbidden to criticize the cultural revolution now, but i can see an editor now pushing for anything that could be construed as criticism of the party to be cut.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Wednesday, 19 June 2019 10:18 (nine hours ago) Permalink

https://chinachannel.org/2019/05/27/empires-dust/ i recently reviewed a book by jiang zilong that's like important and notable, required reading for bureaucrats at one time (but also a product of the relative golden age of the late 90s and 2000s), and sort of sums up the post 80s take, which is: ultraleftism was bad but possibly a necessary stage of development, and we've perfected things now, over time, in the forms of socialist market economy, reform and opening, scientific outlook on development, harmonious society, xi jinping thought on socialism with chinese characteristics for a new era.

also like the cultural revolution only really raged for 5 years, but it's been 40 years since reform and opening, so like it always looms large in western imagination of china (and maybe also for elite liberal intellectuals and steady hand authoritarians) but you know it's important and it was wild but misunderstood and maybe not that important to understanding the country.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Wednesday, 19 June 2019 10:27 (nine hours ago) Permalink

my nightmarish memory of the Tan Hecheng cultural revolution book is of groups of quite ordinary people as opposed to the top cadre people who caused lots of the trouble during the GLF, plotting in smoky working men's club type dives who they've decided was a class enemy and was going to get it. Which was in many cases just old score settling of course. I wimped out half way through it, the last straw was the description of people being covered with burning lime whilst still alive in pits. It was too depressing for me at the time.

calzino, Wednesday, 19 June 2019 10:51 (eight hours ago) Permalink

i never got through that tan hecheng book either. that kind of situation is one of those things i think is misunderstood or maybe it's better to say nobody really knows about it, even in china. that kind of specific stuff, you can't really talk about it, even if it wasn't really errors of the party, when you get right down to it. daoxian which tan hecheng writes about was particularly bad, but it was almost like the end of, like, a century of violence and despair. the countryside is where things got scary for a few years, especially in the south. you've got limited leadership, all those clan and family relationships far more important, nobody around to put a stop to it or really direct it, coming out of a century of no strong central or local government. roughly a century, pick a date in the 1860s to the late 1960s and that covered the taiping rebellion, panthay rebellion, nian rebellion, countless other local rebellions, a couple bubonic plague pandemics to go along with the regular epidemics, massive floods, extensive and longlasting famine, the entire country divided up by warlords, a civil war, multiple revolutions, over the 18th century a crazy jump in population that put stress on local government and everything else, and even when things weren't completely out of control, despite the view of a peaceful imperial china, things were bleak and violent, with the qing government ruling through torture, execution and their own mass movements. so it was basically just tossing gasoline again on family rivalries and feuds dating back decades or centuries, not really an organized massacre of anyone in the countryside but just a hatfield-mccoy war nightmare purge situation.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Wednesday, 19 June 2019 11:40 (eight hours ago) Permalink

I liked Stephen R Platt's Taiping Civil War book- not to make light of the all the mass human suffering and death (maybe not too soon!)- but some of the outlandish actors involved from all sides are very interesting to say the least. Hitler only got rejected from the Vienna art school once, poor Hong failed the excruciating imperial exam 3 times! I still haven't got around to his opium wars book Imperial Twilight, but it is on the kindle and seems well reviewed.

calzino, Wednesday, 19 June 2019 15:37 (four hours ago) Permalink

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