• (Archive Photos/Getty Images)

    Trump’s Incredibly Risky Taiwan Policy

    J. Stapleton Roy

    So-called friends of Taiwan in the United States are putting the island at risk as never before. The Taiwan Travel Act, passed unanimously by both houses of Congress, and signed by President Trump on March 16, 2018 without reservations, could gravely erode the distinction between the United States’ official relationship with the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.) and its unofficial relationship with Taiwan. Read full story>>

  • Government Cartoon Portrays ‘Foreign NGOs’ as National Security Concern

    As part of the third annual “National Security Education Day” on April 15, several Chinese government institutions released a cartoon warning citizens to be on alert for attempts at foreign political infiltration. The cartoon shows a foreign NGO employee meeting with a Chinese workers’ organization, paying for worker trainings abroad, organizing protests, and providing extra money to his contact at the Chinese organization. Following the cartoon panels is an article describing how foreign spies... Read full story>>

  • Yuyang Liu for ChinaFile

    A Ban on Gay Content, Stopped in Its Tracks

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Siodhbhra Parkin, Steven Jiang & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    On April 13, China’s major microblogging platform Sina Weibo announced that, in order to create “a sunny and harmonious” environment, it would remove videos and comics “with pornographic implications, promoting bloody violence, or related to homosexuality.” On April 16, after a public outcry, Sina reversed the ban on gay-themed content. Although Beijing decriminalized homosexuality in 1997, and stopped classifying it as a mental disorder in 2001, a 2016 United Nations Development Program survey... Read full story>>

  • Per-Anders Pettersson—Getty Images

    Angola: China’s Risky Gamble in Africa

    A China in Africa Podcast

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

    China has loaned Angola an estimated U.S.$60 billion dollars since the two countries established diplomatic relations back in 1983, making it one of the top destinations for Chinese financing in Africa. Angola is especially attractive for the Chinese because of its abundant oil reserves that it uses to pay back all those loans. Read full story>>

  • Emmanuel Wong—Getty Images

    Has Xi Jinping Changed China? Not Really

    Teng Biao

    Xi Jinping has had an eventful early spring. After he abolished presidential term limits and was unanimously elected—if it can be called an election—to serve another term in that post, Xi got the world’s attention again by holding a meeting with Kim Jong-un. Xi was also in the spotlight when he addressed the 2018 Boao Forum for Asia, promising more openness in the face of a looming trade war. Many observers now seem convinced that Xi has changed China and maybe, even, the international order... Read full story>>

  • Wang He for ChinaFile

    23 Days, 1,300 Miles, and Some Very High Expectations

    A Father and Son Bike to Lhasa

    Wang He

    “We were at an altitude of 15,000 feet on Mount Haizi. It started to hail. The temperature dropped to 40 degrees. We were only wearing t-shirts. They didn’t stop biking.” It was photographer Wang He’s second time on the Tibetan Plateau. The first hadn’t gone so well—Wang had ended up in a hospital for altitude sickness. But if he worried about whether he’d make it through his 23-day shoot along one of the world’s most treacherous roads, he had a harder time imagining how his subjects, 42-year-... Read full story>>

  • Mikhail Svetlov—Getty Images

    Putin’s Fourth Term

    A China in the World Podcast

    Paul Haenle & Alexander Gabuev via Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy

    Vladimir Putin was elected to his fourth term as president of Russia on March 18, 2018. His continued leadership has important implications for the international community, including China. Read full story>>

Recent Stories

Conversation

04.11.18

China’s Communist Party Takes (Even More) Control of the Media

Stanley Rosen, Chris Fenton & more
China’s Communist Party made moves last month to solidify and formalize its (already substantial) control over the country’s media. China’s main state-run broadcasters are to be consolidated into a massive new “Voice of China” under the management...

Viewpoint

04.06.18

I Thought Studying Journalism outside of China Would Open Doors. Now I’m Not So Sure.

Shen Lu
Six years ago as I was about to begin my undergraduate career at The University of Iowa majoring in journalism, a fellow Chinese student who’d switched her major from communications studies to business ruthlessly doubted my choice. “How on earth...

Viewpoint

03.31.18

Nixon in China, Trump in Pyongyang

Sergey Radchenko
On March 25, the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un arrived in Beijing in an armored train for talks with Chinese Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping, the first known time he traveled outside his country since his father and predecessor died in...

Excerpts

03.31.18

The U.S.-Made Chinese Future That Wasn’t

Daniel Kurtz-Phelan
Soon, such a scene would become unthinkable. It was a cold morning in early March 1946, a rocky airstrip laid along a broad, barren valley in China’s northwest, lined by mountains of tawny dust blown from the Gobi Desert. Six months earlier, one war...

Viewpoint

03.27.18

Secretary Pompeo’s First China Briefing

Robert Daly
Donald Trump’s national security documents frame China as the United States’ greatest long-term threat. This declaration caps a historic shift in America’s strategic disposition toward China. From the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1979,...

Photography & Video

Depth of Field

04.02.18

Slow Trains, Shrinking Boomtowns, and Men Who Know Ice

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
In this issue of Depth of Field, we take a ride on one of China’s slowest trains, meet the workers who cut the ice for Harbin’s winter festival, and follow two mentally disabled “sent-down youth” on a rare trip home to visit their families. Also:...

Depth of Field

02.20.18

When You Give a Kid a Camera

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
This dispatch of photojournalism from China cuts across a broad spectrum of society, from film screenings in Beijing for the visually impaired to an acrobatics school 200 miles south, in Puyang, Henan province, and from children in rural Sichuan to...

Photo Gallery

12.19.17

Announcing The 2017 Abigail Cohen Fellows

In 2014, ChinaFile and the Magnum Foundation founded the Abigail Cohen Fellowship in Documentary Photography to support photographers working to address pressing social issues impacting China and its relations with the world that have not received...

Books

Books

04.12.18

China’s Great Wall of Debt

Dinny McMahon
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Over the course of a decade spent reporting on the ground in China as a financial journalist, Dinny McMahon gradually came to the conclusion that the widely held belief in China’s inevitable economic ascent is dangerously wrong.In this unprecedented deep dive, McMahon shows how, lurking behind the illusion of prosperity, China’s economic growth has been built on a staggering mountain of debt. While stories of newly built but empty cities, white elephant state projects, and a byzantine shadow banking system have all become a regular fixture in the press in recent years, McMahon goes beyond the headlines to explain how such waste has been allowed to flourish, and why one of the most powerful governments in the world has been at a loss to stop it.Through the stories of ordinary Chinese citizens, McMahon tries to make sense of the unique—and often bizarre—mechanics of the Chinese economy, whether it be the state’s addiction to appropriating land from poor farmers, why a Chinese entrepreneur decided it was cheaper to move his yarn factory to South Carolina, why ambitious Chinese mayors build ghost cities, or why the Chinese bureaucracy was able to stare down Beijing’s attempts to break up the state’s pointless monopoly over the distribution of table salt.Debt, entrenched vested interests, a frenzy of speculation, and an aging population are all pushing China toward an economic reckoning. China’s Great Wall of Debt unravels an incredibly complex and opaque economy, one whose fortunes—for better or worse—will shape the globe like never before.{chop}

Books

03.29.18

Patriot Number One

Lauren Hilgers
Crown Publishing Group: In 2014, in a snow-covered house in Flushing, Queens, a village revolutionary from Southern China considered his options. Zhuang Liehong was the son of a fisherman, the former owner of a small tea shop, and the spark that had sent his village into an uproar—pitting residents against a corrupt local government. Under the alias Patriot Number One, he had stoked a series of pro-democracy protests, hoping to change his home for the better. Instead, sensing an impending crackdown, Zhuang and his wife, Little Yan, left their infant son with relatives and traveled to America. With few contacts and only a shaky grasp of English, they had to start from scratch.In Patriot Number One, Hilgers follows this dauntless family through a world hidden in plain sight: a byzantine network of employment agencies and language schools, of underground asylum brokers and illegal dormitories that Flushing’s Chinese community relies on for survival. As the irrepressibly opinionated Zhuang and the more pragmatic Little Yan pursue legal status and struggle to reunite with their son, we also meet others piecing together a new life in Flushing. Tang, a democracy activist who was caught up in the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989, is still dedicated to his cause after more than a decade in exile. Karen, a college graduate whose mother imagined a bold American life for her, works part-time in a nail salon as she attends vocational school and refuses to look backward.With a novelist’s eye for character and detail, Hilgers captures the joys and indignities of building a life in a new country—and the stubborn allure of the American dream.{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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