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Daily Archives: March 28, 2010

Manchurian Brides in Japan

Yes, I’m aware that the title of this post is somewhat retro, and would be happy to change it if someone can convince me that this post on the Huanqiu BBS isn’t just a bit redolent of an earlier era.  Entitled 还有民族尊严吗?每年1万中国女孩嫁到日本 [“Do they still have racial pride?  Every year 10,000 Chinese girls are married off to Japan”), the story describes the patter of migration, one instance of which whereby 35 girls from rural Heilongjiang province meet up with Japanese businessmen for purposes of marriage. 

One BBS commentator excoriates the girls, telling them they need to get to the Anti-Japanese history museums in Dongbei (the Northeast/Manchuria) in order to “restore their memory of the Chinese characters for ‘Japanese devil’.”  What might be more helpful is for the PRC to have a more open debate about the problem of girls in the countryside and how that relates to national power.  (After all, even bride-exporting countries like Cambodia, with just a fraction of China’s might, have recently banned outmarriage to Korean bachelors.)  Or we could just forget it and fantasize about how a Beijing University professor projects train service to Taiwan within 20 years.  Visions of the future, shadows of the past: hopefully this thread will bear some productive fruit.   

"Daughters of China/Zhonghua Ernu", Northeast Film Studios, 1949 -- I wonder what the daoyan would say today

Curiosities on the Chinese Internet

Given that censorship is supposed to be heavier than ever these days in China, I found very curious — and slightly aberrant — these two stories today on Huanqiu Shibao, a flagship outlet for foreign news and opinion in Beijing.

1. The following article from 《日本新华侨报》(Xinhua Daily for Overseas Chinese in Japan) does a dissertation on the much-debated phrase “有关部门”  (“relevant authorities”).  The phrase is often used to describe unnamed government authorities.  The new editorial is sources as “Japanese media”, which I find remarkable, but it is also rather frank discussion of how journalism is done in China today and the limits on quoteability.

(For connoisseurs, a fascinating debate about the phrase 有关部门”  (“relevant authorities”) exists amid linguists and observers on One Free Korea with reference to the Chinese disavowal of culpability in the North Korean arrest/abduction of American reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee this past summer.  Which is to say that strategic vagueness is something that the PRC, and the Foreign Ministry in particular, would wish to preserve.  That the phrase and the practice is being called into question here seems to be at least a somewhat healthy sign of internal debate in China.

2.  This article is even more curious: an explanation of how French students and citizens are mobilizing to oppose French President Nicholas Sarkozy.  “Hey!” it fairly roars, “400,000 people signed up for a Facebook internet movement.”  People may be having one hell of a time sending e-mails from Xinjiang, and Facebook may be basically blocked in the PRC, but someone at Huanqiu decided to report the news for once without worrying that it could blow back against the CCP.  Perhaps the spirit of Zhou Enlai’s youth lives on after all…Zhongguo jiayou!

Not May 4, 1919, not Beijing -- Parisians protest the deepening "Sarkophage"

Not May 4, not Beijing -- Parisians protest the deepening "Sarkophage" -- image courtesy Huanqiu Shibao

image courtesy Ben Heine, Deviant Art in Brussels