Photograph of the Palace Museum, Beiping, taken by Hedda Morrison, resident in Beiping 1933-46 (Collection of the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney).

From Edo:

When you try to sum up the whole of Edo using some newfangled literary theory, she slips away, laughing at you in derision. This is because it is the Edoites — and not, as most scholars assume, their descendants — who truly deserve the label of “modern.”

— Ishikawa Jun, “On the Ways of Thinking of the People of Edo” (1943), via the excellent Neojaponisme

From Paris and London:

Foucault, for his part, saw the invention [of the Panopticon] as a symbol of historical transformation, one characteristic of modernity in that it led to the emergence of the disciplinary society. In China, meanwhile, such an invention had been rigorously elaborated as early as late Antiquity by the theorists of shi 勢, and not simply on the cautious, modest scale of a prison but on a scale that controlled the whole of humanity.

— François Jullien, The Propensity of Things: Towards A History of Efficacy in China. New York: Zone Book, 1995, pp. 56 – 57.

And from the Associate Press in Beijing, via the also excellent Opposite End of China:

Beijing taxis are rigged for eavesdropping
The Associated Press
August 6, 2008
By SHAI OSTER

BEIJING Tens of thousands of taxi drivers in Beijing have a tool that could become part of China’s all-out security campaign for the Olympic Games. Their vehicles have microphones installed ostensibly for driver safety that can be used to listen to passengers remotely.

The tiny listening devices, which are connected to a global positioning system able to track a cab’s location by satellite, have been installed in almost all of the city’s 70,000 taxis over the past three years, taxi drivers and industry officials say.

As with digital cameras used in cities such as London, Sydney or New York, the stated purpose of the microphones is to protect the driver. But whereas the devices in other countries can only record images, those devices in Beijing taxis can be remotely activated without the driver’s knowledge to eavesdrop on passengers, according to drivers and Yaxon Networks Co., a Chinese company that makes some of the systems used in Beijing. The machines can even remotely shut off engines.

Whether these microphones are used to spy on riders is unclear. Asked if police could listen in on conversations in taxis, a Beijing police official declined to comment, saying that such matters were “confidential” and that they were “not supposed to release such details to the public.”