Author Archives: Thor

About Thor


The Earthquake

The earth­quake: I was run­ning back to my apart­ment from the class­room for some­thing, and didn’t feel a thing. The oth­er for­eign teacher here stag­gered out of her apart­ment and said she thought she was dying. I told her to … Con­tin­ue read­ing

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Covert & Overt Values

My own first intro­duc­tion to Chi­nese thought and polit­i­cal econ­o­my was a uni­ver­si­ty course in New Zealand in 1974. I espe­cial­ly recall one book, Mark Elvin’s “The Pat­tern of the Chi­nese Past”. If you are not famil­iar with the argu­ments … Con­tin­ue read­ing

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A Child Goes Missing

Each evening I walk for an hour or two, and some­times one of the stu­dents tags along. This is won­der­ful, since she can bring mean­ing to the blur of Chi­nese street life around us. Yes­ter­day, she point­ed out a tragedy … Con­tin­ue read­ing

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Post Office Blues

The Chi­nese Post Office con­tin­ues to excel. We’ve had scraps before. This was the out­fit that wouldn’t let me send Christ­mas cards in dif­fer­ent sized envelopes, or send copies of my the­sis to an Aus­tralian uni­ver­si­ty in any box but … Con­tin­ue read­ing

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Chasing Out The Devils

Zhengzhou has been under heavy attack for sev­er­al days, appar­ent­ly to chase out accu­mu­lat­ed dev­ils. These aren’t minor explo­sions, though I have been dodg­ing small boys for a cou­ple of weeks. The streets are cleared of the usu­al surg­ing crowds … Con­tin­ue read­ing

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The Iron Rooster and The White Dragon

Chi­na has one of the world’s biggest rail net­works. With 20% of the world’s pop­u­la­tion that is hard­ly sur­pris­ing, and it still comes nowhere near meet­ing demand on exist­ing net­works, or on actu­al net­work cov­er­age in dense­ly pop­u­lat­ed provinces like … Con­tin­ue read­ing

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A Christmas Story

This city of Zhengzhou is show­ing me new faces at every turn. There are vast pres­tige com­plex­es and broad tree lined avenues along­side scenes that come straight from Hogarth’s Eng­land. As the sea­sons change you can move from balmy autumn … Con­tin­ue read­ing

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Well, hello again

Thor’s Chi­na Diary began in 1998, from Wuhan where I taught in a cou­ple of uni­ver­si­ties. The air was dif­fer­ent then in more ways than one. They gave me a lit­tle green book list­ing all the things that for­eign­ers were … Con­tin­ue read­ing

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