Top Five China Books of 2014

Laura Chang

As the editor of ChinaFile’s Books section, I have the privilege of meeting and interviewing some amazing writers covering China today—academics, journalists, scholars, activists. Based on these conversations, we create short videos of the authors describing their inspiration, research, and hopes for their work. Since ChinaFile’s launch in early 2013 we have amassed a library of roughly 150 of these author videos on the site. I invite you to peruse them.In no particular order, the following five books represent what I loved most in reading about China this year.China’s...


Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images

China in 2014 Through the Eyes of a Human Rights Advocate

Yaxue Cao

This time last year, volunteers and I were busy writing and translating articles to prepare for the New Citizens Movement trials. Many Chinese voices were speaking out forcefully against these trials: law professors, rights lawyers, liberal commentators, as well as a group that called itself the “New Beijingers.” They were Beijing residents and taxpayers without Beijing household registration and their children had difficulty enrolling in schools and could not take college entrance exams in the city where they lived....


Junior D. Kannah/AFP/Getty Images

China in Africa: 2014 Year in Review

A China in Africa Podcast

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden

Two thousand fourteen marked another landmark year in Sino-African relations as bilateral trade set new records while political, diplomatic, and military ties strengthened across the board. Yet despite the tangible progress made this year, this burgeoning relationship also began to encounter some of its most significant obstacles as both governments and people across the continent showed significant frustration with Chinese environmental, labor, and corporate social responsibility practices. In this special edition, Eric and Cobus reflect on the most important milestones of 2014 and preview what’s ahead in 2015 for China-Africa relations....


Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Wild Stock Market Is Detrimental to Reform Efforts

By Hu Shuli

Chinese leaders’ pledge to strengthen risk control at last week’s Central Economic Work Conference could not be more timely, given the frenzied exuberance in the stock market. In a statement released after three days of meetings, the leaders took note of the “variety of hidden risks” that emerged alongside the economic slowdown. “The risks can be managed on the whole, but eradicating all of them might take a long time,” they said. “We should treat both the symptoms and root causes, and find suitable remedies to the problems.” Regulators have pledged to closely monitor the development of financial and economic risks and, where needed, to deploy firm and...


Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Just How Successful Is Xi Jinping?

A ChinaFile Conversation

Ian Johnson & Trey Menefee

Last week, Arthur Kroeber, Editor of the China Economic Quarterly opined that “…the Chinese state is not fragile. The regime is strong, increasingly self-confident, and without organized opposition.” His essay, which drew strong, if divided, attention, cautioned in its title, “Here Is Xi’s China: Get Used To It.” Following below is a selection of responses, the first two of which poke respectful, cautionary holes in Kroeber’s line of thinking. —The Editors...


Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

‘One Day the People Will Speak Out for Me’

Ai Qing’s Ghost Haunts Ai Weiwei at Alcatraz

Sheila Melvin

The ongoing exhibition “@Large: Ai Weiwei at Alcatraz” is both revelatory and heart-wrenching, a stunning and sobering work by an artist who understands firsthand the fragility and pricelessness of freedom.Detained without warning or charge for 81 days in 2011, Ai Weiwei now lives and works in a courtyard house with a teal blue gate in the Caochangdi arts district of Beijing. Across the street is a surveillance camera from which Ai has hung a cheery red lantern; outside the gate is a Giant brand bicycle with a metal basket that Ai fills with fresh flowers each...


Leah Thompson

Down to the Countryside

Sun Yunfan & Leah Thompson

The world has heard much of late about the scale and scope of China’s mass migration from the poor rural countryside to its booming cities. Some think the number of these migrant workers will soon reach some 400 million souls. They have created massive new urban megaplexes like Chongqing, which now has a population of close to 30 million. But such precipitous, rapid, and massive urbanization inevitably causes reactions. And in this beautifully shot short film by Leah Thompson and Sun Yunfan, we are introduced to one urban “back-to-the-lander,” Ou Ning, who for all the understandable reasons has moved his family from Beijing to the countryside in the storied Huizhou region of Anhui Province...

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Viewpoint

12.16.14

What Must China and Japan Do to Get Along in 2015...

ALLEN CARLSON & ZHA DAOJIONG

Last week, Akio Takahara, a professor at the University of Tokyo currently visiting Peking University, wrote a New York Times Op-Ed praising recent diplomatic efforts by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and Chinese President Xi Jinping to deflect power...

Sinica Podcast

12.19.14

Cooperation or Exploitation

KAISER KUO, JEREMY GOLDKORN & more

Exactly how exploitative are Chinese development activities on the African continent? What exactly is motivating the various resources-for-development deals inked by African governments over the last decade, and what strategies are these governments now adopting in the face of...

Media

12.18.14

Hong Kong, the Resilient City

DAVID WERTIME

The tents have folded. After 75 days of camping on the street, braving police crackdowns, occasional civilian attacks, and the city’s (admittedly mild) winter chill, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters have cleared out. As promised, police moved in on December 11 at 9 a.m....

Viewpoint

12.16.14

Why Marx Still Matters: The Ideological Drivers of Chinese Politics

ROGIER CREEMERS

In days of greater political brouhaha, “to go and see Marx” used to be a slang expression among Chinese Communists, to refer to death. More recently, a considerable number of commentators have pronounced the expiry of Marxism itself. China’s reform path, they claim, is the...

Features

12.10.14

Why Beijing’s Troubles Could Get a Lot Worse

Few foreigners know China as intimately as Anne Stevenson-Yang does. She has spent the bulk of her professional life there since first arriving in 1985, working as a journalist, magazine publisher, and software executive, with stints in between heading up the U.S. Information...

Books

Books

11.12.14

The Sacred Routes of Uyghur History

RIAN THUM

For 250 years, the Turkic Muslims of Altishahr—the vast desert region to the northwest of Tibet—have led an uneasy existence under Chinese rule. Today they call themselves Uyghurs, and they have cultivated a sense of history and identity that challenges Beijing’s official...

Books

11.05.14

China 1945

RICHARD BERNSTEIN

A riveting account of the watershed moment in America’s dealings with China that forever altered the course of East-West relations.As 1945 opened, America was on surprisingly congenial terms with China’s Communist rebels—their soldiers treated their American counterparts as...

Reports

Reports

10.01.14

Avoiding the Blind Alley: China’s Economic Overhaul and Its Global Implications

Asia Society

President Xi Jinping announced a sweeping overhaul for China’s economy in November 2013, with pledges to make market forces decisive, treat homegrown and foreign investors with the same laws and regulations, and change the mission statement of the government. The reform program...

Reports

06.01.14

Decoding China’s Emerging “Great Power” Strategy in Asia

Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

The course charted by China’s reemergence as a great power over the next few decades represents the primary strategic challenge for the U.S.-Japan security alliance and for the East Asian security landscape writ large. If China’s economic, military, and geopolitical influence...

Photography and Video

Photo Gallery

09.28.14

Traces

IAN TEH

One in five people in the world get their water from great Asian rivers linked to the Qinghai-Tibet plateau in northwestern China. Here, beneath a gently undulating landscape, spring the headwaters of the Yellow River, which sweep three thousands miles across China on their way...

Video

09.18.14

Collecting Insanity

JOSHUA FRANK

Every country has a past it likes to celebrate and another it would rather forget. In China, where history still falls under the tight control of government-run museums and officially approved textbooks, the omissions appear especially stark. An unusual museum dedicated largely...

Video

08.12.14

Chinese Dreamers

SHARRON LOVELL & TOM WANG

A dream, in the truest sense, is a solo act. It can’t be created by committee or replicated en masse. Try as you might, you can’t compel your neighbor to conjure up the reverie that you envision. And therein lies the latent, uncertain energy in the concept of the “Chinese...

ChinaFile Presents

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. 

Media

05.22.13

On “Strange Stones,” a Discussion with Peter Hessler

PETER HESSLER, MICHAEL MEYER & more

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 Susan Jakes, Editor of ChinaFile....

Media

05.01.13

The Wall Street Journal: Covering China Past and Present

THE EDITORS

The Wall Street Journal was one of the first American publications to set up a bureau in Beijing. Since its establishment, scores of the Journal’s correspondents have traveled in and out of the country to cover China’s economic and political development. On April 30th, 2013,...

Around the Web

China’s Trade Growth Seen Falling Short of Target in 2014

China’s trade will grow 3.5 percent in 2014, implying the country will fall short of a current 7.5......

Reuters

Adidos and Hotwind? In China, Brands Adopt Names to Project Foreign Flair

Eager to glaze their products with the sheen of international sophistication, many homegrown retail brands have hit upon a similar formula: Choose a non-......

New York Times

Chinese Golf Heads Into the Rough as Xi Takes a Swing

Old distaste for a bourgeois game puts Its future on hold in China... ...

Wall Street Journal

China’s Dark Shadow Looms Over Oil’s Future

At the heart of global oil demand in China, there remains darkness.... ...

Wall Street Journal

Adultery, Ramadan, and Puns—An Incomplete List of the Things China Banned in 2014

This year, Xi Jinping worked overtime to oust corrupt officials and jail moderate critics.... ...

Quartz

China to Send 700 Combat Troops to South Sudan

Deployment marks shift in Africa policy and will be first Chinese infantry battalion to take part in a UN peacekeeping mission.... ...

Guardian

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