First enfeoffed by Qing Emperor Qianlong in 1758, this Uyghur dynasty in northeastern Xinjiang eventually boasted a line of eleven monarchs, popularly known as the “King of Kuqa” (库车王). Kuqa was an ancient Buddhist kingdom located on the branch of the Silk Road that ran along the northern edge of the Taklamakan Desert, but to … Continue reading Last King of Kuqa: Uyghur Author Patigül Launches her Xinjiang Historical Novel
As part of the global One Belt, One Road publicity campaign, China's media is publishing a bevy of articles introducing major oasis cities along the ancient Silk Road, including this one focusing on Xinjiang's Aksu (一带一路上的阿克苏: 新型全球化的城市样本). Here's a pic from the article, showing modern-day Aksu residents dancing.
Geremie Barmé takes a look at the recent decision of Cambridge University Press to reinstate content deleted from the online version of its China Quarterly available in China: Chinese censorship has come a long way. During his rule in the second century B.C.E., the First Emperor 秦始皇 of a unified China, Ying Zheng 嬴政, famously quashed … Continue reading Burn the books and bury the scholars! 焚書坑儒!
Writes Thomas Bird from Kenya (Lunatic Express), where the China-built new Nairobi-to-Mombasa railway looks set to render the Victorian-era line redundant: “Belt and Road Cooperation for Common Promutual Benefit,” proclaims a large street sign suspended above Beijing’s ever-congested second ring road. China is investing massively in its 21st-century reimagining of the Silk Roads, even if the … Continue reading One Last Ride aboard Kenya’s “Lunatic Express”
According to a July 28, 2017 report by Radio Free Asia (Uyhgur Language): In late June, the Education Department in Xinjiang’s Hotan (in Chinese, Hetian) prefecture issued a five-point directive outlawing the use of Uyghur at schools in favor of Mandarin Chinese “in order to strengthen elementary and middle/high school bilingual education.” Under the directive … Continue reading Xinjiang’s Hotian Education Department Issues Directive Limiting Use of Uyghur in Schools
We all know the story of the small child who piped up “the emperor has no clothes” while everybody was pretending to admire the despot parading through the streets. This child is analogous to those who, in the same spirit of honesty, have come out to tell the truth in today’s Turkey. The truth-tellers are … Continue reading “The Sultan Has No Clothes”: Press Freedom on Trial in Turkey
Event: 23rd International Bayburt Dede Korkut Culture and Art Festival Date: July 14-16, 2017 Venue: Bayburt, Bayburt Province, Turkey (various sites) Notes: The Book of Dede Korkut (Dede Korkut Hikâyeleri) is the most famous among the epic stories --- dastan --- of the Oghuz Turks. The character Dede Korkut, i.e. "Grandfather Korkut", was a widely … Continue reading Event: Bayburt Turkey July 14-16 (2017), Dede Korkut Festival
In Amid Turkey’s Purge, a Renewed Attack on Kurdish Culture, Patrick Kingsley reports from Diyarbakir: Across southeast Turkey, where most people are Kurdish, Mr. Erdogan’s government fired over 80 elected mayors and replaced them with state-appointed trustees. Here in Diyarbakir, the spiritual capital of Turkish Kurdistan, the trustee not only fired most of the city’s … Continue reading Turkey’s Purge: Kurdish Suffer along with Suspected Gülenists
Chimamanda Adichie is hot. Not just in her homeland Nigeria, and the US where she spends much of her time nowadays, but in China too. Witness the fact that four of her works have been translated into Chinese, including her moving portrayal of the Biafran war, Half of a Yellow Sun (半轮黄日), The Thing Around … Continue reading Feminist: A Dirty Word in Xi Jinping’s China?
In a discussion of Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing’s The Mushroom at the End of the World — about Southeast Asian refugee immigrants and white Vietnam War vets picking mushrooms in Oregon — Darren Byler is struck by the way the mushroom pickers speak of freedom. He writes: In a corner of China, several thousand kilometers from … Continue reading The Xinjiang Gold Rush, Uyghur Scavengers and a Kind of Freedom