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The most convenient way to learn Chinese the way it is actually spoken and used. Start with our basic lessons, and in no time you'll be listening to music, watching films and television and engaging in the actual language. With free daily podcasts, a vibrant community, online study tools and much more, PopupChinese is the most powerful and personal way to learn mandarin.
Updated: 3 hours 31 min ago

Sinica - Band of Brothers: China and South Africa

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 01:00

You'd be forgiven for thinking that China and South Africa weren't actual neighbors given all the pomp and ritual that surrounded South African President Jacob Zuma's recent state visit to China, a trip that saw China roll out the red carpet in a very uncritical fashion not often seen these days, with even Xinhua getting into the spirit of international camraderie with fulsome editorials praising the South African people and their international spirit.

And in the spirit of confusing co-host Kaiser and changing the balance of power in the studio, Jeremy is delighted to have invited a "real" South African to join us this week. And so our guest is John Bailey, Asia Correpondent of ENCA, the 24-hour television news broadcaster focusing on South African and African stories. In this hour-long show, John joins us to talk about what is happening in South Africa, and why the country's relations with China have taken such a rosy turn.

Enjoy Sinica? If you like this show and would like more to show up automatically on your iPhone as we publish them, subscribe to Sinica manually by selecting the option "Subscribe to Podcast" from the File menu in iTunes and providing the URL http://popupchinese.com/feeds/custom/sinica when prompted. We also welcome everyone to download this show directly from our server as a standalone mp3 file, and to send comments and suggestions for future shows to us at sinica@popupchinese.com. Enjoy!

Sinica - Domestic Abuse in China

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 01:00

It doesn't take a lot of time in China to see household violence play out in supermarkets, in schools, or even in the streets. But exactly how common is domestic violence in China? In the face of recent evidence from Peking University that more than 70 percent of all children suffer from some form of physical or emotional abuse, not to mention the never-stopping stories of spousal abuse (by both men and women) that pour out in the press, we wanted to take an episode to look into the issue and ask what the hell is going on?

That's why this week, Sinica is delighted to host Su Wenying and Cai Yiping, two leading advocates of women and children's rights who join us for a discussion of domestic violence in China. Our conversation starts with a discussion of the current legal landscape, and moves on to the prevalence of domestic abuse with some surprising stats about how education and social status does and does not affect the prevalence of violence in this country, before we look at public awareness of the problem, and ask to what extent it seems likely to change anytime soon.

Enjoy listening to Sinica? We invite everyone to download this show as an standalone mp3 file for listening offline or sharing. If you have any feedback on the show or suggestions about topics you'd like to hear covered, please feel welcome to leave a note in our comments section, or send us an email at sinica@popupchinese.com.

Sinica - Internet Wrangling in Wuzhen

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 01:00

With Jeremy Goldkorn conscripted into family duties as father of lucky newborn Felix Goldkorn, Kaiser Kuo hosts alone this week as we turn our attention to the World Internet Conference last week, when a last minute attempt by Chinese organizers to foist the so-called Wuzhen Declaration on participants provoked an international backlash over concerns it was attempting to make the international community complicit in even sharper restrictions on Internet usage China seems poised to impose under the country's new Internet Tsar, Lu Wei.

Missed the news? Joining us to bring everyone up-to-date with a combination of insider-gossip and academic analysis is Rogier Creemers of Oxford University, founder of the China Copyright and Media Blog, and one of the unsung heroes of China-watching given his penchant for producing rapid and accurate translations of important Chinese policy documents and speeches that tend to be ignored by the rest of the press. Welcome Rogier!

Sinica - Banned but Booming: Golf in China

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 01:00

"If you're not working in China, you're probably not working at all...."

Despite China's legal moratorium on the development of the golf industry, a policy driven by concerns over illegal farmland seizures and the potential misallocation of agricultural land and water resources, the golf industry has experienced an unprecedented frenzy of development over the past thirty years, with the very government organs that overtly disapprove of the luxury sport often promoting its growth, leading to a situation where not even the central government has more than a vague inkling of how many courses actually exist in the country.

With rumors of an impending crackdown on the industry circulating in the industry though, and questions of whether this kind of growth will or can continue, we are delighted to be joined in the studio by Dan Washburn, former founder of The Shanghaiist, and now Chief Content Officer for the Asia Society in New York, where Dan has lived while working on his latest book: The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream.

Like Sinica? Don't forget that you can download this show and all of our previous shows as a standalone mp3 file. And if you have any suggestions on topics you'd like to see us tackle or just feel like yelling at Kaiser or Jeremy, feel welcome to write us anytime at sinica@popupchinese.com.

Sinica - Behind the Curtain at APEC

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 01:00

With tensions between the West and Russia running high over Ukraine, China and Japan still wrangling over the Diaoyu islands, and America and China fighting over pretty much the same old petty stuff, it's easy to be cynical about APEC. But this year's summit seemed to accomplish quite a lot, and not just cleaning up the air in Beijing for a week or so. This week on Sinica, we look behind the public politics with an insider's guide to what was really going on.

Joining Jeremy and Kaiser for this analysis of the scene-behind-the-scene are two great political analysts and commentators tied closely to American geostrategy in Asia: Evan Feigenbaum, Vice President of the Paulson Institute and adviser on China to Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick, along with Damien Ma, fellow at the Paulson Institute and author of In Line Behind a Billion People.

Like Sinica? As always, let us remind you that we have a special RSS feed that feeds out nothing but Sinica shows if you're interested in subscribing to the podcast that way. We also welcome comments and feedback by email at sinica@popupchinese.com and are pleased to make this show available as a standalone mp3 file for everyone interested in downloading it, or passing it along to friends. And thanks for listening!

Absolute Beginners - 10 signs you may have an asshole for a husband

Tue, 11/11/2014 - 03:40

As the whirlwind romance that preceded Mary's honeymoon faded, it became increasing clear that her ill-fated marriage had thrust her into a conjugal death march. Yet despite her husband's passive aggressive hostility, Mary lived in the hope that sheer enthusiasm could somehow break through his frustrated silence, and so continued to ask after him and express an interest in his affairs, and all despite the fact that -- let's face it -- the man was an unremitting asshole.

Sinica - Damned Lies, Statistics and China

Sat, 11/08/2014 - 01:00

In a country where every single province frequently reports annual growth rates exceeding the national average, and the country's premier is applauded for publicly ignoring his own National Bureau of Statistics, it isn't hard to take Mark Twain's famous aphorism about "lies, damned lies and statistics" to heart as practical advice for navigating the complexities of life in China.

But since this raises the question of how anyone is supposed to know anything at all about this place we live, this week on Sinica Jeremy Goldkorn is delighted to be joined by Matthew Crabbe, author of the recent book Myth-Busting China's Numbers, who brings us a lot of delicious anecdotes on just how crazy Chinese statistics can get, along with practical advice on sorting out the reliable from the purely fantastical. And just when you would think the podcast can't get any better? That's when the surprise guest happens.

Final Note: the standalone mp3 download is here if you need it. If you've been listening to Sinica for a while you may also remember our recent interview with Sascha Matuszak about martial arts in China. As mentioned in that podcast as well as this one, Sascha is running a Kickstarter to fund a documentary video on the subject. If you're interested in checking it out or supporting the project, you can find details of the project online right here.

Sinica - David Walker on China in the Australian Mind

Fri, 11/07/2014 - 01:00

This week on Sinica, Kaiser and Jeremy are delighted to by joined by Professor David Walker, chair of the Australian Studies department at Peking University, and historian with a special focus on Australian immigration policies and relations with China since 1850. Starting with a look back at Australia's history of exclusion, our discussion moves forward to look at the state of relations today, as well as the state of Australia studies in China more generally.

Like Sinica? If you want to have Kaiser and Jeremy show up automatically on your computer or Android/iPhone whenever a new episode is released, fire up your favourite RSS reader and subscribe to our custom feed, available right here. Comments and suggestions for future shows are welcome in our discussion section, as well as by email at sinica@popupchinese.com. We also welcome everyone to download this show as a standalone mp3 file for listening or sharing with friends. Enjoy!

Intermediate - American Hukou

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 01:00

The admission process had already taken four months. Four months of school tours, and meetings with first the principal and then every fourth grade teacher on payroll. Four months of paperwork, paperwork and more paperwork as Jonathan sat sullenly at home wondering when he would finally be able to go back to school. It had been a long wait, but today, at least, his parents would get an answer to that question.

Sinica - Chomping at the Bitcoin

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 01:00

After a shocking expose of Jeremy Goldkorn's criminal past, Sinica this week moves on to examine the Bitcoin phenomenon in China. Joined by Zennon Kapron, fintech expert, owner of the Shanghai consultancy Kapronasia, and recent author of the book Chomping at the Bitcoin, we delve into the driving forces behind the cryptocurrency revolution in China, as well as take a quick look at the various other kinds of innovation surfacing in China's online financial sector.

Interested in more Sinica but shy about signing up at Popup Chinese? If you'd like to get iTunes to download new episodes of Sinica automatically as they are released, don't forget you can subscribe to our free public RSS feed and have your computer download new episodes as soon as they are released. Twitter users are also welcome to join the constant stream of discussion about China news by following Kaiser at @KaiserKuo and Jeremy at @danwei. And we welcome everyone to download this show as a standalone MP3 file too.

Sinica - China Daddy Issues

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 01:00

We've all heard about the difficulty of finding good schools in China, and know first hand about the food and air safety problems. But what about the terrors of pedestrian crossings, the dilemmas of how much trust you should inculcate in your kids, or how much abject poverty should be included in family outings? For our answers to these questions and much more, join Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn and David Moser for this no-holds-barred and boys-only discussion of what it's like to be a father in China.

Enjoy Sinica? If you'd like to have Kaiser and crew show up automatically on your computer whenever a new episode of Sinica is published, you can subscribe to our RSS feed by opening iTunes, selecting the option "Subscribe to Podcast" from the File menu and providing the URL http://popupchinese.com/feeds/custom/sinica when prompted. We also welcome listeners to download this show as a standalone mp3 file. Thanks for listening, and enjoy!

Sinica - The Sounds of Old Beijing

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 01:00

This week on Sinica, Kaiser and Jeremy are joined by Colin Chinnery from the Beijing Sound History Project, a recording project that aims to preserve the distinctive clangs, songs and shouts of traditional Beijing life. In addition to sampling some recordings from the archives, we also talk about Chinnery's work with the Shijia Hutong Museum, which recreates life in the narrow hutongs of Old Beijing.

Have thoughts? Once you've done listening, please share your thoughts in our comments section, or write us at sinica@popupchinese.com. We encourage everyone to subscribe to the Sinica show through RSS as well. You can do this by opening up iTunes, clicking on the "Advanced" menu and selecting the option "Subscribe to Podcast". When prompted, copy the URL http://popupchinese.com/feeds/custom/sinica into the box. Or download this show as a standalone mp3 file.

Sinica - Chinese Martial Arts

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 01:00

This week on Sinica, Jeremy Goldkorn and David Moser are pleased to be joined by Sascha Matuszak, a Chengdu-based expert on Chinese martial arts and the producer of a new documentary on Chinese MMA, a competitive tournament series where competitors combine different styles from varying schools of combat in a frenzied quest to pummel their opponents into submission.

Enjoy Sinica? If you'd prefer to have new episodes of Sinica stream to your computer automatically as they're released, subscribe to our special RSS feed using iTunes. Alternately, you can get into the spirit of Daoism and download our shows week-by-week as we release them: this podcast is available for download right here as a standalone mp3 file. We also welcome feedback on our shows as well as suggestions for future guests or topics by email directly to Kaiser and Jeremy at sinica@popupchinese.com.

Elementary - Shattered Dreams

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 01:00

Rather than a regular podcast, today we are pleased to publish a longer Elementary dialogue designed to test your listening comprehension. The language used here is not terribly difficult, but it is spoken at native pace and with the sort of emotional inflection you'll find living and working in China. So take a listen and click through to our quiz to see how much you understand. Our annotated transcript is there as always in case you have difficulty.

Sinica - In Conversation with Mara Hvistendahl

Sat, 09/27/2014 - 01:00

Kaiser and Jeremy are joined this week by Mara Hvistendahl, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author and long-standing resident of Shanghai, to discuss her two main works. Along with discussing the twists and turns of her murder novel, And the City Swallowed Them, we also touch upon on law enforcement in China, the global modeling industry, the parallel lives of ex-pats and migrant workers in big Chinese cities, and the different philosophical approaches to punishment. Also, we look into sex-ratio imbalances around the world and its diverse adverse social repercussions, the topic Mara explores in Unnatural Selection.

You like listening to Kaiser and Jeremy as much as we do? Subscribe to Sinica through our private RSS feed, or download this show as a standalone mp3 file to share with your friends. If you have questions or suggested topics, feel free to reach out to us anytime by email at sinica@popupchinese.com.

Quiz Night - The Mysteries of Taobao

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 01:00

With the Alibaba IPO throwing daytraders worldwide into a frenzed adulation of all things China, and the press going wild over Jack Ma and his Chinese e-commerce engine, this week's show takes a closer look at Taobao - the jewel in the Alibaba crown - with a hard-hitting quiz covering the most important things no-one seems to be able to remember about our favourite shopping site. Also on the show: questions about Beijing and the secrets of Uighur time....

Quiz Night is a regular feature here at Popup Chinese that we've put together for intermediate to upper-intermediate students. And our goal is not so much teaching anything in particular so much as producing a half-mandarin, half-english show that features higher-level vocabulary you won't run into in other learning materials. Today, join us and learn everything from the name of Goldman Sachs in Chinese, to the essential catchphrases needed to outsource your thesis to somewhere south of Wuhan.

Sinica - LGBT China

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 01:00

This week on Sinica, Jeremy Goldkorn and David Moser are joined by Fan Popo for a discussion of the way life works for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) community in China. For those who have not heard of him, Fan is an accomplished film-maker and social activist, best known as author of the book Happy Together, a complete record of 100 queer films, as well as the director of the China Queer Film Festival.

If you like this show, give a thought to subscribing to Sinica through our private RSS feed, or download this show as a standalone mp3 file to share with friends. Finally, if you have questions or suggested topics for the show, please feel welcome to reach out to us anytime by email at sinica@popupchinese.com.

Absolute Beginners - The Public Security Alarm

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 01:00

Through many countries and over many seas I have come, dear brother, to this futuristic society in which you live, only to find myself astonished and humbled by its paradoxical embrace of social monitoring tools which seem to assure social order, yet also remain respectful of individual privacy and democratic rights. But alas! What is that pale cry? From whence comes that demonic shriek which fills the air with groans of woe, and strikes my soul with fear?

Learning Chinese? This is a fairly easy beginning lesson that covers the basics of asking and answering questions, such as asking what things are. We also give you a great phrase you can use to make yourself seem more understood, and help you apologize as you push yourself off the subway. So if you're just getting started with mandarin, check it out!

Sinica - Islamic State Sinica

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 01:00

With the recent capture of a Chinese ISIS solder triggering speculation about the involvement of Chinese citizens in the Iraqi civil war, Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn are joined in our studio by Edward Wong from the New York Times and Prashant Rao of AFP, both of whom have spent considerable time reporting from Iraq. Their discussion starts off with an expose on the nature and identity of IS before moving on to China, talking about the ways in which the rise of the militant Islamic movement has affected Iraqi perceptions of China, and then a look into how these events relate to the broader crisis in the Middle East and US-China relations.

As always, if you enjoy Sinica, let us remind you that you can download this episode as a standalone mp3 file. Everyone is also welcome to subscribe to our Sinica RSS feed through iTunes, or get in touch with us at sinica@popupchinese.com with suggestions about topics and guests you'd like to see on the show.

Intermediate - Beijing, 2015

Mon, 09/01/2014 - 01:00

The government had first dismissed rumours of the city's impending water scarcity, yet as the months dragged on and the supply trucks grew less and less frequent, public denial morphed into slow acceptance as the city baked. In time, even the moat around the Forbidden City drained to nothing, its dry stones picked clean by the dessicated husks of those who remained, parched shadows of their former selves.

Learning Chinese? This is an upper-level recording that features an original movie trailer. If your Chinese is getting up there, take a listen and see how much you understand. While we don't walk through the recording line-by-line, David and Grace do point out some of the more difficult bits, including some revolutionary language you may not yet know. So take a listen and let us know what you think.