Sunday, February 12, 2012

A week-in-review weekend links edition

Via the recently launched Somo Gallery

For those who want a rundown of this whole Wang Lijun escapade: C. Custer has you covered. [China Geeks]

Corollary: Wang's (fake?) open letter via sociologist Li Yinhe begins: "When everyone sees this letter, I’ll either be dead or have lost my freedom. I want to explain to the whole world the reasons behind my actions. In short: I don’t want to see the Party’s biggest hypocrite Bo Xilai carry on performing: When such evil officials ruling the state, it will lead to calamity for China and disaster for our nation." [Danwei]

You had me at "Cormac McCarthy": "Some 20 million people lost their lives, many of them in grotesque ways. There are enough beheadings, flayings, rapes, suicides, disembowelments, mass killings and acts of cannibalism in 'Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom' — more about these things in a moment — that it can seem like a version of Sun Tzu’s 'Art of War' spat into being by Cormac McCarthy." [NY Times]

This month in history, and such. "Westerners still tend to underestimate Chinese military prowess, viewing China as a historically peaceful nation frequently invaded by bellicose neighbors: Huns, Mongols, Manchus, and, of course, Japanese. During World War II, U.S. and British propaganda strengthened this image by depicting China as a hapless victim of a modernized, assertive, and militarily effective Japan. // Most westerners even believe that the Chinese invented gunpowder but never used it in weapons, reserving it for fireworks. In fact, the first guns were developed in China, as were the first cannons, rockets, grenades, and land mines." [The Diplomat]

Well, if you need a reminder that in this city of ours they tear shit down, Jonathan Kaiman is here. "The demolition of Beijing's historical courtyard alleyways, called hutong, has long been one of the city's most controversial issues. At the height of the city's headlong rush to modernity in the 1990s, about 600 hutong were destroyed each year, displacing an estimated 500,000 residents. Seemingly overnight, the city was transformed from a warren of Ming dynasty-era neighborhoods into an ultramodern urban sprawl, pocked with gleaming office towers and traversed by eight-lane highways." [The Atlantic]

The Economist launches China blog: Banyan.

Your Jeremy Lin reads of the day: Deadspin, China Smack, Yahoo. Also from Deadspin: "What appears to be New York Knicks superstar Jeremy Lin's Xanga—, naturally—popped up on Reddit earlier this week, but somehow we missed it, and now it's password-protected. Drat."

Rupert Hoogewerf on China's super rich: "...the second thing is that these people are sending their children to study overseas. This is a phenomenon that's unbelievable. We estimate that 85 per cent of the millionaire class in China are now thinking of sending their children to study in, it's America, UK, Australia, Canada are the big four." [Shanghaiist]

NON-CHINA READ: Because no doubt you will have found James Fallows's analysis of Obama's presidency through other means, I present you this: "The injections came without warning or explanation. As a low-ranking soldier in the Guatemalan army in 1948, Federico Ramos was preparing for weekend leave one Friday when he was ordered to report to a clinic run by US doctors. // Ramos walked to the medical station, where he was given an injection in his right arm and told to return for another after his leave. As compensation, Ramos's commanding officer gave him a few coins to spend on prostitutes. The same thing happened several times during the early months of Ramos's two years of military service. He believes that the doctors were deliberately infecting him with venereal disease." [Nature]

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