• Pool photo by Thomas Peter—Pool/Getty Images

    How Many U.S. Allies Can China Turn?

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Zhang Baohui, Richard J. Heydarian & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines since June, visited China this week and signaled his interest in shifting Manila’s allegiance away from Washington toward Beijing. While his predecessor sued China in an international court to contest its expanded presence in the South China Sea (Beijing lost), Duterte, who has been ostentatious in his public derision of the United States, announced he would reopen direct talks with Beijing over the disputed waters. Is the U.S. about to lose a... Read full story>>

  • (AFP/Getty Images)

    China is Demanding Cleaner Shipping—So Should the Rest of the World

    Barbara A. Finamore via chinadialogue

    Last year, in response to growing awareness of severe air pollution problems in China’s coastal cities, the Chinese government adopted a ground-breaking program to cut pollution from ships. At its core is a commitment to reduce the sulfur content of marine fuels used by the thousands of container-carrying vessels that visit China’s ports every day.This week, governments are gathering in London to make a decision that could support this critical effort—or undermine it. Under the auspices of the... Read full story>>

  • (China Photos/Getty Images)

    The Yuan’s Internationalization is Just Beginning

    By Hu Shuli

    via Caixin

    The official acceptance of the yuan (or renminbi) into the International Monetary Fund’s elite currency club on October 1 marked a milestone in the Chinese government’s campaign to boost the yuan’s international appeal.Inclusion of the yuan in the special drawing rights (SDR) basket—a reserve asset whose value was previously determined based on the U.S. dollar, euro, yen, and British pound—is a sign of the international community’s affirmation of financial reforms undertaken by China. But there... Read full story>>

  • Frederic J. Brown—AFP/Getty Images

    The Separation Between Mosque and State

    Alice Y. Su

    Driving through the Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu province, in China’s northwest, minarets puncture the sky every few minutes. Many rise out of mosques that resemble Daoist temples, their details a blend of traditional Chinese and Islamic features: a bronze door knocker inscribed with the word “Allah” in Arabic, a crescent moon peeking above the pointed eaves of a tiled roof, and stone steles carved with hadith—a collection of sayings attributed to the Prophet Mohammed—in Chinese... Read full story>>

  • Farooq Naeem—AFP/Getty Images

    Will Chinese Money Transform Pakistan?

    via chinadialogue

    The development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has spurred debate in all quarters. Some perceive it as a form of neo-colonialism and criticize Pakistan’s government for promoting unethical business practices at the cost of ordinary citizens’ livelihoods. Others see the CPEC as an unprecedented opportunity for economic revival, with potential for positive spillover effects including stronger local institutions.The CPEC is a package of infrastructure projects worth U.S.$46 billion... Read full story>>

  • Goh Chai Hin—AFP/Getty Images

    The Consequences of the One-Child Policy Will Be Felt for Generations

    A Sinica Podcast

    Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more via Sinica Podcast

    The first day of 2016 marked the official end of China’s one-child policy, one of the most controversial and draconian approaches to population management in human history. The rules have not been abolished but modified, allowing all married Chinese couples to have two children. However, the change may have come too late to address the negative ways the policy has shaped the country’s demographics and the lives of its citizens for decades to come.{node, 22431}In this podcast, Jeremy and Kaiser... Read full story>>

  • Anthony Wallace—AFP/Getty Images

    Why Newly Elected Hong Kong Legislators Cursed and Protested—At Their Own Swearing-In

    via Tea Leaf Nation

    There’s a bit of a nanny state in the city of Hong Kong. The government is quick to issue advice and admonitions about all matter of hazards—high ocean waves, food waste, incense burning during the annual grave-sweeping festival. One night in late 2014, amid a standoff during the massive democracy protest that rocked the city, a police official squawked through a bullhorn: “Do not swear.” The response was a lusty spasm of curses. Still, many residents were surprised when government officials... Read full story>>

Recent Stories



Is the Growing Pessimism About China Warranted?

David Shambaugh, David M. Lampton & more from Washington Quarterly
There are few more consequential questions in world affairs than China’s uncertain future trajectory. Assumptions of a reformist China integrated into the international community have given way in recent years to serious concerns about the nation’s...



U.S. Presidential Candidates on China

Our Presidential Quotes tracker keeps you up to date on what the candidates are saying about China, and where and when they say it.



Green Growth Could Boost China’s Economy Six-Fold

from chinadialogue
China’s economy could grow six-fold by 2050 with renewable energy accounting for 69 percent of national electricity supply if it transforms its energy system and increases efficiency across the industrial, transport, construction, and electricity...



Let One Hundred Panthers Bloom

Eveline Chao
“Chairman Mao says that death comes to all of us, but it varies in its significance: to die for the reactionary is lighter than a feather; to die for the revolution is heavier than Mount Tai.” So wrote Huey P. Newton, founder of the Black Panther...



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.

Sinica Podcast


An American’s Seven Months in a Chinese Jail

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
In 2009, Michael Manning was working in Beijing for a state-owned news broadcaster by day, but he spent his nights selling bags of hashish. His position with CCTV was easy and brought him into contact with Chinese celebrities, while his other trade...

Photography & Video

Depth of Field


Over-Protective Mothers, E-cigarettes, Sports Hunting, and More

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
A photojournalist’s job is to capture the unique and the universal—to portray brief moments that tell individual stories, yet are instantly relatable to a wide audience. The delightful task of curating that type of Chinese photojournalism is the...



A Miner’s China Dream

Sim Chi Yin
Over the four years I have known him, He Quangui, a gold miner from Shaanxi, has told me many times he wants to travel with me back to Beijing. It’s not just me he wants to visit. He dreams of going to the Chinese leadership’s compound, Zhongnanhai...



Drinking the Northwest Wind

Sharron Lovell & Tom Wang
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 spark was lit for what would...




The Red Guard Generation and Political Activism in China

Guobin Yang
Raised to be “flowers of the nation,” the first generation born after the founding of the People’s Republic of China was united in its political outlook and ambitions. Its members embraced the Cultural Revolution of 1966 but soon split into warring factions. Guobin Yang investigates the causes of this fracture and argues that Chinese youth engaged in an imaginary revolution from 1966 to 1968, enacting a political mythology that encouraged violence as a way to prove one’s revolutionary credentials. This same competitive dynamic would later turn the Red Guard against the communist government.Throughout the 1970s, the majority of Red Guard youth were sent to work in rural villages. These relocated revolutionaries developed an appreciation for the values of ordinary life, and an underground cultural movement was born. Rejecting idolatry, their new form of resistance marked a distinct reversal of Red Guard radicalism and signaled a new era of enlightenment, culminating in the Democracy Wall movement of the late 1970s and, finally, the Tiananmen protest of 1989. Yang completes his significant recasting of Red Guard activism with a chapter on the politics of history and memory, arguing that contemporary memories of the Cultural Revolution are factionalized along the lines of political division that formed 50 years before. —Columbia University Press{chop}



The Age of Irreverence

Christopher Rea
The Age of Irreverence tells the story of why China’s entry into the modern age was not just traumatic, but uproarious. As the Qing dynasty slumped toward extinction, prominent writers compiled jokes into collections they called “histories of laughter.” In the first years of the Republic, novelists, essayists, and illustrators alike used humorous allegories to make veiled critiques of the new government. But, again and again, political and cultural discussion erupted into invective, as critics gleefully jeered and derided rivals in public. Farceurs drew followings in the popular press, promoting a culture of practical joking and buffoonery. Eventually, these various expressions of hilarity proved so offensive to high-brow writers that they launched a concerted campaign to transform the tone of public discourse, hoping to displace the old forms of mirth with a new one they called youmo (humor).Christopher Rea argues that this period—from the 1890s to the 1930s—transformed how Chinese people thought and talked about what is funny. Focusing on five cultural expressions of laughter—jokes, play, mockery, farce, and humor—he reveals the textures of comedy that were a part of everyday life during modern China’s first “age of irreverence.” This new history of laughter not only offers an unprecedented and up-close look at a neglected facet of Chinese cultural modernity, but also reveals its lasting legacy in the Chinese language of the comic today and its implications for our understanding of humor as a part of human culture. —University of California Press{chop}

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