Tuesday December 10, 2013
There's been a lot of talk in the news recently about the story published in China's Global Times suggesting that the country's smog problem is actually good for you. That's nonsense, of course, but it's exactly the sort of nonsense I've come to expect from the Global Times. Why? Because the Global Times is just an offshoot of the People's Daily, China's long-running newspaper that is considered the mouthpiece of the Communist Party.
The Global Times (an organization I should probably admit I wrote a few articles for once upon a time, though I regret that now) has built a reputation for bombast and for occasionally taking attention-grabbing, somewhat ridiculous stances like this one. But make no mistake; very little is published in that paper that doesn't get approved by higher-ups in the Party. That story was certainly ridiculous, but it was no accident.
Wednesday November 27, 2013
"Everyday [sic] we strive for what we think is important, but there are more important things in this world. People have different opinions on the matter. Please select a point of view and write an essay about your thoughts."
That's an essay question taken verbatim from China's national college entrance exam, the gaokao. The essay questions, in particular, are notoriously vague and difficult. How would you respond to this one? Do you think you would pass?
Wednesday November 27, 2013
Dating in China can be a controversial topic whenever foreigners are involved; in fact, some would even question whether foreigners should be dating Chinese people to begin with. There's no question that these relationships, especially in the case of foreign men dating Chinese women, can be a sensitive issue and occasionally even a touchpoint for arguments and violence. Generally, I personally think people should be free to date whoever they like.
At the same time, though I'd recommend foreigners interested in dating in China go in with an understanding of how things differ there, lest they unintentionally mislead their partners or even get mislead themselves.
Wednesday November 20, 2013
When it comes to divisive-but-inspirational figures, it doesn't get much better than Wu Zetian, China's first (and only) empress.
Wu is often condemned for her boundless -- and let's be honest, ruthless -- ambition, but that she somehow attained the throne in male-dominated ancient Chinese society is nothing short of having accomplished the impossible. And once she was in power, she ruled as empress for 15 years, governing effectively and expanding China's territories in the process. If you don't know her story, it's really worth checking out; she's one of the most one-of-a-kind figures in Chinese history.