Tag Archives: China

The Cinch Review

The Image of Forced Abortion that has Shaken China

It was an image circulated via Twitter and other on-line resources which set off the recent backlash in China against the practice of forced abortion.

Forced abortion in China

(Via the Daily Caller.)

The mother had been seven months pregnant when she was physically dragged to a hospital and injected with a toxic substance to kill the baby inside her womb. The couple already had one child, and could not come up with the necessary cash to pay a “fine” which would have permitted them to have one more, under China’s one-child policy. Continue reading The Image of Forced Abortion that has Shaken China

The Cinch Review

Suspensions and apology follow forced abortion in China

Following up on a previous post (“Forced abortion: A tipping point in China?”): Authorities in China have taken steps designed to defuse public outrage after a widely publicized case of forced abortion. The fact of forced abortion (and forced sterilization) is nothing new in China, where a “one-child policy” has been enforced for decades, but what was different in this case was the rapid circulation via the Internet and Twitter of this particular story, accompanied by a photograph of the devastated woman (who had been beaten in advance of the “procedure”) with the bloodied corpse of her nearly full-term child beside her in the hospital. The woman and her husband already had one child, and were unable to come up with a “fine” of 40,000 yuan (roughtly $6,300) which would have “allowed” them to give birth to a second. Continue reading Suspensions and apology follow forced abortion in China

The Cinch Review

Forced abortion: A tipping point in China?

Via CNN:

On Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, the case was among the top trending topics Thursday afternoon, attracting almost a million comments.

Most users appear to side with the couple and condemn the officials. “Bring the murderers to justice” was a commonly posted demand.

It is a case of forced abortion—out of the millions that have taken place—which seems to have struck a deep chord with many people in China. The Chinese authorities have actually issued an apology in this case, in which a woman who was seven months pregnant had her baby ripped out of her womb and killed solely on the grounds that she and her husband could not come up with the requisite “fine” in order to legally have the baby.

The story is apparently receiving an unprecedented level of attention in China, and I do not think that its potential resonance should be underestimated.

The Chinese have many reasons to be unhappy with their elitist rulers, but inertia has always outweighed the momentum of change. This particular issue has a visceral power beyond all others.

“I wish this case could be the turning point in China’s family planning policy, to comfort the spirit of this child in heaven,” wrote Zheng Haitao, a financial magazine editor.

He Yafu, an independent demographer, said any hope of change must await the party leadership transition this fall and a new Cabinet next spring. He advocates abolition of the policy and says doing so would have minimal effect on China’s birthrate. A major obstacle is that authorities have come to rely on the fines they can levy, He said.

Ignoring threats warning him not to get involved, lawyer Zhang Kai said he was traveling to Shaanxi to assist the couple.

“I think governments shouldn’t ‘plan’ family planning, it’s the citizen’s right,” Zhang said. “God won’t allow humans to do forced abortions, and he’s unhappy to see it.”

The Cinch Review

On China: Bob Dylan speaks

Just when you think you’ve seen everything, the truly unbelievable happens. Bob Dylan has actually responded to a controversy that others ginned up about him! The statement on his website is titled: “To my fans and followers.”

I’ll copy some of it here, but I will pause to crow a little bit. Those of us who were extremely dubious that Dylan was in fact playing from a censored set list have been utterly vindicated. (Of-course some will argue Dylan is lying, but those will generally be people who are still on the hunt for Bin Laden.) He states that all he did in response to Chinese requests to know what he would play was send them “the set lists from the previous 3 months.” He received no instructions whatsoever about censoring songs: “and we played all the songs that we intended to play.” Continue reading On China: Bob Dylan speaks

The Cinch Review

Australia censors Bob Dylan

Obviously the government censors everywhere have realized that Bob Dylan is an easy touch. We’ve been told by so many media outlets, from the New York Times on down, that the Chinese government ordered Dylan not to sing The Times They Are A-Changin’, Blowin’ in the Wind and other nameless “protest songs,” and that he just rolled over and complied. Since then, he has played Hong Kong (where the Ministry of Culture of mainland China does not hold sway), Singapore, and now Fremantle, Australia, and none of those songs have been performed at any of the gigs. He has continued a pattern of opening with Gonna Change My Way of Thinking, closing with Forever Young, and offering a varying mix of tunes from throughout his career in between. Continue reading Australia censors Bob Dylan

The Cinch Review

Maureen Dowd slams “sellout” Bob Dylan in New York Times

In a strange way, it feels almost like a victory, albeit an exceptionally perverse one. After all the writing Yours Truly has done — over the course of a sad, wasted youth — lambasting the dang “liberal media” for their persistent misportrayal of Bob Dylan as a left wing protest singer type, now we have this. In that great iconic Mother of All Liberal Media Outlets that is the New York Times, the poisonous princess of the Op-Ed page herself, Maureen Dowd, rips Bob Dylan in 2011 as a sellout (Blowin’ in the Idiot Wind). Further, she attaches herself to the notion that Bob Dylan never really was that lefty utopian true-believer he’s so often been sketched as being, but merely an opportunist who saw the folk scene of the early 1960s as providing his quickest entr√© to fame and fortune. Continue reading Maureen Dowd slams “sellout” Bob Dylan in New York Times

The Cinch Review

Bob Dylan in Shanghai

The set list from Bob Dylan’s April 8th show in Shanghai is now up at Bob Links and goes as follows:

1. Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking
2. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
3. Things Have Changed
4. Tangled Up In Blue
5. Honest With Me
6. Simple Twist Of Fate
7. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
8. Blind Willie McTell
9. The Levee’s Gonna Break
10. Desolation Row
11. Highway 61 Revisited
12. Spirit On The Water
13. Thunder On The Mountain
14. Ballad Of A Thin Man

(encore)
15. Like A Rolling Stone
16. Forever Young

This second set list to look at from mainland China lends some credence to the theory that he may have been prohibited from playing Times They Are A-Changin’ or Blowin’ in the Wind, and — I’m thinking — Masters of War. However, I’d continue to caution that no one has cited a specific source for any list of banned songs. I do hope that Bob Dylan’s “camp” will make the record clear at some point; perhaps when he’s safely out of communist airspace (which won’t be until he leaves Vietnam, where he plays on April 10th). Continue reading Bob Dylan in Shanghai

The Cinch Review

Bob Dylan in China, continued

Stories in the press continue to proliferate, implying or sometimes even asserting that Bob Dylan was prohibited from singing The Times They Are A-Changin’ or Blowin’ in the Wind by the Chinese regime, in the wake of his concert yesterday in Beijing. (Previous post: Dylan goes to China.) However, I still have yet to see anyone cite a real source for this; they seem to simply be making a guess based on his set list. Continue reading Bob Dylan in China, continued

The Cinch Review

Dylan goes to China: Bob in Beijing

Bob Dylan played his first gig in communist China today, having played first a few nights ago in Taiwan. By Beijing time, the gig took place last night, the night of April 6th, in a venue called the Workers’ Gymnasium. Already, some media outlets are engaged in trying to interpret Bob’s setlist; a hobby usually limited to obsessive fans with too much time on their (or our) hands. From Reuters (Bob Dylan gets rapturous reception at China concert):

Famous for his songs against injustice and for civil liberties and pacifism, Dylan struck a cautious line in Beijing and did not sing anything that might have overtly offended China’s Communist rulers, like “The Times They Are A-Changin’.”

There’s been many references to the fact that Bob Dylan’s songs had to be “approved” by the Chinese regime in advance — and there’s no question that they do employ those tactics with foreign entertainers — but I don’t know that anyone has concrete evidence of any songs he was ordered not to sing. So the above kind of thing is speculative. Continue reading Dylan goes to China: Bob in Beijing

The Cinch Review

Crackdowns in China and Vietnam

The timing of the latest measures have a particular irony, with music icon Bob Dylan due to play concerts in both countries over the next few days (in Beijing tomorrow, in Shanghai on April 8th, and in Ho Chi Minh City — formerly Saigon — on April 10th).

The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, known for being a gadfly to the communist regime, was arrested at an airport in Beijing on Sunday, and has not been heard from since. Dozens of others have met similar fates since China began cracking down on even the slightest whispers of a “jasmine revolution” in the wake of popular protests against dictatorial regimes in the Middle East — and hundreds more are living under house arrest. (One mild way of expressing support for Ai Weiwei might be by following his Twitter account — currently at over 74,000 followers). Continue reading Crackdowns in China and Vietnam

The Cinch Review

Bob Dylan: Approved to play in China

Having just asserted in a different venue that I’m not going to try to keep up with everything happening in the Dylan universe anymore, this story nevertheless requires follow-up. It is now reported that the Chinese Ministry of Culture has approved two Bob Dylan concerts to take place in April, one in Beijing and one in Shanghai.

The official Bob Dylan website has not confirmed these as of writing, but everything else seems now to indicate that they will take place — and I’m guessing the same will be true for the proposed shows in Taiwan and in Vietnam. Continue reading Bob Dylan: Approved to play in China