Liu Jin—AFP/Getty Images

China’s Leftists Are Embracing Confucius. Why?

Taisu Zhang

When Jennifer Pan and Yiqing Xu posted their new paper, “China’s Ideological Spectrum,” last week, it marked the first time that anyone has provided large-scale empirical data on the ideological shifts and trends within the Chinese population. China scholars have, of course, lavished attention on these issues for years—one cannot build a coherent argument about Chinese political and social change without grappling with them—but their arguments were largely based on personal experiences and anecdotes. The Pan and Xu paper therefore did academic and policy circles a significant service by providing a...

Farooq Naeem—AFP/Getty Images

A New Era for China and Pakistan?

A ChinaFile Conversation

Andrew Small, Paul J. Smith & more

This week, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Islamabad and showered Pakistan with attention and promises of $46 billion in development support. What does this intensified Sino-Pakistani engagement mean for Asia and the rest of the world? —The Editors

(AFP/Getty Images)

Fracking May be Needed in China to Wean it Off Coal

Environmental Price Might Be Worth Paying if Regulations Enforced

Fracking of China’s huge shale gas reserves will only have a modest impact on the environment if anti-pollution controls—many of them new—are enforced rigorously, says a new report from the U.K.-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI).The ODI said its appraisal of the prospects for shale gas in China found that many of the environmental impacts posed by the exploitation of shale are “manageable,” and would be covered by existing environmental laws.“Its development could in principle offer significant net environmental benefits if the gas produced permanently replaces coal...

Feng Li—Getty Images

Will China’s New Anti-Terrorism Law Mean the End of Privacy?

Scott D. Livingston

A newly drafted Chinese anti-terrorism law, if enacted in its current form, will empower Beijing to expand its already nearly unchecked policing of the Internet to reach web traffic and other online data flows emanating from both domestic and international companies with operations inside China.Generally, national governments such as those of the United States or Germany may obtain private domestic data only after submitting a formal government request to the holding entity. If enacted, the law would allow law enforcement personnel to examine such data so long...

Kevin Frayer—Getty Images

China’s Anti-Corruption Drive: Don’t Stop Now

By Hu Shuli

Beijing’s fight against corruption is now two years old. Some significant results have been achieved, winning strong public support. But it’s becoming increasingly difficult to move the campaign forward. The general public and government officials must agree that there are good reasons to continue the drive. Some government officials think they’ll be safe in the face of the anti-corruption drive if they make only perfunctory efforts to perform their duties. But the central leadership must not be deterred. Only by continuing the anti-corruption drive, deepening reform efforts, building rule of law, and encouraging capable officials to sharpen their pencils can there be any hope for...

Kevin Frayer—Getty Images

This Chart Explains Everything You Need to Know About Chinese Internet Censorship

David Wertime

What goes through a Chinese web user’s head the moment before he or she hits the “publish” button? Pundits, scholars, and everyday netizens have spent years trying to parse the (ever-shifting) rules of the Chinese Internet. Although Chinese authorities have been putting ever more Internet rules and regulations on the books—one famously creates criminal liability for a “harmful” rumor shared more than 500 times—the line between what’s allowed and what isn’t, and the consequences that flow from the latter, remains strategically fuzzy. And that’s...

(Xinhua/Zuma Press)

Chinese Cultural Diplomacy in Africa

A China in Africa Podcast

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more

The Chinese government has spent billions of dollars in Africa on public diplomacy initiatives that are intended to improve the country’s image. Central to that strategy is the growing network of Confucius Institutes (CIs) spread across the continent that are designed to introduce Chinese language and culture to the African masses. Today, there are over 40 CIs in Africa but, despite their good intentions, these institutes attract significant controversy. Goethe University post-doctoral research fellow Falk Hartig is an expert on CIs and the broader role they play in China’s cultural diplomacy overseas. Hartig joins Eric and Cobus to discuss whether cultural diplomacy is actually...

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Recent Stories



How Much Consumerism Can China Afford?

Andrew Batson & Matthew Crabbe
This week, a blockbuster movie celebrating speedy cars and the racing life landed atop China’s box office. The Hollywood import Fast and Furious 7 grossed $63 million in one day (as reported by Bloomberg), the most-ever for a single title in that...

Sinica Podcast


China’s Ideological Spectrum

Kaiser Kuo & David Moser
Last week, Harvard doctoral student Jennifer Pan and MIT graduate student Yiqing Xu co-released a paper, “China’s Ideological Spectrum,” that has garnered a tremendous amount of attention in China-watching circles. And the reason for the fracas?...



Petrochemical Plant Explosion Vaporizes Government Safety Assurances

Opposing the construction of petrochemical plants making Paraxyline (PX), a key ingredient in plastic bottles and polyester clothing, has been one of the most common forms of environmental activism for China’s urban residents in the past decade.On...



Online Support–and Mockery–Await Chinese Feminists After Release

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On April 13, Chinese authorities released on bail five feminist activists detained for over a month without formal charges. Despite tight censorship surrounding their detention, support on Chinese social media and thinly veiled media criticism...



Henry Paulson: ‘Dealing with China’

Eric Fish
Speaking at Asia Society New York on April 13 with New Yorker correspondent Evan Osnos, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson explained that it’s impossible to predict the timing or magnitude of a financial crisis, but any country with...




Intimate Rivals

Sheila A. Smith
No country feels China’s rise more deeply than Japan. Through intricate case studies of visits by Japanese politicians to the Yasukuni Shrine, conflicts over the boundaries of economic zones in the East China Sea, concerns about food safety, and strategies of island defense, Sheila A. Smith explores the policy issues testing the Japanese government as it tries to navigate its relationship with an advancing China.Smith finds that Japan’s interactions with China extend far beyond the negotiations between diplomats and include a broad array of social actors intent on influencing the Sino-Japanese relationship. Some of the tensions complicating Japan’s encounters with China, such as those surrounding the Yasukuni Shrine or territorial disputes, have deep roots in the postwar era, and political advocates seeking a stronger Japanese state organize themselves around these causes. Other tensions manifest themselves during the institutional and regulatory reform of maritime boundary and food safety issues.Smith scrutinizes the role of the Japanese government in coping with contention as China’s influence grows and Japanese citizens demand more protection. Underlying the government’s efforts is Japan’s insecurity about its own capacity for change and its waning status as the leading economy in Asia. For many, China’s rise means Japan’s decline, and Smith suggests how Japan can maintain its regional and global clout as confidence in its postwar diplomatic and security approach diminishes.—Columbia University Press{chop}



Revolutionary Cycles in Chinese Cinema, 1951-1979

Zhuoyi Wang
A comprehensive history of how the conflicts and balances of power in the Maoist revolutionary campaigns from 1951 to 1979 complicated and diversified the meanings of films, this book offers a discursive study of the development of early PRC cinema. Wang closely investigates how film artists, Communist Party authorities, cultural bureaucrats, critics, and audiences negotiated, competed, and struggled with each other for the power to decide how to use films and how their extensively different, agonistic, and antagonistic power strategies created an ever-changing discursive network of meaning in cinema. —Palgrave Macmillan   {chop}




Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China

Council on Foreign Relations

China represents and will remain the most significant competitor to the United States for decades to come. As such, the need for a more coherent U.S. response to increasing Chinese power is long overdue. Because the American effort to “integrate” China into the liberal...



Power Play: China’s Ultra High Voltage Technology and Global Standards

Paulson Institute

As a matter of government policy and corporate strategy, China has been intensifying its effort to set indigenous standards for homegrown ultra-high voltage (UHV) transmission technology. The country also aims to contribute to UHV standards internationally. Indeed, this process...

Photography and Video



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...

ChinaFile Presents



Evan Osnos: China’s ‘Age of Ambition’

Evan Osnos & Orville Schell
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.{chop} ...



On “Strange Stones,” a Discussion with Peter Hessler

Peter Hessler, Michael Meyer & more
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...



The Wall Street Journal: Covering China Past and Present

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...

Around the Web

China Shocks World by Genetically Engineering Human Embryos

Critics warn China's the ‘Wild West’ of genetic research, on its way to desiging children.   ...


China Buzzing Over President's First ‘Selfie’

The photo was posted by Fadli Zon of the Great Indonesia Movement Party from the Asian-African Summit in Jakarta. ...


A Bittersweet Reprieve for Chinese Woman Who Killed Abusive Husband

The verdict left lawyers and activists doubtful of the Chinese legal system’s ability to protect women.   ...

Wall Street Journal

China Employment Resilient Despite Slower Economic Growth

The world's No. 2 economy created 3.24M new jobs in Q1, down from 3.44 million during the same period last year.   ...


China Manufacturing Gauge Falls to One-Year Low

An initial gauge of China’s factory activity showed further weakness in April, defying government efforts to support the economy. ...

Wall Street Journal

Cities in China’s North Resist Tapping Water Piped From South

Huge project transferring water from Yangtze River to drier regions runs into budgetary constraints. ...

Wall Street Journal

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