China Beat Archive



2008 Awards


Date of this Version


Document Type



November 24, 2008 in The China Beat


Copyright November 24, 2008. Used by permission.


We are healthily skeptical about the newsworthiness of award recipients — prizes don’t, after all, always go to the right people. But a well-bequeathed award can draw attention to an intriguing book or piece of writing that one might have otherwise missed.

In an attempt at a premature 2008 awards wrap-up, here are a few that you might have overlooked.

1. There was consternation from the Chinese state in August and September over the mention that activist Hu Jia might be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. While he didn’t win the Nobel, he was awarded the Sakharov Prize by the European Parliament. Hu Jia is now in prison for sedition, but he was under house arrest prior to that. You can view a video that he made during that time here.

2. Noted Sinologist Francesca Bray was part of a team that won a prize (the Sally Hacker Prize) for their seven-volume study Technology in World History.

3. For regular China Beat readers, Susan Mann’s book The Talented Women of the Zhang Family won’t be new; Nicole Barnes reviewed it last January. The book was just awarded the Fairbank Prize (the American Historical Association’s top prize for East Asian history) and earlier this year it was a finalist for the Kiriyama prize.