Why US trash ends up in China (not because labor is cheaper!)

Posted on by An Xiao Mina

From Susan Jake’s LARB review of Junkyard Planet by Adam Minter:

The reason most US trash flows to China is not, as is popularly believed, because of China’s low cost of labor and weak environmental protection (or, at least, not primarily). If it were, Minter says, we’d send our trash to Sudan, and Sudan wouldn’t be sending its…

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A Borrowed Life: a superb comic memoir of a flawed Taiwanese patriarch

Posted on by Jason Li in Chinese Comics Review

Cover of A Borrowed Life

In A Borrowed Life, esteemed Taiwanese writer-director Wu Nien-jen pays tribute to his working-class father by telling the latter’s life story. His story was made into an award-winning movie way back in 1994 (also called A Borrowed Life), and now it has been retold in comic form. The graphic novel has a grand, sweeping, filmic quality…

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Chinese fonts are really, really hard to make

Posted on by Jason Li in Typography Design

Nikhil Sonnad has penned a great primer on Chinese fonts on Quartz called The long, incredibly tortuous, and fascinating process of creating a Chinese font. Much of the article describes the lengths designers must go to in order to create Chinese font:

The default set for English-language fonts contains about 230 glyphs. A font that covers all of the…

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A fictionalized tale of 1 upper-class, 1 lower-class woman working in fashion in Shenzhen

Posted on by Jason Li

Zoe Ho from Seeed has started a great series on Medium: a parable of two women from the extreme ends of the economic spectrum who both work in the fashion industry in Shenzhen:

CoCo… is always talked about, gossiped or admired with jealousy. Sometimes she cannot accept any imperfection, and would like to get…

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The Politics of Pork Industrialization In Modern China

Posted on by Jason Li

A friend pointed me to this superb paper by Mindi Schneider on “Meat, manure, and the politics of agro-industrialization in contemporary China.” In it, Schneider highlights plenty of interesting facts, figures and findings about the social, economic and environmental impact of the pork industry in modern-day China.

On the historical context of pigs and pork in agricultural China:

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Advanced Red Envelope Techniques

Posted on by Christina Xu in Multi Entry

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Red envelopes used to be a simple joy. On a festive occasion like Chinese New Year, people exchanged perfumed red-and-gold paper envelopes stuffed with cash to signify good will. For Chinese kids, it was like Trick or Treat but infinitely better—kneel in front of your elders in a New Year’s greeting, and you’d walk away with cold, hard cash to spend on…

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Dispatch from Shenzhen: selfie sticks, karaoke mics and Shenzhen-speed urbanization

Posted on by An Xiao Mina

Editor’s note: As part of her ongoing research, An Xiao Mina was recently in Shenzhen, visiting makers, manufacturers and the Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture. Below are some highlights from her recent Instagram posts, and stay tuned for the follow up post.

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