A certain American-right-wing propagandist might be interested in this image of a certain Chinese government propagandist. This is Liu Xin, a CGTN show host, as shown in the March 30, 2018, edition of Dian Shi Sheng Huo, a Communist Party of China newsletter for CCTV employees. It recognized her as a “top ten” host and applauded her work in telling China’s story.
It’s very satisfying to at last be able to put up this post. It is full of — gasp! — messages against China’s central government. I visited Hong Kong in late November, about a month before leaving China for good. There I was able to take many photos of graffiti and other anti-government messaging put up by protesters.
I stepped outside on Christmas Day 2019 to a gloriously foggy morning. I was overjoyed. Fog is my favorite weather.
“Ah, that’s right! Michigan has weather! This is why I moved back.”*
I used to loathe puns, but as a reporter and assigning editor I was grateful to have copy editors in my corner who could turn a phrase or come up with something clever on the spot for a headline or title.
This building has become in my mind a symbol of my time in Beijing. It’s the first thing I found myself absorbed in when I first arrived. It’s across the street from where I work and was right outside the window of the first place I sat down at there, at a little hallway table meeting with an HR person. It was visible from the roof of the first apartment building I lived in, where I’d go at sunrise to stretch and drink coffee. It’s visible from my current apartment.
Seeing a new strain of wheat being touted in the same room as the spacesuit of China’s first astronaut was the moment that awakened me to the country’s perspective. It went from being the backward agrarian country American parents once used to guilt their kids into eating their vegetables (“People are starving in China, and you won’t even finish your plate!”) to being an economic powerhouse, in just a few decades.
This came during an October 2016 visit to the National Museum on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, and was surely the reaction curators hoped to elicit. The Chinese people are coming from a point of view the rest world overlooks, underestimates, or is just plain unaware of.
My fascination with Chinese money continues…
In case you weren’t already painfully aware of the amount of consumption going on in the world, I created this handy visual aid based on shots from the observation deck at the far end of one of Hong Kong International Airport’s terminals.
I also saw one while still in the air on the way in to the city. From my window seat I could see islands, the new Hong Kong-Zhuhai- Macao Bridge, and then a containership that was as large as the island I’d just seen, with no meaningful difference in distance.
Throughout China’s capital are red street banners with white lettering urging people to be more civilized, root out dark forces, not smoke, and engage in better behaviors.
One day I noticed I had a long-running habit of photographing packaged food items. These photos run back to Jecheon, South Korea, 2003. Others were taken in Detroit, 2013 and 2016. Most were taken in Beijing in recent years.
Stuck an old iPhone in my shirt pocket and hit record for my commute to and from work. That’s it. Raw, simple way to preserve a period in my life and to give the curious an idea of what it’s like to commute in Beijing by shared bike.
This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while: Stick my phone in my shirt pocket and let it record while I ride a bike through Beijing traffic.