CHINA & BEYOND

Inhuman Atrocities

The Asian Bucket List II. Harbin in Sun, Ice and Blood

Harbin, Manchuria:  Officials here seem reluctant to spotlight the Japanese germ warfare scientists and what they did to thousands of local inhabitants here in 1932 and beyond. Perhaps that’s the reason Harbin has built China’s greatest contemporary war museum, known formally as “The Museum of Evidence of War Crimes by Japanese Army Unit 731,”  in…

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The Asian Bucket List

I realize I never finished the story of Harbin, which I visited nearly a year ago. It began with my need to research this icy Russian-Jewish-Chinese enclave in Manchuria, home of the international ice festival, seat of the frigid Songhua River, intending to flesh out the frigid landscape for the novel I’m working on (interminably)…

An illuminated ice palace at Ice & Snow World, Harbin, China

Harbin through Blue Eyes

January 11, 2016.  As I stepped off the train at Harbin West station after an eight hour train ride across the Manchurian flatlands from Beijing, the station was moist and frigid with the Siberian wind and the night which had fallen hours before. It was -29 degrees Celsius as I dragged my two suitcases and…

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Sunrise at Borobudur

  Yogyakarta in Central Java, Indonesia is a hidden jewel, the seat of Borobudur, the oldest Buddhist temple in the world. I was there two weeks ago at 5 AM, part of my end-stage tour of Indonesia after completing a Fulbright at Universitas Padjadjaran in West Java. The stupas of the 9th century temple are…

Young undergrads on a first photoshoot.  Cynthia (in Hijab) wears jeans and boy's sneakers; Lisa, from North Sumatra (the tall girl to Cynthia's left) is a Christian.  They're all eager to become journalists and write about Indonesia's future.

To be a Fashion Plate, Wear the Hijab

It’s been three weeks so chock full of Indonesian experience.  Each day new lectures, close encounters with medical and comm students, children, security guards, cooks, geophysicists, random athletes and mop-haired photojournalists and artists.   It’s as though I’m being flooded with torrents of images, data, and experiences and I can’t stop the flow. Surprisingly, at…

Chungking Mansions (student video)

Village Democracy Spreads the Wealth

A 2012 article on studies of village democracy in China, published in the popular China blog, ChinaGeeks: by Arielle Emmett (aemmettphd@gmail.com) Last December’s spectacular ten-day confrontation between Wukan villagers and local CCP riot police in Guangdong amply demonstrated how organized grassroots protest can morph quickly into organized electoral politics. Three months after the rioting, in…

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What I Meant to Tell you about Mongolia

What I Meant to Tell You About Mongolia Hello friends and family– Chapter 1: Mongolia. After waiting in Beijing Capital Airport October 1 for 18 hours for a flight to Outer Mongolia, and having been bumped again from another Mongolian Airlines flight that actually did fly and told to come back at 3 AM to…

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The Chinese Glass Menagerie

In Beijing this past November, my creative writing class read Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie. It’s a play about family abandonment, the interactions and spoiled dreams of an American mother and two children trying to survive the Great Depression. My Chinese students relished acting in this play. The girls, especially, enjoyed the central character, Amanda…

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In Beijing and Shanghai: Feasts and Leftovers

  February 17 — Shanghai Bund.   My 33 year old friend Wang Qian is one of the best feasts of human nature that I have encountered in China. Call that a mixed metaphor. But it’s true. I ran into her at the Bookworm Book store in Beijing last September during a lecture on the…