Render Unto the Emperor

How Yongzheng Dealt with
His Christian Conundrum   Watching China Watching (XXIII)   As we noted in the introduction to The Christian Conundrum of Yongzheng (China Heritage, 13 April 2018), negotiations between the Vatican and Beijing on the future of the Catholic church in the People’s Republic of China have drawn attention to the contemporary echoes of late-dynastic religious policy.… Read

May Fourth at Ninety-nine

Watching China Watching (XXII)   The Fourth of May marks China’s annual National Youth Day 五四青年節. It is ostensibly a time to celebrate the enthusiasm and independent spirit of youth. It commemorates the progressive, anti-imperialist student activists who, in 1919, led a national movement to protest against the unfair treatment of the Republic of China at the Versailles Peace Conference.… Read

A One-minute Chinese Lesson

Wairarapa Readings   白水札記 Wairarapa Readings celebrate the variety and vibrancy of China’s literary heritage, and living culture. They introduce texts of various kinds and translations aimed at students of China interested in the world beyond the narrow confines of contemporary institutional pedagogy.… Read

Contentious Friendship

Watching China Watching (XXI) In Watching China Watching we offer essays and reflections on studying the Chinese world and approaches to understanding the Chinese People’s Republic. Our method is underpinned by New Sinology.… Read

A Profile, a Reverie & a Letter

Wairarapa Readings 白水札記 Wairarapa Readings celebrate the variety and vibrancy of China’s literary heritage. They introduce literary texts and translations aimed at students of traditional Chinese letters who are interested in the rich cultural world that lies beyond the narrow confines and demands of contemporary institutional pedagogy.… Read

Other People’s Thoughts, IX

Other People’s Thoughts is a section of the China Heritage site featured in our Journal. It is inspired by a compilation of quotations made by Simon Leys (Pierre Ryckmans), one of our Ancestors.… Read

The Christian Conundrum of Yongzheng

Watching China Watching (XX) Recent negotiations between the Vatican and Beijing on the future of the Catholic church in China have, among other things, focussed international attention on Mindong 閩東, a region in northeast Fujian province.… Read

My Qingming

The Fifth of April 2018 marked the day for ‘sweeping the tombs’ 掃墓, a festival on which respects are paid to loved ones and forebears. Known since ancient times as Qingming 清明, ‘Clear and Bright’, it falls on the Eighth Day of the Third Month of the lunar calendar (depending on the year, according to the Gregoria Calendar, this can be the 4th, 5th or 6th day of April).… Read

Superfluous Words from a Nanking Salon

Wairarapa Readings   Wairarapa Readings celebrate the variety and vivacity of China’s literary heritage. They introduce literary texts and translations aimed at students of traditional Chinese letters who are interested in the rich cultural world that lies beyond the narrow confines and demands of contemporary institutional pedagogy.… Read

A Madman’s End

狂人之末日   Li Ao 李敖, a famously controversial writer and media personality based in Taiwan, died on 18 March this year. For many former admirers Li’s end really came in 2004.… Read

From a Heap of Ashes

Nancy Berliner & the Art of the Broken   The Inner Treasury is burnt down,
its tapestries and embroideries a heap of ashes; All along the Street of Heaven
one treads on the bones of State officials.… Read

Occupied with Idleness

Wairarapa Readings   For my own part, I can never get enough Nothing to do. — G.K. Chesterton 閒 xian: idleness, idly. A very much used word. Thus one’s ‘hands’ and ‘mind’ can both be ‘idle,’ or the hands may be idle while the mind is busy, or the mind may be idle while one’s hands are busy.… Read

Two Letters from The Stone

雅俗共賞   Translation Salons and Readings As part of our recently completed Wairarapa Academy Symposium ‘Dreaming of the Manchus’ 八旗夢影, which took place at Longwood Estate near Featherston in late February this year, we held a number of informal Translation Salons 竹林譯苑.… Read

Foo Dog-Lions

Dog Days (V)   As students struggle with the sounds and tones of Standard Chinese 普通話/ 國語, and learn about the linguistic variations of tone and pronunciation found in regional languages, they are often introduced to the work of Yuen Ren Chao (趙元任, 1892-1982), a noted linguist and grammarian.… Read

A Landscape Desolate and Bare

白茫茫大地真乾淨 The Best China (X)   Since the abdication of the last dynastic house in 1912, China’s imperial canker has never been entirely eliminated. Of course, in today’s People’s Republic the state media offers up convoluted folderol and mind-numbing detail regarding the collective and consultative nature of the country’s political system.… Read

Other People’s Thoughts, VIII

Other People’s Thoughts is a section of the China Heritage site featured in our Journal. It is inspired by a compilation of quotations made by Simon Leys (Pierre Ryckmans), one of our Ancestors.… Read

Objecting

Dog Days (IV) ‘I Object’ is a poem that circulated on the Chinese-language Internet following the Lunar New Year. It appeared around the time that Beijing announced a proposed revision of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China that would open the way for the unlimited tenure of state leaders (see The Real Man of the Year of the Dog — Dog Days (III), China Heritage, 2 March 2018).… Read

The Real Man of the Dog Year

Dog Days (III) 戊戌男兒   In the series Watching China Watching in China Heritage we noted how modern leaders — from Sun Yat-sen, through Chiang Kai-shek and Wang Ching-wei 汪精衛 to Mao Zedong — availed themselves of the imagery of the country’s dynastic past.… Read

The Year 1971

The Best China (VIII) ‘Everything in China is under the leadership of the Communist Party: be it the party, state, army, civilian life or education; and everywhere as well, be it north, south, east, west or in the centre’ 黨政軍民學,東西南北中,黨是領導一切的.… Read

The Dog Lover

Dog Days (II) 尨吠奸而為奸 Dog Days is a series of essays, translations, artworks and ruminations related to the Lunar Year of the Dog (2018-2019). The second in the series features a story from the early Qing fiction writer Pu Songling (蒲松齡, 1640-1715), author of Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio 聊齋誌異.… Read

A Pride of Pekingese

Dog Days (I) In acknowledgement of the 2018 Wuxu Year of the Dog, which we ushered in with the essay Mondo Cane on Lunar New Year’s Day (the 16th of February), China Heritage is publishing ‘Dog Days’, a series of canine-themed articles, essays, translations and art works.… Read

Mondo Cane

The 2018 Year of the Dog
戊戌狗年 The Year of the Dog celebrates the positive attributes of the canine: loyalty, fearlessness, alertness, protection. Less admired are features of dogs that have gained metaphorical notoriety when talking about humankind, these traits include infighting, backstabbing, shit-eating, scavenging, disease and fawning.… Read

Watching & Warning

Watching China Watching (XIX) In Saying the Unsayable we noted that China first essayed the global reach of its United Front strategy during the international leg of the 2008 Olympic Torch Relay.… Read

Saying the Unsayable

Watching China Watching (XVIII) It is ten years since China’s 2008 ‘Olympic Year’. The international media anticipated that the XXIXth Olympiad to be held in Beijing in August that year would signify China’s true ‘coming out’ on the world stage.… Read

An Ultrastable System

Watching China Watching (XVII) China Watching has never merely been the province of outsiders. As we have pointed out previously in Watching China Watching, those who watch, analyse and critique China with the greatest intensity are themselves often part of the Chinese, or Sinophone world.… Read

Peking Tom

Watching China Watching (XVI) In late April 1938, in a speech addressed to Communist Party journalists and propagandists studying at the Lu Xun Arts Academy in Yan’an, the Party leader Mao Zedong said: ‘You are young artists and the world in all of its complex variety belongs to you.… Read

Conflicting Caricatures

Watching China Watching (XV)  The following essay was written as a Foreword to China Beyond the Headlines, a volume of academic studies of contemporary Chinese society at the turn of the century, edited by Timothy B.… Read

The Man With the Key

Watching China Watching (XIV) The Man With the Key is Not Here 管钥匙的人不在 offers ‘Sixteen Chinese Key Words’ (pun intended), or ‘Everyday Mantras’, and their layered meanings, that Chinese watchers of China know to be on the watch out for.… Read

On the Eve

Watching China Watching (XIII) In late April 1989, a group of prominent Chinese writers, public intellectuals avant la lettre and cultural figures — both from Mainland China and Taiwan — gathered at Bolinas on the Californian coast north of San Francisco to discuss the state of their state views about China’s future.… Read