The ChinaFile Conversation is a weekly discussion of China news, from a group of the world’s leading China experts.

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...

Conversation

04.18.18

A Ban on Gay Content, Stopped in Its Tracks

Siodhbhra Parkin, Steven Jiang & more
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...

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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...

Conversation

03.28.18

Kim Jong-un Visits Beijing

Sung-Yoon Lee, Ankit Panda & more
After two days of rumors, on Wednesday March 28, the official news agencies of China and North Korea announced that North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un had just completed a visit to Beijing. The “unofficial visit,” as Xinhua put it, was Kim’s first...

Conversation

03.20.18

What Is the Significance of China’s #MeToo Movement?

Aaron Halegua, Kevin Lin & more
As the #MeToo movement has swept America, it has also made waves in greater China. On the mainland, the most widely publicized incident involved Luo Xixi’s allegation in a January 2018 Weibo post that her professor at Beihang University, Chen Xiaowu...

Conversation

03.13.18

When Trump and Kim Meet, What Will Xi Do?

Zha Daojiong, Sergey Radchenko & more
On March 8, South Korea’s National Security Advisor announced that Donald Trump had agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un by May. Although now-ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson previously downplayed the announcement, a summit...

Conversation

03.06.18

China’s Military Spending

Dhruva Jaishankar, Dennis J. Blasko & more
On March 5, during the opening of the National People’s Congress, China’s annual parliament, Beijing announced it plans to spend U.S.$175 billion on its military in 2018, an 8.1 percent rise from 2017. China’s military budget is the world’s second...

Conversation

03.02.18

How Will Trump’s Tariffs Affect U.S.-China Relations?

Derek Scissors, Donald Clarke & more
Arguing that America is harmed by other countries’ trade practices, President Donald Trump said on March 1 that the U.S. will impose a new 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum. “People have no idea how badly...

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02.25.18

Xi Won’t Go

Richard McGregor, Taisu Zhang & more
In a surprise Sunday move, Beijing announced that the Communist Party leadership wants to abolish the two-term limit for China’s president and vice president, potentially paving the way for China’s 64-year-old President Xi Jinping to stay in power...

Conversation

02.15.18

Is American Policy toward China Due for a ‘Reckoning’?

Charles Edel, Elizabeth Economy & more
Former diplomats Kurt M. Campbell and Ely Ratner argue that United States policy toward China, in administrations of both parties, has relied in the past on a mistaken confidence in America’s ability to “mold China to the United States’ liking.”...

Conversation

02.05.18

Is the Belt and Road Anti-Democratic?

Nadège Rolland, Tim Summers & more
During her visit to Beijing, Shanghai, and Wuhan January 31-February 2, Prime Minister Theresa May attempted to improve her country’s trade relations with China—an increasingly important partner for the post-Brexit United Kingdom. And yet, May was...

Conversation

02.01.18

Should Pacific Island Nations Be Wary of Chinese Influence?

Jenny Hayward-Jones, Graeme Smith & more
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s three-day visit to China, from January 31 to February 2, has amplified ongoing debates in Europe about the costs and benefits of engagement with China and of Chinese investment. Attention to China’s role in...

Conversation

01.24.18

Is China Really a ‘Threat’ to the U.S.?

James Holmes, Zha Daojiong & more
In a move presaging tougher policies towards China, the Department of Defense’s National Defense Strategy announced that the “revisionist powers” China and Russia are the “central challenge to U.S. prosperity and security.” And on January 22, Donald...

Conversation

01.18.18

Are China’s Blue Skies Here to Stay?

Li Shuo, Angel Hsu & more
In mid-January, the environmental group Greenpeace announced dramatic improvements in air quality across China. In 74 Chinese cities, measurements of PM2.5, the fine particles that have been a major contributor to the country’s choked skies,...

Conversation

01.10.18

Trump on China in 2018: Lover or Hater?

Ryan Hass, Aaron L. Friedberg & more
On December 28, 2017, Donald Trump told The New York Times “I like very much” China’s Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping, adding, “He treated me better than anybody’s ever been treated in the history of China.” In the same interview, Trump also...

Conversation

12.19.17

Trump’s National Security Strategy and China

Zha Daojiong, Pamela Kyle Crossley & more
On December 18, U.S. President Donald J. Trump announced the United States’ new national security strategy. He called China a “strategic competitor,” and, along with Russia, called it a “revisionist power.” Those two nations, Trump said, are...

Conversation

12.13.17

Is Chinese Investment Good for Workers?

Aaron Halegua, Yu Zheng & more
China’s Belt and Road Initiative is a $1 trillion plan to deepen economic relations between itself and up to 60 other countries worldwide through large investments in infrastructure, construction, and other projects. Many commentators have...

Conversation

12.06.17

Apple in China: WTF?

Samuel Wade, Shaun Rein & more
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...

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...

Conversation

11.27.17

What Does Mugabe’s Resignation Mean for China?

David Shinn, Huang Hongxiang & more
On November 15, soldiers placed the 93-year-old Robert Mugabe under house arrest. Mugabe had ruled Zimbabwe since the country gained independence in 1980. On November 21, he resigned after 37 years in power. China, Zimbabwe’s largest foreign...

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11.14.17

Was the Trump-Xi Summit in Beijing a Hit or a Miss?

Isaac Stone Fish, Zha Daojiong & more
On November 8 and 9, Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping and Donald Trump held their first Beijing-based summit, a year after Trump’s surprise victory and just weeks after the predictable announcement Xi would serve a second term. During the visit...

Conversation

11.02.17

Trump Goes to Asia

Ely Ratner, David Dollar & more
Chinese officials like to talk about practicing “win-win” diplomacy. Their American counterparts sometime joke that this means China wins twice. From November 3 to November 14, Donald Trump will visit Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines,...

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10.27.17

What’s the Takeaway from the 19th Party Congress?

Jessica Batke, Peter Mattis & more
The day after the Party Congress ended on October 24, Xi Jinping strode across the stage of the massive Great Hall of the People with the six newly announced members of the 19th Politburo Standing Committee, the body that rules China. What might...

Conversation

10.16.17

What to Watch at China’s Party Congress

Ho-fung Hung, Taisu Zhang & more
The Chinese Communist Party’s 19th Party Congress, a hugely important political meeting usually held once every five years, will begin on October 18 in Beijing. Like many events involving China’s ruling party, the most important decisions and...

Conversation

10.06.17

Is China the Future of Bitcoin, or Its Past?

Andrew Collier, Isaac Mao & more
China often dominates the market for Bitcoin, a virtual currency managed by a decentralized network of computers: at points over the last few years, China may have accounted for more than 75 percent of Bitcoin trading. Energy subsidies there make it...

Conversation

09.27.17

How are NGOs in China Faring under the New Law?

Holly Snape, Anthony Saich & more
In September 2016, Beijing implemented a new law governing charities, which changed the ways domestic charitable organizations can register and fundraise. Then in January 2017, Beijing began implementation of a new law on the management of foreign...

Conversation

09.21.17

What Will China Do if the U.S. Attacks North Korea?

Shen Dingli, Bonnie S. Glaser & more
During a speech at the United Nations General Assembly on September 19, U.S. President Donald Trump warned that if North Korea threatened the United States or its allies, he would “totally destroy” the nation. As tensions continue to rise between...

Conversation

09.15.17

Bannon Says the U.S. Is at ‘Economic War with China.’ Is He Right?

Paul Haenle, Jacqueline N. Deal & more
Steve Bannon, whose controversial views on China remain hugely influential in the White House, is visiting Hong Kong this week to speak at a China investment conference. In August, before he left his White House position as chief strategist, Bannon...

Conversation

09.06.17

China’s Communist Party Is About to Meet. Here’s What You Should Know.

Matthias Stepan, Victor Shih & more
The Chinese Communist Party will hold its 19th Party Congress on October 18, marking the end of the first term of General Secretary Xi Jinping. In a leadership reshuffle, Xi is expected to promote allies to the Party’s key decision-making body, the...

Conversation

08.29.17

Is the United States Still the Predominant Power in the Pacific?

Dennis J. Blasko, James Holmes & more
In late August, a U.S. destroyer collided with an oil tanker—the fourth such accident for the U.S. Navy in Asia since January. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has increased troop commitments in Afghanistan, threatened to strike North Korea with “...

Conversation

08.21.17

Should Publications Compromise to Remain in China?

Margaret Lewis, Andrew J. Nathan & more
The prestigious “China Quarterly will continue to publish articles that make it through our rigorous double-blind peer review regardless of topic or sensitivity,” wrote editor Tim Pringle on Monday after days of intense criticism of the brief-lived...

Conversation

08.17.17

Political Prisoners in Hong Kong

Jerome A. Cohen, Alvin Y.H. Cheung & more
On August 17, a Hong Kong appeals court sentenced student democracy activists Joshua Wong, Alex Chow, and Nathan Law to six to eight months imprisonment. The three had earlier been convicted of crimes related to unlawful assembly during a...

Conversation

08.16.17

Trump Says He Wants Fairer Trade with China. Will His Latest Move Work?

Wendy Cutler, Susan Shirk & more
On Monday, Donald Trump returned to Washington from his summer vacation for the public signing of an executive order requesting that the United States Trade Representative begin a review to determine wether the U.S. should investigate China over...

Conversation

08.10.17

Should China Support the U.S. in a War with North Korea?

Ryan Hass, Susan Shirk & more
On August 9, U.S. President Donald Trump warned North Korea that if it does not stop threatening the United States, it will be “met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.” Just hours later, the...

Conversation

08.08.17

Why Are China and India in a Border Standoff?

Anubhav Gupta, Manoj Joshi & more
China and India are engaged in a new border standoff high in the Himalayas. Tensions between the world’s two most populous nations have been simmering for at least two years and began to roil after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first visit to India...

Conversation

08.03.17

As China Reins in Capital, What Next for Global Trade?

Yu Zhou & Peter Knaack
China’s Communist Party and its leader, Xi Jinping, are tightening controls on overseas spending by the country’s biggest companies and their highly visible billionaire CEOs. The Wall Street Journal reported recently that Xi personally signed off on...

Conversation

07.20.17

Should the U.S. Play Hardball with China on Trade?

Tom Hoffecker, Duncan Innes-Ker & more
Last week, United States President Donald Trump suggested that he is considering leveraging tariffs on Chinese steel imports. Trump’s aggressive posture has left diplomatic experts uneasy amid an already divided U.S. diplomatic house in Beijing, and...

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

06.30.17

What Does Xi Jinping Intend for Hong Kong?

Alvin Y.H. Cheung, Kevin Carrico & more
Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping visited Hong Kong on Thursday to mark the 20th anniversary of the July 1, 1997 return of the territory to China from the United Kingdom. Since the handover, many Hong Kongers have chafed under...

Conversation

06.23.17

How Big a Deal Are Guo Wengui’s Allegations?

Pamela Kyle Crossley, Taisu Zhang & more
In a months-long barrage of mudslinging via Twitter and theatrical online videos, Chinese real estate billionaire Guo Wengui has alleged corruption at the highest levels in the Chinese Communist Party—some of which appear to be accurate, some as yet...

Conversation

06.14.17

The World Is Deserting Taiwan. How Should the U.S. Respond?

Richard Bernstein, J. Michael Cole & more
On June 12, the small Central American nation of Panama announced it was severing diplomatic ties with Taiwan so that it could establish relations with the People’s Republic of China. Now, only 19 countries and the Vatican recognize Taiwan. Why did...

Conversation

06.14.17

Do Street Protests Work in China?

Mara Hvistendahl, Benjamin L. Read & more
A rare street protest broke out in China’s biggest city and commercial capital on Saturday night, June 10, when residents of Shanghai marched against new housing rules that some residents claimed have caused the value of their property to plummet...

Conversation

06.09.17

Australia Is Debating Chinese Influence. Should the U.S. Do the Same?

Bruce Jacobs, Kerry Brown & more
“The Chinese Communist Party is waging a covert campaign of influence in Australia,” went the claim in the newspaper The Age, in a series of articles exploring China’s hard and soft power “Down Under.” The articles set off a domestic debate about...

Conversation

06.01.17

Can China Supplant the U.S. in Europe?

Rogier Creemers, Zha Daojiong & more
From May 31 to June 2, Premier Li Keqiang will visit Germany and Belgium, to “further deepen and enrich China’s relations with the European Union (EU) at a time of increasing global uncertainty,” according to an article in China’s state newswire...

Conversation

05.25.17

Can Free Speech on American Campuses Withstand Chinese Nationalism?

Yifu Dong, Edward Friedman & more
Earlier this week, Kunming native Yang Shuping, a student at the University of Maryland, gave a commencement speech extolling the “fresh air” and “free speech” she experienced while studying in the United States. Video of her speech spread on the...

Conversation

05.16.17

How Big a Deal is the New U.S.-China Trade Deal?

Wendy Cutler, Zha Daojiong & more
Last week, the United States and China announced a new trade deal on the eve of China launching a sweeping conference to promote its One Belt, One Road development and infrastructure investment initiative. How good are the terms of the Washington-...

Conversation

05.09.17

Can China’s Approach to Internet Control Spread around the World?

Anne Henochowicz, Rogier Creemers & more
Earlier this month, citing concerns over “cyber sovereignty,” China’s Internet regulators announced new restrictions on the country’s already tightly controlled Internet—further curbing online news reporting and putting Party-appointed editors in...

Conversation

04.25.17

What's the Best Way for Trump to Persuade China to Up the Pressure on North Korea?

Michael Swaine, Bruce Klingner & more
China’s President Xi Jinping called U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday morning urging American restraint in reaction to North Korea. Tensions between the United States and North Korea have risen to new levels ever since Pyongyang’s April 16...

Conversation

04.14.17

Ivanka: A ChinaFile Conversation

Rebecca E. Karl, Yishu Mao & more
At a time of strained and erratic relations between the U.S. and China, Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter and, more recently, a member of his administration, has emerged as an unlikely but singularly potent emissary, not to just to China’s...

Conversation

04.04.17

What Should We Expect When Trump and Xi Meet in Florida?

David Dollar, Jeremy Goldkorn & more
On April 6-7, U.S. President Donald Trump will host Xi Jinping in their first face-to-face meeting when China’s President arrives at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. The meeting comes early in Trump’s presidency, after a campaign in which he frequently...

Conversation

03.31.17

Is Hong Kong on Its Way to Becoming Just Another City in the P.R.C.?

Antony Dapiran, Suzanne Sataline & more
On March 26, the roughly 1,200-person Hong Kong Election Committee chose Carrie Lam as chief executive—Hong Kong’s fourth leader since the United Kingdom returned the territory to Chinese rule in 1997. Unpopular with Hong Kong’s pro-democracy...

Conversation

03.24.17

Does Tillerson’s Asia Visit Signal a New Era in U.S.-China Relations?

Scott Kennedy & Shen Dingli
On March 19, during his first trip to Asia as U.S. Secretary of State, and amidst rising tensions with North Korea, Rex Tillerson met with China’s Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping. The day before, Tillerson released a statement describing the...

Conversation

03.22.17

China Writers Remember Robert Silvers

Ian Johnson, Orville Schell & more
Robert Silvers died on Monday, March 20, after serving as The New York Review of Books Editor since 1963. Over almost six decades, Silvers cultivated one of the most interesting, reflective, and lustrous stables of China writers in the world, some...

Conversation

03.15.17

How Does China’s Imperial Past Shape Its Foreign Policy Today?

Pamela Kyle Crossley, Jeremiah Jenne & more
Throughout most of history China dominated Asia, up until what many Chinese refer to as the “century of humiliation”—when Japan and Western powers invaded or otherwise interfered between 1839 and 1949. Now, with China on the rise again, are Beijing’...

Conversation

03.09.17

Is THAAD the Start of a U.S.-China Arms Race?

Isaac Stone Fish, Graham Webster & more
In late February, U.S. President Donald Trump called for adding $54 billion to the U.S. military budget—an increase of roughly 10 percent. And in early March, despite outcry from Beijing, the United States began deploying the Terminal High-Altitude...

Conversation

02.28.17

Is The Trump Era Really The Xi Era?

Paul Haenle, Shen Dingli & more
On February 17, China’s Communist Party Chairman Xi Jinping announced what he called the “two guidances.” Beijing should now “guide the international community to jointly build a more just and reasonably new world order,” Xi said in an important...

Conversation

02.23.17

Can China Expand its Beachhead in Hollywood?

Stanley Rosen, Ying Zhu & more
With The Great Wall, a classic army vs. monsters tale, director Zhang Yimou has brought America the most expensive Chinese film ever created. The movie may be backed by a Hollywood studio and it may star no less an American icon than Matt Damon, and...

Conversation

02.16.17

Can China Become a Leader of Innovation?

Jost Wübbeke, Yu Zhou & more
China’s ambitious high-tech strategy is raising alarm in industrialized nations. From American and South Korean chipmakers to German car and machine manufacturers, some industry leaders expect the imminent arrival of strong Chinese competitors. Does...

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...

Conversation

02.05.17

Is The White House Beginning to Resemble Zhongnanhai?

Melissa Chan & Yifu Dong
Since Donald Trump was sworn into office on January 20, he has lied repeatedly about the size of the crowd at his inauguration, embraced xenophobic policies, and declareda “running war with the media.” The White House has frozen out the...