• (ImagineChina)

    China’s Appetite for Abalone Spurs Organized Crime in South Africa

    A China in Africa Podcast

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

    Cape Town-based journalist Kimon de Greef joins Eric and Cobus to discuss the lucrative illegal abalone trade between South Africa and China that threatens the survival of this prized shellfish. The abalone trade, according to recent reporting by de Greef, is fueling the expansion of organized crime syndicates into the donkey skin trade where surging Chinese demand is pushing up prices around the world.Recommendations“Poaching for Abalone, Africa’s ‘White Gold,' Reaches Fever Pitch,” Paul... Read full story>>

  • Feng Li—Getty Images

    Why Do We Keep Writing About Chinese Politics As if We Know More Than We Do?

    Jessica Batke & Oliver Melton

    In the coming weeks, every major Western newspaper and many top China analysts will be making strong claims about Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s political position in the wake of the 19th Party Congress. These reports will build off years of tea-leaf reading and Pekingology that collectively underpin a now familiar story of élite political strife met by Xi’s personal consolidation of power. Their accounts will end either with Xi “solidifying his dominance” or “succumbing to the countervailing... Read full story>>

  • Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    The Ayes Have It

    Geremie R. Barmé

    On April 1, 1969, delegates to the Ninth Congress of the Chinese Communist Party convened in the Great Hall of the People on the western flank of Tiananmen Square. The hall had been constructed as one of the Ten Grand Edifices 十大建築 hastily constructed to celebrate the first decade of the People’s Republic of China in 1959. It was used for major meetings of the socialist party-state ever since.Enemies of the twenty-year-old Communist regime in Beijing were everywhere. In the atmosphere of... Read full story>>

  • Lam Yik Fei—Getty Images

    Could Xi Jinping Stay in Power After He Retires? Here’s How Deng Xiaoping Did It

    Julian B. Gewirtz

    It was the worst kept secret in Chinese politics. From 1978 until his death in 1997, Deng Xiaoping was Beijing’s ultimate decider, even though he never held any of the top official titles in this period: not general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, not president of the People’s Republic of China, not premier of the State Council. The word of “Comrade Xiaoping” remained paramount even after he retired from the Central Committee in 1987.But how did Deng manage to maintain power from... Read full story>>

  • Environmental Investigation Agency

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

    via 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 retail shops by the end of 2017. China’s legal ivory market, worth about U.S.$600 million, cloaks the sale of illegal ivory, as illegal materials mix in with legal and the two are sold together without distinction. Authorities ordered 67 formerly legal... Read full story>>

  • Little Soldiers

    An American Boy, a Chinese School, and the Global Race to Achieve

    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... Read full story>>

Recent Stories

Conversation

10.16.17

What to Watch at China’s Party Congress

Ho-fung Hung, Taisu Zhang & more
The Chinese Communist Party’s 19th Party Congress, a hugely important political meeting usually held once every five years, will begin on October 18 in Beijing. Like many events involving China’s ruling party, the most important decisions and...

Excerpts

10.06.17

Nearly Dead on Arrival

Michael Meyer
I was a six-foot-two-inch rake whose strongest muscle was my mouth: at college I once talked down a mugger pressing a knife against my gut, and twice lost fistfights after telling off racists. I never felt big, but in China my size usually made me...

Photography & Video

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’...

Video

07.27.17

Where The Streets Had My Name

Ge Yulu
If you’re not dead yet and you were never very famous, can you still get a street named after you in Beijing? You can if you’re 27-year-old artist Ge Yulu. Open Google Maps, enter his name, and there you will find a 1,476-foot-long street that...

Depth of Field

06.29.17

Love, Robots, and Fireworks

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
Included in this Depth of Field column are stories of love, community, remembrance, and the future, told through the discerning eyes of some of China’s best photojournalists. Among them, the lives of African migrants in Guangzhou, seven years inside...

Books

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}

Books

09.27.17

Cracking the China Conundrum

Yukon Huang
China’s rise is altering global power relations, reshaping economic debates, and commanding tremendous public attention. Despite extensive media and academic scrutiny, the conventional wisdom about China’s economy is often wrong. Cracking the China Conundrum provides a holistic and contrarian view of China’s major economic, political, and foreign policy issues.Yukon Huang trenchantly addresses widely accepted yet misguided views in the analysis of China’s economy. He examines arguments about the causes and effects of China’s possible debt and property market bubbles, trade and investment relations with the West, the links between corruption and political liberalization in a growing economy, and Beijing’s more assertive foreign policies. Huang explains that such misconceptions arise in part because China’s economic system is unprecedented in many ways—namely because it’s driven by both the market and state—which complicates the task of designing accurate and adaptable analysis and research. Further, China’s size, regional diversity, and uniquely decentralized administrative system pose difficulties for making generalizations and comparisons from micro to macro levels when trying to interpret China’s economic state accurately.This book not only interprets the ideologies that experts continue building misguided theories upon, but also examines the contributing factors to this puzzle. Cracking the China Conundrum provides an enlightening and corrective viewpoint on several major economic and political foreign policy concerns currently shaping China’s economic environment. —Oxford University Press{chop}Related Reading:“What the West Gets Wrong About China’s Economy,” Yukon Huang, Foreign Affairs, September 14, 2017“Challenging Conventional Wisdom,” Chen Weihua, China Daily, April 28, 2017“Cracking China’s Debt Conundrum,” Yukon Huang, Financial Times, December 6, 2016“Despite Slower Growth, China’s Economy Is Undergoing Major Changes,” NPR Interview with Yukon Huang, January 19, 2016

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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