• Zhang Xiaowu for ChinaFile

    Playing to Win

    A Rural Chinese Town Unwinds

    Zhang Xiaowu

    Zhang Xiaowu grew up and has lived his whole life in Rui’an, where he works as a full-time art teacher and a part-time documentary photographer. Located in China’s eastern coastal Zhejiang province, Rui’an used to be predominantly rural. In 1987, as the Reform and Opening policy was taking hold, China’s State Council redesignated the county a “county-level city.” In the years since, consecutive waves of rapid urbanization have swept through the area. Industrial and commercial projects gobbled... Read full story>>

  • The Third Revolution

    Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State

    Through a wide-ranging exploration of Xi Jinping’s top political, economic, and foreign policy priorities—fighting corruption, managing the Internet, reforming the state-owned enterprise sector, improving the country’s innovation capacity, enhancing air quality, and elevating China’s presence on the global stage—Economy identifies the tensions, shortcomings, and successes of Xi’s reform efforts over the course of his first five years in office. Read full story>>

  • (VCG/Getty Images)

    One Year After They Almost Went to War, Can China and India Get Along?

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Joel Wuthnow, Selina Ho & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    One year ago, the Chinese and Indian armies faced off at Doklam, a disputed Himalayan area on the border between China, India, and the tiny kingdom of Bhutan. While the two sides didn’t go to war over the border as they did in 1962, tensions were worryingly high until Beijing and New Delhi jointly agreed to remove their troops in late August. Where are Sino-Indian relations today? And what’s the likelihood another border stand-off will erupt in the near future? Read full story>>

  • Wang He—Getty Images

    After-Shocks of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake

    Ian Johnson via New York Review of Books

    The province of Sichuan is a microcosm of China. Its east is flat, prosperous, and densely settled by ethnic Chinese. Its mountainous west is populated by poorer minorities, but possesses resources that help make the east rich.In Sichuan, the highlands’ bounty is water and silt, which rush down from the Tibetan Plateau to the plains below through an ingenious set of irrigation waterworks at the town of Dujiangyan. Soon after this system was built, some 2,300 years ago, the intensive agriculture... Read full story>>

  • Vincent Isore—IP3/Getty Images

    A World in Transition

    A China in the World Podcast

    Paul Haenle & William J. Burns via Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy

    As the world is in the midst of considerable uncertainty and transition, Ambassador William J. Burns points to the emergence of rising powers like China and India, challenges to regional order in the Middle East, and revolutions in new technologies as driving changes in the international landscape and reshaping the global economy, and he argues that international institutions and alliances must be updated to reflect new power realities and that effective diplomacy will be more important than... Read full story>>

  • Giles Clarke—Getty Images

    Somalia Aims to Be Heard at Upcoming China-Africa Mega Summit

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

    Around 50 African leaders are expected to be in Beijing in September for the upcoming Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit. While Africa’s largest and most strategically important countries will likely do very well, receiving huge financial packages, aid programs, and more, some countries will have to fight for everything they get. In this episode, Eric and Cobus speak with Dr. Hodan Osman Abdi, an advisor in China to Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, on how she plans to... Read full story>>

  • Etienne Oliveau—Getty Images

    Who’s Really Responsible for Digital Privacy in China?

    Shazeda Ahmed & Bertram Lang

    While the United States is reeling from the revelation that political consultancy Cambridge Analytica harvested data from over 87 million Facebook accounts, China’s biggest tech companies and regulators are confronting a wave of of their own customers’ concerns about digital privacy. Boundaries between the public and private sector are dissolving as Chinese tech platforms are increasingly required to march in lockstep with government imperatives, and as the state grows more reliant on tech... Read full story>>

Recent Stories

Conversation

06.04.18

How Should the World Respond to Intensifying Repression in Xinjiang?

Rian Thum, Rachel Harris & more
Deliberate, systematic human rights abuses are happening in China’s northwest. Reporting and research published in recent weeks shows that the Chinese government is targeting the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region’s roughly 11 million Muslims for “re...

Resetting China-India Relations

Paul Haenle & C. Raja Mohan from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
Following a year marked by mounting tensions between China and India, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi met in Wuhan for an informal summit in April to reset the relationship. Major points of tension dominating China-India...

Conversation

05.11.18

Do American Companies Need to Take a Stance on Taiwan?

J. Michael Cole, Frances Kitt & more
China’s airline regulator recently sent a letter to 36 international air carriers requiring them to remove from their websites references implying that Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau are not part of China. In a surprisingly direct May 5 statement, the...

Conversation

04.25.18

Does China Want the Koreas to Reconcile?

Bo Zhiyue, Zhang Baohui & more
This Friday, April 27, the South Korean and North Korean leaders will meet in the demilitarized zone dividing their estranged countries to discuss improving relations and possibly even formally ending the Korean War, which has continued in the form...

Features

05.11.18

Central and Regional Leadership for Xinjiang Policy in Xi’s Second Term

Jessica Batke from China Leadership Monitor
After the 19th Party Congress last fall and the recent “two meetings” in March, the Party-state has now completed its quinquennial leadership turnover and announced a major restructuring of a number of Party and state entities. This institutional...

Photography & Video

Video

05.07.18

Ou Chen’s Good Run

Guo Rongfei from Arrow Factory Video
The number of Chinese racers has risen dramatically—a phenomenon that Chinese media call a “marathon fever.” Obed Tiony, a Kenyan studying at Shanghai University, works as an agent for some 300 runners from Kenya and its neighbor Ethiopia. Tiony’s...

Books

Books

06.13.18

Censored

Margaret E. Roberts
Princeton University Press: As authoritarian governments around the world develop sophisticated technologies for controlling information, many observers have predicted that these controls would be ineffective because they are easily thwarted and evaded by savvy Internet users. In Censored, Margaret Roberts demonstrates that even censorship that is easy to circumvent can still be enormously effective. Taking advantage of digital data harvested from the Chinese Internet and leaks from China’s Propaganda Department, this book sheds light on how and when censorship influences the Chinese public.Roberts finds that much of censorship in China works not by making information impossible to access but by requiring those seeking information to spend extra time and money for access. By inconveniencing users, censorship diverts the attention of citizens and powerfully shapes the spread of information. When Internet users notice blatant censorship, they are willing to compensate for better access. But subtler censorship, such as burying search results or introducing distracting information on the web, is more effective because users are less aware of it. Roberts challenges the conventional wisdom that online censorship is undermined when it is incomplete and shows instead how censorship’s porous nature is used strategically to divide the public.Drawing parallels between censorship in China and the way information is manipulated in the United States and other democracies, Roberts reveals how Internet users are susceptible to control even in the most open societies. Demonstrating how censorship travels across countries and technologies, Censored gives an unprecedented view of how governments encroach on the media consumption of citizens.{chop}

Books

05.03.18

High-Speed Empire

Will Doig
Columbia Global Reports: The story of the world’s most audacious infrastructure project.Less than a decade ago, China did not have a single high-speed train in service. Today, it owns a network of 14,000 miles of high-speed rail, far more than the rest of the world combined. Now, China is pushing its tracks into Southeast Asia, reviving a century-old colonial fantasy of an imperial railroad stretching to Singapore, and kicking off a key piece of the One Belt One Road initiative, which has a price tag of U.S.$1 trillion and reaches inside the borders of more than 60 countries.The Pan-Asia Railway portion of One Belt One Road could transform Southeast Asia, bringing shiny Chinese cities, entire economies, and waves of migrants where none existed before. But if it doesn’t succeed, that would be a cautionary tale about whether a new superpower, with levels of global authority unimaginable just a decade ago, can pull entire regions into its orbit simply with tracks, sweat, and lots of money. Journalist Will Doig traveled to Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore to chronicle the dramatic transformations taking place—and to find out whether ordinary people have a voice in this moment of economic, political, and cultural collision.{chop}

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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