• Thomas Peter—Pool/Getty Images

    The Accomplice in Chief

    The U.S. President Lent American Prestige to the World’s Biggest Dictatorship

    David Wertime

    Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump declared victory following his 12-day Asia trip. On the campaign trail, Trump had repeatedly promised to stop making nice with his country’s adversaries; now, thanks to his efforts, he proclaimed, “America is back.”In fact, the United States ended up worse off by the end of Trump’s Asia trip, mostly because of Trump’s performance in China. Asia’s most populous country, with its largest economy and most powerful military, China is the only country Trump... Read full story>>

  • Jidi Guo and Philip Man—YouTube

    A New Generation Looks at the China-Africa Relationship

    A China in Africa Podcast

    Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more via China Africa Project

    Independent filmmakers Jidi Guo and Philip Man join Eric and Cobus to discuss their new documentary about how a new generation is responding to China’s growing influence in Kenya. This is the first documentary produced by the Shanghai-based pair, who took 10 days of vacation time from their day jobs to shoot the film in Nairobi. Read full story>>

  • Muyi Xiao—Reuters

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

    A Roundup of China’s Best Photojournalism

    Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more via 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 of the stories we bring you in this dispatch of Depth of Field. Read full story>>

  • Thomas Peter—Pool/Getty Images

    China and the United States Are Equals. Now What?

    Robert Daly

    Donald Trump’s Asia trip was historic in one respect: it belatedly focused American attention on the competition between the United States and China for global primacy. China has risen, the era of uncontested American leadership has ended, and any American with a television set now knows it—thanks to the media’s proper framing of Trump’s and Chinese Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping’s activities in Beijing and Da Nang, Vietnam. In those cities, the two men were treated by media as equally... Read full story>>

  • Gasper Tringale; Penguin Random House

    Mementos of 1949

    An Excerpt from ‘A Force So Swift: Mao, Truman, and the Birth of Modern China, 1949’

    Kevin Peraino

    Bodies jostled, elbow to elbow, angling all morning for a spot in the square. Soldiers clomped in the cold—tanned, singing as they marched, steel helmets and bayonets under the October sun. Tanks moved in columns two by two; then howitzers, teams of ponies, gunners shouldering mortars and bazookas. On the flagstones, in front of the imperial gate, men and women craned their necks toward a platform above a portrait of Mao Zedong, painted in hues of blue, hanging beside tubes of blue neon... Read full story>>

  • The Book of Swindles

    Selections from a Late Ming Collection

    This is an age of deception. Con men ply the roadways. Bogus alchemists pretend to turn one piece of silver into three. Devious nuns entice young women into adultery. Sorcerers use charmed talismans for mind control and murder. A pair of dubious monks extorts money from a powerful official and then spends it on whoring. A rich student tries to bribe the chief examiner, only to hand his money to an imposter. A eunuch kidnaps boys and consumes their “essence” in an attempt to regrow his penis... Read full story>>

  • Yuyang Liu for ChinaFile

    An Ocean Voyage Brings Queer Chinese Couples a Step Closer to Home

    Yuyang Liu

    As Shanghai’s neon lights gradually faded from view, the 800 passengers on the Glory Sea felt a weight lift. Their four-day cruise would be an escape on the open seas from a world where being who they are is often difficult. The Glory Sea had been chartered by a Chinese group that tries to facilitate conversation between LGBTQ people and their family members. In addition to discussions, meals, and parties, the cruise would give couples a chance to have a wedding, far from Chinese soil, where... Read full story>>

Recent Stories

Conversation

11.14.17

Was the Trump-Xi Summit in Beijing a Hit or a Miss?

Isaac Stone Fish, Zha Daojiong & more
On November 8 and 9, Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping and Donald Trump held their first Beijing-based summit, a year after Trump’s surprise victory and just weeks after the predictable announcement Xi would serve a second term. During the visit...

Viewpoint

11.09.17

Protecting the Rights of the Accused in U.S.-China Relations

Margaret Lewis
As President Donald Trump visits China, the Chinese government wishes that billionaire fugitive Guo Wengui would follow suit and board a plane to Beijing. For months, he has regaled the world from his luxury apartment in Manhattan with stories of...

Excerpts

11.06.17

The Past Is a Foreign Country

Xiaolu Guo
On Wednesday, November 8, the Chinese-British writer Guo Xiaolu joined the Asia Society’s Isaac Stone Fish in a conversation about the difficulty of existing in both the Western and Chinese worlds.In this excerpt from Guo’s recently published memoir...

Media

09.29.17

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...

Features

10.26.17

A Brooklyn Gospel Choir Goes to China

Jocelyn Ford & Yuyang Liu
Pastor Frank Haye was quietly nervous as he paced the lawn around the temporary stage at one of China’s biggest rock festivals.It was the last day of concerts by rock, electronic, and metal bands, and in a few hours, his Brooklyn gospel choir would...

Photography & Video

Video

10.31.17

Down From the Mountains

Max Duncan
At 14 years old, Wang Ying doesn’t want to be a mother. She scowls darkly as her younger brother and sister squabble in the corner while she does the housework. But she grudgingly cleans up after them and cooks them a potato stew, which they eat...

Video

10.11.17

The Town at the Heart of China’s Black Market in Ivory

from Environmental Investigation Agency
Last year, in response to mounting criticism for its key role in the steep decline in the world’s elephant population, China announced that it would ban ivory trading and shutter all of the country’s 177 licensed ivory processing companies and...

Video

09.19.17

I Married a Beautiful Ukrainian Woman and So Can You

Zong Ming from Arrow Factory Video
Mei Aisi owes his business to his Internet celebrity, and his celebrity to his wife. Before he met her, Mei, a working-class native of the northern Chinese city of Chengde, didn’t have much going for him. He’d scored poorly on China’s college...

Features

09.08.17

A Drag Queen for the Dearly Departed

Ian Johnson & Tomoko Kikuchi
In the good old days, about three thousand years ago, people really knew how to mourn the dead. That was back in the Zhou dynasty, when there was no laughing in the dead person’s house, no sighing while eating, and no singing while walking down a...

Depth of Field

08.03.17

Inspirational Vandalism, Theme Parks, and the Man Who Swam to Hong Kong

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
This month, five photo galleries explore different aspects of public and private space in contemporary China. Wu Yue meets a couple who swam to Hong Kong from Guangzhou during the Cultural Revolution and still find solace in the waters of Hong Kong’...

Books

Books

11.15.17

The Book of Swindles

Zhang Yingyu, Edited and Translated by Christopher Rea and Bruce Rusk
This is an age of deception. Con men ply the roadways. Bogus alchemists pretend to turn one piece of silver into three. Devious nuns entice young women into adultery. Sorcerers use charmed talismans for mind control and murder. A pair of dubious monks extorts money from a powerful official and then spends it on whoring. A rich student tries to bribe the chief examiner, only to hand his money to an imposter. A eunuch kidnaps boys and consumes their “essence” in an attempt to regrow his penis. These are just a few of the entertaining and surprising tales to be found in this 17th-century work, said to be the earliest Chinese collection of swindle stories.The Book of Swindles, compiled by an obscure writer from southern China, presents a fascinating tableau of criminal ingenuity. The flourishing economy of the late Ming period created overnight fortunes for merchants—and gave rise to a host of smooth operators, charlatans, forgers, and imposters seeking to siphon off some of the new wealth. The Book of Swindles, which was ostensibly written as a manual for self-protection in this shifting and unstable world, also offers an expert guide to the art of deception. Each story comes with commentary by the author, Zhang Yingyu, who expounds a moral lesson while also speaking as a connoisseur of the swindle. This volume, which contains annotated translations of just over half of the 80-odd stories in Zhang’s original collection, provides a wealth of detail on social life during the late Ming period and offers words of warning for a world in peril. —Columbia University Press{chop}

Books

10.06.17

Little Soldiers

Lenora Chu
In the spirit of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Bringing up Bébé, and The Smartest Kids in the World, Little Soldiers is a hard-hitting exploration of China’s widely acclaimed yet insular education system—held up as a model of academic and behavioral excellence—that raises important questions for the future of American parenting and education.When students in Shanghai rose to the top of international rankings in 2009, Americans feared that they were being “out-educated” by the rising superpower. An American journalist of Chinese descent raising a young family in Shanghai, Lenora Chu noticed how well-behaved Chinese children were compared to her boisterous toddler. How did the Chinese create their academic super-achievers? Would their little boy benefit from Chinese school?Chu and her husband decided to enroll three-year-old Rainer in China’s state-run public school system. The results were positive—her son quickly settled down, became fluent in Mandarin, and enjoyed his friends—but she also began to notice troubling new behaviors. Wondering what was happening behind closed classroom doors, she embarked on an exploratory journey, interviewing Chinese parents, teachers, and education professors, and following students at all stages of their education.What she discovered is a military-like education system driven by high-stakes testing, with teachers posting rankings in public, using bribes to reward students who comply, and shaming to isolate those who do not. At the same time, she uncovered a years-long desire by government to alleviate its students’ crushing academic burden and make education friendlier for all. The more she learns, the more she wonders: Are Chinese children—and her son—paying too high a price for their obedience and the promise of future academic prowess? Is there a way to appropriate the excellence of the system but dispense with the bad? What, if anything, could Westerners learn from China’s education journey?Chu’s eye-opening investigation challenges our assumptions and asks us to consider the true value and purpose of education. —Stanford University Press{chop}

Reports

Reports

09.01.17

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...

Reports

05.24.17

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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