• Takashi Aoyama—Getty Images

    Why Does Japan’s Wartime Ghost Keep Reemerging?

    Friso M.S. Stevens The ritual offerings made by Japanese Cabinet members and lawmakers at the Yasukuni Shrine in April once again brought Japan’s troubled wartime past back into the spotlight. An all-too familiar routine followed, with Beijing urging Japan to “make a clean break from militarism,” and Tokyo playing down the offerings’ significance by stressing the private nature of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s honoring Japan’s war dead.The criticisms directed at the Japanese government for failing to atone fully... Read full story>>
  • (AFP/Getty Images)

    Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Chinese in Africa But Were Too Afraid to Ask

    A China in Africa Podcast

    Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden The Chinese presence in Africa has been so sudden and so all-encompassing that it’s left a lot of people confused. Chinese farmers now compete for space and customers in Lusaka’s open-air markets, Chinese textiles are undercutting Nigerian manufacturers, tens of thousands of Africans now work for Chinese companies, and hundreds of thousands, even millions, of Chinese now call Africa home. This has all happened in just the past decade, leaving people little time to adjust and understand the... Read full story>>
  • (AFP/Getty Images)

    China and the End of Reform

    A Review of ‘China’s Future,’ a New Book By David Shambaugh

    Thomas Kellogg Is the Chinese Communist Party putting an end to the decades-long process of China’s opening to the outside world? Is the era of liberal reform over? Consider the latest piece of evidence: on April 28, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress passed the long-awaited Foreign NGO Management Law. The Law, which has been in the works for years, creates an extensive and intrusive system of registration and approvals, and seeks to ensure that the Party is able to control which Chinese... Read full story>>
  • Greg Baker—AFP/Getty Images

    Who Is Xi?

    Andrew J. Nathan via New York Review of Books More than halfway through his five-year term as president of China and general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party—expected to be the first of at least two—Xi Jinping’s widening crackdown on civil society and promotion of a cult of personality have disappointed many observers, both Chinese and foreign, who saw him as destined by family heritage and life experience to be a liberal reformer. Many thought Xi must have come to understand the dangers of Party dictatorship from the experiences... Read full story>>
  • Philippe Lopez—AFP/Getty Images

    Hong Kong’s International Law Problem

    Alvin Y.H. Cheung In the years leading up to Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, Beijing was keen to reassure the world that nothing significant would change in the territory. Business elites and local politicians alike busied themselves with reassuring their foreign counterparts or with seizing on evidence of foreign support for the transition. At the heart of Beijing’s play for international support was the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a 1984 treaty that laid down the terms for China’s... Read full story>>
  • (AFP/GettyImages)

    Beijing Calls South China Sea Island Reclamation a ‘Green Project’

    Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian Sand, cement, and Chinese military facilities now sit on top of some of the South China Sea’s once-thriving reefs; China has built over half a dozen new artificial islands in a bid to bolster its territorial claims in the hotly disputed region. Such reclamation devastates the local marine habitat. But according to China, these activities do not cause significant ecological damage. Beijing increasingly insists that the island-sized piles of sand and concrete now burying the highly biodiverse... Read full story>>
  • Isaac Lawrence—AFP/Getty Images

    “It’s Time for Us To Set a New Political Agenda for Hong Kong”

    A Q&A with Student Activist Joshua Wong

    Jonathan Landreth, Susan Jakes & more Last month, midway through a whirlwind tour of United States universities, Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong took a break for a crab cake and mac-and-cheese lunch at a Manhattan brasserie. Wong, 19, came to international prominence during the Umbrella Movement of 2014 as the face and voice of a generation of Hong Kong youngsters dissatisfied with politics in a Chinese city that was once a British colony. By then, Wong was already something of a veteran agitator. As a middle school... Read full story>>

Recent Stories



How Much Debt Is Too Much in China?

Yukon Huang, Houze Song & more
In the first quarter of 2016, Chinese debt rose to 237 percent of GDP—a level comparable to that of the U.S. or the Eurozone and yet much larger than that of most developing economies, according to analysis by The Financial Times. Additionally,...



Backward Thinking about Orientalism and Chinese Characters

David Moser
For those of us who teach and research the Chinese language, it is often difficult to describe how the Chinese characters function in conveying meaning and sound, and it’s always a particular challenge to explain how the writing system differs from...



Visualizing China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign

“Catching Tigers and Flies” is ChinaFile’s new interactive tool for tracking and, we hope, better understanding the massive campaign against corruption that China’s President, Xi Jinping, launched shortly after he came to power in late 2012. It is designed to give users a sense of the scope and character of the anti-corruption campaign by graphically rendering information about nearly 1,500 of its targets whose cases have been publicly announced in official Chinese sources.



U.S. Presidential Candidates on China

Our Presidential Quotes tracker keeps you up to date on what the current candidates are saying about China, and where and when they say it. We’ll be updating the site with new and expanded tools for understanding China’s role in the U.S. election in...

Photography and Video

Depth of Field


April’s Best Chinese Photojournalism

Yan Cong, Ye Ming & more from Yuanjin Photo
Over the past few weeks, the publications Sina, Tencent, Caixin, China Youth Daily, and the publishing duo Sixth Tone/The Paper published photo stories on the intimate, the industrial, the private, and the political. Journalists Yan Cong and Ye Ming...



Drinking the Northwest Wind

Sharron Lovell, Tom Wang & more
Like so many of Mao’s pronouncements, it sounded simple. “The South has a lot of water; the North lacks water. So if it can be done, borrowing a little water and bringing it up might do the trick.” And thus, in 1952, the foundation was laid for what...

Depth of Field


Meet ‘Depth of Field’: The Month’s Best Chinese Photojournalism

Yan Cong, Ye Ming & more from Yuanjin Photo
Welcome to ChinaFile’s inaugural “Depth of Field” column. In collaboration with Yuanjin Photo, an independent photo blog published by photographers Yan Cong and Ye Ming on the Chinese social media platform WeChat, we will highlight new and...




Queer Marxism in Two Chinas

Petrus Liu
In Queer Marxism in Two Chinas, Petrus Liu rethinks the relationship between Marxism and queer cultures in mainland China and Taiwan. Whereas many scholars assume the emergence of queer cultures in China signals the end of Marxism and demonstrates China’s political and economic evolution, Liu finds the opposite to be true. He challenges the persistence of Cold War formulations of Marxism that position it as intellectually incompatible with queer theory, and shows how queer Marxism offers a nonliberal alternative to Western models of queer emancipation. The work of queer Chinese artists and intellectuals not only provides an alternative to liberal ideologies of inclusion and diversity, but demonstrates how different conceptions of and attitudes toward queerness in China and Taiwan stem from geopolitical tensions. With Queer Marxism in Two Chinas Liu offers a revision to current understandings of what queer theory is, does, and can be. —Duke University Press{chop}




Duncan Clark
In just a decade and half, Jack Ma, a man from modest beginnings who started out as an English teacher, founded and built Alibaba into one of the world’s largest companies, an e-commerce empire on which hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers depend. Alibaba’s $25 billion IPO in 2014 was the largest global IPO ever. A Rockefeller of his age who is courted by CEOs and Presidents around the world, Jack is an icon for China’s booming private sector and the gatekeeper to hundreds of millions of middle class consumers.Duncan Clark first met Jack in 1999 in the small apartment where Jack founded Alibaba. Granted unprecedented access to a wealth of new material, including exclusive interviews, Clark draws on his own experience as an early adviser to Alibaba and two decades in China chronicling the Internet’s impact on the country to create an authoritative, compelling narrative account of Alibaba’s rise.How did Jack overcome his humble origins and early failures to achieve massive success with Alibaba? How did he outsmart rival entrepreneurs from China and Silicon Valley? Can Alibaba maintain its 80 percent market share? As it forges ahead into finance and entertainment, are there limits to Alibaba’s ambitions? How does the Chinese government view its rise? Will Alibaba expand further overseas, including in the U.S.? Clark tells Alibaba’s tale in the context of China’s momentous economic and social changes, illuminating an unlikely corporate titan as never before. —HarperCollins{chop}




Censorship and Conscience

Alexa Olesen
Alexa Olesen
PEN International
In this report, PEN American Center (PEN) examines how foreign authors in particular are navigating the heavily censored Chinese book industry. China is one of the largest book publishing markets in the world, with total revenue projected to exceed...



Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China

Robert D. Blackwill, Ashley J. Tellis
Council on Foreign Relations
China represents and will remain the most significant competitor to the United States for decades to come. As such, the need for a more coherent U.S. response to increasing Chinese power is long overdue. Because the American effort to “integrate”...

Around the Web

China Unveils 'Straddling Bus' Design to Beat Traffic Jams

The concept vehicle is designed to float above the clogged-up streets of some of the country’s biggest cities....


Warning Sign: China Sets Currency at 5-Year Low

Some believe that China's economic growth is actually 4.2% instead of the claimed 6.5%-7%......


China State Media Promote Rap Song Praising Karl Marx

Entitled "Marx is a post-90"—China's version of a millennial—the song extols the communist godfather's supposed coolness......

Associated Press

China to Promote Anti-Corruption Efforts at G20: Minister

As one of China's top 10 priorities for September's summit in Hangzhou, Wang Yi said China would promote a three-pronged approach to anti-corruption......


China's 'Feud' over Economic Reform Reveals Depth of Xi Jinping's Secret State

Speculation is rife that Xi wants to curb debt-fuelled growth before it destroys the economy and oust premier Li Keqiang....


G-7 Leaders Target China Over South China Sea Aggression; Vietnam Looks To Arms Procurement

China argued that the situation in the South China Sea had “nothing to do” with the G-7....

International Business Times