CAAM Chinese Dance Theater performed "China the Beautiful: from the mountains to the prairies" at O'Shaughnessy Auditorium of St. Catherine University this weekend. These photos are taken from the January 21 dress rehearsal. Tomorrow is the Chinese New Year and the beginning of the Year of the Dragon. CAAM is based in the Twin Cities of Minnesota.
A Kazakh-themed harvest dance:
CAAM Chinese Dance Theater performers act out a Mongolian festival:
Wikipedia description: Please Vote for Me is a 2007 documentary film following the elections for class monitor in a 3rd grade class of eight year old children in the Evergreen Primary School in Wuhan, China. The candidates, Luo Lei, Xu Xiaofei, and Cheng Cheng, compete against each other for the coveted role and are egged on by their teachers and doting parents.This was reported to be the first election of its type for a class monitor held in a school in China, as well as an interesting use of classic democratic voting principles and interpersonal dymanics.
This story in the New York Times was buried under another one about Chinese worshipers being arrested for attempting to pray in public after authorities forced the eviction of a thousand parishioners from a Protestant church, also worth a read.
Here is the blurb on last weekend's debate tournament:
The canceled debate tournament was to have drawn students from 16 universities to the Beijing Institute of Technology, where they were to have wrangled over the topic of China’s 1911 revolution. The revolution against the Qing Dynasty, which helped cement Sun Yatsen’s reputation as the founding father of modern China, may not seem controversial at first blush.
But the organizers may have courted trouble by urging students to recognize, as the tournament’s Web site put it, not only “the inspirational revolutionary victory, but what is hidden deeper beneath: the awakening of the awareness of this country’s people and the dissemination of a system of democracy.”
The Web site also encouraged students to “think deeper about nationalism, democracy and livelihood, to continue to blaze new trails in a pioneering spirit, to keep fighting for the renovation and development of the nation.”
Zhang Ming, a judge for the competition and a political science professor at Renmin University in Beijing, said the municipal Communist Youth League committee ordered organizers to cancel the event on Friday evening, a day before the opening debate.
"...the newspaper has become little more than a side vanity project for the Post Co. and the Graham family which continues to dominate it; it is now, at its core, in the business of profiting off of lower-income students who pay for diplomas, often obtained via online classes. 'The fate of The Post Co. has become inextricably linked with that of Kaplan, where revenue climbed to $2.9 billion in 2010, 61 percent of The Post Co.'s total,' the article detailed; 'the company is more dependent than ever on a single business,' [CEO Donald] Graham wrote in last year's annual report, adding that the newspaper had never accounted for as large a share of overall company revenue as Kaplan does today.'"
I don't usually operate behind the Great Firewall of China (preferring to simply use a VPN instead), but I was behind it a few times this week so I thought I would report on what I was blocked from viewing:
The New York Times website. Yes, I realize the New York Times is not generally blocked in China and indeed I was able to access it from behind the firewall two hours later. However, I am sure it was being blocked to my connection. Other web access was available at the time I was using it, both immediately before and immediately after trying to access the New York Times website. Actually, I was able to briefly get onto the Times website using an https prefix, but this access was soon cut off. Here is the page I was pushed off from the second time I hit the 404. I reloaded the page multiple times; again, it was definitely being blocked. There were no major China-related stories on the New York Times website at the time. The "Net Nanny" is cranky these days and has so many tentacles, URL blocks, server blocks, word blocks, etc., that I think she often blocks things without even realizing it. Earlier this week there was an article in the New York Times, much ridiculed by other writers, which described several instances were people lost phone connections after using the word "protest." The phone nanny theory sounds a bit farfetched to me, but anyone here can tell you that the Net Nanny is alive and well and a real bitch these days.
A Google search for "freedom," spelled in English. I heard that this was being blocked and decided to give it a try myself. I was subsequently put into a GFW timeout. It's kindergarten over here. The next Google search I attempted (for "how to save a screenshot") was also blocked. Other web access was working at the time. Interestingly, once I was logged into a VPN and able to search for "freedom" through Google.cn, the top result that came up was for an Australian furniture company. Switching behind the firewall again, I was able to successfully do a Google search for "freedom" on Google.com (on Google.com.hk, however, it remained blocked). I could search for "apples" on Google.com.hk but not "freedom."
In positive news, Wordpress and Typepad are up again in China, which means that my students have been able to submit homework online to our class website for the first time in five months.