‘Utterly Vile’

September 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

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My verdict on the verdict for Ilham Tohti is on the Dissent blog.

Previous piece on Tohti here

Inherent Vice film trailer

September 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

Yep, and it seems just right.

Why are Uyghurs so Good at English?

September 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

nickholdstock:

Another really insightful piece from this excellent blog.

Originally posted on the art of life in chinese central asia:

Ever since Kasim Abdurehim, the founder of the private English school Atlan, took third place in the national English speaking contest in 2004, Uyghurs have found their way into the final rounds of almost every major English speaking competition in the nation. This year was no exception. The main difference is that now Uyghurs are learning how to be confident in their English ability at a younger age. It is because of people like Kasim and dozens of other award winning role models that kids like 14 year-old Tughluk Tursunjan feel confident on a national stage. Although Uyghurs represent less than one percent of China’s population, they still consistently beat Han contestants from the best schools in the country.

Tughluk, who was this year’s winner of the Junior High School division of the “Outlook of Hope” contest on CCTV was taught by an English instructor named Nemo

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Islamic State piece on Vice News

September 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Iraqi sources claim to have caught a Chinese citizen fighting for the Islamic State militant group.

My piece on China’s recent claims that fighters from Xinjiang are training with IS is up at Vice News.

Blind Dating in Bishkek

September 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

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The autumn issue of The Dublin Review has a long tale of the joys and sorrows (more of those) of trying to do internet dating in Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan. Suffice to say, no weddings are currently planned.

It begins thus:

September is the perfect month for dating in Bishkek. The intense heat of the Kyrgyz summer has passed, but the days are still bright and warm. In the evening you can eat outside, then stroll through the park, without feeling the slightest chill.

Before I travelled to Bishkek, I’d been living in London for six months, and despite the many possibilities of the place I was in a dating rut. We went to the British Film Institute or the Hackney Picturehouse. We spoke sometimes of Mad Men, sometimes of Breaking Bad, always of Game of Thrones. We were witty and cutting and sometimes we kissed but even after three drinks, with our eyes shut, our tongues entwined, we remained urbane. We were youngish, smart professionals. We were polished stones.

My initial reasons for visiting Kyrgyzstan’s capital had nothing to do with dating. I wanted to do a report on a clinic that treated drug addiction by putting its patients into comas. I had nothing else planned, and knew no one in Bishkek. Three days before I was due to leave, I was checking OkCupid – not with any real conviction, more out of pathetic habit – and saw I had a message from a fifty-six-year-old woman in Uzbekistan. ‘Good face!’ she wrote, which was nice of her, but alas I had no plans to visit Tashkent. It did, however, make me wonder if OkCupid had any English-speaking women in Bishkek on its site.

 

First contact

August 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

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The Age of Ambition

August 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

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The August issue of Literary Review has my piece on Evan Osnos’ impressive book on the last decade in China (and scorn for another book). Print only! Well, and on some tablets too…

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