“The January 13, 1967 issue of TIME magazine featured Mao Zedong…



“The January 13, 1967 issue of TIME magazine featured Mao Zedong on its cover with the headline ‘China in Chaos.’ Fifty years later, TIME made U.S. President-elect Donald Trump its Man of The Year. With a groundswell of mass support, both men rebelled against the established order in their respective countries and set about throwing the world into confusion. Both share an autocratic mind set, Mao Zedong as Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, Donald Trump as Chairman of the Board. As Jiaying Fan noted in May 2016, both also share a taste for ‘polemical excess and xenophobic paranoia.’ For his part, Mao’s rebellion led to national catastrophe and untold human misery.”

For more, see Geremie R. Barme, “The Chairmen, Trump and Mao,” ChinaFile (23 January 2017)

Image: ‘Mao Trump’ by artist Knowledge Bennett. Mark Ralston - AFP / Getty Images

“Zhou Youguang, known as the father of Pinyin for creating the…



“Zhou Youguang, known as the father of Pinyin for creating the system of Romanized Chinese writing that has become the international standard since its introduction some 60 years ago, died on Saturday in Beijing, Chinese state media reported. He was 111. In recent decades, with the comparative invincibility that he felt great age bestowed on him, Mr. Zhou was also an outspoken critic of the Chinese government.”

For more on Zhou Youguang’s life and work, see Margalit Fox, “Zhou Youguang, Who Made Writing Chinese as Simple as ABC, Dies at 111,” The New York Times (14 Jan 2017)

Image: Shiho Fukada / The New York Times

“Japanese PM Shinzo Abe has visited the US naval base at Pearl…



“Japanese PM Shinzo Abe has visited the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, where he offered ‘sincere and everlasting condolences’ to the victims of Japan’s attack on the base 75 years ago. ‘We must never repeat the horrors of war again, this is the solemn vow the people of Japan have taken,’ he said.”

For more, see “Japan PM Shinzo Abe Makes Landmark Visit to Pearl Harbor,” BBC News (27 Dec 2016)

Image: AFP

“China’s President Xi Jinping has called for allegiance…



“China’s President Xi Jinping has called for allegiance to the ruling Communist Party from the country’s colleges and universities, the latest effort by Beijing to tighten its hold on education.The government has campaigned against the spread of ‘Western values’ at universities, and in January officials said the party’s discipline and anti-graft agency had sent inspectors to monitor teachers for ‘improper’ remarks in class.”

For more, see Michael Martina, “China’s Xi Calls for Universities’ Allegiance to the Communist Party,” Reuters (9 Dec 2016).

Further coverage can also be found at China Digital Times, “Xi Calls on China’s Universities to Be Communist Strongholds” (11 Dec 2016)

Image: REUTERS / Fred Dufour

“When Delia Davin, the pioneer of Chinese women’s studies,…



“When Delia Davin, the pioneer of Chinese women’s studies, arrived in Beijing in 1963, aged 19, there were still camels carrying coal and wooden ploughs in the fields outside the city. Davin, who has died of cancer aged 72, quickly established a rapport with her students at the Beijing Broadcasting Institute, whom she found to be ‘very serious about their work, but [to] have a gaiety which saves them from being priggish’. She taught them Irish songs as well as English grammar, and one of them recited ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day’ to console her, the student said, for not being in England on Shakespeare’s birthday.”

For more on Davin’s work as a pioneering scholar in the intersecting fields of Women’s Studies and East Asian Studies, see her obituary, composed by John Gittings and quoted above, in The Guardian (16 October 2016) as well as an appreciation posted by scholar Gail Hershatter at H-Net (16 October 2016).

“Two years after the Chinese authorities sentenced the prominent…



“Two years after the Chinese authorities sentenced the prominent Uighur intellectual Ilham Tohti to life imprisonment for promoting separatism and violence, a Swiss-based foundation awarded him a prestigious human rights prize on Tuesday for his efforts to foster dialogue and understanding.”

For more, see Nick Cumming-Bruce, “Ilham Tohti, Uighur Scholar in Chinese Prison, Is Given Human Rights Award,” The New York Times (11 October 2016)

Image: Gilles Sabrie / The New York Times

“In Canada, it is the Québécois. In Spain, the Catalans. In…



“In Canada, it is the Québécois. In Spain, the Catalans. In Britain, the Scots.Now, China must deal with its own version of a democratically elected indigenous movement, elevated to positions of political power on Sunday in the only place in the authoritarian country where that is possible: Hong Kong.“

For more, see Michael Forsythe and Alan Wong, “Vote in Hong Kong Deepens a Thorn in China’s Side,” The New York Times (5 Sept 2016)

Image: Tyrone Siu / Reuters        

“The Japanese have acknowledged that their emperor is not a god…



“The Japanese have acknowledged that their emperor is not a god and he has been stripped of all political power, but the nation still views its monarch as so central to the sense of identity that he is not permitted to resign. Now, Emperor Akihito is suggesting that his people let him retire.He is 82 years old. He has had cancer. He has had surgery. So, in a uniquely Japanese moment on Monday, he went on television to hint at his desire for Parliament to change the law so he can give the job to his son.”

For more, see Jonathan Soble, “At 82, Emperor Akihito of Japan of Japan Wants to Retire, Will Japan Let Him?The New York Times (7 August 2016)