[Photo Gallery:] the old Licun Chinese Prison

A literal stone’s throw from the south wall of the Rockcity Mall (伟东) in Qingdao’s Licun (青岛李村) sits the last remnants of the old Licun Chinese Prison (李村华人监狱). It’s surrounded by construction fences, but you can get in through the loosely chained construction site gate on the north side.

The walls inside and out are covered in barely legible Mao Era slogans, which, along with its history, make this a fascinating stop for urban explorers. But unless the authorities have plans to turn it into a museum, I doubt it will be standing for much longer. Along with the Binhe Lu Christian Church (滨河路基督教堂) and, until recently, Licunji (李村集,the canal bed market), this prison represents the last wisps of tangible history in a fast-developing district.

According to Baidu, German imperialists built the Licun Chinese Prison in 1897 (they had a separate prison on Changzhou Lu 常州路 for foreigners). Around 1939 it underwent major restoration. In 1941 during the Japanese occupation there was a famous prison break, commemorated with a photo. After Liberation most of the original structure was torn down and rebuilt.
iron&wood
In 1954, criminals were given three months of winter thought reform training in the “3 Destroys, 3 Erects”:

“Destroy reactionary thinking, erect socialism thinking;
Destroy exploitative notions, erect the glory of labour;
Destroy old bad habits, erect new morals.”
反动思想社会主义思想
剥削观念劳动光荣
恶习道德

That slogan and many others are still visible on the prison walls — I’ve translated all the legible ones in the photo captions below (with much help from my Weixin pengyous). (The most recent writing I found was a posted notice from January 2007 listing sanitation duties.)

These photos were taken on December 12 and 14, 2016. Click a thumbnail to get started!


I found two other photo collections: one from August 2013, and one from April 2016.

Chairman Mao on working out

I’m on my third Chinese gym in three years. The first one got kicked out by the landlord (and didn’t refund the remainder of our membership fees). The second one operated with no electricity for over a month before the management suddenly locked the doors and disappeared (and didn’t refund the remainder of our membership fees).

But my third and current Chinese gym has Chairman Mao speaking English:
发展体育运动增强人民体质
I was sold.

It was also the cheapest by far of my remaining options.

But it turns out this quote from some calligraphy by Chairman Mao in 1952 is famous, and was used in propaganda posters:

发展体育运动,增强人民体质
fāzhǎn tǐyù yùndòng,zēngqiáng rénmín tǐzhì

Here’s a little collection of posters and images I scrounged from the internets (click one):

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2015!

Some Christmas-y photos from our final month of 2015 in China.

Chinese_sundayschool_Christmas_song
Chinese Sunday school kids sing at the annual Christmas party/show.

Chinese_Christmas_tree_ornament
We’ve appropriated traditional Chinese decorations as Christmas tree ornaments.

mulledwine
Mulled wine, 2015.

Chinese_door_couplets
Every year we put up new door couplets and a new at Christmas/New Year’s, right around the time people start thinking about getting ready for Chinese New Year. It’s actually a little early for this, as these are CNY decorations, but our family basically has a giant long winter holiday season from Advent through Chinese New Year each year.

Christmas_cookie_gifts
We played Santa around the neighbourhood this year with over 60 Christmas cookie packages.

Christmas_market_cookies4
Christmas_cookie_market
Christmas_cookies_caishichang
market_Christmas_cookies
In exchange for the cookies, he gave our daughter a live octopus.

Chinese_Christmas_card_star
Merry_Christmas_Joseph_and_Mary

The real Chinese nightlife

Nightlife in China, Qingdao-style:
realchinesenightlife
Little groups like this are sprinkled throughout our neighbourhood in the after-dinner hours. I’m sure we weren’t the only one hanging our beer on the wall.

[Photo gallery:] Eating starfish in Qingdao, China

I ask these two Chinese friends, both young, wealthy, educated urban women, if they’ve ever eaten 毛蛋 — literally “hair eggs”, actually fertilized chicken eggs (i.e. a chicken fetuses) that simmer for hours in woks on Qingdao sidewalks:

“Oh, gross! We wouldn’t dare! No way!”

What about starfish (海星)? Do you eat starfish?

“Of course.”

Earlier this week we were running around with some friends from Kunming and stumbled upon a starfish-eating opportunity that we couldn’t pass up. Click the first thumbnail to open the viewer. And read the captions; it’s like a little story…


For more Chinese food adventures, see:

[Photo Gallery:] Chinese group tour, Qingzhou, Shandong 山东省 青州

Joined a Chinese group tour with 50 of my coworkers over the Tomb Sweeping Festival holiday weekend — so domestic tourism, China-style. We visited tourist traps in and around Qingzhou 青州 (near Weifang 潍坊) in Shandong Province (山东):

  • Huanghua (“Yellow Flower”) Creek 黄花溪
  • Taihe Buddhist Temple 泰和
  • Yunmen (“Cloud Gate”) Mountain 云门山
  • Ouyuan Street 偶园
  • Qingzhou Museum 青州博物馆

Click a thumbnail below to launch the viewer.

My only non-Chinese coworker (from another branch of the preschool) also came, and her photos are here and here.