Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Xi Jinping vs. Jeremy Lin, and other juxtapositioning

Your Xi Jinping article of the week: "It was here in the village of Liangjiahe that Xi Jinping (pronounced shee jin ping) spent seven of his most formative years after being sent into the countryside at the age of 15 along with millions of other students during Chairman Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution. // And it was here, while digging ditches and extracting methane from pig waste, that he made the decision to pursue a political career—despite the persecution of his own father, Xi Zhongxun, a revolutionary hero purged and imprisoned by Chairman Mao.... Elsewhere, however, a handful of Mr. Xi's family friends were willing to discuss his past, on condition of anonymity, and they all pointed to his time in the countryside as a turning point in his life—and the origin of his political ambitions." [Wall Street Journal]

Your Jeremy Lin story of the day, properly placed beneath Xi Jingping: "Most fans appear to have readily claimed Lin as Chinese, though some have taken note of the fact that he is American-born, with parents from the breakaway island of Taiwan. As one commentator put it: 'Do Africans jump up to claim Kobe as one of their countrymen?'" [Evan Osnos]

In case you forgot, some media organizations made huge asses of themselves recently by reporting on a ridiculous tweet. "Jaundiced irony is hardly a monopoly of the Western press when covering North Korea, but some of the analysis of the Kim Jong-un rumors was, frankly, a little embarrassing. Gawker, Huffington Post and Reuters, all weighed in, sometimes inexplicably relying on unedited Google translations. Apparently content with the 'Babel,' no one bothered to check or cite the North Korean state organ, the Rodong Sinmun (the newspaper does, after all, have a website). On the day he was supposedly killed, Kim Jong-un was on the website’s front page – he had received a gift from Kuwait – although there was no clear evidence he was actually there for the event." [Adam Cathcart, The Diplomat]

Chinese students in America. "While it has been a few weeks since Dan at CLB posted his article (and I posted my response) about commonly held stereotypes held by American students of their Chinese cohorts on campus, I thought I would post a part two as I cam across a couple of interesting articles that offered more insights into the complexity of the issue.. as well as the Chinese student perspective." [All Roads Lead to China]

Eric Abrahamsen, master translator. "Jackie Chan’s unfortunate 2009 statement that “Chinese people need to be controlled” sounds a little different when you consider that in Chinese he used the term guǎn rather than the word for “control” (控制, kòngzhì). Instead of advocating a police state, he was implying that the Chinese people need to be told what to do because they don’t know what’s best for them. Only marginally less distasteful a comment, perhaps; still, the distinction is worth making." [Latitude, International Herald Tribune]

A proper Whitney Houston tribute:

Corollary: The Wall Street Journal has info about the kid.

China Debate reminds us that Elizabeth C. Economy is good at what she does. Liz's blog here. [China Debate]

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