Today, we ran our first translation event in partnership with the Australia China Youth Association (ACYA) at Monash University. There were sixteen of us in an amphitheatre, and we translated over 2000 words in an hour.


Key learnings? Translation is the pathway to diplomacy. Some people write unnecessarily poetic prose. Translation can be fun.

If you’d like to know more about ACYA Monash, check out their facebook page.

If you’d like to work with us on organising event, send us a line at

team work

New texts published

Anger won’t accomplish anything – Yezi

Anger is a natural reaction when facing irrational or arbitrary setbacks – but what is its ultimate usefulness? This short piece advocates for a wiser, more balanced approach to life, and warns about the dangers of blind anger.

Zhengzhou – Wei Zhou

Part of a series of journeys across China, this piece by travel-writer Wei Zhou offers a tour through the Henan provincial capital. Where Zhengzhou’s long history, transport, and contemporary culture is described.

Chinese people’s fear of aging – Zhu Dake

Recent announcement that retirement age may shift to 65 caused great concern and resentment in China. Inadequate pension and health systems, added to the demographic consequences of the one-child policy, may explain the overall anxiety of today’s Chinese people when it comes to aging. But – the author contends – every age in China has to face their own fears.

New translations completed

Why not commit suicide – Li Yinhe

When your husband is having an extra-marital affair, how should you react? Recently, a Chinese woman decided that a suicide attempt would be the right way to go. Reflecting on this event, sociologist Li Yinhe proposes an ethical reflection on adultery, and the various forms it takes in contemporary China.

The death and birth of online literature – Jianhan Qiushui

A legacy from last year’s Marco Polo Festival of Digital Literature, this piece explores the current and future developments of internet literature in China – arguing that as media converge, the distinction between paper novels, TV series and internet literature diminishes – one story circulates across media.

Are you looking to develop a sustainable organisation over the long-term? Focusing on diversity may be your winning strategy – and for this, leaders will need to develop special skills, in particular a capacity to be inclusive and harmoniously bring together diverse teams, allowing multiple ideas to flourish and feed off each other.

Sounds fluffy? Well, the Australian Institute of Chartered Accountants and Deloitte recently produced a report on this topic – now that sounds serious, doesn’t it? Check out p.18 for the ‘six attributes of an inclusive leader’ – all starting with the letter C: cognisance, curiosity, courage, cultural intelligence, commitment and collaboration.

These are precisely the types of attributes we’re looking to build through our online offer and workshops! So – if you’d like to get ready for a different future, and train to become a more inclusive leader, why don’t you browse the Marco Polo Project website, join one of our events – or organise your own if there’s none in your city yet!

Would you like to read more about inclusive leadership and diversity in the workplace? The full report is attached to this post:

0415-37 PM_Futureinc_Leadership and Diversity_WEB 2

 Burning fire

New texts published

They’re all good schools – Ka Hu

When a family moves to a new town, how should they select a new school for their children? This personal piece recounts a mother’s struggles to identify ‘the best school’, and place her daughter there.

Daydreaming by the window – Cheng Chaozi

A Shenzhen worker returns home to small town Jiangxi for the holidays. Looking out the window, stopping for a while, they reconnect with the simple every day routines of home, enjoying this moment of quiet observation.

Why do dictators like ‘democracy’ – Chu Meng

From Latin American to Asia and Africa, why do dictatorial figures seem to proclaim the values of democratic systems – when paradoxically, elections are often criticised as a waste of time and resources? An international look at the rhetorics of democracy.

New translations completed

On hearing only powerful voices – Zhang Ming

Reflecting on a recent pollution case in Inner Mongolia where local authorities denied the problem, Zhang Ming reflects on a long-term Chinese trend to rely excessively on the influence of one single high power – causing chaos in the middle and lower echelons of bureaucracy.

I’m a star – Shu Dong

A call from help from a young female star abused by her director – a personal anonymous testimony from Shu Dong.

Animal statues

New texts published

On group labels – Yezi 

A warning against our tendency to ascribe negative, emotionally charged labels to groups – and avoid judgements based on pure stereotypes.

Why do we want to read novels – Shui Muding

In this personal reflective essay, writer Shui Muding reflects on the reasons why she – and others – are moved to write and read novels, and why novels are needed today – how they help us understand the emotions of others, and our own, and the value of literature, beyond the pure sharing of knowledge, to building wisdom.

Abstinence or asceticism – Li Yinhe

Most religious promote a message of sexual abstinence – or so they are superficially interpreted to do. In this piece, sociologist and gender specialist Li Yinhe reframes the question, away from the dichotomy between complete abstinence and boundless promiscuity, to articulate an ethics of temperance, and moderating desire.

New translations completed

Courage is a luxury – Feng Qingyang

When faced with difficulties, will be move away, looking for opportunities elsewhere, or defy them, and look for happiness through the exercise of courage? This piece by Feng Qingyang offers an apology for a neglected virtue.

How to protect the interests of Chinese overseas – Feng Qingyang

When a Chinese manager accidentally tore a portrait of the former Cambodian King, she was publicly humiliated and deported – without much support from the Chinese government. Contrasting this with the attitude of Western diplomatic structures, Feng Qingyang questions the appropriate way for the Chinese government to protect their citizens overseas.

Eat as much chocolate as you want – Ka Hu

A humorous look at liberal education: how should we teach our children the complex art of self-management, when the trend around us seems to be one of increasing indulgence?

This column offers a short digest of the latest pieces published on our website. 


New texts published

New media patterns between the US and China – Muran

An insightful look into the changing media representations of the US in China and China in the US, from 1949 to the present day – from demonization to fascination – and their impact on geopolitics and diplomacy.

Love and revolution (11) – Yefu

Last chapter in the first part of Yefu’s family epic – a move to Sichuan during the war years, work with the communist party, and romantic recognition of poetic style in a literary magazine.

What is nostalgia – Douhao

What makes you yearn after a place left behind – or the memories of your childhood? Scents, streetscapes, old shops matter more to us than major attractions. A meditation on space and memory by Dou Hao.

New translations completed

Beijing, a magic city – Zhao Qiang

Everyone comes to Beijing with a dream. Beyond the crowds, Zhao Qiang evokes his love for the Chinese capital.

Maturity – Li Yinhe

Why do we struggle to retain the appearance of youth? In this short piece, sociologist and philosopher Li Yinhe meditates on the pleasures of age.

Japan in my eyes – Song Xiuyin

Exploring Japan, Song Xiuyin marvels at the similarities with China – and the many subtle differences, from the fresh water to the general cleanliness.

On Sunday, June 7, we held our second event with Beijing Foreign Language University – organised by our Beijing super-champ John Paul Grima.


The event brought together 20 emerging translators – and because Marco Polo Project is ever improving, this time, we incorporated a projector and screen as part of the event!


This year’s keyword for Marco Polo Project is engagement, and we’re looking to grow the number of our events. If you’d like to partner with us or run a translation event in your community, please contact!

This column offers a short digest of the latest pieces published on our website. 

by the pond - small

New texts published

The government also wants a new normal – Muran

As the concept of a ‘new normal’ is increasingly spreading in economic discourses, essayist Muran calls for a ‘new normal’ regarding government – which would include increased new services, big society, equal consultation and the rule of law.

I’m a star… – Shudong

Shudong is a website where people can anonymously share their worries and cares. This short post is a call for help from a Chinese actress harassed by her director.

Maturity – Li Yinhe

We dread old age and the sense of physical decay that accompanies our own aging – but in this optimistic piece, Li Yinhe invites us on the contrary to celebrate the pleasures of maturity, the freedom and wisdom that it bring.

China’s diplomatic multilateralism – Zheng Yongnian

How is China managing its own growing power on the international stage? Singaporean expert Zheng Yongnian returns to the history of China’s multilateral diplomacy to explore the conditions for a responsible way forward.

Love is a double-edged sword – Li Yinhe

Gender specialist and sociologist Li Yinhe offers a friend advice on how to handle passion disrupting his marital life. Her answer: poly-amorous ethics.

Japan in my eyes – Song Xiuyin

A trip to Japan is an opportunity for Song Xiuyin to appreciate the country’s culture – cleanliness, humanity, respect for nature and the land.

This column offers a short digest of the latest pieces published on our website. 

New texts published


On hearing only powerful voices – Zhang Ming

On the basis of a pollution case in Inner Mongolia, Zhang Ming calls for a reflection on the voices that get heard, and those that remain ignore – and how to curb abuse of power from officials who refuse to listen.

Encounter stories at the dinner table – Zhao Jianfei

Small anecdotes can reveal the spirit of the times. Blogger Zhao Jianfei jots down two conversations overheard, revealing aspects of economic and romantic success in today’s China.

Protocols for the dignity of legal officials – He Weifang

Legal procedures have historically been connected to complex rituals and protocols. Law expert He Weifang reflects on the reasons for the rites surrounding the exercise of justice, and the necessity to create conditions that guarantee of officials in charge of determining justice.

Immortality – Li Yinhe

This short meditation by sociologist Li Yinhe questions our quest for immortality and aspirations to historical grandeur. Is this the path to happiness?

Love and revolution (10) – Ye Fu

A new stage in Ye Fu’s family story and memories of the second world war – now taking us to Chongqing, and remembering the ongoing role of education during these troubled times.

Reasons to read books – Yu Ge

Remembering the day he returned his library card after graduating is a starting point for Yu Ge’s meditation on the art of reading. Reading does not have a clear purpose – it will not change the face of China – yet should we stop that activity altogether, just because it has no direct utilitarian purpose? What if reading was one of the key elements for spiritual freedom?

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 happened in a Chinese primary school, and the teacher not only marked harshly, but published the student’s essay on weibo for public mockery. Freelance writer Ka Hu reflects on this story – inviting a more measured and respectful way of considering a child’s way of integrating the complexities of the contemporary adult world.

Jinan – Wei Zhou

Shanghai-based travel writer Wei Zhou returns to the Shandong capital after fifteen years, observing the many changes that occurred: long stretches of new suburbs, refurbished plaza. The text then turns on to a quest for the sources and memories of this non-touristic city, and the essence of Shandong culture.

Translating online is great – translating offline with buddies is even better! That’s what we figured – and so, in line with this insight, we decided to launch a regular Marco Polo Project Melbourne Meetup!

The first of those took place last Wednesday, March 20, at the Melbourne Multicultural Hub, in partnership with Language Connection.

photo (5)

The Marco Polo meetup is a low-key get-together for Mandarin language enthusiasts to practice translation in small teams of three. During this first event, we translated the opening paragraphs to three pieces from China30s: From Harvard to the alpaca business‘, ‘Triathlon changed my view of life‘ and ‘A young man’s magic time machine‘.

photo (1)

We’re planning to run these events on a monthly basis – so, help us spread the word – and come along next time!