Synopsis: Ran Ping’s “Legend of Mongolia”

Legend of Mongolia (蒙古往事) is a fictionalized biography of Genghis Khan, the leader who united the fiercely independent tribes known today as the Mongols, thanks to his iron resolve, military savvy, shrewd alliances, and willingness to shed blood. Written mainly in Chinese prose, the book is peppered with original poems by the author, Mongolian words, … Continue reading Synopsis: Ran Ping’s “Legend of Mongolia”

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

Phags-pa Script: Tibetan Links to Kublai Khan’s Unified Script for his Empire

A volume devoted to a Yuan Dynasty script inspired by written Tibetan, Collection of Phags-pa Inscriptions and Annotations (八思巴文碑刻文物集释), will soon be launched. Editor Cai Meibiao (蔡美彪) says the book gathers some 60 years of scholarship. Chinanews.com has published interviews with two scholars who have spent years studying the script. Kublai Khan commissioned the creation … Continue reading Phags-pa Script: Tibetan Links to Kublai Khan’s Unified Script for his Empire

Naxi Script Resource Center: One-stop Resource for Naxi Dongba Script Fans

This new blog is hosted by Duncan Poupard, who studied Chinese and Tibetan at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, and has studied the Naxi pictographic script at the Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences (Lijiang). His mission: This site is designed to be an accessible, one-stop resource and blog for those who wish … Continue reading Naxi Script Resource Center: One-stop Resource for Naxi Dongba Script Fans

Fine-tuning the Spin: Xinjiang’s Awkward Not-so-Chinese Mummies

Uh-oh. Looks like those suspiciously Caucasian mummies from Xinjiang are making trouble again. Or so says an AP report in early January 2011: PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A museum just days away from opening a long-awaited exhibit including two mummies and other historical artifacts from China is gutting the display of all objects at the request … Continue reading Fine-tuning the Spin: Xinjiang’s Awkward Not-so-Chinese Mummies

African Lit in Chinese Translation: Still Stuck on “Things Fall Apart”?

China’s 21-century investment in Africa is massive, multifaceted and a cause for anxiety to 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 … Continue reading African Lit in Chinese Translation: Still Stuck on “Things Fall Apart”?

“Canticle to the Land:” Named One of Top Ten Books of the Year by “China Reading Weekly”

The last novel in Fan Wen's Yunnan-Tibetan trilogy, Canticle to the Land (大地雅歌), has been designated as one of the top ten Chinese books published in 2010 by China Reading Weekly (中华读书报), an influential B2B publication serving China's publishing industry. To learn more about this novel, visit: The Creation Story: An English-language excerpt from Canticle to … Continue reading “Canticle to the Land:” Named One of Top Ten Books of the Year by “China Reading Weekly”

La langue Shui: Objet de recherche

D'après l'edition française du quotidien China Daily (2010.12.24): Les Shui constituent une petite minorité ethnique des 400 mille habitants dans la province du Guizhou, dans le Sud-ouest de la Chine. Comme bon nombre des 55 autres ethnies de la Chine, les Shui ont un passé très ancien et mystérieux. On pense que les ancêtres des … Continue reading La langue Shui: Objet de recherche

“Chinese Book Publishing Industry Liberalizes”: But Where are Pederasty, Passion and the Dalai Lama?

It's always good fun to observe how the Chinese media exercises censorship even as it seeks to use the foreign press to trumpet the PRC's modernity and openness. An article in today's Cankao Xiaoxi (参考消息), China's Book Publishing Industry Gradually Liberalizes (中国图书产业逐渐变的开放), is a marvelous case in point. It is an edited translation of an … Continue reading “Chinese Book Publishing Industry Liberalizes”: But Where are Pederasty, Passion and the Dalai Lama?

The Unsavory Side of Translated Fiction Publishing in China

In Book Publishers Scramble for Chinese Readers at the NY Times today, one China publisher in particular---Horizon Media---is featured as particularly savvy in recognizing early on the huge demand of Chinese readers for fiction from the West, and for picking winners that it brought to the market efficiently: Wang Ling, Horizon’s chief literature editor, cites as … Continue reading The Unsavory Side of Translated Fiction Publishing in China