Top Five China Books of 2014

Laura Chang

As the editor of ChinaFile’s Books section, I have the privilege of meeting and interviewing some amazing writers covering China today—academics, journalists, scholars, activists. Based on these conversations, we create short videos of the authors describing their inspiration, research, and hopes for their work. Since ChinaFile’s launch in early 2013 we have amassed a library of roughly 150 of these author videos on the site. I invite you to peruse them.In no particular order, the following five books represent what I loved most in reading about China this year.China’s...

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China in 2014 Through the Eyes of a Human Rights Advocate

Yaxue Cao

This time last year, volunteers and I were busy writing and translating articles to prepare for the New Citizens Movement trials. Many Chinese voices were speaking out forcefully against these trials: law professors, rights lawyers, liberal commentators, as well as a group that called itself the “New Beijingers.” They were Beijing residents and taxpayers without Beijing household registration and their children had difficulty enrolling in schools and could not take college entrance exams in the city where they lived....

Junior D. Kannah/AFP/Getty Images

China in Africa: 2014 Year in Review

A China in Africa Podcast

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden

Two thousand fourteen marked another landmark year in Sino-African relations as bilateral trade set new records while political, diplomatic, and military ties strengthened across the board. Yet despite the tangible progress made this year, this burgeoning relationship also began to encounter some of its most significant obstacles as both governments and people across the continent showed significant frustration with Chinese environmental, labor, and corporate social responsibility practices. In this special edition, Eric and Cobus reflect on the most important milestones of 2014 and preview what’s ahead in 2015 for China-Africa relations....

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Wild Stock Market Is Detrimental to Reform Efforts

By Hu Shuli

Chinese leaders’ pledge to strengthen risk control at last week’s Central Economic Work Conference could not be more timely, given the frenzied exuberance in the stock market. In a statement released after three days of meetings, the leaders took note of the “variety of hidden risks” that emerged alongside the economic slowdown. “The risks can be managed on the whole, but eradicating all of them might take a long time,” they said. “We should treat both the symptoms and root causes, and find suitable remedies to the problems.” Regulators have pledged to closely monitor the development of financial and economic risks and, where needed, to deploy firm and...

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Just How Successful Is Xi Jinping?

A ChinaFile Conversation

Ian Johnson & Trey Menefee

Last week, Arthur Kroeber, Editor of the China Economic Quarterly opined that “…the Chinese state is not fragile. The regime is strong, increasingly self-confident, and without organized opposition.” His essay, which drew strong, if divided, attention, cautioned in its title, “Here Is Xi’s China: Get Used To It.” Following below is a selection of responses, the first two of which poke respectful, cautionary holes in Kroeber’s line of thinking. —The Editors...

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‘One Day the People Will Speak Out for Me’

Ai Qing’s Ghost Haunts Ai Weiwei at Alcatraz

Sheila Melvin

The ongoing exhibition “@Large: Ai Weiwei at Alcatraz” is both revelatory and heart-wrenching, a stunning and sobering work by an artist who understands firsthand the fragility and pricelessness of freedom.Detained without warning or charge for 81 days in 2011, Ai Weiwei now lives and works in a courtyard house with a teal blue gate in the Caochangdi arts district of Beijing. Across the street is a surveillance camera from which Ai has hung a cheery red lantern; outside the gate is a Giant brand bicycle with a metal basket that Ai fills with fresh flowers each...

Leah Thompson

Down to the Countryside

Sun Yunfan & Leah Thompson

The world has heard much of late about the scale and scope of China’s mass migration from the poor rural countryside to its booming cities. Some think the number of these migrant workers will soon reach some 400 million souls. They have created massive new urban megaplexes like Chongqing, which now has a population of close to 30 million. But such precipitous, rapid, and massive urbanization inevitably causes reactions. And in this beautifully shot short film by Leah Thompson and Sun Yunfan, we are introduced to one urban “back-to-the-lander,” Ou Ning, who for all the understandable reasons has moved his family from Beijing to the countryside in the storied Huizhou region of Anhui Province...

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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...



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