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.

The China Blog Wang Zihao, photo credit Dou Yiping

Why Study Journalism in China?

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Photo: Wang Zihao. © Dou Yiping By Lu-Hai Liang and Dou Yiping China’s journalism schools, like those in many countries, are packed full of students preparing to join an industry where the supply of graduates far exceeds the number of positions available. The press may be perceived as the fourth estate in the West, but some […]


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Graffiti in Beijing

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By Cutler Dozier A skinny 21-year-old Beijinger with shoulder length hair, wearing baggy jeans and a worn t-shirt, stares through his paint-speckled glasses, transfixed by the stack of multicolored graffiti cans arranged in front of him. He goes by the name WEK, and is deciding what colors he will use to paint his name on various […]


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Satire, Cyberspace and the 25th Anniversary of the June 4th Massacre

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I learned several weeks ago that China Digital Times was about to publish Crazy Crab’s Chinese Dream in Cartoons, an e-book featuring material by a satirist whose work I had enjoyed seeing displayed on their site. When I got my advance copy, I began looking through it eagerly, expecting to be amused or moved by […]


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A Tale of Two First Books: A Conversation with NPR’s Louisa Lim and The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos

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In 2008, I wrote in the Guardian that there had recently been a “notable acceleration” in the frequency with which “illuminating books of reportage” on China had been appearing. It had become routine, I explained, after writers like Peter Hessler and Ian Johnson had come onto the scene, for two or three engagingly crafted books a […]


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Xi Jinping’s Peculiar Packaging of the May 4th Spirit

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By Rebecka Eriksson Early this month, Chinese top leader Xi Jinping made a high profile visit to China’s most prestigious university.  While there, he had photographs taken with students and gave a speech that showcased, in revealing and sometimes bizarre ways, his penchant for drawing inspiration from a dizzyingly diverse array of parts of his […]


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A Trip Back to Beijing — Courtesy of Xu Zechen and Eric Abrahamsen

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By Megan Shank Step out of the Beijing airport, and taste the tang in the air. For the remainder of your time in the capital, it will linger, metallic, on the back of your tongue. Is it burning plastic? Coal? The sweat of migrant workers who have come to chase dreams and money? The boozy […]

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Reading Middlemarch in Jiangxi

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By Mengfei Chen Is it still a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife? Perhaps he’d rather spend that fortune on bottle service and club bunnies. Certainly, modern day Lily Barts need not die young, alone and poor because they nixed a […]

The China Blog Mary Guo, April 15, 2014 -- in Beijing

What Do Chinese Women Want?

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Photo: Mary Guo in Beijing, April 15, 2014. By Lu-Hai Liang Let’s start with Mary. Well that’s her English name anyway. We met seven years ago in Yangshuo, a pretty little town in southern China where she was studying English. I liked her sparky personality and sense of fun, and we became friends. I was teaching […]


The China Blog noirtrip

Noir Visions, Part 2—All the Spies in China

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My last post focused on whodunits and true crime books with Chinese settings, but its title, “Noir Visions of China’s Past and Present,” used a capacious term that can encompass other sorts of writings as well. There are, for example, noir novels and noir-infused non-fiction that deal with spies as opposed to private eyes, code […]

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Noir Visions of China’s Past and Present

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I won’t say that an interest in criminal activity led me to a career teaching and writing about China, but books about death, detective work and other themes with links to noir genres certainly played a role in steering me toward my chosen profession.  More specifically, browsing the campus bookstore shelves at UC Santa Cruz […]