Posts tagged ‘childhood’

Saturday, July 6, 2013

“China is Alright”: a Summer Camp for Overseas Chinese students from Laos

China Radio International‘s Mandarin service renders a newslet by China News Service (中国新闻社), China’s second-largest state-owned newsagency after Xinhua, on the field of public diplomacy.

Original title: Ethnic Chinese Laotians go to Yunnan to experience Chinese culture

CRI Online news: according to China News Service, the “2013 China is alright – the perfect Yunnan summer camp” has started in Kunming, with fourty campers and group leaders from Chinese schools in Laos. It is scheduled to go on for ten days. Apart from developing [an awareness or knowledge of, apparently] Yunnan ethnic culture, knowledge of China, and exchange, the overseas Chinese students will also experience Yunnan province’s local conditions and customs.


With Chinese-Laotian cooperation growing closer and the surging “Chinese language fever” in Laos, more and more ethnic Chinese and Laotians want to understand the Chinese way of life and traditional culture. Luo Bailan, a teacher and group leader with the camp, says that the Chinese schools in Laos are continuously adjusting their educational methods, to allow the students to learn by experience.


Chinese Language and Culture Education Foundation of China deputy secretary general Li Xianguo says that “China is alright” is an important part of the foundation’s “Young Ethnic Chinese Chinese Culture Heritage Project”.


Chinese fever, Kunming

Chinese fever – click pictdure for China News Service coverage

The State Council Information Office (SCIO) is more elaborate, adding that most of the students haven’t been to Yunnan before. Even though it has been rainy for days, and temperatures in the spring city [i. e. Kunming] are a bit low, this hasn’t affected the campers’ high spirits in the least. They are reading the course schedules of the camp reader, excitedly discuss the coming lessons and the tourist attractions. A student tells the SCIO reporter that he is most interested in poetry recital and calligraphy, and in touring the Stone Forest, the birthplace of Ashima:

“We also want to experience the culture of national minorities in the Yunnan Nationalities Village I don’t know a lot about national minorities and hope to experience a lot of interesting things”, Lin Yingcai says in fluent Chinese.


Many Laotians and Burmese and Cambodians and North Koreans see China as a promised land, Joshua Kurlantzick wrote in his 2007 book Charm Offensive (p. 137). And America, he warned, had earned itself a bad image in the past, and was still doing so:

For decades, the United States still did not grant Laos normal trading relations, though Laos’s human rights record was no worse than the record of China, with whom America traded vigorously. American sanctions on Laos infuriated Lao officials, who didn’t understand why such a big country like the United Stateswould punish a minnow – especially since during the Vietnam War, America had dropped more bombs on Laos than it dropped on Germany and Japan together during World War II, leaving Laos riddled with unexploded ordnance.

(Kurlantzick, p. 59)

Jiang Zemin visited Laos in November 2000, reportedly the first visit by a Chinese head of state. In November 2006, Jiang’s successor Hu Jintao followed up, and moved China Radio International (CRI) one step ahead of the BBC and the VoA, by pushing a button for a rebroadcasting FM station – the inauguration ceremony was reportedly broadcast live, as the rebroadcaster’s first program ever:

So, Vientiane listeners, for the first time, clearly and vividly heard the the warm voice of state chairman Hu Jintao, a visitor from a friendly neighbor.



A CRI official said that the friendly relations between China and Laos created good conditions for CRI’s operations in Laos. According to the official, the Laotian government’s approval of CRI’s Vientiane frequency was one of only few. Before, the BBC and the VoA had applied for frequencies to the Laotian government, but had received no approval.




Branding China, May 18, 2008
Meeting the Volunteers, CRI, Nov 21, 2006


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Seasons: Gaokaos and Translator Tests

Saturday was gaokao day in China again, the nation-wide national higher education entrance examinations. More than nine million Chinese teenagers sat down and took a test that would determine much of their future lives.

But there’s an alternative, according to the GuardianBritish qualification tests can be taken at Chinese schools, too. (Not sure if that’s true for all Chinese schools.)

It would seem however that this is mainly providing kids with rather wealthy backgrounds with an alternative to the usual procedure.

About two weeks earlier, exams on a smaller scale took place: the China Accreditation Test for Translators and Interpreters [全国翻译专业资格(水平)考试]. The accreditation test website also contains some information in English.


Not so xiandai anymore: JR’s dictionaries

That one was also conducted on a weekend, of course, on May 25 and 26. On all other days of the week, people have to study. In Beijing, the tests included spoken translation on Saturday, and written translation on Sunday Saturdays.

The test material is published by the Foreign Languages Press.H/t to this post by Huolong (who is somewhat critical of the material).

Friday, April 12, 2013

Animated Movies from Shijiazhuang: Soft-Power Tools?

Main Link:
Activeley develop Domestic and Foreign High-End Cartoon Industry, “Going out” in Great Strides (积极开拓国内外高端市场动漫产业大步“走出去”)
Links within quotes and blockquotes added during translation.

China needed to build a sound, modern culture market system, the “Culture Document” (or “cultural decision”), approved by the 6th plenary session of the 17th Central Committee, stipulated in October 2011.

The focus must be on the development of books and other publications, digital audio and video products, performing arts and entertainment, television series, cartoons, animation, and [computer] games, and similar markets, for the further perfection of a comprehensive international Chinese platform on fairs and exhibitions, etc.

According to Shijiazhuang News Net (石家庄新闻网), the local cartoon industry is doing just that:

Since 2006 , under the close attention of the CCP municipal committee and the municipal government, our city’s cartoon industry has developed rapidly, and achieved notable results in satisfying the city’s needs of spiritual civilizsation, in spreading advanced culture, in enriching the masses’ lives, promoting the healthy adolescence of the young, and fostering the growth of a new economy. During the past seven years, no matter if established by locals or by companies who came to Shijiazhuang from elsewhere, they have enjoyed all the benefits of Shijiazhuang’s cartoon-industry policies, environment, and prospects. On this foundation, “cartoons made in Shijiazhuang” have gained the courage to display themselves, to develop markets, and with the advantages in branding, high-end orientation and originality, they have drawn widespread attention from industries at home and abroad.

2006年以来, 在市委、市政府的高度重视下,我市动漫产业迅速发展,在满足市民精神文化需求、传播先进文化、丰富群众生活、促进青少年健康成长、培育新的经济增长点方 面,取得了显著成效。7年来,无论是本土动漫企业还是来石创业的动漫公司,都享受到了石家庄动漫产业政策、环境、前景的利与好。 在此基础上,“石家庄原创动漫”勇于展示自我、敢于开拓市场,以品牌化、高端化、原创化的优势,引起了国内外业界的广泛关注。

By Shijiazhuang Newsnet reporter Wang Xin

As the saying goes, good wine needs no bush*). However, this doesn’t apply in today’s increasingly competitive markets. After several years of development and carefully ripening the wine, its sweet smell attracts many investors and company founders. At the same time, cartoonists from Shijiazhuang also seize the opportunities of actively exploring domestic and foreign markets, to take Shijiazhuang cartoons to bigger arenas.

俗话说,酒香不怕巷子深。然而,在市场竞争日趋激烈的今天,好酒也怕巷子深。经过几年的发展,我市动漫产业如同一坛精心酝酿的老酒,持续散发出馨香的气 息,吸引了众多投资者、创业者前来。与此同时,石家庄动漫人也抓住机遇,积极开拓国内国外市场,把石家庄动漫推向更广阔的舞台。

The Shijiazhuang Animation Institute‘s (石家庄动漫协会), that of the beneficial support of the city government and the conducive industrial environment had all become the envy of companies elsewhere, according to Shijiazhuang Newsnet. “Publicity” (宣传) and promotion had made Shijiazhuang’s cartoon industry better known in China and abroad, making people coming to Shijiazhuang to seek cooperation. A Western Australian Film Office (西澳大利亚州政府电影融资发展局 – I’m not familiar with Australia’s film industry or the industry’s official promotional institutes) was currently seeking a cooperation partner with the Shijiazhuang Animation Institute’s assistance, according to the report. The Australians had been impressed with the originality and production levels of Shijiazhuang’s industry and had since visited four times, Shijiazhuang Newsnet quotes a member of the Shijiazhuang Animation Institute, Zhang Maolan (张茂兰).

DeepCG Animation Science and Technology gets a particular mention in the report. The general manager, Wu Yifeng (武义峰), doesn’t seem to be too specific about his company’s current prospects in Europe, but is quoted as saying that South-East Asia was the most promising market for one of his company’s works, a cartoon movie about late Han dynasty general Zhao Yun, given its richness with Chinese culture.

The cartoon’s title seems to translate Zhao Yun and the Clicking Sound of the Box (赵云与咔哒盒子).

It seems to be based on a theme previously used in a Zhao Yun movie (but not a cartoon) made in Hong Kong, in 2010.

Shijiazhuang News Net is the online platform of Shijiazhuang Daily (石家庄日报), an official CCP paper.

In a review of the 17th Central cultural decision in October 2011, David Bandurski of the China Media Project (Hong Kong) appeared to be skeptical of the impact Chinese media and culture could have under political and ideological controls.

It may be time for a first assessment of how things are going for the “cultural industry” in China – especially when it comes to its record abroad. Personally, I have no clue about cartoons, and not even a taste for them. Stuff like Zhao Yun and the Box (a sample video here) should be judged by bloggers or critics who really are into the genre.



*) This isn’t an exact translation. The actual Chinese quote or proverb would be 酒香不怕巷子深 – something like the smell of wine isn’t afraid of a deep lane (or alley), meaning that good things will sell even without advertising them.



» Soft Power starts at Home, Jan 21, 2012
» A Low-Carbon Industry, Dec 2, 2011
» Shijiazhuang Cartoon School, CRI, Aug 20, 2009
» Go-Out Policy, Wikipedia, acc. 20130412
» Private investors, PD English, Aug 20, 2004

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 in Review (2): Nothing Trivial

« original post there

There was nothing trivial in 2012, and it was still OK, except for the driver license test.
On August 20, Baobao got started elementary school, the first step into the learning career.

In early September, we bought a car and spent more than 120,000 on it, which is a big household item.

In mid-November, my husband had an accident on the expressway, but fortunately nothing serious. We spent 12,000 Yuan on the repair costs, and the insurance company refunded the full amount.

The end of the world didn’t come in December, and we continue to live on this planet.

Wimpy Kid’s Space (小屁孩的大空间)


» 2012 in Review (1): The Imperfect Photograph, Dec 29, 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

Heimatgefühl, and the Venture into the Public Realm

My following translation will very probably contain errors.

A: […] If you want me to be frank, I have to say that I’m not interested in the effects when I’m working. (Wenn ich ganz ehrlich sprechen soll, dann muß ich sagen: Wenn ich arbeite, bin ich an Wirkung nicht interessiert.)

Q: And once the work has been completed? (Und wenn die Arbeit fertig ist?)

A: Well, then I have finished with it. You see, what matters to me is this: I need to understand. Writing is part of understanding. Writing belongs in this process of understanding things. (Ja, dann bin ich damit fertig. Wissen Sie, wesentlich ist für mich: Ich muß verstehen. Zu diesem Verstehen gehört bei mir auch das Schreiben. Das Schreiben ist Teil in dem Verstehensprozeß.)

Q: Writing serves your own, further cognition? (Wenn Sie schreiben, so dient es Ihrem eigenen, weiteren Erkennen?)

A: Yes, because now, certain things have been determined. If we had great memory, so that we really kept all our reasoning in mind: I doubt that, because I’m aware of my own laziness, I’d have jotted down everything. What matters to me is the thinking process itself. When I’ve got that, I’m, personally, quite satisfied. When I succeed in expressing this adequately in writing, I’m once again satisfied. – Now, you asked about effects. That’s – if I may be tongue-in-cheek – a male question. Men badly want to be effective, but I’m kind of looking at it from outside. To be effective myself? No, I want to understand. And when other people understand, in the same sense as I did, that gives me satisfaction, like a sense of home. (Ja, weil jetzt bestimmte Dinge festgelegt sind. Nehmen wir an, man hätte ein sehr gutes Gedächtnis, so daß man wirklich alles behält, was man denkt: Ich zweifle sehr daran, da ich meine Faulheit kenne, daß ich irgend etwas notiert hätte. Worauf es mir ankommt, ist der Denkprozeß selber. Wenn ich das habe, bin ich persönlich ganz zufrieden. Wenn es mir dann gelingt, es im Schreiben adäquat auszudrücken, bin ich auch wieder zufrieden. – Jetzt fragen Sie nach der Wirkung. Es ist das – wenn ich ironisch werden darf – eine männliche Frage. Männer wollen immer furchtbar gern wirken; aber ich sehe das gewissermaßen von außen. Ich selber wirken? Nein, ich will verstehen. Und wenn andere Menschen verstehen, im selben Sinne, wie ich verstanden habe – dann gibt mir das eine Befriedigung, wie ein Heimatgefühl.)


A: My father died early. It all sounds very funny. My grandfather was the liberal congregation’s president and city councillor in Königsberg. I’m from an old Königsberger family. Still – the word “jew” was never mentioned at home, when I was a small child. I was confronted with it by antisemitic remarks – no use in mentioning them – from children in the street. That’s how I became informed, so to speak. (Mein Vater war früh gestorben. Es klingt alles sehr komisch. Mein Großvater war Präsident der liberalen Gemeinde und Stadtverordneter von Königsberg. Ich komme aus einer alten Königsberger Familie. Trotzdem – das Wort “Jude” ist bei uns nie gefallen, als ich ein kleines Kind war. Es wurde mir zum erstenmal entgegengebracht durch antisemitische Bemerkungen – es lohnt sich nicht zu erzählen – von Kindern auf der Straße. Daraufhin wurde ich also sozusagen “aufgeklärt”.)

Q: Was that a shock? (War das für Sie ein Schock?)

A: No. (Nein.)


A: I for one don’t think that I ever felt that I was German, in the sense of ethnicity, not in terms of statehood, if I may distinguish the two. I remember discussions around 1930 about that, with [Karl Jaspers], for example. He said, “of course you are German!” I said: “It’s plain that I’m not!” But to me, it didn’t matter. It didn’t spell inferiority to me. Precisely not. And if I may come back to what was special about my family: you see, all Jewish children were confronted with antisemitism. It poisoned the souls of many children. The difference was that my mother always maintained that you must not duck your head. You need to defend yourself. (Ich, zum Beispiel, glaube nicht, daß ich mich je als Deutsche – im Sinne der Volkszugehörigkeit, nicht der Staatsangehörigkeit, wenn ich mal den Unterschied machen darf – betrachtet habe. Ich besinne mich darauf, daß ich so um das Jahr ‘30 herum Diskussionen darüber zum Beispiel mit Jaspers hatte. Er sagte: “Natürlich sind Sie Deutsche!” Ich sagte: “Das sieht man doch, ich bin keine!” Das hat aber für mich keine Rolle gespielt. Ich habe das nicht etwa als Minderwertigkeit empfunden. Das gerade war nicht der Fall. Und wenn ich noch einmal auf das Besondere meines Elternhauses zurückkommen darf: Sehen Sie, der Antisemitismus ist allen jüdischen Kindern begegnet. Und er hat die Seelen vieler Kinder vergiftet. Der Unterschied bei uns war, daß meine Mutter immer auf dem Standpunkt stand: Man darf sich nicht ducken! Man muß sich wehren!)


Q [quoting Arendt]: “I have never, in all my life, loved a collective, neither the German, the French, nor the American, nor the working class, or whatever else may be there. Indeed, I only love my friends, and am completely uncapable of any other love. But above all, being Jewish myself, I would find this love dubious if it was love to the Jewish.” […] Aren’t you afraid that your attitude could be politically barren? (Darin heißt es: “Ich habe nie in meinem Leben irgendein Volk oder Kollektiv geliebt, weder das deutsche, noch das französische, noch das amerikanische, noch etwa die Arbeiterklasse oder was es sonst so noch gibt. Ich liebe in der Tat nur meine Freunde und bin zu aller anderen Liebe völlig unfähig. Vor allem aber wäre mir diese Liebe zu den Juden, da ich selbst jüdisch bin, suspekt.” […] Fürchten Sie nicht, daß Ihre Haltung politisch steril sein könnte?)

A: No, I think the other [attitude] is politically barren. To belong to a group is natural. You always belong to a group, by birth, always. But to belong to a group as you meant it in a second sense, that is to say, to organize – that’s completely different. This kind of organizing always happens by Weltbezug. That is, what those who organize have in common, which is usually called interests. The immediate personal relation, when you can talk about love, does exist, of course, in real love, in its greatest way, and in a certain sense, it exists in friendship. That’s when a person is reached in an immediate way, and independently from Weltbezug. That’s how people who belong to most different organizations may still be friends. But if you confuse these things, if you take them to the negotiation table – to put it in a very mean way -, I believe that’s fatal. (Nein. Ich würde sagen, die andere ist politisch steril. Zu einer Gruppe zu gehören, ist erst einmal eine natürliche Gegebenheit. Sie gehören zu irgendeiner Gruppe durch Geburt, immer. Aber zu einer Gruppe zu gehören, wie Sie es im zweiten Sinne meinen, nämlich sich zu organisieren, das ist etwas ganz anderes. Diese Organisation erfolgt immer unter Weltbezug. Das heißt: Das, was diejenigen miteinander gemeinsam haben, die sich so organisieren, ist, was man gewöhnlich Interessen nennt. Der direkte personale Bezug, in dem man von Liebe sprechen kann, der existiert natürlich in der wirklichen Liebe in der größten Weise, und er existiert in einem gewissen Sinne auch in der Freundschaft. Da wird die Person direkt und unabhängig von dem Weltbezug angesprochen. So können Leute verschiedenster Organisationen immer noch persönlich befreundet sein. Wenn man aber diese Dinge miteinander verwechselt, wenn man also die Liebe an den Verhandlungstisch bringt, um mich einmal ganz böse auszudrücken, so halte ich das für ein sehr großes Verhängnis.)

Q: […] In a speech on Karl Jaspers you said that “humanity is  never won in loneliness and never by handing ones work over to the public. Only if you take your life and person[ality] into the venture of the public realm, you will reach [humanity].” This “venture into the public realm”, a Jaspers quote again, in which way does it exist for Hannah Arendt? (In einer Festrede auf Jaspers haben Sie gesagt: “Gewonnen wird die Humanität nie in der Einsamkeit und nie dadurch, daß einer sein Werk der Öffentlichkeit übergibt. Nur wer sein Leben und seine Person mit in das Wagnis der Öffentlichkeit nimmt, kann sie erreichen.” Dieses “Wagnis der Öffentlichkeit”, ein Zitat von Jaspers wiederum – worin besteht es für Hannah Arendt?)

A: The venture into the public realm appears to be clear to me. You expose yourself in the light of the public, as a person. While I believe that one must not appear publicly and act publicly in a self-conscious way, I still know that all action expresses the person like no other activity. And speaking, too, is a way of action. That’s one thing. The second venture: we commence something, we add our thread into a web of relationships. We never know how it will evolve. We all need to say, Lord, forgive them what they do, because they don’t know what they do. That’s true for all action. Quite practically, because you can’t know. That’s a venture. And I would say that this venture can only be taken as you rely on the human beings. That’s to say, in a – hard to grasp, but basic – trust in the humaneness in all human beings. You can’t do that in another way. (Das Wagnis der Öffentlichkeit scheint mir klar zu sein. Man exponiert sich im Lichte der Öffentlichkeit, und zwar als Person. Wenn ich auch der Meinung bin, daß man nicht auf sich selbst reflektiert in der Öffentlichkeit erscheinen und handeln darf, so weiß ich doch, daß in jedem Handeln die Person in einer Weise zum Ausdruck kommt wie in keiner anderen Tätigkeit. Wobei das Sprechen auch eine Form des Handelns ist. Also das ist das eine. Das zweite Wagnis ist: Wir fangen etwas an; wir schlagen unseren Faden in ein Netz der Beziehungen. Was daraus wird, wissen wir nie. Wir sind alle darauf angewiesen zu sagen: Herr vergib ihnen, was sie tun, denn sie wissen nicht, was sie tun. Das gilt für alles Handeln. Einfach ganz konkret, weil man es nicht wissen kann. Das ist ein Wagnis. Und nun würde ich sagen, daß dieses Wagnis nur möglich ist im Vertrauen auf die Menschen. Das heißt, in einem – schwer genau zu fassenden, aber grundsätzlichen – Vertrauen auf das Menschliche aller Menschen. Anders könnte man es nicht.)

Hannah Arendt in a television interview, in October 1964



» In an Unguarded Moment, Sep 29, 2010
» No Easy Solution, April 11, 2009

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Beyond the Protocol: No Bygones, no Mercy

Bettina Wulff, the wife of former German president Christian Wulff, wrote a book which was published this month, with a title frequently translated into “Beyond the Protocol”. More literally, the wording seems to be “On the other side of the protocol” (Jenseits des Protokolls).  This is no review of Bettina Wulff’s book. I haven’t read it.

Wikipedia has an article in English about her.

I never “liked” Christian Wulff or his wife, or the way they designed the president’s time in office. I probably didn’t like it, because they seemed to be so eager to be an “authentic” first family. Their style was way too personal. I had hoped for a president who would explain politics, rather than one who’d try to set a personal example for harmony.

But the way a German mob is following the spectacle that surrounds her book looks scary to me.

That mob is quite probably a minority. But only 15 percent  of people surveyed by Emnid, an opinion pollster, “feel sorry” for her, and 67 percent don’t believe her statement that she didn’t actually want to be the first lady.  How can anyone judge that statement without knowing her personally?

Mrs Wulff is the mother of two children. I’m wondering how many of those who tried and keep trying to blacken her name are themselves parents – and I’m wondering what kind of parents they may be. I hope that either way, their children may grow to become good people all the same.

Wulff’s case isn’t the worst example of how public interaction works – not even close. It’s much worse when “small people” are pronged by tabloids or television stations, and presented to a slobbering public. But having read a few online “reviews” about her book, and a few dozens of comments about her underneath a German online paper’s article, a quote from Fyodor Dostoevsky comes to my mind: The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.

When it comes to Germany, you may also look at how a former first lady is publicly abused. People who indulge in that kind of activity can’t have much self-respect. If they respected themselves, they could ignore the book, and the former first lady alike.

On the other side of the protocol, there has probably never been a more telling German presidency.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Everyday Propaganda: How Green was our Internet

Links within blockquotes added during translation – JR.


1) Nanchang (Jiangxi Province), September 2012

Nanchang News Net / Nanchang Evening Post (南昌新闻网-南昌晚报) —

From September 10 to 16, Nanchang holds its third minors protection propaganda week. Recently, this reporter has learned that to do a good job at the work for the propaganda week, the city minors’ protection committee office started the 2012 minors’ protection propaganda week activities to further increase attention within all society for a good environment centering on the protection of minors.


Reportedly, the propaganda week activities’ theme is “care about minors, and build a wonderful tomorrow together”.

During the activities, Nanchang will focus on the launch of a minors protection law, and educational activities with Jiangxi Province’s minors protection regulations as the major theme, propaganda aimed particularly at minors’ parents and elementary and middle school teachers, to improve entire society’s awareness of responsibility and participation.


Reportedly, Nanchang will, during the propaganda week, make full use of newspapers, websites, and its official microblog channel[s] [this may also simply refer to the Sina Weibo microblog], explore the use of cartoons, videos, public-service advertising and oher new methods, carry out audio-visual theme propaganda through various channels concerning the concepts of minors’ protection, the safeguarding of their legal rights, case studies, related legal responsibilities etc., […], actively create a good environment, and promote the healthy adolescence of minors.


Also, using the Youth League’s Nanchang 12355 official Sina Weibo channel as an internet platform to announce all activities during the minors’ protection propaganda week, to concentrate the announcements and to broaden the range of coverage.


This reporter learned that during the propaganda week, Nanchang will organize all industries’ grassroot “juvenile rights protection guards and 12355 juvenile service counters with volunteering experts, rights and interests messengers, etc., combine all responsibilities, to enter the streets, communities, schools, villages etc., launch special protection [issues’] service counters and activities, promote more grassroot party and government department, companies and all kinds of social service structures’ participation in the juvenile rights protection guards’ activities, to protect minors’ legal rights from a multitude of perspectives. [Following line inverse font, as my translation may be incorrect] In particular concerning idle juveniles and village liaison groups shall continuously strengthen legal-system propaganda and the protection of rights.


Besides, during the activities, Nanchang will also combine educational and other strengthening training aimed at [handling] injuries which typically occur to minors, how to react to all kinds of complicated situations, and launch natural-disaster and accident-situation avoidance/escapes, self- and mutual aid, and self-defense, so as to improve juveniles’ abilities to protect themselves.



Tianjin, 2007

From Tianjin Juvenile Service Online‘s “About Us” on Enorth:

To thoroughly implement the document “On Several Issues about Further Intensifying the Ideological and Ethical Improvement among Minors formulated and published by the Central Committee of the CPC and the State Council of China” [literally, the document refers to itself as “several ideas” or “opinions” (若干意见) concerning those “several issues”], to actively answer to the CCP Central Committee’s and the [Tianjin] Municipal Committee‘s calls for a “civilized creation of the web” and a “civilized use of the web”, to build a positive, uplifting, healthy and civilized internet environment, Tianjin Spiritual Civilized Building Committee’s office entrusts North Net [i. e. Enorth] to operate Tianjin Municipality’s minors’ service.

为深入贯彻落实 《中共中央、国务院关于进一步加强和改进未成年人思想道德建设的若干意见》,积极响应中央和市委提出的“ 文明办网、文明上网”的号召,构建面向未成年人的积极向上、健康文明的网络环境,天津市精神文明建设委员会办公室依托北方网,开办了天津市未成年人服务网。

The internet centers on the objective of educating, guiding, and serving minors. By the principle of serving every community, every school, every household and every child, with a function to provide an information channel and garden to grow up, for expert advice, to enable talents to give full play to their talents, exchange and interaction, maintaining publicly beneficial principles, in accordance with minors’ characteristics, needs, interests and hobbies, to provide them with an adequate “green”*) internet. A new platform shall be created, a new space through [this] internet implementation, to further mobilize societal forces’ participation, to promote social integration of resources, to shape all kinds of concerted efforts, to turn it into a new channel of minors’ ideological and ethical establishment.

网络围绕 教育、引导、服务未成年人这一宗旨,以服务每一个社区、服务每一个学校、服务每一个家庭、服务每一个孩子为服务理念,以信息提供渠道、专家咨询窗口、展示才华舞台、交流互动桥梁、健康成长乐园为功能定位,坚持公益性原则,根据未成年人的身心特点、成长需求和兴趣爱好,为他们量身打造适合于自己的“绿色”网络。通过网络的实施,进一步动员社会力量参与,促进社会资源整合,形成社会各方合力,使之成为我市加强未成年人思想道德建设的新途径,满足未成年人精神文化生活需求的新空间,实现 学校教育、家庭教育、社会教育三方互动的新平台。

Tianjin Juvenile Service Online has, by the Municipal Committee’s and the Civilization Committee’s Civilization Guidance Committee, been determined as the entire municipality’s minors’ ideological and ethical establishment’s major project.
The Municipal Committee, the municipal government, and all departments in charge attach great importance to it. The Municipal Committee’S sECRETARY zhang Gaoli, the Municipal Committee Deputy Secretary, City Mayor Dai Xianglong wrote congratulatory messages on the opening of the website. In the process of establishing the website, the Municipal Committee’s Education and Health Work Committee the municipal education committee, culture office, […], the municipal womens’ federation, work committees et al gave vigorous support, and persons from all walks of life actively joined the establishment of the website, creating a good atmosphere by a spirit of a shared homeland.

天津市未成年人服务网是市委和市文明委确定的2007年全市未成年人思想道德建设的一项重点工程。市委、市政府及各有关部门领导高度重视。市委书记张高 丽,市委副书记、市长戴相龙为网站开通题写贺辞。在网站的建设过程中,市委教卫工委、市教委、市文化局、团市委、市妇联、市关工委等有关单位给予了大力支 持,社会各界人士积极投身网站建设之中,营造了共建共享精神家园的良好氛围。



*) Green was, among others, the “color” of Green Dam, a censoring software that was once meant to come manditorily with every computer sold in China, “to protect children” surfing the internet. It met with a lot of public resistance, and seems to have been scrapped for good in 2010. “Green” Propaganda, of course, stays around.



» Patriotic Education in HK, July 30, 2012
» Open House, May 25, 2012
» Chinese Characteristics, CMP, Aug 8, 2007


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book Review: Behind the Red Door – Sex in China

Red doors are about attracting luck, and when you do an online search about red doors in Chinese – hong men or 红门), you will get tons of fengshui and home-decorating commercial offers to that end. Family happiness is probably as universal a catchword in China as is the pursuit of happiness in America. But here lies the difference: in China, family happiness depends on each and every family member. Red doors may be helpful, but if you, a daughter or son, achieve in contributing to your family’s happiness, or if you inflict pain on your family – your parents especially, but on your grandparents and wider family, too -, will usually depend on the family you are going to build yourself, as a Chinese individual in his or her twenties. It will depend on the wife or husband you are going to marry, and the child you are expected to have.

Mr Wang's REAL life is quite different.

Mr Wang’s REAL life is quite different.

When I started reading Richard Burger‘s debut book, Behind the Red Door – Sex in China, I became aware that I actually knew very little about the topic. I was aware of the pressure on Chinese colleagues of my age to get married and to have children, and I also got impressions on how the terms were being negotiated between children and parents – even marrying a partner from a different province is considered a flaw by some elders. But what makes Burger’s book particularly insightful is a review of how the outer edges of sexual behavior and identity in China “deviate” from family and social norms, and the troubles in coming to terms with these differences – or in living with them without coming to terms with them.

Behind the Red Door begins with a chapter on sex in imperial China, continues with one on dating and marriage (including marriage between Chinese and foreigners), and a chapter on the sex trade. In many ways, the chapter after these, “The Family”, constitutes a hub to everything else. Neither chapter comes without references to the individuals’ families, anyway. Sex workers will rarely let family people know about their business. One may guess that if a family wanted to know, they would know, but that’s not how psychology works. Gays and Lesbians – they are the topic after the chapter on family – rarely come out to their family people. And few transgendered will even apply for a gender-changing operation (let alone get one), because this would leave them without any chance to keep their sexual identities hidden from their families – and those who are looking on, i. e. basically everyone in the wider family, colleagues, the neighborhood, village, or town.

There is one section where Burger interprets the impressions and trends described in the books actual seven chapters: that’s in his parting thoughts, on the last fifteen pages. It’s the weakest part of the book, in that it unintentionally seems to confirm Burger’s own intuition described as early as in the introduction: arriving at a neat conclusion is impossible. But that attempt is an – unintentional, maybe – practical demonstration of just that fact.

The strengths of Behind the Red Door lie in the way it makes China speak from old and contemporary sources. It builds a narration from imperial times, with instances of traditional societal liberalism towards sex that doesn’t only serve procreation but rather seeks pleasure, even among lower classes, to a strongly puritan (Republican, Maoist and Dengist) modernity, and once again to growing relaxation during the most recent decades – even as traditional family values, and party orthodoxy, continue to linger in sometimes unpredictable areas. Behind the Red Door – and this is much more “political” than what I expected to read, discusses links between sexual liberalization and political control, too.

Burger is highly aware of China’s many political and personal realities, and writes in an engaging style. It isn’t only the author himself who speaks to the reader; it’s Chinese individuals just as well – a few out of millions of “ordinary” Chinese men and women of all ages who – willingly or of painful necessity – test the limits of what is “permissible” in terms of sex and in their relationships – people who deal with varying numbers of disintegrating illusions before and after wedlock – and who, in unfortunate cases, arrive at the comprehension that family happiness, “classical” or not, may not come their way.


Behind the Red Door, by Richard Burger, 2012, at Amazon.


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