“Hegemonic Mindset” Hampering Recognition of Manchu Contribution to China’s Literature

Once in a blue moon I come across a well-argued scholarly essay which openly criticizes mainstream thinking about ethnic literature in New China. 不在场的在场:中国少数民族文学的处境 (Presence of Absence: Situation of China’s Ethnic Minority Language Literature) by Li Xiaofeng (李晓峰) is an outstanding example. He cites the words of author He Qifang (何其芳), and adds that precious little has … Continue reading “Hegemonic Mindset” Hampering Recognition of Manchu Contribution to China’s Literature

Qing Dynasty Translations of Han Classics into Various Languages of China

The four classics of Chinese vernacular literature during the Ming and Qing Dynasties — Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Water Margin, Journey to the West and Dream of the Red Chamber — were all more or less fully translated into Manchu under the Qing, writes Yiming Abula (伊明·阿布拉) in Minority Translators Journal (民族翻译). Translations into … Continue reading Qing Dynasty Translations of Han Classics into Various Languages of China

11th-Century Turkic Classic “Kutadgu Bilig” Recited in Chinese at the Great Hall of the People

Wish I could have been there along with former Minister of Culture Wang Meng — a Han who spent part of the Cultural Revolution in Ili laboring among Uyghurs — and central government and Xinjiang dignitaries. I was briefly in Beijing but unaware of the event: On January 18, a new Chinese rendition of the … Continue reading 11th-Century Turkic Classic “Kutadgu Bilig” Recited in Chinese at the Great Hall of the People

Launched: Collection of Contemporary Kazakh Poetry & Fiction in Chinese Translation

Readers can now purchase the 374-page volume featuring 41 pieces of fiction, most translated from the original Kazakh into Chinese (中国当代少数民族文学翻译作品选萃 - 哈萨克族卷). This is part of the Chinese government’s official translation project (“民译汉”), initiated in 2013, which aims to make writing by ethnic minority writers available to Chinese readers nationwide. This represents a change … Continue reading Launched: Collection of Contemporary Kazakh Poetry & Fiction in Chinese Translation

“Life of a Mimic”: Xinjiang Writer Addresses Sensitive Question of Self-identity

The latest session of the Lu Xun Literary Institute’s training in creative writing for minority writers recently convened (第15 期少数民族创作培训), and I found myself sifting through the names of the trainees. That’s because participation is a milestone of sorts that presages future stardom: You join the state-run China Writers Association, get published in a prestigious … Continue reading “Life of a Mimic”: Xinjiang Writer Addresses Sensitive Question of Self-identity

Historian Queries: What Is a ‘Uyghur’?

The LA Review of Books has published an extract of the newly published Sacred Routes of Uyghur History by Professor Rian Thum, entitled What Is a Uyghur? In the book, Thum "argues that the Uyghurs - and their place in China today - can only be understood in the light of longstanding traditions of local … Continue reading Historian Queries: What Is a ‘Uyghur’?

Cultivating Uyghur Writers and Translators

As I’ve reported before (Sessions), the editors at China’s very official Nationalities Literature Magazine (民族文学), which appears in 5 languages plus Mandarin, are heading up a nationwide series of “rewriting/editing training courses” (改稿班). The latest took place in Urumqi in late September, and brought together more than 30 Uyghur writers and their translators, along with editors … Continue reading Cultivating Uyghur Writers and Translators

Backgrounder: Modern Ningxia Writers

Hui author Li Jinxiang (李进祥), born in the 1960s, recently introduced Ningxia writers of fiction and poetry in an article entitled 纯净朴诚的宁夏少数民族文学.  I haven’t read most of these authors and hope to write about them in detail in the future, but for now, I’ll just cite some authors and works for reference. Major Ningxia-based writers since … Continue reading Backgrounder: Modern Ningxia Writers

“Daur Epic Narratives”: New Approach Aims to Capture Original Daur Flavor

A few years ago, oral epics of non-Han peoples in China — if ever published — tended to be presented in Chinese (translation). To the uninitiated, this implied that these tales existed just in Chinese. More recently, bilingual versions have occasionally appeared, i.e., with the original language printed in IPA or a script familiar only … Continue reading “Daur Epic Narratives”: New Approach Aims to Capture Original Daur Flavor

Inner Mongolia: Tardy Legal Move to Protect Oroqen Culture it Once Suppressed

Inner Mongolia has just passed a law aimed at protecting the culture of the Elunchun (鄂伦春), also known as the Oroqen, according to an item republished at Chinawriter.com.cn (鄂伦春传统文化). Like the Evenki portrayed in Chi Zijian’s Last Quarter of the Moon, the Oroqen speak a Tungusic tongue, and their population has markedly declined since the … Continue reading Inner Mongolia: Tardy Legal Move to Protect Oroqen Culture it Once Suppressed