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China Speak: Brown-nosing, Elton John & Ghost Cities

Elton John dedicates Beijing show to Chinese artist, dissident Ai Weiwei

Photo: Getty Images

Quotes making news around China this week.

“The ghost city issue in China, far from being about a few extreme cases like that of Ordos, is absolutely ubiquitous.”
Anne Stevenson-Yang, the principal of J Capital Research. Financial Times

“Days ago, news came that Shanghai’s female volleyball players suffered sexual harassment at the hands of their coach. And today’s news is that the volleyball coach in Henan assaulted players when he was drunk. Actually, in contemporary mainland China, no matter the level of department or public institution, so long as there is a superior-subordinate relationship, this happens commonly. The reason is clearly that one’s power is too big, without supervision, and the oversight is out of control.”
Lin Xi, a Shanghai photojournalist. Bloomberg

"Here, no one dares to protest - we would end up in jail because the lead bosses are protected by the police."
-An elderly resident of Tianyang, Anhui Province speaking of pollution that’s resulted from the Jiaxin Group led plant. Reuters

“The culture of brown-nosing becomes a costly competition during Teacher Appreciation Day, a national holiday in September, when students of all ages are expected to bring gifts. Gone are the days when a floral bouquet or fruit basket would suffice. According to reports in the Chinese news media, many teachers now expect to be given designer watches, expensive teas, gift cards and even vacations. In Inner Mongolia, some parents said, more assertive teachers welcome debit cards attached to bank accounts that can be replenished throughout the year.”
New York Times report on corruption in China’s education system

“Mom will say I was picked out of a garbage dump or fell from some table.”
A CCTV segment explored sex education in China by asking people what their parents told them as children when they asked where they’d come from. Of the nearly 200 people interviewed, 85 percent of respondents’ parents told them they were found. Beijing Cream

“[Concert] promoters across China work hard in the margins, trying to incrementally increase their ability to do more and at the same time increase choices for the Chinese public. In fly cosseted stars on their private jets, stay in their Chinese presidential suites for a night and think they will solve the problems of a nation by embarrassing the state in their own back yard. Then fly out, back to their mansions in Cannes surrounded by sycophants that tell them how brave they were and how significant those actions will be, and we are left to clean up the mess. So what are the consequences likely to be? Most probably an increase in the already expensive and weighty Ministry of Culture approvals process. Most likely more scrutiny for international artists wanting to come and play China and subsequently less variety and frequency of shows. Life post Bjork was tough here in China…”
- China Music Radar on Elton John dedicating his Beijing concert to Ai Weiwei.


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