Harmonious Families Inspire Class Warfare

Here in Shanghai, we are finally putting some distance between us and the concluded Chinese New Year. But, in microblogging terms, it feels to me like there’s still a bit of a holiday hangover. Only in the last two days, with all kinds of interesting political news, does one get the sense that things are back to normal in the wild world of Weibo. My Bloomberg World View column for this week reaches back into the Chinese New Year period, however, to a story that I was eager to write since I first heard about it, and – due to some slow news days – received the chance. It concerns the considerable online heat that was generated when Beijing’s leading women’s group modified the criteria it uses for naming model families, to include items that, well, cost a lot of money. Like going on vacation. Or owning 300 books. You can find the piece at Bloomberg World View.

And a quick note on World View. There are five of us World View columnists, each of us doing a weekly piece on issues typically flying beneath the radar of other foreign correspondents in our respective regions. And there’s some absolutely fabulous stuff being written on the site. Two pieces, in particular, from the last week, stick out for me. Why not give them a look?

  • A Bewildering Online Hit, Now Brazil’s Biggest Star,” by Dom Phillips, World View’s columnist in Saõ Paulo, might be the funniest thing I’ve read in 2012 (so far). It concerns a young reality star, Luiza, who is in Canada … well, you just have to read it.
  • India’s Top Newspapers Battle for Hearts and Souls,” by Chandrahas Choudhury, World View’s Columnist in Delhi, is a brilliant and very funny explication of the differences between India’s two most venerable newspapers. It should be noted that Choudhury, a novelist, writes his column with a literary flair to which others (like me) can only aspire.

A lot of thought and work goes into these columns, and I think the above two really prove it. I hope you’ll have a look.


  1. Apropos of nothing, I heard you on KCRW’s To the Point and I really wish you had more leeway to debate Mike Daisey. Thank you for pointing out that he could use–gasp!–a landline instead of an iPhone.

  2. Hi Richard –

    Thanks for the comment. I’ve just added a post on that exchange. Also, please take no offense, but – per recent practice – I’m going to close comments on this post. Due to the demands of my book project, I just don’t have the time to moderate the threads, anymore. That this one was left open was an oversight. Nothing personal, and I hope you’ll return.

  3. Why are you not accepting comments anymore? I tend not to read blogs that don’t want a two-way conversation or welcome the possibility of feedback.

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