Raiding China’s Tomb Adventures

Our penultimate post is about popular Chinese fiction of the ghostly, grave-robbing kind. We are thrilled to post this piece by writer and translator Xueting Christine Ni, who is currently working with the fantasy and science fiction author Tang Fei, and writing a book on Chinese deities. Having studied English literature in London, and Chinese literature in Beijing, she is now based mainly in the UK.

As a writer on Chinese culture, specialising in pop culture, I’m often asked about genre fiction. “Do the Chinese do science fiction?” or “Does China have Horror?” Over the last two decades or so, Chinese pop culture has grown exponentially. Economic growth and relative political stability have allowed writers and artists the space to let their imagination run free and to create in readers a taste for such entertainment and variety.


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The Path to Freedom

written by Tang Fei, translated by Xueting Christine Ni

“Imagining the worst tomorrow makes me happy.
The gloom of the future lights my path.”


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Kuai Xian

“Kuai Xian”, given the English title of “The Curse of the Chopsticks” is directed by Ji Yu. It begins with an attack on a patient who has just received a transplant at a private eye hospital, their new eyes mangled and a pair of bloody chopsticks left at the scene.


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Midnight Bookstore II

Directed by Du Jingfeng, “Midnight Bookstore II” is an anthology film, linked by the tale of Daoist monk Lu Shiyi (Peng Yusi) on a mission to recover a lost book of secret techniques. During his search Lu senses the auras of those possessed by bad spirits and offers his help along the way. The possessed characters are all drawn to a 24-hour bookshop and the shopkeeper Wu Xiubo (Zhao Jiaqi), a demon slayer whom Lu finds in possession the lost book. During their battle for this book. Wu and Lu end up saving the lives of these people by either restraining the bad spirits with their powers or converting them to good with benevolence.


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13 Chinese Horror Films

The Chinese horror movie industry has really blossomed in the 21st century, especially mainland output. Here is an unlucky selection of Chinese horror movies for you to enjoy over the Halloween weekend.


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Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal

The Chinese Lunar calendar doesn’t always match up with ours, and our festivals hardly ever overlap. Whilst the West gets all its gruesome ghosts and ghouls taking centre stage at the end of October, the biggest festival of the dead in China takes place half way through the seventh lunar month. This friday saw the end of Zhong Yuan (or Ghost Month http://snowpavilion.co.uk/zhong-yuan-ghost-month/), and to celebrate, here’s a review of 2015’s big fantasy monster movie, released internationally (but not in the UK yet) in August.


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On Chinese Horror Part V: Strange Tales from the Hearth

Over the last month, I’ve delved a little into Chinese ideas of ghosts, and horror. The ultimate source however, is the work of Shandong scholar, Pu Song Ling, who gathered stories from common folk and rewrote them into 491 short stories collected as 聊斋志异 “Liao Zhai Zhi Yi”, or “Strange Tales from the Hearth” (or more commonly in the West, “Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio”).


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On Chinese Horror Part IV: Mainland Classics

Happy Halloween. To celebrate, I’m going to tell you about the history of horror films in mainland China. It’s true that there haven’t been as many horror classics produced in the People’s Republic, as in Hong Kong, due to closer control of more “sensationalist” content, but we should remember that it was the film talent from Shanghai, who migrated to Hong Kong in the early twentieth century that helped Hong Kong’s legendary cinema industry flourish.


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On Chinese Horror Part II: the Ancient Jiang Shi

In honour of World Zombie Day, this week I am writing about Chinese zombies, which had existed for 900 years before the movies.


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On Chinese Horror: Part I

This year’s Zhong Yuan or Ghost Month, took place in August, and Xia Yuan is not until December. Nevertheless, with the crisp scent and keenness of the autumn air, I feel the delicious anticipation for the Western festival of All Hallow’s Eve. Today I’m going to tell you a little about Chinese horror and Chinese attitude to ghosts, and throughout the month I’ll be writing about the Chinese horror genre in various art forms.


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