In honor of the baseball playoffs in the United States, I thought I might just recommend a few hundred pages of reading for those intrepid souls for whom Monday means giant injections of prose.


China’s court system is settling accounts with a public trial of the instigators of the Guangdong brawl that sparked the prairie fire of riots in Xinjiang (New York Times).  It’s sure to be a stern judgment.  As they said in the 1930s Jiangxi Soviet, 先判后审 xian pan, hou shen (first the verdict, then the trial).  And however Confucian the “harmonious society” may endeavor to be, there is still that barbed thread of Legalism holding everything (and everyone) together.

Jeremy Goldkorn of holds forth in the British press with an editorial I wish I could have written: “Comrade, why did you censor my website?” (Via the Guardian.)  This piece really crystallizes a lot of emotions I had this summer in China when I had to start a blog to ask the same kind of question, writing out into the Chinese ether.  In a post entitled 自我批评 si wo pi ping [Self-Criticism], I screamed in rather poor grammar, hoping to get a response from a Great Firewall minder:

我真正博客的就在…不好的是,在国内形式,还是不会公开的。如果有负责干部正在读,请你们联系我(我也可以去您的办公室为谈)因为我不反对改写(反正是,我欢迎改写!)。  好的是,我不会痴查怎么没有用的艺术博客。 所以,如果您们知道我怎么可能干净即解放我 的博客(因为我的脑子已经很干),请告诉我,我要好好改改,为了中国人民的和谐,现代化,欢迎国际朋友的特色社会主义的社会国家。  那对不对?

But nothing happened.  Silence can be so onerous.

More happily, JustRecently dismantles the World Media Summit in Beijing, where Rupert Murdoch appeared alongside old Hu Jintao.  That made me think: Wouldn’t Lin Biao and Bill O’Reilley get along nicely?

And residents of Beijing are urged to get over to the French Cultural Center for a photography exhibit about Chinese hip-hop.

via AFP
via AFP

As for the big reading files, I have to recommend two very large pdf. reports on North Korean foreign policy and the Chinese-Korean border area.  The first is called “Flood Across the Border,” the other is about developing the Tumen River valley; via SAIS and the John Hopkins School.

More after my midnight coffee run!


Obama helps Japanese to learn English, and the stunningly productive Paul French (in Beijing) goes on a justified rant against “the parlous state of travel writing” today:

Is this the future of travel writing? Americans concerned about their own personal safety, tee-totalling their way around the world hating the fact that people still smoke and loudly proclaiming that, no, they did not just eyeball the tall blonde Russian girl who walked past and no, they don’t want to meet or party with anyone and would rather have a read back at camp on their own.

What a world! Pardon me while I retreat back into the 1930s in future posts if all I’m going to get now is overly serious writers concerned about seatbelts.

ROK Drop has a fascinating post on a proposed tunnel from Shandong to South Korea!  And NK Leadership Watch has another vigilant post on the Dear Leader’s peregrinations, accompanied this time (the Dear Leader, that is) by dudes in suits and ties.  Let it never be said that Wen Jiabao accomplished nothing!

And according to Radia Free Asia, North Korean leaders crave coffee.  I’m suprised it took this long, given Kim Jong Il’s penchant for all-nighters.  Get me a coffee, a pack of Paektu-sans, and some French dark chocolate, and I, too, might be inspired to edit my colleagues’ work in the best hours of the night.

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