Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chinese superheroes

Picture from 21CB

There's been quite a bit of news recently about China's "real" superheroes, people like the "Bauhinia Heroine" (the bauhinia is the rose that appears on Hong Kong's flag, so the Bauhinia Heroine's name has been translated -- I think kind of clunkily -- as "Chinese Redbud Woman"), who first appeared in Hong Kong in May looking exactly like the picture above.

According to Want China Times:

While Hong Kong's media have been speculating as to the identity of the masked crusader for the poor — ranging from the granddaughter of the former head of China's National People's Congress to a local socialite — Bauhinia Woman has refused to confirm or deny the veracity of any of the speculations.

The laudable lady's getup has been compared to that of Black Rose, the title heroine of a 1965 film in which the protagonist is a Robin Hood-like figure who steals from the rich to give to the poor. Personally, I think her mask should be red, but who am I to judge a woman's choice of colors.

(There's a Chinese car commercial featuring a similarly masked woman that you can watch as soon as I find it online.) UPDATE, 1/23: Here.

Recently, mainland China got its own version of Redbud, who looks awfully similar to the Bauhinia Heroine, except maybe a bit younger. Witness:
China Hush has more photos, if you haven't already seen them.

And then came "Incredible Shining Knight" (seriously, where do these translators get their material?) who wears a black cape and cap and goes around doing Good Samaritan things. All very nice. There's a movie here, I think. (Oh wait...)

Anyway, this is all a very roundabout way for me to say: sometimes Wikipedia is worth reading. Here's your entry of the day (HT: Alicia): The Great Ten:

The Great Ten, (Shi Hao Xia) or (十豪侠) are a team of fictional Chinese comic book superheroes in the DC Comics Universe, who are sponsored by the government of the People's Republic of China.


First appearing in 52 #6, the Great Ten's actions are hampered by bureaucracy. Three of the team's members were forced to sit out a battle with Green Lanterns Hal Jordan and John Stewart because they had not completed the required paperwork.

And now, your late afternoon reads of the day (it's a Sunday, you're bleary-eyed from waking up for Saints-49ers [what, you didn't see it?], and, yeah, it's Sunday, so only three links here):

China shoots messenger. "Fifteen years after taking back Hong Kong amid a blaze of fireworks and patriotic fervor, China is battling what it sees as a subversive challenge: an academic survey showing that many in this former British colony identify little with China.... Infuriated by the results, Chinese officials have orchestrated a campaign of denunciation -- the latest blast in a barrage of verbal and written broadsides against alleged disloyalty in Hong Kong.... [academic survey director Robert] Chung declined to speculate on why Hong Kong’s residents appear to identify less with China but said he stands by his findings. // 'I am not a politician,' he said. 'I will let history tell the true value of my work.'" [Washington Post]

Corollary: The comments, per usual in these big-media news stories about China, range somewhere between stupid and retarded, but one blind squirrel almost managed to stick a nut: "The manifestations of Chinese nationalism and patriotism generally suggest deep-seated insecurity and resentment. Not a good trend given their growing power in Asia & the Pacific. Add in the tens of millions of young men with no prospects for marriage since decades of selective aborting or infanticide of girls has left far more males than females in that country and you have a recipe for militarism."

Basically anytime James Fallows posts about China, you should probably check it out. Even if it's links to the Daily Show (have I mentioned Mitt Romney is a hack?) and a strange, borderline erotic Chinese language video that most people (our age) have seen. [James Fallows]

And finally, just a friendly word of advice for those who need it: if you have a gun, don't fire it into a crowd of people who do not have guns. Thanks. "Chinese security forces on Saturday fired into a crowd of Tibetans in a restive area of Sichuan Province after they tried to take away the body of a Tibetan man who had died after setting himself on fire that morning to protest Chinese policies in the Tibetan areas, according to reports from two Tibet advocacy groups and Tibetan officials in the exile government in India." [New York Times]

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