David Wertime is the co-founder of Tea Leaf Nation, an English-language website that analyzes Chinese media. Founded in December 2011, Tea Leaf Nation was acquired in September 2013 by the Foreign Policy Group, a division of the Washington Post Company.

David is also a ChinaFile Fellow at the Center on U.S.-China Relations. His writing has appeared in Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, and Huffington Post. He is a fellow at the Truman National Security Project and a full-time employee of the FP Group.

Before founding Tea Leaf Nation, Wertime practiced law in New York and Hong Kong. He first encountered China as a Peace Corps Volunteer, serving in Fuling, China from 2001 to 2003.

Wertime is a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School. He was born in Abington, Pennsylvania and raised in suburban Philadelphia. He currently lives in Washington, D.C.

Last Updated: November 7, 2016

Conversation

07.14.17

Liu Xiaobo, 1955-2017

Perry Link, Thomas Kellogg & more
When news this morning reached us that Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo had died, we invited all past contributors to the ChinaFile Conversation to reflect on his life and on his death. Liu died, still in state-custody, eight years into his 11-...

Conversation

02.10.17

Did Xi Just Outmaneuver Trump?

M. Taylor Fravel, Isaac Stone Fish & more
On the evening of February 9, U.S. President Donald Trump had what the White House described in a terse readout as a “lengthy” and “cordial” telephone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping. That alone is newsworthy, as the...

Media

01.19.17

The U.S. Media’s Unfortunate Obsession with One Beijing Rag

David Wertime
On January 11, during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson raised eyebrows in Washington when he said, “We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that first the...

Viewpoint

12.09.16

I Think That Chinese Official Really Liked Me!

David Wertime & James Palmer
“Friendship” is everywhere in China, at least when it comes to dealing with foreigners. International societies are friendship associations. The stores once accessible only to foreign currency holders were called Friendship Stores. Provincial cities...

Media

09.14.16

The Chinese Democratic Experiment that Never Was

David Wertime
Protesters in southern China are up in arms. They feel that Beijing’s promises that they’d be able to vote for their own local leaders have been honored in the breach. They’re outraged at the show of force in the face of peaceful protest, and...

Conversation

07.20.16

How Should the Republican Party Approach China Policy?

Peter Navarro, Patrick Chovanec & more
On Tuesday, delegates to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, chose Donald J. Trump as their nominee for President of the United States. We asked a range of contributors how the Republican Party should approach China policy.

Conversation

06.30.16

Where Is China’s Internet Headed?

David Schlesinger, Jeremy Goldkorn & more
Lu Wei, the often combative Chinese official known as China’s “Internet Czar,” will step down, and is to be replaced by a former deputy of Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The personnel change comes after a period of mounting restrictions on China’s...

Media

05.20.16

The Chinese Trolls Who Pump Out 488 Million Fake Social Media Posts

David Wertime
They are the most hated group in Chinese cyberspace. They are, to hear their ideological opponents tell it, “fiercely ignorant,” keen to “insert themselves in everything,” and preen as if they were “spokesmen for the country.” Westerners bemoan...

Conversation

04.06.16

China in the Panama Papers

Andrew J. Nathan, Bill Bishop & more
The overseas wealth of several relatives of senior Chinese leaders has come to light in an International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) report, part of the analysis by a group of media outlets of more than 11 million documents leaked...

Media

04.05.16

Chinese Censors Rush to Make ‘Panama Papers’ Disappear

David Wertime
On April 3, the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit International Committee of Investigative Journalists dropped what struck many as a bombshell: news that a leaked trove of 11.5 million previously secret files from Panama-based law firm Mossack...

Media

12.30.15

After Deadly Chinese Landslide, Word Games Begin

David Wertime
On December 20, a tidal wave of red dirt and construction waste descended on Guangming New District, part of the Chinese southern megacity of Shenzhen, burying whole buildings and sending residents scrambling in fright. Those facts, captured in...

Conversation

12.15.15

Can an Alibaba ‘Morning Post’ Aid China’s Image Overseas?

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, David Wertime & more
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is buying the Hong Kong media group of the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the leading independent English-language newspaper in the former British colony where freedom of the press has resisted control by the...

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How can a little girl be a “prostitute?” Many in China are asking this question after a set of government officials in Lueyang, Shaanxi province, were caught having sex with a minor but found guilty of the lesser crime of “patronizing an underage prostitute” (嫖宿幼女罪) rather than statutory

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