井底之蛙

2/5/2007

Some China News

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 4:24 am

The 11th Asian History Carnival is up, and the next host will be this blog’s own Alan Baumler!

In spite of new evidence regarding Japanese war crimes, a Japanese director is planning a Nanjing Massacre Denial production (is there anything more tiresome than the prospect of a widely announced documentary project produced by a hard-core partisan on a subject the results of which are known in advance and easily rebuttable?) in response to the widely acclaimed pro-fact documentary. Naturally, China is disturbed. This comes in the midst of remarkably ambitious attempts to reach common understanding, though with caveats. It’s important work, though.

Jonathan Clements, author of a biography of Tang-era Empress Wu, is interviewed by the BBC

Taiwanese textbooks refer to China as “China” instead of as “our country” and the National Museum edits its charter: mainland China objects, Taiwanese politicians stand fast.

Barefoot Teachers lose licenses, or at least the right to educate without them. It’s a byproduct of the professionalization of labor in China, the abandonment of the Maoist idea that expertise is a function of will rather than of training. As the article notes, by this time these “barefoot” teachers are seasoned veterans, and many of them are testing into licensure with no problems; some, though are refusing to test, or failing for reasons that have nothing to do with their knowledge or skill bases, or refusing to bribe the right people….

The average age of a Chinese woman at her first marriage has risen by two years in the last fifteen, and that delayed family life is likely to play a role in China’s demographic transition. Sex before marriage is becoming more popular, though, so they’re not missing out, exactly….

The Times Online review of the Dreyer book on Zheng He by Jonathan Mirsky is worth it just for the description of Menzies’ theory: “The most recent theory, masquerading as fact, is the fantasy, disputed by all authorities….” There’s an intriguing emphasis on the Zheng He expeditions as military ventures, and successful ones.

Ross Terrill’s article on Mao Zedong is one in the ongoing series of attempts to cast Mao in something like a consistent light, this time as a freedom-loving youth whose ideas were turned by circumstance, institutional demands and ideology into something “half modern Führer and half ancient Chinese­sage-king.” He is also trying to link China today with the legacies of Mao, casting the last thirty years as a sort of — though he’d never think of using the phrase — incomplete bourgeoise revolution. Mao’s transition to demi-god status — in cultural, not political terms — is incomprehensible to him, and seems deeply troubling.

China’s relationship with Africa has echoes of the “third way” tradition.

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