LeBron James in Shenyang; Beijing

Cleveland is a great American city, and its best-known ambassador is in Asia.  Cleveland Cavaliers superstar forward LeBron James is in China on a tour promoting Nike shoes.  He met with students of migrant workers who have a special school outside of Beijing which Nike apparently supplies.

LeBron with migrant student in Chaoyang district, Beijing

LeBron with migrant student in Chaoyang district, Beijing

In 2006, boarding a plane in Cleveland-Hopkins Airport bound for Beijing, I met LeBron’s then-teammate Damon Jones, who was the first American basketball player to promote shoes in China (for the Chinese brand Li-Ning, no less). It is quite interesting that everything we discussed that day as being pie-in-the-sky (NBA games in China, tours by LeBron to China) has now come to pass.

LeBron also spent time in Shenyang, where he was presented with a locally-designed variant on his shoe, which the artist called “Loyalty.”

LeBron with Chinese shoe designer in Shenyang, Liaoning province

LeBron with Chinese shoe designer in Shenyang, Liaoning province

According to the press release:

At a presentation that took place during Nike’s grassroots activities in Shenyang, Ray Lei gave James a uniquely designed pair of Air Max LeBron VII shoes. Lei used Chinese warrior images on the shoe to symbolize loyalty and bravery. He also represented LeBron’s loyalty by using symbols personal to him: “Irish” and the green color represent loyalty to his high school team, St Vincent St. Mary; “23″ stands for his loyalty to his team; and “330″ (his hometown area code) signifies loyalty to Akron, Ohio, where he grew up. In order to connect the shoe back to Shenyang, cloud and water elements were used in the design, as they frequently were on the uniforms of the Qing dynasty. The rose is Shenyang’s city flower. Additionally fog patterns were infused into the design, a reference to Chinese fairy tales in which troops would appear from fog before battle – similar to LeBron’s signature chalk dust before each game. Ray Lei is a 22-year-old graduate of the Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinghua University, and is currently taking masters classes with Professor Wu Guanying, the father of animation in China. His talents encompass a range of mediums, including cartoon, graphic design, illustration, short comic, graffiti and Hip-Hop music.

And Shenyang, like Cleveland in the 1990s, is coming up.  More direct flights, more foreign investment, more destruction of Manchukuo-era architecture, more North Koreans with money, more South Koreans with even more money, etc.  LeBron’s presence there is further proof.  More in subsequent posts on China-Ohio connections.

Beijing Suburb (photo by Adam Cathcart)

Beijing Suburb (photo by Adam Cathcart)

Hoop Dreams by the North Korean border, Jilin province (photo by Adam Cathcart)

Hoop Dreams by the North Korean border, Jilin province (photo by Adam Cathcart)

News Service

In an effort to keep my China-related postings up to snuff, I am excited to offer stories via “Press Display,” a service of full-text international newspapers.

Stories from South China Morning Post and others offer a good start; however, I anticipate using the old-school web for future discussion of such sources as Global Times (环球时报)and Elite Reference (青年参考).

A few sample stories appear below; in the next few days I aim to refine how these stories are integrated with the blog.

Press Service is spotty for South Korea (offering only Dong-A Ilbo 东亚日报, whose front page today is all Rockets), almost non-existent for Japan and unrepresentative of the abundant intelligence of the German press (no Suddeutscher Zeitung, Die Zeit, or Frankfurter Allegemeine!), but fortunately one can get full-text of two of my favorite papers, Liberation and Le Figaro.

Cathcart with a Le Figaro reader in a great city

Note the intensity with which the Frenchman devours his Le Figaro

Having returned from East Asia (with two detours to western Europe and a loop around the western USA) for the summer, Press Display is the closest I can get in the meantime to reading the paper on the Beijing #2 subway line between Guloudajie and Chaoyang station or attempting to gorge on hyper-technical yet fascinatingly valuable Junge Welt and its kin in the belly of Potsdamer Platz.  Because reading the suddenly-flush Seattle Times in my old Uwajimaya-period cafe haunts (the Panama Hotel, a relic of Nissei culture in the era before internment desecrated everything) is OK for an old-school newspaper reader, but it isn’t good enough for you.

本历史记者再回西雅图 (西柏坡!)美国最美的西部海边城市。 满意。 但还愿意回中国 — 该等三个月, 先打工,作的脑力劳动,写什么有情的作品。

Schaffensdrang aus Berlin

Schaffensdrang aus Berlin

Hu Jintao in Xinjiang


Hu in first visit to Xinjiang since deadly rioting
Ivan Zhai ; Additional reporting by Reuters, Associated Press
South China Morning Post
26 Aug 2009

President Hu Jintao has visited Xinjiang for the first time since the deadly riots in Urumqi early last month and claimed victory against the “ three forces” of separatism, terrorism and extremism. Almost 200 people died and more than 2,000 were…read more…

CCP Senstitive to Domestic Criticism of “Internet Boot Camps”


Boot camp death story costs editor his post
Ivan Zhai
South China Morning Post
26 Aug 2009

A deputy editor of a Guangxi newspaper was dismissed by provincial propaganda authorities after the paper had published a series of stories about a teenage boy who was beaten to death at an internet addiction camp. Liu Yuan, the deputy editor of the…read more…

Tonghua Protests Part of Larger Systemic Issue — The Smashing of the Iron Rice Bowl


A private CONCERN

China Daily
26 Aug 2009

Jonah M. Kessel After following one family tradition by joining the military in 1990, Fu Linxue did it again three years later when he started work at the Linzhou Iron and Steel plant in Henan province. For the 39-year-old, it was the logical choice….read more…

40 hours a week eyed as Internet addict threshold (Shanghai Daily, 26 Aug 2009, Page A8)


40 hours a week eyed as Internet addict threshold
Wang Xiang
Shanghai Daily
26 Aug 2009

PEOPLE who spend more than 40 hours online each week will be considered Internet addicts under China’s new treatment standards for an affliction that’s estimated to be affecting the lives of millions of the country’s teenagers. The draft definition of…read more…

Chinese Citizen Mistaken for Corrupt Official


Website to offer apology over mistaken-identity photograph
Ni Yinbin
Shanghai Daily
26 Aug 2009

NETEASE, one of China’s biggest portal Websites, said yesterday that it was willing to apologize for misusing an innocent Shanghai man’s photo and identifying him as an allegedly corrupt official of the same name. In an initiative brokered by Shanghai…read more…