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The Chinafornia Newsletter 10.17.17 - Selling China by the Sleeve Dance

October 17 · Issue #42 · View online
Matt Sheehan's Newsletter
Welcome to the 42nd edition of The Chinafornia Newsletter, your weekly digest of news connecting the Golden State and the Middle Kingdom.
We’ve got some offbeat stories and great writing coming to you this week. I particularly want to highlight the story in the Top Reads below titled “Selling China by the Sleeve Dance.” It’s a very deep dive into Shen Yun, a dance performance put on by Faln Gong groups (intentional sic. for China email filters) in US and around the world. Diaspora politics are playing out in fascinating ways here in California and around the globe, and this is one of the best pieces I’ve seen on that.
Regular readers may have noticed that we skipped a couple weeks since the last newsletter. My apologies for the unexplained absence – I recently got brought onto an exciting new project involving Chinese AI, and it took me on an unexpected trip out to Beijing. 
Over the coming months I’ll be pouring a lot of time into research and writing, and while I’ll do my best to keep the newsletter on a regular schedule there may be some gaps in there. Hopefully the quality of the content within makes it worth the wait.
This week’s top reads:
The Chinafornia Newsletter is created by me, Matt Sheehan. I’m a fellow at The Paulson Institute and write for the think tank’s site MacroPolo. I spent over five years in mainland China, including two as the first-ever China correspondent for The Huffington Post and The WorldPost. I’m now back in my native California where I’m consulting on market entry and communications for China-related projects, and writing a book on Chinafornia.
You can read some of my best work on my own website: An Optimist’s Guide to China. Follow me on Twitter @mattsheehan88 and feel free to email me at

YouTube Suspends Account of Chinese Dissident - Washington Free Beacon
Silicon Valley, Ignore China at Your Peril — The Information (paywall)
Matt: Interesting longform piece on Chinese engineers in Silicon Valley and the draw to return home to start companies. I can certainly see the attraction, but also worth noting that the perceived value of these returnees – their edge over locally-trained engineers – is diminishing quickly. I talked with multiple CEOs of AI startups in Beijing recently who all made this point. The self-confidence of Chinese engineers and entrepreneurs is skyrocketing, and in many (but not all) cases it’s based in real strength.
Other tech headlines:
Matt: Chinese giants working overtime to lure away AI experts in Seattle, particularly from Microsoft.
Bay Area Council Welcomes Beijing Mayor, Signs MOU Expanding Economic Cooperation
Hollywood Finds Chinese Cinemas Fudging Box-Office Figures - WSJ
This Billionaire Had an Oscar Dream, but His Hollywood Ending Was Spoiled by China - WSJ
China Fears India May Be Edging It Out in Culture Battle - The New York Times
Real Estate
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott troubled 'in my soul' by state's EB-5 immunity claim - Burlington Free Press
Woroni | The Truth About the Chinese Students and Scholars Association
Alarm bells in the ivory tower: Jim Millward on the Cambridge University Press censorship fiasco - SupChina
Culture Smash
Golden State Warriors are gigantic in China - ESPN
China welcomes the Kings and hockey as it tries to stir interest before 2022 Olympics - LA Times
Selling China by the Sleeve Dance | Hazlitt
Probes continue into mysterious marijuana grows in Yuba County |
China’s Driving Tourists Take to Foreign Roads - Sixth Tone
Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Gay Chinese Embrace Overseas Tours - Sixth Tone
Culture Corner
碎音雜記 (Diary of Broken Sounds) | Baishui
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