Categories
Beginner

Short Story: 海上和床上 – On the sea and in bed

This dialogue between a man and a sailor drives home a quick life lesson: there’s risk in anything you do, so there’s no point in trying to avoid danger entirely. HSK 2-3.

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Site news and updates

Working to get CRP back online

Hey crew – we’ve had some pretty nasty technical difficulties over here at CRP when moving a server. I’m working to get all these stories back online. Data was corrupted in the middle of a server switch, and the posts are a bit of a mess. Hoping to have it fixed by the end of the week. Sorry for the wait!

Categories
Intermediate

Fable:《和尚背女人》Monks carrying a woman

An elder monk gives a younger monk a quick lesson in following the spirit of the law, rather than the letter of the law. HSK 4-5.

Categories
Beginner

Children’s Story:《两条彩虹》Two rainbows

In this cutsey-face story intended for kindergarteners, Grandma Bear (熊奶奶 – xióng nǎi nai) comes down with an illness that can only be cured by seeing a rainbow (彩虹 -cǎi hóng), and Uncle Frog (青蛙大叔 – qīng wā dà shū) jumps in to make it happen. HSK 2-3.

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Advanced

News: Drunk woman breaks airplane window with fist causing emergency landing

Binge drinking, breakups and air travel don’t mix, people. HSK 6 and up.

Categories
Beginner

Fable: 郑人买履 – A man from the State of Zheng buys shoes

A not-too-bright fellow heads to the market to buy a pair of shoes. Includes a beginner’s introduction to classical Chinese. HSK 3.

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Intermediate

Essay:《爱》Love by Zhang Ailing (Eileen Chang)

A tragic, dreamlike little essay from writer Zhang Ailing (张爱玲, English name Eileen Chang) about love and destiny. This is one of her more well-known works of micro-prose, written in 1944. HSK 5-6.

Categories
Beginner

Children’s Story: 完美的弓 – The perfect (archery) bow

A man tries to make his treasured hunting bow (弓 gōng) even more perfect than it already is, but learns an obnoxious life lesson instead. HSK 3-4.

Categories
Advanced

Essay:《打人》Hitting Someone by Zhang Ailing (Eileen Chang)

An essay from Chinese lit diva Zhang Ailing about a scene of police brutality she witnessed in Shanghai in the 1940s. HSK 6 and up.

Categories
Beginner

Story behind the idiom: 狐假虎威 – Using powerful connections to intimidate others

In this HSK 3-4 story, a crafty fox (狐狸 hú li) escapes being eaten by playing a cunning trick on a mighty tiger (老虎 lǎo hǔ).

Categories
Intermediate

Mythology: 八仙过海 – The Eight Immortals Cross the Sea

I’ve got a good, but challenging, read for HSK 6 readers today: the Eight Immortals mess around in the Dragon King’s domain, almost starting a cataclysm in the process. HSK 5-6.

Categories
Beginner

Story behind the idiom: 邯郸学步 – Making oneself ridiculous by slavishly imitating others

A young man tries to copy the way people walk in the city of Handan (邯郸), but only succeeds in making a fool of himself. HSK 3-4.

Categories
Advanced

Novels: Start reading Chinese gangster novel 《一半是火焰,一半是海水》by Wang Shuo

In my most challenging post yet, you’ll read the first chapter of controversial literary bad boy Wang Shuo’s dark plunge into the criminal underbelly of Beijing. HSK 6+, not suitable for children.

Categories
Beginner

Short story: 《卜妻为裤》Buzi’s wife makes a pair of pants

A gentleman named Buzi (卜子) asks his wife (卜妻) to make him a new pair of pants (裤子), but he doesn’t give her very clear instructions. HSK 3-4.

Categories
Intermediate

Communist folk tales: 《水缸的秘密》- The secret of the water jug

Our last Communist-themed post for the week: a classic revolutionary-era story about the man himself, Chairman Mao. HSK 4-5.

Categories
Beginner

Communist folk tales: 《朱德的扁担》- Zhu De’s Carrying Pole

Zhu De (朱德) is an early Communist folk hero, and the founder of the People’s Liberation Army (解放军), also called the Red Army (红军). This popular revolutionary story highlights his willingness to toil alongside the rank and file soldiers. HSK 3-4.

Categories
Advanced

Political speech: Deng Xiaoping addresses the Hong Kong handover in 1984

In June, 1984, thirteen years before the Hong Kong handover, he gave this speech, addressing critics of the “One Country, Two Systems” (一个国家,两种制度)policy, which determined China’s approach to the handover. The policy maintained that different political systems would concurrently be implemented under one government. In other words, that mainland China would remain socialist, and that Hong Kong would remain capitalist (until 2047, anyway), but both would be ultimately overseen by the CCP. It was a radical notion at the time, and it still is in many ways. His words here are a fascinating look into the past.

Categories
Beginner

Communist songs: 《东方红》- The East is Red

This song is a relic of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). The melody was adapted from an old farmer’s folk song back in 1942, and became popular when Mao Zedong’s (毛泽东) cult of personality was in full swing.

Categories
Intermediate

Communist folk tales: The good deeds of Lei Feng

It’s Communism Week at CRP! I’m kicking off with some classic stories about the good deeds of Communist folk hero Lei Feng, the ultimate socialist Boy Scout. HSK 4-5.

Categories
Beginner

Children’s Story: 最可口的食物 – The most appetizing meal

One picky little horse doesn’t appreciate the food he is served, until he sees what everyone else is eating. Upper-beginner, bordering on intermediate, HSK 4.