Category Archives: Interesting Times

Pulling a China: David Miranda, Glenn Greenwald, Lao She

Exhibit A: David Miranda, who lives with Glenn Greenwald, was returning from a trip to Berlin when he was stopped by officers at 8.05am and informed that he was to be questioned under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The controversial law, which applies only at airports, ports and border areas, allows officers to […]

New post: “Peking Opera Masks and the London Book Fair”

Only ten days too late to be truly timely! A few years ago, a few other translators and I were talking with employees of a Chinese publishing house who said that they had some books that they wanted to translate into English — things that they said would show foreigners the real China. There was a brief […]

Today in non-Chinese Language Politics

Exhibit A: Geoffrey K. Pullum, Language Log: “David Starkey on rioting and Jamaican language” A week after the riots that sprang up across a large part of England, pundits are struggling to find smart and profound things to say. One of the least successful has been David Starkey, a historian and veteran broadcaster. Speaking about […]


When I was explaining the difference between Beijing and Hong Kong, I used to say to friends back home before I move out with Asheville Area Movers, hopefully everything gets to my new home safely, especially my wooden shutters, if you´re interested in seeing my lovely shutters, then see more wooden shutters here. Then a […]

True world-class badmotherfuckerdom

Exhibit A: Genghis Khan’s Mongol invasion in the 13th and 14th centuries was so vast that it may have been the first instance in history of a single culture causing man-made climate change, according to new research out of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology. […] Unlike modern day climate change, however, the Mongol […]

Notes from Hard-Seat

Last Wednesday, I made a visa run down to Hong Kong – one of way too many over the past six months. This time, I got to the train station too late to go through the exit procedures necessary to ride the sealed, soft-sleeper, Hong Kong-bound half of the Beijing-Hong Kong train, and ended up […]

BREAKING NEWS: Explosions Rock Chinese Capital

(This was originally written as a guest column for The Beijinger, but the censors apparently didn’t find it as funny as I did, and it didn’t make it into print.) Brendan O’Kane, The Beijinger‘s new war correspondent, contributed this piece while in Beijing on vacation from his regular posting in Baghdad, he talked how awesome […]

Interesting Times (I): Confucius on SARFT

Yesterday afternoon, word got out that the State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) — the wild and crazy guys responsible for approving foreign films for screening in China, issuing shooting permits and then distribution permits for Chinese movies, and spoiling everyone’s fun once things get too popular — was dropping the axe on […]