Chinese Corner

Hopping Zombies

Undead with Chinese Characteristics

Are you still looking for a Halloween costume? It’s not too late! Just grab your bathrobe and your mandarin’s cap and you’ll be a jiāngshī – a Chinese zombie, that is.

Jiāngshī aren’t quite the same as the brain-eating undead of the West. In Mandarin, jiāngshī literally means “stiff corpse,” in reference to rigor mortis. They are reanimated corpses, either ancient and undecomposed or freshly undead, but with Chinese characteristics. For one, they wear the outfits of Qing dynasty officials: robes and domed hats. If they catch up with you, they suck out your life energy, your , instead of your brains. Their limbs are stiff, so they move by ...hopping. George Romero wasn’t consulted on this point.

Review

Thriller with Chinese Characteristics

Sam Geall reviews The Spy’s Daughter by Adam Brookes

The Spy’s Daughter, a novel by former BBC correspondent Adam Brookes, completes a trilogy starring Philip Mangan, a peripatetic journalist-turned-agent. Brookes’ first two books both drew strong reviews, and several memorable characters familiar from the earlier instalments are back – most notably, Mangan’s ex-soldier handler, haunted by her tours of Iraq and Afghanistan – while some interesting new ones are introduced, including a sleeper agent in the United States and a gifted young engineer.

In The Spy’s Daughter, Mangan is wandering in Southeast Asia, hung out to dry by his erstwhile MI6 handlers in London, and living his cover as a freelance journalist. But he is pursued by Chinese intelligence, and possessed of a gnawing desire to tug at a lead: an address, given to him on the banks of the Mekong River by a treacherous Chinese colonel. This takes him to Suriname, a tiny state on the Atlantic coast of South America, where a Chinese lawyer helps officials to launder their money, and into the path of Pearl Tao.

Story Club

Discussion: What Happens After Nora Walks Out?

Reader questions and comments on Lu Xun’s essay, and our responses

Last month, as part of ‘Lu Xun week’ to mark our launch, we published our first story club feature: a new translation of a 1926 essay by Lu Xun, What Happens After Nora Walks Out? Now we bring you the follow-up: a selection of questions and comments on the story from readers who wrote in, with our replies from our editors. Think of it as a digital version of a book club meeting (but with less interrupting and daytime drinking). We hope this inspires you to revisit the original essay, and understand it in a new light. Scroll down to see the randomly selected winner of the giveaway prize, who will receive a copy of the new Lu Xun collection the story comes from. And look out soon for the November installment of story club, with a very different kind of Chinese story to discuss. – The Editors

Steve Bewcyk asks: How does this talk of dreaming relate to the "China dream"?

Essay

An American Dies in China

Jay Weston recalls the tumultuous life and times of the man who "chose China"

The email came on Saturday morning ... from a young woman named Stella Guo. She informed me that her grandfather, my dear friend Sidney Shapiro, had passed away at the age of 98 in his house in Beijing, China. She said that Sidney had awakened that morning at 8:30, had his breakfast. Usually he would then go to his computer and answer the multitude of emails he received from all over the world but lately he had not been able to do so. This day, she told me, he peacefully closed his eyes and went to sleep forever.

Essay

Pax Sinica?

The double-edged sword of Chinese investment abroad – by Jacob Dreyer

During the 19th Party Congress last week, Xi Jinping announced a new era of Chinese power. “Our country is approaching the center of the world stage,” he said in his opening remarks on Wednesday 18th, “and making continuous contributions to humankind.” Even those of us who feel qualms about this coming to pass can understand the material reasons why peoples all around the world, from European dockworkers to Zambian miners, are daring to hope for a benign Chinese hegemony. From the Hinkley Point power plant to the new Foxconn plant in Wisconsin, from high-speed rail in Ethiopia to a new hospital in Minsk, Chinese investment around the world holds out the possibility for improved health, electricity networks, transportation and stable employment for people all around the world.