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 Dream.” As the new central motto of Chinese politics, introduced by President Xi Jinping in 2013, it is an expression of the Communist Party’s attempt to acknowledge the aspirations of its people. At the same time, wittingly or not, it is a provocative invitation to the public imagination.In a country that has long defined its interests in collective terms, people are no longer waiting for their goals and...

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Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP/Getty Images

A Chinese Town’s Imported Cambodian Brides


It is a hot and sticky midsummer day in a small village along the Chang River in the eastern province of Jiangxi. The most popular spot is in front of the local grocery where a few women are playing mahjong as children chase each other around. Sitting separately are two young women, whispering. With darker complexions, deeper eye sockets, and thicker lips, they look different from the locals. One of them wears a pair of high-heeled shoes, a short T-shirt and tight jeans, out of place with the more traditional local environment. The other woman is pregnant and is playing with her big-screen smartphone. “They are our Cambodian brides,” says one local woman. “Every...

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Green Electronics: A U.S.-China Maker Challenge

Making It in China and the U.S.

A Q&A on the Green Electronics Maker Challenge with Founder Emily Parker

Jonathan Landreth & Emily Parker

Emily Parker is a creator of Green Electronics: A U.S.-China Maker Challenge. The Green Electronics Challenge was an unprecedented collaboration between the New America Foundation, Arizona State University, Slate Magazine, China’s Tsinghua University, and hackerspaces in the U.S. and China. The U.S. and China are both big e-waste producers. U.S. and Chinese organizers addressed this shared challenge by inviting the community of inventors who today call themselves makers to redefine the concept of waste. The Green Electronics Challenge asked people to use old electronics to make something new. The...

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William West/AFP/Getty Images

Simon Leys Remembered

A ChinaFile Conversation

Isabel Hilton, Perry Link & more

Isabel Hilton: When I heard the news of the death of Pierre Ryckmans, better known by his pen name, Simon Leys, I began to hunt in my bookshelves for the now yellowing and grimy copies of Chinese Shadows and The Chairman’s New Clothes: Mao and the Cultural Revolution, both published in English translation in 1977. I took them down with the pleasure of encountering an old friend and the guilt of realizing how many years have passed since we first talked. Chinese Shadows was based on...

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Yan Cong

The Bard in Beijing

How Shakespeare Made it in China

Sheila Melvin

At the end of a rollicking production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream—directed by Tim Robbins and staged in China in June by the Los Angeles-based Actors’ Gang—the director and actors returned to the stage for a dialogue with the Beijing audience.The questions ran the normal gamut from accents to costumes to staging, and then one woman asked which Shakespeare the Gang planned to perform next. The affable Robbins turned the question around, asking what she would like to see.“Macbeth,” came the answer. ...

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(AFP/Getty Images)

China Grows An Interest in Organic Foods

A Q&A with Chang Tianle of the Beijing Farmers’ Market

Michael Zhao

Late last month, news broke that a major Chinese supplier of American fast food brands was peddling meat that violated food safety standards.How do such scandals affect the way people in China feed themselves and their families? Chang Tianle, a former researcher and China Program Officer for the Minneapolis-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy who now runs food cooperatives for organic farmers in Beijing talked to ChinaFile’s Michael Zhao.Michael Zhao: What was your reaction to the news?Chang Tianle:...

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Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

How Tianjin’s Top Cop Built Web of Corruption Over 40 Years


The fall of the public security chief, Wu Changshun, of the northern port city of Tianjin has rocked the local public security system and shed light on the graft network cultivated by Wu over 40 years. The Central Discipline Inspection Commission (CDIC) said in a statement on July 20 that Wu, chief of the Tianjin Public Security Bureau and vice chairman of the city’s political advisory body, was being investigated for “serious discipline violations.” The phrase usually means corruption. Wu, 60, is a veteran Tianjin police officer. He has spent 44 years in the public security system and was the head of the city’s public security bureau for 11 years...

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Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

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Photography and Video



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ChinaFile Presents



Evan Osnos: China’s ‘Age of Ambition’


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Around the web

Apple Stores User Data in China.

What does it mean for cybersecurity? ...

The Christian Science Monitor

China Tells Citizens to Walk, Bike, and Snitch in “United Struggle” to Breathe Easier

The environmental ministry has published a set of guidelines for citizens, which encourage them not only to reduce their personal environmental imprint, but ...


China Denounces Pet Dogs As Filthy Imports from West

In a recent People’s Daily op-ed, pet dogs are referred to as a “crude and ludicrious imitation… of a Western lifestyle” and a blight on “social ...

NBC News

China Will Ban All Coal Use In Beijing By 2020

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Business Insider

In Twist, China Stock Market is Haven Amid Storm

When you think of safe-haven investments, Chinese stocks don’t normally come to mind....

USA Today

‘Transformers’ in China: The Hidden Cost of a $300 Million Hit

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The Hollywood Reporter