Xi’an, China: The Great Tower of Textbooks

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A café in the central Chinese city of Xi’an has become a place of pilgrimage for students after its owner installed a giant artwork made of books as a symbol of the crushing workload that many of China’s schools impose on youngsters. At 7.5 meters tall with a diameter of 1.5 meters, the hollow edifice is made of over four tons of unwanted textbooks bought by Li from a nearby university. Read the rest of this entry »


China’s Tourism Blacklist: ‘Without the Red Army, How Can You Live a Happy Life?’

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Vacationers from the People’s Republic have acquired a reputation for being unruly at times, and have lately made global headlines by attacking flight attendants, fighting in airplane aisles and opening emergency doors in non-emergency situations

Colum Murphy reports: Here’s a new addition to China’s growing list of do’s and don’ts for citizens when traveling at home and abroad: don’t snap a selfie while sitting on the head of a Red Army warrior when visiting a place that considers itself a holy land of Maoist China.

 “Are these people raised by monkeys? Whatever they see at scenic spots, trees or statues, they climb up for pictures.”

— Sina Weibo user Li Biyou

That’s exactly what 18-year-old Li Wenchun did on a recent visit to what’s known as a red tourism site —and now he’s paying the price.

The incident took place in the city of Yan’an, in northern Shaanxi province, famous in Communist Party history as the endpoint of the Long March. On its website, the government of Yan’an says the city “is reputed as a world-renowned holy land of Chinese revolution,” where “tourists are organized to learn knowledge of revolutionary history and attend theme activities for traditional revolutionary education and experience broadening.”

“What an ignorant man. Without the Red Army, how can you live a happy life?”

— Another Sina Weibo user

The only things Mr. Li widened were his legs. Photographs of him circulating on the Internet show him dressed in a black shirt and trousers and wearing red sneakers, striking a pose on the heroic head of a bronze statue of a female warrior.

As a result of this stunt, Mr. Li has become one of the first Chinese to be added to a blacklist that China’s national tourism authority said earlier this year it would introduce to discourage Chinese vacationers from misbehaving while traveling. Read the rest of this entry »


Cyberspace Administration: China to Force Social Media Users to Declare their Real Names

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Mainland regulators say people will be able to have nicknames – they will just have to register them with website administrators first

Li Jing reports: Online real-name registration will be ramped up on the mainland this year to cover instant messaging services, Twitter-like microblogs, online forums and other websites as the Communist Party continues to tighten its grip on cyberspace.

“The authorities need to make it clear to the public what laws and regulations they’re following to implement such a registration system, and answer the question of whether they’re in conflict with the constitution that promises the right to ‘freedom of speech’.”

— Zhan Jiang, a professor of international journalism at Beijing Foreign Studies University

The Cyberspace Administration did not give details on how the plan would be carried out, but administration official Xu Feng said yesterday the agency would “comprehensively” implement the rule and “beef up” oversight to punish violators.

Xu said website users would still be allowed to use a nickname online, but they would have to register their real identities with website administrators.

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Real-name registration would also apply to open online forums called tieba, Xu said, without elaborating.

“Some Weibo users complained the move would lead to more self-censorship, while others people were worried about leaks of personal data.”

Authorities have in the past ordered users to register with their real names for some services, but the rules were not always followed.

In Beijing, for example, all users of social media platforms operated in the capital, including the Sina Weibo microblog service, were supposed to register their names and identity numbers in 2011 as part of a push to rein in online rumour-mongering and “cleanse” content.

But a year later it was still possible to use the Sina service without doing so.

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Sina admitted publicly it had failed to fully implement the regulation in 2012 because it was time-consuming and eroding its user base.

Zhan Jiang, a professor of international journalism at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said the administration was obviously trying to extend that rule nationwide and with wider targets, as the top leadership had repeatedly stressed “internet governance”. Read the rest of this entry »


Chocolate Warriors in Santa Hats in Xi’an

And that chocolate dates to Qin era?


Xi’an-American Warriors: Bart Simpson, Batman, Mickey Mouse, Spider-Man, Shrek

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San Francisco-based artist Lizabeth Eva Rossof created a series of striking statues combining the warriors from China’s ancient Terracotta Army with comic book and cartoon characters from American pop culture. These Xi’an-American Warriors include Bart Simpson, Batman, Mickey Mouse, Spider-Man and Shrek.

Rossof says the series “playfully explores the concerns of American media’s global influence and China’s industry of counterfeiting the copyrighted properties held by said media.”

Each clay sculpture stand 18-inches tall. Their authentic appearance was achieved by using the same process that created the original warriors from Lintong District, Xi’an, Shaanxi province all the way back in the later third century BCE. Rossof worked with a Terracotta Warrior replica studio in Xi’an who make their clay sculptures using the same earth as the original statues.

Some of these awesome statues are currently available for purchase via Lizabeth Eva Rossof’s website.

[via RocketNews24]

archiemcphee: San Francisco-based artist…