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Showing posts from May, 2016

Stuck In Macau For One Night

Senado Square On Friday I decided to go to Macau , a city which in my opinion - as I wrote in the past - is one of Asia's most charming travel destinations. I was planning on staying there for just one day, taking a walk in the afternoon and later meeting an old friend of mine, before returning to Hong Kong at around 11 p.m. The original idea was to take a ferry in the morning, but because I slept miserably the previous night I ended up leaving home at 3 p.m. The weather was hot and humid, the sky grey. Around one hour later I arrived at the Hong Kong China Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui. After buying a ticket and going through the immigration control, I joined the unavoidable long queue largely consisting of mainland Chinese tourists: young and old, fancy and sporty, all invariably holding shopping bags with names of fashion or food brands written on them.  Riding a ferry from Hong Kong to Macau may seem like an enjoyable and relaxing experience - to those who ha

Launching A New Website - china-journal.org

In this post I would like to introduce my new website: china-journal.org , in which I will be writing about Chinese culture, history and society.  I had been thinking for quite some time about starting a new website, since I was very unhappy with how this blog has developed over the years. At the beginning "My New Life In Asia" was supposed to be a platform where I could write about my personal experiences and thoughts - which is what blogs have been invented for. Instead, I started to write about Confucianism, politics, culture etc. In the end I totally abandoned my original purpose.  This created two problems: first, many posts I published on this site are out of place; second, I have no space for a "public diary" as I had envisioned it. The only way to solve this issue was to separate blogging from more "serious" writing by creating an entirely new website. Let me now briefly explain the concept and structure of china-journal.org. First of

Should Supporters Of The Chinese Communist Party Be Allowed To Stage Demos in Taiwan? A Few Thoughts On The Limits Of Freedom Of Speech

On May 15 Taiwanreporter published a video (see below) showing people demonstrating against Taiwan independence and in favour of "peaceful unification" with Communist China. In Ximending one usually sees scores of supporters of Taiwan independence waving flags and banners, but apparently pro-Communist forces are now trying to counterbalance those demonstrations by staging their own.  The video shows a number of protesters waving flags of the People's Republic of China (PRC). They seem to belong to the so-called Chinese Patriotic Association (中華愛國同心會), a group that supports the incorporation of Taiwan into the PRC according to the "one country, two systems" (一國兩制) framework that Beijing already used for Hong Kong and Macau. This is not the first such demonstration organized by "Chinese patriotic" groups. Taipei 101 used to be one of the patriotic association's favourite spots, before an incident involving peaceful Falun Gong demonstrators led

Law In Imperial China – Confucianism And Legalism

Killing the scholars and burning the books   (anonymous 18th century Chinese painting depicting the alleged burning of books and killing of scholars under China’s first emperor Qin Shihuang; source: Wikipedia )  The legal system of imperial  China  developed from two schools of thought:  Confucianism  and  Legalism . Although both of them exerted a deep influence on China’s state-building as well as on its moral and legal traditions, at the beginning these two philosophies were bitterly opposed to each other, as they were based on entirely different principles (see: Xin Ren:  Tradition of the Law and Law of the Tradition: Law, State, and Social Control in China , 1997, p. 19). Confucianism  (儒家) originated from the teachings of  Confucius  (551 – 479 BC), a Chinese scholar, politician and philosopher who lived in the  Spring and Autumn period . The main body of the Confucian canon comprises the Four Books and the Five Classics (四書五經), texts which have been traditionally attribut

China’s Legal System – Communist or Feudal?

Emblem of the People's Court of the People's Republic of China (source: Wikipedia) On October 13, 2014, Yu Wensheng , a lawyer from Beijing, was arrested and detained by the police for 99 days . He was interrogated approximately 200 hundred times by 10 officers who worked in shifts night and day. Yu's wrists were fastened behind his back with handcuffs. "My hands were swollen and I felt so much pain that I didn’t want to live", he told Amnesty International. "The police officers repeatedly yanked the handcuffs and I would scream". Two days before his arrest, Yu had submitted a request to Beijing Fengtai Detention Centre for meeting one of his clients. The authorities had rejected Yu's request without reason. As an act of protest, he stayed in front of the detention centre and later published a post online describing the incident. At around midnight the police forced him to leave, and on October 13 the Beijing Daxing District Public Secur

Sex Meetings - Taiwan's 'Yuepao'

Sexuality in Taiwan is a controversial topic which highlights the contrast between publicly sanctioned virtue (德道) and actual individual behaviour. As far as women are concerned, Taiwanese society tends to value female characteristics such as faithfulness, filial piety , innocence and submissiveness to men. Many women create a public persona that conforms to such standards, as it is assumed that following the accepted social norms will advance one's prospects of a good marriage and career. However, the reality often contradicts abstract ideals, as the phenomenon of Taiwan 's yuepao shows. Yuepao is a neologism that describes a sexual relationship between two people who typically have met through social media or dating apps (徵友). The term yuepao   (約炮; often also spelled 約砲), is the contraction of the words 約 會 (meeting) and 放鞭 炮 (to set off firecrackers). It can be roughly translated as "sex meeting".