Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

‘We Can Only Trust Each Other and Keep the Road’

Ilaria Maria Sala

Snip. Snip. Snip. The officer’s face shows concentration as he cuts one yellow ribbon after another along a metal fence on Queensway in the Central district of Hong Kong. Next to him, other policemen have just finished dismantling the barricades that had blocked this major artery for more than two weeks and they are now busy disposing of the bamboo poles, security barriers, chairs, plastic cling film, umbrellas, and wooden boards that protesters had piled up in the street to block cars.The officer, in his blue overalls, takes pains not to overlook even the smallest remnant. Snip. Snip. He cuts away the last resisting strand of acrylic yellow ribbon. He looks frustrated. These...

Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Revision of Securities Law Is Chance to Liberalize Market

By Hu Shuli


China’s securities law is to undergo a comprehensive revision almost a decade after the last major overhaul. Public consultation is due to start in the first half of next year, following recent comments from officials, scholars, and market participants. The first national law of its kind was introduced in 1999—almost a decade after the establishment of the country’s first bourse, the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 1990—and sought to create greater uniformity in the rapidly expanding securities market. The law, which protects investor rights in shares and bonds, has undergone amendments major and minor over the years. Yet too much...

Guo Xulei/Xinhua/Zuma Press

Chinese Doubt Their Own Soft Power Venture

They Think Confucius Institutes Are a Waste of Money

Tea Leaf Nation

On September 27, Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong read aloud a letter written by President Xi Jinping at a ceremony in Beijing celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Confucius Institute (CI) program, an international chain of academic centers embedded in partner schools abroad, yet funded and operated by the Chinese government. The letter was celebratory, lauding the CIs “unremitting efforts for world peace and international cooperation.” The effort is certainly there: the reach of CIs, which teach Chinese language and culture, has grown immensely. In the program’s ten years of existence, the...

(AFP/Getty Images)

‘A Power Capable of Making Us Weep’

Journalism Under Attack

Hu Yong

This September, the editors of the online edition of the 21st Century Business Herald—a leading Chinese business newspaper based in Guangzhou and owned by Southern Media Group (Nanfang Baoye Jituan)—came under investigation on charges of extortion. The case, which the Shanghai police called “a massive extortion scheme in which a media outlet, under the pretext of performing the role of public watchdog, made millions by illegally selling coverage.” The most astonishing development yet came on September 25, when the Shanghai police arrested Shen Hao, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, along with Chen Dongyang, its general manager, in Guangdong province. The two...

Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

Rule of Law—Why Now?

A ChinaFile Conversation

Ira Belkin, Donald Clarke & more

In a recent essay, “How China’s Leaders Will Rule on the Law,” Carl Minzner looks at the question of why China’s leaders have announced they will emphasize rule of law at the upcoming Chinese Communist Party plenum slated to take place in Beijing October 20-23. Why have Party leaders chosen now to discuss the law? —The Editors...

Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

China Daddy Issues

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more

We’ve all heard about the difficulty of finding good schools in China, and know first hand about the food and air safety problems. But what about the terrors of pedestrian crossings, the dilemmas of how much trust you should inculcate in your kids, or how much abject poverty should be included in family outings? For our answers to these questions and much more, join Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn, and David Moser for this no-holds-barred and boys-only discussion of what it’s like to be a father in China.Listen...

Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

How China’s Leaders Will Rule on the Law

Carl Minzner

Last week, as the world watched the student demonstrations in Hong Kong, China’s Politburo announced the dates for the Communist Party’s annual plenary session would be from October 20-23. As in previous years, top leaders will gather in Beijing to set out a broad policy framework that will guide the work of Party and government authorities over the coming year. This year’s theme? Ruling China according to law (yifa zhiguo).This might seem an unlikely choice given the recent trajectory of Chinese politics. At the top of the system, a politicized anti-corruption purge has roiled the ranks of the élite, toppling previously untouchable officials like former security czar...

Chinese Environmentalists, in Their Own Words

Michael Zhao

Earlier this year, ChinaFile’s Environment Editor, Michael Zhao, teamed up with Phoenix Online to create a series of two-minute documentaries on the work, ideas, and aspirations of Chinese environmental advocates. The environmentalists, many of whom work in relative obscurity even within China, collect photographs and record themselves describing their efforts. They send these materials to Zhao, who edits them and then publishes them on the Phoenix website. “There are thousands of NGOs now working on an insane number of projects across China,” says Zhao. “We know people’s attention span for remote issues such as deforestation can be limited, and we hope the trailer-like format of our...

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Recent Stories



Will Asia Bank on China?


Last week The New York Times reported U.S. opposition to China's plans to launch a regional development bank to rival the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. If, as some say, the the launch is a fait accompli, should Washington focus instead on figuring how how best to...



‘We Do Not Want to Be Persuaded’


Over the past week, it has been hard to make sense of the threats and ultimatums the Hong Kong protesters have faced. On Sunday, the South China Morning Post splashed on its front page that Hong Kong had “hours to avoid tragedy.” University deans sent out urgent appeals...



Under Different Umbrellas


“Dozens of mainlanders were taken away by the police because they openly supported Occupy Central and at least ten of them have been detained…They are in Jiangxi, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, etc,” Hong Kong-based blogger and journalist Annie Zhang...




Hou Hsiao-hsien


For younger critics and audiences, Taiwanese cinema enjoys a special status, comparable with that of Italian Neorealism and the French New Wave for earlier generations, a cinema that was and is in the midst of introducing an innovative sensibility and a fresh perspective. Hou...



China’s Super Consumers


China has transformed itself from a feudal economy in the 19th century, to Mao and Communism in the 20th century, to the largest consumer market in the world by the early 21st century. China's Super Consumers explores the extraordinary birth of...




Avoiding the Blind Alley: China’s Economic Overhaul...

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...

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




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...



Collecting Insanity


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...



Chinese Dreamers


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



Evan Osnos: China’s ‘Age of Ambition’


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. 



On “Strange Stones,” a Discussion with Peter...


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....



The Wall Street Journal: Covering China Past and...


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

Presumed Guilty in China’s War on Corruption, Targets Suffer Abuses

One beating left Wang Guanglong, a midlevel official from China’s Fujian Province, partly deaf, according to his later testimony.... ...

New York Times

Thomas Sauvin’s Beijing Silvermine

Thomas Sauvin estimates that he has sifted through more than half a million images, taken by ordinary citizens, between 1985 and the early aughts, that......

New Yorker

Unrest in China Leaves 22 Dead Following Xinjiang Attack

A new ethnic clash in the restive region of Xinjiang, on China’s central Asian frontier, saw 22 people killed after Uighur assailants attacked Han Chinese......

Financial Times

The Hong Kong Protesters Who Won't Negotiate

Pro-democracy protests took a violent turn in Hong Kong, as police officers clashed with demonstrators in the territory’s Mong Kok neighborhood......


What China Means by ‘Rule of Law’

There’s plenty of evidence that China sees the rule of law in nuanced and complex ways.... ...

New York Times

The U.S. Is No Role Model in Hong Kong’s Democracy Fight

C.Y. Leung explains the protests that continue to paralyze parts of Hong Kong, after thwarting a police crackdown over the weekend: they are being supported......