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Showing posts from May, 2011

Who's Afraid of Ai Weiwei 誰在害怕艾未未

The third anniversary of the Sichuan Earthquake had barely just passed, the Chinese government is already gearing up for the 22nd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. In a few months there will be the centennial celebration of the Xinhai Revolution (辛亥革命), the anti-government campaign led by Sun Yat-sen in 1911 that eventually brought down Imperial China. 
With a calendar peppered with politically sensitive days, Beijing these days is finding it increasingly challenging to run an authoritarian regime. But it gets worse: the Arab Spring that swept across the Middle East is threatening to spread through Inner Mongolia all the way to the capital city. To nip the jasmine in the bud, the central government mobilized local authorities to lock up dissidents, disperse public gatherings and intercept Internet search engines. Flower markets in major cities are forbidden from selling jasmine altogether. Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times called the latest turn of events in China th…

It Could Happen to You 或許一天會是你

Last Tuesday I had dinner with a few friends at a restaurant in Kennedy Town. At precisely 9:30pm, the entire restaurant, patrons and staff alike, came to an abrupt standstill. Children were hushed, the clinking of bowls and plates stopped. Everyone turned their heads to the flat screen television hung high from the ceiling. One of the waiters clicked the remote control to ATV, an unpopular local channel that almost nobody watches. It was the live broadcast of the Mark Six draw, a three times a week event that almost everybody watches.

By the time the plastic drum stopped turning and the seven golf balls lined up neatly on the bottom of the screen, the show was over. Patrons returned to their food and staff continued making beelines to and from the kitchen. Balled up tickets festooned the floor. But all was not lost... ___________________________ Read the rest of this essay in No City for Slow Men, available at major bookstores in Hong Kong and at Blacksmith Books.