• Young China

    How the Restless Generation Will Change Their Country and the World

    Zak Dychtwald

    A close-up look at the Chinese generation born after 1990 exploring through personal encounters how young Chinese feel about everything from money and sex to their government, the West, and China’s shifting role in the world―not to mention their love affair with food, karaoke, and travel. Read full story>>

  • Feng Li—Getty Images

    Who Really Haunts Xi Jinping, Mao or Gorbachev?

    Jessica Batke

    Last week, the Chinese National People’s Congress removed Presidential and Vice-Presidential term limits, effectively allowing current President (and Chinese Communist Party General Secretary) Xi Jinping to stay in power beyond the two terms that had been the norm in recent decades. How to understand this sudden change, surprising in its particular shape though not exactly at odds with broader trends in recent years? One way is to look at the process of how the proposal to abolish these term... Read full story>>

  • (Bwag via Wikimedia Commons)

    When Trump and Kim Meet, What Will Xi Do?

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Zha Daojiong, Sergey Radchenko & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    On March 8, South Korea’s National Security Advisor announced that Donald Trump had agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un by May. Although now-ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson previously downplayed the announcement, a summit between the two men could drastically change U.S. policy in Asia. How does this affect China’s interests in the region? And how would Beijing feel about a Trump-Kim summit? Read full story>>

  • (National Museum of the U.S. Air Force via Wikimedia Commons)

    When American Pilots Fell out of the Chinese Sky

    A Sinica Podcast

    Kaiser Kuo, David Moser & more via Sinica Podcast

    The distinctive shark-toothed fighter planes of the Flying Tigers streaked across the skies of China from 1941 to 1942, as American airmen racked up an impressive string of successes in defending China from Japanese forces. They are so recognizable that their story has obscured the equally fascinating stories of other American pilots who landed in China—or, in the case of the two stories on this podcast, crash-landed. Read full story>>

  • Feng Li—Getty Images

    Chinese History Isn’t Over

    Julian B. Gewirtz

    One of the simplest and least useful ways to understand the future is to take exactly what’s happening today and project it forward, rigidly and predictably, into tomorrow. This view is more than just a form of mental inertia; it is a breed of historical determinism, denying the forces of uncertainty and human agency that actually shape change over time. Yet this view appears to have taken hold, with stunning speed, in many assessments of the dramatic political events underway in China today. Read full story>>

  • Kevin Frayer—Getty Images

    A Chinese Mayor-to-Be Tells His Story

    An Excerpt from ‘Young China: How the Restless Generation Will Change Their Country and the World’

    Zak Dychtwald

    When I lived with Tom in the city of Chengdu in 2015 and into 2016, he was a 23-year-old probationary member of the Chinese Communist Party, on his way to joining the organization’s nearly 90 million full members. He wanted to embark on a career in government because he believed he could be a fair, considerate, thoughtful, and intelligent leader for his people and his country. By academic achievement, he ranked as one of the better minds of his generation, at the top of his class at Sichuan... Read full story>>

  • (ImagineChina)

    Weibo Whack-a-Mole

    The Most-Censored Events on Chinese Social Media

    King-wa Fu, Channing Huang & more via Weiboscope

    China might be the world’s second-largest economy, and have more Internet users than any other country, but each year it is ranked as the nation that enjoys the least Internet freedom among the 65 sample nations scored by the U.S.-based Freedom House.There is little new about China’s low ranking in the annual Internet freedom report (which notably doesn’t include China’s neighbor North Korea). But each year, the Weiboscope social media analytics project of the Journalism and Media Studies... Read full story>>

Recent Stories



China’s Military Spending

Dhruva Jaishankar, Dennis J. Blasko & more
On March 5, during the opening of the National People’s Congress, China’s annual parliament, Beijing announced it plans to spend U.S.$175 billion on its military in 2018, an 8.1 percent rise from 2017. China’s military budget is the world’s second...



Reversing Reform

Carl Minzner
Political stability, ideological openness, and rapid economic growth were the hallmarks of China’s post-1978 reform era. But they are ending. China is entering a new era—the counter-reform era.



Maybe the Law Does Actually Matter to Xi Jinping

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A Clash of Cyber Civilizations

Geoffrey Hoffman
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Who Killed More: Hitler, Stalin, or Mao?

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
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Photography & Video

Depth of Field


When You Give a Kid a Camera

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more
This dispatch of photojournalism from China cuts across a broad spectrum of society, from film screenings in Beijing for the visually impaired to an acrobatics school 200 miles south, in Puyang, Henan province, and from children in rural Sichuan to...

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Announcing The 2017 Abigail Cohen Fellows

In 2014, ChinaFile and the Magnum Foundation founded the Abigail Cohen Fellowship in Documentary Photography to support photographers working to address pressing social issues impacting China and its relations with the world that have not received...

Depth of Field


Fake Girlfriends, Chengdu Rappers, and a Chow Chow Making Bank

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
Lonely dog owners in Beijing and a rented girlfriend in Fujian; the last Oroqen hunters in Heilongjiang and homegrown hip hop in Chengdu; young Chinese in an Indian tech hub and Hong Kong apartments only slightly larger than coffins—these are some...




Young China

Zak Dychtwald
St. Martin’s Press: The author of Young China: How the Restless Generation Will Change Their Country and the World, who is in his twenties and fluent in Chinese, examines the future of China through the lens of the jiu ling hou, the generation born after 1990.{node, 45751}A close-up look at the Chinese generation born after 1990 exploring through personal encounters how young Chinese feel about everything from money and sex to their government, the West, and China’s shifting role in the world―not to mention their love affair with food, karaoke, and travel. Set primarily in the eastern second-tier city of Suzhou and the budding western metropolis of Chengdu, the book charts the touchstone issues this young generation faces. From single-child pressure to test-taking madness and the frenzy to buy an apartment as a prerequisite to marriage, from one-night-stands to an evolving understanding of family, Young China offers a fascinating portrait of the generation who will define what it means to be Chinese in the modern era.{chop}



End of an Era

Carl Minzner
Oxford University Press: Since the 1990s, Beijing’s leaders have firmly rejected any fundamental reform of their authoritarian one-party political system, even as a decades-long boom has reshaped China’s economy and society. On the surface, their efforts have been a success. Political turmoil has toppled former communist Eastern Bloc regimes, internal unrest overtaken Middle East nations, and populist movements risen to challenge established Western democracies. China, in contrast, has appeared a relative haven of stability and growth.But as Carl Minzner shows, a closer look at China’s reform era reveals a different truth. Over the past three decades, a frozen political system has fueled both the rise of entrenched interests within the Communist Party itself and the systematic underdevelopment of institutions of governance among state and society at large. Economic cleavages have widened. Social unrest has worsened. Ideological polarization has deepened.{node, 45901}Now, to address these looming problems, China’s leaders are progressively cannibalizing institutional norms and practices that have formed the bedrock of the regime’s stability in the reform era. Technocratic rule is giving way to black-box purges; collective governance sliding back towards single-man rule. The post-1978 era of “reform and opening up” is ending. China is closing down. Uncertainty hangs in the air as a new future slouches towards Beijing to be born. End of an Era explains how China arrived at this dangerous turning point, and outlines the potential outcomes that could result. {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...

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