Archive for the ‘China Today’ Category

China Plans $5 Billion Theme Park in Tibet

Friday, July 13th, 2012

From the Guardian:

Old Dog (dir. Pema Tseden)

Chinese officials have announced plans to build a £3bn (US$ 5 billion) Tibetan culture theme park outside Lhasa in three to five years.

Authorities see developing tourism as crucial to the economic future of Tibet and have set a goal of attracting 15 million tourists a year by 2015, generating up to 18bn yuan (£1.8bn), in a region with a population of just 3 million.

But Tibetan groups have expressed concern that the surge in tourism has also eroded traditional culture and that the income has economically benefited Han Chinese more than Tibetans. (more…)

China Busts Traffickers After Babies Auctioned for $7,800

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

From Bloomberg News:

"Little Moth" is a powerful drama about child trafficking in China.

Chinese police broke up child- trafficking rings in 15 provinces and arrested more than 800 people after babies were auctioned off to the highest bidder for up to 50,000 yuan ($7,800).

Footage aired on Chinese television today showed a police officer involved in the raids wresting a child away from a woman who had allegedly bought it. Suspects and other rescued children were also shown being taken away by police.

The July 2 raids involved 10,000 police and resulted in 181 children being freed and 802 arrests, the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement on its website yesterday. China‘s one-child policy and a tradition of favoring boys have been cited as contributing to the nation’s trafficking problems.


Anderson Cooper Rattles China’s Closet

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

From the New York Times:

When Anderson Cooper, the CNN anchor, recently announced that he was gay, he apparently inspired a Chinese microblogger using the name Sun Yelin-Xiao Hei. On Thursday, Mr. Sun posted a call on Sina’s Weibo, or microblogging, site for Chinese homosexuals to come out en masse on Dec. 12, 2012 – a day apparently picked for its neat number. If you read Chinese, you can read his exhortation here.

Mr. Cooper is fairly well-known among China’s more Westernized, educated elite, with Sina’s microblog site, the country’s biggest, recording over 38,000 posts mentioning him. Comments since his coming out have been overwhelmingly positive, if occasionally a little nonplussed.


The Dirty Truth about China’s Incinerators

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

incinerator at a plant in Qionghai, Southern Hainan province of China (Image: Corbis)

From an article by Elizabeth Balkan for China Dialogue, also published in The Guardian:

Xie Yong could be called a pioneer. He is one of very few to date to sue a
Chinese government agency over its unlawful refusal of requested data. His
crusade for change has little to do with civic altruism, however. Xie’s
struggle is personal in nature, his actions forced by desperation. He has
been battling his son’s paralysis-causing epileptic seizures and mounting
health care costs since 2010. His son’s condition, Xie believes, is the
result of toxic emissions from an incineration plant near his home. (more…)

Anti-Pollution Protestors Freed

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

From the Guardian:

Environmental protest in Shifang (AFP/Getty Images)

A Chinese city has released 21 people who were detained after a clash between police and residents protesting against a metals plant they feared would poison them, city officials said on Wednesday.

Thousands of people in the south-west city of Shifang took to the streets over the past three days to protest against the government’s plans to allow the building of a copper alloy plant, the latest unrest spurred by environmental concerns in the world’s second-largest economy.

In Focus: Youth in China

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

By Maya Eva Gunst Rudolph

In Focus spotlights dGenerate titles that shed light on some of the weightiest issues in contemporary China. From the environment to government corruption to youth culture, the overlapping concerns of these films create a dialogue on some of China’s most compelling stories.

"Super, Girls!" (dir. Jian Yi)

From the disillusionment of a nascent political movement to the stark inequalities of a population in cultural tilt, films about youth in China reframe the way we evaluate the nation’s past, present and future. China’s sizeable youth population has long been a driving force in the nation’s labor, political, and intellectual development. Whether this youthful energy is applied towards exploited labor or championing a favored pop star, the voices of Chinese youth can help determine a style, a zeitgeist, and a moment of history.

The wide gulf in the experiences of “youth,” however, begs the consideration of the many young people who represent one of China’s least privileged populations. From migrant labor and trafficking to the battle for education, the plight of many children and their struggle to survive is a heartbreaking challenge. The following films adopt myriad perspectives to present the condition of youth in both today’s China and in the China of the past; attitudes of curiosity, unrest, longing, and a way to see China though younger eyes.

"No. 89 Shimen Road" (dir. Shu Haolun)

In No. 89 Shimen Road, director Shu Haolun tells a classic coming-of-age story, though one of characteristics painstakingly unique to a specific time and place: his own adolescence in a long-since-demolished Shanghai neighborhood in the late 1980s. Coming off the lilting reminiscence of his documentary Nostalgia, which culls personal and collective memory from the Shanghai neighborhood of Dazhongi as it is demolished to make way for a more modern Shanghai skyline, No. 89 Shimen Road follows sixteen-year-old Xiaoli who photographs his changing world and the vital characters who occupy it. Apart from the concerns of early teenage lust and an eerie shade loss that shadows the post-Cultural Revolution atmosphere of the 1980s, Xiaoli is unwittingly swept into the spirit of the 1989 student democratic protests. Culminating in a botched attempt to join the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, No. 89 Shimen Road presents a loaded moment in both national and personal history and, through the use of black and white photographs and a deeply-felt narrative, transports the viewer effectively through Shu Haolun’s memory – to a moment that has come and gone, but still sparks.


The Surveillance Network and China’s “Targeted Population”

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

A recent article by Charles Hutzler of the Huffington Post speaks to the unimaginable scope and breadth of citizen surveillance networks that exist in China to keep a “targeted population” of activists and “dissidents” in check. The kind of surveillance and censure that has most publicly impacted the lives and work of activist Chen Guanchang and filmmakers Ai Weiwei and Ying Liang, is omnipresent in China and perhaps more pervasive than previously imagined:

“Social activists that no one has ever heard of have 10 people watching them,” said Nicholas Bequelin, a researcher with Human Rights Watch. “The task is to identify and nip in the bud any destabilizing factors for the regime.”

Mostly unknown outside their communities, the activists are a growing portion of what’s called the “targeted population” – a group that also includes criminal suspects and anyone deemed a threat. They are singled out for overwhelming surveillance and by one rights group’s count amount to an estimated one in every 1,000 Chinese – or well over a million.


In Focus: Urban Development, Environmental and Personal Consequences

Monday, May 21st, 2012

This new series will spotlight dGenerate titles that shed light on some of the weightiest issues in contemporary China. From the environment to government corruption to youth culture, the overlapping concerns of these films create a dialogue on some of China’s most compelling stories.

"Beijing Besieged by Waste" (dir. Wang Jiuliang)

The jargon of “development” is paramount to any consideration of today’s China, from the obvious economic connotations to all the infrastructural expansion that is implicated within. Urbanization, structural changes, and population redistribution have long outpaced established modes of growth and the way life was once understood to be organized.

The signs of development are omnipresent; the vernacular we speak, the smoggy air we breathe. The immediate physical effects of such breakneck urban growth are readily apparent throughout China, but the deeper repercussions—be they ecological or social—of a culture of “development” remains perhaps largely undiscovered.

The documentaries below represent a few attempts to break down some of the effects of this whirlwind of urban development as the philosophy of development at all costs weighs heavily on the physical and social environment of a nation in flux.


“Nothing About Cinema, Everything About Freedom” by Ying Liang

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Ying Liang has issued the following statement regarding his film When Night Falls and the recent police threats made to him and his family regarding the film. The Chinese version of the statement can be seen here.


Nothing about Cinema, Everything about Freedom

A Statement from Ying Liang

I’m experiencing quite a unique campaign for “film marketing”: every time when I finish a new film, I’d send some film stills and relevant materials to the media. But this time, what is in focus here is not the film itself. Most interview requests are not from the film-related media. It’s not that I don’t want to talk about other topics, but that the attention now is not directed to the quality of my new work.

For a filmmaker, the fact that the film has become a topic as such can’t be more embarrassing and unfortunate. What I have experienced and what I envision will happen in the future have made me to accept such a fact: “JUST CINEMA”, which indicates on the one hand that the power of cinema shouldn’t be over-evaluated, and on the other hand, cinema could achieve everything. I cannot totally agree with the latter opinion about the importance of cinema—- at least I don’t “simply”, “solely” or “absolutely” believe in such a statement. But there are people who insist that films could be so important that they would do everything to prove and guard this claim via public power and public instrument, which corners me, a negligible filmmaker, to a political or politicized predicament.


Ying Liang’s “When Night Falls” Film Stills and Trailer

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

These stills and trailer come courtesy of Ying Liang, whose film When Night Falls has become a target of much controversy after police accosted Ying’s family in their Shanghai home last month, seeking to buy the rights to the film from the Jeonju International Film Festival, who funded the work.

"When Night Falls" (dir. Ying Liang)

Since the initial threat made to Ying’s family and the prospect that he may be arrested if he returns to mainland China, Ying has returned to his teaching post in Hong Kong and has been keeping followers updated on the situation via his facebook and twitter.