By Elaine Dunn


Ask any college-aged person in China about the Tiananmen Square Massacre and chances are (s)he will not know much.  This is by design.  The Chinese government has enforced silence about the incident and treats what took place on June 3 and 4 as a “revolutionary riot.”  

That night, the tanks not only crushed the students physically, they also squelched any hope for political liberalization.

Student activists were full of hope for political reform the night of June 3, 1989.  By the following morning, that hope had been completely shattered, with numerous dead and injured.  How many deaths?  The world may never know as the Chinese government still maintains that June 4, 1989, is "much ado about nothing" and a "strictly internal affair."

By Elaine Dunn

The fifth day of the fifth lunar month is when Chinese the world over traditionally celebrate Dragon Boat Festival – a day that commemorates the suicide of the scholar and statesman Qu Yuan, around 278 B.C.  China Insight covered the folklore surrounding this day, also known as DuanWu Festival in its “What’s the occasion” series in June 2013. 

What’s the story? Shennong (神農), the Divine Farmer
By Elaine Dunn

The waiter set the not-on-the-menu-Chinese-New-Year-special dish in front of us.  My son promptly asked what the dark brown gelatinous slices were. “Wood ear,” I replied, “Wood ear (木耳) and fish fillets braised in rice wine.” “And what on earth is wood ear?” he asked.  Hmm … this is going to be interesting.

By Elaine Dunn

Have you ever heard of Shangqiu City? Didn’t think so. I wager that no other China Insight reader has ever heard of this place either, let alone its native son, Suirenshi (燧人氏)! Should I be wrong on this score, do email me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and let me know.  I’ll be glad to report how many emails I received in next month’s column.

The cradle of fire
Shangqiu (商丘) is at the junction of

By Elaine Dunn

     Last month’s “Story” column dealt with China’s version of the creation of heaven and earth by Pangu (盤古). The story ended on the premise that we human beings came from mites off Pangu’s hairy body. Not exactly a pleasant thought.  So this month, I’ll offer up an alternate, and I hope, a more palatable version of how human beings were created according to Chinese mythology - the story of Nüwa.

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