Holden Caulfield and the Chinese Shakespeare Scholar

"Chinese youth, growing up in our Socialist Motherland and benefiting from the enthusiastic care and concern of organizations such as the communist Party, Youth League and Young Pioneers, possess high-minded Communist ideals, and a rich, colorful and dynamic intellectual life. Therefore, reading a book like Catcher in the Rye, and comparing one's own fortunate living … Continue reading Holden Caulfield and the Chinese Shakespeare Scholar

Ethnic China Chic: “Minority” Theme Parks in the Middle Kingdom

The instant I saw the New York Times' piece on China's "minority theme parks"---Disneyland-like affairs highlighting the culture of China's 55 "ethnic minorities"---I  knew it would soon appear in the Chinese press. But how would it be reshaped to render it politically correct for the masses, I wondered? Quite differently than I expected, frankly. The report has … Continue reading Ethnic China Chic: “Minority” Theme Parks in the Middle Kingdom

Newsweek via Cankao Xiaoxi: The Tibetans Have Never Had it So Good

In the run-up to Obama's White House meeting with the Dalai Lama, Isaac Stone Fish (Newsweek's Beijing correspondent) penned an interesting piece that argues that China's rule has indeed brought indisputable benefits to the Tibetans. It's all part of a grand "bargain": It's true that, so far, all the money has failed to buy Tibetan … Continue reading Newsweek via Cankao Xiaoxi: The Tibetans Have Never Had it So Good

Stephanie Meyer Red-hot in China: Could it be the Footnotes?

As of early 2010, Meyer's entire Twilight series---all four translated volumes---now rank among the "Top Ten Fiction Best Sellers" in mainland China. In Taiwan, they took the top four slots on the island's list of best-selling fiction. What's driving the sales: A newly acquired national passion for vampire romance? The image of the photogenic female … Continue reading Stephanie Meyer Red-hot in China: Could it be the Footnotes?

“King Gesar” Book Review: Epic Ballad Turned Novel Lacks Poetry

Writes David Yao (姚达兑) in a review of the new best-seller, King Gesar (格萨尔王), by Alai (阿来): . . . the tale of King Gesar is recited by [the roaming bard] Jin Mei, while the entire novel is recited by Alai; King Gesar recounts his world-weariness and confusion to Jin Mei, while the novelist makes use … Continue reading “King Gesar” Book Review: Epic Ballad Turned Novel Lacks Poetry

Hotter than Kimchee: The Korean Wave as Chinese Management Literature

Esoteric Asian herbal recipes. Petty infighting in an ancient court. The travails of a frustrated-imperial-chef-turned-physician serving a Korean empress. This hardly sounds like a prescription for a gripping TV series, let alone for a hard-copy guide to career management success in the 21st century. Yet Jewel in the Palace (Dae Jang Geum in romanized Korean) … Continue reading Hotter than Kimchee: The Korean Wave as Chinese Management Literature

China Censorship Primer: Just Say “No” to Female Orgasms

Don’t let media in the West fool you—talking about sex in China is not taboo. But apparently references to female genitalia and orgasms are still big no-nos. To see how such touchy subjects are handled in Chinese media, let’s take a look at what happened to the Guardian’s “China to Open First Sex Theme Park” … Continue reading China Censorship Primer: Just Say “No” to Female Orgasms

Kim Jong Il, a Chinese Orphan and North Korea’s Nuke Test

What’s the link between Kim Jong Il, a Nanjing orphan, and Korea’s recent nuclear test? The answer to that conundrum lies buried deep within Kim Jong Il’s Godson Yang Bin: From Orphan to Sinuiju SAR Chief, a Chinese book just published in English by Fortune Gate (HK) Ltd. If you’ve never heard of the “Yang … Continue reading Kim Jong Il, a Chinese Orphan and North Korea’s Nuke Test

Interview with China Novelist Fan Wen: A Century of Cultural Collisions in Shangri-la

Shuiru Dadi tells the tale of a multi-ethnic settlement in Lancangjiang Canyon—Gateway to Tibet—beset by battles between arrogant French Catholic missionaries, incompetent Han officials and their marauding troops, Naxi Dongba Shamanists, and the dominant Tibetans, not all of whom lead pacific, vegetarian lives in the local lamasery. The saga spans most of the 20th century, hopping … Continue reading Interview with China Novelist Fan Wen: A Century of Cultural Collisions in Shangri-la