Category Archives: The China Blog

LARB’s China Blog covers the life, culture, politics and literature of China. It is edited by Jeffrey Wasserstrom and Maura Elizabeth Cunningham. If you’re looking for blog posts prior to September 2013, please visit our China Blog tumblr page.

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China’s Forgotten World War II: A Q&A with Rana Mitter

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By Maura Elizabeth Cunningham As my last China Blog column was on China’s forgotten World War I, I decided that an examination of the country’s involvement in World War II would make for a logical follow-up post. There’s no one better to discuss this topic than Oxford historian Rana Mitter, author of Forgotten Ally: China’s World […]


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Blasts from the Past: Chinese Nostalgia for the 1980s in the Era of Xi Jinping

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Photo: Scene from American Dreams in China By Austin Dean In a speech at the 35th anniversary of academic exchanges between the United States and China earlier this summer, David Moser, a linguist and Academic Director of Beijing’s CET study abroad program who is one of the doyens of the expat community in Beijing, recounted a […]


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Finding One’s Own Way Through the Woods: A Q & A with Short Story Writer Jack Livings

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By Jeffrey Wasserstrom One of the best works of fiction I’ve read in recent months is The Dog: Stories by Jack Livings, who taught English in China in the 1990s and sets all of the short stories in his collection in that country. The book’s longest story, “Crystal Sarcophagus,” is set in the immediate wake […]


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How to Be a Male God: Beijing’s Pick Up Artist Scene

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By Alec Ash Xia’er, a 22-year-old music graduate from Hunan Province, is short, with a boyish complexion and no steady job. He is an average catch. Cirl, professional Pick Up Artist, has a ripped body, the confidence of a god, wears sparkling jewelry, and does magic. He is a ladykiller. Cirl exists in Xia’er’s mind, […]


The China Blog browsing

Love, or Nearest Offer: A Vignette From Beijing’s Marriage Market

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Photo: Mr. Sun browsing the marriage market. By Alec Ash Mr. Sun is 67, with a helmet-shaped mop of silver hair, half his teeth missing, and a generally ragged look to him. He’s an old Beijinger, and lives near the east gate of Tiantan Park, not far from the Forbidden City. Every Sunday, he goes […]


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Tricks of Two Trades: A Q&A on Writing News Reports and Spy Novels with Night Heron Author Adam Brookes

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By Jeffrey Wasserstrom I’ve known Adam Brookes since 1999, when we met in Beijing where he was covering China for the BBC, and I’ve followed his career with interest ever since.  When I learned that Adam, whose latest reporting assignment has been the Pentagon, was trying his hand at a spy novel, I was intrigued. […]


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China’s Forgotten World War I

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Photo: The dedication of the WWI memorial in Shanghai, in 1924. By Maura Elizabeth Cunningham World War I has always been primarily associated with Europe. That’s where the conflict began, where the major battles took place, and where the war had its most visible effect – the map of the continent was redrawn in its […]


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The Opium War Comes to America (the Book, That is): A Q & A With Julia Lovell

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By Jeffrey Wasserstrom This week’s China Blog interview is with Julia Lovell, a British specialist in Chinese studies who teaches in London, lives in Cambridge, and has made her mark in several distinctive arenas.  She’s a distinguished translator of fiction (e.g., Zhu Wen’s short stories); she writes lively reviews and short essays for leading newspapers […]


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Made in Bulgaria

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Photo: A Made-in-Bulgaria Chinese pickup truck on display near the Monument to the Soviet Army in Sofia, Bulgaria. By Tong Lam The future is all around us, hidden in physical signifiers, but we often lack the key to understanding the significations. The square around the Monument to the Soviet Army in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, […]


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Bad China Articles: Hall of Infamy

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This week’s China Blog post was originally published on The Anthill, a “writers colony” focused on writings about China, edited by Alec Ash.  By Alec Ash The Anthill occasionally loans its soul to the devil and does listicles. So far we’ve done China books and China blogs. Now we turn our eye to that richest of terrains – bad […]