New Koguryo Research in Pyongyang, or, How to Revive a Historical Dispute on China’s National Day

It doesn’t take much skill at reading tea-leaves in Chinese or English to recognize that Kim Jong-un’s letter of congratulations to Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, and Zhang Dejiang on the PRC’s National Day fell far short of what, from a Chinese perspective, it should have been. Kim’s three brief sentences were newsworthy because he was ostensibly bed-ridden, but also because they indicated a lack of … Continue reading New Koguryo Research in Pyongyang, or, How to Revive a Historical Dispute on China’s National Day

Inter-Korean Sports Diplomacy: Comment in the Washington Post

Adam Taylor runs a key foreign affairs blog for the Washington Post. Today he was kind enough to ask for my views on this story of his about North Korea offering to send cheerleaders to Incheon for the Asian Games. Here is the full text of my response: I do think that [the offer to send a cheerleading squad to the South]  is important and … Continue reading Inter-Korean Sports Diplomacy: Comment in the Washington Post

Pan-Asianism and the Japanese Wartime Empire

This past spring, upon the invitation of Peter Anderson, I gave a lecture to all of the first-year History students at Leeds University on the following topic, as part of a module on world history. Some of the reading materials listed at the conclusion are paywalled (or, like Marc Driscoll’s stunning Absolute Erotic, Absolute Grotesque, should just be bought), but most are free, and all … Continue reading Pan-Asianism and the Japanese Wartime Empire

Chongqing Hothouse: At Rana Mitter’s Wiles Lectures at Queen’s University, Belfast

Rana Mitter, a major historian of early 20th-century China, is currently in Belfast delivering a series of lectures (which I am attending and commenting on) on the history of Chongqing during the “War of Resistance” (1937-1945). Mitter is the author, most recently, of a major study of the second world war in China; he has a wonderful history of production of monographs and has also … Continue reading Chongqing Hothouse: At Rana Mitter’s Wiles Lectures at Queen’s University, Belfast

New Daily NK Essay: On the Emerging Reality of High-Speed Rail in Eastern Jilin

Eastern Manchuria, for decades a cold and industrially declining region, is now a site of huge infrastructure development. Time and space between the three northeastern provinces of Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang provinces are shrinking. Meanwhile, North Hamkyung is whittling away with dysfunctional infrastructure and marginal growth at Rason.  *Read the rest of the essay, co-authored with Steven Denney, at The Daily NK. Continue reading New Daily NK Essay: On the Emerging Reality of High-Speed Rail in Eastern Jilin

Cold War Analysis of Chinese History

Includes interviews with Pearl S. Buck and Theodore White, plenty of Orientalism (the music score is a treatise itself in stereotypes and aural affects) and such gems as describing Shanxi warlord Yan Hsi-shan as “the treacherous opium addict” and the precursor of the notion of China as dominated by “the poet and the executioner.” Continue reading Cold War Analysis of Chinese History

Yalu River Notes: On Dandong

The following is a cross-post from SinoNK.com.  And King Tubby (a regular commenter on both this site and David Bandurski’s essential China Media Project) points out a new Los Angeles Times article that deals with the matter of North Korean capitalism from a different angle.  Along the frontier between North Korea’s North Hamgyong province and the PRC’s Yanbian Korean Autonomous Region, journalists, according to Chosun Ilbo, … Continue reading Yalu River Notes: On Dandong