Monthly Archives: February 2008


  • Manifesto of the Revolutionary Pedestrian Front
    Pedestrians the world over are wiser than the car owners, they understand the laws governing the existence and development of things, they understand dialectics and they can see further.


  • Broken Voice, Broken Heart
    Cheng Yanqiu (1904-1958) was born to play the dan, or feminine role in Beijing Opera. Willowy and graceful, he made it through puberty with nary a crack in his sweet soprano pipes.


  • Blast or Back the Bag Ban?
    Bags are bad for the environment, but can we live without them? DDT was bad, but people die without it. In fifteen years, the use of DDT was enough to drop malaria cases in Sri Lanka from 2.


  • Where Have You Been Philately?
    The official stamps of the 2008 Olympiad are out – condensed keepsakes of all that will be special about the Beijing games. First off are the five harmonious fuwa mascots: Huanhuan, Yingying, Nini, Beibei, and Jingjing.


  • The Mid-Autumn Revolution
    It had been a century since the Mongols conquered China. Implacable enemies, the emperors of the Eastern Khanate nonetheless made reasonable rulers. Day-to-day life remained much the same in the Middle Kingdom, its venerable rites and customs undistur


  • Drumming Up Business
    You can make any business work in China. Ignore the self-styled experts who drone on about barriers to entry and Kafka-esque bureaucracy; China's a land of opportunity, and not just for well-heeled representatives of the corporate elite.


  • Yue Minjun Laughs First and Last
    In the era of reform after the Glorious Leader’s death, a band of Chinese artists dared to depart from Social Realism and let the light of individualism shine through their work.


  • Chinese Spies and the Widening Gyre
    Spy scandals don’t seem to ring the same bells that they used to. During the Cold War, they were glamorous morality plays come to life. It was the Free World versus the dark forces of Communism.


  • The Famine of 1832 – A Lesson in Conservation or Forgetfulness?
    In Northern China, the spring brings wind, and the wind brings sand. But the sand isn’t truly the Mongolian desert's, as commonly supposed – it’s deracinated topsoil from Northern Hebei Province and Inner Mongolia.


  • The Ugly American
    Hi there. I'm an ugly American. Oh, no need for photo attached: real ugly is about aura, not aspect. Take my word for it; in thought, word, and when I think only other uglies are watching, deed, I'm as far from light and grace as the bottom of