Most of what I have to say about all things Tibet these days has been posted over here, and that's where I'll continue to think out loud about it, but here's one post I thought perhaps worth editing and double-posting:

My thoughts on Chinese politics are (obviously) informed by my own big-picture stance, which is not and I hope will never be (kneejerk or otherwise) anti-China, anti-Chinese or anti-Han, but simply (and purely, and always) anti-bully.

The problem of course being that my reactions as determined by that stance often come perilously close to--or, still worse, actually become--more instances of bullying itself.

The other problem being that sometimes the bully has a point, and I find myself caring less than perhaps I should, as my antibullyness is invariably higher energy than my yesyouhaveapointness.

Most of what I have to say from here on out can be synthesized by mixing what you find here with what you find by scrolling further down that same page to CCT’s comment "Where the Western media dropped the ball..."

By which I mean only one of the things Orwell meant: to the extent that They (any manifestation of power--Bush or Hu, take your pick) can control what we know, they can control what we are. And there are two ways to do that: giving no information, and giving misinformation. And we should be no less quick to condemn the latter when CNN or RFI is the mouthpiece than to condemn the former when Xinhua is the (okay, silent, but still) mouthpiece.

That said, the two are not equal crimes, regardless of who commits them. Those giving misinformation can be challenged and corrected and, best case scenario, smacked in the mouth. Those giving no information (or, worse, actively working to prevent anyone from gathering any information whatsoever) cannot be challenged in the same way, and there is nothing to correct. One might well try to fill the gap from other sources, but the non- or anti-informationist has reserved for himself a plateau from which to say, "Ah, but those sources are biased!"

And however irritating it may be, he has a point.

But he should not be too surprised if no one listens. The only voice more grating than that of a bully bullying is that of a bully claiming victimhood.

March 30, 2008, 11:07 a.m.Categories: China, History, Politics


Dzanc beat me to the punch, and it's a fun punch indeed: All Over is a finalist for the Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award in the short story collection category. May 29 is when the last word comes down. If you need me before then, I'll be over in the corner holding my breath.

March 8, 2008, 11:49 p.m.Category: Fiction Collections

Beijing International Lit Festival.

Tonight begins a week of events--panel discussions, readings and signings, a cabaret--at The Bookworm here in Beijing. I'll be there this evening to serve as moderator for Adam Williams and Qiu Xiaolong, and will return on March 8th as part of the launch for Beijing: Portrait of a City, and then again on the 9th to talk about moral ambiguity in fiction with Nicholas Jose and Edward Ragg.

March 6, 2008, 10:54 a.m.Categories: China, Interviews, Novels, Translation