Cancan Chu—Getty Images

Patrolling China’s Cyberspace

A Sinica Podcast

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more via Sinica Podcast

Adam Segal is the Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies and Director of the Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations. His latest book, The Hacked World Order, provides an in-depth exploration of the issues that most states and large companies now confront in cyberspace. It covers everything from the Twitter wars over Gaza to German reactions to the Snowden leaks. Our conversation focuses on how China sees cyberwarfare, cyberespionage, Internet security and sovereignty, and how the nation’s perspectives differ from America’s. Adam presents a sometimes unsettling but sober and balanced analysis of Chinese and American approaches to attacking,...

Janek Skarzynski—AFP/Getty Images

Is Europe Prepared to Deal with the China Challenge?

A ChinaFile Conversation

Mikko Huotari, Jan Gaspers & more via ChinaFile Conversation

Chinese President Xi Jinping is on a grand tour of the western end of the “New Silk Road,” in visits to Serbia and Poland this week before he returns to Beijing via Uzbekistan, a more eastern outpost on China’s expanding 21st Century trade route. Xi was present in Belgrade and Warsaw at the signing of a series of agreements in areas ranging from trade, education, finance, technology, and civil aviation as China looks to bolster its presence in central and eastern Europe. Chinese foreign direct investment to Europe hit a record high in 2015 of around 20 billion euros (U.S.$22.45 billion), a 44 percent annual rise. Germany, France, and Britain—whose voters on Thursday voted to exit the...

Kazuhiro Ibuki—Pool/Getty Images

Why the Stakes Are So High for China in South Sudan

A China in Africa Podcast

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more via China Africa Project

Nowhere else in Africa do China’s financial, diplomatic, and geopolitical interests confront as much risk as they do in South Sudan. Beijing has invested billions of dollars in the country’s oil sector, deployed over a thousand troops to serve as U.N. Peacekeepers, and committed considerable diplomatic capital to help resolve the ongoing civil/ethnic war between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar.Even though Beijing has repeatedly deployed its most senior Africa-diplomats to help broker a ceasefire, and has committed vast sums of money for investment and development, none of it seems like it will do much to slow South Sudan’s seemingly inevitable decline to becoming...

China Has a Plan to Clean Up Its Soil But No Way to Pay For It

via Caixin

The 231-clause, 13,000-Chinese character action plan for Soil Pollution Prevention and Control was released May 31 by the State Council, China’s cabinet, after undergoing some 50 draft revisions over the previous three years.The final version was released following input from 35 central government agencies including the National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), Ministry of Land and Resources, and Ministry of Agriculture. It lays the groundwork for a national survey of contaminated soil sites, bans certain pesticides, and pledges to fasten the legislation work for soil pollution prevention.Soil contamination is the latest woeful environmental...

(AFP/Getty Images)

‘Wukan,’ Once a Byword For Chinese Democracy, Now Censored

Protests Against Land Grabs That Led to Electoral Experiment Are Pertinent Five Years Later

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian via Tea Leaf Nation

A fishing village in southern Guangdong province, once a standard-bearer for small-time democracy in China, has now become a political disaster—and the most-censored term on Chinese social media.In September 2011, amid protests over land sales in the village of Wukan, residents closed off roads leading in to the village and expelled local governing officials. Police laid siege as residents stockpiled food. Villagers conspicuously proclaimed their loyalty to the ruling Communist Party during the protest, indicating that they were not rebelling against it, but asking for its intervention. In what is sometimes called the “Wukan model” for handling dissent, the dispute was eventually resolved...

Fritz Hoffmann

Building An Icon

Photographing the Birth of Pudong New Area, China’s Wall Street

Fritz Hoffmann

China’s economy is still growing. But its ascent is nothing like the period of double-digit growth during the first decade of this century. In the early aughts when the economy was soaring, Shanghai was the place that probably best embodied its rocket-like climb and outsized ambitions. Fritz Hoffmann, an independent photojournalist, was based in Shanghai from 1995 to 2008. He was the first foreign photojournalist to be accredited to live outside of Beijing since 1949.{node, 26751}He spent many years in Pudong, watching as the once-sleepy rural area of the city across the Huangpu River from Shanghai’s iconic Bund sprouted skyscrapers. In Hoffmann’s telling, China’s central government had a...

Courtesy of the Fang family

The Heritage of a Great Man

Freeman Dyson via New York Review of Books

Why did communism grow deep roots and survive in China, while it withered and died in Russia? This is one of the central questions of modern history. A plausible answer to the question is that communism in China resonated with the two-thousand-year-old Confucian tradition of the wise ruler governing a harmonious society of peaceful citizens, while communism in Russia was undermined by the Russian tradition of ruthless tsars like Ivan the Terrible ruling a lawless society of oligarchs and serfs.This answer may be valid, but the recently published autobiography of Fang Lizhi suggests a different answer to the question. Fang’s book is the personal story of a scientist whose life was shaped by...


Recent Stories



A War of Words Over the South China Sea

Edward Friedman, Feng Zhang & more
Beginning earlier this year, four-star Admiral Harry Harris, the U.S. Navy’s top commander in the Pacific, has spoken out in speeches, interviews, private meetings, and testimony to Congress urging that the U.S. take more aggressive action against...



“It’s Time for Us To Set a New Political Agenda for Hong Kong”

Jonathan Landreth, Susan Jakes & more
Last month, midway through a whirlwind tour of United States universities, Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong took a break for a crab cake and mac-and-cheese lunch at a Manhattan brasserie. Wong, 19, came to international prominence during the...



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.



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. We’ll be updating the site with new and expanded tools for understanding China’s role in the U.S. election in...

Photography and Video

Depth of Field


Families, Weddings, and Beekeepers

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
This month’s Depth of Field column brings the stories of Chinese adoption; the marriage ceremony of Hu Mingliang and Sun Wenlin, a gay couple who filed the first civil rights marriage lawsuit to be accepted by a Chinese court (they lost); beekeepers...



Drinking the Northwest Wind

Sharron Lovell, Tom Wang & more
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 foundation was laid for what...

Depth of Field


April’s Best Chinese Photojournalism

Yan Cong, Ye Ming & more from Yuanjin Photo
Over the past few weeks, the publications Sina, Tencent, Caixin, China Youth Daily, and the publishing duo Sixth Tone/The Paper published photo stories on the intimate, the industrial, the private, and the political. Journalists Yan Cong and Ye Ming...




John Birch

Terry Lautz
John Birch was better known in death than life. Shot and killed by Communists in China in 1945, he posthumously became the namesake for a right-wing organization whose influence is still visible in today’s Tea Party. This is the remarkable story of who he actually was: an American missionary-turned-soldier who wanted to save China, but instead became a victim. Terry Lautz, a longtime scholar of U.S.-China relations, has investigated archives, spoken with three of Birch’s brothers, found letters written to the women he loved, and visited sites in China where he lived and died. The result, John Birch: A Life, is the first authoritative biography of this fascinating figure whose name was appropriated for a political cause.Raised as a Baptist fundamentalist, Birch became a missionary to China prior to America’s entry into the Second World War. After Pearl Harbor, he volunteered for the U.S. Army in China, served with Claire Chennault, Commander of the famed Flying Tigers, and operated behind enemy lines as an intelligence officer. He planned to resume his missionary work after the war, but was killed in a dispute with Communist troops just days after Japan’s surrender. During the heyday of the Cold War in the 1950s, Robert Welch, a retired businessman from Boston, chose Birch as the figurehead for the John Birch Society, believing that his death was evidence of conspiracy at the highest levels of government. The Birch Society became one of the most polarizing organizations of its time, and the name of John Birch became synonymous with right-wing extremism.Cutting through the layers of mythology surrounding Birch, Lautz deftly presents his life and his afterlife, placing him not only in the context of anti-communism but in the longstanding American quest to shape China’s destiny. —Oxford University Press{chop}



Street of Eternal Happiness

Rob Schmitz
Modern Shanghai: a global city in the midst of a renaissance, where dreamers arrive each day to partake in a mad torrent of capital, ideas, and opportunity. Marketplace’s Rob Schmitz is one of them. He immerses himself in his neighborhood, forging deep relationships with ordinary people who see in the city’s sleek skyline a brighter future and a chance to rewrite their destinies. There’s Zhao, whose path from factory floor to shopkeeper is sidetracked by her desperate measures to ensure a better future for her sons. Down the street lives Auntie Fu, a fervent capitalist forever trying to improve herself with religion and get-rich-quick schemes while keeping her skeptical husband at bay. Up a flight of stairs, musician and café owner CK sets up shop to attract young dreamers like himself, but learns he’s searching for something more. As Schmitz becomes more involved in their lives, he makes surprising discoveries which untangle the complexities of modern China: A mysterious box of letters that serve as a portal to a family’s—and country’s—dark past, and an abandoned neighborhood where fates have been violently altered by unchecked power and greed.A tale of 21st century China, Street of Eternal Happiness profiles China’s distinct generations through multifaceted characters who illuminate an enlightening, humorous, and at times heartrending journey along the winding road to the Chinese Dream. Each story adds another layer of humanity and texture to modern China, a tapestry also woven with Schmitz’s insight as a foreign correspondent. The result is an intimate and surprising portrait that dispenses with the tired stereotypes of a country we think we know, immersing us instead in the vivid stories of the people who make up one of the world’s most captivating cities. —Crown Publishers {chop}




Censorship and Conscience

Alexa Olesen
Alexa Olesen
PEN International
In this report, PEN American Center (PEN) examines how foreign authors in particular are navigating the heavily censored Chinese book industry. China is one of the largest book publishing markets in the world, with total revenue projected to exceed...



Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China

Robert D. Blackwill, Ashley J. Tellis
Council on Foreign Relations
China represents and will remain the most significant competitor to the United States for decades to come. As such, the need for a more coherent U.S. response to increasing Chinese power is long overdue. Because the American effort to “integrate”...

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