The other week, I found a Facebook picture that was fascinating. I know what you’re thinking — and no, the photo didn’t involve anyone’s crazy weekend. I’m sure there were some crazy photos of some crazy weekends, but this photo was definitely crazier. It was a picture of Facebook — specifically a graph of all the cities connected by Facebook. Tiny dots with lines drawn between them represented the connections between each city.
Maria Repnikova, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, gave a lecture yesterday in Kaufmann Auditorium called “Critical Journalists and the State in China: The Case of Guarded Improvisation,” which examined the complex relationship between the press and the government in modern China. Co-sponsored by the Cornell Contemporary China Initiative and the Department of Communication, the lecture covered Repnikova’s doctoral and postdoctoral research. Repnikova made the argument that contrary to the popular image, Chinese journalists critique the state within certain boundaries set by the central party. According to Repnikova, the popular imagery of Chinese media tends to casts journalists as “loyal agents of the party state” and claim that the state “gives very little leeway for criticism.”
However, Repnikova said while the press does have severe restrictions under the Chinese state, a particular form of “critical journalism” has emerged where the state allows the press to critique it, but with fluid limitations. “Beneath this imagery of collision between isolated critics and an omni-powerful state, there are some exchanges that take place between various journalists and Chinese officials that often go unnoticed in popular media depictions,” Repnikova said.
Cornell signed a research partnership agreement on Sept. 23 with Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group — the largest dairy producer in China — to find ways to improve dairy production, according to a University press release. The agreement emerged after the University and the Yili group signed a memorandum of understanding in April for research collaboration on increasing dairy product innovation. These public-private partnerships are necessary in order to find ways to feed the growing world population, according to Prof. Martin Wiedmann, food science. “[This partnership is] needed to increase research to create a thriving global agricultural economy and provide high-quality food products for a world that is predicted to soon reach nine billion people,” he said in the release.
The Shanghai Quartet visited Bailey Hall on Saturday for a riveting performance that had some of the rough-and-tumble feel of a rock concert. To open the performance, the quartet took on Mozart’s String Quartet in D minor, K. 421, setting an elegant yet chipper tone for the concert. They dallied with the first movement’s lightsome runs with a tempered gusto. In the Andante that followed, however, the quartet attacked a dark counterpoint, allowing it to well up with an unexpectedly inward melancholy. When the counterpoint motif came back, they erupted in a startling, hall-reverberating crescendo that brilliantly shattered the remaining façade of delicate composure the piece had initially created.
Drum roll. The audience at the State Theater was absolutely silent — anxious with anticipation — waiting for what would be the grand finale of the Golden Dragon Acrobats’ dynamo performance last Saturday.
“Ladies and gentlemen, what you are about to see is incredibly dangerous. Please, do not try this at home.”
Huh … they’re saying that now? The first two hours of the performance had already seen a multitude of acrobatic feats that, performed by lesser-trained individuals, would have resulted in any number of injuries, as mild as hernias or as severe as broken bones.
The Olympics open in twelve days. You could say that Beijing is putting the final touches on what it hopes will be a masterpiece, a sign of China’s rising power and ascension to an important global position. Yet these preparations have cut widely and deeply into the daily lives of those who live in and around Beijing.
Far from the fluorescent lights of Shanghai and the history-laden streets of Beijing lies a starkly different China — a China where bicycles are more prevalent than cars and where private family homes with adjoining small farms are more common than sky-high apartment buildings.
Walking down the streets of Beijing is a surreal experience. There are times when it doesn’t even seem like you’re in the same country, let alone same city. On the one hand there are towers of steel and glass and deluxe shopping malls with high-powered brand names pasted on the walls, but there are also areas of poverty, where resident are just waiting for an eviction order to make way for the next shiny development.
To see Zhang Ziyi onscreen is to recognize her as a cinematic presence. The star of films such as House of Flying Daggers and (most famously) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is not so much an actress as an iconic figure of the martial arts genre—a feminine beauty that is capable of terrifying strength when the occasion calls. She can dance, yes, but she can also kick.
Like a waving silk ribbon, the crowd flowed up and down, up and down with a rhythm of passion and consistency. There were infants, parents, students, grandparents, workers, vagabonds, sports teams, security guards, corporate sponsors, ambassadors and too many other attendees to count or describe.