• The Art of Political Control in China

    When and why do people obey political authority when it runs against their own interests to do so? This book is about the channels beyond direct repression through which China’s authoritarian state controls protest and implements ambitious policies from sweeping urbanization schemes that have displaced millions to family planning initiatives like the one-child policy. Mattingly argues that China’s remarkable state capacity is not simply a product of coercive institutions such as the secret... Read full story>>

  • Kevin Frayer—Getty Images

    Why Aren’t More Countries Confronting China over Xinjiang?

    Matt Schiavenza

    China has justified its repressive actions in Xinjiang as a response to a series of terror attacks attributed to Uighurs. But the measures Chinese authorities have employed have attracted international condemnation. In July, the United Nations representatives of 22 mostly European countries released a letter to the UN Human Rights Council calling on China to “refrain from the arbitrary detention and restriction on freedom of movement on Uighurs and other Muslim and minority communities in... Read full story>>

  • Billy H.C. Kwok—Getty Images

    As Taiwan’s Election Nears, A Sense of Foreboding Grips Voters from Different Camps

    Anna Beth Keim

    On the evening of December 29, at a rally in front of Democratic Progressive Party headquarters in Taipei, hundreds of people are shouting in unison. They support Tsai Ing-wen, the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) candidate in Taiwan’s January 11 presidential elections, but they are shouting another politician’s name, with an anxiety that was not there in the last election four years ago, when Tsai was first elected. Their voices rise above the sound of the rain, repeating over and over: “... Read full story>>

  • Lintao Zhang—Getty Images

    China: The Year Ahead

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    David Schlesinger, Scott Kennedy & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    As 2019 drew to a close, ChinaFile asked contributors to write about their expectations for China in 2020. Read full story>>

  • Billy H.C. Kwok—Getty Images

    What’s Next for Taiwan?

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Brian Hioe, Evan Dawley & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    On January 11, Taiwanese will go to the polls. Their election pits the incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which favors greater distance from Beijing, against Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu of the Kuomingtang, which favors warmer relations with the mainland. Many fear Beijing will meddle in the election. What’s at stake in the 2020 Taiwanese election? And what role will Beijing play? Read full story>>

  • Lin Hongxian—iFeng

    ‘Nowhere to Dock’

    A Roundup of China’s Best Visual Journalism

    Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more via Yuanjin Photo

    In 2019, Depth of Field showcased stories covering a range of topics: Shi Yangkun’s nostaglic exploration of China’s last collective villages, Zhu Lingyu’s careful and artisitic portrayal of survivors of sexual violence, and cities seen through the eyes of food delivery men. In this work, we see photographers as well as visual editors’ efforts to find new ways to tell stories visually despite shrinking budgets and tightening censorship.Together with our new curator Beimeng Fu, we are expanding... Read full story>>

  • Chris McGrath—Getty Images

    Is Violence in Hong Kong’s Protests Turning off Moderates?

    Andy Buschmann

    As protests in Hong Kong have become more violent, have the demographics of the protesters changed? The level of violence employed by protesters as well as the police force has escalated to new heights ever since July 21, when alleged triad members attacked protesters in the Yuen Long station of Hong Kong’s subway, the MTR. Many subsequent protests saw radical protesters block roads, brawl with riot police, and vandalize the property of businesses and institutions that side with the government... Read full story>>

  • Kenzaburo Fukuhara—Pool/Getty Images

    Are China and Russia Getting Too Close for Comfort?

    A China in the World Podcast

    Paul Haenle, Dmitri Trenin & more via Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy

    Discussion of U.S.-China-Russia relations often focuses on how American policy is driving Moscow and Beijing closer together. This analysis, however, ignores important factors limiting cooperation between China and Russia and preventing the two countries from forming an alliance. Read full story>>

  • Chris McGrath—Getty Images

    Chinese Government Says it Will Sanction U.S. NGOs in Hong Kong

    The Chinese government plans to sanction at least five U.S. NGOs with offices in Hong Kong, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) spokesperson told reporters at a press conference on December 2. Hua Chunying described the move as a response to the U.S. president’s signing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act into law on November 27. Hua said that China’s government would impose sanctions on the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), National Democratic Institute (NDI), International... Read full story>>

Recent Stories

Postcard

10.17.19

‘If We Give up on Our Husbands Today, Tomorrow Our Children Will Be Ashamed of Us’

Jiang Xue
This is a story about fear and the attempt to conquer fear. The wives of some of the lawyers who disappeared in China’s “709” crackdown have suffered house arrest, threats, and suppression. In their search to find their husbands, they hope no longer...

Viewpoint

09.28.19

A Birthday Letter to the People’s Republic

Yangyang Cheng
Dear People’s Republic, Or should I call you, China? I am writing to you on the eve of your 70th birthday. 70, what an age. “For a man to live to 70 has been rare since ancient times,” the poet Du Fu wrote in the eighth century. You have outlived...

Viewpoint

10.18.19

Converting the Converters

Darius Longarino
Chinese LGBT advocates have set out to convince China’s mental health field that being professionally competent means being LGBT-affirming (and for the already LGBT-friendly counselors, that mere friendliness is not enough—they also need to have...

Conversation

10.04.19

Taiwan Is Losing Allies. What Should Taipei (and D.C.) Do?

Margaret Lewis, Yu-Hua Chen & more
In a single week in September, the two Pacific nations of Kiribati and the Solomon Islands both switched their diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to Beijing, reducing the number of countries that still recognize Taiwan to 14 (and the Vatican)...

Postcard

08.28.19

Thwarted at Home, Can China’s Feminists Rebuild a Movement Abroad?

Shen Lu & Mengwen Cao
A small number of China’s feminist movement’s influential thinkers and organizers have relocated overseas, in search of an environment more hospitable to their activism. Today, though their numbers are relatively small, they have succeeded in...

Photography & Video

Photo Gallery

07.24.19

‘I Love HK but Hate It at the Same Time’

Todd R. Darling
A central issue many of the Hong Kong people in my portraits are wrestling with is how to define an identity and being challenged in that pursuit by cultural, social, or political pressures. There is a lot of frustration and anger over the recent...

Depth of Field

07.01.19

The Journey of a Bra

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
Many of the photo stories in this edition of Depth of Field cover issues relating to women and gender, including a piece on women from Madagascar married to men in rural Zhejiang province, artistic photo collaborations with women and men who have...

Books

Books

01.27.20

The Art of Political Control in China

Daniel C. Mattingly
Cambridge University Press: When and why do people obey political authority when it runs against their own interests to do so? This book is about the channels beyond direct repression through which China’s authoritarian state controls protest and implements ambitious policies from sweeping urbanization schemes that have displaced millions to family planning initiatives like the one-child policy. Daniel C. Mattingly argues that China’s remarkable state capacity is not simply a product of coercive institutions such as the secret police or the military. Instead, the state uses local civil society groups as hidden but effective tools of informal control to suppress dissent and implement far-reaching policies.Drawing on evidence from qualitative case studies, experiments, and national surveys, the book challenges the conventional wisdom that a robust civil society strengthens political responsiveness. Surprisingly, it is communities that lack strong civil society groups that find it easiest to act collectively and spontaneously resist the state.{chop}

Books

01.07.20

China’s Urban Champions

Kyle A. Jaros
Princeton University Press: The rise of major metropolises across China since the 1990s has been a double-edged sword: Although big cities function as economic powerhouses, concentrated urban growth can worsen regional inequalities, governance challenges, and social tensions. Wary of these dangers, China’s national leaders have tried to forestall top-heavy urbanization. However, urban and regional development policies at the sub-national level have not always followed suit. China’s Urban Champions explores the development paths of different provinces and asks why policymakers in many cases favor big cities in a way that reinforces spatial inequalities rather than reducing them.Kyle Jaros combines in-depth case studies of Hunan, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, and Jiangsu provinces with quantitative analysis to shed light on the political drivers of uneven development. Drawing on numerous Chinese-language written sources, including government documents and media reports, as well as a wealth of field interviews with officials, policy experts, urban planners, academics, and businesspeople, Jaros shows how provincial development strategies are shaped by both the horizontal relations of competition among different provinces and the vertical relations among different tiers of government. Metropolitan-oriented development strategies advance when lagging economic performance leads provincial leaders to fixate on boosting regional competitiveness, and when provincial governments have the political strength to impose their policy priorities over the objections of other actors.Rethinking the politics of spatial policy in an era of booming growth, China’s Urban Champions highlights the key role of provincial units in determining the nation’s metropolitan and regional development trajectory.{chop}

Reports

Reports

09.01.17

The Costs of International Advocacy

Human Rights Watch
Even as it engages with U.N. human rights institutions, China has worked consistently and often aggressively to silence criticism of its human rights record before U.N. bodies and has taken actions aimed at weakening some of the central mechanisms...

Reports

05.24.17

China’s Social Credit System: A Big-Data Enabled Approach to Market Regulation with Broad Implications for Doing Business in China

Mirjam Meissner
Mirjam Meissner
Mercator Institute for China Studies
Under the catchphrase “Social Credit System,” China is currently implementing a new and highly innovative approach to monitoring, rating, and regulating the behavior of market participants. The Social Credit System will have significant impact on...

Partners