This column offers a weekly digest of the latests pieces published on our website and our most recently completed translations. 


New texts published

The Person in the room – Song with no fumes

What happens when you revisit a former home? This short fiction brings us face to face with the ghosts living in the rooms of our past.

Police powers and the rule of law – He Weifang

What good is the law with no enforcement? This reflection by legal expert He Weifang starts from an American scholarly article to explore the changing relationship between party and police in China, and the challenges that existing law enforcement processes might pose to an increasing rule of law.

Quiet desks and raging phones – Muran

Technology’s entered most aspects of contemporary Chinese cities – including universities. How should professors react when their students spend the whole class on their phones? And what are the dangers to collective knowledge transmission?

My goal is not more money, but more choice – Zhao Jianfei

Cross-generational interactions can be difficult, especially in such a fast-changing society as China. In this short piece, blogger Zhao Jianfei recounts a dialogue with her mother, and the conflicting values of exploring the world and expanding one’s horizon, as against saving money.

New translations completed

Xiong Peiyun is a Chinese philosopher sharing words of wisdom on weibo. Eugenie Ho translated his note on using time wisely: “They say, I want to bring you to Heaven, and give you eternal life. But, if I attain eternal life, what other prospect and hope will this life have? Those things that exist with beginnings but with no endings, are not life. I only want to make good use of this definitely not endless passage of time, to do things that I consider meaningful. Sooner or later I will leave, and leave behind eternity and the world to all of you. I do not cherish Heaven. When I am there, I will also be weary.” Click here for the Mandarin version


This column offers a weekly digest of the latests pieces published on our website and our most recently completed translations.

wedding gown

New texts published

Marriage is the loneliest condition – Ding Xiaoyun

How does a teenage romance fantasy survive into adult life? In this piece, blogger Ding Xiaoyun remembers a past love, and wonders about life that could have.

Ghost Island – Li Yinhe

‘Most of our life is spent in inertia’, says sociologist and philosopher Li Yinhe, until something comes and shake us up. In this paradoxical post, she remembers the outbreak of the cultural revolution as such a moment of intense encounter with violence – and with this, the possibility to make existential choices.

Hong Kong’s civilisation – Lan Ran

Travel to the SAR is an opportunity for writer Lan Ran to remember books and films depicting life in Hong Kong, and reflect on the civilisational accomplishment of this unique city.

Love and revolution (2) – Ye Fu

In his ‘love and revolution’ series, Ye Fu recounts the life of his uncle, and through him, the many radical changes that occurred in China from the 1920s to the 1980s. In this second episode, he goes back to the early years, and evokes the social ambitions of a young man from Hubei through the 1930s. The opening part of this series is available in translation.

Building a transparent court system – He Weifang

In this piece, legal expert He Weifang retraces the history of China’s justice system in the 20th century, and identifies the ongoing existence of a transparency principle.

New translations

One of the consequences of the one-child policy is a tendency for Chinese families to overprotect this precious one-child. In ‘Everyone is spoiling children‘, journalist and academic Yu Ge describes the phenomenon, and denounces the dangers facing a spoiled generation.

This weekly column offers a digest of the latest pieces from the Chinese blogosphere published on our website and most recently completed translations of new Chinese writing.

dancing in the park

New texts published

Restoring the concept of charity  – Chen Tongkui

This piece proposes a reflection on the non-profit and charity sector in China. It offers insight into current debates regarding the respective roles of the government and community sectors in providing social welfare, and potential developments in regulations for the non-profit sector.

Fragmented education – Muran

Professor Muran reflects on the crisis of higher education in China today. He particularly focuses on the radical changes brought about by the internet – how technology modified the traditional role of the teacher, the relationship between teachers and students, and the modes of access to knowledge.

 What do we talk about when we talk about the world cup – Yu Ge

China has been watching the Football World Cup with great interest, even though the Chinese team did not even take part until recently. Social analyst Yu Ge reflects on the international character of football – and the core reasons why people obsessively watch the game.

Chen Yinxi: the free life of a jazz singer – China 30s 

China 30s is an online magazine offering interviews with young Chinese people who led alternative lives, and pursued innovative or creative avenues. This piece is an interview with Jazz singer Jasmine Chen. From a young age, she trained as a pianist, but she stopped playing the piano at 11.  At 19, she went to England where she battled alone for five years, to pursue studies of music and piano. During this time, she discovered jazz, and enjoyed it more and more. So after graduating, she decided to return to China, and turn her passion of jazz singing into the focus of her life and work.

New translations completed

For poetry lovers, Marc Howe from Canberra translated a series of poems by Yisha: ‘That Thing, ‘Small Memories from Kongtong‘, and ‘Dream 91‘. Simon Cooper from England translated ‘Reading Jiang Qing’s new Confucian Political Order, review of a recent Chinese book exploring the political applications of neo-confucianist thinking.

The following two pieces are still lacking a few paragraphs, but can already be enjoyed. Li Yehang’s My views on the university entrance exam offers a philosophical reflection on the evils of China’s university selection systems, how it affects the winners as much or even more than the losers.  ‘The death and birth of online literature explores the parallel evolution of print, TV and internet – and the possible convergence of the three media.

This week on Marco Polo Project is a work in progress – your feedback is very welcome!