Posts Tagged ‘Recent reading’

Extending the Reading Boundaries.

July 9, 2011

Due to other committments this new venture has almost died on the vine, so lets update this scribblers excellent reading adventures. One of the highlights has been the “false rumour” of Jiang Zemins reported demise. While uber bloggers JR and FOARP tackled the issue head on and proffered explanations revolving around placemen, the maintenance of upper eschelon spheres of influence and the 2012 handover to Li Xinping, I wisely opted for a number of juvenile zombie jokes on ChinaSmack HERE.

While ChinaGeeks and Peking Duck are fast losing their reading attraction, due to polarised and acrimonious posts which really don’t advance discussion of the issues at hand any which way, Adam Cathcart maintained his steady course, and totally surprised recently with this delightful post.

C. Wang and Christine Holch, “Crazy, But Right: His Judgment of an Intensive Search for a Young Woman Whom He Met on the Train,” chrismon (supplementary magazine to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 4 July 2011) July 2011, p. 54. [Translated from the German by Adam Cathcart.]

This piece has great potential as a plotline for a quirky trans-Asian art house movie. Replace the auto-bahn with an airport encounter, and you have perfectly captured the idea of random love attraction in the global transit lounge which is the world today. Lighten up, read the piece, hit the endedded link in Mr Wang’s flight of fantasy and enjoy the artwork he provided on his homepage honey trap.

Turning to serious heavy hitters, I recommend a visit to academic Frank Dikotter’s site. It offers high quality potted accounts of his various Chinese research findings, and to obtain a good pre-1949 background to Mao’s Pol Pot experiments, I recommend his Age of Openness.

We are all creatures of habits, in reading as in other things, so I obtained pleasure in perusing two (for me)new Sino-Enlish blogs: The China Hotline and Loawai Times. The former is an aggregator site with comments, while the latter is run by a Scotsman, who I suspect has a Bolshy background as he makes use of that wrongly ignored term class. It looks like both offer forums for serious discussion.

Loawai Times notes that:

There is, even to this still-green observer, an anarchistic streak in the Chinese character: not for them the orderliness of the Japanese or the Germans. Similarly, the relative strength of central government is often overstated, with provincial governments enjoying a lot of leeway to simply ignore laws and regulations which might inhibit economic growth. Thus, “stability” here means the policy of holding China together and ensuring basic laws are obeyed.

The other thing I liked about his Stability Stability Stability piece was his emphasis on established and newly emerging classes. Insufficient attention is paid to the concept of class generally, and it is only by identifying the old ossified classes and the newly emerging dynamic classes in China today, that we are arrive a a half decent analysis before proceeding to the crystal ball future/predictive stuff.

Penultimately, what is missing in Sino analysis today is a theoretical understanding of the surveillance apparatus being developed by China’s domestic security organs. The manner in which the internet and social media is managed is well documented, but the larger urbans systems of surveillance AND their political objectives have yet to be described in theoretical terms. The massive digital camera roll out in Beijing, Chongqing and other cities are only dealt with empirically, but that is the extent of discussion. Been posting on the Foucault approach to this issue for ages, but it simply fails to resonate.

I was going to finish by sinking the boot into James Fallows and some of his precious confreres such as Granite Studio, but why bother. And I will spare you my snarky remark about ball powdering.

Finally, if you thought food price rises and food inflation have simple explanations, read this.