Smashing Chunks from the Great Firewall in Berlin / Ai Weiwei in Munich

A great convergence is occuring again between Germany and China.  As the 9 November anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall (“der Mauerfall” / “le chute de la Mur”) approaches, further thoughts are twisting around the notions of democracy and democratic change. Two examples: The first is the Berlin Twitterwall, a magnificent little online monument to the fall of the wall.  The site was … Continue reading Smashing Chunks from the Great Firewall in Berlin / Ai Weiwei in Munich

Anti-Chinese Propaganda for North Koreans

The Hoover Institution Archives houses one of the world’s finest collections of political propaganda.  Here are a few selected images from the Far East Command, Psywar Division, in the Korean War.  I find these particularly interesting because the themes are in some ways returning in North Korean society — Chinese economic preeminence in the DPRK, China’s predilection for loud and large vehicles on the border, … Continue reading Anti-Chinese Propaganda for North Koreans

Chinese Youth Delegation Visits Pyongyang

The Huanqiu Shibao reports that a Chinese youth delegation is back from a six-day trip to Pyongyang. The article, written in the form of an interview with a starstruck student is, frankly, a scandalous sop to the DPRK, reprising the most naive observations about Pyongyang (did you know the city has beautiful traffic cops?) and heaping praise upon North Korean youth for their spirit of … Continue reading Chinese Youth Delegation Visits Pyongyang

Soft Power Fiddling Meets Open-Throat Singing: Big Goings-On in New York

Yesterday the Sunday New York Times suddenly became worth its asking price of $6 by carrying a large advertisement laying out the immense variety of China-related musical activites going on in Manhattan this week.  In effect, the PRC is taking over the beating heart of the classical music world, with the exception of the Metropolitan Opera, an institution which has already lionized Placido Domingo as … Continue reading Soft Power Fiddling Meets Open-Throat Singing: Big Goings-On in New York

Iris Chang and the Politics of Emotional Authenticity

Not particularly as a matter of choice, of late I have been thinking about the aftermath.   War, genocide, and mass violence are giant forces which have thrown up immense detritus in Northeast Asia: memorialization is the norm, but so, too, is the suppression of memory and its manipulation by politician-revolutionaries of all stripes. Japanese politicians enter Yasukuni Shrine while Chinese leaders put their husky … Continue reading Iris Chang and the Politics of Emotional Authenticity