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Articles tagged "Beijing"

The City and the Writer: In Beijing with Jen Lin-Liu

If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains.                     —Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities Can you describe the mood of Beijing as you feel/see it? I’m most familiar with the hutongs, or the old alleys, of Beijing. The hutongs were built before the advent of the car, so they are very...

The Story of a Homosexual: An Interview with Ni Dongxue

I met Ni Dongxue in 2006, in a quiet and nicely decorated gay bar through two musician friends who played in a band there. The bar is located in the city’s Moziqiao region, a popular nightlife spot. A pioneer and recognized leader in Chengdu’s gay community, the then-thirty-six-year-old Ni graduated from Beijing Teachers’ University with a master’s degree in psychology. Ni wore heavy makeup and a bright yellow shirt. He said he visited the place every week to...

An Interview with Wu Wenjian

From the series "Eternal Sorrow," by Wu Wenjian With the help of two artist friends, I recently met Wu Wenjian, a worker-turned-painter, at the 798 Arts Factory, a thriving colony of studios and art galleries converted from old factories and warehouses, in Beijing's Chaoyang District. It was a sunny day. Wu was dressed in a blazing red shirt and seemed to be in high spirits. After a brief chat, we went to a nearby restaurant that served food from Northeastern China to conduct the...

From “Prison Memoirs”

Wang Dan was a leader of the 1989 student pro-democracy protest in Tiananmen Square. Following the government crackdown on June 4, Wang, who was on the government's most wanted list, went into hiding. He was arrested in 1990 and sentenced to four years imprisonment in 1991. After being released on parole in 1993, Wang wrote publicly about the pro-democracy movement to overseas publications and was rearrested in 1995 for conspiring to overthrow the Communist Party. He was sentenced in...

Random Notes on Beijing

Beijing's cab drivers are the best in the world. They don't accept tips, and if the drive is at all less than direct, they always eat the loss themselves. They start the meter only after the cab has gotten to the main drag and before it pulls to a stop, the meter is already down. The radio is often on in the cab. Most drivers are Beijing locals and they love xiangsheng, a traditional form of two-person stand-up comedy. One never gets tired of the old pieces; not only are they...
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