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A ChinaFile Conversation

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On Wednesday, Barack Obama will land in Tokyo beginning a week-long trip to four of China's neighbors—but not to China itself.In Obama’s stops in Tokyo, Seoul, Manila, and Kuala Lampur, the specter of China will loom large. This will be especially pronounced in Tokyo, where the big unanswered question is how involved the United States would be if China seized the Diaoyu, the disputed islands administered by Japan...
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As Secrecy Over Survey Data Ends, Officials Admit Soil Pollution Level Is “Worrying”

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Almost one-fifth of China’s arable land is polluted to various degrees, according to a national soil quality report on April 17.The report, based on seven-years’ worth of tests on 6.3 million square kilometers (2.4 million square miles) of land, also found that sixteen percent of the country’s soil is contaminated, with one percent heavily polluted.“The national soil situation offers no cause for optimism...
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A Q+A with Leta Hong Fincher, Author of Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China

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The three-plus decades since the inception of the ‘one child’ policy have resulted in a huge female shortage in China. The country is now seriously unbalanced, with 18 million more boys than girls. By 2020, there will be some 30 million surplus men in China, a condition some demographers call—in all seriousness—a male bulge.The laws of supply and demand, which armchair social scientists seem to apply to this...
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China’s Internet is vast, with millions of sites and more than 618 million users. But nested within that universe is a tiny virtual community comprising just a few thousand websites where China’s Uighur, the country’s fifth-largest ethnic minority with a population of approximately 11 million, gather online to communicate in their own language and script.This is the Uighur web. The space can be defined as the...
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A little-known deal related to an equally little-known, yet highly productive oilfield has come to light as a graft investigation unfolds at oil giant China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC). A businessman with strong ties to officials is behind the deal, which generated hundreds of million in annual income for its backers, despite little investment.Workers at CNPC Changqing Oilfield's Wangtai Block in Wuqi County, in...
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In December, China stunned the world when the most widely used international education assessment revealed that Shanghai’s schools now outperform those of any other country—not only in math and science but also in reading. Some education experts have attributed these results to recent reforms undertaken by the Chinese government. Jiang Xueqin has been active in Chinese education since 1998, when as a Yale...
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If yesterday was typical, about 1,400 children in Africa died of malaria. It is a preventable, treatable disease, and the young victims lost their lives through no faults of their own. Why it is that human beings accept a fact like this as an unremarkable daily event, whereas one murder can grab a headline, is an awkward question. And it raises related questions: Why, for example, should Rowena He and the people she...
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Recent Stories

Blog

04.12.14

China, Japan, and the U.S.—Will Cooler Heads Prevail?

ELY RATNER, HUGH WHITE & others

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's whirlwind tour of China this week saw a tense exchange with his Chinese counterpart, Chang Wanquan, over the intention behind America's "pivot" to Asia, followed by a more measured back-and-forth with President Xi Jinping. Reactions to the...

Sinica Podcast

04.21.14

American Football in China

DAVID MOSER

“American football in China” is a sport/location combo that at first sounds like a joke, like “Jamaican bobsled team.” But according to the rule that, in a country of 1.3 billion people, everything is happening somewhere, the existence of Chinese football should come as...

Media

04.17.14

Ai Weiwei’s Reach Draws New Yorkers’ Attention to...

KIM WALL

“Ai Weiwei retweeted me!” exclaimed a young blonde woman, laughing and waving her iPhone in the air with excitement. She and some two hundred other New Yorkers had gathered on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza to show her solidarity with the iconic...

Infographics

04.15.14

Hidden Taxes

SOHU BUSINESS & DAVID M. BARREDA

It is tax day in the United States, when many citizens groan and grumble at the size of their refund (what refund?) or scratch their heads as they try to maximize deductions. Our partners at Sohu recently published an infographic, which we have translated and adapted below, that...

Media

04.11.14

Is Jesus Really Hotter Than Mao on China’s Social...

TEA LEAF NATION

It’s easier to talk about Jesus than Chinese President and Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping on Weibo, China’s massive Twitter-like social media platform.The atheist Chinese Communist Party, known for its sometimes heavy-handed policies towards religions, from...

Infographics

03.20.14

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

ISAAC STONE FISH, EG365 & others

The greatest unsolved mystery in China right now is not the disappearance of Malaysian airliner MH370 but the fate of Zhou Yongkang, the feared former head of China’s security apparatus. From 2007 to 2012 a member of China’s top political body, the Politburo Standing...

Books

Books

04.09.14

Poseidon

STEVEN R. SCHWANKERT

Royal Navy submarine HMS Poseidon sank in collision with a Chinese freighter during routine exercises in 1931 off Weihaiwei. Thirty of its fifty-six-man crew scrambled out of the hatches as it went down. Of the twenty-six who remained inside, eight attempted to surface using "...

Books

04.01.14

The Contest of the Century

GEOFF DYER

From the former Financial Times Beijing bureau chief, a balanced and far-seeing analysis of the emerging competition between China and the United States that will dominate twenty-first-century world affairs—an inside account of Beijing’s quest for influence and an explanation...

Reports

Reports

02.01.14

The State of Journalism in China

The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard

The Communist Party has long striven to control freedom of speech in China. Websites from around the world are blocked. Major social media cannot be accessed, and advanced software is used to delete “sensitive” entries from the Internet. Domestic journalists who step over the...

Reports

10.22.13

CCTV’s International Expansion: China’s Grand...

Center for International Media Assistance

China Central Television has come a long ways since its founding as a domestic party propaganda outlet in 1958. The domestic service has been supplemented by an international service, boasting three major global offices in Beijing, Washington, and Nairobi, and more than seventy...

Photography and Video

Environment

01.30.14

This Chinese Filmmaker Can’t Stop Talking Trash

SUN YUNFAN

Documentary filmmaker and photographer Wang Jiuliang spent four years, between 2008 and 2011, documenting over 460 hazardous and mostly illegal landfill sites around Beijing.His award-winning film Beijing Besieged by Waste (2011) provoked intense public discussion and is widely...

Media

01.23.14

Out of the Dark Room

SHARRON LOVELL

Photographers document China’s breakneck development in fractions of a second every single day. Yet the work of Chinese photojournalists remains largely unseen outside their homeland. Of the thousands of images of the country illustrating the pages of international websites,...

ChinaFile Presents

Media

05.22.13

On “Strange Stones,” a Discussion with Peter...

PETER HESSLER, MICHAEL MEYER & others

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....

Media

05.01.13

The Wall Street Journal: Covering China Past and...

THE EDITORS

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,...

Media

02.11.13

Covering China: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

THE EDITORS

On February 5, 2013, ChinaFile celebrated its official launch by bringing together a panel of former and current New York Times correspondents, whose collective China experience spans the course of half a century, to discuss their coverage of China. ChinaFile’s publisher and...

Around the web

Why China’s Economy is Still Lagging Japan

The quality of growth in China’s economy is questionable, which becomes evident when comparing it with Japan, analysts at Standard & Poors pointed ...

CNBC

I Sold Out to China

You know that censorship has won its war on truth-telling when journalists happily police themselves. ...

Aeon Magazine

U.S. Department of State: Preview of President Obama's Upcoming Trip to Asia

This is the President’s fifth trip to the Asia Pacific region, which has been a focus of our foreign policy....

U.S. State Department

A Role for Taiwan in Promoting Peace in the South China Sea

Taiwan has a chance to set a positive example and chart a peaceful course in managing and eventually resolving East Asian maritime disputes. ...

Center for Strategic and International Studies

China’s Alibaba Launches Crowdfunding-Like Service for Film Investment

China’s largest e-commerce company, Alibaba, launched a micro-finance service for movies. ...

The Hollywood Reporter

Beijing Buys a Waste Management Company to Solve Its Pollution Problems—But It Won’t Work

Beijing’s municipal government controls its own infrastructure company, the Beijing Capital Group, which means it can spend $798 million to buy New Zealand’s...

Quartz