• Mari Bastashevski for ChinaFile

    The Choreographed Global Journey of Your Household Products

    A Glimpse into the Massive System Powering U.S.-China Trade

    Mari Bastashevski

    U.S.-China trade is not merely a political question; it exists within a massive system that has been built over decades, the accretive results of countless choices by governments, businesses, consumers, and workers. It is at once a heaving, Brobdingnagian mass of steel and plastic, and a finely choreographed dance among itinerant factory workers, a lonely Filipino crew at sea, and countless other human beings who have found themselves in what most closely resembles an undeclared state, one... Read full story>>

  • (TPG/Getty Images)

    The Taxman Cometh for Fan Bingbing. So How Widespread Is Tax Evasion in China?

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Wei Cui, Donald Clarke & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    Mega-famous Chinese actress Fan Bingbing emerged from months of silence to admit on Weibo that she had evaded taxes and owed over U.S.$100 million worth of civil fines to Chinese authorities. In a remarkable apology, Fan wrote that, “without good national policies, without the love of the people, there is no Fan Bingbing.” Fan’s declaration follows revelations that she and other stars used “yin-yang” contracts, which involve submitting false incomes for movie deals to the tax bureau. Read full story>>

  • Lintao Zhang—Getty Images

    ‘WeChat Is Not a Land outside the Law’

    How to Read China’s Regulations on Party Members’ Online Behavior

    David Bandurski

    The second revision of the Chinese Communist Party’s internal discipline regulations in less than three years was introduced in August. The revised regulations are not dramatically different from the previous 2015 revisions. Not in the sense, at least, of adding explicit new restrictions on the conduct of Party members. The bulk of the new language has to do with broader ideological principles—and, more specifically, with the formulations around which Xi Jinping has sought to construct and... Read full story>>

  • Mario Tama—Getty Images

    How Will China Respond to Global Concerns about its Trade and Economic Policies?

    A China in the World Podcast

    Paul Haenle & Da Wei via Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy

    Official Chinese narratives about the U.S.-China trade war have not included Chinese reflection or discussion of what role China’s own policies have played in creating trade tensions. Many of the concerns on structural issues, such as market access, intellectual property rights, forced technology transfer, and China’s industrial policies, are of common concern for the international community. Casting these concerns only in the U.S.-China bilateral context leads to narratives in China that... Read full story>>

  • Kevin Frayer—Getty Images

    How the Foreign NGO Law Has Affected International Adoption

    Jasmine I-Shin Su

    As a result of applying the Foreign NGO Law on foreign adoption agencies, since July 2017 the Chinese government has prevented foreign adoption agencies from legally filing temporary activities in China, and has effectively shut down at least three major official programs that in the past have helped to facilitate international adoption. Read full story>>

  • Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images

    Is America Overreacting to the Threat of Chinese Influence?

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Isaac Stone Fish, Taisu Zhang & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    American civil and political discourse has seen a growing number of reports about worrying Chinese governmental influence in the United States. Most recently, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence decried the “malign influence” of China in the United States, via students, politicians, and corporations acting at Beijing’s direction, and sometimes with Beijing’s money. And the White House reportedly considered a blanket denial of visas for Chinese students in America, who currently number over 350,000. Read full story>>

  • Li Junhui for ChinaFile

    Reform or Ruin: Chinese Cities on the Edge

    Li Junhui

    China’s rapid industrialization has both led to, and been driven by, resource cultivation and extraction of breathtaking scope. But what happens when the resources run out?For many Chinese cities, local natural resources are a wellspring of jobs, not to mention pride—just as West Virginia has its coal towns, so too does the city of Baotou have its iron ore. But fragility often follows, as downturns in supply or demand send shockwaves through the very cities that rely on them. Without... Read full story>>

  • (ImagineChina)

    Here Are the Fortune 500 Companies Doing Business in Xinjiang

    News reports from the western Chinese region of Xinjiang have described alarming, widespread, and worsening violations of the human rights of its predominantly Muslim, ethnically Turkic inhabitants, primarily the region’s approximately 11 million ethnic Uighurs. These include stifling surveillance measures on Xinjiang streets and in Uighur homes, and the arbitrary detention of perhaps over one million Uighurs in hastily built camps for the purpose of “transformation through education.” How do... Read full story>>

Recent Stories



Banning Chinese Students is Not in the U.S. National Interest

Chang Chiu & Thomas Kellogg
President Donald Trump has made no secret of his desire to radically revamp America’s immigration policies. Indeed, his family separation policies, which sparked nationwide protests and public revulsion after they were rolled out in May 2018, were...



What Satellite Images Can Show Us about ‘Re-education’ Camps in Xinjiang

Jessica Batke
Claims that “re-education” camps are merely vocational training centers seem even less credible after one looks at the work of Shawn Zhang. A law student focusing on jurisprudence at the University of British Columbia in Canada, in May Zhang began...



Is the Trade War Hurting Xi Jinping Politically?

Roselyn Hsueh, Andrew J. Nathan & more
What are the domestic politics for Xi Jinping of a trade war? How much is the trade war actually hurting China’s economy? And what other effects is this having on China, and on Xi’s ability to govern?



Reporting from Xinjiang

On September 20, 2018, ChinaFile and the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) co-hosted a discussion with BuzzFeed reporter Megha Rajagopalan on her reporting on state-sponsored ethnic and religious repression in Xinjiang and, in particular, on...



Should the Vatican Compromise with China?

Pamela Kyle Crossley, Francesco Sisci & more
Amidst a crackdown on Christianity in China, on September 22 the Vatican and Beijing provisionally reached a major agreement: Pope Francis will recognize seven excommunicated bishops Beijing appointed, in exchange for more influence on who Beijing...

Photography & Video



From Pimp to Politician

Guo Rongfei from Arrow Factory Video
Walking through Kabukichō, a densely packed red-light district in Tokyo, one sometime spots 58-year-old Li Xiaomu, eager to point tourists to a good time. Born in the city of Changsha, Hunan province, Li moved to Tokyo in 1988 to study fashion...



The Window

Zhou Na
I have spent three years collecting accounts and examining how survivors and families have coped since that traumatic event. I document the lingering pain, to resist public forgetting and indifference. Hundreds of photographs bear witness to the...

Depth of Field


Staying on Point in Rural China

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
In this edition of Depth of Field: aspiring ballerinas, what’s beneath the gilt in a rich Zhejiang town, worn out doctors, disappearing schools, melting snow, data farms, and the powerful appeal of dancing outdoors.




Haunted by Chaos

Sulmaan Wasif Khan
Harvard University Press: Before the Chinese Communist Party came to power, China lay broken and fragmented. Today, it is a force on the global stage, and yet its leaders have continued to be haunted by the past. Drawing on an array of sources, Sulmaan Wasif Khan chronicles the grand strategies that have sought not only to protect China from aggression but also to ensure it would never again experience the powerlessness of the late Qing and Republican eras.{node, 49171}The dramatic variations in China’s modern history have obscured the commonality of purpose that binds the country’s leaders. Analyzing the calculus behind their decision making, Khan explores how they wove diplomatic, military, and economic power together to keep a fragile country safe in a world they saw as hostile. Dangerous and shrewd, Mao Zedong made China whole and succeeded in keeping it so, while the caustic, impatient Deng Xiaoping dragged China into the modern world. Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao served as cautious custodians of the Deng legacy, but the powerful and deeply insecure Xi Jinping has shown an assertiveness that has raised both fear and hope across the globe.For all their considerable costs, China’s grand strategies have been largely successful. But the country faces great challenges today. Its population is aging, its government is undermined by corruption, its neighbors are arming out of concern over its growing power, and environmental degradation threatens catastrophe. A question Haunted by Chaos raises is whether China’s time-tested approach can respond to the looming threats of the 21st century.{chop}



Imperial Twilight

Stephen Platt
Alfred A. Knopf: As China reclaims its position as a world power, Imperial Twilight looks back to tell the story of the country’s last age of ascendance and how it came to an end in the 19th-century Opium War.When Britain launched its first war on China in 1839, pushed into hostilities by profiteering drug merchants and free-trade interests, it sealed the fate of what had long been seen as the most prosperous and powerful empire in Asia, if not the world. But internal problems of corruption, popular unrest, and dwindling finances had weakened China far more than was commonly understood, and the war would help set in motion the eventual fall of the Qing dynasty—which, in turn, would lead to the rise of nationalism and communism in the 20th century. As one of the most potent turning points in the country’s modern history, the Opium War has since come to stand for everything that today’s China seeks to put behind it.In this dramatic, epic story, award-winning historian Stephen Platt sheds new light on the early attempts by Western traders and missionaries to “open” China—traveling mostly in secret beyond Canton, the single port where they were allowed—even as China’s imperial rulers were struggling to manage their country’s decline and Confucian scholars grappled with how to use foreign trade to China’s advantage. The book paints an enduring portrait of an immensely profitable and mostly peaceful meeting of civilizations at Canton over the long term that was destined to be shattered by one of the most shockingly unjust wars in the annals of imperial history. Brimming with a fascinating cast of British, Chinese, and American individuals, this riveting narrative of relations between China and the West has important implications for today’s uncertain and ever-changing political climate.{chop}




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...



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...