Huanqiu Impressions

Within its given limits, the Chinese press can be really freewheeling, an exercise for the reader in handling contradictions.

Joint statements of Sino-Canadian cooperation sit alongside justifications for executing another three Xinjiang rioters.  Little thumbnail photos of South Korean women’s nightclub attire glow next to Sun Yat-sen-esque oil paintings of Zhou Enlai.  If you can’t handle dissonance, it’s best not to look.

Today’s web version of the nationalistic-popular Huanqiu Shibao [a watered-down, woefully incomplete, and fractionally useful English version of which can be viewed here] contains a wide array of items worth a comment or two.

- A longer historical article about Soviet women who fell in love with Japanese prisoners of war after 1945.

- An extensively-argued BBS posting, replete with jpgs. of relevant treaty sections, arguing that the Diaoyu Islands are eternal Chinese territory.  But doesn’t anyone seem to mind that this trenchant patriot stuff is being done by netizens who depict themselves like this?


- This completely fascinating Chinese photo essay of a 6-day journey to understand Japan, in which Japan appears as dirty/rotting/disorderly/and old.  Not only are such things meant bolster the modernizing pride of the Chinese people, they have fundamental continuities with Japanese depictions of China in the 1920s!

via Huanqiu BBS

- Along the lines of Japanese appearing less than civilizationally superior on the Huanqiu news site is this photo gallery of Japanese sleeping on the subway [地铁上睡着的日本人].

Sleeping Japanese, via Huanqiu -- in implicit opposition to the infamous German website on "Sleeping Chinese"

- Another image gallery of Japan uploaded to the Huanqiu BBS that is stirring discussion are these black-and-white photos of Hiroshima atom-bomb victims.  One reader comments “Of course I feel a lot of hatred toward Japan, but looking at these photos, I can see that [Hiroshima bombing] was a tragedy.”

- This reflective blog posting on a new and centrally-published Cultural Revolution memoir by Zhou Enlai’s secretary for eight years.

- An editorial (in English) upbraiding Canadian PM Harper for waiting four years into his term to visit the PRC, and for a lot of other things:

By playing up China’s human rights issue, keeping away from the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, and meeting with Dalai Lama, Harper has long turned a cold shoulder to China. He seems to be bent on appeasing his electoral base, particularly in the western parts of Canada.

Is that a dig at Vancouver, the city charmed this past September by the Dalai Lama (along, of course, with its esteemed Francophone homologue, Montreal)?

- In true Huanqiu style, a special report (mostly derivative from the British press, but a new item nonetheless in China) on how the CEO of the American security firm Blackwater was a CIA agent.

- A photo gallery of drunken American university students who, ostensibly, spend more time on the bathroom floor than the library.  To my chagrin, I’ve misplaced the URL — perhaps it is in my folder entitled “Fodder for the Wipe Out America’s National Humiliation Campaign”?

- And finally, on the need for a strong nation, the Huanqiu shares polling data from India about perceptions of “the China threat.” As should be apparent to casual observers of the Chinese media, India’s profile continues to rise in multiple (mostly negative) ways in the PRC.  Of course, 53% of recently-polled Americans foresee military conflict with China, but at the moment Xinhua is leaving that statistic alone in favor of much better stories about Obama addressing an important US-China celebration in New York City.