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Collected GRR newsletters in 2022 & some thankful words
This is my final newsletter before Christmas, and it lists every piece except the Top Search series published by Ginger River Review (GRR) in 2022 in reverse chronological order. I am also highlighting ten of them, including the five most well-read ones and my five personal favorites, with some thoughts and notes. It turns out that I prefer human interest stories over those concerning politics or policies, and I hope they make for good holiday reading. I plan to publish one more story over the coming week, just in case you get bored. =)
I want to take the opportunity to say thank you. As I mentioned in GRR's introduction, my motivation for briefing trends on Chinese social media and introducing Chinese stories to English readers is, while fully aware of my limitations, to shed some light on what concerns the Chinese leadership and the general public. I hope GRR has been of use to you from time to time and contributes to solving at least some pieces of the China puzzle.
Over the past year, I have, on many occasions with the help of Jinglin Gao, red_wallstreet and Tsong Wong, published 101 issues. Substack is booming, but it's still fairly new. There aren't many translation-centric substacks written by people hailing from the Chinese mainland. So we are, to the best of our abilities in our spare time, still exploring. In case you have any suggestions for GRR, opinions on a certain matter, or recommendations on what we should do next, I'm all ears. Please feel free to reply to this email or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are trying times, but lately, I've welcomed a little puppy into my life. Together with her, the daughter of a German Shepherd and a rural Pakistani dog, we wish you and your loved ones a joyous Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! (Any ideas for a name?)
2022 Ginger River's Favorites (To avoid spoiling your reading experience, I don't talk much about the stories here):
The cyber-mom carries on her son's legacy.
"Uncle always said that he could only take care of himself, but he actually took care of the whole village. "
I discussed with my friends why this story went viral in China but was not as well received by international readers. We have the answers, and I believe that not being popular is also a reflection of cultural differences between China and the West, which is a good reason to read (watch) it.
I always enjoy reading and telling Chinese county town stories. Less traditional than villages and less urbanized than big cities, county towns are easily overlooked. (Neither did I grow up in a county town) They are, however, the necessary pieces to complete the picture of an authentic China.
"For many of them, this is the second time they have had photos taken. The first one was the photo for their ID cards."
"We do these things only for future generations to forget all about this."
(In this sentence, I've come to the conclusion that this is still my favorite story.)
2022 Reader Favorites:
The Economist said the Taiwan Strait is "the most dangerous place on Earth". That may be an exaggeration, but it has certainly piqued the interest of this newsletter's readers, making popular Chinese blogger Chairman Rabbit's article on Taiwan the most popular piece in 2022. The reason could be attributed in part to his attitudes and analysis that differ from those of many Western China Watchers, which is also one of the newsletter's foci in its report.
After more than two decades of following the footsteps of their American peers, Chinese VCs are increasingly diverging in terms of investment strategy and focus. It's no surprise that this was a hit because it provided a thorough explanation of the underlying forces driving the trend from a founding partner of a China-based venture capital fund.
Here again is Taiwan. When discussing the Taiwan Island, all eyes seemed to be focused on chip manufacturing in addition to any potential war over the Taiwan Strait. It is not only a hot topic in the "competition" between China and the United States, but it is also a critical section that can affect the global manufacturing supply chain. If this subject resurfaced in the top 5 in 2023, I wouldn't be shocked.
This is a pretty interesting one. The article offers an open discussion about the resilience and weaknesses of China's unique system, and provides candid advice for how the governance model should adapt to this new era. Here, I'd like to use a phrase from my friend Zichen Wang -- it "helps shape 一个真实、立体、全面的中国 a true, multi-dimensional, and panoramic view of China."
The article is mainly about five major issues in China’s development, which are common prosperity, nature of capital, supply security, major risk mitigation, and the goals of achieving carbon peak and carbon neutrality. Since the Chinese leader wrote it, I don't need to emphasize how significant it is. I was very delighted to hear from a reader who said that the piece was so useful that she used it directly in her own work to successfully identify where China's economic funds would be moving in the future. I guess that should serve as a reminder to maintain "the consciousness of following the leadership core, and keeping in alignment with the central Party leadership"!
Full list of GRR's pieces in 2022 (the above-mentioned 10 stories are highlighted)
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