In Brief: Ai Weiwei’s Mainstream Appeal

People on both sides of the “aisle” — which is starting to feel more like a chasm than an aisle, by the way — have, for different reasons, long suggested that Ai Weiwei’s mainstream appeal in China is limited. Moreover, some have suggested that Ai’s profile is too low for many people to care that he’s arrested.

But this morning, I noticed something quite shocking. The Chinese phrase “Chinese artist Ai Weiwei” was the 8th most-searched term on Baidu’s hot topics list. See the photo below, courtesy of @goldkorn who had the good sense to grab a screenshot before it was deleted.

Baidu's top searches as of around 10 A.M. this morning

Now, first it’s important to establish what the Baidu hot topics list actually is. It’s essentially a real time list of the hottest search terms with time-sensitive relevance. So, Ai Weiwei being at #8 on this list doesn’t mean he was the 8th most searched for thing on all of Baidu, it means he was the 8th most searched for thing on Baidu after the things that get searched for every day (Youku, NBA, etc. etc.) are discounted.

Still, this list is something I’ve been reading every day for the past several months, and it’s a pretty great indicator of what news stories are the hottest on any given day on the mainland. It is also, of course, censored. For that reason, I was doubly shocked when I saw Ai Weiwei’s name — I didn’t expect that many people to be searching for him, nor did I expect his name to be able to appear on this list.

The latter was, apparently, an oversight. Shortly after I noticed this and reported it on Twitter, the list was updated and Ai Weiwei was nowhere to be found. Clearly his initial presence on the list was just a temporary oversight on the part of Baidu’s censors. But what of the fact that he was getting searched for enough to appear there in the first place?

Regular Baidu searches for his name turn up fairly “harmless” stuff, as you would expect. There’s no reference to his activism or to his arrest and continuing detention ((Which, I recently learned, could be totally legal. Apparently under Chinese law you can be kept under house arrest indefinitely without charges or any need to notify the family of your whereabouts. This is true because most house arrests occur in one’s own house, but many have speculated that since Ai’s detention would be illegal at this point under Chinese law any other way, he may be officially under “house arrest,” but at a “house” that was chosen for him by police. That way, they can legally hold him as long as they want without charging him, and they don’t have to tell anyone where he is. Fun!)), which isn’t surprising given that Baidu’s search results are censored. But since almost all of the items on Baidu’s list come from news stories, I also checked Baidu’s news search and found this story, which is probably what sparked the spike in searches for Ai Weiwei.

As readers of Chinese will quickly see, it’s actually a story about economics, but a ways down the page there is an interview between a reporter and a representative of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, in which the reporter asks this question:

“Many people in Europe are concerned about the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, and I don’t know where he is either, can you tell us whether or not he is alive ((Presumably the interview was conducted before Ai was allowed to meet with his wife briefly earlier this week)), and what kind of charges he will face?”

The Foreign Ministry official’s answer is exactly what you’d expect, and I’m not going to translate it because you can read it in the Global Times in English basically any day of the week.

What’s interesting about this story is that a question about Ai phrased in that way is allowed to appear online uncensored, and morevoer, that such a question, halfway through an article about economics, would attract so much attention that the term “Chinese artist Ai Weiwei” would suddenly be propelled to the top ten of Baidu’s hot topics list.

Of course, there’s no way to be sure that article is what did it. But there are no other recent articles on Baidu about Ai Weiwei, and no other considerable reason that that search term would suddenly show up today.

In any event, it seems to indicate that Ai’s domestic profile (and the domestic profile of his arrest and detention) may be significantly higher than everyone — his detractors and his supporters alike — originally thought.

UPDATE: Fascinatingly, Ai Weiwei has also appeared — twice — on the weekly trending topics list, which isn’t something I look at. His name “Ai Weiwei” made the top ten weekly trending searches on May 14th and May 15th; screen captures of that as well as more analysis are available at ZaiChina (in Spanish, but Google Translate is your friend). Thanks to Daniel Mendez of ZaiChina for pointing this all out in the comments here.

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0 thoughts on “In Brief: Ai Weiwei’s Mainstream Appeal”

  1. @ pug_ster: Highly, highly doubt it. For one, if you were going to “Google Bomb” Ai Weiwei on Baidu, wouldn’t you choose a term like “Ai Weiwei’s arrest” or something like that instead of just “Chinese artist Ai Weiwei”? Since the phrase “Chinese artist Ai Weiwei” doesn’t lead you to anything controversial, it would be a pretty pointless “Baidu Bomb.”

    Moreover, until you did it, there would be no way of knowing whether Ai’s name was automatically censored or not. There was have been a very real chance that a “Baidu bomb” would be totally impossible, because Ai’s name was blocked as a keyword on the Baidu list. Of course, that didn’t turn out to be the case, but the “bombers” would have no way of knowing that beforehand; Ai’s name hasn’t appeared on this list at all since before his arrest.

    Even if you were successful in creating such a “Baidu Bomb”, it would be utterly pointless, as the term only appeared for a few minutes before being censored (and I feel certain that now there is a keyword block on Ai’s name, I doubt he’ll ever appear on this list again). What would the point be?

    Your answer: To stir up speculation amongst foreigners that Chinese people are all clamoring for the release of Ai Weiwei.

    OK, except that there was a very real chance no foreigner would notice this (it was only there for a short period of time, and other than me I don’t know anyone who checks this list at all, I only check it once a day, and not always at the same time) so again, it would be a lot of work to put in for a very circuitous and low percentage strategy.

    So, in conclusion, I’ll answer your question with a question: Ever heard of Occam’s razor?

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  2. @ Kai: To be honest, I don’t really know what those refer to. The column is called 最近24小时搜索量, in essence “Search volume in the last 24 hours”, however, I’m not sure what the numbers correspond with, because obviously thousands of people are searching for all these major stories, probably hundreds of thousands; the numbers listed are too small to make sense if interpreted that way.

    Search items are listed by the rate of change, not the overall search volume, but if someone knows what that “search volume” column refers to specifically I’d love to know as well.

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  3. Yeah, that’s why I think those numbers are important and relevant to determining just how “significant” this actually is, and I was hoping you knew for certain since you’ve been reporting them for some time now.

    I know they’re ranked on velocity (recent rate of change) but I’m not actually certain they are “too small to make sense if interpreted that way”. Given how many ways you can input terms to search for, and if we assume those numbers are of the same order of magnitude as the numbers in the other charts, I think it is entirely possible that that specific keyphrase “Chinese artist Ai Weiwei” was searched just 298 times. I wouldn’t be surprised at that amount but I wouldn’t say it is significant relative to the size of China’s internet population. If we assume the same order of magnitude, then we’re comparing that 298 to “对我说谎试试” which comes in first on the 7 day list with ~550,000 searches.

    Let’s entertain the idea that these are actually in, say, “thousands”. That would mean AWW was searched 298,000 times, while “对我说谎试试” was searched 550 million times. Wouldn’t that require, on average, every Chinese netizen to search that exact phrase at least once and then some? Imagine if it is in tens of thousands. I don’t think that’s likely. Maybe we can ask Kaiser Kuo for a definitive answer on the methodology but in my experience, I actually think it is very likely that 298 is exactly 298 individual searches.

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  4. An intentional “Baidu Bomb” doesn’t seem to fit the bill here, pug_ster. I really think this is just a small blip generated from a random mention that piqued a few people’s curiosity. Don’t forget also that people outside China can search on Baidu too, and there are plenty of Chinese people outside of China who are aware of AWW due to outside media coverage. But I wouldn’t put it past 298 mainland Chinese netizens searching for him with that specific keyphrase either.

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  5. @ Kai. I don’t know, I just don’t think it’s feasible. SO MANY of the “top” stories on that list have numbers under 1,000. In a country with this many internet users, and in which Baidu dominates the search market, what would the point of even having this list be if 75-80% of the items on it were searched by such a tiny minority of people.

    I could easily believe that only 298 people searched for Ai Weiwei. But fewer than 1,000 people searching for the “mistaken character on banner” story, which is pretty big news today? Only 900 people searched for 非诚勿扰精神病?Even if we’re talking those exact words, I just can’t beleieve the number could possibly be that low. 非诚勿扰 and 精神病 are terms on their own, after all, and that story’s two biggest elements. It’s also quite a big story today. It would be a bit like having “US Osama” turn up only a couple thousand searches after the assassination a couple weeks back (granted, that was a bigger story, but you see my point).

    I will ask Kaiser the next time I get a chance though. I know this isn’t his department, but he might still know the answer anyway.

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  6. Kai,

    I’m mistaken, and maybe this is probably not a google bomb per say, but rather this is due to search ranking manipulation. I recall a while ago that there was 64 search was manipulated as a popular search in google about a year or 2 ago.

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  7. @ Kai: Also, as items are listed by the percent rate of increase, if “Chinese artist Ai Weiwei” made the list today, it needs to have a rate of increase of at least 10,000%, and realistically more like 25,000% which is what the current #10 item has. But if 298 searches in 24 hours is a 25,000% increase, that means that before today, “Chinese artist Ai Weiwei” was searched for on Baidu basically never. And that doesn’t seem particularly likely to me either. Every day, there’s bound to be at least a couple people, among the hundreds of millions of Baidu users, who search for that phrase, especially in the past month since he’s been a major figure in the news almost daily abroad, and featured in several editorials at home as well…

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  8. @ pug_ster: That still doesn’t address any of this issues I brought up, though. Why this (innocent) phrase? Why now? How?

    Without any evidence or even real logic to point to that conclusion, you have to admit it looks a bit like a conspiracy theory, no?

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  9. @ Kai: I’ve asked Kaiser, he didn’t know off the top but promised to ask. In the interim, another theory: those numbers and the list seem to refresh every few minutes, when you look at it from the front page. I wonder if they ARE total number of searches but for a much shorter period of time, like ten minutes or the past hour or something. It’s definitely not a totally direct count, because I searched for one of the current terms as a test, then refreshed the page, but the number was the same as it had been a few minutes ago.

    Anyway, I’ll stop offering theories that are probably wrong until we get some actual qualified experts up in this piece.

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  10. I usually follow the Baidu Trends through RSS. I´ve just checked, instead of the instant popular searches, the weekly ones, and it seems that at least since may 12th Ai Weiwei has been in the top 10. I´ve just written a post (sorry, in Spanish, although you can easily translat it or just look at the images) and included some of the screen captures: http://www.zaichina.net/2011/05/17/los-internautas-chinos-buscan-a-ai-weiwei/

    Following this Baidu information, in may 12th Ai Weiwei was the 7th hottest weekly topic of the web, with a weekly 167.448 searches (still, not that many).

    Again, those are weekly hot stories. It seems they support (even stronger) the point of Custer: it seems Chinese netizens are more interested in Ai Weiwei than we expected. In May 15th, for example, Ai Weiwei was in 8th position, while the robbery at Forbidden City was 9th and Shi Yongxi was 11th.

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  11. @ Daniel: Interesting. I only look at the hour-to-hour topics, not the weekly ones, so I never noticed that. That is fascinating, though. It does seem to support my conclusion. Amazing the Baidu guys didn’t block this earlier though. I’m going to update my post to add this information.

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  12. I’m always a bit suspicious about these rankings which are based on “acceleration”. As an example, back in 2008, China expats probably numbering only a few hundred managed to push the #CDE hashtag to number one on the Twitter rankings simply by dint of discovering the same story (Chris Devonshire Ellis’s faked interview with the head of the CBRC) pretty much simultaneously and then re-tweeting it with the #CDE hashtag.

    That said, Ai Weiwei was hardly an unknown figure on the mainland before his arrest, I’d put him below Han Han in terms of fame, but not by much. His arrest is big news in China, even if the newspapers haven’t covered it much and discussion of it is censored on the internet. The fact that GT decided to run that attack piece on him shows as much.

    This could be an attempt to put his name on the rankings by his supporters, but there is no evidence for this. It could just as easily be some mention of him on a high-traffic forum (foreign or domestic) that sparked curiosity in the minds of the readers.

    At any rate, it wouldn’t be surprising if people started searching this topic shortly after an Ai Weiwei retrospective opened in London, and that his wife had been able to meet him. Indeed, these could be Chinese expats in Britain trying to find out who he is.

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  13. @ pug_ster: Yes, I know it happens, for the third time again I will ask you to provide some rationale as for WHY it would happen this way, and this time. Just because something has happened and is possible doesn’t mean that it definitely happened in all potential cases. And in fact in this case, there seems to be very little reason to believe that it happened.

    (Unless, of course, you’re desperately searching for some way of arguing that Chinese people all don’t care about Ai Weiwei….if that were the case, then you’d be really inspired to believe that’s what happened and…oh, I get it.)

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  14. C. Custer,

    I don’t know how the baidu search engine work, and if I know, I would’ve been a very rich man. I believe that someone exploited the baidu search engine in order to get Ai Weiwei’s name up there. Anyways, these search engines as the wired article are not ‘human driven.’ Even google is flawed, type “Chinese people” in google search and the first suggestion is “Chinese people eat baby.”

    Seriously, read the articles, if you are not convinced, then I can’t help you.

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  15. Yes, Ai WeiWei may be more famous or infamous in China than we thought. And Chinese internet control is surely less effective than some people imagined. But I have to admit that I do not see much significance in these facts.

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  16. @ pug_ster: OK, you obviously aren’t even reading what I’m saying, so I’m not going to respond. I’ve asked you the same, very clear question three times, and you keep ignoring it; I can only assume this is because you don’t actually have an answer. (No, “in order to get Ai Weiwei’s name up there” is not an answer)

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  17. Adam, personally, I never felt Chinese netizens were that little interested in AWW. In other words, these numbers are what I expected for the population whereas they might be surprising for those who expected far less. Overall, I still see AWW as not being remotely known in the “mainstream”. What you’ve found may suggest that AWW isn’t censored off the list then like Custer assumed?

    On comparisons with Shi Yongxin and The Palace Museum Robbery, one thing to keep in mind is that people only search for things they want more information on. Given that information on Shi Yongxin and the Palace Museum Robbery is more readily available on television, newspapers, and news portals or discussion forums, you might have less people going to Baidu to search for it whereas the lesser amount of readily available information on AWW would result in people going to Baidu to try to find more. Therefore, that complicates any suggestion that “Chinese netizens are more interested in AWW than Shi Yongxin or the Palace Museum robberies…and thus quite significantly interested in him in by way of comparison”.

    FOARP, I definitely don’t place much value in the 24 hour search term list. I mean, it can be useful but you have to really understand what it actually says. Lacking more details on methodology, I’ve been very “meh” about it. Your CDE example is instructive. That said, I’m going to strongly disagree with you suggestion AWW is remotely comparable to Han Han. Just about everyone knows Han Han the moment you mention his name. Just about no one knows or barely remembers AWW. Other than that, I too agree we could have a lot of non-mainland Chinese searching about him on Baidu, but I wouldn’t be surprised with a thousand or even ten thousand mainland netizens searching for him in a day or week.

    pugster, Custer’s thesis is that AWW showing up on the list suggests that AWW has more mainstream appeal than some people thought (some people being people on both sides of the aisle). Your immediate response was to suggest that AWW made the list through intentional manipulation of Baidu search statistics, the implication being to question Custer’s main thesis that Chinese netizens are more interested in AWW than some have thought, render it suspect, or false. Custer is asking what the motive would be for that intentional manipulation, not just the exact methods of manipulation.

    Custer, hope Kaiser gets back to us. The immediate assumption is that the 24 hour list shows the keywords/keyphrases that had the highest velocities of change over the past 24 hours. What may confuse people with that is that it doesn’t measure absolute amount of interest, but suddenness of interest (interest represented by search inputs). That could mean, oversimplified, that 100 people suddenly searching for AWW over a span of 10 minutes could have a higher velocity than 1000 people searching over a span of an Again, this depends on the methodology but it is relevant for ascertaining the significance of the list with regards to what conclusions can be drawn from it Did AWW’s name get censored off the list or did the next update of the list simply drop him because his velocity fell precipitously off the rankings? That would depend on how the velocity is measured. Are they ranked by peak velocity or by a rolling velocity (where as time goes by, the velocity number get diluted and drops)?

    It is my belief that the list isn’t very useful except in certain extraordinary instances where you get both high velocity and volume, which would be typical of something like breaking news that is simultaneously reaching wide audiences who are seeking more information that they immediately have available. Search volumes of a few hundred or a few thousand over the past 24 hours just isn’t really notable. I didn’t bring this up before because I know it is something you’re producing daily for World of Chinese and Baidu Beat but the list really isn’t that useful because of the small typical volumes and short time span. The weekly 7 day or month lists would be more useful for understanding what Chinese netizens are searching for in volumes that may have some real significance. Velocity just isn’t appropriate if we’re trying to represent and draw conclusions about interest, and that’s the flaw of reporting the 24 hour list. Again, that list has its uses, but your reporting of it is making it seem more authoritative for a different metric than it actually is.

    Finally, short of Kaiser coming back and saying those numbers represent a magnitude of thousands or more, I’m still inclined to disagree with your suggestion that his appearance on the 24 hour list is “shocking” in that it shows that AWW’s profile is “significantly higher” than previously believed. At this point, that just doesn’t seem to be the case. Which surely sucks for him.

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  18. @ Kai: Regarding how the name dropped off the list, I have emailed you as I have some info about that I can’t discuss publicly.

    With regards to the usefulness of the data, I’d be inclined to agree except that, as you know, I also do the same thing for Sina Weibo every day, and the stories on one and the other overlap pretty frequently. There are occasional things on the Baidu list that are worthless, but the biggest stories are usually also right there on the Sina list directly, or not in the Weibo top ten but still evident in reading comments and posts.

    With regard to Ai in particular, he didn’t show up on Sina, but of course, that would be impossible, we already know he’s been manually blocked there because any search for his name returns the “According to relevant laws…” error message.

    However, since Daniel Mendez (see comments above and update at the end of my posts) points out that Ai Weiwei DID also make the Baidu weekly trending list two days in a row, I stand by the post and its claims that this isn’t insignificant.

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  19. @ pug_ster: So, your argument is that it must have been intentional manipulation. You have no evidence, no theory as to what the motive would be, and no explanation as for why it would happen in this way and at this time.

    Wow, that’s, uh…that’s a really airtight theory but I think I’m going to stick to my original take on this.

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  20. Custer, I think 176k searches over the past 7 days (as of 5/14 according to the screenshot on Adam’s site) is definitely not insignificant but it isn’t all that significant either when you compare to, for example, any Youku video chinaSMACK posts about that gets 2x-6x that in a single day.

    I do wonder where these searches originated though, as that would give us some interesting insight like what FOARP and I have alluded to earlier. If these searches came from within mainland Chinese netizens, we know that something hit their radar piquing their curiosity enough to do a search. If they came from mostly abroad, then it doesn’t say much about AWW’s mainstream profile for mainland Chinese netizens. I don’t think we’ll get such detailed information though.

    On Sina Weibo and trending lists like Twitter’s, I’m just overall kinda iffy on them depending on their methodology. As I’ve said, they have their uses, but reporting on them is hard when what is trending now could be very different from what was trending an hour ago. That’s why I like meatier time spans with solid volume numbers. Cheers.

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  21. C. Custer,

    @ pug_ster: So, your argument is that it must have been intentional manipulation. You have no evidence, no theory as to what the motive would be, and no explanation as for why it would happen in this way and at this time.

    Wow, that’s, uh…that’s a really airtight theory but I think I’m going to stick to my original take on this.

    If there is some kind of ‘mainstream appeal,’ wouldn’t you see people posting stuff about him in some microblogs in weibo or sina? And not some invisible people searching for him in baidu? Morever, there’s no relevant news about him in the Chinese websites. To me, search rankings is not really a measurement of ‘mainstream appeal.’

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  22. @ pug_ster: People do post about him on Weibo. However, searches for his name are blocked, so it cannot become a trending topic, the only way you can see it is in your own feed depending, of course, on who you follow. I’ve also heard that verified users (anyone with the V next to their name) can’t send out messages with his name in them at all, but my Weibo account is unverified so I can’t be sure that’s true. Supposedly, they do that so that regular people feel they can discuss anything on Weibo with their friends, but the real trend-setters (celebs, opinion leaders, govt officials, organizations etc) all have verified accounts so people can discuss Ai in their own little circles but it would be very hard for this discussion to spread or for people to feel like others were discussing it because opinion leaders can’t talk about it and it’s impossible for it to show up as a trending topic since his name is blocked as a search keyword.

    Around the time he was first arrested, verified users who mentioned it were also reporting that Sina Weibo workers were actually calling them — you have to provide a phone number as part of the registration process — and asking them not to post anything else about Ai Weiwei. I have no idea if that’s still happening, though. I have heard now they’re just automatically deleted, but again, I’m not sure because I don’t have a “V” account.

    That said, I agree search rankings aren’t a measurement of mainstream appeal in and of themselves. All I was saying in this piece was that his presence in the rankings might call into question the popular theory about him being below the radar of Chinese people on the Mainland. But taken alone, I agree, search results certainly aren’t proof of anything other than that people were searching for something. It’s just food for thought, really.

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  23. What Kai/FORAP said.

    For any event to be on the radar of search engines, some other news/event must of triggered the searches. If I didn’t watch the video about the police beating of elderly I would not have tried to search the term 哈尔滨城管 in baidu.

    Has someone looked over at Hong Kong/Taiwan media? As much as the Western Media trying to hype AWW recently I don’t think there would be that many new searches of him on Baidu due to Western media coverage (most in the west don’t know baidu, cannot type in cjk formats, and can’t read the results). Since Chinese media censors news about AWW I don’t see mainlanders suddenly searching AWW out of the blue either. Now, there are a lot of HK/Taiwan in China. I can see them using Baidu to search AWW after reading about him in HK/Taiwan news. It was a HK paper (Wen Wei Po) which published accusations of tax evasion first. If I remember correctly it also published the juicy bits about him engaging in bigamy. Now this is the kind of stuff which get people on the search engines. If someone has the time he/she should look up when the piece about AWW’s mistress showed up, and see if it matches the dates right before the spikes.

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  24. Just did some search on HK media and the story about 艾未未獲准見妻 was published on May 17th. I think this would explain the spike on Baidu that day.

    That still doesn’t explain about the AWW trending up May 14/15th, but I sure there must be a reason for that as well.

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  25. While searching on Japanese news sites for AWW, I found many stories talking about the anniversary of sichuan earthquake and AWW’s role in the aftermath. Since the three year anniversary of the sichuan earthquake was may 12, and AWW was one of the biggest critics of the government’s handling of the events surrounding it, my guess would be that on may 11th to 12th there should be a spike on articles talking about the earthquake in China. Some of these articles are likely to mention about AWW. This should explain a spike in search queries for AWW on may 14/15th, though I would expect the spike to happen slightly early, maybe on the 13th/14th.

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  26. My instinct (based on my admittedly limited knowledge) says that Chinese are using internet searches for Ai because they DON’T know who he is, not because they are looking for updates on their familiar hero/activist.

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  27. Oops, you can’t edit.

    Forgive me if this has been discussed elsewhere, this is my first time on the site and I get fired up about this issue as I’ve done a fair amount of research on it recently.

    Evidence suggests that Ai is not particularly well-liked by the Chinese who know of him. While it would be unfathomable to criticize his activism surrounding the earthquake mentioned above, Chinese civilization was not founded on the concepts of pluralism and inalienable rights as was the United States’. To the Chinese being outspoken, disturbing harmony, threatening stability are not indefensible in the context of human rights.

    In the West, (human) rights trump moral functioning. In the east, this is not the case. It is not morally acceptable to “name and shame”. Doing so in the name of human rights would therefore not be socially acceptable (noting that as Americans, our right to do this is the very foundation of our political system, our society, our culture, our entire “civilization”). Even if rights did trump morals in China, economic and social rights, such as rights to subsistence, are more of a priority.

    Ai is a product of the West. He is a Western artist who happens to be Chinese (he lived, trained and gained popularity in New York). His art is intended for a Western audience, or as some have said, he “panders to Western sensibilities” and fulfills our ideal image of “Chinese Dissident”.

    His methods and his art are not congruent with contemporary Chinese culture. They are not appropriate for truly inciting change (his critics point out that more gradualist, pragmatic approaches make the government more open for discourse, whereas Ai’s methods “completely destroy” them). The attention his case has gotten is merely Western propaganda. Using human rights as they are often used in Chinese relations: as a tool for power politics to defend US cultural hegemony.

    I could go on and on. Again, sorry if this is overly preachy on elementary aspects of Chinese culture. But the West’s imposition of its value system on China is, if anything, completely retrogressive if the improvement of the ideals of “human rights” are really the goal. It interests and frustrates me.

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  28. @Brian: Completely disagree.

    1. What “evidence” suggests “the Chinese who know of him” don’t like him? Xinhua?

    2. Chinese civilization wasn’t “founded.”

    3. It’s impressive that you feel qualified to preach to us about what is or isn’t “contemporary Chinese culture,” and what does or doesn’t jibe with it.

    4. Have you ever been to 798? Or any modern art area in China? If you have, do you really think that the crowds at those venues’ main concern in life is “subsistence?” If you haven’t, how about closing your Chinese culture guide and hopping on the next bus over?

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