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By Carina Chocano and Carina Chocano,LOS ANGELES TIMES | September 9, 2005
Great political upheavals usually get the epic treatment in movies, which tends to flatten wholesale human suffering into cast-of-thousands backdrops for heroic stories of "one ordinary man's extraordinary courage." It's rarer that a film focuses on the effects of large-scale social cataclysms on individuals whose bravery consists of remaining resolutely human and true to themselves, and much more poignant. In Dai Sijie's Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, which he based on his own best-selling semi-autobiographical novel, two well-bred city boys are shipped off for "re-education" to a remote mountain village in the Sichuan province during China's Cultural Revolution.
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NEWS
By Cal Thomas | December 21, 2013
During the Christmas season when many celebrate a unique and miraculous birth, what the late Pope John Paul II called "a culture of death" continues its march. Last week, the upper house of the Belgian Senate voted to extend a 2002 law legalizing euthanasia for adults so that it includes incurably ill children. The amended law will now have to be voted on by the Parliament's lower house, a vote expected to take place before elections in May, but if passed, writes The New York Times, children afflicted with "constant and unbearable physical suffering" and "equipped with a capacity for discernment" could then be legally euthanized in Belgium.
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By Ian Johnson and Ian Johnson,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | May 12, 1996
LIANG VILLAGE, China -- Thirty years ago, during one of the most brutal upheavals in Chinese history, Communist zealots inspired by Mao Tse-tung rampaged through this dusty town, killing scores of innocent people and destroying places of worship.But when locals recently erected a new Taoist temple, it wasn't consecrated to the victims of the decade of mob rule known as the Cultural Revolution. Instead, villagers and local Communist Party leaders chose to honor Mao, worshiping the very man responsible for the havoc in their community three decades earlier.
NEWS
October 18, 2006
WANG GUANGMEI, 85 Widow of Chinese president Wang Guangmei, the widow of President Liu Shaoqi and a powerful figure in China before she was imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution, died Friday in Beijing. She was once widely known in China as the country's beautiful, articulate and sophisticated first lady. Her husband was president from 1959 to 1967, when he became one of the first high-level officials to be denounced as a "capitalist roader" and purged by Mao Tse-tung during the Cultural Revolution.
NEWS
By Frank Langfitt and By Frank Langfitt,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | August 26, 2001
JINAN, China - In 1954 Army Pvt. James G. Veneris stood on the back of a truck along the 38th parallel, the line separating North and South Korea, and waved goodbye to the West. To folks back home, the choice he made was almost inconceivable. Having spent most of the Korean War in a Chinese-run prison camp, the knock-about laborer from western Pennsylvania joined 20 other U.S. military men in choosing Mao Tse-tung's China over Eisenhower's America. Hanging from the back of the truck was a white sign suggesting their reasons.
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By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF | January 20, 1998
Growing up in Beijing, Hai-Ou wondered why she looked so different.Her cheekbones were higher, stronger, more distinct than those of most other Chinese."
BUSINESS
By Greg Schneider and Greg Schneider,SUN STAFF | December 15, 1996
Everyone has heard about the $4,000 toilet seat.Now the Pentagon would rather tell the tale of the $18,000 bomb guidance system.To the car-buying public, $18,000 for a warhead computer that's just going to blow up may sound like a lot -- like sticking a Honda Civic on every bomb in the arsenal.But it could be worse. The system was supposed to cost more than twice that much.This is the modest miracle of acquisition reform. And while the term might not sound very inspiring, defense officials say acquisition reform is nothing less than a cultural revolution that could help pay for the military of the future.
NEWS
October 18, 2006
WANG GUANGMEI, 85 Widow of Chinese president Wang Guangmei, the widow of President Liu Shaoqi and a powerful figure in China before she was imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution, died Friday in Beijing. She was once widely known in China as the country's beautiful, articulate and sophisticated first lady. Her husband was president from 1959 to 1967, when he became one of the first high-level officials to be denounced as a "capitalist roader" and purged by Mao Tse-tung during the Cultural Revolution.
NEWS
May 12, 1996
BEIJING -- It may seem strange now, but Mao Tse-tung and the Cultural Revolution used to be chic in the 1960s and 1970s.The young protest generation in the West latched onto Mao's slogans as proof that another, better way existed to run a country.The "Thoughts of Mao" -- a collection of sophistry and slogans -- helped fuel protests around the world. It was translated into dozens of languages and published in a famous "little red book."Other terms from Mao's era entered popular Western culture, where they remain today, including:"Great Leap Forward," the name of a catastrophic economic campaign in the late 1950s that resulted in widespread famine.
ENTERTAINMENT
By LISA SIMEONE and LISA SIMEONE,Special to the Sun | September 22, 2002
One Man's Bible, by Gao Xingjian. Harper Collins. 464 pages. $26.95. About halfway through One Man's Bible, the new novel by Gao Xingjian, the narrator decides to travel to the Yellow River. He's never seen it before, but it has existed as a powerful symbol in Chinese folklore for years. There is a saying, he tells us, "that a person should not give up before reaching the Yellow River." So he takes a train, a bus and a long walk until he finally arrives. As he stands upon an embankment, the starry vision of his imagination gives way to stark reality: "Was this fast-flowing, brown, muddy river the Yellow River that had been praised in songs over the ages?
FEATURES
By Carina Chocano and Carina Chocano,LOS ANGELES TIMES | September 9, 2005
Great political upheavals usually get the epic treatment in movies, which tends to flatten wholesale human suffering into cast-of-thousands backdrops for heroic stories of "one ordinary man's extraordinary courage." It's rarer that a film focuses on the effects of large-scale social cataclysms on individuals whose bravery consists of remaining resolutely human and true to themselves, and much more poignant. In Dai Sijie's Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, which he based on his own best-selling semi-autobiographical novel, two well-bred city boys are shipped off for "re-education" to a remote mountain village in the Sichuan province during China's Cultural Revolution.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Mary Harris Russell and Mary Harris Russell,Chicago Tribune | March 6, 2005
Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins By Carole Boston Weatherford, paintings by Jerome Lagarrigue. Dial. $16.99. Ages 8-11 years. Greensboro, N.C., 1960. The event grown-ups remember -- a lunch-counter sit-in at Woolworth's -- comes slowly into view, as we watch the way the world is from one little girl's perspective. When she goes downtown to shop with her mother, "All over town, signs told Mama and me where we could and couldn't go." Jerome Lagarrigue's paintings catch all the shadows that darken this child's life.
NEWS
By Herbert London | December 12, 2004
THE LEAVE IT to Beaver Mom, the prototypical television parent in the 1960s, was a loyal spouse who could always be found at 3:30 p.m. serving milk and cookies to her kids who came home from school. In television land, this wholesome woman has been transformed into a character from Desperate Housewives - women who are narcissistic, adulterous and generally oblivious to their children. While television programming invariably reaches for the extreme, there is something revealing about the changed national cultural conditions in these two examples.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,Sun Staff | June 1, 2003
In the thick of China's Cultural Revolution, a 14-year-old boy experienced a defining moment just before stepping on a train that would take him from Bejing to the countryside to perform hard labor. In the tumultuous '60s, revolutionaries were determined to crush anyone they regarded as bourgeois, paving the way for a modern People's Republic of China. Coerced by these revolutionaries, the boy had publicly denounced his filmmaker father as a spy, a traitor to his country. Yet, there at the train station stood his father, the man whose life he had ruined.
NEWS
By Gady A. Epstein and Gady A. Epstein,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | October 8, 2002
SHANSHENMIAO VILLAGE, China - Until the day he really made it big, Shi Zhenguo always had the respect of his neighbors. Since his years as a teen in the 1970s, when he showed movies to fellow villagers during the Cultural Revolution, Shi moved from job to job in search of a career more rewarding than farming. Shi's father, a former local Communist Party secretary, didn't always approve of his son's forays into capitalism, but through it all, Shi remained well-liked in this cloistered community.
ENTERTAINMENT
By LISA SIMEONE and LISA SIMEONE,Special to the Sun | September 22, 2002
One Man's Bible, by Gao Xingjian. Harper Collins. 464 pages. $26.95. About halfway through One Man's Bible, the new novel by Gao Xingjian, the narrator decides to travel to the Yellow River. He's never seen it before, but it has existed as a powerful symbol in Chinese folklore for years. There is a saying, he tells us, "that a person should not give up before reaching the Yellow River." So he takes a train, a bus and a long walk until he finally arrives. As he stands upon an embankment, the starry vision of his imagination gives way to stark reality: "Was this fast-flowing, brown, muddy river the Yellow River that had been praised in songs over the ages?
NEWS
By Ian Johnson and Ian Johnson,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | September 1, 1996
BEIJING -- To put it bluntly, a lot of people have never heard of Wang Xiaobo.His novel was banned two years ago, and not everyone reads the provincial newspapers in which he publishes his articles on freedom and liberty. But Wang's articles are indeed published, and his book is available through backdoor channels. His ideas are slowly percolating through the stream of propaganda and filters of censorship.What makes Wang remarkable is that he writes about Chinese political reform.In a country where the peril of smoking is about the most controversial issue open for discussion, Wang has emerged over the past year as one of the few interesting political writers.
FEATURES
By Loretta Tofani and Loretta Tofani,Knight-Ridder News Service | August 8, 1993
BEIJING -- A ban by Chinese authorities of the movie that won top prize this year at the Cannes Film Festival is an example, its director said, of one of the movie's central themes: It is dangerous to tell the truth in China.The ban on "Farewell to My Concubine" demonstrates the continued restrictions on freedom of expression in China even as the government insists the nation is becoming more open. Filmmakers must win approval from censors at every step of the way -- from script to final cut. The ban also shows the power of censorship in the Chinese press, which has followed official orders to avoid giving the film publicity.
NEWS
By Frank Langfitt and By Frank Langfitt,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | August 26, 2001
JINAN, China - In 1954 Army Pvt. James G. Veneris stood on the back of a truck along the 38th parallel, the line separating North and South Korea, and waved goodbye to the West. To folks back home, the choice he made was almost inconceivable. Having spent most of the Korean War in a Chinese-run prison camp, the knock-about laborer from western Pennsylvania joined 20 other U.S. military men in choosing Mao Tse-tung's China over Eisenhower's America. Hanging from the back of the truck was a white sign suggesting their reasons.
NEWS
By Frank Langfitt and Frank Langfitt,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | February 7, 2001
BEIJING - The Temple of Earth Park these days is unusually quiet, some of the loudest sounds on a recent morning being the soft scraping of bamboo brooms as the grounds crew sweep the stone walkways of snow. In the past, the park echoed each morning with hypnotic music from boom boxes as hundreds of people practiced qigong, a traditional Chinese form of meditation and exercise. Now, 18 months into a government campaign to destroy the nation's largest qigong group, Falun Gong, few practitioners dare venture here.
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