Will there be a Sino-Russia alliance? (Slough of Despond 3: advanced blogging)

Will there be a Sino-Russia alliance? (Slough of Despond 3: advanced blogging)

Zhang Zihan



(Photo Source: The Daily journalist  http://thedailyjournalist.com/world-national/putin-china-and-the-us-for-a-new-route/)


These days most world media are discussing the increasingly tight China-Russia tie after the two countries signed a 30-years gas contract, and not a few of them, especially the western media, have revealed a sense of anxiety in their words about a possible China-Russia alliance against US and NATO. 

This situation specially occurs to people grown up in democratic countries, who may view China and Russia as authoritarianism countries who keep showing muscles around and bullying small neighbors. But I have to say such anxiety comes from nowhere but the incomprehension on what’s going on between China and Russia.

Russia has been coveting Chinese land for a long time and since the age of Czar and have taken control of more than 3 million square kilometers land so far. Most Chinese intellectuals are aware of this and they don’t have a good impression on Russia. In fact, when Russia Embassy first opened its social network account on Sina Weibo(Chinese equivalence of Twitter), netizens flushed it with comments, claiming Russia should give Chinese territory back.



(Photo source: screen shot of Shanggaiist 



While according to BBC’s survey in 2013, most Russians believe China is expanding in Fareast and will threaten Russia’s interest.

Then why China and Russia still getting closer and closer?

Possibly due to the West don’t believe in both China and Russia. The two countries are still suffering from military and economical sanctions imposed from US and NATO, and any movement from these two countries would be treated as a threat. Though they tried to express goodwill to the west, what they get in return is usually criticism. What else can you expect the two discovered that they are in similar situation? Yes, they would cooperate and help each other. But becoming allies and leave their back to each other? I sincerely doubt. 


Is housing in Australia really too expensive?





Australia has been recognized as one of the best immigration destinations in the world for a long time.

Yep, everything’s wonderful here, the beautiful scenery, clean environment,  friendly people, well-built infrastructure…They all make me jealous, for I just escaped from my motherland, China, currently one of the most populated and polluted country in this world.

I thought most Australians should be happy about this situation, until one day I heard  on the tram that a young man complained to his girlfriend about the rising housing price.

“Hey, the agent just told me the price of the house we went to last week in Reservoir has increased by 10% to $400k,” he said. “Fucking foreign investors, i have to ask my parents for money…”

Their conversation went on like that, all about how expensive the houses are, and how he could not afford a house.

Well, in my point of view, the housing price here in Melbourne is expensive, but not as expensive as he said.

The average price for houses sold by auction in Sydney was $1.08 million, while in Melbourne this figure was $810,000, according to the Property Observer,  http://www.propertyobserver.com.au/finding/location/nsw/29170-sydney-auction-clearance-rates-continue-to-soar-while-melbourne-flattens.html.

These figures seems indeed very high, but take a second though: there prices are all about houses, what about apartments?

Take a quick search on realestates.com.au, you will find plenty of apartments priced around 200 to 300K in Melbourne, and in suburbs this price can even get you a small house around  100m².

Actually Melbourne’s average house price is about the same in Beijing, which is approximately AUD$6000 per square meter in 2013. But the income of an average Beijinger is AUD10,000 in 2013, they have to save every cent in order to pay their loan.

Oh, one more thing. Australian house owners have permanent ownership to their house and land, but the Chinese can only keep it for 70 years. After 70 years, the government will take it back.




‘Transformers 4: Revenge of the Chinese’



This article was written last year when i first heard “Chinese elements” would be added into Transformer 4.


BY Zhang Zihan

Hollywood studio Paramount Pictures recently announced that sci-fi epic Transformers 4 (2014) will be a joint China-US production starring Chinese actress Li Bingbing. I suspect she will help Autobots’ leader Optimus Prime overcome mechanical mishaps and upgrade his weapons for a highly anticipated fight against rival robots Decepticons.

I caught a sneak peek of the screenplay, so brace yourself for the following spoiler: “Li (to Bumblebee): China can help the Autobots in many ways, just tell me should you need any assistance. Don’t forget he has not been properly fixed. (Close-up on Li as she sips Yili Shuhua, the same brand of milk featured in Transformers 3).”

OK, so maybe I’m just speculating. But it’s easy to make such an assumption based on the Chinese version of Iron Man 3, which included cameos by Chinese stars Wang Xueqi and Fan Bingbing.

Wang had a five-second scene with Iron Man’s alter ego Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) at the start of the film followed by a one-minute dialogue with JARVIS (Paul Bettany) along the lines of, “China can help Tony in many ways, just tell me should you need any assistance. Don’t forget he hasn’t recovered yet.”

Fan, China’s answer to Kim Kardashian, played a nurse who uttered something unmemorable. Both were so irrelevant to the storyline their cameos appeared painfully forced.

In light of the Iron Man 3 “Chinese experiment,” I’d rather see Hollywood films that don’t kowtow to Middle Kingdom audiences. Historically, our men have been depicted on the big screen as villains with Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) queues and Fu Manchu mustaches, while our women have been exotic, oriental seductresses.

In a bid to tap the Chinese market, Hollywood tycoons are infusing “Chinese characteristics” into their productions: one or two Chinese sirens who speak broken English, several die-quickly yellow faces, token shots of Chinese landmarks and shameless domestic product placements.

But if studios believe adding Chinese walk-ons or advertisements into their films will yield box office hits in China, they are sorely mistaken. Instead, they appear stupid and transparent to educated domestic audiences.

No longer will we be entertained by fickle cameos or Hollywood stars butchering Chinese in awkward lines. But we might be willing to make an exception for Optimus Prime, provided his robotic diction perfects Putonghua’s tones.

As an avid sci-fi fan, I have some suggestions for Paramount ahead of Transformers 4’s release in China.

Firstly, make Bumblebee fall in love with Li. I know such a romance might seem unlikely, but we don’t really care for heartthrobs Mark Wahlberg or Brenton Thwaites.

Secondly, let their love nest be a quaint hutong in Beijing; it’s far more romantic than any American condo or log cabin.

Thirdly, allow Bumblebee to learn bad habits from Beijing’s taxi drivers, including refusing to take customers and stinking of garlic and sweat in summer.

Finally, depict the Decepticons’ downfall at the hands of Beijing’s notorious traffic, and make Megatron’s engine come to a sputtering end due to “beyond index” levels of PM2.5.

Brace yourself, Transformers. Beijing welcomes you.