April 2016: Altaic Storytelling Newsbriefs

As of May 1, 2016, the controversial, so-called Biànmín Liánxì Kǎ (便民联系卡) will cease to be in use in Xinjiang, according to the authorities (不再使用).  The card (pictured here), which lists contact info for the card-holder’s hometown authorities, was supposedly intended to facilitate a variety of services when the Xinjiang resident was away from his or her official domicile, e.g., as a reliable ID when checking into a hotel. In practice, it took on the functions of something closer to an internal passport; without it, non-Han citizens in particular found it increasingly difficult to travel between cities (there are now frequent checkpoints), and there is anecdotal evidence that businesspeople could not obtain small loans without it. The news item states that the card — issued only with the approval of local authorities, and mocked by some Uyghur as “Good Citizen ID” (良民证) — came into circulation in May 2014.

An Evenki love story that spans the 1900-1950 period will launch at the end of April, according to an item on the China Writers Association web site that I’ve summarized in Reclaiming Evenki Narrative. Entitled 驯鹿角上的色带 (lit., colored ribbon on the reindeer’s horns), the novel is written by a 74-year-old woman named Balajieyi (芭拉杰依) whose mother was the Aoluguya Evenki’s last practicing shaman.

In 满语传承, Qian Lihua profiles two people actively promoting the endangered Manchu language: Singer 阿克善 (Akxan), who began studying Manchu and researching traditional Manchu music over a decade ago and writes lyrics in the language. He is currently on tour with his band performing Manchu songs (通古斯的声音 – – 望祭). The other is 哥特布, founder of 满语部落 (Manchu Tribe) that has produced 90 lessons in the language, and regularly broadcasts them via Chinese WeChat and QQ.

In 回归民间才有活力, Huang Shiyuan reports on the status of various projects in Xinjiang that aim to protect and rejuvenate traditions associated with the Mongolian Jangar Epic (江格尔史诗). They include a week of performances held annually at a sacred “ao’bao” (敖包, a mound-shaped sacrificial alter) in Boertala Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture (新疆博尔塔拉蒙古自治州精河县), and training centers for Mongolian long-song (蒙古长调) that are based at various middle schools in Xinjiang.

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