So, I wrote Heart of Shenzhen: The Movement to Preserve ‘Ancient’ Hubei Village. It was published in The New Companion to Urban Design, an (embarrassingly expensive) anthology, edited by Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris & Tridib Banerjee. The paper tracks the rise of public intellectuals in Shenzhen as well as growing identification with the city’s cultural geographies.
Finding out what is happening within the Shenzhen government is difficult not only because of censorship restrictions, but also because of protocols regulating the circulation of “documents (文件)”. Specifically, no documents are are sent virtually. Instead, documents are faxed from Beijing or Guangzhou to a centralized distribution center in the Shenzhen government that receives the faxed documents, makes copies, and then delivers them to relevant ministries and bureaus. This protocol follows for lower-ranking governments as well, so Shenzhen faxes to its constituent Districts which in turn fax to their Street Offices. There are, of course, different levels of government faxes. Some are simply copies of directives or activities, while others are actually official policy and require stamps (such as the copy of a Sichuan document, above). Continue reading
Yuan Geng continues to inspire hope for social reform in Shekou. Yesterday, the recently established Shekou Community Welfare Fund mounted the exhibition “Me and Yuan Geng” to celebrate the 98th birthday of China Merchants-Shekou’s first CEO. The Shekou Community Welfare Fund is the 14th such fund registered in Shenzhen, but it is the only one started by community members through donations, rather than through a government bureau. This matters because Shenzhen Municipality has called for the establishment of 100 funds, and we hope for more and more community–rather than government sponsored community–funds to emerge over the next year or two. Continue reading
The Tangtou row houses are finally empty. My favorite family has moved elsewhere, leaving behind butterflies, flowers, and a stencil that reads “Southern Weekly, Southern Weekly, Southern Weekly”. The father earns his living by selling advertizing space for the print edition of Southern Weekly. All in all a poignant reminder of how vulnerable civil society and debate remains.
Southern Daily was the one newspaper that has been vocal about evictions and the rights of migrant workers. However, on December 27, 2013 it undermined its credibility by giving the police the names of protesters who had supported the newspaper during January 2013 protests. The newspaper’s decision to cooperate with the police has angered and disgusted many who are calling for the publishing house to release the names of the leaders who have betrayed the people who came to their defence. As with last January’s Southern Weekly Incident, the public learned of this incident because staff broke ranks to blow the whistle on them. Details gathered in the article “Southern Weekly, it would have been better for you to have died, then to have lived to commit today’s shame (南周 恨不当年死 留作今日羞)