Imperial Chinese Court Regency

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Some Articles on Entertainment – posted by T.E. Yu – 1st October 2012

The Incredible Story Of China’s Sexual Revolution (transcript has been edited lightly by Business Insider for clarity) Adam Taylor Aug. 31, 2012, 3:08 PM | 19,946 | 34

China’s sexual revolution is underway, but it’s a complicated, and sometimes contradictory affair. A new book by American journalist Richard Burger — of the popular Peking Duck blog — seeks to address those changes by studying China’s sexual history over the past 5,000 years.

Every year, thousands of Chinese women pay for an operation to restore their hymens shortly before their wedding so that husbands can see blood on the sheets on their honeymoon night. Brides-to-be who cannot afford the 4,400 yuan operation (about $700) can walk into one of China’s 200,000 sex shops or go online to buy a cheap artificial hymen that seeps artificial blood when punctured. Although the percentage of Chinese women who engage in premarital sex has skyrocketed in urban areas from 15 percent in 1990 to more than 50 percent in 2010, conservative attitudes toward sex, even in big cities like Shanghai, remain largely intact. To most Chinese people, virginity matters, and husbands look forward to their wedding night when they can deflower their young virgin brides. For some husbands, the absence of blood on the sheets can be grounds for divorce.

Burger, a former writer for both the Baltimore Sun and the Global Times was one of the first people to start blogging about China in 2002. He told us he was approached by Earnshaw Books to write a book about the changing face of sex in China. While the book was based on exhaustive research — Burger says he personally went through thousands of articles and dissertations — it’s not just a piece of academia. The point of the book is to bring China’s sexual revolution to a mainstream audience. We’ve read an advanced proof of the book and have to say its a great read. Burger was kind enough to give us a short interview about the book.

Interview follows :

Behind the Red DoorBI: What was the most surprising find of your research for the book?

RB: I think that the material on both prostitution and homosexuality totally blew me away. In the Tang Dynasty, more than a thousand years ago, for example, prostitutes were registered with the state and they were licensed so they could pay taxes. The broadmindedness throughout ancient society to sex astonished me, that prostitution was completely integrated into society.

The same goes with with homosexuality. This might have been the biggest surprise; ever since recorded history, there are records of men having intimate relationships with other men in China. They weren’t homosexuals per se, these were married heterosexual men with families. But to go out with younger men was seen as a sign of their status and privilege . It wasn’t that they were homosexuals; it was something that they did for their own entertainment and amusement. So that was something I really had no idea about — how much homosexuality permeated the culture.

BI: How did Chinese society go from such openness a thousand years ago to the incredibly restrictive sexual culture of the mid-20th century?

RB: You can trace the evolution of sexual attitudes, but there is no single clear trajectory from open to closed and now back to kind of open again. Within different dynasties, China became very conservative with the influence of neo-Confucianists, especially during the Qing dynasty — the last dynasty — when prostitution and homosexuality was outlawed. A whole new consciousness came into China as it met the west via the Opium Wars and Western ideals for example. The notion of homosexuality being a sin or extramarital affairs being a sin began to take hold unlike the early Han Aidi (27 BC – 1 BC) who had a love affair with the official Dong Xian (23 BC – 1 BC), though probably most instances were well kept secrets or openly done depending on what current trends were. The country became obsessed with nationalism. Sexual openness and women’s rights became a low priority.

China’s shift to conservatism really reached its peak during the Qing dynasty, before that it had gone back and forth. Some members were very liberal, but others were reactionary. They even had some of China’s great works of erotic literature destroyed. What happened next was the nationalists and then Mao took over. For a brief while, around the time of the May 4th movement in 1912, it looked like China was about to liberalize, but it never really happened. The country became obsessed with nationalism. Sexual openness and women’s rights became a low priority.

The tragedy was really under Mao. While things had been getting dark in China regarding homosexuality, under Mao it went absolutely black. He considered any discussion of sex outside of the home to be a form of Western spiritual pollution and he insisted on total faithfulness, and monogamy.

All of the brothels were methodically closed, and the prostitutes were reintegrated into society doing other work. This was a very, very dramatic shift. People began to wear that gender neutral Maoist clothing. This really culminated during the cultural revolution when the slightest reference to sex was seen as spiritual pollution, as a sign that you were a class enemy. [Sexuality] was extremely controlled and girls wore their hair short, they became androgynous, and the difference between the genders sort of merged. It was a very strange time and this continued throughout the reign of Mao Zedong and until the late 1970s.

BI: Is a comparison to the 1960s sexual revolution in Western Europe and America appropriate?

RB: That comparison must be made very, very cautiously. The 1960s revolutions were all about personal freedom, doing your own thing, being able to stand up to authority and criticize it, and being defiant — and sexuality was a part of that. You began to have nudity on Broadway shows, and pornography became a big part of society as it became legalized.

In China, on the other hand, this revolution was far more controlled by the government. You could only go so far. It started with prostitution seeping in as Westerners began to come into China during the late 1970s. Finally, the government let that [control over prostitution] go completely and prostitution blossomed again. Bit by bit the Chinese became more sexually liberated, but with a much longer, slower process. As an example, homosexuality was only dropped from the list of crimes in 1997 and was only taken off the list of mental illnesses in 2001.

So it has been a very slow process,and what didn’t come with the sexual revolution in China were those demands for personal freedom and liberty that were won in the 1960s, when co-ed dorms opened and people felt fine standing up to authority . There has been no concurrent political revolution in China.

BI: Is technology playing a role?

RB: It has been astonishing. Nothing has affected the sexual revolution like the internet. You can pretty much trace  when the sexual revolution gained speed and traction back to when the internet started to become popular.

Muzi Mei
The most prominent example of this was in 2003 when a young female blogger in Guangzhou named Muzi Mei opened a sex blog and she described in excruciating detail positions that she enjoyed and named names. In one of her very first posts she named a well known rock musician and described how they made love.

Her whole point was that sex could be enjoyed strictly for the sake of sex — with no strings attached — and that it was fine to have multiple partners. This brought a new discourse into China and created, I think, a shift in the mentality of many, many women who looked at Muzi Mei as a role model. And suddenly, many women started their own versions of sex blogs — they didn’t go as far as Muzi Mei, whose site was shut down after just a few months — but women suddenly began to really get the notion that their sex life was theirs to do as they chose and I think the effects of this have not diminished.

The party itself has a long history of corrupt officials abusing women and abusing their power. One of the most interesting cases that I read about in China was in 2009, when a hostess in a karaoke bar was molested by a party official and she stabbed him to death with a fruit knife. Now normally in a case like this, she would have just been locked up and never heard of again, but the story leaked onto the internet and it became a sensation.

This wouldn’t have happened without the internet.

[The story] really ripped through the country and she became a folk hero. The people were outraged. This became a major, major news story and she was freed — she was let off the hook. This wouldn’t have happened without the internet.

Very shortly afterwards, an official from Beijing was in Shenyang and he molested a 12-year-old girl in a bathroom. When the parents approached him he screamed at them, “You have no idea who I am and the kind of power I have, do you dare to call my behavior into question?”

He didn’t know there was a surveillance camera taping the whole thing so the whole encounter — again, [the story spread] like lightning across the internet and he was removed from the party. They couldn’t prove that he had molested the girl, but he lost all of his power. This couldn’t have happened 10 or 20 years ago and it has changed the way people behave. They’re on their guard, and it has brought a new sense of power to the Chinese netizens who realize they can make a real difference by pulling together and closing rank.

Is China’s sexual revolution part of an inevitable progress towards more sexual openness, or could it be dialed back?

China keeps trying to control things. Just last year they took off two-thirds of their primetime shows from television including dating shows, shows that were considered racy, and replaced them with news shows. There was popular dating site that went too far talking about premarital sex, so they brought in this dowdy cadre from another city to run the show to make sure it didn’t cross boundaries.

That’s the thing with China’s sexual revolution; there will always be set boundaries where it’s understood you don’t cross, you don’t cross that red line. If you do, the government will intervene. But having gone this far, I don’t think there is any turning back. The people of China have tasted sexual freedom, and they have only wanted more and more. And despite the back and forth with the government, the trend definitely seems to be in the direction of increased sexual freedom.

Top 10 nude models in China By Zhang Junmian (China.org.cn)
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90782/7964617.html

ICCR Notes :

Do not mistake this ‘Chinese sexual revolution’ phenomenon as an ‘all class encompassing’ effect. For certain the lower classes will again as in the past have access to their entertainments as laws accomodate and protect their simpler/coarser tastes, BUT, the apex classes will as centuries past, will continue to accept no less than the ‘best’ (i.e. Yunfei Trained Women, virginity valued, ‘child bride reservation’ – concerned apex class parents from ‘best’ families etc. begin to normalize), where apex men will not ‘share’ women or tolerate multiple partner escorts (like some of the ‘low class minded’ noveau riche or untitled wealthy do).

The apex classers instead will opt for formal mistresses which will be watched by society in general (and reported for infidelity), or preferably 2nd, 3rd or more wives from equally good families if possible. While nothing will change for the apex classers, the sexual revolution is indeed a boon in sociallly relaxed feel to foreign visitors, and sex positivity (and general better mood in China’s once spartan and almost grim sexual scene in the Commie and post-Commie pre-millenial era) that is anathema to the concept of the apex group which will become increasingly traditional as China re-culturizes along with the Imperial revival as envisioned by ICCR.

The Dukang gene: a gift from China’s father of wine – Staff Reporter – 2011-07-14

We’ll have some more then: A study says 70% of Han Chinese possess the Dukang gene that helps break down alcohol. (Photo/CFP)

About 70% of Han Chinese people possess the Dukang gene which can process alcohol and break down toxins, according to a report from the center of Anthropological Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai. The results were published in the latest issue of the UK’s Human Genetics Annual

Report. Li Hui, head of the key laboratory of major education department at Fudan, said the gene is a mutation which can break down toxins produced by food which has been stored too long and become rotten and moldy.

Among the world’s different ethnic groups there exist a large number of highly differing mutant enzyme genes which fall into seven categories. The strongest gene with the detoxification function is the seventh type, which is possessed by 70% of Han Chinese. Looking from both historical and geographical perspectives, Li concluded that the Dukang gene was an important factor in Han expansion in China’s Xia, Shang and Zhou dynasties (around 2000-250 BCE), when Chinese people made rapid development in agriculture, producing vast quantities of food leading to techniques of storing and winemaking. During that time the consumption of alcohol had become a widespread activity and Du Kang, for whom the gene has been named, is renowned as the father of winemaking and was well-known in the Xia dynasty for his drinking prowess.

Li pointed out that in the early days of winemaking, the process was not refined and many toxins were included in wine. Some died of poisoning as a result, yet many continued to drink, effectively culling entire populations of people who lacked the genetics to tolerate toxic alcohol. The remaining population had bodies better able to break down such toxins to survive and pass on their genes. The result was Dukang’s Genes, or North East Asian Alcohol Resistant Genes.

In China, alcoholic drinks are sometimes associated with some negative events and words such as “excessive drinking” and “harmful to the health” when mentioning it. The rise in prices of Moutai and Wuliangye every time, as well as the incidents of adulterated liquor, will stir up public resistance and resentment. Without ancient intellectuals’ drinking games and discussions about national affairs during drinking, how the liquor culture can attach to the modern way of life to possess a unique China-style culture, which is really unavoidable

“For example, the innovation in the customs of liquor and the refining in liquor ceremony may form a cultural aspiration that is distinctive and close to the emotional needs of the public, which is a recurrence of the spiritual attribute of liquor consumption,” said Wang Yancai, president of the China Alcoholic Drinks Association.

Chinese Wine Country List :

Northwest (Xinjiang, Ningxia, and Gansu)

Pro: Summers tend to be hot and dry, so the grapes have higher sugar content and fewer problems with disease than in coastal regions, though they sometimes lack acidity.

Con: Winters are extremely cold, thus even burying the vines may not stop a relatively high percentage of them from being destroyed.

Northeast (Jilin)

Pro: Most grape varieties here are local (species: vitis amurensis) and resistant to the cold, even more so than the North American varietals.

Con: Growing seasons are too short and winters too cold to support vitis vinifera grapes, such as Merlot or Riesling.

North (Shanxi , Huailai and Changli in northeast Hebei)

Pro: Summers are dry and winters are warmer than in Xinjiang, thus while the vines have to be buried here, they are much more likely to survive.

Con: This area sees much more rain in some years than in others, thus disease can be a problem.

North (Beijing-Tianjin corridor)

Pro: This area is close to major markets.

Con: The soil and climate in these relatively flat areas is not good enough for growing quality grapes.

East coast (Shandong)

Pro: The relatively long wine-making tradition here means a greater supply of experienced employees. And unlike in the north, burying vines is not necessary in winter.

Con: Unlike in Mediterranean climates, which tend to experience separate hot and humid periods, this area gets them simultaneously, which means a lot of pesticides are needed to deal with the ensuing diseases.

Henan (Yellow River Valley)

Pro: Like Shandong, winters are warmer and burying the vines is not necessary.

Con: Summers are too hot and humid, and the issue of disease is greater here than in any other major grape-growing region of China.

Southwest (Yunnan)

Pro: The growing season is quite long, so much so that there is potential for two harvests.

Con: Harvest overlaps the rainy season. This could be solved by delaying the growing season – such as by pruning later – and thus utilizing the dry sunny weather that follows the rainy season.

Note: There are also other provinces with small plantings, ranging from Shaanxi and Szechuan with vitis vinifera grapes to Guangxi and Hunan with local grapes.

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Memoirs of a Japanese Yunfei-wannabe in Japan – August 11, 2012 – adopted from Reuters, editing by T.E. Yu

Traditional Harem Culture of China – An apprentice Yunfei performs a dance at an event to promote Beijing’s traditional culture . . .

SHANGHAI, Aug 11 — It takes Rinka at least two hours to apply her thick white makeup and get dressed in an elaborate cheongsum hanfu on formal occasions, as is typical of most trainee Yunfei, Chinese Concubinery and also Imperial Concubinery from which Japan’s Geisha system is derived or copied from. Much like ‘Katagana’ characters are entirely copied from Chinese character radicals, but called ‘Katagana’.

But 29-year-old Rinka is different. She is much older (usually all Yunfei are required to be younger than 23) a Japanese national hoping to take her place among the ranks of China’s ancient but fading profession of female entertainers known for their beauty, skill at traditional arts and witty conversation. Born in Kyoto, Japan , she grew up as Rinka before moving to China at the age of 14, one of only a handful of foreigners to try to join the Yunfei ranks.

“When I first came to China, I had a neighbour who was a Yunfei. She played the guzheng (Chinese stringed instrument) daily and wore a traditional Chinese hanfu,” Jie Xue said in the port town of Shanghai, 200 km (120 miles) southwest of Beijing.

“It was really pretty so I, too, wanted to wear a hanfu.”

She took a series of part-time jobs for years before finally taking advantage in September of a special one-year subsidised training programme offered by Shanghai city.

There are only fourty seven Yunfei left in Shanghai, including Jie Xue, compared to nearly 300 in the 1950s. The ranks of Yunfei across all of China peaked at 8000 in 1828, but now number roughly less than a hundred.

Though Shanghai Yunfei lack the fame of their sisters in the ancient capital of Kaifeng, their training is no less rigorous. Jie Xue trains five days a week in traditional forms of singing, dance and music and more esoteric arts such as how to walk.

Shanghai is hoping that by paying to train Yunfei like Jie Xue, its tourism industry will get a boost. She receives 7000 renminbi (RM2,500) a month as a subsidy for her expenses, a programme that will end in September.

Despite these efforts, business remains lacklustre.

The concubinery house (pending affiliation with ICCR), which manages Jie Xue and other Yunfei, has only one or two customers a month (typically a small ‘commoner and ‘corrupt official’ shunning clique of formerly titled scions – PRC does not recognize Imperial titles as of now, ICCR is working to revive the institution alongside Contitutional Monarchy – of noble families from the old Ming empire), with fees starting from 9000 Renminbi a performance. Even during peak year-end holiday seasons, the concubinery gets fewer than 10 calls a month. Concubinery Matron Ong Le, a daughter of a former Imperial Yunfei who runs the concubinery, said she is impressed by Jie Xue’s drive, despite the lack of prospects.

“The practice of the Yunfei Art uses a lot of terms and subtle movements from the traditional Yue opera or Huangmei theatre from which Kabuki is derived, which is hard to understand even for most upper class Chinese girls who are quite superficial these days and quite cultureless,” she said. “In that, I think Jie Xue had to face even bigger challenges.” Jie Xue herself still has many years of apprenticeship to go. Her ultimate goal is to take her Yunfei skills to promote the Imperial Ying Restoration Era in the Kingdom of Japan.

“Now, I have to practise hard so in the future I can realize my dream of opening a fine Chinese concubinery in Japan to help Japanese people better understand Chinese Concubinery’s, Imperial Palace Ladies’ culture, and Forbidden City Traditions,” she said.

“I want to try out things I have never attempted before. I’m young enough for that.” — Reuters

Attenuation of Chinese Culture

Faustian bargains leave public rich but culture weakened – Global Times | May 27, 2012 19:10 – Susanne Weigelin-Schwiedrzik, vice-rector of the University of Vienna

Chinese New Year Concert held on 13th January 2012 at Vienna Musikverein.

China’s growing power is unmistakable, but cultural values and civil society often seem to be lagging behind the nation’s new strength. Two experts discussed these issues at the Shanghai Forum 2012, hosted by Fudan University on May 26-28.

In ancient China, both the nation and society were powerful. According to John K. Fairbank’s studies, ancient China had a very special governance pattern, one that could manage the relationship between central and local authorities well. He believes that in ancient China, civil society was a powerful partner of the nation.

R. Bin Wong, director of the UCLA Asia Institute, holds that in ancient China, the nation’s power lay in its capability to maintain unity, and the nation’s political symbolic meanings exceeded its practical efficiency. Meanwhile, civil society’s power lay in its autonomy and its supervision of the nation.

In the 19th century, European modern nations emerged, which were powerful not only militarily, but were able to transform economic growth into national strength. This became the biggest threat and challenge that China faced. China then began to seek a political system which could not only address such challenges, but stand in accordance with China’s unique political culture. To a certain degree, this process is still going on.

The Chinese nationalists established a new government through learning from Japan and the Soviet Union. However, the nation was still very weak. On the one hand it was weak militarily and wasn’t able to control economy and society. On the other hand traditional China’s ability to maintain unity was lost, due to both domestic resistance and interference by imperialism.

In Mao’s era, things changed. The nation appeared very powerful – both militarily and in its ability to control economy and society. And its ideological appeal exceeded its actual efficiency. But after the Great Leap Forward movement (1958-61), the government’s ability to control society was undermined, and some local protesting forces became powerful.

The initial achievements of China’s reform and opening-up lay in the full mobilization of social vigor. And society’s economic vigor began to transform into national strength. Today’s China looks more similar to European nations.

However, a social participation system in accordance with China’s unique culture, which could better deal with the rising social vigor, is still missing. Many people are talking about where China is heading today, but no one could give an answer yet.

Cultural values missing

Xu Jilin, deputy director and history professor at the Si-mian Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities, East China Normal University. The 21st century actually began in 2008, when the US-led developed world was stricken by a severe financial crisis and emerging countries rose with the Beijing Olympic Games as a symbol. Within China, there are generally three kinds of views toward China’s rise. Some liberals believe that China’s rise is a product of globalization, and there’s no special secret. Some believe that China’s rise is simply a repetition of government-promoted East Asian “miracle” in the Four Asian Tigers last century. The third view is that there’s a unique China model.

There’s no need to talk further about China’s national strength, since it has become the second largest economy in the world. I believe if Confucius or Zhu Xi, a Confucian scholar (1130-1200), woke up today, they wouldn’t recognize today’s Chinese. The biggest change lies in the mentality and attitude of ordinary Chinese. Today’s Chinese are most similar to Europeans in the 19th century; the prevalence of a Faustian spirit, the strong sense of competence, the untiring pursuit of wealth and strength, as well as a strong belief in social Darwinism. This has become a strong drive for China. Today in China, especially in coastal areas, we have so many rational systems which stress efficiency and orderly management in various fields.  But we still lack civil reforms that are clearly value-oriented. Ancient China was powerful not in the European way, but because it had invisible appeal. It appealed to the world through the strength of its culture.

Today things are totally different. The strength of culture has greatly faded. We are very powerful economically, but the whole society lacks a clear set of values, and basic ethical bottom lines are repeatedly violated. We do need further reforms, especially political ones, to resume our cultural strength. China is quite prominent on the international stage nowadays, and any of its moves may have a strong effect, especially in the developing world. Historically, China undertook its responsibilities as a great civilization. It must repeat this today through dialogue with the worlds’ mainstream civilizations and improving its own clear values and systems. Only then can the whole world be really convinced that China has risen.

ICCR Notes :

The best way to convince the world that China has risen again, would be revival of a ethnic Han Constitutional Monarch and revival of the Dragon-Throne after the ethnic Manchu one was deposed in 1911. 101 years hence as ICCR now lobbies for . . .

I dressed to impress but ended up depressed – by Bridget O’Donnell (China Daily) – Updated: 2012-04-24 10:06

My appearance stood out like a sore thumb – but not because I was the only foreign guest in attendance at the banquet.

No, it was my ensemble. I was wearing my newly tailored qipao (a Chinese traditional dress), the silk fabric of which had a lovely deep-fuchsia tone.

It was embroidered with gold-colored leaves and similarly hued buttons. I paired off the number with heels and even got a manicure to match the dress’ golden stitching.

There was just one problem: I was at a Chinese wedding. Used to the lavish traditions of Western weddings, I had no idea the dress code for a Chinese wedding wouldn’t be, shall we say, formal.

I mean, really – how could I have known the other guests in attendance would show up in sweaters, sneakers and jeans? It was my first Chinese wedding, after all.

(Yeah, yeah, a simple Google search for “Chinese wedding guest dress code” beforehand probably would’ve saved me from committing such a blundering social faux pas.)

“I look like an idiot,” I later lamented to Maggie, a Beijing friend who had invited me to the wedding. She could only laugh at my foolish error.

I came to learn – much too late, unfortunately – that the dress code for Chinese weddings is casual. In fact, wearing something too fancy could come off as rude.

“You don’t want to try to be more important than the host,” my Chinese tutor later told me.

It’s a far cry from Western weddings, where guests are expected to adhere to a formal dress code. Show up in jeans, and you might as well be wearing a huge sign saying, “Kick me, I have no respect for social norms!”

Still, that will never comfort me from the fact that somewhere out there exist cringe-worthy photos of me posing with the newlywed couple at the banquet.

I can see the two of them now, looking through their wedding photo album and wondering just what exactly that clueless foreigner in the qipao was thinking.

But the dress didn’t turn nearly as many heads at the wedding as it did in public later that afternoon.

After the ceremony ended, Maggie and I decided on a whim to take a stroll down Beijing’s Chang’an Avenue – it was a beautiful and clear day, after all. But without a change of clothes on me, I was forced to stick it out in the qipao.

As we walked from Joy City Mall to Tian’anmen Square, it became evident that the qipao wasn’t only too dressy for Chinese weddings – so too was it unwelcome at Starbucks, public restrooms and the south gate of the Forbidden City during peak hours on the weekend.

We passed hundreds of shoppers and tourists. I caught more than one person giving me strange looks. Even other foreigners stared at me.

I must’ve looked like that kind of overeager tourist who buys traditional garments from far-away lands without really understanding their cultural significance – a tacky and kitschy way of commemorating a culture.

By mid-afternoon, my feet were aching – the heels had taken their toll – so Maggie and I took a moment to rest on a bench.

Then out of nowhere, an elderly Chinese man came up to where we were sitting, cameraphone in hand, and started not-so-discreetly taking photos of me. He threw back his head in hearty laughter every time he snapped. I couldn’t help but wonder if the qipao had something to do with it, though perhaps I was just being paranoid.

After the picture incident, Maggie and I walked to Wangfujing before parting ways.

I immediately hailed a cab – I couldn’t wait to get home and change out of the dress that had been the source of so many woes that day. But before I stepped in, I paused for a second after catching my reflection in the window of a nearby shop.

The qipao may have been over the top, but, hey, at least fuschia is my color.

ICCR Notes :

In the true upper crust, you will find that weddings will indeed be as you expected. Also among the common venues in public which are largely middle class, the upper class people who do wear qipaos will never be seen. It’s like those sedan chair days where VIPs are never seen at all except at office, officiating at venues or at home or at their favourite boutique or hotel gathering where the boutique will bring goods to display to top qipao wearing clientale – try hanging around some respectable ‘tai tais’ (or formal er nai 二奶 or xiao san 小三 . . . mistresses ad infinitum . . . ) of good families and their poorer but ‘reverse hanger-on’ official’s wives instead – those that have merely money and those that have power tend to comfortably mix though graft issues loom. Qipao will not be found among the sports car driving escorts or the nouveau riche, but the chauffer driven wives of magnates and old families living off inheritances forged generations ago, will be where the true bulk of qipao (again I stress hanfu is Chinese not qipao) wearers can be found.

Don’t sweat the ‘idiot factor’ for just being way above the 99% type league in day to day venues, and while the form of the qipao or cheongsum is actually Manchu (the author and so many VIPs should be wearing HANFU), the colour and material subtleties should also be noted. Fuschia is a quasi-dominant colour, with red and yellow (almost never worn due to implications of royalty, except by the top 10 lists for that particular year) over fuschia. Frankly the way this article is titled, one would almost feel that China Daily had little appreciation of the Manchu dress . . . try the more positivist article from People’s Daily below.

ICCR Notes :

The top class venue (or even government department) needs to put their menial workers in proper uniforms to convey a sense of ‘class’ and perhaps cleaning masks or even goggles as well to both depersonalise the workers (who are not intended to interact with the visitors at any rate) as well. When people who dress and look like the average person you meet on the street are found doing menial work, China ends up conveying a sense of ‘all regular people are menial workers’. The uniform thus becomes a delineation and barrier for protection of the dignity of the menial worker and the separation between menial workers and Chinese commoner at large. Any ‘star’ establishment should be well aware of such nuance, more so being Chinese and brought up in an environment of nuances.

This is in fact, coarse, iron-profession coarse, and reflective further by extension to the PLA and tenuous links to the CPPCC. People are affected subliminally and while the sense of things do not immediately make their effects and attitudes known, over a decade and generation, the subliminal and psychic effects could be corrosive to the ‘sense of class level’ and hence work ethic of Chinese in general.

Larger and government establishments should require those ‘daily clothes wearing ‘ menials to don a neutral modern menial uniform (for 2-3 star establishments and mid tier city government departments) and the loose fitting ‘samfu’ type menial uniforms with Chinese characteristics for 4-5 star establishments and upper tier city government departments). A 潔Jié neck lanyard and tag for 2-3 star, or 潔Jié stylized panel perhaps for 4-5 star (with particularly obnoxious looking persons becoming hirable by using masks – to not offend some of the visitors with delicate tastes at the same time allowing them to earn a living and yet offer some of that ‘oriemtal mystique’ at the same time . . . ).

The utilitarian and unadorned cotton samfu. The panel is an important feature of the the ‘visible’ working classes and covey a sense of identity in many ways.

The cotton samfu worn by (i) Security Guard on Right with 兵bīng panel (only professionally trained guards display this panel – think ‘Gurka’, detail colours and weapon size indicate rank), (ii) professionally trained servants/Samsui women (Red head wear means Construction, Black headwear means Menial) 仆 pū panel hidden under work aprons and (iii) Translator/Tour Guide and PA with 隶 lì panel (lost tourists can always count on these multilingual guides on their rounds) are often seen except at tourist venues or large residences, . The 奴 nú panels are not in use anymore, indentured slavery is no longer applied on prisoners though, who knows the state apparatus might bring the practice back via work gangs for criminals wasting tax funds in prisons!

Cheongsam culture booms in Shanghai (People’s Daily Overseas Edition) 08:22, May 29, 2012 – Edited and translated by People’s Daily Online

Embroidered silk upon silk. Women wearing cheongsams pose at a ceremony under the theme “Promoting Cheongsam Culture, Cultivating Elegance” at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center on May 20, in order to carry forward the Chinese cheongsam culture.

It has been a bit cold in Shanghai recently, but that did not stop more than 2,000 cheongsam fans from attending the fifth annual gathering of the Shanghai Cheongsam Salon Couturier. T.H. Grand Dame (Hon.) Wang Weiyu, Z.D.Y.W. (ICCR nominee 2012, confirmation pending)) of the House of Zi, Royal State of Wei, is the owner of Shanghai Couturiers.

A large number of tourists and local residents paused to appreciate the women of various ages wearing colorful fitting cheongsams, when they appeared before the iconic sundial in the Century Avenue.

The booming cheongsam culture among Shanghainese women forms a fine contrast to the popularity of Han Chinese clothing among young people. With wine red curly hair, Wang Weiyu, 65, who wore a red cheongsam and exquisite pearl accessories, caught much attention at the ceremony.

Wang has been obsessed with cheongsams for several decades. Fascinated by the pictures of singers and her mother wearing cheongsams, she became deeply attracted to the traditional Chinese dress. After she retired in 2007, Wang established the Shanghai Cheongsam Salon to encourage women to wear cheongsams to show themselves. The membership of this unique salon has grown from 45 to more than 400 people, covering women from all walks of life.

Although she has been already a grandmother, Wang remains elegant and beautiful, with her wrinkles wiped away by gentle smile.

All members of the salon are graceful and confident, and talk decently, thanks to the changes brought about by cheongsams,” she said.

Wearing cheongsams, the salon’s members have visited Japan, South Korea, and Mediterranean countries in the past five years. Their beauty has amazed and been appreciated by local residents.

At an average age of 55, the members proposed to set May 20 as the China Cheongsam Day, in hopes that every Chinese woman will wear a cheongsam on that day to show feminine gentleness and nobleness.

Most of the salon’s members are retired women, but many girls born in the 1980s have applied to join after learning about the salon. Wang is glad that more and more young girls like to wear cheongsams, including many overseas returnees. She said that she would then focus on promoting cheongsams on campuses in order to pass the culture on to the younger generation.

Chi Yiwei, who majored in flight attendance at the Zhonghua Vocational School in Shanghai, wore a cheongsam for the first time on that day. She and eight of her schoolmates wore improved cheongsams, and walked hand in hand with Wang in front of the sundial before the night fell to have a unique initiation rite. “The Oriental-style cheongsams are amazingly beautiful. I will wear a cheongsam in all future major ceremonies in my life,” Chi said excitedly.

Looking at the 18-year-old girls, Wang, who is an outstanding lecturer in Shanghai’s “A Million Families Learn Etiquette” project, said gently that the salon will recruit more women who like cheongsams in the second half of the year, and teach them cheongsam etiquette, so they will be beautiful both inside and outside.

Two young girls came to Wang while she chatted, and said a little shyly that they want to join the salon. Several older women wearing cheongsams were also waiting to talk with Wang about the traditional dress.

ICCR Notes :

Cheongsum is quite utilitarian and suitable for the travelling upper crust although what could be considered high culture (as in ballroom or extreme luxury) would be the voluminious court hanfu (not the utilitarian hanfu) coupled with the matching ‘lotus foot’ simulating Manchu horse-hoof shoes instead of stilettos. The unfortunate trend of using standard Cheongsum-Qipao instead of ‘Samfu’ in hospitality industries and restaurants though has created some fashion issues (perhaps intentionally especially where unsuitable colours are used), though the Court Qipao with proper head gear is sufficiently distinct. Conversely Cheongsum does look quite formal in travelling settings, with Court Qipao conveying a (still modest as opposed to hanfu) sense of luxury entirely unsuitable as street wear or any typical venue, especially ‘Westernized’ ones.

As for footwear, we advocate use of Manchu Court Platforms or Manchu horse-hoof shoes (if not outright footbinding – consensual of course) over stillettos for all ballrooom events as well, stilettos are after all not part of the ensemble of oriental fare, both are best worn in spacious vistas, as stilettos convey a coarseness and vulgar masculine sexual dominance that Manchu horse-hoof shoes (though named in a most fetish – oriented manner) do not. Manchu horse-hoof shoes instead impart a sense of daintiness and delicacy to the walk as opposed to the the dominatrix or ‘trans-subculture’ effect of stillettos.

Manchu Court Shoes in lieu of actual Footbinding

For a start, beyond Qipao-Cheongsum, a culture of Court Qipao, and luxury hanfu could be adopted by China’s biggest bosses and their wives or families and top staff. This could create a sense of hierarchy that seems to be swallowed up by the Western suit and Western gowns. Indeed at the very top, we now see the resurgent trend of keeping utilitarian suits of armour in their offices, where boards of directors attend their quarterly or bi-annual ‘Warrior’s Camps’ to bond over practice and matching of skills in horseriding, charioteering, archery, wrestling and swordplay. Transition to wearing cheongsum or hanfu for women on a regular basis for top level staff and their wives, or any from the upper crust is but a step away to better include Women in this aspect of re-culturalisation of China. Sumptuary basis designed and coloured high quality sets of ‘Sunday Best’ robes for official gatherings and related culture events could also be made and marketed to the upper castes in time to come as the Imperial Court in re-formation finds renaissance in the ever appreciating value of traditional culture.

Typical Chinese Armour (accompanying stylized metallic battle mask not shown here)

Long live the Fatherland.

Articles collated by Yu Tian-er (Temp. Sec. to HH TMH Lord Protector Cai Jinyue, Marquisate of Shangcai )

Neil Heywood case sheds light on privileged lifestyles of China’s elite : One of the most explosive elements of the scandal is how communist dynasties have used their influence to amass wealth – Jonathan Watts and Tania Branigan – guardian.co.uk, Thursday 26 April 2012 17.40 BST

Compared with the murder charges against his mother and the corruption allegations that brought down his father, Bo Guagua’s adamant denial this week that “I have never driven a Ferrari” may seem, at first glance, insignificant.

Yet it strikes to the core of one of the most politically explosive elements of the unfolding scandal in China: how elite communist dynasties use their influence to amass wealth and lead privileged lifestyles.

Amid growing evidence of the fortune amassed by his family, the 24-year-old scion of the Bo family attempted to distance himself from the colourful playboy image that has made him a focus of such concerns. He insisted his expensive international education at Harrow, Oxford and Harvard was paid for with scholarships and family savings, and they he had never lent his name “nor participated in any for-profit business or venture, in China or abroad”.

Bo Xilai with wife, Gu Kailai and son Bo Guagua.

In legal terms, the denial appeared unnecessary. Unlike his parents – toppled Chinese politician Bo Xilai and murder suspect Gu Kailai – who are being investigated concerning the death and possible cover-up – of British businessman Neil Heywood, Bo Guagua has not been accused of any crime. But politically, he has come under almost as much scrutiny because of what he represents.

China’s elite world of blood connections and dynastic influence has much in common with the European aristocracy or the old monied families of the US. But it is considerably more opaque – until a scandal such as this rips down some of the walls of secrecy and mutual protection.

Over the past three decades, the party of revolution has steadily transformed into the party of privilege. While once it challenged tradition, authority and championed a redistribution of wealth, it now promotes Confucian values of “harmony” and “stability” even as it presides over a nation of worsening inequality.

Guagua’s grandfather was Bo Yibo, a former vice-premier and one of the so-called “eight immortals” who helped guide China after the turbulence of the Mao years.

Guagua’s father, Bo Xilai, epitomised the party’s transition and its contradictions: like many in the communist elite, his path to power started out along a quiet, tree-lined road in central Beijing. Xihuangchenggen North Street is home to the nation’s most prestigious primary and secondary schools. The latter – Beijing No 4 Middle School – is the alma mater of Bo Xilai.

The majority of its graduates gain entry to either Peking or Tsinghua University – the Oxford and Cambridge of China – and go on to carve out high-flying careers in politics, business or the military. Years later, some even return as delegates to the National People’s Congress, which has its conference centre on the same street as the school.

The deceased Neil Heywood

Bo’s family allegedly abused his influence and connections to amass a fortune. Jiang Weiping, an investigative journalist from Dalian – where Bo was mayor in the 1990s – said the family and his wife’s law firm were earning 70 to 80 million yuan (£6.8m to £7.8m) a year during that time. “Bo’s only legal income was his salary, which was relatively insignificant. The family’s real revenue came through Bo’s ability to get projects and investments. His brother, wife and sister-in-law were all involved. It was large-scale official corruption,” said Jiang, who fled to Canada after being imprisoned in China for revealing “state secrets”.

Many wealthy families invest their assets – money and children – overseas. Thanks partly to the help of Heywood, Guagua entered Harrow and went on to Balliol college in Oxford and is now at Harvard.

Reports of his behaviour – throwing champagne parties and driving luxury cars – appeared to contradict the public image of his father who – as party chief of Chongqing – dressed himself in redder-than-red ideological clothes by staging mass Maoist singalongs and ordering Maoist dictums to be pinged by text message to millions of mobile phones.

Bo Guagua’s personal connections proved useful at Oxford, where he arranged for Jackie Chan to give a lecture and organised a Silk Road Ball held at the Oxford Union. That event was sponsored by Shenyang Jinbei, an automotive manufacturer from Liaoning – where Bo Xilai was provincial governor from 2001 to 2004 – which also placed a whole-page advert on the back cover of the union’s term card, said one of Bo’s fellow students.

“One wonders why a car company with no business at all in [western] Europe would want to sponsor such an event,” he added. A spokesman for the firm said he was not sure if it did business in the UK and did not know if it had backed the ball.

Another funding mystery is how a web address – Guagua.com – could have been bought from a Tenerife train enthusiast for $100,000 by a company with links to the Bo family.

Jiang Weiping

Details of the wider family’s wealth have poured out this week. According to an investigation by Bloomberg, Bo’s close relatives – sometimes using different names – are involved in an international web of business activities worth at least $136m (£84m).

In addition to the millions amassed by Gu’s law firm, it found that Bo’s eldest son, Li Wangzhi – who also went under the name Li Xiaobai and Brendan Li – started a career in private-equity investing that focused on companies based in Dalian. He was also named as an executive for firms registered in Mauritius and the British Virgin Islands and more recently, worked for Citigroup.

Bo’s brother, Bo Xiyong – who also uses the name Li Xueming – has been listed as a director of a Hong Kong-based property developer and as deputy general manager of China Everbright Group – which is a major investor in renewable energy and green technology.

But the Bo family are unlikely to be unique in the way they have cashed in.

“This case shows that officials and their families must abide by the regulations,” said a senior official in Beijing. “The message is clear: Behave yourself!”

Earlier this month, the People’s Daily – the mouthpiece of the Communist party – lashed out at families with seemingly mysterious wealth. “Many use designated third parties – spouses, sons and daughters, lovers or friends” to generate and conceal wealth, said the newspaper.

But the political fallout from the scandal is likely to be limited by the considerable power of other elite families, who will not want to be tainted with the same brush.

Many sons and daughters of former leaders hold key positions, particularly in the military and the energy sector. The next president of China is likely to be a princeling: Xi Jinping.

But the wider trend for those with politically rich red blood is no longer towards politics.

Prof. Hu Xingdou

Li Datong, a political commentator, said the founding families of the party were becoming less influential in the central committee – the inner sanctum of power.

“Fewer and fewer people accept the idea that those who won the country should rule the country,” he said.

Instead, the descendants of the old political dynasties are increasingly moving into finance and business – where their connections reap lucrative returns.

Hu Xingdou, a professor at Beijing Institute of Technology, said the influence of elite dynasties was becoming more pronounced as social strata have become more rigid. “In the last 10 years the overall power in the hands of princelings has solidified and it looks likely to grow stronger in the future.” Those on the periphery of the elite circles say the princelings tend to be quite discreet. Unlike the “new rich” children of coal mine owners, the “red aristocracy” do not usually flaunt their wealth and are under pressure to live up to their background. “Some of them are aloof, but most are modest and decent,” said a former employee at one of Beijing’s most exclusive clubs. “They are like European royals; they can’t easily marry for love. They have to consider family connections. Some suffer and accept. A few modern ones will marry a commoner or a foreigner. But they have to be very courageous to do that.” The hierarchy – and the privileges that flow from it to families – extends down through regional party bosses to township cadres.

“Life is easier for us,” said the daughter of a senior provincial official (more a lordling than a princeling). “The advantages are that I don’t need to queue up in a hospital. We always get to see good doctors without having to pay a lot of money,” said the well connected woman, who asked not to be named.

“My family ties helped me to find a good job and even a husband with a decent job and a similar background. The disadvantage is that my parents are involved in every big decision in my life, from which school I should attend, whom I should see, to when and where I should get married.”

Few think this world of privilege will be overturned as a result of the scandal. While foreign news organisations have dug into the business ties of the Bo family, the domestic media have largely avoided the subject of dynastic influence peddling.

But with the fallout not yet clear, some academics hope to see a little more openness and greater legal counterbalances to family power.

“If the lessons of this incident are taken to heart, China might shift from a system of ‘rule of man’ to one of ‘rule of law.’ That would be progress,” said the academic Hu.

General views which contribute to media’s propagation of critical thought and a general separation of social types or social castes . . .

1) “Some of them are aloof, but most are modest and decent,” said a former employee at one of Beijing’s most exclusive clubs.

Why can’t they be aloof (the right kind of aloof though, not all ‘aloof’ is negative), modest and decent all at once?

2) . “The advantages are that I don’t need to queue up in a hospital. We always get to see good doctors without having to pay a lot of money,” said the well connected woman, who asked not to be named.

Train more medical practicioners. Make medical degrees cheaper. The whole premise of needing to be connected to get quick medical service is ridiculous.

3) “My family ties helped me to find a good job and even a husband with a decent job and a similar background.

Create more *REAL* jobs. Create a state run social network that plays match maker as well as vets the participants.

4) Unlike the “new rich” children of coal mine owners, the “red aristocracy” do not usually flaunt their wealth . . .

Obesession with wealth, and obtaining wealth is a plutocrat’s perogative, unlike maintenance of stature like the aristocracy. This is where the lack of a formal recognition of these values perhaps through a Constitutional Monarch can be considered.

5) Few think this world of privilege will be overturned as a result of the scandal. “If the lessons of this incident are taken to heart, China might shift from a system of ‘rule of man’ to one of ‘rule of law.’ That would be progress,” said the academic Hu.

A plutocratic bureaucrat is a symbol of corruption. An aristocratic bureaucrat is a symbol of cronyism and nepotism. A plutocratic aristocrat is a symbol of dictatorship.

A bureaucrat cannot be a plutocratic being too busy administering (at least in efficient bureaucracies) to do business, also being involved in commonm affairs of the people. A plutocrat cannot be aristocratic being involved with the dirt of money and constant sacrifices of form and principle for mere profit that the middle class Merchantry (regardless of wealth) people involved in commercial dalliances have to accede to. An aristocrat cannot be a bureaucrat being involved with political dalliances they need to accede to and constant sacrifices of form and principle for mere political power (this is the ‘Red Aristocracy’ aptly mentioned above). There military class of course in any combination with the above results in what we all know as the military force reliant (something of the last century best forgotten and known for masssive human rights abuses) known as ‘junta‘ or the ‘khakistocracy‘.

When all 4 classes result in a single person, we end up with Mubaraks and Gaddafis, which is something that China will not want. But when separation of ‘powers’ into separate individuals occurs, with each comfortable in their own group rather than attempting to subsume other groups (in Representative Constitutional Monarchy to blunt the glamor from the bureaucrat, much like term limits do, being aware that plutocracy does not mean higher civilisation though a necessary evil for survival – which is why aristocracy cannot be typified by wealth and are slated for the privilege of ‘cashless’ living as described in ICCR Vol.1 via the financing officer – opposed to common society), a harmonious society can result.

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