Funeral Portraits, Shanghai Lockdown, France’s Hong Kong Commentary from the Web, Week 22, 2022

Taking funeral portraits for China's elderly empty-nesters in rural areas:

“Your children and grandchildren will remember your smiling face.” (

Over the past 4 years, Yang Xin and her friends have taken memorial portraits of over 2,000 old folks for their future funeral services in Shangluo City, northwest China's Shaanxi Province. In small village squares or some old people’s yards, seniors sit in front of the red backdrop put up by volunteers, smiling, showing gums with or without teeth. For many of them, this is the second time they have had photos taken. The first one was the photo for their ID cards.

Anonymous, “I Was Lucky Enough to Live through a Joke”

- Reading the China Dream

The following is an example of a blog post on the Shanghai lockdown that went viral.  Penned by a young woman in Shanghai who lives with her mother and her younger brother (her father lives in Guangzhou), the four posts translated here recount the author’s stay at a quarantine center in late April 2022, followed by a second stay in a hotel for close contacts, as well as many adventures in between.  Although the blog is quite new, and the author completely unknown, the first post was read at least 1.7 million times (and probably more—the author reports this figure in the second of her four posts).

     The posts are valuable for what they reveal about the nuts and bolts of the system, what works and what doesn’t, and how the citizens of Shanghai are bearing up.  The text presumably went viral because the feisty, yet likeable, author recounts her exasperation with the clumsiness and inevitable inefficiences and injustices of the system in a way that is often extremely amusing.  I have no idea if the author has ambitions to be a writer, but to my mind ​she is clearly a gifted humorist, combining Internet slang[2] and a clean prose style to great effect.  There are many passages of delicious irony, and probably nuances that I missed.

France's Hong Kong: The leased territory of Guangzhouwan

– SupChina

Those leases included the German settlement at Qingdao and two settlements by the British — the New Territories that expanded their holdings in Hong Kong as well as the port of Weihaiwei on the Shandong peninsula. Russia obtained a shorter lease — 25 years — for its railway building in Manchuria, including the city of Harbin. The United States, shut out of the prime opportunities, instead advocated an “Open Door” policy that would, in effect, ensure that no single country could exclude the others when seeking to exploit China.

In the Second World War, Guangzhouwan enjoyed an unusual status by remaining Free French, in contrast to Indochina, which was occupied by the Japanese and operated as part of the Vichy regime. As a result, Guangzhouwan was a route into and out of China for Allied arms and materiel, and refugees fleeing Hong Kong or other Chinese cities. This continued until the Japanese occupation of the city in early 1943. After the war, Guangzhouwan was returned to Chinese sovereignty.