Ancient Chinese secret, huh?

How’s that for a cultural reference that dates me?

This is a short post about two surprises that happened today in quick succession.

Purely by accident, I discovered that Wikipedia is accessible in China. A friend told me she was moving to the city of Zibo in Shandong, so I did a Goggle search, and of course the Wikipedia link was the first result. Usually I don’t even bother clicking on those, but something in me said “What the heck?” and gave it a try.

Oddly enough, it came up – extremely slowly, but not the usual “Server not found” error. That was the first surprise.

Then, in the article on Zibo it said that FIFA has honored the city as the birthplace of football. Huh?

So there you go. The ancient game of cuju, played by both men and women in China over 2000 years ago is the ancestor of modern soccer.

Lately at work it’s been a kind of theatre of the absurd, and I really wish I could say more about it, but that story will have to wait until after the Olympics, if it can ever be told.

It’s been a year since I got my work permit, so that’s currently being renewed. I feel kind of strange not having my passport, but they can’t put a new visa in it unless they have it.

And I’m pretty excited that I’ll be resuming my language lessons next week. They’ll be private lessons this time, since none of my coworkers who took classes before seem to have time these days. I’m just going to make time.


  1. I have heard that the Chinese government has slackened the reigns over the Internet, partially due to pressure from foreign countries, and all the politics surrounding the Olympics. This is somewhat exciting, probably temporary, but still...

  2. It's really hard to tell what any of this means. In the time I've been here, Wikipedia, Blogspot, and the other commonly filtered sites have appeared and disappeared a number of times. I've also heard that the filtering is somehow regional, that you can get to things from Shanghai that are blocked in Beijing. I know that the internet backbone for Southern China is different from that in the North, so this kind of split makes sense. I don't know if there really is any more local differentiation.