California Chinese-American Politics

Angel Island

Angel Island is a patch of grass and woodland flung into the middle of San Francisco Bay. The native Coast Miwok once used it as a fishing and hunting site. The United States government chose to deploy this bit of land variously as a Civil War garrison, a 19th century quarantine station and a processing […]

Craft Japan The Shanghai Quartet


Bonsai seems like such an obvious metaphor for editing a novel manuscript. The tiny tree, tweaked and twisted to look like the real thing, just as a novel strives to mimic life. When I think of bonsai, I’m whisked back to a Zen temple complex outside of Tokyo. It’s early in the morning and the […]

About Karen Kao Craft


Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. Thus intones the website Google the word mindfulness and you’ll find a world of coaches and retreats, a series of TED Talks and […]

Books Chinese prisons

Gulag with Chinese Characteristics

Let’s blame the Russians. After all, they’re the ones who first lit the flame of Marxist-Leninist socialism. The 1917 revolution was just the start. Russians taught the world how to collectivize farms, quash dissent and foment worldwide revolution. As Charles Clover writes: Starting soon after the Bolshevik revolution [in 1917], Soviet leaders offered sanctuary and […]