Chinese Craftsman Ji Zhenshan Frames Olympians in Woodwork

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Ji Zhenshan has spent the past week drawing portraits of Chinese medalists on wooden eggs using an electric iron.

There’s a Chinese saying that the true masters of art live among the ordinary people – and that aptly describes Ji Zhenshan.

The middle-aged artist in eastern China’s Chiping county, Shandong Province, has spent the past week drawing portraits of Chinese medalists on wooden eggs using an electric iron. He has recorded the cheerful moments of the athletes winning medals in the Rio Games with his pyrography artworks.

Ji’s works include Sun Yang, gold medal winner of men’s 200m freestyle, female shooter Zhang Mengxue, China’s first gold medal winner at the ongoing Games, and China’s longtime diving queen Wu Minxia, among others. Read the rest of this entry »


Historians Denied: China’s Archives Increasingly Off-Limits

The original document of Japanese war criminals in Jinan, Shandong Province.The Shandong Provincial Archives would reveal archives of ten Japanese war criminals since Aug. 15. Zuma Press

The original document of Japanese war criminals in Jinan, Shandong Province.The Shandong Provincial Archives would reveal archives of ten Japanese war criminals since Aug. 15. Zuma Press

“China has long complained about an anti-Beijing bias among Western scholars of the country, and has a clear interest in encouraging narratives its sees as correctives to foreign historians who are critical of the Communist Party.”

For WSJMaura Cunningham writes: At last week’s meeting of the Historical Society for Twentieth-Century China in Taipei, roughly 200 historians from Asia, the United States and Europe gathered to share their latest research. But during lunch hours and coffee breaks, the china-censoredone question that kept popping up wasn’t about any given paper or project. Instead it was: “How’s your archival access been lately?”

This wasn’t just idle conference chitchat.

“As one commenter at H-PRC noted, the mandate of archives now seems to be “wei dang shou dang; wei guo shou shi” (为党守档,为国守史), or “Defend the archives for the Party; defend history for the nation.”

Over the past few years, historians of China have grown increasingly worried about changes they’ve seen at Chinese archives that threaten to impede understanding of China at a time when such understanding is taking on a growing importance. Many archives in mainland China have been tightening access and imposing new restrictions on scholars, which can make conducting academic research in China a time-consuming and frustrating experience.

“By restricting access, will China get the history it wants? That’s doubtful…”

At the Dissertation Reviews website, which provides information about archival access in countries around the world, students of Chinese history have written in to warn fellow scholars about new regulations that make navigating the archives trickier than before. Read the rest of this entry »


CHINA: PLA Lets Foreign Press Attend Monthly Briefing for First Time in Bid for Greater Transparency, WH Responds

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Allowing foreign reporters access to the monthly press conferences of the People’s Liberation Army presents a challenge to the U.S. claim of unparalleled transparency.

From the South China Morning Post – Associated Press in Beijing reports:

Not many years ago, foreign reporters in China trying to call the country’s secretive military couldn’t even get a connection because phone numbers assigned to the journalists were barred from ringing through to the Defence Ministry.

“We especially hope that international society will have a correct and objective understanding of the Chinese military.”

— PLA Spokesman Yang Yujunjosh-earnest-WH

This morning, the White House issued this statement:

“We believe that sending members of the White House press corps to China was the right thing to do. It is not, as some of our friends in the Republican party have suggested, an effort to limit press freedom, or retaliation for unfavorable coverage of the president.”

— White House press secretary Josh Earnest

On Thursday, members of the foreign press were finally permitted to attend the ministry’s monthly news briefing, marking a small milestone in the increasingly confident military’s efforts to project a more transparent image.

President Xi Jinping, who also serves as chairman of the Central Military Commission, shakes hands with PLA division commanders in Shandong province last year. Photo: Xinhua

President Xi Jinping, who also serves as chairman of the Central Military Commission, shakes hands with PLA division commanders in Shandong province last year. Photo: Xinhua

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“Look, we let these folks in the press keep their cell phones, and some personal effects. We gave them free transportation, courtesy of the Air Force. They’ll eventually be permitted to return. We’ll do our best to get them home by Christmas.”

— President Barack Obama

Restrictions still apply and there is no sign of an improvement in the generally paltry amount and poor quality of information released by the People’s Liberation Army, the world’s largest standing military with 2.3 million members.

Officers who oversee the briefings say the new invitations reflect a desire by the top brass to allay foreigners’ concerns over fast-expanding budgets, vast hardware improvements, and an increasingly clear determination to use the military to assert China’s interests and territorial claims. Read the rest of this entry »


Baby Elephant Zhuang Zhuang Cries For 5 Hours After Mom Attacks, Rejects Him

A baby elephant cried for five hours after his own mother attacked and abandoned him at a zoo in China.

Shortly after the mother elephant gave birth to the calf in August at the Shendiaoshan Wild Animal Nature Reserve in Rongcheng, China, she stepped on him, according to Metro U.K. Veterinarians hoped it was an accident and treated the baby before returning him to the mother, but he was attacked again. So they removed him from her. Read the rest of this entry »