The Contemporary China Centre Blog

Based at the University of Westminster, the Contemporary China Centre Blog is dedicated to interdisciplinary research about contemporary China (incl.

contested parts thereof) from a cultural studies perspective.

25/02/2020

Studying in China 1970's

"Frances Wood is an English librarian, sinologue and historian known for her writings on Chinese history, including Marco Polo, life in the Chinese treaty ports, and the First Emperor of China.

She was born in London in 1948, and went to art school in Liverpool in 1967, before going to Newnham College, Cambridge University where she studied Chinese. She went to China to study Chinese at Peking University in 1975–1976.

Wood joined the staff of the British Library in London in 1977 as a junior curator, and later served as Curator of Chinese collections until her retirement in 2013. She is also a member of the Steering Committee of the International Dunhuang Project, and the editor of the Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society. She was also a Governor of Ashmount Primary School for 20 years. relinquishing this post on the completion of her current term of office in July 2014.

She has argued in her 1995 book, Did Marco Polo go to China?, that the book of Marco Polo (Il Milione) is not the account of a single person, but is a collection of travellers' tales."

www.chinaminutes.com We would like to thank Guanghwa Bookshop for assisting with the film. Frances Wood is an English librarian, sinologue and historian know...

25/02/2020

Difference Festival - The Truth about Happiness

"This talk will question the seemingly universally accepted notion that we should all strive to be as happy as possible, that negative feelings are to be banished, and that individuals need to work on a positive outlook"

Our Contemporary China Centre colleague Prof. Gerda Wielander will be speaking at the Uni of Westminster's tomorrow (Feb 26th) on "The Truth About Happiness"

6pm at 309 Regent St

eventbrite.co.uk 'The Truth about Happiness' talk is part of the Difference Festival 2020

25/02/2020

Early Chinese Trick Photography Sent Chubby Babies Into Space

"AT FIRST GLANCE, THE IMAGE seems set in space, or at least the set of a low-budget science fiction movie. A stubby Sputnik hovers in the background, next to a flat moon. A sleek metal rocket, labeled YI FENG 02, hangs in the foreground, but instead of an astronaut, it holds a serious-looking baby who gazes off in the distance, unperturbed by the lack of oxygen, zero air pressure, and freezing temperatures of space.

Fortunately for the baby, the image was taken in a professional photo studio. It’s a prime example of early staged and trick studio photography, which gained popularity in China in the mid-20th century. "

atlasobscura.com Inside a historian’s collection of endearing, goofy early 20th-century portraits.

25/02/2020

some images from our event last night

25/02/2020

Difference Festival - The Truth about Happiness

Yesterday evening we had our event of representations of ethnicity and nation across our Chinese propaganda posters.

Tomorrow evening Prof. Gerda Wielander will be sharing some of her fascinating work on happiness!

See you there!

eventbrite.co.uk 'The Truth about Happiness' talk is part of the Difference Festival 2020

25/02/2020

from the University of Westminster's China Visual Arts Project

Do your exercises and establish a new socialist countryside (1975)

Worker lifting weight, in background peasants are moving boulders, loading wheat sacks onto trucks, and tilling terraced fields.

https://westminster-atom.arkivum.net/index.php/cpc-1-a-52

24/02/2020

Hong Kong’s best new romance is about the secret lives of the city’s closeted gay “uncles”

"Suk Suk isn’t Hong Kong’s first gay romance but it is the first to portray the lives of the city’s oldest generation of of gay men, who struggled to maintain a family life indoctrinated by traditional Chinese values. Hong Kong filmmaker Ray Yeung’s latest work has only had limited screenings in the city, but has quickly become a critics’ darling since its premier at the Busan film festival in South Korea last year."

qz.com Over dinner scenes, and at saunas, Suk Suk shows the lives of two men who shaped their love for each other around a sense of duty to their families.

24/02/2020

Difference Festival:The Power of Representation and Representation of Power

Examine how certain ‘truths’ about ethnicity in China have been produced and the role they’ve played in consolidating notions of a unified China with a talk from and

This evening, 6pm at the University of Westminster, 309 Regent St

eventbrite.co.uk The Power of Representation and Representation of Power: Nation, Ethnicity and Truth in Modern China

24/02/2020

An Illustrated Guide to Chinese Dumplings

"English speakers tend to use the term “dumpling” as an all-inclusive, generic term for “deliciousness wrapped up in a doughy exterior.” In China, however, a wide array of dumplings can be eaten in different ways, in different regions, and at different times of year — so much so that the term “dumpling” is almost meaningless on its own. Here we break down some of the different types of dumplings — soup to rice — so you can flex on your next dim sum or xiaolongbao outing.

First things first: dumplings aren’t just a Chinese food staple — for many people, dumplings are a cornerstone of their identity."

radiichina.com From soup-filled xiaolongbao to rice dumplings and northern jiaozi, here's a handy guide to the most popular types of Chinese dumplings

23/02/2020

How China Got Milk

"On Feb. 8, China’s National Health Commission suggested consuming at least 300 grams of milk a day would help the body fend off , showing just how far the beverage has come in the past 150 years since first trickling into the country."

sixthtone.com In the span of 150 years, cow’s milk went from practically unheard of in most of China to a staple of a healthy diet.

23/02/2020

This Chinese artist’s comics on living abroad are taking off

"Siyu Cao is a Beijing-born graphic designer, currently living in Paris. She's the mind behind “Tiny Eyes,” a series of comics comparing the cultures she has experienced in China, France and the US. Her work has been widely shared, racking up more than a million views online. It’s the type of work that makes her readers go: “That’s so true!”

Inkstone talked to Siyu to find out more about celebrating cultural differences – and bringing empathy to how we interact."

inkstonenews.com Siyu Cao is a Beijing-born graphic designer, currently living in Paris. She's the mind behind “Tiny Eyes,” a series of comics comparing the cultures she has experienced in China, France and the US. Her work has been widely shared, racking up more than a million views online. It’s the type of w...

22/02/2020

Chinese Independent Film Festivals: Self-Legitimation and Consecrations

University of Westminster Contemporary China Centre Talks: A talk on three major Chinese independent film festivals in China

Speaker: Dr Lydia Wu

Date: 26 Feb 2020 (Wed)

Time: 1800-1930

Venue: RS 250, 309 Regent Street, University of Westminster

eventbrite.co.uk University of Westminster Contemporary China Centre Talks: A talk on three major Chinese independent film festivals in China

22/02/2020

A Kenyan Painter Casts a Critical Eye on China’s Role in Africa

nytimes.com Michael Soi’s “China Loves Africa” collection examines the symbiotic and often corrupt relationship between Beijing and African elites.

22/02/2020

Visual culture, history and memory of Mao's China - Harriet Evans, University of Westminster

Learn more about our unique archival collection, the China Visual Arts Project'

Here, Harriet Evans, Professor Emerita of Chinese Cultural Studies at the Uni of Westminster, speaks on a new methodological approach to the study of the Mao era by treating the poster as an important visual resource for the teaching of 20th century China

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzVEpkCdrwI&feature=emb_title

Evans' work has opened up a new methodological approach to the study of the Mao era by treating the poster as an important visual resource for the teaching o...

22/02/2020

Contemporary China Centre Blog » Dire yet Diverse: Desperate Diaspora in Jenny Lu’s The Receptionist (2016)

ICYMI here's the latest for the CCC Blog:

Written by Flair Donglai Shi

"As a British-Taiwanese co-production, The Receptionist contains short dialogues in English, Mandarin, and Taiwanese, and its representation of women can be examined in both the context of British visual culture and that of Taiwanese cinema. The representation of China in British popular culture has not really improved since the 1980s, in terms of either the level of visibility afforded to the Chinese living in Britain or the ways in which Chineseness as a generic ethnic marker is featured. Even with the end of the Fu Manchu film series in 1980, entrenched ideas about the Chinese threat have persisted into the 2010s. "

blog.westminster.ac.uk Dire yet Diverse: Desperate Diaspora in Jenny Lu’s The Receptionist (2016) February 19, 2020 Issue Four No Comments Written by Flair Donglai Shi As a Taiwanese director based in London, Jenny Lu (Lu Jinming) decided to make her first feature-length film about a group of s*x workers in an illegal m...

22/02/2020

From the University of Westminster's China Visual Arts Project

Chairman Mao is the red sun in our hearts (1966)

Worker holding up Mao's Selected Works. People in background also holding book, including minoritiy figures.

https://westminster-atom.arkivum.net/index.php/cpc-1-e-5

22/02/2020

From the University of Westminster's China Visual Arts Project

Study hard and prepare to devote your efforts to socialist modernisation (1980)

Female maths student wearing brightly colours geometric top, studies maths problems. Oscilloscope designs in background. Slogan beneath title says 'Absorb what you hear, frequently reflect on it, conscientiously complete your homework' (专心听,勤思考认真完 成作业)

https://westminster-atom.arkivum.net/index.php/cpc-1-b-1

22/02/2020

The computer pioneer who built modern China

"In April 1960, China’s first home-grown electronic digital general purpose computer – the Model 107 – went live. Xia Peisu, the machine’s engineer and designer, had just made history."

bbc.com Isolated from the rest of the world, one woman pushed computing from a geeky obsession into a transformative industry.

22/02/2020

Short video, gaming app usage surged during holiday: report · TechNode

"Chinese short video apps added nearly 150 million new daily active users (DAU) during the extended Spring Festival holiday compared with a year ago as residents search for ways to stay entertained during the Covid-19 outbreak, according to a recent data analytics report."

technode.com Chinese short video apps added nearly 150 million new users during the holiday as netizens struggled to keep themselves entertained amid the outbreak.

22/02/2020

China Designers: Sensen Lii's Brain Births Alien Couture

"China Designers is a biweekly series that showcases the wide spectrum of creativity in Chinese fashion design. From small designers to big brands, these names are changing the connotations of “Made in China,” one collection at a time."

radiichina.com Young Chinese fashion designer Sensen Lii is already dressing Lady Gaga, Rita Ora, Fan Bingbing and more with his otherworldly "sports couture"

22/02/2020

Difference Festival - The Truth about Happiness

Another great event coming up with one of our Contemporary China Centre colleagues!

Prof. Gerda Wielander, who has done lots of great work on discourses of happiness in China, will question the seemingly universally accepted notion that we should all strive to be as happy as possible, that negative feelings are to be banished, and that individuals need to work on a positive outlook.

eventbrite.co.uk 'The Truth about Happiness' talk is part of the Difference Festival 2020

22/02/2020

I was on a Chinese film set when coronavirus hit. Things got weird

"An unspoken tension rippled throughout our team of around 2,000 as news of the coronavirus began to bubble into our social media feeds in the middle of January. Filming a feature film on location is already a lot of work for everyone involved, but throw in a strange virus, and things can get out of control."

supchina.com Illustration by Derek Zheng for SupChina How not to behave during an epidemic.     An unspoken tension rippled throughout our team of around 2,000 as news of the coronavirus began to bubb

22/02/2020

Wuhan, a playlist by RADII on Spotify

Wuhan remains locked in a fight against the coronavirus. Their music shows the resilience of its natives.

open.spotify.com A playlist featuring SMZB, Subs, Chinese Football, and others

22/02/2020

An Open Letter to the BBC: What's Islam got to do with it?

"Dear BBC,

The Xinjiang research community is delighted that you continue to cover such pressing humanitarian disasters as cultural genocide and internment camps. However, your coverage of the Xinjiang, Karakax papers on the 17th February 2019 fell somewhat short of the rigorous standards associated with your organisation that should continue to be both publicly accountable and funded. I hope these comments are received in the spirit of civic engagement and support to improve your important work with which they are intended."

reasonablyraging.blogspot.com Dear BBC, The Xinjiang research community is delighted that you continue to cover such pressing humanitarian disasters as cultural ...

22/02/2020

‘Jinpa’ Review: Murder and Mystery in Tibet

"While making his way through the austere Kekexili region of the Tibetan plateau, a rugged truck driver accidentally runs over a sheep. Shortly thereafter, he picks up a dagger-bearing hitchhiker who claims to be on his way to kill his father’s murderer. The soon-to-be-entwined fates of these two men are signaled by a strange if obvious coincidence: They’re both named Jinpa. So begins the new feature from the Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden, a parable-like story about the workings of karma and destiny."

nytimes.com A journey takes existential turns when a truck driver picks up a dagger-wielding hitchhiker.

22/02/2020

Difference Festival:The Power of Representation and Representation of Power

interested in learning more about some of our Chinese propaganda posters? come along to this event on representations of ethnicity and nation in modern China!

University of Westminster
Monday, Feb 24th at 6pm

eventbrite.co.uk The Power of Representation and Representation of Power: Nation, Ethnicity and Truth in Modern China

22/02/2020

PhD Studentship in History | University of Westminster, London

just think of all the great things you could do with our China Visual Arts Project!

westminster.ac.uk The School of Humanities at the University of Westminster is offering a PhD studentship in History of £17,285 per annum and a fee waiver at the home/EU rate for three years full-time study* from September 2020. History at Westminster has a particular focus on political, social and cultural history ...

22/02/2020

British Association for Chinese Studies (BACS) annual conference

"The Department of History and the School of History and Cultures is pleased to announce the annual conference of the British Association for Chinese Studies (BACS), to be held at the University of Birmingham from 9 September to 11 September 2020."

birmingham.ac.uk Information about the BACS 2020 conference at the University of Birmingham 9th - 11th September 2020.

22/02/2020

"In striking contrast to the uniformity of Mao suits and the Little Red Book, Mao badges display promiscuous variety - they are not high art, but they were a truly popular art form"

a super resource here for folks interested in Mao badges!

https://maozhang.net/home/4585435924/

19/02/2020

Contemporary China Centre Blog » Dire yet Diverse: Desperate Diaspora in Jenny Lu’s The Receptionist (2016)

new for the CCC Blog, by Flair Donglai Shi

"Unlike the generic way many British cultural products depict Chinese people living in Britain, The Receptionist takes a very Sinophone approach towards its Chinese-speaking female characters and foregrounds the linguistic diversity among the different accents and dialects used in the parlour. "

blog.westminster.ac.uk Dire yet Diverse: Desperate Diaspora in Jenny Lu’s The Receptionist (2016) February 19, 2020 Issue Four No Comments Written by Flair Donglai Shi As a Taiwanese director based in London, Jenny Lu (Lu Jinming) decided to make her first feature-length film about a group of s*x workers in an illegal m...

19/02/2020

Opinion: Blame China? Outbreak orientalism, from the plague to coronavirus

"Why has China been blamed as the wellspring of global pandemics? Is it just an orientalist bad habit, a holdover from a time when we feared what was farthest away, and farthest away was China? In part yes, but not completely."

written by Timothy Brook

theglobeandmail.com There are conditions in Asia that have left its people vulnerable to new and strange illnesses over the centuries. We would be wise to learn from them – and leave panicked prejudice out of it

19/02/2020

Made in China Journal

We are excited to announce the 2020 Made in China Summer School 'Global China: Resistance and Adaptation'. The event will be held in Florence, Italy, from 13 to 17 July, and will bring together scholars from all over the world for five days of discussions with trade unionists, international NGO activists, and students. The deadline for applications is 8 March. Read more at https://madeinchinajournal.com/summerschool-2020

19/02/2020

China Expels Three Wall Street Journal Reporters

wsj.com China revoked the press credentials of three Wall Street Journal reporters based in Beijing, the first time in the post-Mao era that the Chinese government has expelled multiple journalists from one international news organization at the same time.

19/02/2020

ChinesePosters

Deng Xiaoping dies (1997)

On this day in 1997, Deng Xiaoping died.

Deng opposed leader worship. After the Tiananmen Incident in 1989, the Propaganda Department finally saw an opportunity to build up a cult around the "Chief Architect" of reform. And after his death, the market was flooded with "Deng posters". People did not simply buy the images; trinkets, memorabilia and outright kitsch, such as watches bearing Deng's portrait, were also quite en vogue for a while. It seems as if Deng, with his health decreasing, had been less and less able to keep the Party propaganda machinery - and his successor Jiang Zemin - from using him as a propaganda object. Jiang has also been the moving force behind the canonization of Deng Xiaoping Theory.

Deng posters are brought together here: https://chineseposters.net/themes/dengxiaoping.php

19/02/2020

"Don't Touch My Hair": Nurses' Shaved Heads Spark Controversy Over Sexist Coronavirus Coverage

radiichina.com Chinese netizens are bashing an online video about women nurses in a media landscape that only shows 'women's sacrifice' in the face of novel coronavirus

19/02/2020

Gansu government’s head-shaving publicity stunt backfires

"The Chinese internet is on fire over a disturbing video via the Lanzhou Morning Post that shows a group of female health care workers in Gansu Province getting their heads shaved before leaving for Hubei to assist local medical staff in response to the COVID-19 epidemic."

supchina.com The Chinese internet is on fire over a disturbing video via the Lanzhou Morning Post that shows a group of female health care workers in Gansu Province getting their heads shaved before leaving for

19/02/2020

Contemporary China Centre Blog » Issue 4: Representations of China in Britain

Don't forget to check out the full issue here:

blog.westminster.ac.uk Issue 4: Representations of China in Britain February 5, 2020 Issue Four No Comments Written by Editor Our fourth issue looks at representations of China in Britain. We asked our contributors to reflect on written and visual representations of China to British audiences across different points in ti...

19/02/2020

From the University of Westminster's China Visual Arts Project

Revolutionary proletarian right to rebel troops unite! (1967)

Group of Red Guards, holding Mao Zedong's Selected Works. Background - large red flag, crowd of people and inset image of Mao

https://westminster-atom.arkivum.net/index.php/cpc-1-e-37

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