• (ImagineChina)

    The True Story of Lu Xun

    Geremie R. Barmé via New York Review of Books

    1.Addressing an audience at the Hong Kong YMCA in February 1927, the writer Lu Xun (the pen name of Zhou Shuren, 1881–1936) warned that despite ten years of literary revolution and the promotion of a written vernacular language, Chinese people had still not found a voice. They were all living in what he called wushengde Zhongguo, “voiceless China.” “Youth must first transform China into a China with a voice,” he declared. “They must speak boldly, move forward courageously, forget all... Read full story>>

  • Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images

    China and the Rise of Africa’s New Autocrats

    A China in Africa Podcast

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

    Anzetse Were is a Nairobi-based international development economist and newspaper columnist who is increasingly worried about a resurgence of autocratic rule in Africa. Buoyed by the United States’ apparent receding interest in promoting democratic and civil society values around the world, Africa’s authoritarian leaders are now seemingly taking comfort in their countries’ deepening ties with China.{node, 43196}Beijing, for its part, makes a point of not meddling in the internal affairs of... Read full story>>

  • (AFP/Getty Images)

    Could Truman Have Worked With Mao?

    Two Q&As with Historian Kevin Peraino

    Kevin Peraino, Matt Schiavenza & more

    In the early months of 1949, it became increasingly clear that Mao Zedong’s Communists would win the Chinese civil war. This presented U.S. President Harry S. Truman with an unappetizing set of choices. He could either acknowledge the Communist victory and forge a modus vivendi with Beijing, which was the approach favored by his ambitious Secretary of State, Dean Acheson. Or he could work with Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek to overthrow the Communist regime, the preference of strident... Read full story>>

  • (AFP/Getty Images)

    Apple in China: WTF?

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Samuel Wade, Shaun Rein & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    In November, the non-profit watchdog Freedom House called China “the worst abuser of Internet freedom” of the 65 countries it surveyed. And yet, on December 3, Apple CEO Tim Cook keynoted China’s annual World Internet Conference. “The theme of this conference—developing a digital economy for openness and shared benefits—is a vision we at Apple share,” Cook said—this not long after the California company, under pressure from Beijing, removed from their app store in China all Virtual Private... Read full story>>

  • Thomas Peter—Pool/Getty Images

    Breaking Down Trump’s Visit to Asia

    A China in the World Podcast

    Paul Haenle & Daniel R. Russel via Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy

    What is the future of geopolitics and U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific following President Donald Trump’s first official state visit to the region? In this podcast, Paul Haenle sat down with Daniel Russel, former Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director for Asian Affairs on the National Security Council, to discuss the major outcomes of Trump’s visit, the U.S.’s newly minted Indo-Pacific strategy, and the pressing security issue of North Korea. Read full story>>

  • (Courtesy of Li Yinhe)

    Sexual Life in Modern China

    Ian Johnson via New York Review of Books

    Throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, Chinese writers grappled with the traumas of the Mao period, seeking to make sense of their suffering. As in the imperial era, most had been servants of the state, loyalists who might criticize but never seek to overthrow the system. And yet they had been persecuted by Mao, forced to labor in the fields or shovel manure for offering even the most timid opinions.Many wrote what came to be known as scar literature, recounting the tribulations of educated... Read full story>>

  • Finding Women in the State

    A Socialist Feminist Revolution in the People's Republic of China, 1949-1964

    Finding Women in the State is a provocative hidden history of socialist state feminists maneuvering behind the scenes at the core of the Chinese Communist Party. These women worked to advance gender and class equality in the early People’s Republic and fought to transform sexist norms and practices, all while facing fierce opposition from a male-dominated Chinese Communist Party leadership, from the local level to the central level. Wang Zheng extends this investigation to the cultural realm,... Read full story>>

Recent Stories

Viewpoint

11.22.17

The Accomplice in Chief

David Wertime
Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump declared victory following his 12-day Asia trip. On the campaign trail, Trump had repeatedly promised to stop making nice with his country’s adversaries; now, thanks to his efforts, he proclaimed, “America is...

Conversation

11.30.17

The Beijing Migrants Crackdown

Jeremiah Jenne, Lucy Hornby & more
After a fire in a Beijing apartment building catering to migrant workers killed at least 19 people on November 18, the city government launched a 40-day campaign to demolish the capital’s “unsafe” buildings. Many Beijing residents view the campaign...

The North Korean Nuclear Threat: The View From Beijing

Paul Haenle & Jen Psaki from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
North Korea was atop the list of priorities for President Donald Trump during his first visit to China, but it remains to be seen how much substantive progress was made on bringing parties closer to a dialogue aimed at denuclearizing the Korean...

Media

09.29.17

Trump on China

In the run-up to and during his race toward the presidency of the United States, Donald Trump made frequent statements about China, its people, and the government in Beijing, in remarks that ranged from effusive praise to outright attack, and which...

Viewpoint

11.17.17

China and the United States Are Equals. Now What?

Robert Daly
Donald Trump’s Asia trip was historic in one respect: it belatedly focused American attention on the competition between the United States and China for global primacy. China has risen, the era of uncontested American leadership has ended, and any...

Photography & Video

Depth of Field

11.20.17

Fake Girlfriends, Chengdu Rappers, and a Chow Chow Making Bank

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
Lonely dog owners in Beijing and a rented girlfriend in Fujian; the last Oroqen hunters in Heilongjiang and homegrown hip hop in Chengdu; young Chinese in an Indian tech hub and Hong Kong apartments only slightly larger than coffins—these are some...

Video

10.31.17

Down From the Mountains

Max Duncan
At 14 years old, Wang Ying doesn’t want to be a mother. She scowls darkly as her younger brother and sister squabble in the corner while she does the housework. But she grudgingly cleans up after them and cooks them a potato stew, which they eat...

Features

10.26.17

A Brooklyn Gospel Choir Goes to China

Jocelyn Ford & Yuyang Liu
Pastor Frank Haye was quietly nervous as he paced the lawn around the temporary stage at one of China’s biggest rock festivals.It was the last day of concerts by rock, electronic, and metal bands, and in a few hours, his Brooklyn gospel choir would...

Video

10.11.17

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

from 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...

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...

Books

Books

11.15.17

The Book of Swindles

Zhang Yingyu, Edited and Translated by Christopher Rea and Bruce Rusk
This is an age of deception. Con men ply the roadways. Bogus alchemists pretend to turn one piece of silver into three. Devious nuns entice young women into adultery. Sorcerers use charmed talismans for mind control and murder. A pair of dubious monks extorts money from a powerful official and then spends it on whoring. A rich student tries to bribe the chief examiner, only to hand his money to an imposter. A eunuch kidnaps boys and consumes their “essence” in an attempt to regrow his penis. These are just a few of the entertaining and surprising tales to be found in this 17th-century work, said to be the earliest Chinese collection of swindle stories.The Book of Swindles, compiled by an obscure writer from southern China, presents a fascinating tableau of criminal ingenuity. The flourishing economy of the late Ming period created overnight fortunes for merchants—and gave rise to a host of smooth operators, charlatans, forgers, and imposters seeking to siphon off some of the new wealth. The Book of Swindles, which was ostensibly written as a manual for self-protection in this shifting and unstable world, also offers an expert guide to the art of deception. Each story comes with commentary by the author, Zhang Yingyu, who expounds a moral lesson while also speaking as a connoisseur of the swindle. This volume, which contains annotated translations of just over half of the 80-odd stories in Zhang’s original collection, provides a wealth of detail on social life during the late Ming period and offers words of warning for a world in peril. —Columbia University Press{chop}

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}

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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