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 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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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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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 […]


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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 […]


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What Foreigners Do in China

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By Xujun Eberlein In the remote mountains of Yunnan Province, China, a middle-aged European ecologist gave up his high-level international program manager job and made his home with a local woman. Together, they set forth to reestablish the rainforests destroyed by rubber tree plantations, cultivated a garden — a seed bank — that “was home […]


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Marking Time in China and the West — A New Year’s Post

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“A spectre is haunting the world: 1914.”  So writes Harold James, a professor of history [who is] certainly right that newspapers and learned journals are currently full of articles comparing international politics today with the world of 1914. — Gideon Rachman, “Does the 1914 Parallel Make Sense?” Financial Times blog Today’s China is no longer […]


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The China Blog A Bollywood film crew shooting an action thriller in a small village in Anhui Province in 2012.

India in China

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By Tong Lam The relative absence of India in Chinese public discourse is an interesting curiosity. Indeed, while there has been a growing public interest in China among the Indian public in recent years, there is no similar level of reciprocal fascination flowing across the Himalayas in the other direction. Instead, most members of the […]


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Missing the Harmony Express

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By Maura Elizabeth Cunningham “There is NOTHING,” I typed, “that makes me miss China more than dealing with @Amtrak. Our rail system is ridiculous.” A quick click on “Tweet” and I sat back in my chair in Washington, D.C.’s Union Station, content that I had fully conveyed my frustration with American mass transit — at […]


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Sherlock Holmes and the Curious Case of Several Million Chinese Fans

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Image from ChinaSmack. By Paul French After a hiatus of a couple of decades China’s love affair with England’s greatest consulting detective is apparently back on. The BBC’s hit show Sherlock is a smash with Chinese viewers – Youku, a Chinese video-hosting website similar to YouTube, is screening the series and within hours of it […]


The China Blog Photo by Eelco Florijn.

Foreign Elements: A Q & A with Photographer, Author and Editor Tom Carter

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By Alec Ash [This interview was originally published on the China Blog tumblr on September 25, 2013.] There have been expats in China since the first Jesuit missionaries started arriving in the 16th century. But what characterizes the hundreds of thousands of Westerners who call China home today? And what are the challenges and identity […]