• Kevin Frayer—Getty Images

    Chris Buckley: The China Journalist’s China Journalist

    A Sinica Podcast

    Chris Buckley, Jeremy Goldkorn & more via Sinica Podcast

    Chris Buckley is a highly regarded and very resourceful correspondent based in Beijing for The New York Times. He has worked as a researcher and journalist in China since 1998, including a stint at Reuters, and is one of the few working China correspondents with a Ph.D. in China studies. Chris’ coverage has included politics, foreign policy, rural issues, human rights, the environment, and climate change. He also has an informative and sometimes very amusing Twitter account.In this podcast,... Read full story>>

  • (Voice of America—Wikimedia Commons)

    A Taiwanese Man’s Detention in Guangdong Threatens a Key Pillar of Cross-Straits Relations

    Jerome A. Cohen & Yu-Jie Chen

    Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che mysteriously disappeared in China on March 19. Ten days later, Beijing, having ignored the Taiwan government’s frantic appeals for information through prescribed channels, finally admitted that Lee has been placed in official custody on suspicion of “endangering state security.”Yet, even today, a month later, virtually nothing more is known about Lee’s situation. Where is he being detained and by whom? What evidence justifies his detention? Does he... Read full story>>

  • Yan Cong for ChinaFile

    Trafficked into Wedlock

    A Cambodian Wife in Rural China

    Yan Cong

    When Buntha left Cambodia to marry a Chinese man, she did so for money, not for love.Thirty-two years old at the time, and never married, she had few opportunities to earn money for her family in her village in Kampong Cham, Cambodia. The China she saw on TV was a wealthy country, so when a marriage broker, an older woman from her village, offered her a Chinese husband in rural Jiangxi, she thought she was signing up for a brighter future.Those hopes dimmed quickly when she came to Huanggang, a... Read full story>>

  • The White House via Wikimedia Commons

    What Happened at Mar-a-Lago?

    A China in the World Podcast

    Paul Haenle & Zha Daojiong via Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy

    One week before their first in-person meeting, President Trump told the world on Twitter that he expected the dialogue with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to be “a very difficult one” unless China was prepared to make major concessions on issues like trade and North Korea. At Mar-a-Lago, however, the two leaders appeared to build a congenial rapport. Shortly following their meeting, Paul Haenle spoke with Zha Daojiong, a professor in the School of International Studies at Peking University... Read full story>>

  • Mark Wilson—Getty Images

    Ivanka: A ChinaFile Conversation

    Rebecca E. Karl, Yishu Mao & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    At a time of strained and erratic relations between the U.S. and China, Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter and, more recently, a member of his administration, has emerged as an unlikely but singularly potent emissary, not to just to China’s leaders but to many of its citizens. After a clip of her daughter Arabella singing “Happy New Year” in Mandarin went viral in February, she brought her children to serenade Xi Jinping during his early April visit to her father’s Mar-a-Lago resort. But... Read full story>>

  • Jonathan Landreth

    ChinaFile Presents: Ian Johnson on ‘The Souls of China’

    Ian Johnson & Ian Buruma

    On April 13, ChinaFile and The New York Review of Books co-hosted the launch of author Ian Johnson’s new book The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao at the Asia Society’s New York headquarters. Johnson discussed the book with Ian Buruma. At the beginning of the program, Johnson and Buruma joined Orville Schell in a brief remembrance of Robert Silvers, the Review’s editor, who died in March. The video above contains the full program, including questions from audience members. —The... Read full story>>

  • Lintao Zhang—Getty Images

    Xi Jinping: The Illusion of Greatness

    Ian Johnson via New York Review of Books

    Politics is always about pomp and pageantry, but as pure, stultifying ritual few occasions can compare to the convening of the Chinese parliament, the National People’s Congress, which ended this week. No matter what is happening in China or the world, it always follows the same eye-glazing program—a “work report” that summarizes already-known plans; questionable proposals that are discussed to make it seem that a deliberative body is convening; gatherings of delegations that are unelected and... Read full story>>

Recent Stories

Conversation

04.04.17

What Should We Expect When Trump and Xi Meet in Florida?

David Dollar, Jeremy Goldkorn & more
On April 6-7, U.S. President Donald Trump will host Xi Jinping in their first face-to-face meeting when China’s President arrives at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. The meeting comes early in Trump’s presidency, after a campaign in which he frequently...

Media

12.02.16

Trump on China

In the run-up to and during his race toward the presidency of the United States, Donald Trump made frequent statements about China, its people, and the government in Beijing, in remarks that ranged from effusive praise to outright attack, and which...

Environment

04.06.17

As the U.S. Steps Back, China Must Step up on Climate Leadership

Joanna Lewis & Li Shuo from chinadialogue
Presidents Trump and Xi are scheduled to meet today at Mar-a Lago, Florida, and given the tense state of U.S.-China relations and the political leanings of the Trump administration there is much at stake for cooperation between the countries on the...

Viewpoint

04.06.17

What Do Trump and Xi Share? A Dislike of Muslims

Nury Turkel
During the 1980s, as an idealistic, ambitious Uighur growing up under repressive Chinese conditions in the city of Kashgar, there was one nation to which I pinned my hopes for freedom and democracy. To me, the United States was a symbol of my...

Viewpoint

04.06.17

Is It Time to Give up on Engagement?

Orville Schell & Anders Corr
In the lead-up to U.S. President Trump’s meeting later this week with China’s Xi Jinping, Orville Schell, ChinaFile’s publisher, wrote an essay in The Wall Street Journal on the history of China’s episodic embrace of democratic principles and why in...

When the Chinese Were Unspeakable

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
The Xiao River rushes deep and clear out of the mountains of southern China into a narrow plain of paddies and villages. At first little more than an angry stream, it begins to meander and grow as the basin’s 63 other creeks and brooks flow into it...

Photography & Video

Depth of Field

03.22.17

Refugees from Myanmar, Migrant Workers, and the Lantern Festival

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
This month, we feature galleries published in February that showcase photographers’ interest in China’s borders and its medical woes, the lives of its minorities and their traditions and customs, and—in the case of Dustin Shum’s work—in a visual...

Depth of Field

02.16.17

Riding into the New Year

Yan Cong, Ye Ming & more from Yuanjin Photo
As preparations for the Chinese New Year got underway, Liang Yingfei set up a roadside studio and asked migrants traveling home by motorbike to stop for a quick photograph. While in Cambodia for the Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops, Jia...

Depth of Field

01.17.17

House Calls on the Tibetan Plateau, Children of Divorce, Celebrity Secrets

Yan Cong, Ye Ming & more from Yuanjin Photo
In the final galleries of 2016, the publishing juggernaut Tencent again shows its leadership in the documentary photography space, but iFeng’s choice to publish a personal photo gallery by Zhou Xin is also worth a good look, especially since...

Books

Books

04.21.17

A New Deal for China’s Workers?

Cynthia Estlund
China’s labor landscape is changing, and it is transforming the global economy in ways that we cannot afford to ignore. Once-silent workers have found their voice, organizing momentous protests, such as the 2010 Honda strikes, and demanding a better deal. China’s leaders have responded not only with repression but with reforms. Are China’s workers on the verge of a breakthrough in industrial relations and labor law reminiscent of the American New Deal?In A New Deal for China’s Workers? Cynthia Estlund views this changing landscape through the comparative lens of America’s twentieth-century experience with industrial unrest. China’s leaders hope to replicate the widely shared prosperity, political legitimacy, and stability that flowed from America’s New Deal, but they are irrevocably opposed to the independent trade unions and mass mobilization that were central to bringing it about. Estlund argues that the specter of an independent labor movement, seen as an existential threat to China’s one-party regime, is both driving and constraining every facet of its response to restless workers.China’s leaders draw on an increasingly sophisticated toolkit in their effort to contain worker activism. The result is a surprising mix of repression and concession, confrontation and cooptation, flaws and functionality, rigidity and pragmatism. If China’s laborers achieve a New Deal, it will be a New Deal with Chinese characteristics, very unlike what workers in the West achieved in the last century. Estlund’s sharp observations and crisp comparative analysis make China’s labor unrest and reform legible to Western readers. —Harvard University Press{chop}

Books

04.05.17

China’s Crony Capitalism

Minxin Pei
When Deng Xiaoping launched China on the path to economic reform in the late 1970s, he vowed to build “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” More than three decades later, China’s efforts to modernize have yielded something very different from the working people’s paradise Deng envisioned: an incipient kleptocracy, characterized by endemic corruption, soaring income inequality, and growing social tensions. China’s Crony Capitalism traces the origins of China’s present-day troubles to the series of incomplete reforms from the post-Tiananmen era that decentralized the control of public property without clarifying its ownership.Beginning in the 1990s, changes in the control and ownership rights of state-owned assets allowed well-connected government officials and businessmen to amass huge fortunes through the systematic looting of state-owned property—in particular land, natural resources, and assets in state-run enterprises. Mustering compelling evidence from over two hundred corruption cases involving government and law enforcement officials, private businessmen, and organized crime members, Minxin Pei shows how collusion among elites has spawned an illicit market for power inside the party-state, in which bribes and official appointments are surreptitiously but routinely traded. This system of crony capitalism has created a legacy of criminality and entrenched privilege that will make any movement toward democracy difficult and disorderly.Rejecting conventional platitudes about the resilience of Chinese Communist Party rule, Pei gathers unambiguous evidence that beneath China’s facade of ever-expanding prosperity and power lies a Leninist state in an advanced stage of decay. —Harvard University Press{chop}

Reports

Reports

02.07.17

U.S. Policy Toward China

Orville Schell and Susan L. Shirk
Asia Society
The Task Force on U.S.-China Policy generated the following report and set of recommendations to assist the 45th U.S. presidential administration in formulating a China strategy that will protect and further U.S. national interests. This report...

Reports

01.01.17

Record Flows and Growing Imbalances

Thilo Hanemann and Mikko Huotari
Mercator Institute for China Studies
Foreign direct investment (FDI) has become an increasingly important part of the E.U.-China economic relationship. European companies have invested hundreds of billions of euros into the Chinese economy since the 1980s, and have made big bets on...

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