• 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>>

  • Zhou Qiang—Tencent

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

    The Month’s Best Chinese Photojournalism

    Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more via 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 reason we launched Depth of Field, last spring.For this issue, we present over-protective mainland mothers who follow their children to Hong Kong, candidates campaigning for Hong Kong’s September legislative elections, Chinese tourists hunting for wild... Read full story>>

  • (China Photos—Getty Images)

    Green Growth Could Boost China’s Economy Six-Fold

    via 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 sectors.The recent report “Reinventing Fire: China” claims that by implementing ambitious energy policies China could resume a path of accelerated GDP growth while lowering carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions 42 percent below the 2010 level by 2050.The... Read full story>>

  • Jack Garofalo—Paris Match/Getty Images

    Let One Hundred Panthers Bloom

    The Black Panthers and Mao Zedong

    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 Party, in the opening pages of his 1973 memoir, Revolutionary Suicide. Newton wished to be as monumental as Tai, a famously large Chinese mountain, and, he wrote, “I do not expect to live through our revolution.”Mao was a hero to Newton, who co-founded... Read full story>>

  • Ed Jones—AFP/Getty Images

    An American’s Seven Months in a Chinese Jail

    A Sinica Podcast

    Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more via 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 expanded his social circle and grew his bank account.Manning’s dual life came to an end on March 15, when a team of undercover officers knocked on his door as he was receiving a package. That night, authorities hauled him to the Beijing No. 1... Read full story>>

  • Odd Andersen—AFP/Getty Images

    ‘The Songs of Birds’

    Ian Johnson via New York Review of Books

    Day and night,I copy the Diamond Sutraof Prajnaparamita.My writing looks more and more square.It proves that I have not gone entirelyinsane, but the tree I drewhasn’t grown a leaf.—from “I Copy the Scriptures,” in Empty ChairsEvery month, the Chinese poet, photographer, and artist Liu Xia boards a train bound for the country’s north. Carrying food and books and escorted by four plainclothes police officers, she heads for a prison in the city of Jinzhou where her husband, the Nobel Peace Prize... 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 current candidates are saying about China, and where and when they say it.

North Korea and The South China Sea: What’s Next?

Paul Haenle & Gary Roughead from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
Given the increasingly complex security environment in the Asia-Pacific, it is critical for the United States and China to deepen cooperation on promoting regional stability. In this podcast, Paul Haenle and Admiral Gary Roughead, former Chief of...



The Perils of Translating a Classic Novel from the Chinese Page to the American Stage

Nick Frisch
Welcome to my dream,” says a Chinese monk pacing along the stage of the San Francisco Opera. So begins Dream of the Red Chamber, a new opera based on the classic Chinese novel of the same name. Its central story is a love triangle framed as Buddhist...



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.



China’s Teflon Toxin Problem

Sharon Lerner from Intercept
Since the late 1970s, the chemical industry has been at the heart of China’s dazzling growth. And as regulations increase around the world, many toxic chemicals wind up coming to China just to die a slow death. Teflon—the slippery substance used in...

Photography & Video



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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