Festival of Peace

Christmas with migrants in Beijing – Alec Ash

'Twas the day before Christmas, and all was calm. Shops were shuttered, homes were locked; the streets were full of lights and the sound of jingles. A winter chill hung in the air, and after a year of hard work, men and women of the village dragged luggage over the frost-bitten tarmac – going home for the holidays.

Yet these migrant workers, on the outskirts of Beijing, were not celebrating Christmas. It was not a holiday in China, and they did not want to go home, nor to shutter their shops and lock their doors. The lights were from police cars patrolling the streets, jingling their alarm bells, making it clear there was no other choice than to leave.


Emojis on the Wall

On Hong Kong campuses, a bulletin board Cold War – Ting Guo

As someone who grew up in post-Tiananmen mainland China, democracy walls on Hong Kong university campuses always evoke a sense of bittersweet nostalgia in me, for the liberal era I was just young enough to miss. The campus walls pay tribute to the original Democracy Wall in Beijing, where in 1978 people put up posters expressing their political opinions and recalling their suffering during the Cultural Revolution. The Democracy Wall and the “Beijing Spring” it had ushered in were both shut down in 1979, foreshadowing the bloody end to the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.

China History Podcast

Confucius Reborn

Part eight in the History of Chinese Philosophy podcast series

This is an all Neo-Confucian episode. Last episode, Laszlo introduced three of the five founders of Neo-Confucianism: Zhou Dunyi, Shao Yong and Zhang Zai. This time we finish off with the remaining two founders: the Cheng Brothers, Cheng Hao and Cheng Yi. And taking this rich harvest to the next level is Zhu Xi. The basic tenets of Neo-Confucianism are introduced, with a focus on (principle) and xīn (mind) and how these two concepts caused a great divide in the two main schools of Neo-Confucianism.   (life-force) is also examined, and how that fits into the big picture. The episode closes with an introduction to the extraordinary life of Wang Yangming, and his contributions to Neo-Confucianism:


Graffiti Beijing

A once-flourishing street art has been scrubbed out – Lance Crayon

In preparation for the 2014 APEC economic summit in Beijing, a city-wide cleanse was underway. Street workers armed with grey paint covered every piece of graffiti they could find. Even the sanctioned graffiti area at Renmin University, known by locals as the “Wall of Beijing”, wasn’t spared. Within a week, most of what remained from the city’s budding graffiti movement was gone.

“The rapid development is so out of whack and the population has become too saturated, just living here is overwhelming,” said Wreck, a graffiti writer born and raised in Beijing.

When he was in college, Wreck joined KTS (Kill the Streets), a graffiti crew that has since become one of the most respected in the country. Their tags used to be ubiquitous in the capital. Nowadays, he might throw up a piece once a month.