Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

‘What’s So Wrong with Splitting up?’

Netizens Use the Scottish Referendum to Discuss Democracy in China

Tea Leaf Nation & David Wertime

It reads like an Orwellian threat to all Scots: “The English government needs to immediately commence political thought education, and Scotland needs to be ruled by someone patriotic. Strike hard against separatist forces! Let every department at every level require assiduous study of David Cameron’s speeches and thought, and properly educate the masses.” In fact, it’s nothing more than satire on Weibo, China’s Twitter, poking direct fun at Chinese agitprop and a Beijing declaration...

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Joshua Frank

Collecting Insanity

Joshua Frank

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 to what is absent in China’s self-presentation is the subject of Joshua Frank’s short film “Collecting Insanity.” Frank tours the Jianchuan Museum Cluster, of Fan Jianchuan, an ex-official and real estate magnate, in the town of Anren, near Chengdu. The group of exhibits, named after Fan himself, display their owner’s collection of millions of historical artifacts, gathered over a lifetime of obsessive...

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Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

More Exploitation, More Happiness

How Netizens Responded to a Deadly Factory Explosion

Kevin Slaten

It was one of the deadliest industrial disasters in recent Chinese history. On August 2, a massive metal dust explosion killed 75 workers and injured another 186 at a factory in Kunshan, in Jiangsu province, that supplied wheels to General Motors. Asphyxiation killed more than 40 people almost immediately as oxygen in the production facility was consumed in an instant. Many of those who escaped suffered severe burns across their entire bodies as the flames instantly ignited the dust that covered their clothes and skin. The explosion, like many...

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(China Photos/Getty Images)

Grappling with Ammonia in China’s Haze

Farms and Cars Contribute to Rising Levels of Noxious Gas


Chicken farmers and auto designers follow different career paths, but soon both may be changing how they do their jobs as part of a campaign to clean up China’s polluted air. Emissions from poultry waste and auto engines alike can contain potentially harmful levels of ammonia, a colorless gas with a pungent smell that’s getting new attention as part of the country’s battle against air pollution. In August, the Ministry of Environmental Protection took a major step toward addressing the problem by issuing the central government’s first-ever guidelines for ammonia emissions. Spearheading the drafting of Technical Guidelines for Compiling an...

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Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images

Is a Trade War with China Looming?

A ChinaFile Conversation

Arthur R. Kroeber & Donald Clarke

As Alibaba gets ready to sell shares on Wall Street, U.S. investors will be focused on Chinese companies getting a fair shake here in America even as some big U.S. brand names (Microsoft, Chrysler, et al) are being shaken down by China’s newly tough antitrust law. What with Caixin editor Hu Shuli’s call for fairness last week and the U.S. Chamber’s threat of a complaint at the WTO, shouldn’t...

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Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

China’s Tough New Internet Rules Explained

Hu Yong

On August 7, the State Internet Information Office issued a new set of guidelines entitled “Provisional Regulations for the Development and Management of Instant Messaging Tools and Public Information Services.” These regulations require that instant messaging service providers who engage in “public information service activities” obtain “Internet news service qualifications”; that users of instant messaging tools authenticate their own identities before registering; that users who open public accounts in order to provide “public information services” undergo “examination and verification” by the instant...

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(AFP/Getty Images)

The Dark Side of the Boom

China’s Economic Rise Has Sunk its People into Pollution and Health Crises

chinadialogue & Isabel Hilton

Just over a year ago, in July 2013, a report published in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, put the health impacts of air pollution in China into an unusually clear framework: residents of south China, the report said, could expect to live five years longer than their 500 million compatriots who live north of the Huai River. For the authors, researchers at Peking University, Tsinghua University, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the reason was simple: north of the river, the legacy of previous government subsidies is the predominance of coal fired heating systems that see people through the harsh northern winters....

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Recent Stories



Hong Kong—Now What?


David Schlesinger:Hong Kong’s tragedy is that its political consciousness began to awaken precisely at the time when its leverage with China was at its lowest ebb.Where once China needed Hong Kong as an entrepôt, legal center, financial center, talent center, and education...

South Africa to Dalai Lama: ‘You’re Not Welcome...


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Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

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Distribution of Metals in Soils From Uncultivated Land...


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Photography and Video



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ChinaFile Presents



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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

Uighur Scholar Ilham Tohti Goes on Trial in China on Separatist Charges

A conviction of Ilham Tohti for separatism could result in the death penalty, but in his case life imprisonment is likely to be the maximum punishment becaus...

The New York Times

With Much at Stake, Chinese Leader Visits India

China has the ability to channel billions of dollars into Indian infrastructure and manufacturing projects, allowing Mr....

The New York Times

Report Says The iPhone 6 Won’t Be In China Until 2015

There was a brief post on Apple’s website that said the devices would be available in China on September 26th, but that post has since been ...

Business Insider

China, the Climate and the Fate of the Planet

If the world’s biggest polluter doesn’t radically reduce the amount of coal it burns, nothing anyone does to stabilize the climate will matt...

Rolling Stone

Q. and A.: Yong Zhao on Education and Authoritarianism in China

Yong Zhao, a professor of education at the University of Oregon, is the author of “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Edu...

The New York Times

Alibaba’s IPO and the Hypocrisy in U.S.-China Economic Relations

While Alibaba is readying its massive U.S.-based IPO, Chinese authorities are carrying out tough anti-monopoly enforcement actions against well-known U.S.&nb...