Author Archives: bloglarb

The China Blog A Mao Zedong statue in the city center of Chengdu, China. The 30-meter statue, one of the few that are still displayed in so prominent a public space, was built after the third-century palace of the Shu Kingdom on that site was razed by Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976). Below the statue is an air raid shelter.  © Tong Lam

Goodbye, Chiang!

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By Tong Lam One of the most iconic scenes in the 2003 German tragicomedy film Goodbye, Lenin!, which depicts drastic changes in daily life in the former East Germany soon after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, is a gigantic Lenin statue being flown away by a helicopter over East Berlin. Indeed, the end of […]


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Ping-Pong Powerhouses and Table Tennis Tales

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Photo courtesy the Richard Nixon Foundation By Maura Elizabeth Cunningham The 1971 “Ping-Pong Diplomacy” between China and the United States is often treated as a mere historical footnote, a quirky prelude to Richard Nixon’s path-breaking trip to the People’s Republic a year later. In his recently published book, Ping-Pong Diplomacy: The Secret History Behind the […]


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The Other Shore: On Virginia Pye’s River of Dust

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By Maura Elizabeth Cunningham Virginia Pye wrote her debut novel, River of Dust, in only 28 days. But as she recently explained during a session that I moderated at the Shanghai International Literary Festival, the book was a hundred years in the making. Pye’s family has a long history in China. Her grandparents served as […]

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A Short Look at the Long Literary History of Spies in Asia

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By Paul French One of the most noteworthy books set to hit the U.S. market next week is Olivia Milburn and Christopher Payne’s English translation of bestselling Chinese espionage author Mai Jia’s latest thriller, Decoded, which was published in other markets last year and has already generated a good deal of interest in the U.K.  […]


The China Blog A group of volunteers from a local NGO called I YOU SHE performing for elderly residents in a residential compound in Chengdu, Sichuan Province.  © Tong Lam

Grassroots NGOs

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By Tong Lam For many Chinese people, their exposure to the concept of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and their potential for civic action can be traced back to 1995, when Beijing hosted the Fourth World Conference on Women. In early September that year, thousands of international NGO delegates arrived in Beijing to discuss issues of equality, […]


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LARB Launches the Second Issue of the Quarterly Journal

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This Sunday, please join the Los Angeles Review of Books in celebrating the launch of the second issue of the LARB Quarterly Journal. With readings by Geoff Nicholson, Dinah Lenney, Alice Bolin, and Victoria Dailey at the Mandrake in Los Angeles. The LARB Quarterly Journal is a testament to the fact that print is still […]


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Netizens Unite: A Q&A with chinaSMACK Blog Founder Fauna

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By Alec Ash Fauna (a web name) is the founder and editor of chinaSMACK, a website that translates popular and trending Chinese digital content and online comment threads into English. It’s been around for over five years, and has hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors. The content is taken from a range of Chinese websites, […]


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Equatorial Guinea’s Most Important Living Writer Forced Into Hiding

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By David Shook Juan Tomás Avila Laurel is Equatorial Guinea’s most important living writer, but he’s often been persecuted by his own state for his outspokenness regarding their blatant disregard of human rights. This week that disregard has turned dangerous, as Malabo’s infamous security forces have forced Avila Laurel, 48, into hiding for his work […]


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Remembering Jack London’s Oriental War

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By Paul French “I am disgusted! I’ll never go to a war between Orientals again. The vexations and delay are too great.”      — Jack London He’d sailed his broken down sloop Razzle Dazzle as an oyster pirate; he’d crewed the sealing schooner Sophie Sutherland along the coast of Japan; he’d served with Kelly’s Army […]


The China Blog Photo by Fernanda Fraiz

Funny Bones: A Q&A with Jesse Appell About Comedy in China

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Photo by Fernanda Fraiz By Alec Ash Jesse Appell is a young American in Beijing who performs comedy in Chinese – both traditional Chinese forms and more Western fare such as stand-up. He studied Chinese comedy as a Fulbright fellow, and now promotes cross-cultural comedy through a project called Laugh Beijing. His parody music video Laowai […]