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The People’s Republic of Chemicals

Book Review: U.S. Journalists Investigate Smog in China


The name of China is almost obscured by a grey smudge on the title page of The People’s Republic of Chemicals, and this image proves to be apt.  This book examines the crisis caused by toxic smogs that periodically choke vast regions of China and the massive particulate clouds that drift far beyond the country’s borders.Authors William J. Kelly and Chip Jacobs joined forces once before in order to write their climate classic, ...

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Three Views of Local Consciousness in Hong Kong

Ho-fung Hung

Hong Kong has been in turmoil. The 2003 demonstration in which more than half a million demonstrators successfully forestalled the Article 23 anti-subversion legislation, as well as the 2012 rally of 130,000 and the threat of general student strikes that forced the government to shelve implementation of a Beijing-ordered National Education curriculum in Hong Kong schools, showed that Beijing could not crack down on Hong Kong’s dissenting voices as readily as it repeatedly has in mainland China. Such resistance victories have not brought a willingness to compromise on fundamentals by either Hong Kong’s opposition forces or Beijing. On the contrary, they may have radicalized both sides....

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At Factory Waste Ponds, Fumes Choke Fantasies

Coal and Chemical Plants in Northwest China Pledged Zero Emissions but Failed Miserably


Deep in the Tengger Desert, near a community of cattle herders about 700 kilometers west of Beijing, pipes from a complex of coal processing and chemical factories once spewed slimy wastewater into six ponds. The “evaporation ponds” were designed to protect the desert’s sensitive environment. By exposing wastewater to dry air and sunlight on the pond’s surface, water was supposed to dissipate into the sky, leaving behind salt and toxins for further processing. But the ponds never worked as planned. An oily film on each football field-sized surface inhibited evaporation. And daily for about 11 years these factories in the Tengger Industrial Park, a...

Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images

Report: Chinese Diplomats & Officials Tied to Ivory Trade in Africa

A China in Africa Podcast

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more

A recent report by the U.K.-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) alleges Chinese diplomats and officials have been directly involved in the ivory trade in Africa. Most damaging, the EIA reports that even some members of visiting Chinese president Xi Jinping’s delegation smuggled dozens of kilos of ivory back home after an official state visit to Tanzania in March 2013. If true, the symbolism of such allegations are terrible and go a long way toward undermining China’s soft-power diplomacy initiatives. However, our guest this week, journalist and Chinese CSR activist...

Paul Childs/Action Images/Zuma Press

Banned but Booming: Golf in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more

Despite China’s legal moratorium on the development of the golf industry, a policy driven by concerns over illegal farmland seizures and the potential misallocation of agricultural land and water resources, the golf industry has experienced an unprecedented frenzy of development over the past thirty years, with the very government organs that overtly disapprove of the luxury sport often promoting its growth, leading to a situation where not even the central government has more than a vague inkling of how many courses actually exist in the country.With rumors of an impending crackdown on the industry circulating in the industry though, and questions of whether...

Luke Sharrett/Getty Images

What Will Make the U.S.-China Climate Deal Work

Mark Hertsgaard

Nearly everyone agrees that the U.S.-China climate announcement is a big deal, but most observers have overlooked what truly makes it a game-changer: if the world’s two climate change superpowers limit their greenhouse gas emissions, it will have the economic effect of putting a de facto price on carbon. The resulting increase in the market price of oil, coal, natural gas, and other carbon-based fuels really could change everything. But this will only happen if the two superpowers make good on their promises: if the U.S. refrains from pursuing...

Franko Lee/AFP/Getty Images

“Getting Pantsed” by the “Central People’s Court”

Hu Yong

In December of last year CCTV producer Wang Qinglei wrote a post on his Weibo account criticizing the Chinese government’s campaign-style attacks on prominent social media figures and arguing the media had also been drawn in and was “sidestepping the law” and allowing the government “rape our journalistic standards.” He was dismissed from his post for violating CCTV’s microblogging and “discipline management” rules.   After his dismissal, Wang wrote a farewell post intended to “record the truth” about “the era in which we live.” With shocking candor, Wang laid bare the true face...

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Recent Stories



Was the U.S.-China Climate Deal Worth the Wait?


Last week, Ann Carlson and Alex Wang, environmental experts at UCLA Law School, called the November 12 U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change "monumental." "No two countries are more important to tackling the problem than the largest carbon emitter over the past two...



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The Domestic Politics of the U.S.-China Climate Change...


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The Sacred Routes of Uyghur History


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China 1945


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Avoiding the Blind Alley: China’s Economic Overhaul...

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...

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


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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 concept of the “Chinese...

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...


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The Wall Street Journal: Covering China Past and...


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

As Chinese Duo Perform at American Music Awards, Those at Home Are Skeptical

In an indication of how fragile domestic confidence is in the country’s cultural exports, many Chinese commentators were immediately skeptical of the award’......

Wall Street Journal

China Corruption Watchdog Launches Inspections, Eyes Sinopec

The inspectors, part of China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), will focus on senior figures within Sinopec who may be promoted......


Paper Published by Communist Party Endorses Charge Against Veteran Journalist Gao Yu

Gao, 70, denied the charges in a closed-door hearing on Friday. She faces a maximum sentence of death. The document in question is believed to outline curbs......

South China Morning Post

Tencent to Distribute HBO Dramas, Movies Online in China

Time Warner Inc.’s HBO has signed a deal with Tencent Holdings Ltd. to distribute its TV dramas and movies through the Chinese Internet giant’s online video......

Wall Street Journal

China Media: Public Smoking Ban

Papers welcome a proposed nation-wide ban on public smoking, while urging officials to tackle pollution problems. China has sought public opinion on its......


At China Online Coming-Out Party, Beijing Spells out Internet Control Ambition

China showed governments and the planet’s biggest tech firms last week its vision for global......


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