Inti Ocon/AFP/Getty Images

China’s Nicaraguan Canal

Digging in the Dark

Carlos F. Chamorro

While Nicaragua was once a central concern—indeed, almost an obsession—of Washington, as Sandinistas and Contras seemed to be battling for the soul of the Western Hemisphere, in more recent times our small and quite impoverished country has slipped off the screens of those who fancy themselves the managers of the “world order.” But recently, a new and quite unexpected global political power play has been threatening to bring our now forgotten country back into world prominence. An unlikely private Chinese entrepreneur has appeared on the Central American horizon promising to bring the largest civil engineering project in history to Nicaragua. This mysterious developer, Wang Jing, has...

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Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images

Standing Up for Indie Film in China

Jonathan Landreth

In July, Transformers: Age of Extinction, the fourth in the action-packed series of Hollywood films about trucks turning into giant robots to save the world, became the first film to sell more than $300 million in tickets at China’s box office. Hollywood’s drive to crack the Chinese market is stronger than ever, and it is no shock that Chinese-language films mimicking the American studios’ fare are being made at a rapid clip. But it is good to know that the fight hasn’t left China’s scrappy independent film scene—which, in...

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Pierre Andrieu/AFP/Getty Images

A ‘School Bus and a Ferrari’

The Problem With Calling Those U.S. and Chinese Planes Names

Tea Leaf Nation & David Wertime

Communication between China and the United States can often resemble ships passing in the night—or planes passing through international airspace. But when it comes to this particularly fraught bilateral relationship, perhaps metaphors are best avoided. On August 22, after a wing commander in the air force of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) performed a barrel roll over the top of a U.S. surveillance plane in international airspace near the southern Chinese island of Hainan, a U.S. defense official...

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Chongqing Publishing Group

Healthy Words

Science Fiction from China

Alec Ash

In 1902, Lu Xun translated Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon into Chinese from the Japanese edition. Science fiction, he wrote in the preface, was “as rare as unicorn horns, which shows in a way the intellectual poverty of our time.” Not any more. The Three-Body Trilogy by Liu Cixin has sold 500,000 copies in China since the first volume was published in 2006 (it will come out in English in the autumn). Liu, an engineer, is one of the so-called “three generals” of contemporary Chinese science fiction, along with Wang Jinkang and Han Song. “Sci fi,” Han says, “can express a lot that can’t be expressed in other literature.” His most recent collection of...

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Sim Chi Yin/VII Photo

Beyond the Dalai Lama: An Interview with Woeser and Wang Lixiong

Ian Johnson

In recent months, China has been beset by growing ethnic violence. In Tibet, 125 people have set themselves on fire since the suppression of 2008 protests over the country’s ethnic policies. In the Muslim region of Xinjiang, there have been a series of attacks by militants against Chinese rule; on July 28, the government reported that dozens of Uighur and Han Chinese were killed by knife-wielding assailants and police, who fired into the crowd.This summer, I met with Tsering Woeser (generally known simply as Woeser) and Wang Lixiong, an activist couple who have devoted themselves to chronicling the ethnic unrest, and to finding solutions to it. Woeser, who is forty-eight, is...

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Chinese Dreamers

Sharron Lovell & Tom Wang

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 Dream.” As the new central motto of Chinese politics, introduced by President Xi Jinping in 2013, it is an expression of the Communist Party’s attempt to acknowledge the aspirations of its people. At the same time, wittingly or not, it is a provocative invitation to the public imagination.In a country that has long defined its interests in collective terms, people are no longer waiting for their goals and...

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Around the web

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The occupation of Hong Kong’s central financial district could start early next week, after Beijing releases its guidelines Sunday on how the city̵...

The Christian Science Monitor

Could Beijing be the Healthiest City in China?

Beijing, despite its reputation for dangerous levels of air pollution, choking traffic, and food scandals, is the healthiest city in China. ...


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My generation, once impassioned by the Western literature of rebellion, is now lulled by ‘Wealthy Socialism.’ ...

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