A week on Tuesday I’m going to China again. Starting in Shanghai, which is on the East coast in the centre, at the mouth of the Yangtze river. I’m travelling with Rosemary, my mum (who I spent a few weeks with in Japan three years ago; see the last few articles here). We’re going to head for Chengdu, route still to be decided. Email me or post comments if you have suggestions, particularly if you know anybody living in China who could show us around.
Think for a minute, what have you read about China in newspapers and magazines recently? It’s almost certainly very distorted, a Western view of this rapidly changing, ancient country. I’ve been watching out for better sources of Chinese news. The best best place is EastSouthWestNorth (scroll down to “section 3 of 3: Blog posts” for the meat, and for the RSS feed). A guy in Hong Kong translates important mainland Chinese news stories and blog posts into English. Highlights from the last few months:
- What is the single most famous photograph in China? What is the message of the photo? What happened to the girl? The translated articles give the full story.
- Review of some of the reactions to the incident on the White House lawn when Chinese President Hu Jintao was visiting their last week. Fascinating to read about offence caused by a bad simultaneous translator.
- The True Life of a Political Worm. Translation of a forum post detailing political machinations within Chinese local government.
- Voodoo Dolls in China. An occult, cotton fad amongst the young.
- The Most Popular Forum Post Ever In China. A class system to put the British one to shame.
- The February Girl Pics. A more typical example of forum fare (heck, I could do with somebody making translated digests of MySpace or FaceParty posts, despatches from Western youth culture).
- The Most Popular Chinese Blogger. An actress with 10 million hits in the first four months.
- A Day In The Life Of A Chinese Internet Police Officer. A Chinese reporter has a go. It turns out to be very boring.
- A Third Way for Yahoo explains what a warrant to extract information from an ISP looks like.
- Fifth Uncle and Fifth Aunt about poverty in rural China, and media reporting of it.
- Three Chinese Weddings. Photographs of three quite different marriages.
Roland Soong, who provides this vital, tenuous link between the Chinese and English language Internets, has also translated an article about himself. (Also thanks to Dan O’Huiginn for reminding me that it is easy to spend too much time reading in English. He proceeded to investigate Mongolia, South Korea and the Czech Republic more thoroughly).