A digest of online China – October 2 – October 30

Sun yat sen mausoleum

New texts published

Assessing history – Yang Kuisong

Historical does not necessarily equate to progress. In this piece, Yang Kuisong reflects on the complex ways that we reflect on the past as a cause of the present.

Five puzzles about Chinese prose – Zhu Dake

What exactly is ‘prose’ – 散文 – in Chinese literary history? Cultural analyst Zhu Dake reflects on this apparently minor, yet incredibly influential genre of writing in the Chinese tradition.

Do Chinese people really not care about privacy? – Ye Kuangzheng

Taking a modern journalistic scandal over illegal phone-tapping, Ye Kuangzheng belies the belief that Chinese people do not value privacy, looking back at the long Chinese tradition.

Theft – Wei Zhou

A train trip from Shanghai to Nanjing is the scene of a little social drama, as a middle-aged man cries out for theft, then finds his bag a few seats down the aisle.

Secretaries, eunuchs – Zhang Ming

Shift of power from officials to their secretaries is a rampant phenomenon in China, denounced even by President Xi. Zhang Ming proposes a historical parallel with the role of eunuchs, who regularly usurped power through sheer proximity.

What kind of inequality is harmful? – Muran

Reflecting on the recent invitation of Martin Jacques to a Chinese colloquium, Muran evokes various conceptions of equality in the Western tradition, and how they may help understand the difficulties faced by contemporary China.

Understanding those hard-to-read books – Sang Bing

As the pace of the modern world increases, do we still have time to understand complex arguments? Sang Bing argues in favour of complexity, and proposes ways to help us appreciate difficult writing.

Personal memories and collective reflections – Zhu Dake

From Shanghai Book Fair, cultural analyst Zhu Dake offers a panorama of the many books related to memory – from historical commemoration to self-help and biographies. In passing, he offers a celebration for the faculty to connect with the past.

New translations completed

This place nearby we’ve never been to – Liu Shisan

Beijing writer Liu Shisan engages in imaginary local tourism, as he tells of the places he never visited, the zoo, the palace museum. A reflection about space and the city.

Can princesses have abortions? – Ka Hu

Is it wrong for a primary school girl to write a princess abortion into her fairy tale narrative? This piece invites reflection on children and the complexities of our adult world.

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