(ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)

How Much Consumerism Can China Afford?

A ChinaFile Conversation

Andrew Batson & Matthew Crabbe

This week, a blockbuster movie celebrating speedy cars and the racing life landed atop China’s box office. The Hollywood import Fast and Furious 7 grossed $63 million in one day (as reported by Bloomberg), the most-ever for a single title in that market. Even as the Chinese central government is trying to get the historically risk-averse Chinese people to stop saving so much...

Chris Stein—AFP/Getty Images

China’s Controversial Trade in Africa’s Natural Resources

A China in Africa Podcast

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden

China often faces blistering criticism for its voracious appetite for Africa’s natural resources. Chinese companies are spread across the continent mining, logging, and fishing to feed both hungry factories and people back home. In most, if not all, African countries, environmental protection laws are minimal at best, totally ineffective at worst, allowing Chinese companies to operate unregulated in this legal void. While in many cases, this has led to horrific environmental abuses, in other instance local actors throughout Africa say the Chinese are often unfairly accused of operating in the informal economy that accounts for nine out of ten African jobs. This week, Eric and Cobus...

(ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)

Petrochemical Plant Explosion Vaporizes Government Safety Assurances

Second Major Blast at a Fujian PX Plant Erases Public Acceptance

Opposing the construction of petrochemical plants making Paraxyline (PX), a key ingredient in plastic bottles and polyester clothing, has been one of the most common forms of environmental activism for China’s urban residents in the past decade. On April 4, an explosion ripped through the Gulei PX...

Nicolas Asfouri—AFP/Getty Images

Online Support–and Mockery–Await Chinese Feminists After Release

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian

On April 13, Chinese authorities released on bail five feminist activists detained for over a month without formal charges. Despite tight censorship surrounding their detention, support on Chinese social media and thinly veiled media criticism showed that many in China opposed the detention. But an outpouring of online mockery directed at the women, their campaign, and feminism in general also demonstrates the uphill battle that feminist activists face in the world’s most populous country.The five activists—Li Tingting, age 25; Zheng Churan, age 25; Wei...

Asia Society

Henry Paulson: ‘Dealing with China’

Eric Fish

Speaking at Asia Society New York on April 13 with New Yorker correspondent Evan Osnos, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson explained that it’s impossible to predict the timing or magnitude of a financial crisis, but any country with government, banks, and capital markets—regardless of its political or economic system—will have flawed policies. “Flawed policies will lead to excesses, and they’ll lead to financial crisis,” Paulson said. “That’s a certainty.”In the video clip below, Paulson, author of the new book...

(Whitehotpix/Zuma Press)

Bulldozing the Cadre Who Revamped Kunming

Warm, sunny Kunming brimmed with charm before Communist Party leader Qiu He brought an autocratic style of governance to town and spurred the urbanization campaign that preceded his downfall. Today, this historic city in southwestern China is a concrete jungle where, according to former Yunnan province Party Secretary Qin Guangrong, Qiu's bad leadership can be blamed for the loss of much of Kunming's cultural identity. During a Qiu-led urban redevelopment campaign that rapidly changed Kunming, Qin said, the city government's "management methods reflected weaknesses in rule of law." Now, the law is biting back. Qiu was recently detained by the Party's Central...

Willem Wernsen

Stroller Factory, 1999

Willem Wernsen

In 1999, photographer Willem Wernsen spent ten days in the small city of Kengzi, in Guangdong province, about 30 miles northeast of Shenzhen in an industrial zone. This was part of a longer, five-week trip, Wernsen’s first to the People’s Republic. While in Kengzi, his interpreter brought him to a factory that made strollers. The designs and product orders came from AOK, a company in his native Holland. The factory was managed by a firm from Taiwan. Wernsen shares his impressions from the trip below, and in his book, Behind the Great Wall (2014)....

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Recent Stories



New Chinese Cyberattacks: What’s to Be Done?

Steve Dickinson, Jason Q. Ng & more
Starting last week, hackers foiled a handful of software providers that promote freedom of information by helping web surfers in China reach the open Internet. The attacks that drastically slowed the anti-censorship services of San Francisco-based...

Sinica Podcast


Styling It in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more
Sociologist Ben Ross, a doctoral student at the University of Chicago, focuses on Chinese labor migration and related issues. He first got noticed by Sinica in 2007 while writing a blog about working as the only foreign "hair-washing trainee...



The Chinese Internet Hates Hillary Clinton Even More than Republicans Do

Isaac Stone Fish
On the afternoon of April 12, Hillary Clinton announced her long-expected decision to run for president in 2016. Within hours, Chinese news sites shared the announcement on Weibo, China’s most popular micro-blogging platform, provoking thousands of...



A New Opera and Hong Kong’s Utopian Legacy

Denise Y. Ho
This year, the 43rd annual Hong Kong Arts Festival commissioned a chamber opera in three acts called Datong: The Chinese Utopia. Depicting the life and times of Kang Youwei (1858-1927), a philosopher and reformer of China’s last Qing dynasty, it...



Bury Zhao Ziyang, and Praise Him

Julian B. Gewirtz
Zhao Ziyang, the premier and general secretary of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the 1980s, died on January 17, 2005. At a tightly controlled ceremony designed to avoid the kind of instability that the deaths of other controversial...




Revolutionary Cycles in Chinese Cinema, 1951-1979

Zhuoyi Wang
A comprehensive history of how the conflicts and balances of power in the Maoist revolutionary campaigns from 1951 to 1979 complicated and diversified the meanings of films, this book offers a discursive study of the development of early PRC cinema. Wang closely investigates how film artists, Communist Party authorities, cultural bureaucrats, critics, and audiences negotiated, competed, and struggled with each other for the power to decide how to use films and how their extensively different, agonistic, and antagonistic power strategies created an ever-changing discursive network of meaning in cinema. —Palgrave Macmillan   {chop}



Muslim, Trader, Nomad, Spy

Sulmaan Wasif Khan
In 1959, the Dalai Lama fled Lhasa, leaving the People's Republic of China with a crisis on its Tibetan frontier. Sulmaan Wasif Khan tells the story of the PRC's response to that crisis and, in doing so, brings to life an extraordinary cast of characters: Chinese diplomats appalled by sky burials, Guomindang spies working with Tibetans in Nepal, traders carrying salt across the Himalayas, and Tibetan Muslims rioting in Lhasa. What Chinese policymakers confronted in Tibet, Khan argues, was not a "third world" but a "fourth world" problem: Beijing was dealing with peoples whose ways were defined by statelessness. As it sought to tighten control over the restive borderlands, Mao's China moved from a lighter hand to a harder, heavier imperial structure. That change triggered long-lasting shifts in Chinese foreign policy. Moving from capital cities to far-flung mountain villages, from top diplomats to nomads crossing disputed boundaries in search of pasture, this book shows Cold War China as it has never been seen before and reveals the deep influence of the Tibetan crisis on the political fabric of present-day China. —The University of North Carolina Press{chop}




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...



Power Play: China’s Ultra High Voltage Technology and Global Standards

Paulson Institute

As a matter of government policy and corporate strategy, China has been intensifying its effort to set indigenous standards for homegrown ultra-high voltage (UHV) transmission technology. The country also aims to contribute to UHV standards internationally. Indeed, this process...



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...



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



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...

ChinaFile Presents



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} ...



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...



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...

Around the Web

US and EU Criticise Chinese Journalist’s Jailing for ‘Leaking State Secrets’

Gao Yu vows to appeal her 7-yr sentence for allegedly leaking Document 9, revealing Party hostility to human rights. ...


China Raises Red Flag on Its Stock Markets

Regulator warns investors not to borrow money or sell property to buy shares.   ...

Wall Street Journal

Opinion: Gao Yu Verdict Sends Clear Message to Regime Critics in China

Chinese journalist Gao Yu's seven year sentence again shows how Beijing authorities deal with critics of the regime. ...

Deutsche Welle

Images Show Rapid Chinese Progress on New South China Sea Airstrip

China's new airstrips sit in a shipping lane through which $5 trillion of trade passes each year. ...


Why Do the Chinese Hack? Fear

To ensure its survival, the Chinese Communist Party has decided that it must control the Internet.  ...

War on the Rocks

Chinese Journalist Sentenced to 7 Years on Charges of Leaking State Secrets

The verdict came five months after the trial, a delay that lawyers said suggested some indecision about the case. ...

New York Times

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