Resisting Cultural Capture — Dasheng’s Little Lectures

The Other China

Dasheng’s Little Lectures 大生小議 is a series of short videos by Liu Chan 劉蟾, aka Dasheng 大生, an artist and independent scholar based in Beijing.

In his ‘Shorts’ Dasheng comments on language, life and thinking in China today. They are reproduced here both as part of The Other China section of this site and in Lessons in New Sinology.

The following installment in Dasheng’s Little Lecture series was inspired by an incident in Suzhou in August 2022. It is followed by a calligraphic couplet and commentary in Liu Chan’s inimitable style.


We have previously featured short videos created by Chen Qiushi 陳秋實, Yuan Tengfei 袁騰飛 and Liang Hongda 梁宏達. See:

We are grateful to Callum Smith for his technical assistance.

— Geremie R. Barmé
Editor, China Heritage
18 January 2023



Related Material:

Getting One’s Knickers in a Twist

A Chinese woman said she was detained by police for hours and accused of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” [尋釁滋事 xúnxìn zīshì] for wearing a Japanese kimono and taking photos in a city street.

The woman was wearing the kimono and a wig while cosplaying as a popular character from the manga series Summer Time Rendering. She was taking photos in Suzhou when she and her photographer were approached by a police officer, according to video filmed and shared to social media.

In the video, the woman explains she was conducting a photoshoot, but an officer tells her: “If you came here wearing [traditional Chinese] Hanfu, I wouldn’t say this. But you are wearing a kimono, as a Chinese. You are a Chinese! Are you?”

Helen Davidson, Chinese woman ‘detained for wearing Japanese kimono’The Guardian, 16 August 2022

[Note: On Hanfu 漢服, see, China’s State of Warring Styles, China Heritage, 24 March 2017.]


We Need to Do More to Support the Suzhou Police

and Resist Cultural Encroachment



Dasheng 大生

I fully endorse the actions of our Uncle Police in dealing with that kimono-cosplaying young woman. We must resist the encroachment of Japanese culture! However, in my opinion, we need to go further, starting with ourselves.

For example, we should be confident enough in our own home-grown culture and replace the modern expression 警察 jǐngchá, ‘police officer’ [a loanword from Japanese!] with traditional Chinese terms such as ‘Nimble Bailiff’ 捕快 bǔkuài and ‘Yamen Runners’ 衙役 yáyi. They, in turn, should dress in old-style black tunics, carry bludgeons and be equipped with ox-tail broadswords. Furthermore, they should be able to deploy cangues and paddy wagons drawn by oxen, both of which are time-honoured accouterments of traditional policing practice with Chinese cultural characteristics. Only then can we proudly claim that we are doing everything we can to resist Western cultural encroachment.


trans. GRB



It’s a Crime to Dress in a Kimono,
but Not to Wear Chains


Liu Chan 劉蟾

In Suzhou a women who dressed up in a kimono so that she could take some photographs in the street was detained for ‘provoking an incident’. If such assaults on individual freedoms are commonplace everyone will live in fear.

The incident brings to mind the Chained Woman of Xuzhou [in February 2022], as well as various measures taken by the authorities in pursuit of their zero-Covid policy. Absurdity abounds in this inhumane world. I made the following record on 16 August [2022].


trans. GRB