shatou renovations. again

So, as the Xiasha Kingkey project finishes up, another urban renovation project begins in neighboring Shangsha. Below, impressions of the Xiasha plaza, the Kingkey complex along Binhe Road, and the state of unmaking in Shangsha.

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the shenzhen anti-terrorism campaign

Although China has been strengthening its anti-terrorism campaign over the past year or so, the Shenzhen anti-terrorism campaign is recent. Ideologically, the campaign promotes a Neo-Confucian message of family first–a value that terrorists are purported not to share. Unfortunately, terrorists are more or less consistently represented as Muslim. In fact, the stereotypes used in the campaign are familiar from conversations I’ve had with friends over the past decade, when I have been told that Islam is not a religion but a terrorist organization. More alarmingly, as in the United States, Chinese anti-terrorism feeds anti Muslim sentiments and justifies increasing militarization of public life. Sigh.

Of note: the May 22, 2014 attack (in which men in ski masks jumped out of two vans to attack people in Urumqi) has become the stereotype of terrorist attack in the campaign. The following Inside Story by Aljazeera attempts to understand the increasingly violent situation.


和谐深圳:building a harmonious society II

Mary Ann O'Donnell:

To continue the 10 year anniversary celebration of Shenzhen Noted, I’m reposting “和谐深圳: building a harmonious society” an early post on what might be called “disorderly” Shenzhen. The accompanying pictures illustrate the underlying fears that have permeated Shenzhen’s development.

On a distressing note, 10 years after I first documented signs of anxiety throughout the emergent city, these generalized fears have left the unofficial sphere and have entered the official sphere of anti-terrorism campaigns and fear-based advertising for private taxi companies. Unfortunately, it seems that the anxiety produced by in-your-face inequality of ten years ago has been displaced onto the bodies of Chinese Muslims, who (in much of the propaganda) are represented as “generalized” Middle Eastern Muslims.

The anti-terrorism campaign warns the Chinese public that terrorists have no human feelings and ruthlessly destroy family life, which is described in Confucian rhetoric–a not so subtle reminder that the “Chinese” nation is Han. This impression is further heightened in an anime anti-terrorist campaign that explicitly associates terrorism with Islam and China’s Muslim province, Xinjiang. The Shenzhou taxi campaign plays upon fears of techy house invasions, showing film stars claiming that, “I fear” how technology allows strangers to know where one lives. The tie-in with the anti-terrorist campaign is familial well-being: because they have your address, these strangers can prey upon your children or wife. The Shenzhen add campaign also extends the anxiety of ten years ago: gates are no longer enough to keep predators away.

Originally posted on Shenzhen Noted:

Yesterday, I was walking in one of the new sections of Houhai. On my left, behind the walls of an elite gated community, children frolicked in a recently completed swimming pool. On my right, migrant workers hung out at a corner kiosk of a construction site shantytown. The juxtaposition of these two spaces, common throughout Shenzhen, symbolizes the class structure that has enabled the construction of the city. On the one hand, urban residents (whether from other cities or long term Shenzhen residents) occupy the new buildings and spaces—upscale housing, high-rise offices, and shopping malls bulging with designer goods. On the other hand, rural migrants build these spaces, inhabiting temporary structures that vanish at the end of a project. Indeed, it is not uncommon to see children playing or women cooking in front of a row of construction site shanties. Unlike the enclosed lives of the gated community, shantytown lives…

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the overlooked ubiquity of bicycles in shenzhen

Mary Ann O'Donnell:

Celebrating 10 years of noting changes in the urban landscape. These pictures suggest how Shenzhen looked and moved at the cusp of its transition from concrete low rises to glass and steel skyscrapers. There’s even a picture from when Huanggang Road was a major shipping artery.

Originally posted on Shenzhen Noted:

I have been collecting discarded objects and then photographing them in different sections of Shenzhen, the oldest and largest of China’s special economic zones. This process has (as yet) denied me photo-ops with a Guanyin statue, but helped me see things so common that they hadn’t previously registered as “Shenzhenese”. This bike tire examplifies how what gets overlooked is often the all-too-common (even by folks who define themselves through acts of documentation).

In the early eighties, just after the PRC had opened to the capitalist West, bicycles symbolized the differences between urban China and urban “us”. I remember magazine articles on Beijing and Shanghai that featured images of hundreds of Chinese citizens biking to (or from) work, school, the market. At the time, Shenzhen had just been established and rarely featured in these articles, except as an example of the extent to which China was changing. From its establishment, however…

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thermometer: opening impressions

The ThermoMatter (温度) opening was well attended, despite the distances–geographic, class, and interest–that separate the Shenzhen Art Museum from the rest of Shenzhen. There was a general conversation with participating artists after the opening ceremony and there seemed to be a consensus that this show was “local”; all artists had some connection to the city. There were 2nd generation participants, long-term immigrants, and projects that were explicitly about the city itself. In the Chinese 温度 can refer  to “temperature” as well as to actual and emotional warmth. All agreed that these meanings were fully on display.

General impressions from the opening:

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Snippet from “of a piece”, hands:


handshake 302 at the shenzhen art museum!

3:00 this afternoon at the Shenzhen AT Museum, Handshake 302 presents “Of a Piece”, an interactive project that includes sewing, conversation, and relief from the summer heat. We’re also organizing pamphleteers (see above) to generate an audience for the project in the neighboring park. That’s right, SZAM is located in the East Lake Park/ Reservoir at the very edge of what (in 1982) was the eastern edge of the SEZ.

Please join us at S(ha)ZAM! The museum and its location (East Lake Park/ Resevoir) are “Old Shenzhen” from its 1980s’ incarnation. There’s even a nearby dim sum restaurant that as old as the SEZ just outside the park’s main gate. Below, a video snippet from the Dongmen Fabric emporium:

Asian Journal of Women’s Studies

Mary Ann O'Donnell:

Check it out.

Originally posted on Journal of Contemporary Asia:

FreeThe Asian Center for Women’s Studies at Ewha Womans University publishes the Asian Journal of Women’s Studies. The articles and reviews in Issue 1 for 2015 are available for free download.

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