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What Is China’s Big Parade All About?

A ChinaFile Conversation

via ChinaFile Conversation

On September 3, China will mark the 70th anniversary of its World War II victory over Japan with a massive parade involving thousands of Chinese troops and an arsenal of tanks, planes, and missiles in a tightly choreographed march across Tiananmen Square. China’s leaders call this display of power “The Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of Victory of the Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and World Anti-Fascist War.” What is the meaning of this event and why have China’s leaders invested so much in executing it? —The Editors


ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images

Parading the People’s Republic

Geremie R. Barmé

In light of the September 3, 2015, mega military parade held at Tiananmen Square in Beijing both to mark the seventieth anniversary of the end of Second Sino-Japanese War in 1945 and to acclaim the achievements of Xi Jinping, China’s Chairman of Everything (for the Chinese media logorrhea related to the parade, see The China Story Dossier), we offer the following article from China Heritage Quarterly.This essay, which is reprinted with minor emendations, was written by Geremie R Barmé and Sang Ye; it reviews the fourteen National Day parades held in the Chinese capital since 1949.The September 3, 2015 Grand Military Parade is the fifteenth large-scale event of its kind in the history of the...


Parker Song—Pool/GettyImages

The China Economy: What Lessons for Africa?

A China in Africa Podcast

via China Africa Project

When African policy makers scan the globe in search of inspiration on how to structure their economies, that search often leads to Beijing. Not surprisingly, African leaders look at what China has done over the past 30 years where it went from being a poor, isolated agrarian country to a modern urban economy that is now the world’s second largest.Separately, many despotic African leaders also appreciate China’s authoritarian example that gives the state a high level of control over the economy while subjugating civil and political rights in the name of development. Widely known as the “Beijing Consensus,” this authoritarian capitalist model has broad appeal across Africa, particularly in...


Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Quantum Computing and Alibaba’s Leap of Faith

via Caixin

Building a quantum computer that processes data at speeds trillions of times faster than the world’s fastest computer, China’s supercomputer Tianhe-2, is the goal of a potentially game-changing venture launched by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).If the project succeeds, the enormous impact of a lightning-speed computer based in China could make all of the advances wrought by computerization worldwide over the past five decades look like baby steps.Quantum computer technology has been a key focus in recent years for researchers at tech companies and governments around the world. Investing heavily in the search for ever-faster data processing based on...


STR/AFP/Getty Images

A ‘China Watcher’s China Watcher’ Decamps

A Sinica Podcast

via Sinica Podcast

As anyone who reads the Sinocism newsletter knows, Bill Bishop is among the most plugged-in people in Beijing with an uncanny ability to figure out what is actually happening in the halls of power. But as casual readers may not be aware, he is also an excellent podcast guest due to his habit of bringing first cupcakes and now amazingly smooth bottles of Japanese whisky to our recording sessions before trading the latest gossip about the goings-on in Zhongnanhai.On today’s show, we mark Bill’s departure from China and his return to the United States where he plans to live for the next few years with his family. While not exactly your requisite “Why I Am Leaving China” blog post, this show...


Fawei Yang—Cpressphoto

Mao’s Ghost

The Great Helmsman’s Spirit Still Lingers

Yang Fawei

When Deng Xiaoping ascended to the throne in late 1978 and then began to initiate a whole series of economic and political reforms that soon transformed the face of China, many people blithely assumed that time had come and gone for China’s inimitable Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party. As the giant concrete statues of the Great Helmsman that loomed over every city of China and portraits of his implacable visage that had become regulation issue in every government office began disappearing (usually at night, as if there was some indignity to all these incidents of “disappearing the Chairman”), it was tempting to believe that the Mao era, and all he had stood for, was over...


Feng Li—Getty Images

China: The Superpower of Mr. Xi

Roderick MacFarquhar

In the almost one-hundred-year existence of the Chinese Communist Party (C.C.P.), its current general secretary, Xi Jinping, is only the second leader clearly chosen by his peers. The first was Mao Zedong. Both men beat out the competition, and thus secured a legitimacy their predecessors lacked.1 Why was Xi chosen?The Beijing rumor mill had long indicated that the outgoing elders were looking for a “princeling” successor, that is the son of a senior first-generation revolutionary. Princelings, it was apparently felt, had a bigger stake in the revolution than most people, and thus would be the most determined to preserve the rule of the C.C.P.Xi’s father, Xi Zhongxun, was a respected vice-...

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Recent Stories

Conversation

08.25.15

Is the Bloom Off the Rose of China’s Economic Miracle?

Arthur R. Kroeber, David Schlesinger, Fred Hu, Derek Scissors
On Monday, August 24, the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 8.5 percent, its second such steep fall since late July, and its worst since 2007. On Tuesday, stocks fell an additional 7.6 percent. The steep slide translates into more than $4 trillion in...

Culture

08.20.15

Banned in China, Independent Chinese Films Come to New York

Jonathan Landreth
Three years ago this week I watched the 9th Beijing Independent Film Festival crumble under the weight of official fear—fear that the gritty low-budget, experimental dramas and documentaries screening in a remote Beijing suburb reflected a touch...

Culture

08.18.15

Has Chinese Film Finally Produced a Real Hero?

Ying Zhu
“This Is an Era That Calls for Heroes”—the boldface Chinese characters scream from a publicity poster for the Chinese animation film, Monkey King: Hero is Back, which made headline news in July for breaking the animation box-office record in China...

Environment

08.12.15

Beijing’s Air Quality May Finally Be Improving ... But it Still Ain’t Great

Michael Zhao
In February, a Chinese celebrity journalist named Chai Jing released a video on the Internet about the damage air pollution was causing her country. During the week it was online (before Chinese censors pulled it down), people viewed the video 200...

Books

Books

08.27.15

China’s Disruptors

Edward Tse
In September 2014, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba raised $25 billion in the world’s biggest-ever initial public offering. Since then, millions of investors and managers worldwide have pondered a fundamental question: What’s really going on with the new wave of China’s disruptors?Alibaba wasn’t an outlier—it’s one of a rising tide of thriving Chinese companies, mostly but not exclusively in the technology sector. Overnight, its founder, Jack Ma, appeared on the same magazine covers as American entrepreneurial icons like Mark Zuckerberg. Ma was quickly followed by the founders of other previously little-known companies, such as Baidu, Tencent, and Xiaomi.Over the past two decades, an unprecedented burst of entrepreneurialism has transformed China’s economy from a closed, impoverished, state-run system into a major power in global business. As products in China become more and more sophisticated, and as its companies embrace domestically developed technology, we will increasingly see Chinese goods setting global standards. Meanwhile, companies in the rest of the world wonder how they can access the fast-rising incomes of China’s 1.3 billion consumers.Now Edward Tse, a leading global strategy consultant, reveals how China got to this point, and what the country’s rise means for the United States and the rest of the world. Tse has spent more than twenty years working with senior Chinese executives, learning firsthand how China’s most powerful companies operate. He’s an expert on how private firms are thriving in what is still, officially, a communist country. His book draws on exclusive interviews and case studies to explore questions such as:What drives China’s entrepreneurs? Personal fame and fortune—or a quest for national pride and communal achievement?How do these companies grow so quickly? In 2005, Lenovo sold just one category of products (personal computers) in one market, China. Today, not only is it the world’s largest PC seller; it is also the world’s third-largest smartphone seller.How does Chinese culture shape the strategies and tactics of these business leaders? Can outsiders copy what the Chinese are doing?Can capitalists really thrive within a communist system? How does Tencent’s Pony Ma serve as a member of China’s parliament while running a company that dominates online games and messaging?What impact will China have on the rest of the world as its private companies enter new markets, acquire foreign businesses, and threaten established firms in countless industries?As Tse concludes: “I believe that as a consequence of the opening driven by China’s entrepreneurs, the push to invest in science, research, and development, and the new freedoms that people are enjoying across the country, China has embarked on a renaissance that could rival its greatest era in history—the Tang dynasty. These entrepreneurs are the front line in China’s intense hunger for success. They will have an even more remarkable impact on the global economy in the future, through the rest of this decade and beyond.” —Portfolio/Penguin{chop}

Books

07.07.15

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}

Reports

Reports

05.20.15

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...

Reports

04.01.15

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

Video

11.05.13

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

Media

05.26.15

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...

Media

05.15.14

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} ...

Media

05.22.13

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...

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