Su Weizhong—Imaginechina/Zuma Press

Clearing Skies

A Journalist Who Fled China’s Air Pollution Looks Back and Sees Rays of Hope

Adam Minter

After dark is when the pollution arrives on the outskirts of Shanghai. On a bright night, when moonlight refracts through the smog, you can see black clouds of soot pouring out of small workshop smokestacks silhouetted against the sky. In case you miss it in the dark, there’s always the morning’s first deep breath and the feeling of something raw in your throat.I lived and breathed in Shanghai for 12 years, from 2002 to 2014, and those mornings seemed to grow worse. During my last three years, the first thing I’d do after waking—even before checking the weather—was to open the air-quality app on my phone. If the air was rated anything worse...

Jonathan S. Landreth

The Other China

ChinaFile Presents

Michael Meyer & Ian Buruma

Writers Michael Meyer and Ian Buruma engage in a discussion co-sponsoted by The New York Review of Books centered on Meyer’s new book, In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China, which combines immersion journalism, memoir, and historical research to create a portrait of the momentous changes underway in China’s often-overlooked countryside....

(Youku/Fair use)

Why Has This Environmental Documentary Gone Viral on China’s Internet?

A ChinaFile Conversation

Angel Hsu, Michael Zhao & more

Our friends at Foreign Policy hit the nail on the head by headlining writer Yiqin Fu’s Monday story “China’s National Conversation about Pollution Has Finally Begun.” What happened? Well, over the weekend, the feature-length Chinese documentary “Under the Dome” was released, first on the website of the state-run People’s Daily newspaper, then on Youku, Tudou, and Tencent. (Watch a subtitled version on YouTube above and...

Stéphanie Borcard & Nicolas Métraux

Migrant Hair

At Home With Hair Stylists in Chengdu

Stéphanie Borcard & Nicolas Métraux

This photo series of Chinese hairdressers was made in the spring of 2012, in the city center of Chengdu in Sichuan province. There, some 16 percent of the city’s nearly 12 million residents are recent immigrants, like the individuals photographed in this project. Each portrait shows a young hairdresser who moved to Chengdu in search of new employment opportunities; the portraits were taken near the salons where the hairdressers work and they are paired with photographs of the places...

Can Market Mechanisms Clear China’s Air?

Publishing Environmental Records of Companies Seen As New Way to Fight Pollution

The Chinese government recently responded to rising public discontent over environmental degradation by introducing tougher rules for industrial emissions.Meanwhile, a non-governmental organization and a state-run newspaper are coordinating a parallel fight against industrial pollution based on market mechanisms.Trusting that the equities market can push companies to do good, the environmental track records of publicly listed companies are now being compiled and publicized by the Beijing-based NGO Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE) and the state-run Securities Times newspaper.The first data report released on January 6 focuses...

(YouTube/Fair use)

The Word That Broke the Chinese Internet


Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian

It might be gibberish, but it’s also a sign of the times. The word duang, pronounced “dwong,” is spreading like wildfire throughout China’s active Internet—even though 1.3 billion Chinese people still haven’t figured out what it means. In fact, its particular combination of sounds can’t even be represented with China’s existing writing system. Notwithstanding, since February 24 it has appeared over 8.4 million times on Weibo, China’s massive Twitter-like microblogging platform and spawned a synonymous...

Andrew Stokols

Village Acupuncture

Can Architects Restore Vitality to China’s Countryside?

Andrew Stokols

On a bamboo-covered mountaintop the mud-walled houses of Diaotan village are just barely visible through the thick fog that often shrouds this remote hamlet in China’s Zhejiang province. Worn but sturdy earthen walls still enclose the largest structure of Diaotan, the ancestral hall, or citang. Inside, a few lanterns and red couplets hang above a stone courtyard covered with moss and weeds.Xu Tiantian, an architect from Beijing who has come here to help restore old houses, marvels at the serene landscape of bamboo and five-hundred-year-old trees. “It’s like the taohuayuan [peach blossom garden],” she says, referring to the 4th century story...

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Recent Stories



Are China and Russia Forging a New Ideological Bloc?


With evidence of ties strengthening between Beijing and Moscow—over energy contracts, the handling of the Ukraine, and their diplomats' stance toward outside interference in internal affairs, especially if it's perceived as coming from Washington—can the...

Sinica Podcast


Keep in Touch, Nightman


In 1997, Beijing was smaller city, and Keep in Touch, Jamhouse, and Nightman were the hippest venues around. There was no traffic on the ring roads, and if you got tired of Chinese food you might take a trip to Fangzhuang to visit this Italian restaurant that had suddenly...



The Sun Kings


In 1992, Shi Zhengrong completed his doctorate and found himself an expert in a field that wasn’t quite ready for him. He’d studied physics at Australia’s University of New South Wales, focusing on crystalline technology, the basic scientific building block of photovoltaic...

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Apple Pay Stalled, Frustrated in China

The central bank, UnionPay bank card service, and e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. are standing up to Apple Inc.'s effort to bring the Apple Pay no-card, no-cash payment system to iPhone users in China."Apple is seeking to cooperate with Chinese financial institutions...




The Greening of Asia


One of Asia's best-respected writers on business and economy, Hong Kong-based author Mark L. Clifford provides a behind-the-scenes look at what companies in China, India, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, and Thailand are doing to build businesses that will...



The People’s Republic of Chemicals


Maverick environmental writers William J. Kelly and Chip Jacobs follow up their acclaimed Smogtown with a provocative examination of China’s ecological calamity already imperiling a warming planet. Toxic smog most people figured was obsolete needlessly kills as many as...




Avoiding the Blind Alley: China’s Economic Overhaul and Its Global Implications

Asia Society

President Xi Jinping announced a sweeping overhaul for China’s economy in November 2013, with pledges to make market forces decisive, treat homegrown and foreign investors with the same laws and regulations, and change the mission statement of the government. The reform program...



Decoding China’s Emerging “Great Power” Strategy in Asia

Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

The course charted by China’s reemergence as a great power over the next few decades represents the primary strategic challenge for the U.S.-Japan security alliance and for the East Asian security landscape writ large. If China’s economic, military, and geopolitical influence...

Photography and Video



Chinese Dreamers


A dream, in the truest sense, is a solo act. It can’t be created by committee or replicated en masse. Try as you might, you can’t compel your neighbor to conjure up the reverie that you envision. And therein lies the latent, uncertain energy in the concept of the “Chinese...

ChinaFile Presents



Evan Osnos: China’s ‘Age of Ambition’


New Yorker correspondent Evan Osnos discusses his new book, Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China, with Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations. 



On “Strange Stones,” a Discussion with Peter Hessler


On May 21st at the Asia Society in New York City, Peter Hessler, author of the recently published Strange Stones: Dispatches from East and West, discussed his book and a decade of writing about China and elsewhere with author, Michael Meyer and Susan Jakes, Editor of ChinaFile....



The Wall Street Journal: Covering China Past and Present


The Wall Street Journal was one of the first American publications to set up a bureau in Beijing. Since its establishment, scores of the Journal’s correspondents have traveled in and out of the country to cover China’s economic and political development. On April 30th, 2013,...

Around the Web

NPC: Decision on HK Universal Suffrage “Unshakable”

Spokeswoman said NPC hopes “Hong Kong’s constitutional reform can move forward rather than stand still.”......


How China Fuels Myanmar’s Wars

No one should be investing in large-scale development projects in Myanmar’s war zones until durable peace agreements are established.... ...

New York Times

In Beijing, Political Pomp Abounds as China Kicks off 'Two Meetings'

The dual sessions do telegraph the general national agenda for the coming year.... ...

Los Angeles Times

China’s Military Budget Increasing 10% for 2015, Official Says

Increase would put the budget around $145 billion, the world’s second-largest, though still......

New York Times

China Says Tech Firms Have Nothing to Fear From Anti-terror Law

Obama this week said China would have to change the draft law if it were “to do business with the United States”.... ...


India China submarine fleet comparison - Business Insider

This chart shows the competition between India and China’s submarine fleet......

Business Insider

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