So James Palmer of @BeijingPalmer fame recommended me Feng Jicai’s Ten Years of Madness as a good book on the Cultural Revolution. It’s all that. The best biog of Feng I’ve found is this French one, much better than the frankly thin Wikipedia coverage. He is a product of the old-school scholar gentry, a significant…Read More Boooks: Ten Years of Madness
Here is a really superb paper on the 50 cent party, the Chinese Communist Party’s army of loyalist Internet trolls. The researchers scraped literally millions of below-the-line comments and Weibo posts, hired Chinese students to identify the 50-centers in random samples and classify the posts by subject, checked that the students, who worked independently, agreed…Read More This is what the mandate of heaven looks like
I have recently been reading a lot of books. Ironically, this was in part because I left a Kindle on a plane and had to get the app instead – having the books so temptingly close caused very rapid consumption. Empire Made Me: An Englishman Adrift in Shanghai by Robert Bickers, is the personal history…Read More The personal history of a Lancashire fascist
This new piece in The National from Jamie Kenny is genuinely fascinating but sadly paywalled. One of the most interesting phenomena of the Arab Spring was the role of football fans in the front line, firms like the Ultras White Knights, who had copied British terrace subculture in loving detail and then weaponised it as…Read More Gerremonside, Shijazhuang!
Remember that thumbsucker I did on the Great Firewall? Well, here’s some data, via this post (thanks, Jamie). It seems that Fang Binxing, China’s Chief Bellhead, boss of the Beijing University of Post & Telecoms, and king of the great firewall, really is in trouble due to his special relationship with Bo Xilai. He briefly…Read More not at all defanged
Well, this is interesting, both on the Bo Xilai story and also on the general theme of the state of the art in contemporary authoritarianism. It looks like a major part of the case is about BXL’s electronic surveillance of Chongqing and specifically of top national-level Chinese officials: One political analyst with senior-level ties, citing…Read More Canalising the marshes: tidying up the people
So, this post was picked up by SHWI survivor Randy McDonald‘s blog, who says that: great efforts are being made to keep new Chinese soldiers depoliticized I don’t think this gets it. Great efforts are being made to keep them politicised, so long as the politics inculcated in them is what the Party wants it…Read More The politics of the apolitical
Something interesting (h/t Jamie) about the Chinese military. The strand I found worthwhile is this: As a result, for the past decade, a major theme pounded into the troops by the General Political Department is the persistent threat from outside forces (non-Party elements) to separate the military from politics, depoliticize the military and “nationalize” the…Read More Peasants into…potential CCP members
Via Jamie Kenny, a must-read translation of a Chinese investigative report into the case of Wu Ying, a Chinese businesswoman who is in deep trouble with the law. What’s interesting here is that the report provides a deep view into some of the most important interfaces in the political economy of China – between the…Read More This is not a mafia business. This relies on credit!
China’s neo-con blogging fever-swamp, via (of course) Jamie K. For instance, Gao Yi, a well-known music critic, tweeted: “Compared with a war, US$7 billion is much more worthwhile. Right now, we lack the off-shore staging capacity for a mid-intensity war. A well-known music critic? Now that’s special. You don’t get detailed comment on the Royal…Read More as for the Mahler, I think it could do with a helipad