Kevin Frayer—Getty Images

More Than 100 Chinese Muslims Have Joined the Islamic State

Leaked ISIS Documents Suggest Uighur Fighters Are Seeking a New Home and A Sense of Belonging

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian via Tea Leaf Nation

Chinese state-backed media has claimed that 300 Chinese Muslims are fighting with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and authorities have blamed the violence emanating from its restive northwest on radical Islamist ideology and residents’ ties to foreign terrorist networks. U.S.-based experts and human rights groups have disputed both claims, arguing that China’s repressive political and religious policies have caused the tensions and that, at any rate, the number of Uighur Islamic State fighters is negligible. But new documents, leaked by an Islamic State defector in early 2016, suggest that Beijing is likely correct about the scale of Uighur involvement with the militant movement—if not...

Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images

How Should the Republican Party Approach China Policy?

A ChinaFile Conversation

Peter Navarro, Patrick Chovanec & more via ChinaFile Conversation

On Tuesday, delegates to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, chose Donald J. Trump as their nominee for President of the United States. We asked a range of contributors how the Republican party should approach China policy.

Wang Zhao—AFP/Getty Images

China’s Relationship Status with South Africa: ‘It’s Complicated’

A China in Africa Podcast

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

South Africa’s relationship with China has undergone a profound transformation in a remarkably short period of time. In less than 20 years, the two countries have gone from barely acknowledging one another to developing a deep partnership that transcends economics, politics, and ideology.Pretoria’s recent public backing of Beijing’s position in the bitter territorial dispute in the South China Sea highlights how these two countries have widened their engagement with one another, far beyond that of any other African country. Economically, South Africa is among the top destinations for Chinese investment in Africa. Politically, the two countries are now more aligned than ever on sensitive...

John Moore—Getty Images

Chengdu’s Pollution Is Complicated by Taxi Apps

via chinadialogue

As taxi driver Zhou pulls away from Chengdu North Railway Station, he looks back out the window at his colleagues, crowing: “The airport! I’ve got an airport one!”It’s a rare success. Three long rows of taxis stand outside this rail station in the capital of Sichuan province, central China: there is no passenger queue. At Chengdu’s airport, taxi drivers can wait as long as three hours for a fare.The licensed taxi drivers are suffering the twin effects of a widespread uptake of taxi-hailing apps such as Uber and Didi Chuxing, and increased car ownership.Worse Air than BeijingTaxi apps have been promoted by Uber as a possible route to cutting traffic jams and air pollution, but Chengdu’s...

Dondi Tawatao—Getty Images

Interpreting the South China Sea Tribunal Ruling

A China in the World Podcast

Paul Haenle & Elizabeth Economy via Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy

International responses to the tribunal’s ruling in the South China Sea have raised questions about the stability of the Asia-Pacific region and what roles the United States and China have in it. In this podcast, Paul Haenle and Elizabeth Economy discuss the roots of increased instability in East Asia, including tension surrounding the South China Sea and cross-strait relations, and how these issues fit into a broader evaluation of President Obama’s legacy in the region.Economy argues that despite Beijing’s vocal opposition to the tribunal’s ruling, China wishes to avoid conflict and should seek off-ramps to prevent escalation through joint projects with regional neighbors. Meanwhile,...

Li Zhensheng—Tencent News

Tornados and Drag Queens

The Month’s Best Chinese Photojournalism

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more via Yuanjin Photo

Being a photojournalist involves reacting to breaking news, a dedication to long-term projects, and everything in between. This month’s showcase of work by Chinese photographers published in Chinese media underscores this range of angles: from the immediate response to last week’s tornado disaster that destroyed parts of Jiangsu province, to the seasonal reports on the gaokao—China’s annual nationwide college entrance exam—and on yarsagumba—the extravagantly priced Chinese medicine made when a fungus infects a caterpillar, to Yan Changjiang’s and Li Zhensheng’s projects that date back decades.

(VCG/Getty Images)

Schoolkids Suffer Toxic Air at Recycled Rubber Athletic Tracks

Michael Zhao via The Green Space

Chinese are known for recycling, and recycling everything. The industry is even responsible for making billionaires, like China’s “wastepaper queen” Zhang Yin.Yet when factories recycle irresponsibly, the consequences can be dire. Reports of dozens of schools where children have fallen illwith bloody noses and nausea have been making national headlines for the past few weeks. The culprit appears to be industrial rubber waste that has made its way into schools via the synthetic surfaces of the schools’ athletic running tracks and playing fields.[VIDEO::]In the CCTV report above (one of a two-part series in Chinese), reporters visited the No. 6...

Harry Wang

The Kaiser Kuo Exit Interview

A Sinica Podcast

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more via Sinica Podcast

This week, Kaiser sits in the guest chair and tells us about his 20-plus years of living in China. He recounts being the front man for the heavy metal band Tang Dynasty and the group’s tour stops in China’s backwater towns, shares his feelings on moving back to the United States with his family, and discusses the future of the Sinica Podcast. His conversation with Jeremy, Ada Shen, and David Moser is one of many “exit interview” episodes with journalists departing China after a long stay. It took place in June 2016, shortly after Kaiser’s reentry to the U.S.{chop}Recommendations:“End of a Gold Age in China-Taiwan Relations?,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, June 24, 2016“When We...

Johannes Eisele—AFP/Getty Images

Killer Knotweed Exposes Dangers of Traditional Chinese Medicine

A Young Woman’s Death Prompts Increased Official Scrutiny of Herbal Drug Makers

via Caixin

Amid rising public concerns about side-effects of traditional Chinese medicines, or TCM, following the death of a young woman who died of liver failure last year, a government-backed medical association has started compiling a database of substances used in traditional therapies that may cause liver damage, a liver diseases researcher said.The Chinese Society of Infectious Disease under the government-affiliated Chinese Medical Association is creating the national database listing herbal plants and medicines which can harm a patient’s liver, according to Zhu Qingjing, a deputy director of Wuhan Liver Disease Research Institute in the central province of Hubei.Zhu says the database, which...


Recent Stories



China’s Claims in the South China Sea Rejected

Andrew S. Erickson, Peter Dutton & more
On Tuesday in the Hague, the Permanent Court of Arbitration rejected China’s claims that a scattering of rocks and reefs in the contested South China Sea qualify as Exclusive Economic Zones for China. The court found in favor of the Philippines’...



China’s Failure in the South China Sea

Orville Schell
By reiterating its policy of “no acceptance, no participation, no recognition, and no implementation,” China has painted itself into a difficult corner and diminished the chances of resolving the myriad maritime disputes—involving Vietnam, Brunei,...



You Ask How Deeply I Love You

Anna Beth Keim
“Back when I was a soldier on Kinmen, around 1975, the water demons still sometimes killed people,” Xu Shifu (Master Xu) said. The laugh-lines at the corners of his eyes were not visible now, even in the white fluorescent light shining down from the...



U.S. Presidential Candidates on China

Our Presidential Quotes tracker keeps you up to date on what the current candidates are saying about China, and where and when they say it. We’ll be updating the site with new and expanded tools for understanding China’s role in the U.S. election in...



Visualizing China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign

“Catching Tigers and Flies” is ChinaFile’s new interactive tool for tracking and, we hope, better understanding the massive campaign against corruption that China’s President, Xi Jinping, launched shortly after he came to power in late 2012. It is designed to give users a sense of the scope and character of the anti-corruption campaign by graphically rendering information about nearly 1,500 of its targets whose cases have been publicly announced in official Chinese sources.

Photography and Video



The Rockets’ Red Glare

Kathleen McLaughlin & Noy Thrupkaew from Slate
The vast majority of the world’s fireworks come from China. And sometimes they explode early, with deadly consequences.




John Birch

Terry Lautz
John Birch was better known in death than life. Shot and killed by Communists in China in 1945, he posthumously became the namesake for a right-wing organization whose influence is still visible in today’s Tea Party. This is the remarkable story of who he actually was: an American missionary-turned-soldier who wanted to save China, but instead became a victim. Terry Lautz, a longtime scholar of U.S.-China relations, has investigated archives, spoken with three of Birch’s brothers, found letters written to the women he loved, and visited sites in China where he lived and died. The result, John Birch: A Life, is the first authoritative biography of this fascinating figure whose name was appropriated for a political cause.Raised as a Baptist fundamentalist, Birch became a missionary to China prior to America’s entry into the Second World War. After Pearl Harbor, he volunteered for the U.S. Army in China, served with Claire Chennault, Commander of the famed Flying Tigers, and operated behind enemy lines as an intelligence officer. He planned to resume his missionary work after the war, but was killed in a dispute with Communist troops just days after Japan’s surrender. During the heyday of the Cold War in the 1950s, Robert Welch, a retired businessman from Boston, chose Birch as the figurehead for the John Birch Society, believing that his death was evidence of conspiracy at the highest levels of government. The Birch Society became one of the most polarizing organizations of its time, and the name of John Birch became synonymous with right-wing extremism.Cutting through the layers of mythology surrounding Birch, Lautz deftly presents his life and his afterlife, placing him not only in the context of anti-communism but in the longstanding American quest to shape China’s destiny. —Oxford University Press{chop}



Street of Eternal Happiness

Rob Schmitz
Modern Shanghai: a global city in the midst of a renaissance, where dreamers arrive each day to partake in a mad torrent of capital, ideas, and opportunity. Marketplace’s Rob Schmitz is one of them. He immerses himself in his neighborhood, forging deep relationships with ordinary people who see in the city’s sleek skyline a brighter future and a chance to rewrite their destinies. There’s Zhao, whose path from factory floor to shopkeeper is sidetracked by her desperate measures to ensure a better future for her sons. Down the street lives Auntie Fu, a fervent capitalist forever trying to improve herself with religion and get-rich-quick schemes while keeping her skeptical husband at bay. Up a flight of stairs, musician and café owner CK sets up shop to attract young dreamers like himself, but learns he’s searching for something more. As Schmitz becomes more involved in their lives, he makes surprising discoveries which untangle the complexities of modern China: A mysterious box of letters that serve as a portal to a family’s—and country’s—dark past, and an abandoned neighborhood where fates have been violently altered by unchecked power and greed.A tale of 21st century China, Street of Eternal Happiness profiles China’s distinct generations through multifaceted characters who illuminate an enlightening, humorous, and at times heartrending journey along the winding road to the Chinese Dream. Each story adds another layer of humanity and texture to modern China, a tapestry also woven with Schmitz’s insight as a foreign correspondent. The result is an intimate and surprising portrait that dispenses with the tired stereotypes of a country we think we know, immersing us instead in the vivid stories of the people who make up one of the world’s most captivating cities. —Crown Publishers {chop}




Censorship and Conscience

Alexa Olesen
Alexa Olesen
PEN International
In this report, PEN American Center (PEN) examines how foreign authors in particular are navigating the heavily censored Chinese book industry. China is one of the largest book publishing markets in the world, with total revenue projected to exceed...



Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China

Robert D. Blackwill, Ashley J. Tellis
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”...