For several years, I’ve had the pleasure of co-editing this China Blog at BLARB, which carried forward the spirit of the old China Beat, an electronic magazine that closed up shop half-a-decade ago at the end of a four year run. One thing I’ve enjoyed about the China Blog has been getting to collaborate with a succession of talented co-editors: first Megan Shank, then Maura Cunningham, and, most recently, Mengfei Chen. There is a happy rather than sad reason that this will be the last China Blog piece: it will be closing down to make way for the LARB China Channel, which went live with its first post today (that’s the first birthday alluded to in my title).
It’s worth noting that a) China Blog posts won’t disappear (they’ll be archived at BLARB for the foreseeable future), and b) the transition will not mean the end of LARB connections for this blog’s co-editors and past contributors. Maura and Mengfei (with whom I recently did an interview for a “Meet the LARB China Channel Team” series) are advising editors of the new channel, which joins various other digital magazines already flourishing under the LARB umbrella and will carry more pieces of more varied kinds than the China Blog has. I am one of two academic editors of the new venture. The Channel’s Managing Editor, Alec Ash (click here for my recent interview with him), is a past contributor to the China Blog, as is one of its two Commissioning Editors, Anne Henochowicz (for an interview with Anne, click here, and for one with Nick Stember, the other editor with the same role, click here). And many other people who’ve written for the China Blog — including Megan, we hope — will be writing things for its expanded successor.
We could have waited a week and launched the China Channel on October 1, the anniversary of the 1949 founding of the People’s Republic of China. To make a different kind of statement about politics and history, we could have waited a bit longer than that and launched it on October 10, the anniversary of the 1911 Revolution that led to the end of dynastic rule and the birth of the Republic of China. We found it more fitting, though, to begin instead on a very different sort of anniversary date: September 25. This date is meaningful to us because it is the birthday of Lu Xun, the great writer of surrealist and satirical works of short fiction, irony-laced essays, and iconoclastic forays into cultural commentary who is widely hailed as China’s most important modern author.
For direct access to the Channel, which is devoting its first week to material associated with Lu Xun and going forward will strive to embody some of the qualities with which he is associated, click here. And for the interviews with the two Channel editors I haven’t already mentioned, Eileen Cheng-yin Chow (like me, an Academic Editor) and Jason Y. Ng (like Maura and Mengfei, an Advising Editor), click here and here. Thanks for reading The China Blog. I hope you find the new China Channel as exciting to check out as it has been for its team of editors to pull together and send out into the world.