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How the Chinese Language Got Modernized

The New Yorker

This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from. The late, great sinologist Simon Leys once pointed out a peculiar paradox. China is the world's oldest surviving civilization, and yet very little material of its past remains--far less than in Europe or India. Through the centuries, waves of revolutionary iconoclasts have tried to smash everything old; the Red Guards, in the nineteen-sixties, were following an ancient tradition. The Chinese seldom built anything for eternity, anyway, nothing like the cathedrals of Europe.


Has Shanghai been Xinjianged?

The Japan Times

Shanghai and Xinjiang used to be two sides of the China coin. Shanghai was the glamorous China -- with skyscrapers, art deco apartments and a thriving middle class that shopped in Paris and strolled around Kyoto. Xinjiang was the dark China. The western frontier region, twice the size of Texas, is home to more than 10 million Muslim ethnic minorities who have been subject to mass detentions, religious repression and intrusive digital and physical surveillance. Since April, the 25 million residents of Shanghai have gotten a small taste of the Xinjiang treatment in a strict citywide lockdown.


Disney vows to fight after its characters are spotted at rival Chinese theme park

Los Angeles Times

The chairman of China's biggest conglomerate recently predicted that a new 5.5-billion Disney theme park opening in Shanghai next month would fail, citing a lack of innovation with intellectual properties and characters. But when that same conglomerate, Dalian Wanda Group Co., opened a rival theme park over the weekend, visitors were greeted by workers dressed as Disney characters, including Captain America, Snow White and Star Wars storm troopers. Disney vowed to take action to protect its intellectual property rights. "We vigorously protect our intellectual property and will take action to address infringement," Disney said in a statement to Bloomberg News. It was only a week ago that Wang Jianlin, chairman of the Wanda Group, predicted that the 15 to 20 theme parks his company plans to build throughout China will outperform the Shanghai Disney Resort by offering lower prices and "constant innovation."


Remember The Red Guards Before You Cheer The Woke Mobs

#artificialintelligence

I'm ambivalent about statues and J.K. Rowling being torn down, but terrified of the thought process behind the destruction. Decisions should never be made by mobs. Is America on the edge of a cultural revolution? The historical namesake and obvious parallel is the Cultural Revolution in China, which lasted from 1966 to 1976. Its stated goal was to purge capitalist and traditional elements from society, and to substitute a new way of thinking based on Mao's own beliefs.


Xu Hongci - Mao's victim, freedom's hero - tells his story in 'No Wall Too High'

Los Angeles Times

Xu Hongci is a legend in a certain Chinese subculture: The estimated 550,000 people who were accused of being "rightists" in Mao Zedong's purge of the late 1950s and spent 20 years or more as inmates of China's gulag archipelago. In that large crowd of unjustly, illegally imprisoned people, Xu is the only person known to have escaped and made a free life in another country. Not surprisingly, his account of how he accomplished that remarkable feat is at the center of "No Wall Too High," one of the most compelling and moving memoirs to emerge from Communist China, which is now appearing in English for the first time. The actual escape, which took Xu on a clandestine journey of many thousands of miles, is absolutely heart-stopping, material for a Hollywood thriller. But Xu's book is more than that.