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China

WSU Emeritus Professor and writer Alex Kuo. Courtesy Alex Kuo
Winter 2015

Triple Shanghai

Alex Kuo’s writing confronts censorship both explicit and hidden

In a pivotal moment from Alex Kuo’s new novel shanghai.shanghai.shanghai, several Chinese card players watch a team of Americans publicly disavow George W. Bush’s administration in front of an international audience. Struck by the brazen criticism, a pickpocket known as Bogota Man questions how such anti-government opinions could ever be voiced openly.

He contends that political dissent in China can mean life in solitary confinement. A friend quickly responds that in America the defiant act of protest is more likely to be completely ignored.

“I’m not sure which is worse,” she says.

» More …

Fall 2012

The China Connection

Business professor Jerman Rose first went to China in 1995 as part of a Washington State University hospitality program to train hotel managers in the Shangri La Hotel Group. Recognizing the growing opportunity for business students from both China and the United States, he decided to learn Chinese and look for an academic partner for WSU’s international business program.

By 1998 he had helped establish a relationship with Southwestern University of Finance and Economics (SWUFE) in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. Almost 15 years later, says Rose, the college has established a WSU Center at SWUFE and facilitated many undergraduate, graduate, and faculty exchanges.

For Rose, the … » More …

Winter 2011

The Man Who Dammed the Yangtze: A Mathematical Novel

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Alex Kuo

Haven Books, 2011

 

Ge and G, mathematicians in northern China and Oshkosh, Wisconsin, respectively, navigate parallel academic paths at the beginning of this unique and challenging novel by WSU English professor Alex Kuo. The two characters don’t know each other, but their lives reflect a common experience over the course of 30 years.

The Chinese woman Ge and Chinese-American man G share a disgust for the emptiness of their teaching and the revolutions … » More …

Fall 2011

A Chinaman’s Chance

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Alex Kuo
Wordcraft of Oregon, 2011

WSU English professor Alex Kuo’s newest collection of poetry, A Chinaman’s Chance: New and Selected Poems 1960-2010, will sadden, fascinate, and unexpectedly jar its readers into a fresh perspective of the sometimes terrifying world that we live in. This collection of Kuo’s poems provides a nice poetic balance, as readers are able to experience lyrical, narrative, and prose poetry all in the same book. Kuo’s writing conveys ideas about … » More …

A new kind of chop suey: China's contemporary urban architecture

Visiting China’s cities in recent years is like watching time-lapse photography. Consider: the city of Shanghai had one skyscraper in 1985; now they are legion. In 1988, I looked from Shanghai’s famous Peace Hotel on the Bund to the far side of the Huangpo River: nothing but a gray stretch of grimy shoreline. In less than 20 years, Shanghai’s Pudong District transformed from a forlorn swamp to something like the Chicago Loop. To say no more, this kind of construction explosion doesn’t afford much time to evolve a coherent architectural style.

The 20th century was a tough one for China. It began with the collapse … » More …

Summer 2007

Panda Diaries

In Panda Diaries, Alex Kuo’s latest novel, a panda mailman chastises his improbable cohort, Ge, for buying into its pop image. “You’re supposed to be in intelligence. You’ve seen me smoke. If I relied only on that bamboo diet, we’d all be extinct by now. That’s just a story our lobbyists invent for the foreign journalists in Beijing when they have nothing else to write about.” And unlike the surly postal carriers of America, this zoological civil servant is, in many ways, more contemplative and human than Ge can claim to be. A colonel in the Chinese secret service, Ge has been exiled to Changchun, … » More …

Fall 2008

The end is the beginning. A photo essay

A Chinese native who was born during the Cultural Revolution, Jian Yang '08 found his artistic self somewhere in between his home country and the United States. That understanding of the in-between is perhaps why, on a visit home after spending some time here in graduate school, he discovered a fascination for the disappearing tradition of rural Chinese opera. » More ...
Fall 2008

Let the invasions begin

As Beijing prepared to welcome athletes and spectators to the Olympic Games, a quieter and much less welcome influx was already under way.

According to a new study by Washington State University ecologist Richard Mack and four Chinese colleagues, China’s explosive economic growth and ambitious public-works projects have allowed non-native species of plants, insects, and other organisms to spread throughout the country and inflict more than $14 billion of damage on the nation’s economy—and the Olympic Games could provide an opportunity for even more biological invaders.

Mack and his co-authors combed through trade and economic data to discover that China’s economic boom has been accompanied … » More …