Author Archives: Jason Li

Spelunking on the Chinese internet for Nicki Minaj fans

From That’s What Xu Said: I went spelunking on the Chinese internet today. What started off as an innocuous search for Chinese Nicki Minaj fans quickly turned into a hunt for the ingenious, hilarious, and often slightly insulting nicknames created by Chinese fans for the American pop stars whose names they can’t pronounce. After an inappropriate […]

The Translation Detail Everyone Missed in the China Internet’s Incredibly Surreal Anthem

In case you missed it, the New York Times, ProPublica, the Guardian and the Atlantic all wrote about this incredibly surreal but voted best of event anthem celebrating China’s glorious internet. Thanks to ProPublica we have a subtitled, Youtube video above. As James Fallows at the Atlantic pointed out, one of the most stirring phrases […]

Book Review: China Airborne by James Fallows

In China Airborne, Fallows skillfully uses the rise and uncertain future of the aviation industry in China as a parable for the development in China. An avid political-economic analyst and storyteller, Fallows’ account is surprisingly easy to read, given the complexity of his argument that China is “contradictory” yet exciting. Fallows is a charismatic writer […]

Fact checking the hype around mesh networks and FireChat

Being based in Hong Kong, my tech friends and I still occasionally get asked, “So what’s the deal with FireChat?” In case you missed it, FireChat, a smartphone chat app with basic mesh support, made headlines during the recent Occupy Hong Kong protests. Protesters on the ground here turned to it in late September when […]

Chinese video meme hit used for PLA recruitment ad

Excerpted from Quartz’s excellent What China’s 2014 internet memes said about the country’s hopes and fears: Little Apple. A retro-sounding dance hit by two former Youku stars, the Chopstick Brothers, is China’s version of “Gangnam Style.” The song xiao pingguo, or “Little Apple,” is irreverent, annoyingly catchy, and bizarre, with a politically incorrect music video featuring the two male singers, seemingly […]

Localized WeChat ad sells its animated stickers, nails it

Created by Hong Kong-based artist-designer Ping Wong for the Hong Kong market.

Book Review: Understanding China through Comics, Volume 4: The Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 – 1912)

The fourth volume of “Understanding China Through Comics” takes us through the final six centuries of imperial rule in China. In it, we find the final emperors of China attempting various reforms in the face of foreign invasion, occupation and, ultimately, humiliation. Liu continues his formidable task of tackling the entirety of Chinese history, with […]

霓虹的製作 The Making of Neon Signs

Who knew that neon lights (powered by neon gas, not LEDs) were such an artisan’s craft? More details about this preservation and exhibition project here.

A Figurine Maker’s Journey Through China

Boing Boing recently published a great feature from Jared Zichek, an avid entrepreneur who manufactures and sells classic-comics action figures. In the feature, Jared talks about his prototyping, manufacturing and sales process – part of it happen in the US, part of it in Hong Kong and part of it in China. Here’s a juicy […]

How the Umbrella ‘Revolution’ meme hurt the movement in Hong Kong

  The ongoing protests for democracy in Hong Kong have been dubbed by many as the “Umbrella Revolution.” But days before the term was created, the dominant internet meme supporting the protests was built around student selfies accompanied by hashtags #HKClassBoycott and #HKStudentStrike. This was in line with what was then a students-only protest. Supporters […]