Who’s Afraid of Malala: “I Am Malala” and China’s Nobel Prize Complex

Malala Yousafzai will be speaking today in Oslo at the official ceremony where she will be awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, together with Indian children's rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. Like people all over the world, people in Taiwan were eagerly reading her story, I am Malala, a year ago. In Chinese (我是马拉拉), if they … Continue reading Who’s Afraid of Malala: “I Am Malala” and China’s Nobel Prize Complex

“Most Influential” Chinese Literature in Translation: 2014 Ranking by International Library Purchases

A list of this year’s 20 so-called “most influential” Chinese literary works in translation has been published by Xi’an Daily (西安日报), and widely republished on the Chinese Internet. What follows are a few factoids I’ve gleaned from this version (影响力最大) at Chinanews.com. The full top 20 for 2014 can be found in Chinese here. The … Continue reading “Most Influential” Chinese Literature in Translation: 2014 Ranking by International Library Purchases

Writers React to Comrade Xi Jinping’s Foray into Literary Criticism

It has taken a bit of time, but Chinese authors have begun to publicize their reaction to Xi Jinping’s speech at the Beijing Oct 15 Forum on Literature and Art Work. While slavish praise has been appropriately abundant, a handful of Art Workers do not appear to be singing in unison. We’ll skip the former … Continue reading Writers React to Comrade Xi Jinping’s Foray into Literary Criticism

Thoreau, Civil Disobedience and Chatting with Guóbǎo

Murong Xuecun, author of Leave Me Alone Tonight, Chengdu, was in Australia when several intellectuals and activists got together in Beijing this year to commemorate the anniversary of the 1989 "June 4th Incident." Several of those who were there have since been arrested, such as civil rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强), and in order to call … Continue reading Thoreau, Civil Disobedience and Chatting with Guóbǎo

Osnos, Vogel and China Censorship Percentage Stats

In what a publicist would judge a savvy approach to pre-launch marketing of one’s book, Evan Osnos recently wrote a much-discussed NY Times Op-ed in which he explained why he won’t be releasing his new Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China in Chinese in the People’s Republic any time … Continue reading Osnos, Vogel and China Censorship Percentage Stats

Chinese Authors in Turkish: Obligatory Pretty Face, Nobel Stamp of Approval

Since I arrived in Turkey in mid-June 2013 and resided in Ankara, Antalya and now Istanbul, I’ve seen 3—yes, 3—contemporary novels by Chinese authors in Turkish translation on bookstore shelves. Mind you, 2 of them I saw just a few weeks ago . . . and I go book-shopping at least once a week. They … Continue reading Chinese Authors in Turkish: Obligatory Pretty Face, Nobel Stamp of Approval

“Empresses in the Palace”: Wrong Message for Guileless Western Audience?

Various media including The China Daily (Bring Asian Magic to US) have reported the rumor—as yet unconfirmed---that China’s crowd-pleasing 76-part TV series Empresses in the Palace (甄嬛传) may soon be recut and dubbed in English for re-broadcast by a US firm. The TV adaptation of the historical novel of the same name depicts the intrigue … Continue reading “Empresses in the Palace”: Wrong Message for Guileless Western Audience?

African Literature in China: Still Stuck on “Things Fall Apart”?

China’s 21-century investment in Africa is massive, multifaceted and a cause of anxiety for leaders in Washington, London, Paris and among the continent’s other former colonial masters, as well as New Delhi. But China is not just busy building airports and railways in Africa, or inking deals to monopolize the exploitation and export of valuable minerals and … Continue reading African Literature in China: Still Stuck on “Things Fall Apart”?

“Mosuo Culture Bonfire Parties”: Hamming it up for the Tourists, Attendance Required

Canada's Globe and Mail recently ran a piece on the impact of modernity and tourism on the Mosuo (摩梭族), a matriarchal tribe that resides around Yunnan's Luguhu Lake (泸沽湖). In China, a Matriarchy under Threat has now been translated, edited and published as 《云南摩梭人遭遇现代化挑战》in the August 17, 2011 edition of Cankao Xiaoxi (参考消息). Cankao is a respected … Continue reading “Mosuo Culture Bonfire Parties”: Hamming it up for the Tourists, Attendance Required

Hakka and Minnan “tulou”: Former Residents Emigrate, Opt for Indoor Plumbing

The New York Times has just published Monuments to Clan Life Are Losing their Appeal, a marvelous look at the state of tulou (土楼) built by Hakka and Minnan in Fujian. These communal structures, usually but not always round, housed dozens of families from the same clan: Yongding, China---The gargantuan buildings are so iconic that … Continue reading Hakka and Minnan “tulou”: Former Residents Emigrate, Opt for Indoor Plumbing