Chinese Corner: The Death of a Gangster (and his underworld in Kunshan)

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The death of ‘Brother Long’ and the underworld in Kunshan he once ruled


By 王一然 | 后窗工作室

September 2, 2018

Liu Hailong 刘海龙, a.k.a. “Brother Long,” was killed by his own knife on August 28. For a 36-year-old gangster who spent almost a quarter of his short life in jail due to multiple crimes, involving violence and theft, his death was not so glorious. Liu was driving his BMW with two friends while intoxicated when he collided with a cyclist, 40-year-old Yu Haiming 于海鸣. Liu got out of his car with a machete, with which he initiated a few unsuccessful attacks at Yu. Facing death threats from a guy who was much larger, Yu took advantage of the moment when Liu dropped his weapon. He picked it up and fatally slashed Liu.

The death of Liu, a leading member of a local street gang, quickly became a curious case for Chinese internet users. His appearance — garish tattoos covering up his chest and a jade chain on his neck to show off wealth — suggests he was an archetypal modern gangster in China. As Anan 安安 argues at Beijing News, perhaps because Chinese people are not entirely familiar with gangster culture, this image had enduring appeal to internet users, who are now craving more details about Liu while celebrating his death, which was widely seen as justified

Meanwhile, the police’s ruling of Yu’s assault as self-defense sparked a nationwide debate over what constitutes a justifiable act of self-defense, with many calling for more comprehensive laws on this front.

More reading on this topic:

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A trip to Harbin Zoo

愿意变好,就会有新希望 | 哈尔滨动物园游记

By 花落成蚀 | 花蚀的人间观察

August 29, 2018

WeChat blogger 花落成蚀, a longtime animal lover and science writer, has embarked on an ambitious journey to visit about 50 zoos in more than 40 cities across China. During the trip, he plans to document the appeal of ambassador animals in each facility, what these zoos have done to make the environment more animal-friendly, and how they can better fulfill their responsibility of educating the public. In this first installment of the series, the author writes about his experience at Harbin Zoo, where animals like black bears are trained for circus performance.

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Rural students at Peking University: When diligence doesn’t pay off


By 冰点周刊

September 5, 2018

When Cui Shaoyang 崔少扬 received his admission letter for Peking University this summer, he was helping his parents on a construction site in a remote village in Yunnan Province. Coming from a impoverished family and growing up in a place where going to school entails climbing mountains, Cui attracted lots of attention from media, which framed his story as an inspirational tale to motivate other rural students to climb up the ladder of success through academic excellence.

But the reality can be a different story. In a letter by Deng Fenghua 邓风华, a recent graduate from Peking University who shares a similar background with Cui, he writes:

“I know hundreds of students here who are socially and economically disadvantaged due to their family background. But none of them will easily reveal if their parents are construction workers. In students’ groups dedicated to raising awareness about labor rights, students I know whose parents are migrant workers rarely appear. At Peking University, it’s easy for them to forget their past and where they come from. But even if they look just like other students living in cities, most of them can’t break into the circle of elites. Some even become so disillusioned with class solidification that they lose sincerity, curiosity, and audacity.”

In this article, Bingdian reveals the dark side of being a rural student at prestigious schools, where they are in constant struggle with their family background and the disadvantages stemming from it while competing with their urban peers.

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15 days after floods in Shouguang: The pride and grief of Chinese farmers


By 姚璐 | 谷雨实验室

September 3, 2018

About two weeks after torrential rains and resulting floods swept Shouguang in Shandong Province, the city is now in slow recovery. But some damages caused by the natural disaster are irreversible, including greenhouses and farmland that were completely destroyed by what’s called the most severe flooding in decades. As China’s biggest supplier of vegetables, Shouguang is home to thousands of farmers who suffered miserably from the floods. Many of them are the last generation in their families to pick up farming, and take tremendous pride in their profession. The floods “shattered their common belief of no pain, no gain.”