Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

At Factory Waste Ponds, Fumes Choke Fantasies

Coal and Chemical Plants in Northwest China Pledged Zero Emissions but Failed Miserably


Deep in the Tengger Desert, near a community of cattle herders about 700 kilometers west of Beijing, pipes from a complex of coal processing and chemical factories once spewed slimy wastewater into six ponds. The “evaporation ponds” were designed to protect the desert’s sensitive environment. By exposing wastewater to dry air and sunlight on the pond’s surface, water was supposed to dissipate into the sky, leaving behind salt and toxins for further processing. But the ponds never worked as planned. An oily film on each football field-sized surface inhibited evaporation. And daily for about 11 years these factories in the Tengger Industrial Park, a...

Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images

Report: Chinese Diplomats & Officials Tied to Ivory Trade in Africa

A China in Africa Podcast

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more

A recent report by the U.K.-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) alleges Chinese diplomats and officials have been directly involved in the ivory trade in Africa. Most damaging, the EIA reports that even some members of visiting Chinese president Xi Jinping’s delegation smuggled dozens of kilos of ivory back home after an official state visit to Tanzania in March 2013. If true, the symbolism of such allegations are terrible and go a long way toward undermining China’s soft-power diplomacy initiatives. However, our guest this week, journalist and Chinese CSR activist...

Paul Childs/Action Images/Zuma Press

Banned but Booming: Golf in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more

Despite China’s legal moratorium on the development of the golf industry, a policy driven by concerns over illegal farmland seizures and the potential misallocation of agricultural land and water resources, the golf industry has experienced an unprecedented frenzy of development over the past thirty years, with the very government organs that overtly disapprove of the luxury sport often promoting its growth, leading to a situation where not even the central government has more than a vague inkling of how many courses actually exist in the country.With rumors of an impending crackdown on the industry circulating in the industry though, and questions of whether...

Luke Sharrett/Getty Images

What Will Make the U.S.-China Climate Deal Work

Mark Hertsgaard

Nearly everyone agrees that the U.S.-China climate announcement is a big deal, but most observers have overlooked what truly makes it a game-changer: if the world’s two climate change superpowers limit their greenhouse gas emissions, it will have the economic effect of putting a de facto price on carbon. The resulting increase in the market price of oil, coal, natural gas, and other carbon-based fuels really could change everything. But this will only happen if the two superpowers make good on their promises: if the U.S. refrains from pursuing...

Franko Lee/AFP/Getty Images

“Getting Pantsed” by the “Central People’s Court”

Hu Yong

In December of last year CCTV producer Wang Qinglei wrote a post on his Weibo account criticizing the Chinese government’s campaign-style attacks on prominent social media figures and arguing the media had also been drawn in and was “sidestepping the law” and allowing the government “rape our journalistic standards.” He was dismissed from his post for violating CCTV’s microblogging and “discipline management” rules.   After his dismissal, Wang wrote a farewell post intended to “record the truth” about “the era in which we live.” With shocking candor, Wang laid bare the true face...

Ashley Pon/Getty Images

The Invisible Candidate in Taiwan’s Elections

The Island Is Set to Vote On 11,000 Official Posts. Here’s Why the Mainland Will Be Watching.

Tea Leaf Nation

Almost 80 percent of Taiwan, an island of 23 million off the coast of China, is expected to head to the polls November 29 to vote in local elections with more than 11,000 seats up for grabs. Voters will choose candidates ranging from mayors in Taiwan’s six biggest cities to low-level village chiefs and township councilors, who make up the bulk of the vacancies. But the elections are more than just an exercise in local politics. Beijing, which views the island as a renegade province that must someday be reunited with the Chinese motherland, has actively cultivated relationships with local Taiwanese officials in the lead up to the elections and will likely watch the...

(Sohu Business)

Who Really Benefits from Poverty Alleviation in China?

A series of reports issued by China’s National Audit Office highlights problems in 19 counties that have received funding from national poverty alleviation programs. News of “impoverished counties’” constructing luxurious new government buildings or being ranked among China’s “Top 100 Counties” raises questions about the state of China’s poverty alleviation efforts.What’s wrong with poverty alleviation in China? ...

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Recent Stories



Was the U.S.-China Climate Deal Worth the Wait?


Last week, Ann Carlson and Alex Wang, environmental experts at UCLA Law School, called the November 12 U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change "monumental." "No two countries are more important to tackling the problem than the largest carbon emitter over the past two...



The Domestic Politics of the U.S.-China Climate Change...


The news from Beijing this week that the U.S. and China are committing to ambitious goals on climate change is, we think, monumental. No two countries are more important to tackling the problem than the largest carbon emitter over the past two centuries, the U.S., and the largest...



China Reforms National Parks to Improve Environmental...


China’s central government is reforming the way major tourist attractions are run. It plans to create a unified national parks management system in a bid to halt environmental damage within its protected areas. The new, unified system will cut across the local and departmental...



‘The Training Wheels Are Coming Off,’ But That’s...


Making a movie is a wild ride no matter where you are in the world, a process fraught with ego and pride; wobblier, riskier, yet potentially more lucrative, the bigger and faster it gets.With U.S. gross sales of movie tickets basically flat, up just one percent last year to $10.9...




The Sacred Routes of Uyghur History


For 250 years, the Turkic Muslims of Altishahr—the vast desert region to the northwest of Tibet—have led an uneasy existence under Chinese rule. Today they call themselves Uyghurs, and they have cultivated a sense of history and identity that challenges Beijing’s official...



China 1945


A riveting account of the watershed moment in America’s dealings with China that forever altered the course of East-West relations.As 1945 opened, America was on surprisingly congenial terms with China’s Communist rebels—their soldiers treated their American counterparts as...




Avoiding the Blind Alley: China’s Economic Overhaul...

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...

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

Photo Gallery




One in five people in the world get their water from great Asian rivers linked to the Qinghai-Tibet plateau in northwestern China. Here, beneath a gently undulating landscape, spring the headwaters of the Yellow River, which sweep three thousands miles across China on their way...



Collecting Insanity


Every country has a past it likes to celebrate and another it would rather forget. In China, where history still falls under the tight control of government-run museums and officially approved textbooks, the omissions appear especially stark. An unusual museum dedicated largely...



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...


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...


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

Tencent to Distribute HBO Dramas, Movies Online in China

Time Warner Inc.’s HBO has signed a deal with Tencent Holdings Ltd. to distribute its TV dramas and movies through the Chinese Internet giant’s online video......

Wall Street Journal

China Media: Public Smoking Ban

Papers welcome a proposed nation-wide ban on public smoking, while urging officials to tackle pollution problems. China has sought public opinion on its......


At China Online Coming-Out Party, Beijing Spells out Internet Control Ambition

China showed governments and the planet’s biggest tech firms last week its vision for global......


7 Students of Jailed Economist Are Put on Trial in Western China

Seven students of Ilham Tohti, an imprisoned ethnic Uighur professor, went on trial on Tuesday in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang on charges of being......

New York Times

Fresh Clashes in Hong Kong Between Police and Pro-Democracy Protesters

Hong Kong police charged, and used pepper-spray cannons, on peaceful pro-democracy protesters Tuesday night local time in a bid to clear streets in the Mong......


Xi and Peng Now Have a Song of Their Own

After a series of high-profile events highlighting their marriage bonds, China’s president, Xi Jinping, and his wife, Peng Liyuan, now have a song praising......

South China Morning Post

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