• Paula Bronstein—Getty Images

    Is This the End of Belt and Road, or Just the Beginning?

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Nadège Rolland, Adrian Zenz & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    On April 25-27, China’s government will host the leaders of dozens of countries to celebrate the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the signature foreign policy program of Xi Jinping. Since its founding in October 2013, the BRI now covers more than 150 countries and encompasses billions of dollars of deals. In late March, Italy became the first G-7 nation to endorse Belt and Road. But meanwhile, there are signs that Beijing, and the rest of the world, are less than ecstatic about the BRI. Is 2019... Read full story>>

  • (VCG/Getty Images)

    “记得第一次听说‘六四’……”——个人故事征集 // When Did You Learn About Tiananmen? A Call for Personal Stories

    我们希望能听到你的亲口讲述。如果事件发生时你年龄尚小(或者还没出生),你还记得你第一次是如何知道的吗?你当时在哪里?有怎样的感受?如果你是一个家长,而事件发生时你的孩子年龄尚小或还未出生,你后来是如何决定是否和孩子讲述这件事呢?是什么原因让你选择开口或不开口?你对你的决定有怎样的感受?// We want to hear your story, in your own voice. If you were too young to remember, how did you first learn about what happened at Tiananmen Square in 1989? Where were you? How did you feel? If you are a parent of a child who is too young to remember or who was born after Tiananmen, what choices have you made about discussing it with your child? Why did... Read full story>>

  • (ImagineChina)

    The Messy Truth About Social Credit

    Shazeda Ahmed via Logic

    Almost every day, I receive an email from Google Alerts about a new article on China’s “social credit system.” It is rare that I encounter an article that does not contain several factual errors and gross mischaracterizations. The social credit system is routinely described as issuing “citizen scores” to create a “digital dictatorship” where “big data meets Big Brother.” These descriptions are wildly off-base. Foreign media has distorted the social credit system into a technological dystopia... Read full story>>

  • Kevin Frayer—Getty Images

    ‘I Have Revised My Idea of What a Uighur Heroine Should Be’

    Zubayra Shamseden

    The Chinese government would have you believe a good Uighur woman is one who knows how to apply false eyelashes and cook dumplings. She is neither too modest nor too forward. She is “good at singing and dancing.” Since leaving China, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on what it means to be a Uighur woman. This year in particular, I spent International Women’s Day thinking about how absurd it was to see the Chinese government praise itself for the “benefits” it provides by “re-educating”... Read full story>>

  • Thibault Camus—Pool/AP Photo

    In Reassessing China, Europe Sharpens Its Approach

    A China in the World Podcast

    Paul Haenle, Tomáš Valášek & more via Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy

    In recent weeks, Beijing has both won victories and suffered defeats during important summits and dialogues with France and Italy, as well as the European Union. French President Emmanuel Macron invited German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to join his meeting with Chinese President Xi to demonstrate a united European response against Beijing. This sent a message to China, as well as to central and eastern European countries, that Beijing’s... Read full story>>

  • John Moore—Getty Images

    A Conservative American View on U.S.-China-Africa Relations

    A China in Africa Podcast

    Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more via China Africa Project

    Colonel Chris Wyatt, Director of African Studies at the U.S. Army War College, joins Eric and Cobus to discuss a conservative U.S. foreign policy outlook regarding Africa and his views on Chinese engagement on the continent. Read full story>>

  • Thibault Camus—Pool/AP Photo

    How Should Europe Handle Relations with China?

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Thorsten Benner, Ilaria Carrozza & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    When Xi Jinping visited Europe in late March, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker portrayed the future of EU-China relations in mixed terms: “We are strategic partners, and yes, rivals,” he said, “but competition among us is a good thing.” Indeed, EU member states have been at odds about China for a while, and deteriorating U.S.-China relations are complicating matters. The U.S. is pressuring its European allies to limit the market presence of the Chinese technology giant Huawei,... Read full story>>

  • (ImagineChina)

    Are Confucius Institutes Good for American Universities?

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Kenneth Hammond, Lawrence C. Reardon & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    Confucius Institutes continue to incite controversy in America. Since 2006, China’s government has given more than $158 million to dozens of U.S. universities to host the institutes, which offer Chinese language classes and hold events. To critics, the institutes threaten academic freedom on U.S. campuses, but many supporters view them as an innocuous means of funding Chinese language learning. ChinaFile hosted an extensive discussion of the program in 2014. In February a bipartisan U.S. Senate... Read full story>>

Recent Stories



Finding a Voice

Lü Pin from Logic
When I started writing this article, Feminist Voices had been deleted for six months and ten days. Yes, I have been keeping track of the time: ten days, fifteen days, thirty days, sixty days, three months, six months. . . The first week after it...



What Does the Punishment of a Prominent Scholar Mean for Intellectual Freedom in China?

Donald Clarke, David Yeliang Xia & more
This week, Xu Zhangrun, a law professor at Beijing’s Tsinghua University who in recent months has penned a series of essays critical of policies of the Chinese Communist Party and of its leader, Xi Jinping, was banned from teaching, relieved of his...

‘Reeducating’ Xinjiang’s Muslims

James A. Millward from New York Review of Books
In a courtroom in Zharkent, Kazakhstan, in July 2018, a former kindergarten principal named Sayragul Sauytbay calmly described what Chinese officials continue to deny: a vast new gulag of “de-extremification training centers” has been created for...



What Do the Huawei Indictments Mean for the Future of Global Tech?

Adam Segal, Samm Sacks & more
The United States indictments against Huawei look set to significantly worsen already tense relations between China and the U.S. As America pressures allies to drop Huawei and other Chinese firms, U.S. and European officials point to China’s own...

Photography & Video

Depth of Field


Living by the Rivers

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
If the stories in this edition of Depth of Field share a common thread—apart from their distinguished photographic storytelling—it’s their interest in the flux and churn of life in China in 2019, where nothing seems fixed and pressure of constant...



What Chinese Charities Are Facing, in One Easy Chart

Earlier this year, the China-based organization NGOCN released the results of a survey to determine how friendly the policy environment is for non-governmental charity groups across China. NGOCN surveyed domestic Chinese non-profits in 10 cities,...

Depth of Field


Where Do Bicycles Go When They Die?

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
In this issue of Depth of Field: the dying art of tomb burials; bike graveyards; and a son’s 20,000 photos of his mother.




Making China Modern

Klaus Mühlhahn
Harvard University Press: It is tempting to attribute China’s recent ascendance to changes in political leadership and economic policy. Making China Modern teaches otherwise. Moving beyond the standard framework of Cold War competition and national resurgence, Klaus Mühlhahn situates 21st-century China in the nation’s long history of creative adaptation.In the mid-18th century, when the Qing Empire reached the height of its power, China dominated a third of the world’s population and managed its largest economy. But as the Opium Wars threatened the nation’s sovereignty from without and the Taiping Rebellion ripped apart its social fabric from within, China found itself verging on free fall. A network of family relations, economic interdependence, institutional innovation, and structures of governance allowed citizens to regain their footing in a convulsing world. In China’s drive to reclaim regional centrality, its leaders looked outward as well as inward, at industrial developments and international markets offering new ways to thrive.{chop}Excerpts:“Reform and Opening: China’s Turning Point,” Los Angeles Review of Books China Channel, February 7, 2019“Can Environmental Activism Succeed in China?,” Literary Hub, January 28, 2019



Haunted by Chaos

Sulmaan Wasif Khan
Harvard University Press: Before the Chinese Communist Party came to power, China lay broken and fragmented. Today, it is a force on the global stage, and yet its leaders have continued to be haunted by the past. Drawing on an array of sources, Sulmaan Wasif Khan chronicles the grand strategies that have sought not only to protect China from aggression but also to ensure it would never again experience the powerlessness of the late Qing and Republican eras.{node, 49171}The dramatic variations in China’s modern history have obscured the commonality of purpose that binds the country’s leaders. Analyzing the calculus behind their decision making, Khan explores how they wove diplomatic, military, and economic power together to keep a fragile country safe in a world they saw as hostile. Dangerous and shrewd, Mao Zedong made China whole and succeeded in keeping it so, while the caustic, impatient Deng Xiaoping dragged China into the modern world. Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao served as cautious custodians of the Deng legacy, but the powerful and deeply insecure Xi Jinping has shown an assertiveness that has raised both fear and hope across the globe.For all their considerable costs, China’s grand strategies have been largely successful. But the country faces great challenges today. Its population is aging, its government is undermined by corruption, its neighbors are arming out of concern over its growing power, and environmental degradation threatens catastrophe. A question Haunted by Chaos raises is whether China’s time-tested approach can respond to the looming threats of the 21st century.{chop}




The Costs of International Advocacy

Human Rights Watch
Even as it engages with U.N. human rights institutions, China has worked consistently and often aggressively to silence criticism of its human rights record before U.N. bodies and has taken actions aimed at weakening some of the central mechanisms...



China’s Social Credit System: A Big-Data Enabled Approach to Market Regulation with Broad Implications for Doing Business in China

Mirjam Meissner
Mirjam Meissner
Mercator Institute for China Studies
Under the catchphrase “Social Credit System,” China is currently implementing a new and highly innovative approach to monitoring, rating, and regulating the behavior of market participants. The Social Credit System will have significant impact on...