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Beijing from Below: A Conversation with Harriet Evans

In her new book, Beijing from Below: Stories of Marginal Lives in the Capital’s Center (Duke University Press, 2020), Harriet Evans captures the last gasps of subaltern life in Dashalar, one of Beijing’s poorest neighbourhoods. Between the early 1950s and the accelerated demolition and construction of Beijing’s ‘old city’ in preparation for the 2008 Olympic […]

(Self-)Censorship and Chinese Feminist Networking in a Global Perspective

In this essay, I will examine the relationship between the Chinese feminist movement and self-censorship in its temporal and spatial dimensions. Temporally, my analysis will take into account the period from 1989 up to the time of writing in July 2020. This temporal frame covers the Chinese political vicissitudes from the Tiananmen Square Incident of […]

The Cultural Politics of National Tragedies and Personal Sacrifice

State Narratives of China's 'Ordinary Heroes' of the COVID-19 Pandemic

While the rest of the world is still battling the latest wave of COVID-19 and implementing lockdown measures to combat the spread of the virus, China has been celebrating its ‘victory’ over the pandemic since the end of February 2020, with Xinhua (2020) announcing a book praising the country’s success in disease control to be […]

A Tribute to Daniel Kane

I first met Daniel Kane, or Danny as he was known to friends, during a week-long symposium on Manchu culture and literature that took place inside a grand country house in South Wairarapa, New Zealand, in 2018. The purpose of that gathering was to discuss the acquisition of Chinese language, thought, and art by the […]

Cultivate Aridity and Deprive them of Air

Altering the Approach to Non-State-Approved Social Organisations

If the organisations and individuals involved in the Six Must Nots consciously resist illegal social organisations, illegal social organisations are sure to gradually die off through a lack of oxygen. Ministry of Civil Affairs Comrade in Charge, 2021   ‘Grey space’ and ‘tacit approval’ are concepts familiar to people working in or studying China’s organised […]

Securing China’s Northwest Frontier: A Conversation with David Tobin

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Over the past two decades, a rhetoric of terrorism has been used to conflate the criminal actions of a relatively small number of people with the religious and cultural practices of more than 12 million Uyghurs who call the southern part of the Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang) their ancestral home. This has had a dramatic […]

An Anatomy of Trump’s Appeal to Chinese Liberals: A Conversation with Teng Biao

Since coming to power, former US President Donald Trump has attracted and maintained a remarkable following among the Chinese diaspora in and outside the United States. These Trump followers come from different backgrounds and their support has a variety of motivations, which is nothing unusual. What is out of the ordinary, though, is the popularity […]

Inciting Subversion by Association: 120 Days in Detention

On 16 February 2020, just a few hours after her partner Xu Zhiyong, a leading Chinese human rights lawyer, was detained, women’s rights and labour activist Li Qiaochu went missing. China’s state security bodies would hold her incommunicado for four months under the system known as ‘residential surveillance at a designated location’ on suspicion of […]

Bilingual Education in Inner Mongolia: An Explainer

China today is in the midst of closing out a three-quarters of a century experiment. That experiment was in minority-language education for certain select ethnic groups: Mongols, Uyghurs, Tibetans, Kazakhs, and Koreans. A heritage of both China’s decentralised past and the Soviet model, minority-language education is now being replaced by a new model of ‘bilingual […]

Living Politics: An Exhibition

This Exhibition was part of the Australian Research Council Laureate Project ‘Informal Life Politics in the Remaking of Northeast Asia: From Cold War to Post-Cold War’. As major political changes reshape East Asia, groups of ordinary people across the region have been developing alternative, self-help ways to address the profound social, economic, and environmental challenges […]

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