Category Archives: Armchair Theorizing

School Buses and Political Consciousness

One of the regularly offered predictions in the debate over the political future of China is the idea that as incomes, freedom, and access to information increase, movement toward liberal-democratic government becomes inevitable. The way a story about a deadly … Continue reading

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A Crisis of Trust

I’ve written before about the way a competing claims from government, media, and individuals creates a reality where truth is slippery and misinformation hard to root out, but the theme has come back in recent weeks with examples of how … Continue reading

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Urban Planning and Chinese Society

There’s a connection to be made between urban planning and the state of Chinese society. A couple of quotes recently drew my attention to how the design of cities is a deep reflection of social values. Take the comments of … Continue reading

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What a Maserati and Jet Li Say about Civil Society

A while ago the Chinese internet latched onto the story of Guo Meimei, a young woman who posted pictures of herself wearing luxury clothes and driving a Maserati. The controversy is that the girl also claimed she worked for the … Continue reading

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Things I Talk About When I Talk About Education in China

I’m back in the US for a while after 2 years in China and I realize I’ve started to develop a standard line on some topics, especially education. In the spirit of Haruki Murakami, these are the things I talk … Continue reading

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Red Songs and Exceptionalism

One of the jarring things about modern China is the persistence of Communist self-aggrandizing pageantry. July 1st is the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party and the commemoration is already in full swing. Newspapers are running special … Continue reading

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Desensitized to Violence

This is the front page of today’s English China Daily, and it stands as a reminder that there are some things which get censored in the United States that don’t in China. American journalism’s censorship is self-imposed, and there are … Continue reading

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