China History Podcast

Follow the Dao

Part six in the History of Chinese Philosophy podcast series

Laszlo gives the subject of Daoism, the Daodejing and the Zhuangzi a fresh makeover, covered before in an old China History Podcast episode from days gone by. The history of Daoism is explored as well as its main characters, Laozi and Zhuangzi, and what they called for in those dark Eastern Zhou times. Daoism is both a philosophy and a religion, but this episode only explores the former. The Xuanxue thinkers Wang Bi, Guo Xiang and Xiang Xiu are also discussed, as well as the Neo-Daoism that evolved in the Han. As Daoism and Confucianism evolved in China, side by side, there was occasionally some interesting overlap. Confucians from here on out actively explored ways to reconcile their philosophy with the other major contending schools of thought, Daoism and Buddhism:

Little Red Podcast

Of Sea Cucumbers and Men

Not as sexy as the shark – by Louisa Lim


Reviled in the West, the slimy slug-like bottom-feeders of the ocean known as sea-cucumbers have recently won another moniker: “the gold of the sea”. Skyrocketing demand for this prized feature of Chinese wedding banquets has driven up the price of beche-de-mer, causing knock-on impacts ranging from international sea-cucumber smuggling syndicates to a thriving black market to a collapse in sea-cucumber stocks to starvation in some parts of the world.

The fate of the lowly sea cucumber is a cautionary tale into how one country’s growing hunger for a particular food source can reverberate into unforeseen ecological and social crises on the other side of the world.

Chinese Corner

Hey Poser

What putdown to use when dudes wear shades indoors – by Christina Xu

In Chinese internet parlance, to zhuāng bì (装B) is to put on airs  – worldly, moneyed, educated, eccentric, or any other combination thereof. In other words: to be a f*ing poser.

Zhuāng B is a shorthand for zhuāng níubī 装牛屄: zhuāng means “pretend,” and níubī literally means “cow pussy” but has come to figuratively mean “badass.” The character for the second word, 屄, is hard to find when typing, so it’s often replaced with the more common character 逼 or simply the English letter “B.”


Aren’t We All Accomplices?

Unearthing a father’s past – by Xujun Eberlein

In May 2012, a stranger contacted me through my website. A professor of cultural psychology at Hampshire College, Q.M. Zhang was interested in talking about Chongqing, the city I grew up in. What triggered her request for a meeting, apparently, was my article titled “Another Kind of American History in Chongqing,” which had appeared on the Atlantic website the previous year. She was writing a memoir about her relationship with her father, who had worked for the Kuomintang (aka the KMT or the Nationalists, the ruling party of China from 1928 to 1949) in Chongqing during WWII.

By contrast, my own parents were underground Communists in the 1940s. So her father and mine, though unknown to each other, had literally been enemies in the same city.

Story Club

Convince Me

Story Club continues with tantalising short fiction by Jiang Yitan

This month's story comes from Read Paper Republic, an initiative to publish English translations of Chinese stories, and we encourage you to check out their archive. As always, write into [email protected] with your questions or comments on the story, which we will collate and publish along with our and the translator’s responses at the end of the month.

There were three of us in the lab, and our goal was to extend the life of white mice. To be more precise, we were researching the flaws in the DNA of every mouse, and finding ways to repair each one. Ultimately, we hoped to find the secret to giving mus musculus a longer lifespan. We would selectively breed them, observe their breeding cycles, their behavior and their growth, and test whether the next generation came out a little more healthy.