vol 14 | winter 2019

Page 1


VOLUME 14 2018 - 2019

The McGill East Asian Studies Student Journal


Orientations is the East Asian Studies Student Journal of McGill University. As a publication run by students for students, we seek to showcase the diverse array of outstanding academic and creative works from both the undergraduate and graduate student community on topics related to East Asia. Due to the inter-disciplinary nature of East Asian Studies, we accept and publish works from all departments, in both English and French. Book cover image: Buzzling Chiangmai Night Market Courtesy of Rebecca Wu. Funding for this journal has been generously provided by the AUS Journal Fund and the Dean of Arts Development Fund. With special thanks to the East Asian Studies Student Association and the Department of East Asian Studies.

ISSN: 2369-8853


Note to Reader 9

On the Peripheries of Two Worlds Hui Muslims of China Sabrina Xuan 10

Transpacific Revolution Through Poetry Pablo Neruda in China Hongyang Cai 24

Calligraphy: Jie Zi Shu (Admonition to His Son) ( 誡子書 ) Yan, Yuzhou 36

A Fortunate Tragedy? Sima Qian’s Motives for Writing the Shiji Bo Zhang 42


Rebecca Wu 49

Stuck between Internet Sovereignty and a Multi-Stakeholder Place Exploring Chinese power practices and value cleavages in the global governance of internet policy Caroline Wesley 56

Ways of “Starting Over”

Locating Desire and Belonging in Wong Kar-wai’s Happy Together and Days of Being Wild Edna Wan. 68

真の心 / shin no kokoro / ‘my true heart’

Freedom to Create Self-Identity as a Japanese-Canadian Ellie Wakabayashi. 76

The Collected Works of Shan Shili

A Hidden Feminist Gem in Transitional China Adrian Cook. 84



Editorial Board


Dear Reader,

These sheets are a locus of dancing words which will transport you to the internet stratosphere, the streets of Bangkok, a Japanese-Canadian homestead in Banff, Canada, or along Pablo Neruda on one of his travels to China. Divergent worlds, letters, languages, within one volume: a rich compilation owing its diversity to the Department of East Asian Studies and to an inspired community of McGillians at play within the semantic field that is “East Asia”. Our brave authors have overcome the void, and they have made their way to these pages by clinging on their pens, keyboards, brushes. I could not be more grateful to them. And to a great team of dedicated editors, who have helped me to bring others’ letters to you, our upside-down reader. The Blank Page syndrome. Vortexes of emptiness, words, sensations, thoughts, memories. How can one write? And how can one write about a culture that is not one’s own? That shall remain my dilemma. Proud heir to Orientations’ past, this volume, no 14, stands on the shoulders of brilliant giants. From up there, we have been able to build a lasting, democratically accessible, and environment-friendly platform for Orientations Journal: https://orientations.press. This minimalist website allows more words, more authors, more students to be published – on pixel rather than on paper – and more outstanding works to be made available to a(n imagined) community of readers. It is with great emotion that we depose thought-provoking arrangements of letters in the internet and gage the existence of our readership from a few computer-generated statistics. My last lines are dedicated to those without whom the issue of this journal would not have been possible: the East Asian Studies Department and its enthusiastic representative, Professor Philip Buckley, the Arts Undegraduate Society, the Office of the Dean of Arts Development Funds, the hard-working editors, whom I have pressed annoyingly during an entire schoolyear, and the inspired students who submitted their work to Orientations. I would also like to thank the faculty members and staff of both the EAST Department and the larger McGill universe for their efforts in fostering a safe space for cognitive plays. Sur ce, bonne lecture.


Lily-Cannelle Mathieu Editor-in-Chief


On the Peripheries of Two Worlds Hui Muslims of China

Sabrina Xuan

In Shadian, China, there are a set of plaques that read ‘ai guo ai jiao’ or ‘love your country, love your religion’ in a plaza facing the local mosque. This sleepy southwestern town is also the site where the People’s Liberation Army ‘quelled’ an ‘Islamic revolt’ by killing more than 1,600 Hui Muslim villagers in one week in July of 1975.1 This event is known as the Shadian Incident, and during this week, all mosques were also destroyed and Hui villagers were forced to wear pigs’ heads around their necks. Today, the Hui pray at the rebuilt mosque and read the plaque and its message every day. In fact, Hui all over China often repeat this slogan: ai guo, ai jiao,2 but what does this phrase mean to them? Is this an example of a people who identify first as Chinese, and second as Muslims? Islam is a religion that transcends racial boundaries. Dietrich Reetz, a researcher of global Muslim identities, particularly in Asia, labels it “a remarkable achievement” in which “relative coherence of the practice and belief systems of Islam” were maintained over such “vast distances.”3 However, despite Islam’s status as a global phenomena, there is still a distinctly Arab-centered vision of the Muslim world. Lila Abu-Lughod terms this “zones of theory”4 within the study of Islam, in which the “center” and “core” is congruent to the Arab world. As such, even though China is a home to a Muslim population that exceeds twenty-one million, Chinese Hui Muslims, with their East Asian physical appearance, lack 10

of Arabic fluency, and perceived ‘Chinese’ traditions are widely depicted as fully assimilated into the Han majority. However, I suggest that this is an erroneous conception borne out of an exclusionary understanding of Islam as defined only by the cultural standards of the Middle East.5 As such, I aim here to discuss the Hui, who are a group of people who can be identified by their peripheral status and are considered neither fully Chinese nor truly Muslim. Here, I explore the facets of identity for this unique group of people, for whom religion, nationality, and cultural identity closely intertwine. The Marxist Trajectory of Ethnicity To understand the status of the Hui in China today, it is first important to understand ethnic classification and definition in the Chinese context. In contemporary China, ethnicity is defined by the four Stalinist criteria: common territory, common language, common economic life, and common ‘psychology’ (which refers to culture). This definition of ethnicity was developed based on evolutionary theory of Lewis Henry Morgan and Friedrich Engels and formally categorized within Stalin’s 1913 publication Marxism and the National Colonial Question. The Chinese nation or Zhonghua minzu is officially composed of the Han majority and fifty-five minority peoples (shaoshu minzu). Officially recognized minorities make up about 8.5 percent of the nation.

The Chinese term min refers to “the common people, people at large,” while zu refers to a group of people. Coined around 1895 as a Chinese equivalent of the Japanese neologism minzoku,6 minzu quickly became a powerful term, even though it did not enter the Chinese vernacular until the beginning of the twentieth century.7 This conception of ethnic differentiation originated during the Nationalist period, with Sun Yat-Sen, the founder of the Republic of China (1912-49), who advocated the idea that there were “Five Peoples of China: Han, Manchu, Meng (Mongolian), Zang (Tibetan) and Hui — a group which at the time indicated all Muslims in China but now has been further divided into the Uygur, Kazakh, and Hui. Dru Gladney suggests that it is relatively unsurprising that Sun, as a Cantonese-speaker who spoke accented Mandarin Chinese, would advocate this newly constructed identity of ‘Han-ness’ which amalgamated multiple groups that formerly neither existed nor shared any form of common linguistic or cultural identity.8 This was a tactic of mobilization to create strength in numbers, through the formation of one overarching ‘majority’ group within China. During the Communist era, these five minority groups became fifty-six ethnic groups. Similar to during the Nationalist period, this was also a political necessity because it was important to unify the nation against outsiders and thus de-emphasize ethnic differences within the newly posited Chinese nation. Nationhood and ethnicity are thus deeply ingrained and intertwined in the Chinese term minzu. Identification of certain Chinese groups as ‘minorities’ and the Han as ‘majority,’ albeit seemingly rooted in numbers since the Han exceed other ethnic groups by millions, was a constructed separation. It has been instrumental in forging a unified Chinese national identity for political purposes. Teleology is essential in the Chinese definition of ethnicity. The Han are depicted as being in the most ‘recent’ state of being, within a certain conception of modernity, as articulated around terms of industrialization, rationalism, and technology . This is demonstrated through myriad of Chinese media, as seen in the 1992

film Amazing Marriage Customs, a survey of minority marriage customs across the country. It presents one ethnic group, the Miao, as “romantic” and “carefree,” as well as practicing “free love.”9 Additionally, the Uyghur Turkic Muslims of Xinjiang are accompanied by the voiceover: “Islam respects patriarchy and husband right. [...] Women are subordinate.”10 In contrast, the Han appear and the narrator suggests that they are characterized by “equality of the sexes” as the result of “evolution of history.”11 In this video, one can parse the essentializing depiction of minorities in China. Indeed, in China, the popular depiction of minorities alternates between the ‘romantic’ feminized ideal of sensual exoticized eroticity, alongside violent, patriarchal, and ‘masculine.’ Likewise, stereotypes surrounding gender inequality and patriarchy in Islam have clearly been adopted within the Chinese framework. Interestingly, despite the Chinese government’s numerous campaigns against ‘Western values’ (e.g. feminism) that are ‘corrupting’ Chinese youth,12 when Islam is the topic of discussion, gender equality becomes of particular importance. This film is one of many popular in Chinese anthropology, or minzu xue in Chinese, which means ‘the study of minorities.’ Until very recently, Chinese anthropology was focused only on the study of minority ethnic groups, and it was Chinese sociologists who studied Han. Dru Gladney notes that even when he did his fieldwork in China, many Han Chinese were unhappy and resentful at the possibility of being ‘subjects’ of anthropological study,13 because that was something that they felt should be limited to more ‘primitive’ peoples like the other fifty-five minorities in China. Within China’s fifty-five minority groups, ten are predominantly Muslim. There are about 23 million Muslims14 within China. As such, China has a Muslim population that exceeds many Muslim-majority countries. About half of Chinese Muslims—10.5 million according to a 2011 census15—are Hui. While the Hui are the largest Chinese Muslim minority group, the Muslim minority group perhaps discussed most frequently in international media are Uyghurs. This is due to their separatist activities and 11

significant ethnic and political unrest. However, here I particularly focus on Hui Muslims as a response to the lack of scholarship regarding their experience as Muslims in China. This dearth of scholarship is likely because the Hui have a reputation for being ‘sinicized’ within the greater Han majority. Indeed, the Hui cannot be physically differentiated from the Han they often live amongst and they “have no language of their own.”16 Instead, they speak Mandarin or dialects of neighbouring areas. In recognition of the distinctly Chinese penchant for ethnic classification, the Hui, as supposedly ‘assimilated’ Muslims who speak Mandarin, who look no different from Han Chinese, many of whom live in Chinese urban centres, do not fit neatly into this schema. Who are the Hui? Hui are by definition descendants of Muslims from the Middle East and Central Asia who migrated to China. Islam appeared in China very soon after the founding of Islam in Mecca and Medina by Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century AD.17 These settlers followed Sunni Hanafi Islam.18 As such, almost all Hui Muslims consider themselves Sunni Muslims who follow the Hanafi school of law. During the Ming Dynasty, Muslims in China became gradually more isolated from the rest of the Islamic world. This resulted in their adoption of Chinese language and clothing, as well as Chinese surnames that most visibly identify an individual as Hui in contemporary China. Muslims adopted Chinese characters as transliterations for their Arabic names. The most common Hui surname in China is Ma for Muhammad, followed by Mai for Mustafa, Mu for Masoud, Ha for Hasan, Hu for Hussain and Sa’I for Said,19 as sinified versions of common Arabic surnames. Interestingly, the Hui, by far the most widely-distributed minority in China, do not meet the Stalinist criteria for ethnicity at all. They do not have a common language, location, profession, or cultural makeup. Like many other Chinese minorities, the Hui have their own administrative zone, Ningxia Autonomous Region, where they only form 12

one-fourth of the population there. Instead, they live throughout every region, province, and city of China.20 Even though the Hui are limited in some respects in occupation due to diet restrictions, they are found in virtually every industry in China. From a Western perspective, this ethnicity-occupation relationship may seem odd (especially when religion does not necessarily have much to do with career choice) but in China, with its Stalinist model of ethnicity and the fact that many minorities live in specific autonomous areas, some minority groups are characterized by ‘traditional,’ ethnically-linked jobs. The Uyghurs, for instance, are overwhelmingly involved in animal husbandry and agriculture, yet the Hui are characterized by significant occupational diversity, like any Han Chinese person. A Hui may be a halal beef noodle seller, or a clergyman, or a clerical worker.21 The Hui experience during the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) is of particular importance in their history. Like all other religions, Islam was significantly stifled during the Cultural Revolution.22 As part of the destruction of the Four Olds (sì jiù)— Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas—many mosques were destroyed and almost all mosques were closed. All signs for qingzhen (halal ) eateries were torn down. Copies of the Quran were destroyed by the Red Guards.23 Muslims were accused of “superstitious beliefs” and “anti-socialist trends”24 and banned from attending the Hajj. Many Hui whom had reputations as businessmen were publicly criticized as capitalists. As mentioned previously, over sixteen-hundred Hui were massacred by the People’s Liberation Army in the town of Shadian in Yunnan Province, due to fears of a militarized separatist movement. Chairman Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing, was quoted saying, “If you follow Socialism, why worry about ethnicity (minzu)?” The government began to relax its policies towards Muslims in 1978. An identity classified by hybridity In the twentieth century, China began experiencing more foreign contact. For Chinese

Muslims, this was characterized by contact with the Middle East. Chinese Muslims now attend the Hajj in large numbers, typically in organized groups. Chinese Muslims are experiencing an incredible explosion in new exposure to the wider Muslim world. They now travel to the Middle East (many are even sponsored by the state to go on Hajj), more are learning Arabic and can read foreign publications, listen to Muslim sermons, and can even see some Al-Jazeera news broadcasts on Chinese television.25 In their architecture and art, Hui combine “Chinese characteristics on the on the outside and Islamic ones on the inside.” This is demonstrated in the architectural design of Hui mosques that look like Buddhist temples from the outside, yet are embellished with Quranic passages inside.26 Likewise, Muslims paste colourful Chinese posters outsider their home, but inside, hang scrolls of Arabic script and verses from the Qur’an.27 In explanation of their existence, the Hui have multiple origin stories. One is that they are descended from the filial son of Adam, who did not eat pork, while the unfilial son ate pork, and he became the earliest ancestor of the Han.28 This Hui origin story is a pertinent example of how the Hui have amalgamated Chinese traditions of filial piety with Islamic beliefs of pork abstention. Likewise, there is the example of Hui who have been assimilated into other minority cultures within China. One prominent group is the Bai Hui, who are people registered as part of the Hui ethnic group who follow Bai customs and wear Bai clothing. Their identity, as both Muslim and Chinese, and also part of another minority culture, demonstrates an incredible multiplicity in identity. Clearly, ethnic classification in China can be very muddled, and many Hui have to balance multiple cultural and religious traditions simultaneously. It is indeed difficult to make generalizations about the Hui, especially in terms of religiosity and religious practice. For example, in some Hui communities in Northern China, a pig escaping from a Han Chinese yard or a Han carrying pork into a Hui restaurant might incite a riot.29 Some Hui in the Northeast do not mention the word pig. Instead, they have

created various euphemisms, such as “black insect.”30 On the other hand, in urban centers, pork is unavoidable, due to significant Hui-Han intermingling and close quarters— it may not be uncommon for a Hui to come into close contact with pork—being washed, being butchered, being sold—on a daily basis. Likewise, in small villages, one might see more restriction in mixed-gender interaction, all women covering their heads, and gender-divided schools. Yet, in urban areas, especially major cities like Shanghai and Beijing, some Hui openly identify as secular, non-practicing Muslims.31 According to Dillon there are significant differences between the Hui communities in Northwest China, in Gansu and Ningxia32 where Islam is closely woven into the fabric of everyday life, as opposed to the Hui of Quanzhou and Zhangzhou in the southeast, who have ‘assimilated’ much more deeply within the Han population. Despite this variation in cultural and linguistic identity held by Hui across China, the transition from the now antiquated phrase Hui jiao (Hui religion, which referred to Islam) to Huimin (Hui ethnicity) is palpable. It is a shift in which pan-Hui identity has arose.33 The Chinese state’s creation and classification of fifty-six ethnic groups in China has denoted Hui not just as a descriptor of religious adherence, but also as a united, genetically-linked people, no matter which corner of China they reside in. I suggest that this has been instrumental in developing the hybrid identity of the Hui, as a unique group of people within China: Chinese with ‘Muslim characteristics,’ as seen within their mosques, characterised by Chinese exteriors with Muslim interiors. Margins and Centers: Caught In-Between The Hui believe that while Han Chinese can convert to Islam and become Hui, a Hui can never become a Han, no matter what they do.34 As such, I propose that the Hui occupy a very unique subaltern35 position in both Chinese and Muslim society. Although the notion of the ‘Islam of the periphery’ has gained some prominence in Islamic studies, even within discussion of Islam outside the Arab world, there are still conceptions surrounding which 13

groups are more ‘culturally Islamic’.36 However, the Hui are almost never addressed even in academic discourse about Muslims. The Uyghurs arguably fit more cleanly into this model as ‘real’ Muslims outside the Muslim world due to their separatist activities, self-identification as ‘Turks,’ and eschewing of the Chinese label. Indeed, the relationships between Muslim groups in China are not necessarily characterized by religious solidarity. There are some tensions between Hui and Uyghurs, due to the perceived Hui assimilation into the greater Han population. Furthermore, Hui are distrusted by many Uyghurs because they are perceived to simply be ‘Chinese’ who practice a diluted form of Islam.37 Uyghurs have criticized the Hui for speaking Chinese, an “infidel language” and for considering China their home. This is perhaps another reason why the Hui and their status as Muslims is so often neglected. Yet, the definition of foreignness is particularly narrow for many Han Chinese, and is one in which linguistic ability, appearance, and ancestry all play significant roles in asserting an individual’s ‘Chineseness.’ “Hui in Beijing have complained that, as children, they were often taunted by their playmates, called ‘little Hui-hui,’ ‘big nose,’ foreigner’ and other such derogatory epithets”.38 Hui, despite their very ‘standard’ Chinese appearance and perfect command of Mandarin, are perceived as foreigners by the Han due to their participation in decidedly ‘non-Chinese’ practices,39 alongside their belief in a decidedly ‘foreign,’ supposed ‘Arab’ religion. Yet, Hui are not be perceived by Han Chinese as ‘Chinese’ either. This is because their lifestyle diverges from the Han in their religious belief, their eschewing of a fundamental dietary staple of pork, and lastly their classification as a ‘minority’ ethnic group, for many Han who see ‘Chinese’ as synonymous to ‘Han.’ China is the self-titled ‘Middle Kingdom’ with over ‘5000 years of civilization,’ in which all ‘foreigners’ were construed as ‘barbarians.’ Before the advent of national borders, Hui, alongside other comparatively more visible Muslim groups, were considered foreign barbarians. Indeed, the discourse of savagery and barbarism in lieu of modernity is pertinent here. Muslims 14

experience the additional burden of needing to appear modern in contemporary Chinese society. This is a need that is very much rooted in Chinese history and culture. It is emblematic of the adoption of both the teleological ideals surrounding dialectical materialism, alongside the longstanding ‘modernization discourse’ that has been prominent in Chinese social theory since the Qing dynasty40 in which the prime recourse to emerge from a poor, ‘feudal’ society of peasantry, is full embrace of technological innovation.41 In modern China, eschewance of the ‘folk’ and ‘country’ beliefs is popular and there is a distinct sense still that religion is one of those most backwards beliefs. As such, the Hui face the additional burden of being perceived as ‘primitive’ due to their status as a minority ethnic group and a religious group. Hui Muslims fall victim to a myriad of racist discourses where they are particularly ‘othered’ due to their East Asian appearance. Indeed, loose practice of Islam occurs even in posited Islamic ‘centers’ of West Asia, North Africa, and South Asia, as well as in Muslimmajority countries like Indonesia and Malaysia. Therefore, it is not just the Huis’ perceived ‘flexible’ Islam, but their appearance that sets them apart. While many Uyghurs may have relatives abroad42 and have a physical appearance more similar to other Muslim Central Asians, Hui typically do not have any familial connections outside China since the very Hui ethnogenesis is based on an ancestral connection to the Arab world of antiquity. Therefore, I suggest that the Hui occupy an even further subaltern position in comparison to other Muslims of the ‘periphery’ as both an un-Islamic people who pick and choose religious laws and have embraced many Chinese traditions. They also may be considered by the Han majority as an un-Chinese people, especially as defined by the current widely adopted discourse in China—in which to be Chinese is to embrace modernity and reject ‘feudal’ practices that will limit the growth of the nation.43 Islamic Authenticity The Najiahu mosque near Yinchuan, capital of Ningxia, is covered by banners that read,

“ancient and authentic religion” and “cleave to the original path”.44 A Hui, raised on certain religious traditions since birth, who observes the same practices around him, may not perceive his religious heritage as ‘inauthentic.’ Yet, the ‘Islam of the peripheries’ is often stereotyped as an Islam of flexibility that has been somewhat tainted by ‘culture.’45 Hui, characterized by their identity of hybridity, may engage in many Chinese cultural practices concurrent to their observance of Muslim ones. These include: the burning of incense during worship, mosques similar in appearance to Buddhist temples, and lack of circumcision of male babies. Following this logic, it is perhaps why Muslims such as the Hui, who have been so fully immersed for so long in a decidedly non-Islamic culture, are viewed as being ‘un-Islamic’ and virtually the same as Han Chinese. “Frequently indistinguishable in feature and dress from Han Chinese [...] It is only their rejection of pork, the common surname Ma (Mohammed), and Arabic inscriptions in mosques built like Buddhist temples that serve to distinguish them from their Han Chinese neighbors.”46 Since the Hui are often considered distinct from the Han only in their religion, pork abstention is also viewed as their primary distinguishing characteristic.47 It is by far the tenet that is observed most stringently. Although pork abstention is a basic tenet of Islam and is easy to write off as a lifestyle practices Muslims can and should adopt, I argue that pork abstention has a special, even more significant place within the Chinese context. It functions as an even deeper form of meaning and a “formation of moral selves”48 for the Hui because active pork abstention is particularly conspicuous within Chinese society. In Han Chinese culture, pork functions not only as a food or a meat product, but as an exceptionally intrinsic culturally-significant dimension. The flatbreads and noodles that Chinese Muslims prefer to eat do not mark them as foreigners. In China, diets formed around bread and wheat are standard in Northern China. However,

pork is eaten in every corner of the country. Although many Chinese people outside of urban areas still cannot afford meat, it is an ideal staple food and the meat families choose to buy when they have money or when it is the holiday season. Pork is an essential aspect of not only sustenance, but social life for Han Chinese people. Chairman Mao once described pork as a “national treasure”49 and the majority of Chinese find pork abstention “impossible to understand”.50 A phrase that is often associated with the Hui is qing zhen (清真). The characters qing zhen are often placed outside restaurants, because they signify their status as Hui restaurants that serve Halal food. Although these two characters put together usually mean ‘Muslim’ or ‘halal’ they also have double meaning a ‘pure’ and ‘true’ or ‘clean’ and ‘authentic.’51 Qing zhen can thus be conceived as having deeper significance, because it also emphasis the importance of ritual cleanliness, good moral conduct, and importantly, authenticity in religious practice. Pork abstention is very deeply intertwined within this notion of both cleanliness and ‘authenticity’ as a Chinese Muslim. It is often spoken of in a diminishing sense, as though the only difference between a Hui and a Han is that the latter eats pork. However, I suggest that as a practice found among almost all Hui, it is a claim to both ritual purity in the Islamic sense and authenticity, since in such a pork-dominated culinary culture and society, it very clearly identifies an individual as a Muslim. Since Hui cannot be differentiated from Chinese in terms of appearance, pork serves as an identity marker. Indeed, in urban areas, especially among young Hui in the urban workforce, not all men grow beards and most women do not wear headscarves (gai tou); some do not even abstain from cigarettes or alcohol (usually due to the social activities mandatory for success in a Han Chinese workforce). Yet nearly all Hui do not eat pork and this allows them to assert their identity as a distinct cultural, ethnic, and religious group. Aside from pork abstention, there are other common forms of Hui identity expression, or, as I propose, techniques of religious authenticity. For example, in northern rural 15

Hui communities that are fairly isolated within Han majority areas, one tactic is endogamy: marriage within the limits of the immediate community.52 This functions as a form of identity-building that maintains the ‘purity’ of the community. In Southeastern Hui communities, genealogical descent is the fundamental aspect of being Hui. Finally Hui residing in urban areas typically express ‘Hui-ness’ by living a lifestyle characterized by the taboo of pork and certain craft specializations, like butchering beef and lamb, tanning leather, shoe cobbling, owning small qing zheng restaurants, and carving stones and jewelry.53 Gladney suggests that in Northwest China, religious identity and belief is by far the most salient aspect of Hui identity: to be Hui is to be Muslim and the purity, the qing, lies in one’s adherence to religious stipulations.54 Yet among the comparatively less religious southeastern Hui, to be Hui is to trace one’s ancestry to Arab migrants and as such, authenticity is crafted through genealogy and ancestry.55 In some communities, the mosque is no longer the fixture of the community. It has instead been replaced by certain restaurants or businesses:56 the Hui noodle restaurant; the clothing shop that sells Muslim-style attire. I further suggest that this is not indicative that many Hui have fallen into a Han lifestyle. While some Hui are secular, most Hui identify themselves first and foremost by their ethnic group, which, as has been deemed by the Chinese state, an ethnic group that is intrinsically linked to an Islamic identity. The Hui, although alienated slightly from both Chinese culture and the greater Muslim community, have adopted “techniques of the self ” or “reflective and voluntary practices” that allow them to transform their lifestyles57 and thus assert the dual facets of their identity. These techniques—pork avoidance, belief in genetic ties to the Middle East, perception of ‘foreign’ looks characterized by large noses and beards, the unique cultural and social locus that is the Hui beef noodle restaurant—these are all techniques that allow the Hui to assert both their Muslimness and their Chineseness at once. As such, I propose that despite the challenges Hui 16

face to establish legitimacy as both Muslims and as Chinese, this form of self-cultivation allows them to meld both identities, in a way that notably ensures their survival in the highly politically and, at times, culturally restrictive environment of the Chinese state. Pragmatism and Survival The Chinese are pragmatic. Chinese people have grown to adapt to their conditions, as a result of the extreme political and social upheaval.“Chinese people have been taught slavishness for thousands of years: follow tradition and don’t question authority.”58 This is an incredibly strongly-worded statement, and is in articulation of a commonly-held view that authoritarianism throughout Chinese history has engendered subjects who do not question authority. Researchers and anthropologists who study Muslims in China, often ask for their opinion on events in the Middle East and the greater Muslim world. While Gladney noticed significant anti-American sentiment amongst Uyghurs, Hui would give answers like, “It is not just a war on Iraq, but it could be against Islam”59 and “Muslims should not fight Muslims.”60 Due to justified fears of political retaliation, Chinese cautiously do not speak their minds, perhaps especially when Western anthropologists ask them for opinions on sensitive political subjects. Indeed, the Hui, despite their lack of separatist sentiment and relative ‘assimilation,’ are still conspicuous due to their religious beliefs in a largely atheist society. Stewart61 suggests that this conspicuousness is rooted in the Hui’s possession of an alternative form of morality that differs from the moral code prescribed by the Chinese state. A common saying in China is that its official religion was once Marxism but now it is money. As Ci Jiwei62 claims, “hedonism” has emerged the ethos of contemporary Chinese society. Indeed, other than ancestral worship, filial piety, and Confucianism, religious belief in the sense of monotheistic organized religion has never been particularly prominent among Han Chinese63 even historically. In the contemporary era, the Chinese educational system promotes a Marxist

view of religion as the fading frontier of feudalism, and active religious practice is associated with the rural, elderly, and uneducated members of ethnic minorities.64 Many Chinese people contend that the Chinese state and its citizens have gone too far in rejecting both traditional ethical teachings and twentieth-century socialist ideology in the process of embracing neoliberal capitalism and the material fruits of modernity.65 Indeed, the ‘Red China’ of McCarthyist days is over. China has transitioned into ‘neoliberal’ capitalist territory, in which capitalism and authoritarianism have melded to create the so-called ‘Socialism with Chinese Characteristics,’ which is currently the official ideology of the Chinese Communist Party, and widely understood by economic theorists and Chinese citizens alike as capitalism with Chinese characteristics. Hui and their religious practice are thus particularly conspicuous, because their religion gives them an alternative form of morality separate from the ideals advocated and promoted by the Chinese Communist Party that lies “beyond the party’s control.”66 When Muslims advance the state’s developmental goals by spreading education and alleviating poverty, they are harmless to the Chinese government’s goals. For example, many Hui families voluntarily limit themselves to one child in China because their Imams will preach the benefits of population control,67 even though the Chinese family planning policy (1979-2015) explicitly allowed minorities to have two children in urban areas, and three or four children in rural areas. Likewise, when Hui go on state-sponsored Hajj, this is for the purpose of improving Sino-Arab relations. However, when religious groups encroach on areas that are traditionally government responsibility, they become a problem. The fear is when the separate sectors of religion, development, and national identity become muddled. This presents the possibility that alternative ideas contrary to the teachings of the state, will emerge and take root. For example, Muslims who develop community organizations, are watched due to fears that such activities may “serve as an avenue for the spread of subversive

ideas”68 because such projects “challenge the state’s historical role as sole guarantor and repository of culture, nationalism, and public virtue.”69 As this “sole guarantor,” the Chinese state uses its authority to promote cultural values that are useful in its own developmental goals. Again, I mention the Chinese government’s need to eliminate a traditionally ‘feudal’ and ‘backwards’ population, to create global citizens for a global world and the need to “engineer the nation’s rise by transforming China’s backward masses into a scientifically normalized, modern society fitting of a global power.”70 This is a theme that cannot be emphasized enough because it is exceedingly important in how China has proceeded in terms of its national and cultural trajectory since the late nineteenth century. The Chinese state has implemented various policies that have been specifically developed to modernize its people.71 The government is particularly interested in ideas of Chinese population quality, improvement, and competitiveness on a global scale. Yet, religion, and Islam in particular, does not fit in within the teleological Chinese discourse of development. Religion is also one of the most instrumental forces in disseminating alternative ideas and alternative moral codes. Organizations such as the “Every Ethnicity Muslim Home, a charitable organization for Muslim converts,”72 take small-scale organization away from the Confucianist family unit, or the Socialist work unit (danwei). Likewise, when Han Chinese convert to Islam or take Muslim names, not only is this problematic to the state from an administrative perspective, it also belies “the government’s perception of religion as a retrogressive force.”73 When Chinese people voluntarily choose a different ethical framework to live by—one that is not necessarily articulated in terms of the modern self as the most moral self. As such, Hui Muslims, as a minority group that was actively constructed on the basis of their religious difference occupy an arguably precarious position within the Chinese state. It is unsurprising that they remain guarded: why they state they have responsibility to cooperate closely with the government—as well as why 17

they must sometimes “ai guo” (love country) before “ai jiao” (love religion). Islam with Chinese Characteristics The Hui do not actively voice their opinions on events in the Middle East. It is also common for them to assert their disapproval of Uyghur separatism,74 and likewise, it unusual for Hui to actively intervene in Uyghur issues.75 However, I suggest that this is not indicative of uncritical assimilation within the Han fold. Indeed, when Hui define their identity through their abstention of pork or gather at the ‘old Hui noodle house’ rather than the mosque, this does not mean that they are un-Islamic or secular, or Han with a peculiar genealogical mythology and odd surnames. Instead, this is characteristic of the Hui’s existence at the intersection of two identities: where Chinese pragmatism must be balanced with their Muslim visibility. The Hui cannot afford to intervene in situations that do not directly affect them. As less than one percent of the Chinese population, they must lie low, practice religion quietly, and stay conscious of their precarity as people who occupy two distinct, sometimes irreconcilable identities, whether as Chinese-Muslims or Muslim-Chinese, or as practitioners of ‘Islam with Chinese characteristics.’ Israeli labels this an “uneasy coexistence”76 but I suggest that through their adoption of certain “techniques of the self ” that deftly meld Chinese tradition with Islamic practice, Hui have so far managed this reconciliation quite astutely, and perhaps even more importantly, cautiously. In many ways, the Hui have combined religious and cultural identity in a way they can both ai guo and ai jiao (love country and religion). Even though I have demonstrated the hardships they face in asserting their identities as an often-neglected group both in discussion about China and the Muslim world, it is precisely this mediation of identity as neither one nor the other that has ensured Hui survival and relative prosperity in the contemporary era. Hui do not “engender the suspicion of ”77 the state like other Muslim groups, both within China and elsewhere in the contemporary 18

era. This is because the Hui, having existed in China for thousands of years, have been practicing their ‘hybrid’ lifestyle for a significant amount of time, and they demonstrate significant coherence in their techniques towards ‘purity’ and authenticity. I have discussed their subalternity, but at the same time, an average Hui in a Northeastern Chinese village, would likely not express significant existential worry about religious and ethnic identity. In terms of everyday life, Hui do not feel like “strangers in a strange land” as they were once suggested to be during the early twentieth century78 and are comfortable in their existence as Chinese Muslims. The Islam of the peripheries, the Islam of the diaspora, and the ‘lived Islam’79 that exists embodied in local tradition should not be diminished. As Islam is the most popular religion among young Chinese, it is definitely a force that deserves intense research and study.80 Yet, the Hui are often rendered invisible, as simply a diminutive branch of the behemoth that is ‘China,’ a country stereotyped for its assimilationist, homogenous population. I have discussed the construction of minority ethnic status in China, the long-held teleological notions of progress that lie firmly etched within the Chinese discursive framework. I have also noted the ways Hui assert their identity as both Muslim and Chinese in a society characterized by significant restriction, especially in the realm of religious belief. Finally, I have remarked on the precarity and conspicuousness of their position in Chinese society, despite their perceived assimilation. The Hui and their doubly subaltern position, both as non-Han (and thus, non-Chinese), alongside their depiction as practitioners of a flexible form of ‘folk Islam,’ is arguably an example of religious gatekeeping, in which their identities as Muslims are erased because they do not easily fit one image of Islam. Talal Asad in his seminal The Idea of an Anthropology of Islam, writes: “If the anthropologist seeks to understand religion by placing it conceptually in its social context, then the way in which that

social context is described must affect the understanding of religion.”81 It is wrongheaded to study Islam as a homogenous entity because there exists significant variance across Muslim communities. Instead, it is more fruitful to view Islam conceptually as a tradition within these communities and to then study how people integrate Islamic traditions to fit their specific social context. Indeed, the Hui provide an excellent example of how religion must be studied contextually. The Hui exemplify how people may actively cultivate their own framework of religious authenticity. They have created an entirely new identity, neither as Muslims whose customs derive from Arab culture, nor as Chinese with Han traditions. Rather, they area united group of people who have integrated Islamic traditions within their specific environment. This is perhaps best demonstrated by a popular Hui saying, which is a Chinese translation of a hadith. The hadith originally referred to all Muslims,82 but has since been adopted by the Hui to address themselves as well. It is “All Hui under Heaven are one family” (Tianxia Huihui shi yi jia), an elegant commentary of their status as at once citizens of China and as members of a global Muslim community.


Notes 1. Alice Su, “Harmony and Martyrdom Among China’s Hui Muslims,” The New Yorker, June 6, 2016. 2. Su, “Harmony and Martyrdom”. 3. Dru C Gladney, Muslim Chinese: Ethnic Nationalism in the People’s Republic, (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University, 1991), 23. 4. Lila, Abu-Lughod, “Zones of Theory in The Anthropology of the Arab World,” Annual Review of Anthropology 18 (1989): 267. 5. Gladney, Ethnic Nationalism, 23. 6. Haiyang Zhang, “Wrestling with the Connotation of Chinese ‘Minzu’.” Economic and Political Weekly, vol. 32, no. 30 (1997): 74. 7. Thomas S. Mullaney, Coming to Terms with the Nation : Ethnic Classification in Modern China, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011), 23. 8. Dru C. Gladney, Dislocating China : Reflections on Muslims, Minorities, and Other Subaltern Subjects, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), 15. 9. Gladney, Dislocating China, 61. 10. Ibid, 62. 11. Gladney, Dislocating China, 63. 12. Eric Fish, “Why’s Beijing So Worried About Western Values Infecting China’s Youth?” ChinaFile, February 11, 2017. 13. Gladney, Ethnic Nationalism. 14. “China’s Other Muslims.” The Economist, October 6, 2016. 15. Ibid. 16. Dru C. Gladney, Ethnic Identity in China : The Making of a Muslim Minority Nationality, (Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace College, 1998), 31. 17. Michael Dillon, China’s Muslims, (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1996), 41. 18. Dillon, China’s Muslims, 41. 19. Raphael Israeli, Islam in China : Religion, Ethnicity, Culture, and Politics, (Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2002), 292. 20. Gladney, Dislocating China, 187. 21. In fact the current president of the Londonbased auctioneer Christie’s China branch is a Hui woman. 22. Michael Dillon, China’s Muslim Hui Community: Migration, Settlement and Sects, (London: Curzon Press, 1999), 171. 23. Merle Goldman, “Religion in Post-Mao China,” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 483 (1986): 146. 24. Israeli, Islam in China, 253. 25. Gladney, Dislocating China, 333. 26. Ibid,, 188. 27. Raphael Israeli, Muslims in China : A Study in Cultural Confrontation, (London: Curzon Press, 20

1980), 30. 28. Gladney, Dislocating China, 113. 29. Gladney, Dislocating China, 113. 30. Gladney, Ethnic Identity in China, 112. 31. Ibid, 65. 32. Dillon, China’s Muslims, 6. 33. Gladney, Dislocating China, 166. 34. Gladney, Ethnic Nationalism, 324. 35. As first defined by Gramsci, subalternity here refers to the groups that are excluded from the cultural ‘homeland,’ here referring to the Arab world for Muslim populations, and the Han majority for Chinese citizens. 36. Dietrich Reetz, Conflicts in Islam on the Asian and African ‘Periphery’: Doctrines, Cultures, and Politics, 2. 37. Many Uyghurs will not buy meat from Hui due to doubt of how much Hui adhere to Islamic dietary laws. 38. Gladney, Ethnic Nationalism, 24. 39. For example, a Hui man wearing a skullcap. 40. Dialectical materialism, or the Marxist theory that political and historical events originate from conflict between social forces, as caused by material needs. 41. Susan Greenhalgh, Cultivating Global Citizens : Population in the Rise of China, (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2010). 42. Gladney, Dislocating China, 24. 43. Greenhalgh, Cultivating Global Citizens. 44. Economist, China’s Other Muslims. 45. For example, practices that are associated with Muslims (usually by those unfamiliar with Islam) such as female genital mutilation or child marriage, are often steadfastly labeled by Muslims as ‘only’ cultural, and as such, unconnected to and uninfluenced by Islam. 46. Gladney, Ethnic Nationalism, 25. 47. Gladney, Ethnic Identity in China, 26. 48. Talal Asad, Formations of the Secular : Christianity, Islam, Modernity. Cultural Memory in the Present, (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003), 10. 49. Asad, Formations of the Secular, 26. 50. Michael Dillon, China’s Muslim Hui Community: Migration, Settlement and Sects, (London: Curzon Press, 1999), 116. 51. Gladney, Ethnic Identity in China, 194. 52. Gladney, Ethnic Identity in China, 195. 53. Ibid. 54. Gladney, Ethnic Nationalism. 55. Hui often can trace their ancestors to a great extent—all the way to which ancestor was the Muslim who arrived from Persia. 56. Ibid, 114. 57. Michel Foucault and Robert Hurley, The Use of Pleasure : Volume 2 of the History of Sexuality, (New

York: Vintage Books, 1990). 58. Su, Harmony and Martyrdom. 59. Gladney, Dislocating China, 333. 60. Ibid, 335. 61. Alexander Blair Stewart. Chinese Muslims and the Global Ummah : Islamic Revival and Ethnic Identity among the Hui of Qinghai Province. (Routledge Contemporary China Series, 152. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group,) 2017. 62. Jiwei Ci. Dialectic of the Chinese Revolution : From Utopianism to Hedonism. (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press), 1994. 63. Ibid, 199. 64. Ibid, 190. 65. Ibid, 194. 66. Stewart, Chinese Muslims, 194. 67. Donata Hardenberg. 2010. “China’s One and Only.” (Aljazeera.Com. Al Jazeera.) May 19, 2010. 68. Stewart, Chinese Muslims, 198. 69. Ibid. 70. Greenhalgh, Cultivating Global Citizens, 37. 71. The one-child policy, various development goals in Western China that have moved minority populations out of traditional housing into ‘modernized’ buildings, even discursive campaigns like the ‘leftover women’ campaign, which shames and faults ‘highly-educated’ and ‘successful’ Han Chinese women for not getting married, having children, and thus, improving the ‘quality’ of the population. 72. It provides religious classes for children, donates food, money, and clothing to rural and needy Muslims, and hosts holiday celebrations for converts. 73. Stewart, Chinese Muslims, 198. 74. Gladney, Dislocating China, 334. 75. Su, Harmony and Martyrdom. 76. Raphael Israeli. 1980. Muslims in China : A Study in Cultural Confrontation. (Scandinavian Institute of Asian Studies Monograph Series, No. 29. London: Curzon Press), 30. 77. Israeli, Muslims in China, 3. 78. Gladney, Ethnic Nationalism, 337. 79. Reetz, Conflicts in Islam, 5. 80. 22.4% of Muslims in China are under 30 (Florcruz 2015); most Chinese people do not identify with any religion. 81. Asad, Formations of the Secular, 11. 82. Gladney, Muslim Chinese, 313.


Bibliography Abu-Lughod, Lila. “Zones of Theory in the Anthropology of the Arab World.” Annual Review of Anthropology 18 (1989): 267-306. Asad, Talal. Formations of the Secular : Christianity, Islam, Modernity. Cultural Memory in the Present. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003. Blum, Susan D. “Margins and Centers: A Decade of Publishing on China’s Ethnic Minorities.” The Journal of Asian Studies 61, no. 4 (2002): 1287-1310. doi:10.2307/3096443. “China’s Other Muslims.” The Economist. The Economist, 06 Oct. 2016. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. Ci, Jiwei. Dialectic of the Chinese Revolution : From Utopianism to Hedonism. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1994. Dillon, Michael. China’s Muslims. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1996. Dillon, Michael. China’s Muslim Hui Community : Migration, Settlement and Sects. London: Curzon Press, 1999. Fish, Eric. “Why’s Beijing So Worried About Western Values Infecting China’s Youth?” ChinaFile. 11 Feb 2017. http://www.chinafile. com/features/whys-beijing-so-worried-aboutwestern-values-infecting-chinas-youth FlorCruz, Michelle. “Religion In China Grows Among Young People, Islam Most Popular Among Followers Under 30: Report.” International Business Times, 7 July 2015, www. ibtimes.com/religion-china-grows-amongyoung-people-islam-most-popular-among-followers-under-30-1998282. Foucault, Michel, and Robert Hurley. The Use of Pleasure : Volume 2 of the History of Sexuality. The History of Sexuality, 2. New York: Vintage Books, 1990. 1990. Accessed April 6, 2019. Gladney, Dru C. Dislocating China : Reflections on Muslims, Minorities, and Other Subaltern Subjects. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004. Gladney, Dru C. Ethnic Identity in China : The Making of a Muslim Minority Nationality. Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace College, 1998. Gladney, Dru C. Muslim Chinese : Ethnic Nationalism in the People’s Republic. Harvard East Asian Monographs, 149. Cambridge, Mass.: Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University, 1991. Goldman, Merle. 1986. “Religion in Post-Mao China.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 483 (1): 146–56. doi :10.1177/0002716286483001013. 22

Greenhalgh, Susan. Cultivating Global Citizens : Population in the Rise of China. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2010. 2010. Accessed April 6, 2019. Hardenberg, Donata. 2010. “China’s One and Only.” Aljazeera.Com. Al Jazeera. May 19, 2010. https://www.aljazeera.com/focus/2010/ 05/2010519111922223452.html. Israeli, Raphael. 1980. Muslims in China : A Study in Cultural Confrontation. Scandinavian Institute of Asian Studies Monograph Series, No. 29. London: Curzon Press. Israeli, Raphael. 2002. Islam in China : Religion, Ethnicity, Culture, and Politics. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books. Mullaney, Thomas S. Coming to Terms with the Nation : Ethnic Classification in Modern China. Asia : Local Studies/global Themes, 18. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011. 2011. Accessed April 6, 2019. Stewart, Alexander Blair. Chinese Muslims and the Global Ummah : Islamic Revival and Ethnic Identity among the Hui of Qinghai Province. Routledge Contemporary China Series, 152. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2017. 2017. Accessed April 6, 2019. Su, Alice. “Harmony and Martyrdom Among China’s Hui Muslims.” The New Yorker. The New Yorker, 06 June 2016. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. Su, Alice. 2017. “Harmony and Martyrdom Among China’s Hui Muslims.” The New Yorker, 06 June 2017, https://www.newyorker. com/news/news-desk/harmony-and-martyrdom-among-chinas-hui-muslims. Reetz, Dietrich. Conflicts in Islam on the Asian and African ‘Periphery’: Doctrines, Cultures, and Politics. Zhang, Haiyang. “Wrestling with the Connotation of Chinese ‘Minzu’.” Economic and Political Weekly, vol. 32, no. 30 (1997): PE74–PE84.


Transpacific Revolution Through Poetry Pablo Neruda in China

Hongyang Cai

Pablo Neruda (1904-1971), Chilean poet and Nobel laureate of 1971, was celebrated during his lifetime as a poet for the masses and a fighter for his political ideology. While his legacies chiefly remain in love poems, his early peregrination as a diplomat and subsequent political commitment render him not only a beloved national poet, but also an eminent figure in communism on a global scale. His travels took him to Asian countries like Japan, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), and India, all of which offered him unique experiences and poetic inspiration as he first set out to see the world. After his earlier diplomatic trips and a stint in Spain during the Civil War, a profound transition emerged in Neruda’s poetry and his ideology. He became a member of the Chilean Communist Party when he returned from Spain to Chile and had thus devoted himself to making his poetry “an act of peace.”1 He was forced into exile after the 1946 presidential election in Chile, and in 1949, with the start of his exile in foreign lands, he began another series of visits to the Soviet Union, India, and China, now firmer in his belief than ever. In subsequent years, he paid two visits to China, and unlike his first visit in Shanghai during the Republic era when he was robbed by rickshaw pullers, he wrote about these two trips with affection and comradeship for his fellow communist “brothers and sisters” and Chinese commoners. Reminiscing about his second journey to the new China led by the Chinese 24

Communist Party, he wrote: “China does not seem enigmatic to me. On the contrary, even in the middle of its formidable revolutionary drive, I couldn’t help looking at it as a country built thousands of years ago, constantly solidifying, stratifying itself.”2 This is indeed a magical moment for an unlikely comradeship. While the “iron curtain” remained unwaveringly drawn between the socialist camp and the capitalist countries, between China and the rest of the world, a nascent yet nuanced understanding was starting to be established between two seemingly unrelated countries, China and Chile. While numerous scholars have explored the poetic aspect of Neruda’s life and works, few have delved into his relationship with China and how other non-state actors helped construct a diplomatic Chinese-Chilean relationship in the 1950s and 1960s. Tracing his transition from an “arts for arts’ sake” poet to a communist and his political involvement, this paper will posit Pablo Neruda in the framework of transpacific revolution and international communism, specifically between China and Chile. Besides presenting(?) the impact he had on communism on a global scale, this paper will argue that his two main visits to China, his poetry translated into Chinese, and his friendship with the Chinese poet Ai Qing all prove him to be a significant actor in the stage of Chinese revolution through his poetry and an eminent cultural figure in China even to this

day. In subsequent sections, I will outline his transition from a poet who “hate[s] proletarian art”3 to a poet advocating for communism in relation to his two main trips and his friendship with the famous Chinese poet. Situating Neruda’s visits in the context of China’s ongoing revolution and diplomatic outreach in the 1950s helps us better understand the act of translating fictions or poetry as an act of diplomacy and the extent of ‘Third World’ solidarity, but it also raises some questions regarding the limits of translation and the interconnection between arts and politics. Crediting Neruda as “the conscience of Latin America”, “fighter”, or “poet of the people”,4 Chinese authorities at the time downplayed the importance of Neruda’s earlier works and meticulously selected what to present to the Chinese readers. That brings us to the question of the politicization of Latin American literatures or foreign literatures in general in the new China. This issue will be further explored in the second section, where I will discuss the intricate relationship between translation and politics in China during 1950s. In the final section, further consolidating the link between China and Chile, this paper is also going to touch on other non-state actors connected with Neruda and China either through a common ideology or by his impact in the 21st century: the Chilean painter José Venturelli, and Ai Qing’s son, controversial artist and political activist Ai Weiwei. To this day, Neruda remains the Latin American author who has the most published works in Chinese, even exceeding the legendary Gabriel García Márquez.5 Investigating his transition to a revolutionary and his deep affection for China will provide an understanding of the vastness of his influence throughout the globe, and his perennial popularity in a country where a drastically different culture prevailed and language barriers persisted.

Jason Wilson’s critiques of Neruda’s poems in different stages, he brings up the question of whether there exist “two Nerudas.” The answer is undoubtedly confirmative. Neruda himself highlights his transformation in his autobiography Confieso que he vivido:

A poet’s “conversion”: from poetry of inwardness to poetry as weapon

Like ashes, like oceans gathering themselves, in the submerged slowness, in what’s unformed, or like hearing from a high place on the road

It has been noted in Neruda’s autobiography and other critics’ studies that Neruda was highly self-critical of his past as a poet. In

The bitterness in my poetry had to end. The brooding subjectivity of my Veinte Poemas de Amor, the painful moodiness of my Residencia en la Tierra, were coming to a close. In them, I now believed, I had struck a vein, not in rocks underground, but in the pages of books. Can poetry serve our fellow men? Can it find a place in man’s struggle? I had already done enough tramping over the irrational and the negative. I had to pause and find the road to humanism, outlawed from contemporary literature but deeply rooted in the aspirations of mankind.7 This self-reflection is an affirmation of the role of writer, artist, and in this case, poet, in the world. The 20th century witnessed a surge of discussions about the “intellectual responsibility” of artists in society and how they might help accelerate political transformations.8 Famous for having published Veinte Poemas de Amor (Twenty poems of love) at the young age of 19, Neruda was not political, nor did he take any serious stand on the responsibility of artists in his early adult life. In fact, “besotted” with his “requisite black suit of the poet” (Confieso, 29), he was the ultimate image of a Baudelairian artist writing under the influence of French modernist school. Compared to his later works, some of the early ones are notoriously hard to interpret. For instance, stranded on the island of Ceylon with no one to talk to, he wrote “Dead Gallop” with the vivid images of death and desperation:


the cross-echo of church bells, holding that sound just off the metal, confused, weighing down, turning to dust, in the same mill of forms, too far away, remembered or never seen, and the fragrance of plums rolling to the ground, which rot in time, infinitely green.9 For readers who start with his later works such as Elemental Odes, some might wonder how he went from writing about death to lauding onions in “Oda a Cebolla”. Some critics deem the turning point of this change to be the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), while others argue it to be more gradual. The transition did not appear, at least not until 1943 during his visit to Machu Picchu, a moment when his love for Latin America as an integral continent was made evident.10 It should be admitted that the Spanish Civil War was indeed a monumental event in Neruda’s life. As a witness to the atrocities of the Franco government and the assassination of his great friend and poet, Federico García Lorca, Neruda was permanently scarred by the events of the Spanish Civil War. He wrote “Spain in Our Hearts” as a manifestation of his support of the Spanish republicans. The publication of this little pamphlet of poetry went into clandestine mode, nonetheless, it was printed and distributed to the soldiers at the front line. For him, the war became personal when Lorca was assassinated: “The Spanish Fascists started off the war in Spain by assassinating its greatest poet.”11 Indeed, the war was what prompted him to write “the bitterness in my poetry had to end” and to start working on Canto General.12 However, as noted by Rafael Pedemonte, the heterogeneity of Neruda’s works should not be glossed over by a definitive dividing line.13 Admittedly, Neruda underwent a “conversion” from a Baudelairian poet to an artist who was greatly influenced by Marxist “philosophy of history”.14 But, like every other kind of conversion, the process was not always clear-cut and definitive. The second part of the 1950s witnessed, as Pedemonte puts it, the most “pessimistic, self-critical and introspective” stage 26

of Neruda’s writing.15 The turbulences within the USSR and its militant interference with Czechoslovakia resulted in Neruda’s final disillusionment of the Soviet state. In his paean to the Cuban Revolution, “Canción de Gesta”, there is also a veiled critique to the “líder máximo” (maximum leader), Fidel Castro.16 The quality of his works after his “conversion” is not without its critics. For instance, David Anderson analyzes Elemental Odes through the prism of Socialist Realism and claims that while there are considerable artistic merits, the artistic value of some poems is “significantly compromised” by the formulism and ideological burdens of Socialist Realism.17 While one might agree that some of his later works were influenced by literatures from the Soviet Union, it would be inadequate to consider Neruda as a writer of Socialist Realism, or as a poet of formulaic images. Instead, as Pedemonte argues, Neruda’s artistic choices show us that the “particularities” of his time form a forever changing source of intellectual labor, demonstrating his capacity and flexibility of adapting to external conditions.18 In light of this analysis, Neruda can truly be viewed as a follower of Marxism, constantly adapting to the material reality around him and reflecting it in his poetry. In addition to the transition of his thematic interests in poetry, Neruda’s choice to return to Chile and joining the Chilean communist party also destroyed the relative stability of his earlier diplomatic stints. He fled into the Andes cordilleras to escape from the political prosecution of the Chilean president at that time, Gabriel González Videla.19 With the help of friends in Chile and France, he managed to flee to Paris and showed up at the World Peace Council in 1949. He appeared at the last minute, facing an audience that thought he was dead. The renowned Chinese writer Guo Moruo was on the board of World Peace Council and was later recruited into the committee for Stalin Peace Prize. Although Neruda and Guo Moruo did not seem to have had a personal conversation during the peace conference in Paris, their connection with the World Peace Council established the foundation of the contact between

Chinese authors and Latin American left-wing writers.20 Translation as diplomacy: Neruda’s poetry and travels in China Invited to the Stalin Peace Prize ceremony, Neruda arrived in Beijing on September 15, 1951 and was welcomed by Song Qingling, Guo Moruo and Mao Dun, the most prominent Chinese writers and political figures in the PRC at the time. This trip was credited as “[his] first trip to China” in his autobiography although he had been to Shanghai in 1927 as a young diplomat, when he unfortunately was robbed by rickshaw pullers and developed quite a negative attitude towards the semi-colonized society at that time. The fact that he regarded this moment in 1951 as his first trip shows his disapproval of the former state and his political stance of seeing China after the revolution as the “true” China. Prior to his visit in 1951, there had already been translations of Neruda’s works and various news articles in mainland China about his political dedications. Neruda’s first translated work was introduced to Chinese readers in 1950, by the name of “让那伐木者醒来吧” (“Let the Rail Splitter Awaken”). It was translated from English by Chinese translator Yuan Shuipai. It became quite popular, and by the anecdote provided in Teng Wei’s book, reading it out loud was a popular and humorous way to wake fellow students up in the dormitories of Beijing University at the time.21 Neruda’s introduction to China marks an important moment in the translation of Latin American literatures as the start of a more systematic endeavor to “import” more works from this unfamiliar continent. Prior to 1950s, the only introduction of Latin American literatures was made by Mao Dun, who published Rubén Darío’s “Queen Mab’s Veil” in Fiction Monthly.22 With the publication of “Let the rail splitter awaken”, more and more Latin American authors were introduced in journals such as Yiwen (Translations). During the height of his popularity, Neruda was featured at least six times in Yiwen.23 Many Cuban writers and left-wing Latin American

authors were subsequently introduced in Yiwen magazine, including José Martí, Nicolás Guillén, and Miguel Ángel Asturias. It is not hard to see that the selection of Latin American literatures was highly politicized during 1950s. Translator Yuan Shuipai exclusively chose to translate the political poems of Neruda, and the journal, Yiwen, which specialized in foreign literatures, was highly embedded in the discourse of Chinese “cultural bureaucracy.”24 In fact, Neruda’s Veinte poemas de amor and Cien soneto de amor (Hundred sonnets of love) were not officially endowed with copyright and published until a few years ago in 2014 by Nanhai Publishing House. While Neruda was immensely popular as a foreign author in the 1950s, it should be noted that his Chinese readership mostly regarded him as a poet who exclusively wrote political poems. Thus, when Neruda arrived in China in 1951, the most ostensible role that he undertook was that of a diplomat rather than a visiting scholar or a cultural figure. It was extremely expensive and difficult to travel between China and Chile in the 1950s, and according to an unpublished interview of Chilean painter José Venturelli’s daughter, Paz Venturelli, her father did not bring enough clothes on the journey across Siberia and was almost frozen to death.25 Fortunately, Neruda, clearly well sponsored by Soviet Union and perhaps even Chinese government, arrived in Beijing safe and sound. He met with Song Qingling, “the most respected female personality of the day”, and most importantly, “the prince of Chinese poets”, Ai Qing.26 Neruda and Ai Qing’s friendship spun almost the length of a decade, and if not for Cultural Revolution, they surely would have stayed in touch and cultivated their connection as fellow poets. While not ignoring the personal relationship that Neruda established on this trip, I would like to focus more on the more significant political outcome of his visit in this section. After his visit in 1951, the Chinese government started organizing for Asia-Pacific Peace Conference, which was to be held in the following year. This conference managed to draw over 150 representatives from 11 Latin American countries, including Chile, Colombia, Panama, 27

and Guatemala.27 According to the first-hand witness account written by Lü Wanru, who worked as a translator during the conference, there was not a single person who could manage Spanish interpretation in China at that time, so the conference committee employed interpreters from the UK, many of whom worked for International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War.28 Thus the communication between Chinese and Spanish speakers was achieved through the mediation of English. This in turn prompted Zhou Enlai, the premier of the PRC and the most important figure in foreign policies at the time, to establish the first Spanish language department in a Chinese university, namely, Beijing Foreign Language University (北京外国语大学).29 Although the language barrier remained, it did not stop Lü from resonating and empathizing with the guests from this far away region. The speech given by the delegate from Panama was particularly impressive to her, as his especially “Chinese-like” face grasped her attention instantly, and the country of which she had no previous knowledge somehow seemed closer to heart. He opened his speech by saying: “我们迟 到了。因为我们是横跨了几个大陆,克服了 美国情报机关的阻挠和本国政府的胁迫才来 到这里的” (We’re late. We’re only here because

we crossed several continents, overcame the obstacles set by the intelligence agency of the United States and the threats of our own government.)30 He went on to compare Panama as the “white-haired girl” of Latin America. While this could very likely have been the wittiness of the translator, the metaphor of “white-haired girl” was so effective that Lü still remembers it vividly after almost half a century. Panama and various other Latin American countries were under the threat of imperialism from the United States at the time, so perhaps it is not so curious that they should find solace and comradeship in a country that had only just rid itself of imperialism and colonialism. Among the 150 representatives from Latin America, there was a Chilean diplomat named D’Amesti who carried a letter of Neruda and hoped to meet with Zhou Enlai. As the personal representative of the Chilean president Carlos 28

Ibáñez del Campo, D’Amesti did not simply go to Beijing to attend the conference. The priority task on his agenda was to strike a trade deal between China and Chile. With the foundation laid by Zhou Enlai in establishing the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, the first trade deal between China and a Latin American country was successfully made with Chile during the meeting between Zhou and D’Amesti.31 While some might doubt the power of a letter from a poet, the publicity of Neruda’s 1951 visit undeniably helped with the smooth process of striking a deal between two formerly unfamiliar countries. Besides the trade deal, the first “Friendship Association” between China and a Latin American country was also founded with the help of Neruda and his painter friend, Venturelli. These friendship associations mainly helped negotiate trade deals between China and various Latin American countries and organized visits of diplomates as well as non-state actors across the Pacific Ocean.32 Neruda’s third visit to China is less note-worthy in the political sphere, but at the same time, the translation of his works continued until the Sino-Soviet split, when most Latin American countries chose to back the Soviet camp and translations of most Latin American authors came to a halt. In order to elaborate on the act of translation as a diplomatic act that always carries political connotations, I will focus on the afterlife of Neruda’s works in the 1960s. The Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the USSR in 1956 marked the start of a process known as “de-Stalinization”.34 Many Latin American countries in which communism was practiced took the side of the USSR. Neruda had always been a firm believer of the Soviet mode and had personally written odes for Stalin in an earlier stage. Consequently, due to the Sino-Soviet split, there were no more Chinese publications of Neruda’s works after 1964.35 Needless to say, he nearly totally “disappeared” during Cultural Revolution. Although Neruda’s opinion of the Sino-Soviet split is unknown and it was widely assumed that he was still an apostle of Stalin, he had, in fact, started to waver in his

political stance and his works, in the words of Pedemonte, also went through a “brief period of ‘de-Stalinization.’”36 In his 1958 publication of Estravagario, Neruda appeared to have returned to the “existential concerns” of his early works.37 However, in the political climate of the 1960s, the present stance of an individual hardly matters more than his past ideological commitments. Besides his total erasure from Chinese literary scene, Neruda was also later criticized by Cuban left-wing writers such as Guillén for being “soft” when he had attended PEN International Congress in 1966. Neruda was thus associated with American imperialism for simply attending an event in the US. The above examples demonstrate the fact that, for Neruda, poetry and politics are almost always inseparable. The act of translating Neruda’s works was highly politicized in the 1950s and this endeavor was totally abandoned after the Sino-Soviet split. The “destiny” of Neruda’s poetry in China seems to have solely depended on the political forces at work, at least before the 1980s. Nevertheless, the translation of Neruda’s works serves as a clever political and diplomatic maneuver in Zhou Enlai’s efforts to branch out to other ‘Third World’ countries, and there should be no doubt that Neruda was a non-state actor of utmost importance in establishing the first diplomatic relationship between China and Chile.

conjecture on my part, it seems that they were able to communicate effectively, much more so than between Neruda could with other Chinese writers, because of their command of French and their shared identities as patriotic poets. However, it seems that Neruda’s works, though limited, had already been translated in China just before his visit, while Ai Qing’s poems, on the other hand, did not appear to have been translated to French or English until the 1980s. It is thus highly doubtful that either of them had a decent understanding of each other’s poems. In a way, their friendship was based on the political and diplomatic premises between China and Chile, but that is not to say that their friendship was not sincere or authentic in any way. In fact, both of them wrote about their time together with affection, and even regret, as they were unable to see each other after Ai Qing’s exile and isolation during the Cultural Revolution. Although their meeting was conditioned on the premise of political agenda between China and Chile, their descriptions of each other are full of careful observations and personal anecdotes. During Ai Qing’s visit to Chile in 1954, he wrote a series of poems dedicated to this strange land and his friend Neruda. A most poetic moment happened during his visit to Neruda’s home in La Isla Negra that affirmed their shared identities as peregrinating poets:

“We will always sail the sea”: Neruda’s friendship with Ai Qing

“他在城里的住宅是在一个小花园里. . . .

On a more personal level, during his visits, Neruda became acquainted with some eminent Chinese writers at the time, including Ding Ling, Xiao San, and Ai Qing. Among those writers and cultural figures, he seemed to have developed the deepest bond with Ai Qing. In their first encounter, Neruda describes Ai Qing as the charming “old communist and prince of Chinese poets.”38 They communicated through French or English since Ai Qing had stayed in Paris for almost three years to study fine arts and Neruda, having once been the Chilean ambassador of France, had an adequate command of French as well. Although this is only a

楼上有一间是他收藏的上万只海螺与贝壳 的木柜子,每一个收藏品都有标签。他是 个跑遍全世界的人。 我们到聂鲁达的海边别墅去,路上经过 很多荒地,山上长满了仙人掌。他的别 墅完全像搁浅的船的模样,面临大海, 而他也真像个漂泊在世界上的人。”(《我 和聂鲁达的交往》 “My Friendship With


“His dwelling in the city is inside a little garden . . . Upstairs there is a room that contains the tens of thousands of conches and seashells, each with its own label. He is a man of the world. 29

Passing by lots of deserted lands and mountains covered with cactus, we went to his villa by the sea. His villa looks utterly like a stranding shipwreck facing the ocean, and he is indeed like a man drifting in the world” (My translation). Neruda was an avid “connoisseur” of seashells and it had become his habit to collect them wherever he went in the world. Although his house was raided during the coup of 1973, his seashell collection was luckily spared and is still on display in his museum today. His obsession with seashells was a constant one throughout his turbulent life, and maybe it is a constant reminder of that young boy wearing “the black suit requisite of a poet” at heart. The romantic side of this communist, patriotic poet resonated with the Ai Qing’s inner artistic side. It is yet another proof that their friendship was not merely political, but an intimate conversation between two poets. Ai Qing wrote 在智利的海 峡 “On a promontory in Chile” as a keepsake for this precious moment:

we’ll always sail the sea


One day, a ship sunk 你捡回了救命圈

You pulled in a life-saver 好像捡回了希望

as if pulling back hope


The wind and the waves brought you back to shore 你好像海防战士

you looked like a coastal guard 驻守着这些礁石

defending those reefs



Let the goddess of navigation

You casted the anchor



protect your home

untied the ropes



Facing the ocean

remembering all the roads you took



she looks up towards the sky

every day you gaze at the ocean40


hands folded before her chest 祈求航行平安

she prays for a safe journey

一 [1] 你爱海,我也爱海

You love the sea, so do I



As aforementioned, it was extremely difficult to travel between China and Chile, although the age of air travel began in the mid-twentieth century. The trip in 1954 took Ai Qing nine days on the plane, from Prague, Geneva, Lisbon, all the way to Buenos Aires and Santiago.41 Although they travelled by plane, the difficulty and the duration resembled the traditional way of sailing across the ocean. Ai Qing was also a world traveler and though he had not been to as many places as Neruda had, Ai Qing understood the thrill and uncertainty

of being in foreign lands, and the attachment to some kind of “anchor”, be it home, country, or one’s political commitment. By 1954, both Neruda and Ai Qing had almost reached the midpoint of their lives and had witnessed drastic changes in each of their countries. The metaphor of sailing here is not only a reference made to the first half of their turbulent lives, but also foreshadows what was soon to come in the second half of the twentieth century. Neruda and Ai Qing’s last meeting was in 1957, when the prosecution of allegedly rightwing writers and artists had already stealthily started in China. The first few moments of their sojourn together had not yet been tinted with the political turmoil, as Neruda affectionately wrote of his friend Ai Qing after their last meeting in 1954: “His broad dark features, his large eyes brimming with mischief and kindness, his quick intelligence, were once more a promise of pleasure during this long journey.”42 However, this delightful start quickly escalated to a disturbing turn when Neruda asked his young translator to translate some news from a Chinese newspaper. It mentioned a political trial in which the members of his welcoming party, Ai Qing, Ding Ling, and Xiao San, were involved. Nobody mentioned anything about it to Neruda, but he could feel that “times had changed” and that “all the flowers were wilting.”43 As he reminisced their friendship in 1984, Ai Qing wrote about the last moments they spent together. He was in Neruda’s room and suddenly received a phone call about a minister coming to see him. Ai Qing instantly realized what it was about: his forthcoming political prosecution. Though Neruda protested, there was nothing that either of them could do and that was the last time they met. Neruda left later “with a bitter taste in [his] mouth” and claimed in his autobiography that he “still [has] it”.44 During this trip, he also wrote about Stalin, who was once his personal idol. Instead of trying to exonerate himself from the cult of Stalin, he only admitted that the “deterioration of his character was a mysterious process” and that it remained an enigma for him.45 Both Neruda and Ai Qing were caught up in the larger historical moments

that were beyond their powers. While they both tried to make sense of the events as best as they could, the political turmoil in China and Chile had conquered and vanquished many significant artists such as themselves. Although fate fared him better than it fared Ai Qing, Neruda was still criticized and prosecuted both domestically and internationally in his later life, either for being a communist, or for not being enough of a communist. He died shortly after the coup d’état in 1973. Though the official statement claimed he died of a heart failure, there have been recent follow-ups that question the official statement and bring out possibility of assassination. Ai Qing did not know about his death until around 1980. He wrote about the end of their contact with some hints of bitterness and regret: “这些年来,我们国家出现了一些不容 易为朋友们理解的事件。很多朋友和我们疏 远了。” (Throughout these years, our country

had gone through incidents that were incomprehensible to our friends. As a result, a lot of them grew apart from us)46 Both of them had traversed almost the entire globe and became friends despite being so different from each other. Although their encounter was orchestrated for various political purposes, poetic resonance can be found in their poetry and autobiographical writings that seem to transverse the boundaries of languages. Conclusion: “Our world which seems so big is in fact so small” In May 2013, Chinese artist and political activist Ai Weiwei unveiled his first project in Latin America: a mural dedicated to Pablo Neruda in Chile. On the massive mural was four lines from “On a promontory in Chile” written by Ai Weiwei’s father, 有人站起来

A man rises 用放大镜

and with a magnifying glass 在地图上寻找

he looks at the map 31


for the places he has not explored Born right around the onset of the Cultural Revolution, Ai Weiwei have never met Neruda. This mural was dedicated to his father’s friend Neruda long after both of them were gone, but it allows us to imagine that perhaps Ai Qing told Ai Weiwei stories of this man from the other side of the world when he was young. At any rate, the legacies of Neruda live on. While gradually recognized as a versatile poet in China, Neruda should be considered as more of a diplomatic and political figure vital to the Chinese-Chilean relationship in the twentieth century. As important non-state actors, he and his friend, painter and Chinese communist party member José Venturelli, served as key characters in the “globalization of revolutionary politics.”47 On a more intimate level, Neruda’s friendship with Ai Qing proves that revolutionary ideology and shared poetic inspiration know no bounds of languages or nations. While they both faced political criticism and prosecution in their later lives, their legacies both survived the turmoil of their times and continue to generate new cultural and political interpretations.



Notes 1. Pablo Neruda, Memoirs, trans. Hardie St. Martin, (Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1977), 137. 2. Ibid., 232. 3. Ibid., 117. 4. Teng Wei, “边境”之南 拉丁美洲文学汉译与 中国当代文学(1949-1999) [South of the “Border”: Latin American Literature in China and Chinese Contemporary Literature (19491999)], (Beijing: Peking University Press, 2011), 6. 5. Ibid., 190. 6. Jason Wilson, A Companion to Pablo Neruda: evaluating Neruda’s poetry, (UK: Tamesis, 2008), 6. 7. Pablo Neruda, Memoirs,139. 8. Rafael Pedemonte, “Pablo Neruda, Su Tiempo y el “Sentido de la Historia”: Postura Ideológica y Reación Poética Durance la Guerra Fría” [“Pablo Neruda, His Time and the “Sense of the History”: Ideological Posture and Poetic Creation during the Cold War], Ayer 98/2015: 159-185, (Madrid: Asociación de Historia Contemporánea, 2015), 171. 9. Pablo Neruda, The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems, (City Lights Books, 2004), 12-13. 10. Jason Wilson, A Companion, (UK: Tamesis, 2008), 6-7. 11. Pablo Neruda, Memoirs,137. 12. Ibid., 139. 13. Rafael Pedemonte, “Pablo Neruda, Su Tiempo y el “Sentido de la Historia”, 162. 14. Ibid., 159. 15. Ibid., 178. 16. Ibid., 182. 17. David G. Anderson, On Elevating the Commonplace: A Structuralist Analysis of the “Odas” of Pablo Neruda, (Valencia: Albatros Hispanofila, 1987), 121. 18. Rafael Pedemonte, “Pablo Neruda, Su Tiempo y el “Sentido de la Historia”, 183. 19. Pablo Neruda, Memoirs,171-189. 20. Teng Wei, South of the “Border”, 6. 21. Ibid., 40. 22. Teng Wei, “On Depoliticized Politics: Roberto Bolaño’s Reception in China”, Roberto Bolaño as World Literature (eds. Nicholas Birns, Castro, Juan E.), (Bloomsbury Academic & Professional, 2017), 169. 23. Nicolai Volland, Socialist cosmopolitanism: the Chinese literary universe, 1945-1965, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2017), 178. 24. Ibid., 156. 25. Mónica Ahumada Figueroa, “Non-state Actors and the Establishment of ChineseChilean Diplomatic Relations: The Role of José Venturelli 34

and Pablo Neruda”, 拉丁美洲研究 (Journal of Latin American Studies), Vol. 39. No. 1, (中国社 会科学院拉丁美洲研究所, 2017): 146-158, 147. 26. Pablo Neruda, Memoirs, 208. 27. Teng Wei, South of the “Border”, 3. 28. Lü Wanru 吕宛如, “忆亚洲及太平洋区域 和平会议” [“Remembering the Asia-Pacific Peace Conference”], 百年潮 (Bainianchao) 4(2012): 34-39, 34 29. Teng Wei, South of the “Border”, 14. 30. Lü Wanru, “Remembering the Asia-Pacific Peace Conference”, 37. My translation. 31. Matthew Rothwell, Transpacific Revolutionaries: The Chinese Revolution in Latin America, (Routlege, 2013), 20. 32. Ibid., 19-20. 33. Teng Wei, South of the “Border”, 19-20. 34. Matthew Rothwell, Transpacific Revolutionaries, 15. 35. Teng Wei, South of the “Border”, 7. 36. Rafael Pedemonte, “Pablo Neruda, Su Tiempo y el “Sentido de la Historia”, 176. 37. Ibid., 177. 38. Pablo Neruda, Memoirs, 208. 39. Ai Qing 艾青, 艾青全集.[The Complete Works of Ai Qing], (石家庄:花山文艺出版社, 1991), 311. 40. Ibid., 186-194. 41. Ibid., 266. 42. Pablo Neruda, Memoirs, 231. 43. Ibid., 239. 44. Ibid., 240. 45. Ibid., 237. 46. Ai Qing, The Complete Works of Ai Qing, 268. My translation. 47. Matthew Rothwell, Transpacific Revolutionaries, 40.

Bibliography Ai, Qing. 艾青. 艾青全集.[The Complete Works of Ai Qing]. 石家庄:花山文艺出版社, 1991. Anderson, David G. On Elevating the Commonplace: A Structuralist Analysis of the “Odas” of Pablo Neruda. Valencia: Albatros Hispanofila, 1987. Figueroa, Mónica Ahumada. “Non-state Actors and the Establishment of Chinese-Chilean Diplomatic Relations: The Role of José Venturelli and Pablo Neruda” 拉丁美洲研究 Vol. 39. No. 1 (2017): 146-158. 中国社会科 学院拉丁美洲研究所 Lü, Wanru. 吕宛如. 忆亚洲及太平洋区域和 平会议. [Remembering the Asia-Pacific Peace Conference] 百年潮(Bainianchao): 2012(4): 34-39. Neruda, Pablo. Confieso Que He Vivido. Editorial Seix Barral. 1974. Neruda, Pablo. Memoirs. (translated by Hardie St. Martin) Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1977. Neruda, Pablo. The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems. City Lights Books. 2004 Pedemonte, Rafael. “Pablo Neruda, Su Tiempo y el “Sentido de la Historia”: postura ideológica y reación poética durance la Guerra Fría.” [Pablo Neruda, his time and the “sense of the history”: ideological posture and poetic creation during the Cold War] Ayer 98/2015: 159-185. Madrid: Asociación de historia contemporánea. Rothwell, Matthew. Transpacific Revolutionaries: The Chinese Revolution in Latin America. Routlege, 2013. Rothwell, Matthew. “Secret agent for international Maoism: José Venturelli, Chinese informal diplomacy and Latin American Maoism.” Radical Americas, 1-1(2016). Teng, Wei. On depoliticized politics: Roberto Bolaño’s reception in China. Roberto Bolaño as World Literature (eds. Nicholas Birns, Castro, Juan E.) Bloomsbury Academic & Professional. 2017. Teng, Wei. 滕威. “边境”之南 拉丁美洲文学汉 译与中国当代文学(1949-1999) [South of the “Border”: Latin American Literature in China and Chinese Contemporary Literature (19491999)]. Peking University Press, 2011. Volland, Nicolai. Socialist cosmopolitanism: the Chinese literary universe, 1945-1965. New York: Columbia University Press, 2017. Wilson, Jason. A Companion to Pablo Neruda: evaluating Neruda’s poetry. UK: Tamesis, 2008.


誡 子 書 Jie Zi Shu (Admonition to His Son)

Text by Zhuge, Liang (諸葛亮) Calligraphic work by Yan, Yuzhou Style: Yan Zhenqing’s Yan Qinli Stele Regular Script (顔真卿 顔勤禮碑 楷書)



Text in Traditional Chinese (as transcribed in the artwork): 夫君子之行,靜以修身,儉以養德。非澹泊無以明志,非寧靜無 以致遠。夫學須靜也,才須學也,非學無以廣才,非志無以成 學。慆慢則不能勵精,險躁則不能治性。年與時馳,意與日去, 遂成枯落,多不接世,悲守窮廬,將復何及! Text in Simplified Chinese: 夫君子之行,静以修身,俭以养德。非澹泊无以明志,非宁静无 以致远。夫学须静也,才须学也,非学无以广才,非志无以成 学。慆慢则不能励精,险躁则不能治性。年与时驰,意与日去, 遂成枯落,多不接世,悲守穷庐,将复何及! Translation: Here is the path that a righteous and virtuous person should follow: applying tranquility to mature one’s mind and pursue frugality to cultivate one’s character. If one is not modest and not free from materialistic ambitions, one cannot recognize and comprehend one’s true aspiration; if one is not tranquil and does not possess a peaceful mind, one cannot realize and obtain a deep and wide perspective on all matters. Learning requires a tranquil and peaceful mind, while talents require persistent learning to be fully developed. Without learning, one cannot realize one’s full potential; without a genuine aspiration, one will not achieve genuine learning and develop one’s thought properly. Procrastination does not encourage one to focus on working hard faithfully; impetuousness does not help in cultivating one’s mind and character. As time passes by quickly, one’s aspiration drifts away with each idling day; like a withering leaf, one becomes disconnected and makes no contribution to the world. Eventually, one is trapped and niched in one’s own petty dwelling and can only lament on squandered days that can never be reclaimed.1 The most famous quote from the text: 非澹泊無以明志,非寧靜無以致遠。[Traditional Chinese] 非澹泊无以明志,非宁静无以致远。[Simplified Chinese] (Translation: If one is not modest and not free from materialistic ambitions, one cannot recognize and comprehend one’s true aspiration; if one is not tranquil and does not possess a peaceful mind, one cannot realize and obtain a deep and wide perspective on all matters.)


1. History and Importance of Jie Zi Shu Jie Zi Shu is a passage that Zhuge Liang (181–234) wrote, not long before he passed away, for his then-eight-year-old son. Zhuge was the chancellor and military strategist of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period of China (184–280).2 This legendary figure cannot be more well-known in contemporary China and East Asia for the numeroustales that showcase him as a being of superior intelligence and absolute integrity. Jie Zi Shu is a type of Jiaxun (family precept), a common literary genre in ancient China. A Jiaxun often contains the reflection by elder members of a family over their life experiences and thoughts; therefore, Jiaxun written by outstanding historical figures are quoted by many Chinese people when they self-reflect or educate their children. Jie Zi Shu is such an example—it is even included in textbooks for Chinese secondary students. The second sentence in Jie Zi Shu is the most well-known, now widely interpreted as “tranquility is necessary for one to go far and reach goals.” 2. The Style The style of this artwork is Yan Zhenqing’s Yan Qinli Stele Regular Script. Don’t be daunted by this long phrase. Regular script is just a term differentiating the script style from the more cursive ones. Yan Zhenqing is the name of one of the greatest master calligraphers in Chinese history (I feel lucky to have the same surname as he does!), and Yan Qinli Stele is his magnum opus. Many of the famous calligraphy styles are named after their respective creators, such as the Yan style. Yan Zhenqing (709–785) lived in one of China’s most prosperous periods— Tang Dynasty (618–907), and he completed Yan Qinli Stele in his seventies.3 His style in Yan Qinli Stele emphasizes strength and grandness. For example, with the same space available, characters of the Yan Qinli Stele style are written larger compared to other styles. Moreover, vertical strokes are thick; some straight strokes arch outwards (they have a convex shape). This

style of regular script is imitated by people from all eras following him and claimed “peerless” or “unparalleled” by poets and artists, not only because it is ground-breaking and breath-taking, but also because Yan Zhenqing is admired on moral grounds. When he was a governor of the Tang Empire, he defended the court bravely during a threatening rebellion and was thus praised by subsequent rulers for his loyalty. 3. Personal meaning It has been more than five years since I started practising Chinese calligraphy. In the first few months, everything was about imitation: how to hold the brush, how to write each stroke, how to get the configurations right… Each of the steps would be a hard struggle for several days, or even for weeks. Then, I began transcribing some short proverbs and poems containing around four to ten Chinese characters. Over the years, I gradually gained proficiency and finally became able to produce longer artworks with confidence. Writing each single character is already not easy—there are several tacit principles to abide by, such as symmetry, balance, consistency of style and change of form. But transcribing long texts poses even more daunting challenges. The principles are now applicable not only to each single character but also to the artwork as a whole. For example, although the style needs not conform to those of the renowned calligraphers, it should still be consistent throughout one piece of artwork. The feeling of my handwriting can change a little bit even after I take a short break during my writing—which inevitably causes some change in my state of mind! Also, if a Chinese character appears more than once in a piece of work, it needs to be somehow different each time it appears so as to avoid dullness. Can you notice this in my Jie Zi Shu? —You can find several duplicate characters side by side in the 7th and 8th columns from the right, for example. From practising calligraphy for so long, I have learned tranquility and focus. You might have noticed that “tranquility” is a keyword in that piece of family precept, Jie Zi Shu. Staying 39

tranquil (or silent), indeed, is key to writing good calligraphy. No multitasking, no music, no murmurs—just me and my brush. This is the only way to fully focus myself on the writing. Remember what the man of wisdom Zhuge Liang admonished us: “if one is not tranquil and does not possess a peaceful mind, one cannot realize and obtain a deep and wide perspective on all matters (非寧靜無以致遠 / 非宁静无以致远).” Only when I truly sink myself deep into writing can I keep in mind the entire piece and write in a consistent style while not losing attention to the nitty-gritty of each upcoming stroke. As Zhuge Liang wrote, “learning requires a tranquil and peaceful mind, while talents require persistent learning to be fully developed (學須靜也,才須學也 / 学须静也,才须学也).” This cannot be more true for Chinese calligraphy; it is certainly true for all other kinds of learning as well.


Notes 1. Poon, Vincent Kwan Sheung. “Tranquility_ Aspiration.” Vincent’s Calligraphy. Accessed February 07, 2019. http://www.vincentpoon.com/ tranquility_aspiration.html. 2. 戴先斌. “诫子一书真名世千载谁堪伯仲间.” 读写月报 : 语文教育版 8 (2017): 45-49. Dai, Xianbin. “Jie Zi Shu Is So Famous That No One Can Parallel It in a Thousand Years.” Du Xie Yue Bao: Chinese Language Educational Version 8 (2017): 45-49 Website for reference: http://www.cqvip.com/ qk/86553b/201708/673427955.html 3. 朱关田. 颜真卿传. 上海書畫出版社, 1990. Zhu, Guantian. A Biography of Yan Zhenqing. Shanghai Paintings And Calligraphy Publishing House, 1990. 4. Sunahara, Ann. “Japanese Canadians.” In The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2011. 5. Smith, Denis. “War Measures Act.” In The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2013. 6. Robinson, Greg. “Internment of Japanese Canadians.” In The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2017. 7. Frede, Josh. “Tainted: The Treatment of JapaneseCanadians during World War Two.” 2011. http://app.ufv.ca/fvhistory/studentsites/wwII/japanesecanadianswwII/japaneseloyalty.html. 8. Statistics Canada. “Chart 4: Growth in overseas travellers visiting Canada, by region, 1972 to 2015.” The evolution of Canadian tourism, 1946 to 2015. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-630x/11-630-x2017001-eng.htm. 9. Satsuka, Shiho. “Narratives of Freedom.” In Nature in Translation: Japanese Tourism Encounters the Canadian Rockies, 39-66, 2015.


A Fortunate Tragedy? Sima Qian’s Motives for Writing the Shiji

Bo Zhang

The Shiji, or the Historical Records, is a monumental work of history initiated by Sima Tan (c.165 BCE – c. 110 BCE) and completed by his son, Sima Qian (c.145 BCE – c.87 BCE). The text covers the history of China from the age of the legendary Yellow Emperor to the reign of Emperor Wu (156 BCE – 87 BCE) in the author’s own time.1 Indeed, the Shiji laid the cornerstone of the Twenty-Four Histories that are, to this day, considered the most important official sources on Chinese history. Despite its profound influence in later Chinese historical tradition, it is difficult to judge whether the Shiji is a “true recording” of the past, or, as Yuri Pines puts it, “a literary universe that doubled and replaced the real world of events.”2 Indeed, it may be something else entirely. One fascinating way to access the Shiji is by examining Sima Qian’s possible motives for writing the text, which could have been personal, ideological or contextual; or perhaps none of the above.3 In this paper, I will provide three theories in regard to Sima Qian’s possible motivation for writing the Shiji: first, his personal, “romantic” motive as may be evident in his early life; then, his apparent filial, Confucian motives; and finally, his potential desire to contribute to his era’s quest for unity and synthesis of the country. It is not my goal here to reconstruct his “true” motive for writing the Shiji – whatever that may have been; rather, by exploring his three possible motives, I hope to provide some insight into the fascinating complexity of both 42

Sima Qian’s text and, of course, the life of the author himself. In discussing Sima Qian’s possible motivations for writing the Shiji, it is perhaps most reasonable and convenient to start by tracing his early life. As the son of the taishi ling (a title which translates as “Grand Historian” or “Scribe”) Sima Tan, Sima Qian was heavily influenced by both his family’s historiographical tradition and his father directly.4 Through him, indeed, Sima Qian had the possibility of accessing to the knowledge contained in the imperial archives. This implies that Sima Qian had at least received a somewhat more advanced education than his peers. Sima Qian’s privileged family background and precocity undoubtedly helped in laying the foundation for his ambitious pursuit of writing the Shiji. Even in his own “Self-Narration,” Sima Qian intended to depict himself as a prodigy: “I, Qian, was born in Dragon Gate. . . . At the age of ten I could cite ancient texts.”5 If his account was true, his talent then soon combined with practical experiences essential to a historiographer. At twenty, Sima Qian travelled throughout Han territories to compile and verify first-hand historical records which would later contribute to his Shiji.6 Thereafter, upon his father’s death, Qian succeeded to his position as taishi ling. Until this point in his life, evidence pieces together to indicate a young, ambitious Sima Qian driven with the likely intent of establishing his own name and legacy. It is a pity that his fortune

would not last. Just as Sima Qian was preparing to start his scholastic career, he was castrated on the order of Emperor Wu due to his defence for General Li Ling’s military failure against the Xiongnu.7 Sima Qian recalls, in response to his tragedy: “each time I think of this shame, the sweat pours from my back soaks my robe. I am now no more than a servant in the harem.”8 To say Sima Qian’s castration was a turning point in his life would be an understatement. Indeed, in her article “Sima Qian: A True Historian,” Michael Nylan argued that this personal calamity led to a passionate revision of the Shiji.9 According to Nylan, this is evident in his “powerful narrative reflecting his own preoccupation with certain highly emotional themes . . . whose accounts ring true to emotionally attuned readers.”10 On this point of Sima Qian writing the Shiji as a “romantic” manifestation of his frustration, Grant Hardy even went so far as to claim that, by writing the Shiji, Sima Qian “seized for himself the prerogative of rectifying names in order to play out a rivalry with the emperors in the field of performative utterance (so that he could criticise rulers like Emperor Wu).”11 In other words, both Nylan and Hardy suggest that, in a way, Sima Qian revised or rewrote history. I think both scholars’ interpretation run the risk of being far-fetched here because Sima Qian himself reiterated that he intended the Shiji to transmit, rather than to create, narratives of the past.12 But still, it is reasonable to say that Sima Qian’s frustration for being “unfairly castrated” may have consequently been an impetus to his “creative activity,” as Durrant puts it in Cloudy Mirror.13 In any case, one thing is almost certain: the Shiji was influenced by the author’s own tragedy. As a result, his experience inevitably added a sense of drama or, in Nylan’s words, a “romantic,” veil to the Shiji.14 This naturally diminishes the text’s objectivity as a transmitted record, as Sima Qian himself claims it to be.15 Perhaps a more convincing interpretation of Sima Qian’s supposed “romantic” intent is that he wrote this profound work of history in order to “engage his audience in the struggles of himself.”16 He did this indirectly by writing about the “heroes”

who suffered a similar fate in Shiji’s biographies, possibly in an attempt to make posterity appreciate the worth and sufferings.17 Thus, as Hardy puts it, it is not unreasonable to claim that Sima Qian was “narrating past events, while thinking of future generations.”18 Moreover, his perceived “heroes” included King Wen, who dictated changes when he was detained in the prison of Youli, and Qu Yuan, who composed his poem Li Sao when he was banished.19 Together, these people shared a sense of resentment and “could not get their Ways heard in the world.”20 It was no coincidence then, that Sima Qian portrayed these people as exceptionally admirable figures whose heroic qualities would become all the more elevated as a result of their tragic, unfair treatments. On the one hand, writing about these people could largely be attributed to Sima Qian’s empathy for their despair. More crucially, however, by writing their biographies – and consequently, through character allusion – Sima Qian ultimately projected himself among their ranks.21 This was Qian’s way of marking his legacy, though describing whatever his legacy may have been is not the purpose of this paper.22 Still, it would be incorrect to think that Sima Qian’s apparent motive to write the Shiji was entirely “romantic.”23 As is evident from the discussion above, Sima Qian visited historical sites in his early life: he gathered written materials, surveyed the local topography, and canvassed local authorities on their knowledge of past events.24 At the same time, the Shiji reproduced several variant traditions, “where the traditions cannot be easily reconciled.”25 This suggests that Sima Qian was committed to the principle of objectivity that “in doubtful cases, one transmits the doubt.”26 Sima Qian’s attempt to write objectively would contradict his romantic motive for writing. As leading Han classicists like Ban Gu noted: “[Sima Qian’s] “writing is direct, with the deeds brought home; he does not exaggerate the admirable point [of his subject], nor does he conceal the evils. Therefore, we call his a “true record.”27 Additionally, considering that it was impossible for Sima Qian to have access to all available sources (an issue which historians 43

struggle with to this day), one then ought to admire his “willingness to reproduce true events from disparate sources,” whether it was out of “romantic” motives or not.28 Another highly probable motive for Sima Qian’s writing is the fulfilment of his filial duties – a notion deeply influenced by Confucius’s ideas. In the Shiji, Sima Qian recalled what his father said to him upon his deathbed: My father grasped my hand and said, weeping, “our ancestors were Grand Historians for the house of Chou. From the most ancient times they were eminent and renowned; when in the days of Yu and Hsia they were in charge of astronomical affairs.”29 His father implied here that their family was in decline, thus compelling Sima Qian to write about the glories of the past so as to restore his family’s reputation.30 This motive for writing as a means to restore former glories of his family is further supported by Hardy, when he argues that even the Grand Astrologer (or Scribe) title kept by the Simas was but “for the amusement [of ] the Emperor . . . and made light of by the vulgar men of his day.”31 This implicit humiliation of Sima Qian and his father’s inherited occupation also likely propelled his desire to write history, especially in a predominately Confucian setting when intellectuals sought inspiration from the past.32 Furthermore, according to a “Letter to Ren An” preserved in the Han Shu, upon Sima Tan’s deathbed, he further urged his son to “restore the honour of their ancestors by completing an unofficial history that himself had planned,” and that the style of this work should follow the Confucian tradition.33 In response, Sima Qian “agreed [and] accepted his father’s ambition to preserve the memory of virtuous deeds and worthy gentlemen.”34 It is interesting to see Hardy calls this a “model of Confucian exhortation” on Sima Tan’s part. Nonetheless, he and others like Nylan also believe that to complete the Shiji would “honour his father’s dying wish to continue [their] ancestors by bringing together the tales they had gathered; thereby 44

fulfilling some part of his filial obligation.”35 This argument is especially convincing considering that Sima Qian’s castration meant it precluded the chance of him having a son, which was a key filial virtue under Emperor Wu’s court at the time.36 After all, it had just become the state ideology with Dong Zhongshu’s help, even though history as a medium for ancestral or filial reverence has long been a Han tradition by Sima Qian’s time.37 As mentioned earlier, closely linked to Sima Qian’s filial motives are his possible Confucian influences.38 In fact, one might even claim that Sima Qian’s standard for his ambition was Confucius himself, for two reasons. First, it is known that Confucianism was installed as the state ideology under Emperor Wu in the author’s time; this way, Sima Qian was likely influenced by Confucian teachings and that Confucius himself was seen by many ambitious scholars as an ideal model to follow. Second, upon Sima Tan’s deathbed, not only did the father instruct his son to write a grand Historical Records, but also told his son to follow Confucius’s Spring and Autumn Annals in style and approach.39 On top of these justifications for Sima Qian’s Confucian motives, in Cloudy Mirror, Stephen Durrant further asserts that “not only [did Sima Qian] profoundly admire Confucius but would emulate the Master and assume a place beside him in the sacred succession of sages.”40 To reiterate Confucius’s influence on him, Durrant even goes so far as to quote Li Changzhi’s assertion that Sima Qian was “the second most loyal follower of Confucius; the first being Mencius.”41 Beyond its jocular effect, it is noteworthy to see how Durrant leveraged this point to justify how Sima Qian managed to “labour to the end of his life, much of the time in shame and disgrace”: Sima Qian had an overwhelming ambition to be another Confucius.42 By this point, it is no longer surprising when Michael Puett takes this claim to a whole new level, again emphasizing on Sima Qian’s ambition: Sima Qian could have been more interested in questioning, and perhaps even superseding, Confucius than in emulating

him… It is also possible that Sima Qian is making his claim to sage hood precisely by creating a work far more comprehensive and complex than anything that had preceded him, including, most importantly, the text attributed to Confucius.43 Beyond Sima Qian’s aspiration to become another Confucius, Puett also believed that “[Confucian] classics provide a proper guide for humanity,” and saw them as a “touchstone for historical reliability.”44 It is important to note that it is one thing to suggest Sima Qian as an imitator or transmitter of the Confucian tradition, but it is something else altogether to argue that he is a Confucian, or that he was trying to be a better “Confucian” than Confucius himself.45 As Puett asserts, the idea that Sima Qian held Confucian motives, or that “he accepts a Confucian vision of history” by modelling his text on the Spring and Autumn Annals and hoping to organize the records of the past into a Confucian vision of unity,” would be another discussion entirely.46 In any case, as Puett points out, when Sima Qian made the statement that he was not like Confucius in that he was “simply transmitting, not creating,” it was clearly parallel to the one Confucius himself made regarding sagehood. This way, Sima Qian “implicitly stake[d] a claim to sagehood through his denial.”47 Here, Sima Qian’s ambition might be his “romantic” intent for writing the Shiji discussed earlier. As Sima Qian wrote the Shiji in a “state of despair, [he] compared such a situation to that faced by earlier sages when creating great works.”48 Confucius himself was undoubtedly among these sages. Yet another convincing motive for writing a history of such grand scope might have been Sima Qian’s desire to contribute to his era’s great quest for unity and synthesis.49 The Han rulers had, after all, restored social unity following centuries of war and chaos. Sima Qian’s goal, in this context, then, could have been to “organize the literary remains [and harmonize] the different traditions of [the Classics].”50 Thus, here, Shiji becomes rather a reflection of the Han intellectual background, as opposed to the “product of Sima Qian’s tortured, solitary

genius.”51 In other words, it reflects the general spirit of its author’s time. Thus, it was no coincidence that, by writing the Shiji, Sima Qian wanted to contribute to his era’s quest to unify “China” as the Han perceived it, both culturally and politically. This possibility is made all the more plausible, given the aforementioned personal, romantic, filial, Confucian motives and ultimately, his ambition. These are all possible motives for Sima Qian’s writing. Sima Qian may have intended his history to be a “grand synthesis of Chinese culture and thought.”52 This way, he could contribute to his era’s great quest for unity and synthesis. How exactly did he go about achieving this? Most notably, by capturing some inherent pattern or trend in history.53 More specifically, Sima Qian’s Shiji was, on the one hand, a way to convey his analysis of the patterns of historical change”; and, on the other, a potential ethical guide for posterity.54 In Nylan’s words: “[the Shiji] is a history “that – most peculiarly from our modern stance – refuses to relegate the past neatly to the past, preferring instead to make past events elucidate eternal ethical problems.”55 And of these ethical problems, for Grant, “injustice” stood out in particular.56 After all, Sima Qian was “keenly aware of the many individuals of integrity and talent who had unjustly suffered.”57 As previously discussed, Sima Qian saw himself among these unfortunate people. But at the same time, he was also aware that some of these people had “managed to transcend their straitened circumstances through literature.”58 As a result, Sima Qian might have been inspired by these people who suffered from such a tragic fate: they were able to compose great works as a means to communicate their ideas to those who might someday recognize their true worth. Sima Qian’s great work would become the Shiji, a monumental text which covers the history of China from the age of the legendary Yellow Emperor to the reign of Emperor Wu in the author’s own time. Thus, it would be an understatement to say that Sima Qian had been contributing to Emperor Wu’s synthesis project in light of his compilation of historical thoughts and biographies. Similarly, and in all likelihood, composing the Shiji might have just 45

been his way of clearing his shame and disgrace and, marking his own name and legacy along the way. It is my hope to have provided in this paper three theories to understand Sima Qian’s possible motivation for writing the Shiji, through his apparent personal, “romantic” motive; filial, Confucian motives; or indeed, his potential desire to contribute to his era’s quest for unity and synthesis. Whichever motive one finds particularly convincing is not for me to decide. In any case, it seems that it was the moment Sima Qian was castrated which marked the turning point in his life. Indeed, the fateful punishment may have been a tragedy for himself, but it was for this very same event which drove him to finish the Grand Historical Records, while enduring the humiliation of being “no more than a servant in the harem.” After all, when the emperor presented him with the two options for punishment, he chose castration over suicide, only to devote the remainder of his life to composing this influential text in which it is our priviledge to delve.


Notes 1. According to Yates, the Han did not recognize “China.” It is of the world as they knew it. And of course, Sima Qian himself did not consider Huangdi to be “legendary.” 2. Yuri Pines, “Biases and Their Sources: Qin History in the Shiji.” Oriens Extremus 45 (2005/06), 11. 3. Ibid., 10. 4. Some translate this title as Grand Historian (Burton Watson) and others including Hardy translates this as Grand Astrologer. Still, Shi really means “scribe.” According to Professor Robin Yates, this includes both recording history and astral phenomena: in those days, astronomy and astrology were not separated. Also, Sima Qian’s family allegedly had a tradition of writing history. According to the Shiji, Sima Tan claims that their “ancestors were Grand Historians for the house of Chou.” This will be expanded on later in my discussion about Sima Qian’s filial motive for writing the Shiji. 5. Stephen Durrant, W. The Cloudy Mirror: Tension and Conflict in the Writings of Sima Qian. Albany, NY: State University of New York, 1995, xi. 6. Although we are unsure of whether Sima Qian did so as an intended preparation for writing the Historical Records. It is most likely that his ultimate decision to write was made after his father’s request. I will discuss this below. 7. The Li Ling Affair: Sima Qian was punished castration when he attempted to defend Li Ling’s defeat and consequent surrender to Xiongnu. In the “Letter in Response to Ren An,” written years after Li Ling affairs, Sima Qian maintained his support for Li Ling. Rather than attributing this support for Li Ling as sympathy, instead, I argue Sima Qian was doing a passionate tribute for those who he considers as Junzi or Guoshi – a category of people he admired (as evident in Shiji). He challenged and insulted the emperor, he was condemned to the choice of suicide or castration – he chose the latter. 8. Hardy, Grant. Worlds of Bronze and Bamboo: Sima Qian’s Conquest of History. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999, 21. 9. Michael Nylan. “Sima Qian: A True Historian?” Early China 23 (1998): 205. According to Sima Qian, the Shiji was in “rough draft” at the time of the Li Ling affair. Nylan suggests that in Sima Qian’s post-traumatic period, Qian revised or inserted a small number of chapters, with the express aim of alerting readers to his own altered outlook. 10. Ibid., 205. 11. David Schaberg and Grant Hardy. “Worlds of Bronze and Bamboo: Sima Qian’s Conquest of History.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 61, no. 1 (2001): 253.

12. Hardy, Worlds of Bronze and Bamboo, 3. 13. Michael Puett and Stephen W. Durrant. “The Cloudy Mirror: Tension and Conflict in The Writings of Sima Qian.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 57, no. 1 (1997): 295. 14. Nylan, “Sima Qian: A True Historian?” 205. 15. Ibid. 16. Schaberg, “Worlds of Bronze and Bamboo,” 254. 17. Ibid., 254. 18. Hardy, Worlds of Bronze and Bamboo, 24. 19. Puett. “The Cloudy Mirror,” 296. 20. Nylan, “Sima Qian: A True Historian?” 232. 21. Ibid., 232. 22. Either the legacy he was hoping to achieve himself, or what later readers ascribed to him. 23. Puett. “The Cloudy Mirror,” 291. According to Puett, reading a work in terms of the biography of the author is “a dangerous method,” for it has the “the tendency to impose anachronistic psychological drives on an historical figure.” 24. Nylan, “Sima Qian: A True Historian?” 232. 25. Ibid., 204. 26. Ibid., 204. 27. Nylan, “Sima Qian: A True Historian?” 204. One might say Liu Xiang and Ban Gu’s defence is not entirely trustworthy, but we do not know for certain how much they knew about Sima Qian’s intention either. 28. Ibid., 204. Of course, Ban Gu did not have a concept of “romanticism.” 29. Sima, Qian, and Burton Watson. Records of the Grand Historian of China. New York: Columbia University Press, 1961, 49. 30. Hardy, Worlds of Bronze and Bamboo, 16. 31. Ibid., 16. 32. Ibid., 15. 33. Puett, “The Cloudy Mirror,” 294. 34. Hardy, Worlds of Bronze and Bamboo, 17. 35. Nylan, “Sima Qian: A True Historian?” 211. 36. Hardy, Worlds of Bronze and Bamboo, 17. Grant Hardy states in his work that in his letter to Ren An, “there is a strong suggestion that he himself has no male heirs [to carry on their ancestor’s line].” 37. Yates, Robin, “Confucianism,” HIST308, 11 October 2018. I (together with Yates’s response) estimate that Sima Qian may have been aware of Dong (they were contemporaries) and perhaps was “influenced” (however that is to be defined) by him. Note Loewe in his Biographical Dictionary cites the evidence that Sima Qian says he was not doing what Dong did. So, it may have been a negative “influence.” 38. Even though being filial is often attributed to Confucianism, but here, the two motives are different. 39. According to Yates: “Confucius is most likely to 47

have edited the CQ, but not written it himself. But what that editing process involved we do not know. The later Gongyang and Guliang scholars thought that Confucius had concealed hidden meanings in the text, which they then tried to discover.” 40. Durrant, The Cloudy Mirror, 31. 41. Puett, “The Cloudy Mirror,” 296. 42. Ibid., 298. 43. Ibid., 300. 44. Puett, Michael J. The Ambivalence of Creation: Debates concerning Innovation and Artifice in Early China. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001, 177. 45. Puett, “The Cloudy Mirror,” 298. 46. Ibid., 296. 47. Puett, Michael J. The Ambivalence of Creation, 178. 48. Ibid., 178. Puett asserts that the Annals were generally – though erroneously – ascribed to Confucius. (also see Yates’s response on the matter in citation above) Also, while Sima Qian may be influenced by the Confucian Classics, he also stated that his work could not be compared with the Spring and Autumn Annals, because he claimed that, he unlike Confucius, was simply transmitting, not creating. 49. Hardy, Worlds of Bronze and Bamboo, 23. 50. Ibid., 21. It is noteworthy here that even these so-called “Classics” were a term constructed by Confucians. 51. Nylan, “Sima Qian: A True Historian?” 210. 52. Ibid., 210. 53. Hardy, Worlds of Bronze and Bamboo, 17. 54. Ibid., 17. 55. Nylan, “Sima Qian: A True Historian?” 56. Hardy, Worlds of Bronze and Bamboo, 24. 57. Ibid., 24. 58. Ibid., 24.


Bibliography Durrant, Stephen. The Cloudy Mirror: Tension and Conflict in the Writings of Sima Qian. Albany, NY: State University of New York, 1995. Hardy, Grant. Worlds of Bronze and Bamboo: Sima Qian’s Conquest of History. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999. Nylan, Michael. “Sima Qian: A True Historian?” Early China 23, 1998. Pines, Yuri. “Biases and Their Sources: Qin History in the Shiji.” Oriens Extremus 45, 2005/06. Puett, Michael and Stephen W. Durrant. “The Cloudy Mirror: Tension and Conflict in The Writings of Sima Qian.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 57, no. 1, 1997. Puett, Michael. The Ambivalence of Creation: Debates concerning Innovation and Artifice in Early China. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001 Schaberg, David and Grant Hardy. “Worlds of Bronze and Bamboo: Sima Qian’s Conquest of History.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 61, no. 1, 2001.

BEYOND Photographic Essay by Rebecca Wu Illustration by Tiffany Dai






Stuck between Internet Sovereignty and a Multi-Stakeholder Place Exploring Chinese power practices and value cleavages in the global governance of internet policy Caroline Wesley

I. Introduction The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is home to the largest population of internet users in the world, touting over 731 million connected in 2017; it is estimated that another 400 million are soon to follow, further illustrating the immense presence of Chinese online.1 Moreover, technological giants such as Baidu, Alibaba Group, Tencent (referred to in China as ‘BAT’), and JD.com take four places on the list of the world’s top ten largest internet companies.2 This research paper will further elucidate the long-term effects that building such powerful CCP state-controlled enterprises will have on Chinese geopolitical capital. In reality, China’s new social credit system is just an aspect of its new internet governance strategy. As such, this essay aims to explore the oft-overlooked other aspect of this strategy, as well as to outline their domestic and international goals, and to elucidate the value cleavages and anchoring practices of their conduct within the field of global governance. More importantly, this essay will highlight the impact of two major turning points in Chinese internet governance, the first being the 2014 creation of the Cybersecurity and Informatization Leading Group and the second being the creation of China’s first standalone cybersecurity policy in 2017. I find that these turning points signify the primary impetus for China’s continued political evolution from “fragmented authoritarianism” to a more centralized form of rule. 56

As such, this paper concludes that, while fragmented authoritarianism continues to most accurately explain modern Chinese bureaucratic structures, Xi Jinping’s pragmatic re-centralization of certain bureaucratic structures has enabled China to both adjust to evolving technological standards and to assert itself as a new diplomatic player in the global governance of the internet. Essentially, modern Chinese legislation and international-facing initiatives will be the country’s springboard to immense political capital and influence in the coming decades. These initiatives are inseparably tied to the Chinese technology sector, thus enabling Chinese political influence and perhaps even imposing censorship to populations beyond its sovereign lines. This essay is divided into six parts. First, I will present a literature review on the current academic research on the topic of internet governance in China. In Part II, I will outline and justify the empirical framework for my research and conclusions, which jointly employs a modified version of Lieberthal’s theory of “fragmented authoritarianism” and Pouliot and Therien’s value cleavages framework for global governance. In Part III, I elucidate the primary value cleavages and anchoring practices in the global governance of the internet. Part IV explains the largest value cleavage debate in global internet governance: internet sovereignty versus the multi-stakeholder model. In Part V, I outline the crucial bureaucratic and legislative changes that have inspired this

research, notably in China’s adoption of its first standalone Cybersecurity law in 2017. Part VI will conclude by explaining Chinese long-term geopolitical strategy through the Internet Plus strategy and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). II. Literature Review In recent years, the debate concerning the control of information by authoritarian leaders has been dominated by two major camps. On one side, we find those that model the determinants of internet governance policy as a tradeoff scenario in which dictators must choose between information openness and closedness. This is commonly referred to as the “Dictator’s Dilemma,” wherein the state leader is treated as a unitary actor and in complete control of their selection of a level of censorship optimal to their interests.3 Lieberthal’s theory of fragmented authoritarianism runs in direct contrast to this theory, as it posits that power is placed within fragmented bureaucratic siloes with their own leaders, hierarchical structures, and horizontal and vertical cleavages. In this way, the formal modelling of this theoretical dictator’s scenario does not take into consideration the reality of immense bureaucratic structures: leaders, albeit authoritarian, are restricted due to bureaucracy itself and will not be able to attain their ideal balance between censorship and information freedom. The other side of the debate is centred upon informal study of authoritarian information control wherein academics situate a leader within a more realistic framework of limited political agency due to inter-departmental bureaucratic friction and disharmony (see Lynch 2011; Esaray and Xiao 2011; Fu, Chan and Chau 2013; Howard and Hussain 2011.) Due to the fragmented distribution of censorship roles with this system and the lack of public transparency, this framework models well the practice utilized by Chinese netizens to identify which Chinese government agencies are tasked with the censorship.4 Some scholars have even classified this relationship as a “cat and mouse” game between Chinese internet users and government censorship departments.5 As will be further explained in Part

IV, the section in which China’s information technology capabilities are outlined, this framework is not a realistic depiction of the modern Chinese censorship scheme and cannot account for the advanced technology and methods it employs. Moreover, the vast majority of proponents of this political framework employ a legal perspective, which does not adequately capture the informal practices and cross-sector relationships that have been cultivated and are essential to the CCP’s operations. In light of the above political frameworks proposed in recent literature, the framework in this research paper is indeed more similar to the second camp of the informal study of authoritarian information control due to its use of realism when analyzing bureaucratic structures and inter-departmental relationships. Relationships of this nature will be further explored in the following section as it expands upon the pragmatic importance of Xi Jinping’s development of SOE-CCP relationships. III. Empirical Approach i. Fragmented Authoritarianism, and other Conceptions of Chinese Governance In the late 1970s, Deng Xiaoping’s reformative era culminated in the figurative “opening up” of Chinese society to the outside world, providing previously unseen scholarly access to PRC government agencies and insight into the bureaucratic relationships and policy processes therein.6 Until that point, the PRC’s mysterious internal framework has often been caricatured as “a system of red telephones all ultimately connected to the desk of Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping.”7 Thereafter, a multitude of frameworks aiming to unravel the mysteries of Chinese governance has emerged. Zeng, Stevens, and Chen outline this issue most succinctly: they argue that a key difficulty in unpacking political theory in China is that “many political ideas are still developing and have yet to cohere into stable bodies of theory that can be more rigorously tested.”8 This affords China scholars with a certain theoretical wiggle room against traditionally strict frameworks of governance. Nevertheless, while 57

it is true that CCP General Secretary Xi holds immense political clout, further examination of the country’s political structure has revealed that it is more siloed into thematic “clusters” of bureaucratic hierarchies with respective vertical and horizontal cleavages.9 This essay employs the political framework set out by Kenneth Lieberthal in his 1992 seminal work, “The ‘Fragmented Authoritarianism’ Model and Its Limitations” within the larger tome of “Bureaucracy, Politics, and Decision Making in Post-Mao China.” This theory has proven foundational to the study of Chinese politics; it sheds light on the fragmentation of Chinese bureaucracy into core organs that self-organize into clusters of political bodies: Economic; Propaganda and Education; Organization and Personnel; Civilian Coercive; Military; and the Communist Party Territorial Committees.10 In the post-Mao period, fragmentation in decision-making increased within these clusters due to a number of factors; first, Chinese leadership reduced its use of coercion seen typically in staff purges, labelling, and demotions against those who proposed ideas contrary to the leadership’s, thereby emboldening staff to defend their proposals and to compete with their peers.11 Second, the reduced usage of ideology as a means to maintain control increased looseness within the bureaucratic system.12 Finally, personnel management was decentralized, bringing increased fragmentation of teams within these clusters. A number of mixed results were recorded following the implementation of such decentralizing practices. Notably, coherence was maintained within particular clusters in the form of what Lieberthal calls “policy communities,” which rallied around projects and issues, cutting across bureaucratic divisions. Over time, these factors all contributed to the fragmentation of a previously unitary authoritarian bureaucratic structure. ii. Value Cleavages and Anchoring Practices in Global Governance As this essay will discuss internet policy within the context of global governance in later 58

sections, it is crucial to outline a framework detailing the interactions between states on the issue. As such, Vincent Pouliot and JeanPhilippe Thérien’s value cleavage framework will be employed herein. They cite “normative divisions” as a hindering factor to policy coordination in global governance.13 Global actors cite “universal value claims” to justify and legitimize their positions in global policymaking forums.14 However, this practice is inconsistent with modern realities: defining global issues and developing communal solutions are all highly political processes plagued by conflict and disagreement. This brings to question the feasibility of true “universal” values.15 A unified stance on what the common good entails is rarely achieved, nor is a concrete method to get there. Any resulting global policy vision, often presented as a consensus to the public by respective coalitions of governments, in reality masks a series of internal divisions and disagreements. This will be outlined in further detail in Part IV. Pouliot and Therien’s framework ties well into Lieberthal’s fragmented authoritarianism model as it stresses the political capital that is bestowed to values and ideology in historical and modern China. In the Maoist era, top political leaders of China’s fragmented bureaucracy employed “massive doses of ideological indoctrination as a vehicle for achieving greater fidelity to the goals of the leaders even in the absence of informational and other resources adequate to assure the desired level of compliance.”16 Put simply, achieving value consensuses can reduce the need for additional political capital and resources, both in domestic and international contexts. As was explained earlier with the help of Lieberthal, the post-Mao era of bureaucratic decentralization featured a reduction in leadership’s use of ideology as a means to exert control over their personnel. In contrast, a central feature to Xi Jinping’s revival of centralized bureaucratic practices comes alongside the resuscitation of Maoist norms; in a 2013 speech commemorating Mao’s 120th birthday, Xi gave wide praise to Mao for “establishing the fundamental socialist order, obtaining the fundamental achievements of socialist construction,

as well as accumulating the experience and providing the conditions for our exploration of the path of building socialism with Chinese characteristics.”17 Moreover, further evidence of this notion lays in Xi’s encouragement of the CCP’s propaganda department to intensify its ideological movements warning citizens of the dangers of Western “anti-Chinese forces” attempting to upend and infiltrate China’s socialist order through espionage.18 Returning to practice theory, while this tendency to appeal to the common good is an attempt to “depoliticize” global governance, as Pouliot and Thérien argue, the “idiom of universal values” highlights the inherently political nature of all global public policymaking.19 Unpacking the idiom provides insight on the most salient internal disputes and obstacles to collective action. As such, identifying the value cleavages underlying a given policy, and seeing how disagreements are temporarily and insincerely resolved to create a façade consensus, can help scholars analyze the future prospects for policy coordination. Internal conflict and policy disharmony are central features of the global governance of the internet; global actors’ values diverge at every stage of policymaking, from defining the nature of the issue (for example, cybersecurity), to envisioning an ideal outcome, to developing a concrete action plan for achieving it. This issue is exacerbated further by the clandestine nature of state-sponsored intelligence and hacking operations that have become a central feature of national defence for a number of powerful states. For example, both the U.S. government and American businesses have been the victims of Chinese hacking of confidential information systems. Moreover, intelligence leaks from Edward Snowden revealed that similar internet surveillance operations have been orchestrated by the U.S. against a number of nations, including China.20 Practices in international relations ultimately make up global politics. As Adler and Pouliot argue, “world politics can be understood as structured by practices, which give meaning to international action, make possible strategic interaction, and are reproduced, changed, and reinforced by international action

and interaction.”21 Of course, a myriad of different practices have been employed since the initiation of global governance on the internet, and, while they all offer interesting insight, this paper will focus on a few key practices. Given the theoretical framework presented by Sending and Neumann, this section identifies the anchoring practice which has worked to ground the other practices and made them possible: Xi Jinping’s cultivation of a symbiotic State Owned Enterprise-CCP relationship.22 Ultimately, this relationship provides China with not only an immense data-collecting power domestically, but also with geopolitical influence through a number of initiatives. IV. The Global Governance of Internet Policy: the Internet Sovereignty – Multistakeholder Debate The internet is not the first technological revolution to elicit debate on trans frontier communications. As Monroe Price explains, while Gutenberg’s printing press revolutionized information sharing in the 15th century through the media of books and newspapers, it equally incited a centuries-long process over which a common understanding of freedom of expression was developed. This is reminiscent of Pouliot and Thérien’s explanation of practices in global governance: fraught with internal disharmony. As such, similar to the debate on internet governance strategies, these regionally developed norms were far from universal.24 A number of diverging values are expressed by national- and global-level actors with regards to internet and cybersecurity governance. However, they all want increased security to account for an increasingly insecure technological world. As Joseph Nye explains, “providing security is a classic function of government and some observers believe that growing insecurity will lead to an increased role for governments in Cyberspace.”25 Indeed, a “double-edged sword” remains: governments want to protect the internet so that their societies can continue to benefit from it, but concurrently seek to protect their societies from what may emanate through the internet. In this way, governments tend 59

to establish three primary objectives in securitizing cyberspace within their borders. These include the provision of: security with regards to civilian liberties; security with regards to protecting critical infrastructure and digital assets; and security with regards to preventing a cyberattack. Not all states place the same amount of emphasis on these broad overarching goals, which leads to a divergence of interests in global internet governance policymaking forums. The next two sub-sections will address the value cleavages fundamental to the two major ideological internet governance camps and the institutions and initiatives they have respectively built to support the advancement of their interests. They are primarily exemplified by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the UN’s Internet Governance Forum Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Group. i. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Internet Sovereignty Model As a general rule, differing state priorities lead to conflicting views on how the internet should be regulated. Therefore, many states will seek create coalitions with governments who share similar values and less cleavages. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a Eurasian political, economic and security entity comprised of members such as China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.27 Perhaps due to their joint membership within the SCO, both China and Russia developed what Stanislav Budnitsky and Lianrui Jia call “nation branding.” These two nations launched campaigns to portray themselves as resurgent great internet powers.28 This was an important symbolic precursor to Xi Jinping’s implementation of his re-centralization strategy through the means of internet governance. Both China and Russia strategically employed their domestic digital media companies as counterpoints to what Budnitsky and Jia call an American “technological hegemony.”29 As such, the countries have vocally expressed their value cleavages with the primary tenets of the international internet governance status quo. 60

Due to their widespread non-compliance with international multi-stakeholder internet governance standards, members of the SCO have incorporated policies on internet governance regulation within their own regional agreement. SCO states’ main concern with cybersecurity actually deals with “information security,” a concept that overlaps significantly with cybersecurity but is not completely analogous with it.30 Information security aims to protect “information and information systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction in order to provide confidentiality, integrity, and availability.”31 In this way, the SCO protects the online security of their members by creating “a legal framework for cooperation […] in the field of international information security” and stressing the significance of the “ensuring international information security as one of the key elements of the common system of international security.”32 However, unlike other cybercrime treaties, the SCO fails to address the issue of allowing interference in a country’s internal affairs; this is the notion that is fundamental to internet sovereignty.33 Although the SCO is a regional agreement, in recent years its leadership has made efforts to coordinate with other institutions to strengthen and expand its mandate. For example, it has proposed a Code of Conduct through the use of inter-regional working groups for United Nations implementation. This would address information security and develop international norms of behaviours in the digital space in light of their definition of cybersecurity. Many multi-stakeholder governance preferring-states have rejected this proposal, stating that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights already exists with an accompanying internet code of conduct and that SCO states should sign it rather than create their own. ii. The Multi-Stakeholder Model The multi-stakeholder model is best epitomized by the U.S. ‘Internet Freedom’ strategy as described in a 2010 speech by then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton

argued that if we use democratic peace theory as the basis of our analysis, a world that is more democratic is more stable, richer, and less likely to wage war with other democracies.34 Fundamentally linked to this theory is the freedom of access to information, the freedom to diffuse information, and the empowerment of individuals to seek out information for enhanced accountability.35 By introducing a new human “right” for all of humanity to access a single internet, the U.S. government employed an international norm to achieve the outcome they want: a harmonized, non-sovereign internet governance system. Both the multi-stakeholder model and the internet sovereignty model attempt to portray façade consensuses on the issue of internet governance; they embed their political, social, and cultural values deep into their ideologies, thus causing value cleavages and policy disharmony at every stage of the policy development process. Moreover, the multi-stakeholder model portrays internet governance as an ordered, non-hierarchical process without a clear beginning or end, and reveals the fact that private actors – who own most of the data and infrastructure pertaining to the internet – are the main actors, who in turn form collaborative practices with the public sector. While collaboration is ultimately the outcome of these practices, the coordination between private companies and public actors is where internet governance lies. This is why the UN’s Internet Governance Forum Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Group and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) are the institutions at the forefront of this internet governance model. V. Turning Points in Chinese Internet Governance: the 2014 Cybersecurity and Informatization Leading Group, the Social Credit System, and the 2018 Cybersecurity Bill This section will outline the process and practices behind Xi Jinping’s re-centralization campaign that began in 2012. It will explain key changes in domestic internet policy

that have been notable for their acceleration of China’s bureaucratic evolution beyond Lieberthal’s fragmented authoritarianism framework. When approaching the subject of modern internet governance legislation in China, it is important to highlight the historical information sharing practices in the PRC. Ever since China first connected to the global computer network, Chinese policymakers and analysts have waved red flags, arguing that the internet is a “double-edged sword.” They argue that it is essential for economic growth and good governance, but that it is equally a threat to domestic stability and the legitimacy of the Communist Party of China (CCP) regime.36 As indicated by the famous maxim by former Chinese paramount leader Deng Xiaoping: “social stability overrides everything” (shehui wending ya dao yiqie) and as such, instability is not to be tolerated. These factors contribute to a dilemma within Chinese governance: how is the adoption and usage of rapidly evolving information technologies managed in a state that has repressed external ideologies and quashed traditional forms of dissent? The Chinese state has chosen to address this dilemma with a two-pronged internet governance strategy: it includes the re-centralization of top-level leadership to direct China’s cybersecurity and the investment in new information technologies for further censorship and surveillance. The former notion is epitomized by the CCP’s 2014 creation of the Cybersecurity and Informatization Leading Group, an executive internet governance body chaired by Xi Jinping himself. Argued most succinctly by President Xi, “without cybersecurity there is no national security.”37 As evidenced by the personal time investment into the development of the sector by China’s own President, internet governance has become one of China’s main priorities and means for centralization. i. China’s Social Credit System (SCS) China’s social credit system is a key example supporting the notion of Xi Jinping’s re-centralization strategy for social stability. Released in 2014, the “Planning Outline for 61

the Construction of a Social Credit System” continues to be the central resource for SCS political strategy and implementation.38 In a 2017 report, the University of Toronto-based internet watchdog The Citizen Lab evaluated the security considerations for a Chinese social credit system.39 The system collects and analyzes Chinese citizen’s personal data, such as their “credit history, behavioural habits, ability to pay off debts, personal information, and social networks.”40 The SCS also features proprietary algorithms that have been labeled as trade secrets and thus cannot be deconstructed to reveal their CCP-determined criteria. At the time of writing, the CCP is pilot testing a number of private-sector versions of their proposed social credit system, most notably in Sesame Credit, a creation of Ant Financial, a subsidiary of tech giant Alibaba.41 Representatives from Ant Financial have disclosed that big data collection of routine activities such as “late night web browsing, hours spent playing video games,” and purchasing specific items can all lower one’s score.42 Moreover, Sesame Credit is tied to the Supreme People’s Court of China and may have been given access to its blacklists of debtors and of individuals who have violated their court verdicts. While a high Sesame Credit rating may result in advantages like accelerated visa issuances, lower interest rates on loans, and booking rental cars or hotel rooms without paying a deposit, the punitive measures of a low rating have yet to be clarified. While shocking to some, the SCS is not a historical aberration for China. The PRC has been no stranger to data collection driven social signifiers for the maintenance of social stability: the regime enforced centralized control over the use of the telegraph under the Qing Dynasty, and more recent decades have seen the importance of the dang’an (personal records of all citizens) and hukou (internal passport) systems.43, 44 In the present era, however, China has equipped itself with advanced tools such as big data analysis, widespread surveillance and facial recognition technology, and the most advanced internet censorship program the world has ever seen.45 With the increasing implementation of seemingly dystopian forms 62

of surveillance against the Chinese people, it is important to understand the normative disconnect between the Chinese notion of “privacy” (yinsi) and that of cultures outside of the PRC. In China, yinsi evokes definitions such as “illicit secrets and selfish, conspiratorial behaviour.”46 As Zhizheng Wang explains, the longstanding hukou and dang’an systems have habituated Chinese citizens to the idea that privacy is the necessary protection from each other, not from the government.47 Across informal interviews with law professors and students at Shantou University, this notion of openness and lack of privacy from government eyes was justified by the majority as a means to an end; in essence, the Chinese tend to value their economic and social safety as paramount to their personal privacy.48 So, how exactly does China violate its citizens’ privacy as a means to maintain a harmonious, stable society? ii. The Cybersecurity Law (TCL) Reports carried out by Freedom House’s internet freedom project called Freedom on the Net identified the three ways in which states may control access to internet content and transmission of information. Methods include creating obstacles to user access, for instance by blocking specific applications or technologies; limits on content, such as filtering and blocking websites and/or manipulating online content; and violating user rights, including placing legal protections and restrictions on online activity.49 As was explained in the above section on the social credit system, the key anchoring practice to China’s internet governance policy’s power to maintain social stability is found in the collection of its citizens’ data. Before delving into the details of China’s 2017 Cybersecurity Law (TCL), it is important to note that a number of laws enabling state collection of private sector data precede it: these include the State Security Law (1993); the Law of Guarding State Secrets (2010 revised version); and the Criminal Procedure Law of the PRC (2012 revised version).50 Moreover, as Zhizheng Wang explains, this legislative green light for mass data collection extends across

nearly the entire legal system: “constitutional law, penal laws, penal litigation laws, state security laws, and other public-sector laws […] grant government extensive rights and sizeable flexibility for investigation, seizure, and search, especially in the matter of state security or keeping social order.”51 China’s Cybersecurity Law primarily focuses on the securitization of personal information and other important data that have been collected in China, whether that data passes through government agencies, stateowned enterprises (SOEs), or network operators. While this has been touted as a means to protect internet sovereignty and security in general, many critics have asserted that the law aims to hinder the success of international businesses in their dealings in China and to impose its ideology upon internet companies aligned with the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance.52 This is exemplified by the law’s more ambiguous obligation for those who carry out business in China to “respect social morality, abide by commercial ethics, be honest and credible, perform obligations to protect cybersecurity, accept supervision from the government and public, and bear social responsibility.”53 Granted, the above ethical and legal frameworks are interpreted at the discretion of the Chinese bureaucracy, affording them a considerable amount of control over international institutions. Other critics have argued that the TCL would be utilized as a protectionist measure against foreign competition. Moreover, paired with the 2015 National Security Law and the 2015 Counterterrorism Law, which both exert control on other information sectors and personal freedoms for national security ends, they argue that TCL is an effort “to secure the regime and its power” legislatively.54 Another notably problematic section of the TCL is Article 28: it asserts that network operators must bestow Chinese public security agencies with regulatory powers, enabling them to monitor and investigate the data that crosses through the operator’s servers. Not only is this article criticized for the potentiality of personal data leakage, it also may mean that the regulatory agencies could force internet companies to

provide access to a user’s confidential information or to assist them in decrypting that information.55, 56 Furthermore, linking this back to China’s aforementioned massive data-collecting social credit system, control over data is a strategic priority for China’s internet governance strategy. This is reflected in Article 37, in which China’s controversial data localization policy is outlined. The article stipulates that foreign firms and internet companies must choose to either invest in new servers located in China or to utilize one of China’s local service providers, such as Alibaba, Huawei, and Tencent.57 Both options subject the firm to data access by the regime: in the former case, the Chinese government’s regulatory authorities would be able to access these tech giants’ data in routine government checks, and in the latter case, the Chinese government already has regulatory authority over their data. This article also speaks to the anchoring practice of China’s symbiotic relationship with its SOEs and local tech giants as it has enabled them to monopolize and control all avenues of data storage within the PRC’s borders. This is an especially pragmatic move for China, as it is not only expanding the reach of its SOEs and associated firms internationally, but it has noted that with China’s growing market, investors and multinational corporations want to establish branches in the PRC, and that those institutions can be data mined. In Part VI, I will elaborate on how China’s data control internet governance strategy may even move beyond its borders. VI. Conclusion: Exporting Chinese Internet Governance Models to Global Governance In the preceding parts of this essay, I aimed to outline the issue of internet governance in China using a unique empirical framework due to the purview of issues encompassing both domestic and international governance. Lieberthal’s fragmented authoritarianism model was employed as it remains the most accurate model for internal Chinese bureaucratic structures. However, this essay importantly clarified that under Xi Jinping’s re-centralization campaign, sectors such as cybersecurity have been 63

pieced back together into executive-controlled bodies and may indicate that China may see government-wide re-centralization. On the international side of internet governance policy, I outlined key value cleavages between the internet sovereignty and multi-stakeholder models that inhibit policy harmonization and the establishment of a truly globally governing internet policy. Moreover, recent turning points in Chinese internet policy in the form of the 2017 Cybersecurity Law and the creation of a social credit system may deepen the aforementioned value cleavages even further. China’s Internet Plus plan holds great geopolitical potential. First introduced by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in 2015, the plan aims to integrate mobile internet, cloud computing, big data and the Internet of Things with modern manufacturing and useful economic development tools, such as e-commerce and industrial networks.58 As the Chinese government’s relationship with SOEs and other Chinese tech giants is complementary, China plans for Internet Plus to work in collaboration with Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, and others to integrate these technologies seamlessly into their immense platforms and to “aggressively establish an international presence, expand foreign users, and push out products suited for different market cultures.”59 Moreover, due to China’s widespread investments in key telecommunications and information infrastructures in the ASEAN region through their Belt and Road Initiative, the expansion of the “internet sovereignty” system may be facilitated by their simple presence and usage of Chinese technology. If China can develop ideological supporters for their internet governance system among the ASEAN countries in addition to the current members of the SCO, this could establish considerable leverage against the United States and other supporters of the multi-stakeholder model. Beyond the geostrategic impacts of these above outlined technological and infrastructural initiatives, it is not yet clear how far China’s internet governance influence will spread.


Notes 1. Dev Lewis, China’s Global Internet Ambitions: Finding Roots in ASEAN, (Delhi: Digital Asia Hub), 4-13. 2. Ibid, 4. 3. Ronald Wintrobe coins the term “Dictator’s Dilemma” in “The Political Economy of Dictatorship”, where he explains that “the problem facing any ruler, who wants to know how much support he or she has among the general population, as well as among those smaller groups with the power to depose him or her. It is true that dictators have power over their subjects, much more so than do democratic rulers. But his overt power over them breeds a reluctance among the citizenry to signal displeasure with the dictator’s policies. The problem is magnified when the dictator rules by the most basic instrument in the dictator’s arsenal: political repression. The more repressive apparatus stifles dissent and criticism, the less the dictator knows about how much support he or she really has among the people.” (Robert Wintrobe, The Political Economy of Dictatorship (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000) 335.) 4.Chris Cairns, Fragmented Authoritarianism? Reforms to China’s Internet censorship system under Xi Jinping (Ithaca: Cornell University, September 2016) 3. 5. Ibid, 3. 6. Kenneth G. Lieberthal, “Introduction: The “Fragmented Authoritarianism” Model and Its Limitations” in Bureaucracy, Politics, and Decision Making in Post-Mao China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992) 1. 7. Paul Hubbard, ‘Fragmented authoritarianism’ and state ownership (East Asia Forum, 23 January 2017). 8. Jinghan Zeng, Tim Stevens, and Yaru Chen, “China’s Solution to Global Cyber Governance: Unpacking the Domestic Discourse of ‘Internet Sovereignty,’” Politics & Policy 45, no. 3 (2017): 436. 9. Lieberthal, “Introduction: The “Fragmented Authoritarianism” Model and Its Limitations” 3. 10. Ibid, 2-3. Lieberthal clarifies importantly that these clusters do not encapsulate all of China’s important bureaucratic systems but instead has outlined those with “nationwide hierarchies that exercise strong executive power.” 11. Ibid, 9. 12. Ibid. 13. Vincent Pouliot and Jean-Philippe Thérien. “Global Governance: A Struggle over Universal Values.” International Studies Perspectives, online first, (2017). 14. Ibid, 2.

15. Ibid, 3. 16. Lieberthal, “Introduction: The “Fragmented Authoritarianism” Model and Its Limitations” 6. 17. Willy Wo-Lap Lam. “The agenda of Xi Jinping: Is the Chinese Communist Party capable of thorough reforms?” in The Routledge Handbook of the Chinese Communist Party (London: Routledge, 2018): 6. 18. Lam. “The agenda of Xi Jinping,” 6. 19. Pouliot and Thérien, “Global Governance: A Struggle over Universal Values,” (2017): 2. 20. Seen in Jyh-An Lee, “Hacking into China’s Cybersecurity Law,” Wake Forest Law Review 53, (August 2018): 64. 21. Emanuel Adler and Vincent Pouliot, “International practices” International Theory, 3(1) (2011): 5. doi:10.1017/S175297191000031X 22. Sending, O., & Neumann, I. (2011). Banking on power. In E. Adler & V. Pouliot (Eds.), International Practices (Cambridge Studies in International Relations, pp. 231-254). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/ CBO9780511862373.014 23. Monroe Price, “Global Politics of Internet Governance” Technology and World Politics (London: Routledge, 2017) 128. 24. Ibid, 128. 25. Joseph S. Nye, “The Regime Complex for Managing Global Cyber Activities,” Global Commission on Internet Governance Paper Series, 2014, 5. 26. Ibid, 5. 27. Stanislav Budnitsky and Lianrui Jia, “Branding Internet sovereignty: Digital media and the ChineseRussian cyberalliance,” European Journal of Cultural Studies 21 (2018): 599. 28. Ibid, 595. 29. Ibid. 30. Roussouw Von Solms and Johan Van Niekerk. “From Information Security to Cyber Security”, Computers and Security Journal 38, 99. 31. Von Solms and Van Niekerk. “From Information Security to Cyber Security”, 99. 32. Stein Schjflberg. The History of Cybercrime: 1976-2014, Cologne: Cybercrime Research Institute, 2014. 104. 33. Ibid, 8. 34. Price, “Global Politics of Internet Governance”, 131. 35. Ibid. 36. Adam Segal, “Chinese Cyber Diplomacy in a New Era of Uncertainty” (Stanford: Hoover Institution, 2017) 3. 37. Seen in Lee, “Hacking into China’s Cybersecurity Law,” 60. 38. Shehui xinyong tixi jianshe guihua gangyao 65

[Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System (2014-2020)], State Council (Beijing: 14 June 2014). A useful translation is available online here: https://chinacopyrightandmedia.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/planning-outline-for-theconstruction-of-a-social-credit-system-2014-2020/. 39. According to reporting by Foreign Policy, this system is scheduled for nation-wide implementation in 2020. Moreover, a document released by the State Council in 2014 asserted that the social credit scheme should “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.” 40. Shazeda Ahmed, Cashless Society, Cached Data: Security Considerations for a Chinese Social Credit System (Toronto: The Citizen Lab, January 24, 2017) https://citizenlab.ca/2017/01/cashless-society-cached-data-security-considerations-chinese-social-credit-system/. 41. Ahmed, Cashless Society, Cached Data. 42. Ibid. 43. Yongming Zhou, “Historicizing Online Politics: Telegraphy, the Internet, and Political Participation in China. Stanford University Press (2016). 44. Zhizheng Wang, “Systematic Government Access to Private-Sector Data in China,” International Data Privacy Law 2 (4): 243. 45. Lam, “The agenda of Xi Jinping,” 17. 46. Wang, “Systematic Government Access to Private-Sector Data in China” 243. 47. Ibid. 48. While no formal interviews were conducted for this research paper, throughout my month at Shantou University I questioned students, professors, and new friends on their opinions of domestic internet governance. I found that the vast majority Chinese I met preferred enhanced convenience and security over the protection of their data. 49. “Freedom on the Net Methodology,” Freedom House, Accessed August 20, 2018, https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-net-methodology 50. Wang, “Systematic Government Access to Private-Sector Data in China” 245. 51. Ibid, 244. 52. Lee, “Hacking into China’s Cybersecurity Law,” 62. 53. “Cybersecurity Law of the People’s Republic of China,” Chapter 1, Article 9. Translation found at: https://www.newamerica.org/cybersecurity-initiative/digichina/blog/translation-cybersecurity-law-peoples-republic-china/. 54. Lee, “Hacking into China’s Cybersecurity Law,” 66. 55. “Cybersecurity Law of the People’s Republic of China,” Chapter 3, Article 28. 56. Lee, “Hacking into China’s Cybersecurity Law,” 72. 66

57. Jack Wagner, “China’s Cybersecurity Law: What You Need to Know,” The Diplomat (June 1 2018) https://thediplomat.com/2017/06/chinas -cybersecurity-law-what-you-need-to-know/. 58. Lewis, China’s Global Internet Ambitions: Finding Roots in ASEAN, 7. 59. Chinese State Council General Office cited in Lewis, China’s Global Internet Ambitions: Finding Roots in ASEAN, 7.


Ways of “Starting Over” Locating Desire and Belonging in Wong Kar-wai’s Happy Together and Days of Being Wild Edna Wan

Wong Kar-wai, touted as one of Hong Kong’s premier filmmakers, sat down with Han Ong for an interview in 1998, a couple months after the release of Wong’s Happy Together (1997). In the interview, Wong remarks that with Happy Together, he “didn’t want to make a film about Hong Kong in 1997.”1 Though, somehow after filming Happy Together, Wong “knew that [the film] was not about Buenos Aires, but was somehow more related to Hong Kong.”2 Here, Wong prefaces discussion of Happy Together by distancing the film from the geopolitical history in which it was produced. By claiming that he did not want to make a film “about Hong Kong in 1997,” Wong references the end of British control of Hong Kong in 1997, the watershed year that marked the city’s transfer of sovereignty. Similarly, Jonah Jeng writes in “No-Home Movie: Emotional Dislocation in ‘Happy Together’ and ‘Moonlight,’” that the film premiered on May 17, 1997, “less than two months before the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China […].”3 Across the Pacific, a similar desire to locate the film with the impending Handover of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China is echoed in an article published by the South China Morning Post. Indeed, the article by Edmund Lee begins, “released in Hong Kong cinemas on May 30, 1997, just before the Handover […].”4 With such reception, it seems almost impossible to divorce Happy Together from Hong Kong as a site of origin. Wong’s Happy Together 68

features the turbulent and frenetic romance between Ho Po-wing and Lai Yu-fai as they move to Argentina as a remedy to their failing relationship. Ninety-nine years prior to the release of Wong’s Happy Together, in 1898, Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon peninsula, and the New Territories were ceded to Great Britain conditionally as a colony. In fact, beginning in 1898, Hong Kong would belong to British Empire under the legislative mandate of a lease for ninety-nine years. With the expiration of the lease, on June 30th, 1997, the transfer of Hong Kong marked the return of the islands to the People’s Republic of China rendering it the administrative region which stands today. Such a politically tumultuous event became an emblem of conflict which then unfurled into garrisons of indignity for many Hong Kong people. Not only an emblem of conflict, the 1997 Handover also became a tale of lives interrupted by the end of British rule. Cultural output from Hong Kong during this period became calibrated by 1997, and popular reception of Wong’s films similarly peddled allegories of the city’s Handover. Wong’s films, Happy Together and Days of Being Wild, which are lifting the burden of reconciling national alliances, are not simply allegorical tales of the Handover, but productive explorations of structures of love, desire, and kinship. Corollary to such popular reception of Happy Together, Wong’s second film Days

of Being Wild – cushioned by the comfort of seven years before the impending Handover – similarly tethers Wong’s film to Hong Kong’s colonial history. Andrew Chan,in a review for Slant Magazine, writes that the film weaves emotion from the two golden eras in Hong Kong’s social and popular culture. “The first of these eras provides the setting – the Sixties,” Chan explains, “which Hong Kongers remember as a pivotal moment just a decade after immigrants from Communist China set off a population boom.”5 Despite contextualizing Days of Being Wild with Hong Kong’s history, Chan mirrors some of Wong’s later sentiments about not wanting to make a film that testifies to Hong Kong’s impending Handover. Chan characterizes Wong’s film as not “interested in inundating us with period detail or social observation, the spaces are more spectral than physical, less lived-in than wafted through.”6 This short overview of the popular reception of Wong’s films reveals the ways in which both Happy Together and Days of Being Wild seem to negotiate space by situating Hong Kong as both the nucleus and the backdrop of his films. Such tendencies to ground Wong’s films in Hong Kong’s geopolitical history finds its perfect application with literary critic Frederic Jameson’s theory of national allegory. For Jameson, national allegory is a necessary framework to analyze “Third World Literature.” As Rosalind Galt notes in Queer Cinema in the World, “allegory [for Jameson] is necessary to represent the real conditions of the postcolonial nation, since the legacy of colonial oppression alongside the pressures of neo-imperialism do not permit the forms of realist or modernist narratives favoured in Western modernity.”7 Putting pressure on the ideal of transparent exposure of “the real conditions of the postcolonial nation,” Galt perhaps more importantly heralds over Jameson’s theory of national allegory, the criticisms levelled at Jameson for reading all Third World narratives as national allegory. As Galt so acutely and attentively observes, “Jameson’s totalizing sweep is itself a colonizing gesture, limiting the complexity of non-Western textuality.”8 Privileging the politics and history of the nation-state over the

text itself often pigeon-holes ‘Third World’ narratives while simultaneously valuing texts by their potential to be deciphered as allegory. Such allegorical reading necessarily commissions metaphor as the chief textual device which force narratives as substitutes and symbols of nation. In honouring a film’s engagement with space and national belonging above other narrative and thematic arcs, the work of national allegory is, as Galt argues, “limiting [to] the complexity of non-Western textuality.”9 In Happy Together, ‘Third World’ queer narratives and narratives of kindship are then elided for testaments of national struggle as reviewers continually and unrelentingly situate the film with the 1997 Handover. Rejecting Jameson’s overemphasis on the nation can make room to explore the ways in which love, desire, and belonging are commensurate narrative forces that give structure to Wong’s films. By examining travel and movement through and beyond national borders in Happy Together and Days of Being Wild, Wong’s efforts to refuse geopolitical readings of his films can be located by analyzing how structures of kinship are interwoven with conceptions of space. In yoking kinship with space, Wong’s films foreclose the impulse towards Jameson’s national allegory by resisting the ongoing privileging of spatial narratives over structures of kinship. Neutralizing queer relationships in favor of (hetero)normative projects like nationalism, Jameson’s “totalizing sweep,” is not only, as Galt writes, a “colonizing gesture.” Importantly, national allegory is simultaneously a gesture of queer violence by failing to acknowledge Wong’s queer narratives. Working against the efforts of national allegory, David Eng observes in The Feeling of Kinship: Queer Liberalism and the Racialization of Intimacy, in Happy Together, “Lai and Ho depart for Argentina not just as an attempt to ‘start over’ their flagging relationship. They also leave Hong Kong because Lai has stolen money from his father’s business associate.”10 Weaving together love, family, belonging, and financial responsibility – each in equal measure – Happy Together blurs the boundaries of each to unite transnational journeys with structures 69

of kinship. Using love as framing and shaping forces that defines the contours of Po-wing and Yu-fai’s movement throughout Happy Together, Po-wing’s refrain “let’s start over” is an important site that positions desire as the force that motivates the couple’s movements throughout the film while also positioning desire as that which defines their relationship more broadly. From the beginning of Happy Together, Wong couches movement and travel as central to Yu-fai and Po-wing’s relationship. The movie opens with a close-up shot of flipping passports that close in on the faces of the two male leads. Although this scene is short, passing in a flash, and less than ten seconds long, brevity is not made synonymous with inconsequentiality. This short scene is characterized by Lai Yu-fai and Ho Po-wing’s passports being flipped so rapidly that it appears on screen as a visual overstimulation of continual motion. Here, the passports themselves are the physical and material symbols of movement and travel, the vehicles that grant access across nations. As the rapid flipping of each page of the passports amplifies movement as a framing structure of the whole film, this short scene itself propels Wong’s film forward. The flipping passports pause when the customs officer stops to stamp the passports, momentarily lingering on the faces of Yu-fai and Po-wing. The flipping also stops when the customs officer points to Yu-fai’s travel status as “overseas.” Gesturing to the protagonists’ “overseas” status, Wong foregrounds the film’s preoccupation with national belonging. At the same time, by positioning Yu-fai and Po-wing’s passports together, Wong also positions the two characters relationally and in adjacency, to foreground Yu-fai and Po-wing’s relationship in the film. After the passports are stamped, the scene ends, and the screen is engulfed again by a black screen with white text that reveals the title of the film. In bookending the scene with text, Wong creates a short vignette that serves to introduce the film, while shaping the way we perceive movement as central to Yu-fai and Po-wing’s identities. While the vignette showcasing flipping 70

passports serves as a visual introduction to Happy Together, the spoken dialogue between Po-wing and Yu-fai offers an aural introduction to the film. As the screen displaying the Chinese title of Wong’s film “春光乍泄” dissolves and the film begins, we hear Po-wing say, “Lai yu-fai, let’s start over.” However, the English translation of Po-wing’s speech misses the nuances that are captured in the Cantonese. In Cantonese, Po-wing actually says something closer to the English: “Lai Yu-fai how about we start over.” This is an important distinction because, in contrast to the English translation, which definitively marks Po-wing’s spoken refrain in the imperative form, the Cantonese “how about we start over” allows for, and is open to, his partner’s response. Understanding Po-wing’s refrain not as a statement as the English translation suggests, but rather as a question and an open invitation for response is central to revising the way in which we understand structures of belonging and kinship in Happy Together. Instead, the Cantonese refrain “how about we start over” offers and affords Yu-fai the agency to choose Po-wing, and an occasion to “start over” by choosing to leave Hong Kong with him. In the scene that follows, we hear Yu-fai’s past-tense narration.He begins: “Ho Po-wing always says, ‘Let’s start over,” and it gets to me every time. We’ve been together for a while, and we break up often, but whenever he says, ‘Let’s start over,” I find myself back with him. In order to start over, we left Hong Kong.” Yu-fai admits that he “find[s] himself back with him” whenever Po-wing says ““Let’s start over.” Without disclosing why or how he finds himself back with Po-wing, Yu-fai absolves himself from any control in their relationship; it is as if he returns to Po-wing by accident, or as if their relationship is the achievement of destiny. However, by replacing “Let’s start over” with the more accurate “how about we start over,” Yu-fai does not only “find [him]self back with” Po-wing. Instead, he chooses to be with Po-wing and, by extension, chooses to “leave Hong Kong” with Po-wing. As love and desire drive the couple to Argentina, it is also love and desire that act

as obstacles in travel and in their pursuit of “start[ing] over.” The second time “starting over” is mentioned in the film, the couple has broken up. Again, Yu-fai retrospectively narrates, “when we first got here, we had no idea where to go. Then Po-wing bought a lamp and I really liked it. We asked a lot of people and found it was at Iguazu. We planned to see it and then go home, but we lost our way.” For Yu-fai and Po-wing, “[losing] [their] way” catalyzes their next break-up. The ambiguity disclosed with the ending “but we lost our way” at once marks their literal failure to find the Iguazu Falls, while also marking their rapidly unfastening relationship. This ambiguity interweaves movement and love in one broad stroke. Yu-fai says, “I never did find out where we were that day. I just remember he said it’s boring to be with me, that we should take a break. And perhaps, if we see each other again, we can start over.” Employing the conjunctive “and perhaps,” to link “see[ing] each other again” with “start[ing] over,” Yu-fai making “starting over” contingent on place. For Yu-fai, “starting over” their relationship is only possible if the two leave each other and “see each other again.” As Eng so perceptively analyzes in The Feeling of Kinship, the Cantonese colloquialism to “start over” translates literally to “from the head over again.”11 Eng examines this corporeal metaphor and suggests that it signifies an image at once psychic and physical. Embedded into the physical metaphor of “starting over” is an undeniable, and perhaps even incommensurable tension. Physically starting over “signifies a literal return, a going back to the beginning, a return to the starting line. But it also simultaneously marks an ostensible departure, a willful attempt to move forward in a new manner that would bring one to another place or effect without outcome or relation.”12 Eng’s deployment of the language of choice and agency here with “a willful attempt to move forward” captures the centrality of choice that is central to Po-wing’s “how about we start over.” Etymologically, “willful” comes from the Old English willan or wyllan, which means “to wish, desire.” By locating desire in the corporeal metaphor of “starting over,” Eng is attentive to the

undeniable presence of choice that Po-wing’s “how about we start over” encourages. As such, the fate of Po-wing and Yu-fai’s relationship does not lie with whether or not they decide to make “a return” or a “departure” from one another. Instead, the significance of this metaphor lies in its ability to make room for structures of kindship and love as active “wish[es]” and “desire[s]” through which both characters decide to move through the world and towards (or away from) each other. To conclude his narration, Lai Yu-fai says, “but for Ho Po-wing, ‘starting over’ means different things to him.” As the narration fades away, only sounds of driving cars in the background remain. In this concluding scene of Happy Together, the highway is so expansive scene that it almost consumes Po-wing and Yu-fai into its structure. The black and white hues in this scene render the couple indistinguishable from the highway while also reasserting the centrality of movement and journey in Po-wing and Yu-fai’s relationship. As the camera remains still to capture the moving vehicles, the scene begins with the couple standing next to each other on the side of the street. Importantly, the highway in this scene moves in both directions – mirroring the binary of “a return” and “a departure” that the metaphor of “starting over” produces. Yu-fai and Po-wing continue to stand on the side of the highway while cars and trucks pass them. Soon after, Po-wing tries to hitchhike. He tries to choose a direction, though to no avail. Leaving Po-wing behind him to hitchhike by himself, Yu-fai is the first one to walk away. Though it is not clear which direction he is walking in, Yu-fai has made a choice, and that choice is to leave Po-wing. Returning to Wong Kar-wai’s response to Han Ong as he made public the relationship he intended between Happy Together and Hong Kong, he offers, “I knew that it was not about Buenos Aires, but was somehow more related to Hong Kong.” By marking the film’s “relat[ion]” to Hong Kong, Wong also reveals that Po-wing and Yu-fai’s relationship in Happy Together is inextricable from, and firmly rooted to the poetics and politics of place. More importantly, the couple’s movements throughout the film 71

are predicated on having agential choice to move. From Buenos Aires to Hong Kong, it is the presence of choice that ultimately drives their relationship either away from Hong Kong and away from each other, or towards Buenos Aires and towards each other. Instead of privileging Jameson’s national allegory over Po-wing and Yu-fai’s relationship in Happy Together, it is necessary to view the two forces as intimately intertwined. Esther M.K. Cheung, like many critics, notes in Hong Kong Screenscapes From the New Wave to the Digital Frontier that Wong’s oeuvre is itself a travelogue.13 Happy Together follows Po-wing and Yu-fai to Argentina, Chang Chen from Argentina to the southernmost tip to South America, and then Yu-fai to night-markets in Taiwan and back to Hong Kong. Wong’s earlier film Days of Being Wild, is first rooted in Hong Kong, and then to the Philippines as Yuddy looks for his birth mother. Not only are Wong’s films set all over the world, but his characters all seem to journey from city to city, and country to country, always as parts of the narrative structure of the films. Such sustained investments in space, movement, travel, and journeys both shape and are shaped by Wong’s characters. In Days of Being Wild, Wong first introduces Yuddy by attaching him to symbols of travel. Released more than half a decade prior to Happy Together, Days of Being Wild focuses on Yuddy, the character set at the nucleus of the film. As a womanizer, Wong’s film follows Yuddy’s relationships from conception to failure, and attributes his inability to maintain these relationships to his unresolved obsession with finding his biological mother. From the beginning, the camera follows Yuddy from behind as he carries a light blue bag with a Pan-Am logo over his left shoulder. Wearing the Pan-Am logo – itself an emblem of international travel – as a possession, material symbols in the film prime the ways in which we characterize Yuddy as someone defined by flight. Yuddy’s bag foreshadows his tendency to travel throughout the film as he moves from woman to woman, and later, from his foster-mother in Hong Kong to his biological mother in the 72

Philippines. Just as Po-wing and Yu-fai’s relationship structures their journeys, Yuddy’s movement and journeys are similarly propelled by his connections with those around him. When Wong first introduces Yuddy in Days of Being Wild, not only is the character carrying the symbolic blue bag, he is also in pursuit of Li-Zhen. The camera follows Yuddy closely as he walks down the corridor to meet Li-Zhen to buy a bottle of Coke. In this scene, the bottle of Coke functions similarly to Yuddy’s Pan-Am bag – both items function as material items testifying to Yuddy’s character. This scene is repeated again the next day. As the camera follows Yuddy’s movements closely, the sound of his shoes against the floor works as if to propel the camera forward. The sound of Yuddy’s feet against the floor echoes through the hallway until he reaches the noodle bar. When the camera then moves ahead of Yuddy, the screen splits into two. On the left side, the camera captures Li-Zhen with her arms crossed and leaning over the counter with her head drooped. On the right side of the screen, Yuddy is still moving towards the bar. As Wong captures the two characters in one image, he juxtaposes the stationary Li-Zhen with Yuddy’s body in motion. Such a juxtaposition between motion and motionlessness amplifies the distance and difference between Li-Zhen and Yuddy at the beginning of their relationship. In pursuit of Li-Zhen, Yuddy’s moving body signifies his desire for her as he moves towards her. The immediate fault with fixing on Yuddy’s movement towards Li-Zhen as symbolic only of his attraction to her largely eclipses the urgency of attending carefully to how movement itself characterizes Yuddy’s desires throughout Days of Being Wild. After Li-Zhen and Yuddy sleep together, Li-Zhen asks, “Would you ever marry me?” to which Yuddy responds “No.” Upon hearing Yuddy’s response, Li-Zhen walks across the room, zips up her skirt, and begins to walk out of the room only to pause and turn around to warn him that “[she]’ll never come back.” Exploring this particular interaction calls our attention to the ways in which Yuddy and Li-Zhen move around the bedroom in accordance with, and

as a reflection of their desires. As Li-Zhen asks Yuddy about marriage, the latter stands in front of the mirror and combs his hair. He does not even turn away from his reflection to respond to her question. In contrast, Li-Zhen’s anger toward Yuddy’s response propels her across the room, out the door, and away from Yuddy. In this scene, what is particularly important to note is that Yuddy remains mostly motionless throughout the scene – a metaphor of his lack of desire for Li-Zhen. After Yuddy’s love affair with Li-Zhen, he meets Mimi. Predictably, Yuddy fails to stay with her for long before becoming quickly disinterested in her. Similar to Wong’s use of the metaphoric refrain, “how about we start over” in Happy Together, Wong also employs metaphor in Days of Being Wild. Throughout the film, Yuddy repeats the metaphor of the legless bird. The first time Yuddy describes the bird, he is lying on his bed smoking a cigarette. Yuddy’s narration begins, “I’ve heard that there’s a kind of bird without legs that can only fly and fly, and sleep in the wind when it is tired. The bird only lands once in its life, and that’s when it dies.” Metaphorizing his identity to “a bird with no legs,” Yuddy defines himself by mobility and flight. Not only does the image of the bird characterize his tendency for flight, but this image also works as his lifeline. For the bird can “only land once in its life, and that’s when it dies.” Ultimately, wielding the flightless bird metaphor as his lifeline marks Yuddy as rootless, wandering, and, more acutely, unsettled until death. Furthermore, his commitment to movement and flight captures the enterprise of solitude her performs throughout the film. When Yuddy’s foster mother tells him that she is going to America, he begs her one last time to tell him about his biological mother. His foster mother regrets telling Yuddy about his birth mother and laments, “I should not have let you know before. But I’ve told you. For you are not my blood, you will leave me.” As Yuddy’s foster mother points to the significance of blood relations and kinship, she admits that they are not related and that Yuddy is “not [her] blood.” By underscoring filial relations as the determining force for “leaving [her],” Yuddy’s

foster mother renders movement – both leaving and staying – as contingent on blood relations. In response, Yuddy also processes that “I only want to know who my parents are.” This singular desire, to only “want to know who my parents are” steers Yuddy to the Philippines later in the movie. Interestingly, there is a central ambiguity in this proclamation. On the one hand, the emphasis can be placed on the verb to “want” or the verb to “know.” If we place an emphasis on the former verb to “want,” Yuddy then says that “I only want to know who my parents are.” Reading this proclamation in dialogue with Yuddy’s metaphor of the legless bird, his “want to know” keeps him (or the legless bird) alive and flying. On the other hand, if we are to emphasize Yuddy’s desire to “know” who his parents are, his desire translated through the metaphor of the legless bird can then be also read as his desire to land and to die. Both readings underline how Yuddy’s movements throughout the film are ultimately rooted in desire and structures of kinship. At the end of the film, when Yuddy and Tide ride the train in the Philippines, Yuddy relays the story of the legless bird for the second time. Interrupting Yuddy, Tide says, “How are you like a bird? If you could fly, you would not have to be here. Go and fly, if you have such an ability.” After finding out that his biological mother has rejected him, Yuddy loses his singular desire, his “want[ing] to know who [his] parents are” that kept him flying. As Tide accurately notes, Yuddy no longer has “such an ability.” Having lost both the desire (the “want”) and the “know[ledge]” of his parents, Yuddy can no longer fly. From Li-Zhen to Mimi, from his foster mother to his biological mother, and from Hong Kong to the Philippines, Yuddy’s movements must come to an end as his one desire becomes foreclosed by his biological mother’s rejection of him. The final time we hear the metaphor of the legless bird is when the narrator revises the story: “There was a bird, which flew and flew until it died. It never goes anywhere, because it died from the start.” Immobile, and “never go[ing] anywhere,” the narrator stages Yuddy’s 73

fate at the end of the film. Determining Yuddy as dead “from the start,” each move that Yuddy has made throughout the film, each attempt to start over, is negated by characterizing him as already dead. Paralleling this sense of immobility is the way that Wong ends Days of Being Wild with the same panning shot of the palm trees tinged in blue that opens the film. By drawing the narrative to a close with repetition, and a return to the same slow panning shot, Wong reinvests in the metaphor of the legless bird. By replaying the same scene, Wong calcifies the film’s structure as one that “never goes anywhere.” By retranslating Po-wing’s refrain from “let’s start over” to “how about we start over” in Happy Together and analyzing the metaphor of the legless bird in Days of Being Wild, movement across borders can be understood not simply as an allegory of national anxiety entirely calibrated by Hong Kong’s impending 1997 Handover. Instead, movements and transnational journeys in Wong’s films become inextricable from structures of kinship and the desire to belong. More importantly, although structures of kinship are not only partially derived from nationality, they also surpass national ideology. Using love and desire as frameworks that drive characters to move away and towards each other, national allegory proves to be a limiting, if not wholly inadequate, means of reading ‘Third World’ texts. By elevating and privileging structures of kinship and intrapersonal relationships in Wong’s movies as forces continuously in dialogue with movement across space, we resist foreclosing the radical potential of what Jameson describes as “Third World” narratives.


Notes 1. Ong, Han and Wong Kar-wai. “Wong Kar-wai by Han Ong” Bomb Magazine.https://bombmagazine. org/articles/wong-kar-wai-1/ (accessed December 28, 2018) 2. Ibid. 3. Jeng, Jonah. “No-Home Movie: Emotional Dislocation in ‘Happy Together’ and ‘Moonlight’” The Film Stage. https://thefilmstage.com/features/ no-home-movie-emotional-dislocation-in-happy-together-and-moonlight/ (accessed December 28, 2018) 4.Lee, Edmund. “In Pictures: Wong Kar-wai’s Romantic Film Happy Together Turns 20.” South China Morning Post. https://www.scoopnest. com/user/SCMP_News/864233959454109696in-pictures-wong-kar-wais-romantic-film-happytogether-turns-20 (accessed December 28, 2018) 5. Chan, Andrew. “Review: Days of Being Wild” Slant Magazine. https://www.slantmagazine. com/house/article/days-of-being-wild (accessed December 28, 2018) 6. Ibid. 7. Schoonover, Karl, and Rosalind Galt. Queer Cinema in the World. Durham: Duke University Press. 2016. Pg. 128. 8. Ibid. 9. Schoonover, Karl, and Rosalind Galt. Queer Cinema in the World. Durham: Duke University Press. 2016. Pg. 128. 10. Eng, David L. The Feeling of Kingship: Queer Liberalism and the Racialization of Intimacy. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 2010. 11. Ibid. 12. Ibid. 13. Cheng, Esther M.K, Gina Marchetti, and Tan See Kam, eds. Hong Kong Screenscapes: From the New Wave to the Digital Frontier. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. 2011. Pg. 20.


真の心 shin no kokoro (‘my true heart’) Freedom to Create Self-Identity as a Japanese-Canadian

Ellie Wakabayashi





Surprise! This is a semi-typical dialogue that I have when I meet someone for the first time. The above questions and statements are what first come to mind when people hear the word “Japan” followed by “Canada.” When people ask me these questions, the tone of their questioning has a sense of sincere curiosity. It shows what they think they know about Japan and Canada. But what do they know about Canada’s relationship with Japanese immigration, and the struggle Japanese-Canadians go through in navigating identity formation as proud Canadians with Japanese ancestry? The purpose of this creative self-reflection piece is to highlight the difficulty of navigating the creation of a unique “self ” amidst the tension of having one’s personal identity and history assumed by others. This creative piece will analyze how I, as a Japanese Canadian, feel cultural alienation from current Japan, understand Japanese immigration to Canada, and reconcile my personal identity considering my own family history. How does Japan’s national identity and self-image impact me in Canada? The fact that so many people know the word “Konnichiwa” is a testament to Japan’s pervasive soft power, that is the exportation of the country’s cultural influence through the globalization of manga and Japanese animation 80

(“anime”) consumption. Most commonly known Japanese words come from song titles, or catch phrases in manga or anime. Naruto is a story about ninjas. In Sailor Moon, high school girls turn into sailor outfit-clad heroines who save the world. Battle Angel Alita is about a female cyborg who fights futuristic robots. In all three of these mangas, the themes of uniting together, punishing those who break the rules, and constantly refining oneself to better meet social expectations are embedded into the storyline. In other words, familiar tropes are accepted and normalized to reinforce how Japanese should act. The female characters are often portrayed as obedient, cute, fragile, or simply dumb. Of course, not all readers would think the same way I do, but it is hard to ignore certain portrayals of Japanese women in this genre of manga. For many non-Japanese, the first exposure to Japanese culture is through this type of literary art. Manga and anime are a major export of Japanese pop culture, and book sales alone contributed over 280 billion yen to the Japanese economy in 2014.1 At one level, I am proud that Japan has such as positive reception in the Western world. When I was younger and lived with my parents, I felt stronger pride in having ‘Japanese’ traits as I was praised by those around me for being so respectful and courteous. However, as I moved away from home and created stronger friendships with Canadian friends, I became

more critical. Being immediately categorized as more Japanese than Canadian evolved into a source of discomfort rather than pride. Due to the popularization of manga stereotypes, I have had instances where I felt objectified as obedient, cute, fragile, or simply dumb. True, I do look physically Japanese, but my outward appearance is not my sole identifier. I am a proud Canadian too. My inner identity is a mix of Japanese and Canadian values. I am Japanese-Canadian. To be more accurate, I am Nikkei-NisseiKadajin, a.k.a. second-generation JapaneseCanadian. I am an Albertan with an Alberta Health Care Card. I am a Banffite born in the town of Banff National Park and raised in its large Japanese diasporic community. Admittedly, this unique location has led to my unique outlook on identity. There are far fewer Japanese-Canadians than those of other visible minority groups.2 According to the 2011 National Household Survey, people of Japanese heritage number 0.34% of the total population- and are mainly Canadian-born citizens.3 Therefore, it is statistically highly unlikely to meet a Japanese-Canadian despite the long, complex history of the two major waves of Japanese-Canadian immigration and diaspora. Initial Japanese immigration to Canada The initial wave of Japanese immigration followed an optimistic call to Canada for work on the National Railway.4 The immigration of Issei (first-generations) was marketed as a way to make a clean start in a land of opportunity. However, this suddenly turned to oppression and political enslavement under the War Measures Act during World War 2.5 Imperial Japan became the enemy and heightened the increased the paranoia of anti-Japanese politicians like John Hart and Ian MacKenzie.4 The Act specifically targeted Japanese-Canadians, as Chinese- and Korean-Canadians were allies in the war effort. Initially, the Canadian Government only required routine check-ins. However, tensions and the fear of “Imperial Japanese Spies” quickly erupted, leading to the complete oppression, forceful relocation, and

internment of all Japanese-Canadians on the Pacific Coast.6 Despite no reports of any actual sabotage or spies, the source of persecution was an imagined affiliation with Imperial Japan and its assumed values of extreme nationalism.4 Ironically, many of those interned were born in Canada and only saw Canada as their home.7 Their Japanese looks and any pride in upholding Japanese values led to oppression, sickness, or in certain cases death.4, 6, 7 The freedom of self-expression was stolen from them once again. Secondary Japanese immigration to Canada The second major wave of Japanese immigration to Canada occurred many years after the oppression of World War 2 was conveniently pushed into the closet. In the 1980s, a period of rapid growth in Japan’s economy, financial well-being encouraged Japanese to travel to overseas destinations such as the Canadian Rocky Mountains.8 The purpose of coming to Canada was a desire to be amazed by the untouched nature, and to find a place to breathe, away from the increasingly industrial and frantic rebuilding of Japan’s economy. Hundreds of young Japanese workers made the conscious decision to seek out full-time jobs in Canada, which reflected the enthusiasm many felt towards creating a “free and individual self ” who had cut ties from traditional Japan.9 My mother was one of those who left Japan to pursue her own version of happiness. After attending university in Kyoto, she worked as a quality checker at Kirin - a large beer company. It was a monotonous 8-5. It was long days of pushing buttons. It was changing pipettes. It was the mechanical movements and the endless beeping of the machine. On top of that, it was the feeling of constantly being careful to not act out of place or speak out of place. Being part of a company meant being obedient to hierarchical power dynamics. For my mother, living in Japan became constraining. Initially, she had hoped that this company would provide her with a sense of pride in her workplace, feelings of wellbeing, and sentiments of fulfillment. In comparison, 81

stories about living in Canada were advertised as an escape from the constraining communal bonds and obligations of corporate Japan, in other words a clean start in a land of opportunity. For young and nature-loving workers such as my mother, the desire to liberate herself from her company overlapped with her aspirations for a happier and more international life. She looked to Canada as an ideal place for finding herself; with its vast natural landscapes, as a land of potential, Canada was a place to establish her new subjectivities. Banff National Park was an overwhelmingly popular destination. My parents moved there and opened their Scottish clothing store in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. The Scottish tartan-check patterns and wool fabric were exotic to the many Japanese tourists, who had never strayed far from the kimono silk and floral or animal based designs. Here was a place where the grandeur of the mountains and the endless forests washed away the feelings of being constrained by strict social rules. This was another version of freedom, a breathing space which transcended a sense of individual worries where both self and others could co-exist peacefully. In 1995, at the Banff Mineral Springs Hospital, I was born on a cold winter’s day in December. Finally, a reconciliation of identity and belonging Therefore, I am a product of the desire for freedom. A child born by Japanese immigrants who chose Canada, as a land of potential, to become free and re-define their own identity. My parents made decisions about my upbringing. They gave me opportunities to become more stereotypically “Canadian.” Decisions included having a Rotweiller and German Shepard Cross dog, enjoying winter activities, and encouraging me to speak English better than Japanese. I was raised through stories centered upon Japanese and Canadian characters. I am a proud Nikkei-Nissei-Kadajin, Banffite, and Albertan. Now, I am also a McGillian. Growing up in Canada ended up 82

mixing a medley, diversity, and patchwork of identities to create one person. The current me, who has inherited the freedom to choose between two different cultures and values. For those that exclaim “Arigatou, Konnichi-wa!” when they learn that my parents are Japanese, I will politely smile and go along with it. It’s obvious that there is no malicious intent behind those words and I am happy that others are interested in Japanese culture. Having said that, I would appreciate it if you, the reader, recognized that the history of Japanese-Canadians is complex. The choice to spread roots in Canada comes with a desire to find liberation from the rigidity of Japanese culture. I don’t exist in an identity dichotomy of either being Japanese or Canadian. Having the right to choose which values define my identity is part of the freedom that my parents sought in this land of potential, and a freedom passed on to me.

The opinions expressed in this essay are from personal reflection and do not attempt to reflect those of the wider Japanese-Canadian population.

Notes 1. Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Japan Animation Industry Trends in Japan Economic Monthly. 2015 http://facweb.cs.depaul.edu/noriko/ JapanTrip08/JETRO-market_info_manga.pdf. 2. Statistics Canada. 2011 Household Survey: Data tables, https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/ dp-pd/dt-td/Rp-eng.cfm?LANG=E&APATH=3&DETAIL=0&DIM=0&FL=A&FREE=0&GC=0 &GID=1118296&GK=0&GRP=1&PID=1053 92&PRID=0&PTYPE=105277&S=0&SHOWALL=0&SUB=0&Temporal=2013&THEME=95&VID=0&VNAMEE=&VNAMEF= 3. CBC news. 1 in 6 Canadians is a visible minority: StatsCan. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/1-in-6-canadians-is-a-visible-minority-statscan-1.710493 4. Sunahara, Ann. “Japanese Canadians.” In The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2011. 5. Smith, Denis. “War Measures Act.” In The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2013. 6. Robinson, Greg. “Internment of Japanese Canadians.” In The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2017. 7. Frede, Josh. “Tainted: The Treatment of JapaneseCanadians during World War Two.” 2011. http://app.ufv.ca/fvhistory/studentsites/wwII/japanesecanadianswwII/japaneseloyalty.html. 8. Statistics Canada. “Chart 4: Growth in overseas travellers visiting Canada, by region, 1972 to 2015.” The evolution of Canadian tourism, 1946 to 2015. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-630x/11-630-x2017001-eng.htm. 9. Satsuka, Shiho. “Narratives of Freedom.” In Nature in Translation: Japanese Tourism Encounters the Canadian Rockies, 39-66, 2015.


The Collected Works of Shan Shili A Hidden Feminist Gem in Transitional China

Adrian Cook

The first decade of the 20th century was a time of significant upheaval and disruption in the cultural fabric of the Chinese Empire. As the threat of neighbouring states grew, the Chinese population retaliated against the failed modernization of the Qing Dynasty, foreshadowing its eventual downfall in 1911. Throughout this transitional period, the need for modernization in various aspects of life and culture was vocalized by many revolutionary women, demanding female mobility and education for the development and protection of the nation. With this came an expansion of the scope of women writers’ topics of interest and travels. One such woman was Shan Shili, a gentry woman (guixiu) of the Qing Dynasty who fulfilled many literary firsts for Chinese women. Compared to her peers, Shan Shili is remembered as a reformist. Her written works have been interpreted as supporting women’s mobility and education in nationalistic pursuit, yet constantly reminding Chinese guixiu of their gendered role in society. In contrast, women such as Qiu Jin are remembered as feminist revolutionaries. However, explorations of Shan Shili’s works have remained limited to analyses of singular works, with no scholar examining the entirety of her compositions. In this paper, I am reconsidering her written works in their entirety, redefining their feminist intent throughout this transitional era. I will argue that while Shan Shili’s collected work has largely been deemed reformist and traditional 84

in the feminist context, through a reexamination of the written form and authorial expression of her various works, the author emerges as a beacon of women’s literary freedom. I will begin by analyzing Shan’s first publication Guimao lüxing ji (Travelogue in the Year 1903), incorporating poems from her posthumous collection, Shouzishi shigao (Poem drafts from Shouzi Studio), written throughout the 1903 journey accompanying her husband, as detailed in the Travelogue. I will then expand upon this analysis using Shan’s Guiqian Ji (Writings in Retirement) as evidence of emerging feminist motivations. Acknowledging various conservative claims Shan has made in her works, I will argue that they contradict other aspects of her writings and lifestyle. Finally, I will address Qing guixiu zhengshi zaixuji (A Continuation of the Correct Beginning of Gentlewomen of the Qing), asserting an alternative explanation for its traditional content. Through this extensive analysis of her works, I intend to redefine Shan’s legacy as one of feminist intent and authorial independence. Prior to exploring Shan’s collection of writings, a summary of her background is necessary. Born in 1856 to a family of scholars from the Zhejiang province, Shan received an extensive literary and historical education due to the desire of her maternal uncle, Xu Renbo, to see her educated.1 A traditional guixiu trained in classical poetry and prose, Shan was late to marry at the age of 26.2 Her husband, Qian

Xun, was an ambassador and official for the Manchurian government of the Qing Dynasty.3 In his role as diplomat, Qian Xun travelled across the globe, eventually with the company of his wife. As such, Shan was “the first woman traveler who wrote extensively about her overseas journeys”.4 As stated, in contrast to other travelling women of her times, Shan Shili is considered more conservative and supportive of her traditional guixiu values, incorporating reforms to update their role in a modern context.5 Her first foreign journey began in 1899, at the age of 43, when she wrote: “I followed him [her husband] to Japan with our two sons. In the next few years, I went often, sometimes several times a year.”6 Henceforth, Shan’s exposure to foreign cultures expanded, and her authorial voice grew. Shan Shili’s first published work, Guimao lüxing ji (Travelogue in the Year 1903), was published in 1904, one year after her journey took place.7 The travel journal records her 70-day journey throughout China, Japan, Korea, and Manchuria, as she accompanied her husband to Moscow and Saint Petersburg from March to May 1903.8 Shan split her travelogue into four sections: the first detailing her time in Japan until April 5th; the second recording her train journey and observations of Vladivostok until the 17th; the third noting more travel details from Manzhouli to Moscow and Saint Petersburg; and finally, a detailed account of her time in Moscow.9 The first and last sections are noted for their detailed reports of culture, technology, and attractions in the respective cities, with meticulous descriptions of specific topics. For example, Shan writes: “When it’s noon at Wolinskaya it’s 7:44am in Saint Petersburg. The two are off by 256 minutes, and the difference in longitude is 64 degrees.”10 In another example, Shan describes the work of the Red Cross.11 These educational passages straightforwardly educate readers on

newfound topics. Through this writing format, Shan demonstrates her first leanings towards a scholarly narrative that rigorously transcribes knowledge with minor personal input. This narrative is further evident within poems written by Shan throughout her 1903 travels, collected in Shouzishi shigao (Poem drafts from Shouzi Studio). One poem reads: That ancient cloud carriage is fictional, Unexpectedly this trolley never loses its way. Driven by electricity and steam, it is safe and fast, And one doesn’t bother to cross the creek by wheelbarrow.12 As Wang notes, Shan takes the opportunity in this poem to focus on the enabling power of technology and the improvements it brings to quality of life.13 She uses Chinese legendary imagery to convey the amazement caused by the trolley. In doing so, Shan intrigues the reader with foreign technology, and demonstrates the way foreign education could improve Chinese lives domestically. These excerpts contrast with the second and third sections of the journal, which primarily contain lush descriptions of scenery and surroundings, such as her impression of Kyoto and her experience traveling by train. These examples are closer to the traditional writings of Qing women with their “softness and honesty” in contrast to the emerging “powerfulness and boldness” of her informative sections.14 While the narrative form shows a trend towards an intentionally scholarly narrative, it must be acknowledged that the intended audience for her writings were fellow guixiu like herself. In fact, her writings detail “her strong support for a Japanese model of education for women, one that emphasized service to family and nation rather than learning for the sake of learning”.15 This approach is simultaneously held up as evidence of Shan’s more traditional intentions for women, as well as her advocacy for women’s increased mobility and freedom in Chinese society. As she states in her preface: “Perhaps a longing for travel would also 85

arise among my female compatriots who have read this. I hope so.”16 Shan Shili clearly expresses her intention to educate women for the betterment of society by empowering them to educate their children, continuing to fulfill their roles as mothers and wives in a modern context. However, by presenting the travelogue from her own perspective, Shan is subtly providing women with an aspiration of what they could become through their own actions. While her writings encourage women to travel for the betterment of their families, her travels and notes reveal her own innate curiosity of the outside world. Some may argue that Shan’s consistent referral to her husband when stating ideas demonstrates her wish “to exemplify modern wifeliness.”17 I would argue that this is a lingering habit from her many years as a guixiu that signifies little, as the use of this rhetorical escort disappears in future writings. Shan Shili’s Travelogue of 1903 portrays an initial foray into international travel writing. While she expresses her desire to educate women for the betterment of the Chinese empire, and to improve women’s roles in the family, aspects of her work show her emerging interest and prowess in concisely conveying knowledge to the benefit of her readers. Shan’s next work, Guiqian Ji (Writings in Retirement), published in 1909, details her travels to Rome from July 1908 to November 1909 upon her husband’s retirement.18 The work is “composed of 10 chapters (and two appendices), dedicated to various topics, historical and artistic,”19 rendering each section an in-depth recording of specific subject matters, meticulously described for an audience unfamiliar with European history. For example, Shan describes a mosaic at the entrance of Saint Paul Cathedral titled ‘The Boat’, and makes note that tourists typically miss it because of its placement.20 She then conveys the history that explains why the mosaic was placed there in the first place. Shan’s comprehensive and exhaustive exploration of each minute historical and cultural detail further defines her writing as intentionally scholarly. As stated by Brezzi, Shan wanted “to go 86

beyond the roles assigned to women by her society, and she did so by choosing a form of writing, which was the prerogative of male writers, the historical essay.”21 Furthermore, as the first Chinese author to attempt to describe Western art and heritage to her readers, she effectively conveyed her travel experiences to her readers.22 In this unique position, Shan Shili became one of the first Chinese individuals to write about various topics, such as Judaism and the aforementioned Italian art and architecture. Her works on Judaism reflect her experience of seeing “with her own eyes the suffering of Jewish people in Europe.”23 As she writes: “I read newspapers from Germany and Japan claiming that there were Jews in China. I therefore collected much information from Japanese and German sources, as well as making many inquiries of several scholars of the subject.”24 This passage indicates Shan’s eagerness to explore subjects to their full extent and investigate the questions that arise for answers. Through her research regarding Jews in China, she put together a thorough collection of information not only outlining the various arrivals of Jews and Judaism in China throughout time, but also detailed collections of information on Jewish faith, practices, worship, and stories. Shan’s historical approach to her subjects in Guiqian Ji rendered her a “connoisseur of the architecture of the Cathedral [,...] a connoisseur with [...] above all a serious degree of authority to write and perhaps instruct.”25 This authority enabled her to not only record detailed histories of subjects she was immersed in, but also insert her own opinion on certain topics. For example, about Catholic confession, she states: “Throughout his life a man never ceases to confess; if, after the confession of the afternoon, at the evening he commits other sins, the next morning he can confess again, and he becomes a virtuous man again!”26 Or in another example, about anti-semitism across Europe:

“Although many Jews are intellectuals and rich financiers, many key figures of Europe and America’s financial world are Jews, still they are oppressed by the white race. [...] It is clear that the Jewish problem is caused by racial hatred.”27 In both excerpts, Shan enjoys the freedom to comment on and critique the Catholic faith and the racist treatment of the Jewish diaspora. Her deep knowledge and thorough research of these subjects enables her to fill a space, as previously stated, traditionally for male writers. When describing the nude Laocoön statue, Shan admits that these sights initially made her feel strange, but through reading books she grew to understand them.28 As Brezzi argues, this statement displays Shan’s faith in research and reading as a means of understanding foreign subjects, and subtly encourages her readers to educate themselves as well. Widmer states that “[t]he contrast between Shan’s two travelogues suggests that over time Shan may have abandoned the idea of contributing to the awakening of Chinese women, preferring instead to confine her travels to more purely cultural themes.”29 I contend instead that the reverse is true: as Shan focuses on the cultural and historical themes of her location, she demonstrates her ability as a woman to produce valuable knowledge and scholarship to be shared with anyone, as any man would. Furthermore, she reveals confidence in her judgment through her written expression - she no longer uses her husband and sons as rhetorical escorts when articulating perspectives or opinions. It is also made clear that her work is intended to be shared. She asserts: “It might benefit readers by widening their scope of knowledge. Thus, I copied it out and sent it to the press.”30 While this statement sounds like an afterthought, the incredible extent of her research validates that she intended to educate and inform with her research. This is further reflected in her statement on Marco Polo’s written works:

“It is the requisite reading for any Westerner who is interested in Chinese affairs, as Marco Polo is considered the first scholar of Eastern studies.”31 Here Shan once again subtly indicates the importance of her own work. If Marco Polo, as the first Westerner to write about Chinese affairs, is a requisite reading for any interested Westerner, this indicates that she, as the first Easterner to write about the West, is also a requisite reading. Additionally, Shan argues that Marco Polo’s work is valuable to Chinese individuals as a Western perspective of Eastern culture, indirectly drawing attention to the inverse significance of her work, as an Eastern production about Western culture. This statement demonstrates Shan Shili’s faith in her own ability, confidence in her authorial expression and independence as a woman. It confirms that Shan saw her research and work as valuable to readers of all backgrounds. The contents of Guiqian Ji continue to portray Shan Shili as a female author aware of her own knowledge and ability. Here, she distances herself from the outcry for female mobility, and instead demonstrates it through her own travels, research, and writings. By fully committing to the historical essay, Shan proves that women are equal to men in their ability to write, research topics, and dispel knowledge. In contrast to Widmer’s analysis, her cultural focus indicates her strong self-identity as a researcher and historical scholar independent of her guixiu position, adjusting her writing style to the benefit of her readers. Shan’s writing is frequently noted as encouraging women to conform to the expectations of guixiu. However, I would argue that Shan’s writings present an odd yet recurring contradiction between her stern statements reminding women to remain virtuous in their roles, and her support for the breaking of these norms. For example, she says to her daughterin-law after a trip to the Osaka Exposition of 1903: “Today’s trip was only to expand our knowledge. Although we tramped about in the rain, we did not trespass against the rules 87

of decorum. Moreover, you were waiting upon your mother-in-law. But when you go back to Tokyo, you must scrupulously obey the rules of your school. Do not go out frivolously.”32 Yet, in another passage she mentions intentionally walking multiple miles when at home “as an ironic comment on the women watching.”33 Similarly, she has been quoted saying that women’s travels and education should be for the sole intent of improving their roles as mothers and educators; and yet, she wrote in a poem while staying in a Spring Resort in Hakone, Japan: I would like to leave some footprints of a wild goose.34 What a shame that I haven’t mastered the Japanese language.35 Once again, a contradiction is found in her statements. Shan’s longing to write fluently in Japanese in order to publish writings for a Japanese audience indicates that she in eager to write for dedicated readers, rather than to the benefit of her status as a guixiu, as was suggested. These examples obscure whether statements Shan Shili made about conforming to guixiu customs were supposed to be taken literally, or were supposed to indicate her desire to maintain the customs and traditions of the past, while still fully liberating women from literary and scholarly limitations. As stated by Armstrong, “Ming and Qing culture women’s writing maintained the sexual and social hierarchy of male over female without insisting, as Western feminism does, that their respective desires and sensibilities exist in opposition to each other.”36 Could Shan have desired the liberation of women, without eradicating cultural norms and habits that had been a part of Chinese culture for centuries? These contradictions in her statements substantiate that perhaps a Western definition of feminism and female liberation is not compatible with understanding the late Qing era context. Finally, I would like to acknowledge Qing guixiu zhengshi zaixuji (A Continuation of the 88

Correct Beginning of Gentlewomen of the Qing), Shan Shili’s addition to Yun Shu’s collection of distinguishable guixiu. It has been noted that Shan did not include revolutionary writers from the end of the Qing Dynasty in her additions to the collection, only including women who exhibited the virtues of guixiu. Furthermore, the work is very traditional, using classical language and applying the date in the stem-branched form.37 Per Widmer, this indicates a conservative approach to her additions.38 Unfortunately, without proper translations, I was not able to analyse the contents of her work to its full extent. Nonetheless, I would like to propose an alternative interpretation. In light of Shan Shili’s steady and consistent shift from travel journal writer to historical essay writer, it is possible that her additions to Qing guixiu zhengshi zaixuji were an attempt to preserve the history of the guixiu following the 1911 Xinhai Revolution. This would effectively commemorate her reality and life in a meticulous, thorough history following the sudden and abrupt shift of Chinese culture from traditional ancient customs to those of the newly-founded Republic. Considering the drastic changes taking place around her, Shan’s desire to record a part of history that so deeply impacted and involved her would be understandable. If so, this would indicate that she remained a committed researcher and historian throughout her life. With her developed research skills, she would have been equipped to identify honourable guixiu, locate their significant works, investigate their biography, and include it all in a historically accurate and concise format. As China transitioned from the Qing Dynasty to the Republic of China, the lives of all Chinese citizens shifted as they adapted, not only to a new government, but to a nation that had begun to open to the world, acknowledging its need to learn from international neighbours. This change came with a newfound freedom for women, as they enjoyed the accumulating liberation from their gendered expectations. Shan Shili has long been understood as a woman who accepted the change of time, but remained instilled in her role as guixiu. Through this analysis I intended to prove that

Shan Shili was not in fact devoted to maintaining the strict decorum of guixiu, instead hoping to preserve the history and culture of the role as China entered a new era. Through an observation of her writings as a sequential series of works, it becomes evident that Shan Shili greatly expanded the scope of what a woman writer could be, rivaling the work of men, and solidifying herself as a historical scholar. While she continued to develop her literary and educational abilities, she preserved her guixiu identity which had long been a part of her, and continuously sought to protect this piece of culture as it began to fade from society. Shan Shili was not a reformist afraid to sacrifice the gendered norms of the past; she was a hidden feminist gem that has long been misinterpreted. Her collected works stand as an honorable example of perseverance and success in a transitory state.


Notes 1. Alessandra Brezzi, Some artistic descriptions and ethical dilemmas in Shan Shili’s travel notes on Italy (1909). International Communication of Chinese Culture 3, no. 1 (2016): 177, https://link.springer. com/article/10.1007%2Fs40636-015-0033-y 2. Ellen Widmer, Foreign Travels through a Woman’s Eyes: Shan Shili’s Guimao lüxing ji in Local and global Perspective. Journal of Asian Studies 65, no. 4 (2006): 769, https://mycourses2.mcgill.ca/d2l/le/ content/351147/viewContent/4027712/View 3. Brezzi, “Some artistic descriptions”, 177. 4. Yanning Wang, “Introduction,” in Reverie and Reality: Poetry on Travel by Late Imperial Chinese Women, (Plymouth: Lexington Books, 2014), 145. 5. Yanning Wang, “Chapter 5: Women’s International Travels in the Late Qing,” in Reverie and Reality: Poetry on Travel by Late Imperial Chinese Women, (Plymouth: Lexington Books, 2014), 146. 6. Widmer, “Foreign Travels”, 766. 7. Grace S. Fong, Mobile Subjects: Women’s Education and Transformations in Travel Writing in the Late Qing and Early Republic. Institute of Chinese Studies Visiting Professor Lecture Series (II), Journal of Chinese Studies, no. Special (2009): 185, https:// mycourses2.mcgill.ca/d2l/le/content/351147/ viewContent/4109050/View 8. Widmer, “Foreign Travels”, 771. 9. Ibid. 10. Ibid, 764. 11. Ellen Widmer, “Chapter 1: Gentility in transition: Travels, novels, and the new guixiu,” in The Quest for Gentility in China: Negotiations beyond Gender and Class, ed. Daria Berg and Chloë Starr (Abingdon: Routledge, 2007), 31. 12. Wang, “Chapter 5: Women’s International Travels in the Late Qing”, 147. 13. Ibid, 147. 14. Guo Yanli, An Introduction to Modern Chinese Female Literature. Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies 3, no. 2 (2003): 120-121, http://sjeas.skku. edu/upload/200605/06_Guo%20Yanli.pdf 15. Widmer, “Foreign Travels”, 766. 16. Fong, “Mobile Subjects”, 184-185. 17. Grace S. Fong, Mobile Subjects: Women’s Education and Transformations in Travel Writing in the Late Qing and Early Republic. Institute of Chinese Studies Visiting Professor Lecture Series (II), Journal of Chinese Studies, no. Special (2009): 185, https:// mycourses2.mcgill.ca/d2l/le/content/351147/ viewContent/4109050/View 18. Brezzi, “Some artistic descriptions”, 175. 19. Brezzi, “Some artistic descriptions”, 179. 20. Hu Ying, ‘Would That I Were Marco Polo’: The 90

Travel Writing of Shan Shili (1856-1943). Journeys 5, no. 1 (2004): 128. 21. Brezzi, “Some artistic descriptions”, 180. 22. Brezzi, “Some artistic descriptions”, 179. 23. Zhou Xun, “Chapter 3: Encountering and Reinventing the ‘Jews’ 1870-1915,” in Chinese Perceptions of the ‘Jews’ and Judaism: A History of the Youtai, (Mitcham: Curzon Press, 2001), 52. 24. Zhou Xun, “Appendices,” in Chinese Perceptions of the ‘Jews’ and Judaism: A History of the Youtai, (Mitcham: Curzon Press, 2001), 169. 25. Ying, “‘Would That I Were Marco Polo’”, 127. 26. Brezzi, “Some artistic descriptions”, 181. 27. Xun, “Chapter 3: Encountering and Reinventing the ‘Jews’ 1870-1915”, 53. 28. Brezzi, “Some artistic descriptions”, 187. 29. Widmer, “Foreign Travels”, 769. 30. Ying, “‘Would That I Were Marco Polo’”, 124. 31. Ying, “‘Would That I Were Marco Polo’”, 131. 32. Widmer, “Foreign Travels”, 772. 33. Ibid, 775. 34. Chinese metaphor meaning ‘record my traveling experience at this place’ 35. Wang, “Chapter 5: Women’s International Travels in the Late Qing”, 149. 36. Nancy Armstrong, “Postface: Chinese Women in a Comparative Perspective: A Response,” in Writing Women in Late Imperial China, ed. Ellen Widmer and Kang-i Sun Chang (Stanford: Stanford University Press), 414. 37. Ellen Widmer, “Chapter 5: The Rhetoric of Retrospection: May Fourth Literary History and the Ming-Qing Woman Writer,” in The Quest for Gentility in China: Negotiations beyond Gender and Class (Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center), 213. 38. Ibid, 213.

Bibliography Armstrong, Nancy. “Postface: Chinese Women in a Comparative Perspective: A Response.” In Writing Women in Late Imperial China, edited by Ellen Widmer and Kang-i Sun Chang, 397422. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997. Brezzi, Alessandra. “Ome Artistic Descriptions and Ethical Dilemmas in Shan Shili’s Travel Notes on Italy (1909).” International Communication of Chinese Culture 3, no. 1 (2016): 175-89. Accessed November 29, 2018. SpringerLink. Fong, Grace S. “Mobile Subjects: Women’s Education and Transformations in Travel Writing in the Late Qing and Early Republic.” Institute of Chinese Studies Visiting Professor Lecture Series (II), Journal of Chinese Studies, no. Special (2009): 181-201. Accessed November 12, 2018. MyCourses. Wang, Yanning. “Chapter 5: Women’s International Travels in the Late Qing.” In Reverie and Reality: Poetry on Travel by Late Imperial Chinese Women, by Yanning Wang, 144-56. Plymouth: Lexington Books, 2014. Accessed November 30, 2018. ProQuest. Wang, Yanning. “Introduction.” In Reverie and Reality: Poetry on Travel by Late Imperial Chinese Women, by Yanning Wang, 8-13. Plymouth: Lexington Books, 2014. Accessed November 30, 2018. ProQuest. Widmer, Ellen. “Chapter 1: Gentility in Transition: Travels, Novels, and the New Guixiu.” In The Quest for Gentility in China: Negotiations beyond Gender and Class, edited by Daria Berg and Chloë Starr, 21-44. Abingdon: Routledge, 2007. Widmer, Ellen. “Chapter 5: The Rhetoric of Retrospection: May Fourth Literary History and the Ming-Qing Woman Writer.” In The Quest for Gentility in China: Negotiations beyond Gender and Class, edited by Milena DoleželováVelingerová and Král Oldřich, 193-226. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2001. Widmer, Ellen. “Foreign Travel through a Woman’s Eyes: Shan Shili’s Guimao Lüxing Ji in Local and Global Perspective.” Journal of Asian Studies 65, no. 4 (2006): 763-91. Accessed November 12, 2018. MyCourses. Xun, Zhou. “Appendices.” In Chinese Perceptions of the ‘Jews’ and Judaism: A History of the Youtai, by Zhou Xun, 167-84. Mitcham: Curzon Press, 2001. Xun, Zhou. “Chapter 3: Encountering and Reinventing the ‘Jews’ 1870-1915.” In Chinese Perceptions of the ‘Jews’ and Judaism: A History

of the Youtai, by Zhou Xun, 39-66. Mitcham: Curzon Press, 2001. Yanli, Guo. “An Introduction to Modern Chinese Female Literature.” Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies 3, no. 2 (November 30, 2018): 109-22. Accessed November 30, 2018. Korea Citation Index. Ying, Hu. “Would That I Were Marco Polo’: The Travel Writing of Shan Shili (1856-1943).” Journeys 5, no. 1 (2004): 119-41. Accessed November 13, 2018. Expanded Academic ASAP.


Contributors Hongyang Cai is a first-year master student in East Asian Studies. Having completed her undergraduate studies in Linguistics and Spanish, she continues to pursue her interests in Latin American literature and modern Chinese literature. Her current project focuses on cultural diplomacy and literary translations between Chile and China in the 1950s. Her passions are reading, dog-watching, and spicy food. Adrian Cook is a U3 student in the Faculty of Arts, majoring in Geography with a double minor in International Development and East Asian Studies. He began taking courses in the East Asian department of McGill in first year as elective courses, eventually turning these elective courses into a second minor. Particularly interested in East Asian history, he has primarily focused on courses focusing on gender and sexuality in East Asian literature. Tiffany Dai is a third year Art History major with minors in Communication Studies and Chemistry. In her first year on an editorial team, she is excited to be working on this year’s edition of Orientations in print and online. After McGill, Tiffany aims to pursue art conservation and restoration. With interests in Chinese contemporary art and film, she hopes to volunteer in Shanghai this summer to gain more experience in a museum setting. Ellie Wakabayashi is a first-year student of a Master of Science in Family Medicine and Biomedical Ethics at McGill. She is a Japanese-Canadian who was born and raised in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. Feeling a sense of belonging to both Japanese and Canadian culture, this places her at a unique position of experiencing the best of both world. She feels conflicted when choosing between her favourite foods; smoked salmon with cream bagels or Japanese pizza “okonomiyaki.” Both options are very savory. Edna Wan is in her last year at McGill. Currently, she is finishing up her English Literature Honours degree, with a joint minor in History and East Asian Studies. Her English thesis is an exploration of Transpacific citizenship and representations of the June 4th student protests at Tiananmen Square in the contemporary Asian American novel. With a particular interest in Asian American literature, the East Asian studies department offers her alternative approaches for studying Transpacific citizenship. Caroline Wesley is a 2018 McGill University graduate with a BA in Political Science and International Development Studies and a Minor in East Asian Language and Literature. Currently working as a political analyst in the international aid sector, her research interests focus on foreign relations, human rights, environmental protection, and public policy, specifically in East Asia and developing areas. Impassioned by diplomacy and representing Canada’s interests abroad, she has worked for Global Affairs Canada, the U.S. Department of State, and the United Nations. Caroline served as Co-Editor In Chief for Orientations’ 13th edition. Rebecca Wu is currently finishing her Psychology major and double minor in Chemistry and Finance. She has always been interested in learning about different cultures specifically in East Asia where her roots are. In order to better understand the differences, she has travelled to numerous East Asian countries. She hopes to allow others to get a snippet of the life of those in East Asian countries by transporting the reader into the country through her photography.


Sabrina Xuan is a U4 student in Anthropology and Social Studies of Medicine. With her ‘third culture’ upbringing (born in China, raised in Japan in an American community, while holding Singaporean citizenship), she feels connection with multiple aspects and facets of East Asian heritage. She enjoys listening to ambient music, taking public transit, and going on springtime walks. Yuzhou Yan is a U1 student majoring in Computer Science and Linguistics. He lived in Zhengzhou, China for fifteen years before studying in Singapore for another four years. The elegant shape of Korean Hangul and the pleasant sound of Japanese sparked his interest in learning the two languages as well as the culture they carry. He also devotes himself to calligraphy, a traditional practice shared by the entire East Asia. He will exchange to the University of Tokyo soon and hopefully volunteer at the 2020 Olympics! Bo Zhang is a second-year Joint Honours student reading history & politics. Raised in Asia, Europe and North America, Bo has attended six education systems (from Canada to Scotland), across a dozen institutions. At McGill, his passion for Chinese history was ignited when studying under Professor Robin D.S Yates. Beyond his academic pursuit, Bo is the founder of Vision Shapers Forum and Cognitio, a LinkedIn Campus Editor and an advisor to PETA; above all, he calls himself an animal rights advocate and global trotter!


Editors’ Biographies Lily-Cannelle Mathieu is a third-year Joint Honours Anthropology and Art History student pursuing a minor in East Asian Studies. After having served Orientations as an editor in 20172018, she is delighted to be Orientations’ Editor-in-Chief for its fourteenth print edition and for the launch of the journal’s website! Lily-Cannelle is particularly interested in contemporary heritage management and in Asian art and architecture. Guided by her passion for Japanese gardens, culture, and aesthetics, she will undertake anthropological fieldwork in the Shukkeien garden of Hiroshima in Summer 2019. Tianru Chen designed this issue of Orientations. Emma Corso is a third year Double Major in Anthropology and East Asian Studies, and is thrilled to be both an editor and creative content creator for this edition of Orientations. She studies Korean, and is interested in both the social and political conditions of East Asia, as well as popular culture. She hopes to conduct ethnographic research in South Korea or Japan as a graduate student. Tiffany Dai is a third year Art History major with minors in Communication Studies and Chemistry. In her first year on an editorial team, she is excited to be working on this year’s edition of Orientations in print and online. After McGill, Tiffany aims to pursue art conservation and restoration. With interests in Chinese contemporary art and film, she hopes to volunteer in Shanghai this summer to gain more experience in a museum setting. Gina Fung is a fourth-year Joint Honours History and International Development Studies student with a minor in East Asian Cultural Studies. In brief, some of her research interests include (but are not limited to) U.S. imperialism in the Asia-Pacific region in spaces, space-making, and contact zones; and the histories of urban planning and zoning in East Asia. Anthony Kuan is a third year History and East Asian Studies student and an editor for Orientations. He is interested in studying the seminal historical dynamics responsible for developing modern East Asia, and the broader role that these dynamics have had in influencing the political relationships that extend through and beyond the region at present. In addition to his role in Orientations, Anthony has also edited for Luminous, a student journal aimed at promoting the latest academic research at McGill University, and for the McGill International Review. Jamie Miura is a third year Political Science student pursuing minors in East Asian Cultural Studies and Management. He currently serves as an editor at the Orientations Journal for 201819. Jamie is interested in US-Japan relations and its influence on the regional dynamics of East Asia. After spending a semester at the University of Tokyo, Jamie continues to explore his interest in US-Japan relations through his work as the American Executive Committee Chair of the 71st Japan-America Student Conference. He plans to further pursue his academic interests through an internship at the Department of State this summer. Jonathan Webb is a third year History major and East Asian Studies minor. He is especially interested in media related to the history of international relations in East Asia. He worked with Oscarwinning director Ruby Yang on her documentary “Ritoma”, which highlighted issues surrounding some Tibetan nomads’ experience with western sports. He aims to specialise in sound production for films to further his passion and involvement in cinema that centres on East Asian topics. 94

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.