Alibaba: How Big a Deal Is It?

A ChinaFile Conversation

David Wolf

When Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba goes public some time after Labor Day it is expected be one the largest initial public offerings in history. This week, a story in The New York Times shed light on ties between Alibaba and the sons and grandsons of some of the highest ranking members of the Chinese Communist Party. We asked our contributors to discuss just how big a deal—the IPO and Alibaba’s connections to the CCP—might be.—The Editors...

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Moving a Mountain, of Trash

Protests Have Left Waste Incinerators Sitting Idle. Can New Pollution Standards Fix the Problem?


On July 1, tough new standards for pollution from waste incinerators came into effect. The move is an attempt to end the conflict between communities across China and the nearby rubbish-burning plants they believe threaten their health and house prices. But experts on both sides of the debate are doubtful that pollution standards are the cause of opposition, or the key to ending it. Waste incineration in China got started in the 1990s. In 2000, pollution standards for incinerators operating around Beijing were put in place, but local residents were still plagued by smoke and solid waste. Protests against these facilities have become more frequent in recent years. ...

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Stability the Watchword for Progress in China

Opinion by Hu Shuli


Chinese diplomacy has had a busy few months, with numerous visits abroad by leaders and a constant stream of foreign leaders coming to the country. Amid the flurry of activity, two meetings were particularly noteworthy: the sixth U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing on July 9 and 10, and the BRICS leaders’ summit in Brazil on July 15 and 16. The former offers a window into China’s relationship with the world’s sole superpower, while the latter maps out how the major emerging economies, including China, can work together toward mutual development. These two events capture in a nutshell the risks and opportunities for Chinese foreign...

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All Hail ‘Fatty Kim the Third’

Netizens Love Mocking North Korea’s Portly Dictator, But it Masks a Deeper Disdain

Tea Leaf Nation & David Wertime

It’s North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un as the world has never seen him. In a three-minute clip that has accumulated over 200,000 views after its early July posting on Chinese video site Tudou, a crudely photoshopped Kim dances on the street, on a baseball diamond, and in a cornfield, at various moments accompanied by Barack Obama or Osama bin Laden. At one point, Kim has a fistfight in the mud with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The video ends with the portly dictator riding a pig into the horizon. What's noteworthy about the video is not, as South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo wrote in late July, that North Korean authorities have ostensibly asked Beijing to take the clip down.

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Debating Societies in China

Kaiser Kuo & Jeremy Goldkorn

This week on Sinica, we’re happy to welcome back Jeremy Goldkorn in conversation with David Weeks, founder and President of the National High School Debate League of China, a debating society currently established in twenty-seven cities throughout China. Join us as we discuss the history and current state of debate activities here in China and look into the role that these kind of groups play in promoting critical thinking in the Chinese education system. Listen ...

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How to Read China’s New Press Restrictions

A ChinaFile Conversation

David Schlesinger, Orville Schell & more

On June 30, China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television posted a statement on its website warning Chinese journalists not to share information with their counterparts in the foreign press corps. Most major non-Chinese news organizations rely heavily on Chinese nationals to conduct research, identify sources, serve as interpreters, and, in some cases, interview sources who are reluctant to speak with foreigners over the telephone. The Chinese government doesn’t consider these employees of foreign news organizations to be official journalists (and it forbids Chinese...

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Tibet Resists

Jonathan Mirsky

Tsering Woeser was born in Lhasa in 1966, the daughter of a senior officer in the Chinese army. She became a passionate supporter of the Dalai Lama. When she was very young the family moved to Tibetan towns inside China proper. In school, only Chinese was used, but Tibetan “became the language of conversation,” according to Columbia’s Robert Barnett, who writes the extremely informative and wide-ranging introduction to Voices from Tibet. He suggests that when she was a child, “everything around her would have emphasized her identity as a citizen of a new and thrusting Chinese state…. Almost everything Tibetan would probably have been regarded as opaque and backward.”...

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Recent Stories


The U.S. and China Are At the Table: What’s At Stake?


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew are in Beijing this week for the sixth session of the high level bilateral diplomatic exchange known as the Strategic and Economic Dialogue. We asked contributors what's likely to happen and what's at stake.—The...


U.S.-China Climate Cooperation More Crucial Than Ever


As the governments of the United States and China meet in Beijing this week for the Sixth U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), one area worth watching closely is clean energy and climate change cooperation. While this topic may seem to have fallen off the top of...


Hard Choices for Family Planners and Parents


The technocrats in charge of China's one-child policy have the power to force sterilizations, abortions, and intra-uterine device (IUD) implants, as well as punish uncooperative parents by denying them jobs, denying their children schooling, and slapping them with fines.So when...


Sin and Vice


This week on Sinica, Jeremy Goldkorn and David Moser turn their attention to vice, in conversation with Robert Foyle Hunwick, a media consultant and editor for Beijing Cream. We talk about everything naughty that happens here, with special attention to the nightlife scene....


Arrested Chinese Lawyer Pu Zhiqiang Speaks from Prison


Early this morning, the Beijing Public Security Bureau formally arrested rights-defense lawyer Pu Zhiqiang on charges of picking quarrels and illegally obtaining personal information about a Chinese citizen. The arrest, announced via one of the PSB’s verified social media...



The Forbidden Game


In China, just because something is banned, doesn't mean it can't boom. Statistically, zero percent of the Chinese population plays golf, still known as the "rich man’s game" and considered taboo. Yet China is in the midst of a golf boom—hundreds of new courses have...


Chinese Comfort Women


During the Asia-Pacific War, the Japanese military forced hundreds of thousands of women across Asia into "comfort stations" where they were repeatedly raped and tortured. Japanese imperial forces claimed they recruited women to join these stations in order to prevent the mass...



Chinese Military Modernization and Force Development

Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

China’s military development has become a key focus of U.S. security policy as well as that of virtually all Asia-Pacific states. This report from the CSIS Burke Chair in Strategy examines trends in Chinese strategy, military spending, and military forces based on Chinese...


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


Staying Afloat


If you drive south from Beijing on the highways that cut across the North China Plain, some of the first things you notice are the invisible rivers. The road arcs upward above the cornfields and a sign insists you are crossing, “The Hancun River Bridge,” “The Liuli River...

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

Market Reforms, Fight against Corruption Go Hand in Hand, Expert Says

Peking University’s Li Chengyan argues the party is taking a two-pronged approach to reform, and institutional changes at local level will help make anti-gra...


Defining Taiwan’s Status Quo

This month, the Democratic Progressive Party chairperson proposed a controversial amednment to the party charter that includes a freeze on the party’s indepe...

Thinking Taiwan

Edelman, Rui Chenggang, and China PR

Operating ethically is seen as naive at best, and culturally imperialist at worst (“how dare you impose your values on us!”). ...

Silicon Hutong

China's Support of Latin America 'Doesn't Come for Free'

After the BRICS summit and a visit to Brazil, China’s President Xi Jinping is embarking on a tour of Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba in a bid to boost ti...

Deutsche Welle

Chinese Media Blast Fox News Host Bob Beckel Over ‘Chinamen’ Rant

“The Five” co-host’s discriminatory remarks have caused a storm of controversy and anger in China, echoing calls in the U.S....

The Hollywood Reporter

21st Century Fox to Sell Its Stake in China’s Bona Film Group

Investment group Fosun raises its stake as Bona CEO Yu Dong buys the Fox stake, saying the move would not affect ongoing co-productions, including “Bride&nbs...

The Hollywood Reporter