If even the Japanese can become refugees, what should China’s mortgage slaves do?

The sight of Japanese refugees has forced us to rethink global modernity because if Japan’s house of cards can fall, then none of us are safe. Below, I’ve translated Yang Qian’s thoughts. Chinese version follows. Also, in Mandarin the term “房奴” literally means “house slaves”, however because the term refers to people who have been enslaved by their mortgage debt, I’ve used the expression mortgage slave. If anyone has a better translation, please advise.

If even the Japanese can become refugees, what should China’s mortgage slaves do?

By Yang Qian

The fact of Japanese refugees is something we’re not used to.

For Chinese people, we’re not surprised to see refugee centers and camps in Africa, the near East, or countries like the Balkans. While famine, drought, and panic cause people to loose their homes or even die of sickness in war torn places like Somalia, Pakistan, Chechnya, and Afghanistan. In these places, it’s not strange at all to see ordinary people take on extraordinary suffering. But who ever imagined that refugee camps would appear overnight in Japan, once the second richest country in the world, where 100s of thousands of people struggle with hunger and death? Continue reading

News from Tokyo (by way of Shenzhen gossip)

First night back in Shenzhen and went to dinner with a former student, who has just returned from Tokyo, where she has been studying a MFA in Theatre and Expression. What became clear over the course of the conversation was how Chinese political and news reporting conventions continue to shape understanding of what is happening in Japan.  Continue reading