Report from the Jianchuan Museum Cluster, Sichuan (Die Zeit)

Last year I made two trips to the Jianchuan Museum Cluster in Sichuan, the PRC’s only private collection of museums and facilities which are completely ground-breaking in their somewhat individualistic take on curating and historical interpretation in general.  The museum cluster, owned and very much directed by the entrepreneur Fan Jianchuan, includes a museum of the Cultural Revolution, among other things. An excellent overview of … Continue reading Report from the Jianchuan Museum Cluster, Sichuan (Die Zeit)

Assessing U.S.-China Competition After the Hu Jintao Visit

What follows is a straight-up reading of Matthias Nass’ op-ed in Die Zeit recalibrating the US-China relationship, with special reference to debt and national security, and Hu Jintao in Washington. In general, the message is one wherein China dominates, but the execution of the points is, at least, interesting to me, and most everything (with the exception of the last minute, which I’m working on … Continue reading Assessing U.S.-China Competition After the Hu Jintao Visit

“We Are the Better West”:German Architecture Critic on Dubai’s New Tower of Babel

The other night I encountered a stupendous, if somewhat Chicken-Little-esque, review by Hanno Rauterberg in Die Zeit about the Burj Khalifa, the world’s new tallest building. Of interest here is the kind of recognition of the foot-dragging of Western democracies in producing such feats, and the sense of the global future tacking to the East.  And the fact that the review stems from a German … Continue reading “We Are the Better West”:German Architecture Critic on Dubai’s New Tower of Babel

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

Remembering Tiananmen and 1989 in Europe [1]

June 4, 1989 may lay buried under new epochs already, but the meaning of that date for China and its observers is clearly going to continue reverberate for decades. The Germans, perhaps most of all.  China was, and remains, highly sensitive to commemorations of June 4, 1989, but for Germans, the inspiration of the Chinese student movement of the 1980s, and the violent end to … Continue reading Remembering Tiananmen and 1989 in Europe [1]

Uighurs in Guantanamo – Will Nine Go to Munich?

Hamburg’s Die Zeit features a brace of editorials debating if Germany should accept the request of the Obama administration to take 9 of the 17 remaining Uighur detainees from Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo Bay in order to facilitate the closing of the prison there. The Uighurs have the ability to destabilize relations with the PRC, however, since both the US and the PRC agree that … Continue reading Uighurs in Guantanamo – Will Nine Go to Munich?