When Ernest Hemingway somewhat presciently referred to Paris as a "moveable feast" ("wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you"), he captured the feelings of many long-term China expats rather concisely. So why exactly does everyone like to compare life here to Paris in the 1920s? And if life is so romantic here, where are the writers in our midst and what are they producing?
This week on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are delighted to host the editors of While We're Here: China Stories from a Writers' Colony, a compilation of short stories, poems and more, lovingly assembled by Alec Ash and Tom Pellman of The Anthill. Join us to listen to some selections as well as unapologetic gossip about the writers in question. If you want to pick up the book, you can find it for your Kindle here on Amazon or drop by The Bookworm in Beijing for a physical copy.
While We Were Here: China Stories from a Writers’ Colony, Edited by Alec Ash and Tom Pellman
How to Dress to Buy Dragonfruit
Alec Ash on "Shanghai Cocktales"
Rock Paper Tiger
Up to The Mountains and Down to the Countryside, by Quincy Carol
Radio Lab Episode on CRISPER
The Search for a Vanishing Beijing, by M. A. Aldrich
Voice Map – Walking Guided Tours – Check out the tours of Beijing, by David French and Alex Ash
Dispatches from Pluto, by Richard Grant
逻辑思维 Logical Thinking – Video Series on YouTube
China’s Bold Push into Genetically Customized Animals, by Christina Larson
Amazing research now suggests that Beijing's swifts, the tiny creatures most residents pass by without noticing, are some of the most well-travelled birds on the planet, averaging an astonishing 124,000 miles of flight in their life, barely landing for years on end, and migrating as far as the southern tip of Africa. This week on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn spoke with Terry Townshend, founder of the environmental education and travel organization EcoAction China and creator of the "Birding Beijing" website, for an inside look at how the scientific community discovered these amazing facts. We also discuss how the changing urban landscape of Beijing is affecting the natural environment for these amazing creatures.
Action for Swifts
British Trust for Ornithology
Purity: A Novel, by Jonathan Franzen
Cement and Pig Consumption Reveal China's Huge Changes
This is the second part of our episode of Sinica recorded during a special live event at the Bookworm Literary Festival. In this show David Moser and Kaiser Kuo were joined by China-newcomer Jeremy Goldkorn, fresh off the plane from Nashville to field questions from our live Beijing audience. During this show, we talk about what Beijing means to us and what we see happening in China going forward. If you're a long-time listener, be sure to check out this unusual episode recorded in front of a live audience.
Our episode of Sinica this week was captured during a special live event at the Bookworm Literary Festival, where David Moser and Kaiser Kuo were joined by China-newcomer Jeremy Goldkorn, fresh off the plane from Nashville. During the show we talked about Beijing-lifers and how the city has changed during our time here. If you're a long-time listener, be sure to check out this unusual episode recorded in front of a live audience.
Holiday Inn Express on 春秀路
The World According to Xi Jinping, by Benjamin Carlson
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Here’s What All The Chinese Students at Your School are Reading, by Matt Sheehan
The West has spent decades pleading with China to become a responsible stakeholder in the global community, but what happens now that China is starting to take a more proactive role internationally? In today's show, Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are delighted to be joined by a Dutch journalist, Fokke Obbema (the de Volkskrant correspondent with a perfectly normal Dutch name), who is the author of the recent book China and the West: Hope and Fear in the Age of Asia.
Fokke Obbema’s China and the West
Susan L. Shirk’s China: Fragile Superpower
Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
David Eggers’ The Circle
The Social Credit System
Will and Ariel Durant’s The Story of Civilization Volume Ten: Rousseau and Revolution
This week on Sinica, we are delighted to present a show on Tu Youyou, the Chinese scientist who recently shared a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her discovery of the anti-malaria drug Artemisinin, thus making her the first citizen of the People's Republic of China to receive a Nobel science award.
Beijing’s Test Tube Baby, by Christina Larson
Nobel Renews Debate on Chinese Medicine, by Ian Johnson
A Guide to the Mammals of China, by Andrew T. Smith and Yan Xie
Neither Donkey Nor Horse: Medicine and the Struggle over China’s Modernity, by Sean Hsiang-lin Lei
Why Nothing Works, by Eric Vance
Corn Wars, by Ted Genoways
Can the Chinese Government Get its People to Like G.M.O.s?, by Christina Larson
Follow the Money, by Mike Chinoy
The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine, by Ted Kaptchuk
Chinese Medicine in Contemporary China: Plurality and Synthesis, by Volker Scheid
Edmund Backhouse, the 20th-century Sinologist, long-time Beijing resident, and occasional con artist, is perhaps best known for his incendiary memoirs, which not only distorted Western understanding of Chinese history for more than 50 years, but also included what, in retrospect, can only be seen as patently fictitious stories of erotic encounters between the British baronet and Empress Dowager Cixi.
This week on Sinica, we are delighted to be joined by Derek Sandhaus of Earnshaw Books, who has recently produced an abridged edition of Backhouse's memoirs for the Hong Kong publishing house. As an expert on the facts and fictions of Edmund Backhouse, Derek joins us for a discussion of what is real and less-than-real in Backhouse's deathbed reminiscences, and what we can and should learn about Qing-era China from his memoirs.
David Helliwell's blog
Decadence Manchu, by Edmund Backhouse
Derek Sandhaus's two works:
Baijiu: The Essential Guide to Chinese Spirits
Tales of Old Peking
Asian Observer: This Day In Chinese History
The Hermit of Peiking, by Hugh Trevor-Roper
Homoerotic Sensibilities in Late Imperial China, by Cuncun Wu
Chublic Opinion - Down with Nihilism
Can the Chinese Government get its people to like GMOs?, by Christina Larson
Great Leap Brewery is an institution. As one of the earliest American-style microbreweries in China, not only has the company rescued us from endless nights of Snow and Yanjing, but it's also given us something uniquely Chinese with its assortment of peppercorn, honey, and tea-flavored beers. So as much as we love the other microbreweries in Beijing and throw our money at them, too, it's no accident the Great Leap taproom is our most frequent destination most evenings after recording a show.
Today on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo sits down with Great Leap founder Carl Setzer to talk about his story in China: why Great Leap got started, how the company fits into the beer industry in China, and what it's like to run a food and beverage startup as a foreigner. This is a surprisingly intimate look at one of the places we've grown to take for granted, filled with details on their touch-and-go early years and the bureaucratic run-in that almost crippled the business. We hope you enjoy hearing their story as much as we did.
Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are delighted to be joined in Popup Towers by Rogier Creemers, post-doctoral fellow at Oxford, author of the fantastic China Copyright and Media blog and one of the most informed academics working on Chinese internet governance. We've always enjoyed our previous chances to grill Rogier on his thoughts, and our discussion this week didn't disappoint either.
This week on Sinica, we are delighted to be joined by Lucy Hornby, China correspondent for the Financial Times, and author of this phenomenal piece on China's last surviving Chinese comfort women and their longstanding — and often futile — attempts to seek reparations in both China and Japan. Join us today as we talk about this piece, and also other stories of reparations and post-war politics that may leave you, like us, somewhat less cynical going out than coming in.
"Under the Dome," Chai Jing's breakout documentary on China's catastrophic air pollution problem, finally hit insurmountable political opposition last Friday after seven days in which the video racked up over 200 million views. The eventual clampdown raised many questions about the extent of internal support for the documentary.
In this episode of Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and David Moser interview Calvin Quek of Greenpeace, who works on pollution problems and has significant experience lobbying the private sector to curtail investments into the worst-offending, environmentally unsustainable technologies. We are also joined by Peggy Liu, chairperson of JUCCCE (Joint US-China Collaboration on Clean Energy), a non-profit organization focused on Chinese government training and other green initiatives.
Kaiser: “Travels with My Censor,” by Peter Hessler for The New Yorker.
“The 'Deaf' Composer Who Fooled a Nation,” by Christopher Beam for The New Republic.
Calvin: “The Most Brilliant Politician You Never Knew,” by Beverly Murray at Back That Sass Up.
David: “China's carbon emissions could save the world—or doom it,” by Hudson Lockett for China Economic Review