Yi Chang—Imagine China/Zuma Press

Is China’s Internet Becoming an Intranet?

A ChinaFile Conversation

George Chen, Charlie Smith & more

With Astrill and several other free and paid-subscription virtual private networks (VPNs) that make leaping China’s Great Firewall possible now harder to use themselves after government interference “gummed” them up, the world wide web just shrank a notch for 600 million Chinese web surfers. Or did it? Do average Chinese care about the wider, Western presentation of the Internet? Will they accept so limited a tool while living at home? How does the latest tightening of China’s Internet policy relate to Beijing’s stated desire to use the...

Michael Meyer

The View from Wasteland

‘Winter Solstice,’ An Excerpt from ‘In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China’

Michael Meyer

In winter the land is frozen and still. A cloudless sky shines off snow-covered rice paddies, reflecting light so bright, you have to shield your eyes. I lean into a stinging wind and trudge north up Red Flag Road, to a village named Wasteland.The view is flat, lifeless, and silver fresh. The two-lane cement road slices through the paddies like the courses plowed across frozen lakes in my native Minnesota, but there are no icehouses to shelter in here. Ten minutes ago, I set off from the coal-fueled warmth of Number 22 Middle School, where I volunteer as an English teacher. Already my beard is beaded with ice.Tufts of dry husks sprout through the...

Ebrahim Hamid—AFP/Getty Images

We’re Not Building an Empire

A China in Africa Podcast

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden

There is a custom in Chinese diplomacy that the Foreign Minister’s first overseas trip of the year always begins in Africa. This year was no exception, as Wang Yi led a high-profile tour of five African states including Kenya, Sudan, the DR Congo, Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea. Wang opened the tour on a somewhat provocative note by challenging critics who believe Beijing is attempting to build a new empire in Africa. “China will never follow the track of western colonists and all cooperation with Africa will never come at the expense of the ecology, environment, or long-term interests of Africa,” he said in an interview with CCTV Africa in Nairobi. This week, Eric and Cobus dissect the...

Wu Hong—EFE/Zuma Press

China to Appoint Academic as New Environment Minister

Tsinghua University President Chen Jining Would Be First Non-Government Official in the Post

The head of Beijing’s Tsinghua University is likely to be appointed to the top environmental job in in China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, according to reports, as the country’s leadership moves to defuse public anger about worsening air, soil, and water pollution. Tsinghua University President Chen Jining is expected to replace Zhou Shengxian as Environment Minister, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday, the first time that a non-government official would be elevated to the post. The academic, if...

‘I Don’t Know Where Some Cadres Get Their Magical Powers’

And Other Quotations from Xi Jinping’s New Book on Corruption

The Editors

Earlier this month, at the close of the Chinese Communist Party’s 5th Plenum, the official People’s Daily noted on its website that as this important agenda-setting meeting came to a close it was worth paying attention to the recent publication of a book entitled Extracts of Xi Jinping’s Discussions of Party Working Style, Clean Government, and the Struggle Against Corruption. According to the People’s Daily, the 148-page digest gathers Xi’s statements from both public and “internal” meetings since the 18th Party Congress in 2012, making public for the...

Ding Lin—Xinhua/Zuma Press

China Boots Up an Internet Banking Industry

Tencent and Alibaba Usher In Cyberspace Borrowing


Premier Li Keqiang recently launched a new era for banking in China by ceremonially pressing the “confirm” button for a 35,000 yuan loan issued to a Shenzhen truck driver. Li’s gesture on January 4 on behalf of Shenzhen Qianhai WeBank was the inaugural transaction for the country’s first no-bricks, no-mortar, 24-hour, Internet-only bank. The ceremony underscored a government decision to let up-and-coming Internet banks focus on lending to blue collar workers and small business owners. WeBank also hopes to break new ground by using technological gizmos such as online face recognition to confirm the identities of loan applicants. Regulators...

Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Inside the Property Revolution

A Sinica Podcast

Jeremy Goldkorn

Luigi Tomba, expert on municipal government in China, fellow at the Australian Centre on China and the World, and author of the book The Government Next Door: Neighborhood Politics in Urban China, is this week’s Sinica Podcast guest. Since 2005, Luigi has also been the Co-Editor of The China Journal, a well-known academic journal on Chinese affairs.We’re delighted to have Luigi since it gives us an excuse to talk about the property market, without obsessing over real estate speculation and prices per square meter. Instead, after...

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Recent Stories



Why Did The West Weep for Paris But Not for Kunming?


In the days since the attacks that killed 12 people at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, Chinese netizens have watched the outpouring of solidarity. As our colleagues at Foreign Policy reported earlier this week, the Chinese reaction has been...



‘New Measures Needed’ To Take China’s Cars Off the Roads

As air pollution once more soared to hazardous levels last week in Beijing, in Washington a panel of Chinese and other international experts explained some of the solutions to taking cars off the roads in the world’s most populous country, but there are few easy answers.Chinese...



China’s Losing Bet Against History


In 1991, Deng Xiaoping famously explained that in order to reassure the world of its peaceful intentions, China should “cope with affairs calmly; hide our capacities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile; and never claim leadership.” Since then, China’s...



A Look Back at 2014


It’s hard to believe, but ChinaFile is almost two years old. It’s been an exciting year for us, and, as ever, an eventful year for China. It was a year of muscular leadership from Xi Jinping, who has now been in office just over two years and who appears to be successfully...




The Sacred Routes of Uyghur History


For 250 years, the Turkic Muslims of Altishahr—the vast desert region to the northwest of Tibet—have led an uneasy existence under Chinese rule. Today they call themselves Uyghurs, and they have cultivated a sense of history and identity that challenges Beijing’s official...



China 1945


A riveting account of the watershed moment in America’s dealings with China that forever altered the course of East-West relations.As 1945 opened, America was on surprisingly congenial terms with China’s Communist rebels—their soldiers treated their American counterparts as...




Avoiding the Blind Alley: China’s Economic Overhaul and Its Global Implications

Asia Society

President Xi Jinping announced a sweeping overhaul for China’s economy in November 2013, with pledges to make market forces decisive, treat homegrown and foreign investors with the same laws and regulations, and change the mission statement of the government. The reform program...



Decoding China’s Emerging “Great Power” Strategy in Asia

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

Photo Gallery




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...



Collecting Insanity


Every country has a past it likes to celebrate and another it would rather forget. In China, where history still falls under the tight control of government-run museums and officially approved textbooks, the omissions appear especially stark. An unusual museum dedicated largely...

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 Hessler


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 Present


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

Why Scrapping Quotas in China’s Criminal Justice System Won’t Be Easy

Can judicial reform increase the courts’ independence by reducing local government and party influence?  ... ...

Wall Street Journal

China and the World: Yuan for All

The yuan is not yet fully convertible and will not be for several years, which limits China’s influence.... ...


China Says No Room for ‘Western Values’ in University Education

Education minister says books which ‘smear socialism’ will be banned.... ...

Agence France-Presse

China Expels Top Police Official from Communist Party

Cai Guangliao, a major general in the paramilitary armed police, accepted bribes, illegally engaging in business activities and accepting gifts.... ...


N.B.A. Signs Deal With Chinese Internet Giant

The N.B.A. will receive $500 million, with $200 million more expected through a revenue-sharing arrangement between the league and Tencent, a social media......

New York Times

Nearly 40% of Inspected Products on Chinese Ecommerce Sites are Fake, Government Says

Buyers should order either from the site itself or from an official third-party shop.... ...

Tech in Asia

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