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Books Travel

Stargazing

Hobart is the capital of Tasmania. It was founded in 1804 as a British penal colony. We’ve come here to learn about Australia’s convict past. Secretly, my plan is to catch a glimpse of the stars. One such star is David Walsh, founder of the Museum of Old and New Art that lies a ferry […]

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Laogai Travel

Colonial Offenses

Tasmania is an island off the shore of mainland Australia. Only 550,000 hardy souls live on this land mass the size of Switzerland. Mountains, forests, and cold swift waterways render much of the terrain impassable. The perfect place for a penal colony. From 1803 to 1853, that’s exactly what it was. The British Empire transported […]

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Censorship Chinese prisons

Prisoner #42816

Prisoner #42816 spent 23 months in a Chinese jail, first in the Shanghai Detention Center and later in Qingpu Prison. The charge was “illegally acquiring personal information” of Chinese nationals, a claim he vehemently denies to this day. Prisoner #42816 is Briton Peter Humphrey. Last month, he published his first account of My life inside […]

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Craft poetry Revolution The Shanghai Quartet

Laogai

Laogai will be the third volume of The Shanghai Quartet and its star will be Song Kang. We first see Kang in The Dancing Girl and the Turtle as the returned student, the prodigal son, called back from America to care for his ailing sister Anyi. Eighteen years later, we meet him again. He’s in […]

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Japan Korea Shanghai

Korea

In high school, I took a history class called China, Japan and Korea. Or maybe that was the title of our textbook. The salient details have escaped me. I had forgotten how close these countries are and how long their history of meddling in each other’s affairs. two korea’s In a recent interview by the Financial […]