Christmas Smog

White Christmas, Red Alerts

It’s another white Christmas in Beijing, probably the whitest one we’ve had. Usually you can see the towers of the Central Business District in the picture above, but not today! City authorities have issued an orange alert – only the second-highest rating on the smog chart – so it’s not so newsworthy in the eyes […]

US v. China: Hail edition

Weather: Everyone experiences it. In addition to our humanity and our egos, it is a common denominator that binds us together. But we also experience it differently. In the case of extremely large hail, we in the United States might compare the size of hailstones to, say, golf balls, as this recent Gawker article did: […]

China cliches and the power of propopanda

Benjamin Carlson recently made a list of five Communist Party catchphrases commonly used in writings on China. They are: Referring to China’s “century of humiliation” Crediting the government with “lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty” Needlessly referring to China’s “5,000 years of history” Calling China’s supreme leader “the president” Referring to free thinkers as […]

US v. China: Journalism edition

Is it time to write this post? The recent Bloomberg News controversy — that reporters in China have had their stories spiked because it would mean bad news / loss of money for Bloomberg LP — is making waves because it reneges on two of the most important tenets of Western journalism: Maintaining independence: “Independence” […]

Expats love China most

Or so this survey says. The Wall Street Journal reports: [China] ranked No. 1 overall among 37 countries as a destination for expats in an HSBC Holdings PLC survey released earlier this week, edging out Germany, Singapore and the Cayman Islands. Its surveys ranked China No. 2 out of 37 countries in terms of beneficial […]

Chinese cities

From the FP Cities issue, two opposing views of Chinese cities: 1) They’re all the same, says Isaac Stone Fish in “Unlivable Cities”: Why are Chinese cities so monolithic? The answer lies in the country’s fractured history. In the 1930s, China was a failed state: Warlords controlled large swaths of territory, and the Japanese had […]

It’s not easy being red

This article in Prospect by Mark Kitto was so depressing to read, mostly because it’s dead accurate. People who come to China are largely idealists, ready to absorb an exotic, polar-opposite culture, widen their views of the world and humanity, and discover whatever it was they felt were missing in their former lives. Unfortunately for […]