Johannes Eisele—AFP/Getty Images

Villain or Hero for Stock Market Saga?

Dramatic Market Drop Focused Attention on Bailout Led by China Securities Finance Corp.

via Caixin

An obscure equities-trading finance agency that brokers often slighted in favor of bank loans has suddenly taken center stage in the drama playing out in the stock market.But reviews are mixed over whether the four-year-old, quasi-governmental China Securities Finance Corp. (CSF) is playing villain or hero in connection with a huge and, as of late July, continuing investor sell-off on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges.Some analysts say CSF went too far by snapping up more than 1 trillion yuan worth of shares dumped during the first weeks of the sell-off by retail and institutional investors. The intervention was part of a broader government effort to stop the exit frenzy, which was...

Lintao Zhang—Getty Images

China’s Foreign Policy Isn’t Transparent? You’ve Got to Be Kidding

Chu Yin via Two Way Street

In her recent article, “What China’s Lack of Transparency Means for U.S. Policy,” U.S.-China relations expert Susan Shirk caused a stir when she argued that China’s “lack of transparency” around public policy making, defense, national security, and Chinese attitudes toward the United States are hurting Sino-U.S. relations. Many of Shirk’s observations about this “lack of transparency” reflect the well-known realities of Chinese politics. However, Shirk overlooks the real reasons behind these patterns, and to a great extent she confuses cause and effect.In contrast to the political process in more developed Western countries, Chinese policymaking rarely involves public hearings or lively...

Fred Dufour—AFP/Getty Images

Can Xi Jinping Turn China’s Economy Around?

A ChinaFile Conversation

Arthur R. Kroeber, George Chen & more via ChinaFile Conversation

The really vexing question is whether the government has the intention and the political clout to get the economy back on a sustainable track. Beijing can probably keep the economy growing by at least 6% through next year, but the quality of that growth is poor, depending as it does on rising leverage and state-driven infrastructure spending. Private investment—the key to sustained productivity-driven growth—continues to decelerate. This is both because of the end of China’s long housing boom and of the financial repression that made infrastructure investment artificially cheap; and because the government has been slow to implement its promise to deregulate and open up more sectors of the...

Petar Kujundzic—Getty Images

How China and the U.S. Will Manage Competition for Influence

Ian Bremmer via Two Way Street

Washington refuses to accept that though the United States is not in decline, its international influence is not what it was. It is unlikely to regain the leverage it once wielded, because China and so many others now have more than enough economic muscle and political self-confidence to resist U.S. plans and demands, even if they can’t directly challenge U.S. pre-eminence. Until U.S. officials develop a strategy that accepts and adapts to this reality, Washington will continue the costly foreign policy improvisations of recent years—and its deepest wounds will be self-inflicted.

Wilson Center

China’s Shift From Coal to Hydro Comes at a Heavy Price

via chinadialogue

As outlined in China’s national climate plan, submitted to the United Nations last month, the country’s aim to peak greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 or sooner will rely heavily on a shift from coal to use of non-fossil fuels.To many, that would seem a clear win for the environment in coastal megacities and mining areas, where air, water, and soil pollution are a potent toxic legacy of China’s long-term addiction to fossil coal.But China’s target to use non-fossil fuel sources for around 20 percent of its primary energy consumption by 2030 will likely prompt a fresh round of dam building in ecologically fragile Tibetan regions of China, particularly in impoverished western areas.Hydropower...

Alex Wong—Getty Images

A Blind Lawyer vs. Blind Chinese Power

Evan Osnos

In early 2012, Chen Guangcheng, a self-taught lawyer who had been blind since infancy, lived with his wife and two children in the village of Dongshigu, where he’d been raised, on the eastern edge of the North China plain. They were not there by choice. For a little over a decade, Chen had waged a public campaign against corruption, pollution, forced abortion, and other abuses of power. Officials had responded with escalating punishments. After he completed a four-year jail sentence on a charge of “obstructing traffic,” Chen and his family were confined to his ancestral home in a form of undeclared and indefinite house arrest. The local government covered the windows with metal sheeting and...

(AFP/Getty Images)

Taming the Flood

How China’s Leaders “Guide” Public Opinion

David Bandurski

In August 1975, Typhoon Nina, one of the most powerful tropical storms on record, surged inland from the Taiwan Strait, causing floods so catastrophic they overwhelmed dam networks around the city of Zhumadian in China’s Henan province. When Banqiao Dam on the Ru River finally burst, it unleashed a wall of water that rushed downstream, claiming an estimated 230,000 lives. Look back through China’s press at the time, however, and it is as though this unfathomable tragedy never occurred. Not one of China’s official newspapers ever reported the story.The silent horrors of Banqiao are a fitting metaphor for the Chinese Communist Party’s deep fear of tragedy and its destabilizing effects. And...


Recent Stories



Is China’s Reform Era Over and, If So, What’s Next?

Carl Minzner, Jeremy L. Wallace, Taisu Zhang, Kevin Slaten, Fubing Su, Thomas Gold
Fordham Law School professor and regular ChinaFile contributor Carl Minzner says we've arrived at “China After the Reform Era,” a development that’s “not entirely bad” but also has a “dark side.” Minzner’s conclusions, excerpted below, come...



Making Sense of China’s Market Mess

Arthur R. Kroeber
Nearly two years ago China’s Communist Party released a major economic reform blueprint, whose signature phrase was that market forces would be given a “decisive role” in resource allocation. That Third Plenum Decision and other policy...



Hong Kong’s Umbrella Protests Were More Than Just a Student Movement

Samson Yuen, Edmund Cheng
For almost three months in late 2014, what came to be known as the Umbrella Movement amplified Hong Kong’s bitter struggle for the democracy its people were promised when China assumed control of the territory from Britain in 1997. Originally a...

A Partnership with China to Avoid World War

George Soros
International cooperation is in decline both in the political and financial spheres. The U.N. has failed to address any of the major conflicts since the end of the cold war; the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference left a sour aftertaste; the...




Meeting China Halfway

Lyle J. Goldstein
Though a U.S.–China conflict is far from inevitable, major tensions are building in the Asia-Pacific region. These strains are the result of historical enmity, cultural divergence, and deep ideological estrangement, not to mention apprehensions fueled by geopolitical competition and the closely related "security dilemma." Despite worrying signs of intensifying rivalry between Washington and Beijing, few observers have provided concrete paradigms to lead this troubled relationship away from disaster. Meeting China Halfway: How to Defuse the Emerging US-China Rivalry is dramatically different from any other book about U.S.-China relations. Lyle J. Goldstein's explicit focus in almost every chapter is on laying bare both U.S. and Chinese perceptions of where their interests clash and proposing new paths to ease bilateral tensions through compromise. Each chapter contains a “cooperation spiral”―the opposite of an escalation spiral―to illustrate the policy proposals. Goldstein not only parses findings from the latest American scholarship but also breaks new ground by analyzing hundreds of Chinese-language sources, including military publications, never before evaluated by Western experts. Goldstein makes one hundred policy proposals over the course of this book, not because these are the only solutions to arresting the alarming course toward conflict, but rather to inaugurate a genuine debate regarding cooperative policy solutions to the most vexing problems in U.S.-China relations. ―Georgetown University Press {chop}



City of Virtues

Chuck Wooldridge
Throughout Nanjing’s history, writers have claimed that its spectacular landscape of mountains and rivers imbued the city with “royal qi,” making it a place of great political significance. City of Virtues examines the ways a series of visionaries, drawing on past glories of the city, projected their ideologies onto Nanjing as they constructed buildings, performed rituals, and reworked the literary heritage of the city. More than an urban history of Nanjing from the late 18th century until 1911―encompassing the Opium War, the Taiping occupation of the city, the rebuilding of the city by Zeng Guofan, and attempts to establish it as the capital of the Republic of China―this study shows how utopian visions of the cosmos shaped Nanjing’s path through the turbulent 19th century.―University of Washington Press{chop}




Censorship and Conscience

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 $16 billion in 2015 and a...



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...

Photography and Video



Small Part, Big Screen

Gilles Sabrié
Every morning outside the imposing gate of the Beijing Film Studio, a throng gathers to try to find a way inside. These aren’t fans, exactly. Look at their faces, the practiced way they crane their necks or square their shoulders when the man with...

ChinaFile Presents



Weighing Mao’s Legacy in China Today

Roderick MacFarquhar, Susan Shirk, Orville Schell, Andrew G. Walder
At the May 21 Asia Society event ChinaFile Presents: Does Xi Jinping Represent a Return to the Politics of the Mao Era?, a discussion of author Andrew Walder’s new book, China Under Mao: A Revolution Derailed, sparked a lively debate about the...



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, Susan Jakes
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...

Around the Web

For China’s Gay Men, Beijing Park Offers Haven

Though illegal, Chinese media regularly report on gay home weddings and gay couples getting marriage certificates in the U.S. ...

Los Angeles Times

The Melancholy Pop Idol Who Haunts China

Teresa Teng’s influence is particularly powerful in China, which her parents had fled after the revolution....

New Yorker

China Seeks Businessman Said to Have Fled to U.S., Further Straining Ties

Ling Wancheng is the younger brother of Ling Jihua, who for years held a post akin to that of the White House chief of staff....

New York Times

China’s Naked Emperors

By trying to control the market China's rulers show that despite 25 years of success they have no idea what they’re doing......

New York Times

China Gets the 2022 Winter Olympics

Beijing will stage the winter games in the desert....


China Shares Suffer Worst Month in Nearly Six Years

Shaken confidence in Beijing’s role in market led to wild swings in recent days....

Wall Street Journal