Little Red Podcast

The Han-opticon

China’s dystopian surveillance networks – Louisa Lim

Surveillance drones disguised as birds. Cameras in classrooms monitoring students for signs of distraction. Sensors embedded in hats transmitting brainwave data from workers on the production line, to scan for depression, anxiety or rage. A network of cameras across rural villages, with the longterm aim to “turn every television set and mobile phone in the countryside into a security monitoring terminal.” All of these technologies are being piloted in China, as the country harnesses artificial intelligence and cutting-edge tech to transform itself into a modern surveillance state.

Little Red Podcast

Shaken But Not Stirred

The Chinese State and the Sichuan Earthquake – Louisa Lim

A single word defined state media coverage of the tenth anniversary of the massive Wenchuan quake that left 88,000 people dead or missing: Thanksgiving. With a complete lack of irony, the state news agency declared the anniversary to be Thanksgiving Day, with exhortations to “let the gushing springs of love flow without end,” even as the parents of children killed in the collapsed ruins of their shoddily constructed schools were forbidden from raising tombstones to remember their loved ones.

 

Chinese Literature Podcast

Not About to See Your Light

Rob Moore and Lee Moore dive into Han Shaogang's Pa Pa Pa

In this episode, Rob Moore and Lee Moore return to the "Root Seeking" authors with Han Shaogong's enigmatic short story about a young child in the countryside who can only say two things: "Papa" and "F#$* Mama." Every time he utters one of his two phrases, the villagers try to divine what he means and what it means for the fate of the village. Does this boy serve as a good leader for the village? Does he destroy the village? The story questions whether or not language means anything, whether we can say stories even mean anything:

Chinese Literature Podcast

Heart on a Shelf

Rob Moore and Lee Moore discuss Dong Xi's Record of Regret with Dylan Levi King

Now available in English translation from Dylan Levi King, Dong Xi's Record of Regret (first published by People's Literature Press in 2005) exists at the intersection of sex and ideology. Telling the story of Ceng Guangxian, the grandchild of a landlord whose property was confiscated by the communists in 1949, the book memorably begins with deux chiens fourrent. Rob and Lee quiz Dylan on Dong Xi's literary inspirations ("a mix of socialist realism and Madame Bovary"), his darkly funny, Kafkaesque takes on social alienation, and reception of his writing in China: