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.
New texts published
Is Weibo a populist paradise – Muran
Some commentators have criticized Chinese micro-blogging Weibo as a platform likely to encourage populism. In this piece, Muran underlines that populist views are only shared by a minority of users, and rejecting the platform on this ground is the sign of a misguided elitist view.
Important questions on the new silk road – Zheng Yongnan
In line with its growing development China has expressed a desire to ‘go towards the outside’ – but what geopolitical strategy will the country follow to achieve this goal? As the US ally with Japan in the East, what options does China have? In this piece, analyst Zheng Yongnan proposes an exploration of the ‘silk road’ concept, advocating for a closer alliance between China, Russia and Central Asia, based on peaceful trading relationships. This could be an important element in China’s soft power strategy.
Food memories: Hot Pot -Bo Bangni
In her series ‘food memories’, Bo Bangni explores the personal and collective history of traditional Chinese dishes – followed by a recipe. This piece on hot pot conjures up memories of a conjugal fight in an artistic family – and a woman’s skill at playing angry housewife.
The borders of literary history – Wei Zhou
Three hundred years from now, what will be retained of our present literature? Will people still highly regard what we – or the media – deem to be great works of fiction; or will historians study minor martial arts, self-help, or even cooking books we disregard? Reflecting on a recent History of Uyghur Literature, Wei Zhou proposes to redefine, or at least interrogate, what we deem to be the boundaries of art.
As computers evolve, video games have become increasingly complex – with rich graphics and elaborate story-lines. However, some minimalist games still prove extremely popular and addictive. This piece reflects on the success of these simple, minimalist games – from classic Tetris to the more recent ‘Nervous Cat’.
How is trauma transmitted across generations? Starting with a classroom scene of abuse from a teacher repeating shame techniques learnt as a red guard, ‘How the cultural revolution affected a post-80s such as me’ reflects on the long term consequences of the Cultural Revolution in the Chinese psyche. This is the first completed translation by our translator Abukamil – whom we would like to thank and congratulate.
People, within and without China, often like to emphasize its exceptionalism, and unique characteristics of China’s culture. ‘Just how special are we‘ proposes an original approach to the question. Starting with a theoretical look at the opposition between pluralism and universalism, the piece argues that excessive emphasis on Chinese only characteristics may hide a secret danger, that of keeping China outside of universal values; or as Guo Yuhua articulates it ‘are Chinese people really people’?