Rectified Criminal or Courageous Speech? Ai Weiwei in China and Germany

  About two weeks after the disappearance of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, the Huanqiu Shibao released a series of photographs of past criminals who had, through arduous years of “thought reform,” found a path toward the redemption in the eyes of the Chinese people.  Sitting in front of my computer screen, dumbfounded, I wondered if indeed this was still the CCP model for legal proceedings: … Continue reading Rectified Criminal or Courageous Speech? Ai Weiwei in China and Germany

transmediale buzz

The Berlin transmediale is, to my knowledge, one of the very best annual conferences (a “convergence” is more the appropriate word) which exist on Planet Earth.  I was very fortunate to have been able to attend the 2011 sessions, where, among other things, I was able to learn about “book sprints” (whereby a book, having been researched, is collectively authored and printed by 5 or … Continue reading transmediale buzz

Cultural Power Battle Threads

– The Telegraph reports in alarmist fashion about Hu Jintao warning, as the newspaper headline puts it, of “cultural warfare from the West” – A closer examination of the story indicates that Hu Jintao’s “battle cry,” above, was a speech given on October 18, 2011, that was republished yesterday in the preemminent journal for CCP theory, Qiushi (Seeking Truth / 求是). In fact most of the … Continue reading Cultural Power Battle Threads

Two New Essays on China Beat: Sino-German and Sino-Korean Relations

I’ve got a few more changes in store for Sinologistical Violoncellist in the new year (most of them involving the bass clef and Japan, not necessarily in that order), but in the meantime, readers may appreciate being directed to two longer essays I recently published on China Beat, cited here in modified Chicago style: Adam Cathcart, “Bow Before the Portrait: Sino-North Korean Relations Enter the … Continue reading Two New Essays on China Beat: Sino-German and Sino-Korean Relations

The Dalai Lama in Toulouse: On Soft Power, Le Pen, and Unfallen Shoes

Back in July, while on a late-night stroll through the 5th Arrdondisment looking for Rue Oberkampf, I chanced upon an announcement of the Dalai Lama’s mid-August trip to Toulouse, France, a city which appears to have become a kind of new Buddhist heartland. To follow up: The Dalai Lama indeed went to Toulouse, and a short clip from a French television station captures very well … Continue reading The Dalai Lama in Toulouse: On Soft Power, Le Pen, and Unfallen Shoes

Notes on Sino-German Relations

Mark Siemons, who is rapidly becoming one of my favorite correspondents in Beijing, has another piece in yesterday’s Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung.  Ironically entitled “Deutschland ist eigentlich ein zweites China in Europa [Germany is truly a second China in Europe],” it reveals a few things of note. Foremost, the Chinese domestic media gave less attention to Wen Jiabao (and his 13 fellow ministers) in Berlin “than … Continue reading Notes on Sino-German Relations

“Hitler’s Stomach” in Beijing: A Review

Today in Berlin, I was cruising through the Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung, the businessman’s preferred paper, for German response to the Wen Jiabao visit when I ran across an article so completely fascinating that I decided to translate it for inclusion on the blog, as it actually adds something new to the giant slapping waves of somewhat repetitious commentary in the area of China’s relations with Germany. … Continue reading “Hitler’s Stomach” in Beijing: A Review

News from Berlin

First, thanks to everyone who came out today to hear my Berlin recital.  I had a great time playing the Brahms Sonata No. 1 in E, and Schumann’s Fantasy Pieces and Five Pieces in Folk Style, with my pianist and collaborator Andreas Boelcke, at whose Piano Academy Berlin I have been in residence for the past few days for intensive rehearsals. I would anticipate having … Continue reading News from Berlin

China’s Public Square Debate over Nuclear Power: Refracting Germany

Imagine my suprise to open the webpage of the Huanqiu Shibao this morning to find the headline “German Environmental Ministry Announces that Germany Will Close All Nuclear Plants by 2022.”  The following story/poll looks like this — and please note the minumum of spin: 德国环境部门宣布将于2022年关闭所有核电站 你是否支持中国继续发展核电 支持 不支持 环球网记者谭利娅报道,据法新社5月30日报道,德国环境部门30日早间宣布,德国到2022年将关闭国内全部核电站,这将成为全球主要工业化国家中首个放弃核电的国家。 自今年3月份日本大地震引发福岛第一核电站发生核泄漏事故以来,多个国家陆续掀起一场有关核能安全性的讨论。据德国媒体报道,5月28日德国有几十万民众上街游行,反对核电站继续存在。 In other words: Do you or don’t you support China continuing to develop nuclear power … Continue reading China’s Public Square Debate over Nuclear Power: Refracting Germany

Ai Weiwei and Sino-German Relations

For the last two months, a stack of German newspapers and internet print-outs about the case of Ai Weiwei seems to have accrued first in my bags in Berlin and Paris and then in my offices in Seattle and Tacoma.  What a treasure-trove of perceptions and misperceptions, opportunity and loss, of connection do these papers constitute!  In a fantasy world that demands little more than … Continue reading Ai Weiwei and Sino-German Relations