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What Should Michelle Obama Accomplish on Her Trip to China?

What Should Michelle Obama Accomplish on Her Trip to China?

A ChinaFile Conversation

Orville Schell:  Looking at the challenges of rectifying U.S.-China relations and building some semblance of the "new kind of a big power relationship" alluded to by presidents Obama and Xi at Sunnylands last year, will most certainly require a multi-stage ongoing effort. Michelle Obama's trip to China with her mother and her two daughters this week could prove to be a very constructive next step.

Because her trip offers a symbolic expression of a genuine commitment on the part of the U.S. to doing everything it can to achieve a breakthrough in relations with China, the First Lady's visit could end up being a very sage prelude to the next official meeting between the American and Chinese presidents in the Hague on March 24-25. Indeed, confronting all the problems that divide our two countries —maritime/island disputes, cyber-warfare, human rights, the Ukraine, nuclear proliferation, etc.—will pose an infinitely arduous challenge to Presidents Obama and Xi, but they are inescapably the responsibility of the two presidents, not the First Ladies. So, while these many difficult issues will remain unaddressed by Michelle Obama and Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan, what makes this visit to China a smart move by the White House is that it will enable the U.S. to demonstrate in the most obviously friendly way the importance it attaches to our future bilateral relationship with the P.R.C. It will allow a highly symbolic interaction between the countries without the two countries needing to get into the host of contentious issues which divide us and which have no easy answers.

But, we should be realistic. Michelle Obama's trip is only a gesture, albeit an important one. For our two presidents to actually hit the proverbial "reset" button, they will have to evince some real leadership, innovative thinking, even risk taking. Such leadership has not yet been fully manifested. If they fail, the world will then also fail in resolving a range of critical and antagonistic global problems— including nuclear proliferation, climate change, cyber-hacking, pandemics, and other challenges that can only be met through real bilateral cooperation.

If the idea of establishing "a new kind of big power relations" is ever to be made more than an empty slogan, it will be necessary for both sides to become far bolder in their approaches to each other. Having dispatched his family to China on what could be described literally as a “panda-hugging” expedition, President Obama might—if only he will take up the invitation— be firmer in his representations with President Xi when he meets him later at the Hague.

Both sides yearn for the kind breakthrough in the interaction between the U.S. and China that has eluded us since the 1972 Nixon/Kissinger-Mao/Zhou breakthrough, and then the Jimmy Carter-Deng Xiaoping recognition breakthrough in 1979. We yearn for such moments redux because they were the occasions when our leaders actually did reach for the stars and did last succeed in recasting our bilateral relations. To again accomplish such a breakthrough moment, both Obama and Xi are going to have to wade not only into the host of difficult issues which divide us, but also to find new ways to set aside some of the historical suspiciousness with which leaders of our two countries have approached each other lately. That is a far taller order, and not one that a Michelle Obama visit will accomplish. But then her trip does not aspire to such a grand accomplishment. Her visit could serve as an important next step in the far longer process of establishing "a new form of big power relations," and a smart way to move the relationship forward by expressing the United States’ commitment to “working things out.” But, it will be no a substitute for the kind heavy lifting that will come next.

Responses

Vincent Ni

Vincent Weifeng Ni is a multimedia producer at the BBC World Service. He appears on BBC Chinese, World Service radio and BBC World TV. Until 2014, he was a foreign correspondent for Caixin Media. At Caixin, he served as its correspondent in Washington, D.C., New York, Cairo. and London.Ni covered the 2012 U.S. general election and extensively reported on the debt crises in Europe from London, Berlin, and France. During the “Arab Spring” in Egypt in 2011, he was one of the very few Chinese journalists reporting from Cairo’s Tahrir Square.In November 2011, with a colleague Ni won a runner-up place in the London Foreign Press Association's annual awards in the category 'Financial/Economic Story of the Year.'He holds a Masters degree from the University of Oxford, where he was the recipient of the Hoare Family/China-Oxford Scholarship in the field of Social Science. He was also the China Fellow at Columbia Journalism School in 2012-13.

Michelle Obama’s visit to China will no doubt draw much attention. The two nations are developing a new type of “big power relationship,” and the meeting of the two first ladies could give an extra dimension to this yet-to-be-defined concept. Journalists may describe this as “first lady diplomacy” between China and the U.S. If it emerges as an important theme then Michelle Obama and Peng Liyuan will no doubt be remembered for this in the future.

Chinese first ladies have always been unassuming and inactive in the past; they lived in the shadow of their powerful husbands, and usually shied away from the media spotlight. Yet Peng Liyuan, herself a celebrity before Xi Jinping’s presidency, has proved to be an exception.

In the U.S., first ladies are completely the opposite: Hillary Clinton had her own office in the West Wing, and Michelle Obama was arguably an important figure behind the nation’s historic medicare insurance plan. They are a part of American political life.

Aside from showing off their stylish dresses, I hope the two first ladies will make some kind of announcement to boost mutual understanding and exchange. This is perhaps the most important thing today, amid the escalation of a zero-sum mentality between China and the United States.

Leta Hong Fincher

Leta Hong Fincher is the author of Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China (2014). She recently completed her PhD in Sociology at Tsinghua University. She has a Master’s degree in East Asian Studies from Stanford University and a Bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University. Her research on “leftover” women and the property market in China has been cited by many news organizations, including The Economist, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and National Public Radio. She is an award-winning former journalist with extensive experience in China and the United States. 

The White House says politics will not be on the itinerary of Michelle Obama’s tour of China. She will give no interviews and no reporters will be traveling with her. This is a shame, especially since the First Lady’s visit comes just one week after a prominent, female rights activist, Cao Shunli, died in custody because Chinese authorities denied her lawyers’ requests to have her released on medical parole, according to rights groups. Cao had pressured Beijing to include the input of Chinese civil society in the Chinese government’s report to the U.N. Human Rights Council, but she was detained at Beijing’s international airport in September while attempting to leave for a training program in Geneva.

Contrast Michelle Obama’s avoidance of the media in China with former First Lady Hillary Clinton’s powerful speech at the 1995 UN World Conference on Women in Beijing, where she declared that “human rights are women’s rights and women's rights are human rights.” Next year marks the twentieth anniversary of the UN Conference on Women, so Michelle Obama -- travelling with her mother and two daughters – has a natural opportunity to highlight women’s rights during her trip.

In recent years, contrary to many claims made in the media, women in China have experienced a dramatic rollback of rights and gains relative to men. The gender wealth gap is widening sharply, female labor force participation in the cities is dropping, women’s property rights have been dealt a severe blow with the 2011 re-interpretation of China’s Marriage Law, and the proportion of women in the Party’s Central Committee has fallen to a dismal 4.9 percent.

Even if the First Lady refuses to take questions from reporters, she should meet with members of women’s NGOs and feminist groups, which have lobbied the government for over a decade to pass targeted legislation against the epidemic of intimate partner violence in China. Government figures state that one-quarter of China’s women have experienced domestic violence, but feminist activists say the figure is vastly understated. Ms. Obama should also meet with American Kim Lee, a mother of three daughters who has gone public about violent abuse at the hands of her ex-husband, Li Yang, the multi-millionaire founder of “Crazy English” (a famous way of learning English through overcoming inhibitions).

In spite of all the maneuvering to keep politics off Michelle Obama’s China itinerary, I agree with Orville Schell and Vincent Ni that the First Lady’s trip could potentially be constructive. Ms. Obama is hugely popular in China, and she could demonstrate that “people-to-people exchanges” must include meaningful dialogue about how to improve the status of nearly one fifth of the world’s women.

Elizabeth Economy

Elizabeth Economy is the C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). The author of The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China’s Future (Cornell University Press, 2004), Economy also co-edited China Joins the World: Progress and Prospects (with Michel Oksenberg, Council on Foreign Relations Press, 1999) and The Internationalization of Environmental Protection (with Miranda Schreurs, Cambridge University Press, 1997). She has published articles in foreign policy and scholarly journals, including Foreign Affairs, Harvard Business Review, and Foreign Policy, and op-eds in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and International Herald Tribune. Economy is vice chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of China and serves on the board of the China-U.S. Center for Sustainable Development. She is a frequent guest on nationally broadcast television and radio programs, has testified before Congress on numerous occasions, and regularly consults for U.S. government agencies and companies. Economy is currently writing two books: one on China's rise and its geopolitical and strategic implications, and another, with Michael Levi, on China’s global quest for resources (forthcoming, Oxford University Press, 2013). Economy received her B.A. from Swarthmore College, her A.M. from Stanford University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. In 2008, she received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Vermont Law School. 

Orville and Vincent have almost persuaded me that U.S.-China relations will best be served if First Lady Michelle Obama’s trip to China is little more than a public diplomacy tour de force. Indeed, she is already off to a good start. Chinese press commentary surrounding Mrs. Obama’s visit has been glowing.

Yet I can’t help but feel that an opportunity is being sacrificed on the altar of wishful thinking. The opportunity is to use the umbrella of education and culture—the focus of the first lady’s trip—to engage issues such as restrictions on American films, journalists, and educational institutions in China. These are important issues and the first lady has a unique opening to raise them with the first lady of China, Peng Liyuan, herself a singing sensation and embodiment of Chinese culture. The altar of wishful thinking is that this trip will in some way influence how Chinese president Xi Jinping directs the Chinese navy to behave on the East and South China Seas or how he responds to Russia’s behavior in Crimea.

Even beyond the issue of a missed opportunity, I am puzzled at the first lady’s apparent decision not to travel or have interviews with journalists during her trip. Certainly she is making herself extraordinarily accessible via social media, and granted, according to the State Department, public diplomacy means “government-sponsored programs intended to inform or influence public opinion in other countries”—not informing or influencing people at home. However, refusing to address the press directly sends the wrong message not only to people in the United States but also to Chinese citizens, and most critically, doesn’t reflect the first lady’s one policy-related promise: to share American values and traditions.

Robert Kapp

Robert Kapp began his working career as an historian of twentieth century China at Rice University and the University of Washington. However, his main career contributions have been to the building of U.S.-China relations, most notably through his presidency of the Washington D.C.-based U.S.-China Business Council from 1994 to 2004. He currently serves as Strategic Advisor to the U.S.-China Specialty Group of the global public relations and government relations firm Burson-Marsteller, and as Senior China Advisor to the global law firm K&L Gates LLP. Among other nonprofit commitments, he chairs the China Member Committee of the Pacific Council on International Policy and serves on the Advisory Boards of the U.S.-China Education Trust and LinkAsia, an innovative program of LinkTV. Kapp received a Ph.D. from Yale.

Forgive me for my bluntness, but Mrs. Obama and her family are the best the U.S. has to present to the world. They are, first and foremost, dignified, even reserved in their public personae. Throughout their public lives, they have embodied "family values" in a far more powerful sense than that term has come to imply through the dreary years of its political abasement. Whether or not Mrs. Obama, her mother, and her daughters are accompanied throughout their trip by legions of diplomatic staffers (and they will be), I am certain that they will convey directly to Mme. Peng Liyuan and to the Chinese people a sincere message of mutual respect, shared humanity, sober awareness of unfinished societal tasks and global responsibilities, and genuine celebration of their loved ones, starting with Presidents Xi and Obama. Hopefully, that message will be accurately conveyed—and accurately rendered into Chinese—by China's media. Mrs. Obama speaks naturally with clear, organized syntax, so I'm optimistic on this front, but it behooves the key interpreters on both sides to work together intensely and (if necessary) instantaneously on language issues throughout the trip.

I have never met Mrs. Obama or her family, but having watched them for some years, now, I believe that they will prove on this trip to be avid listeners, avid observers, and avid learners. I am certain that, without bombast or a barrage of clichés, the First Lady in particular will contribute to a more full-bodied Chinese understanding of our nation and our people.

We learn that the trip will avoid "politics." Well and good: no long tables lined with opposing delegations, no lengthy recitations of talking points, no wrangling over islets or the denuclearization of this or that hotspot, no bluster about currency manipulation, etc., etc. Let's let the Obamas be visitors to a land they hardly know, and welcome what will surely be a warm and unusually personal kind of hospitality from Mme. Peng and her associates.

Nevertheless, "All mothers love their children," unfortunately cannot be the sum total of Major Power Relations in its vaunted New Framework. Celebrations of common humanity can be vitally important, but their half-life, in the real world, can be very short.

For that reason, though the Obamas will surely not be spending much time on Crimea or military-military engagement, it would be very nice if they and their hosts could, by the end of the trip, find common ground for future cooperation in a few meaningful areas of shared concern.

One doesn't know; I certainly have not been planning the visit. Perhaps nothing "joint" will emerge. But even in the realm of "soft" issues—the arts and literature, early childhood education, family and child welfare, development of non-governmental social cooperative efforts, nutrition, ecological awareness, and so on—we can at least dream of the United States and China taking a few new small steps together, drawn by the compelling image of our two First Families talking the talk, and walking the walk, hand in hand.

The U.S. is no longer the charitable donor (and certainly no longer conceives of itself thus), and China is no longer the needy recipient (ditto for China), in this bilateral relationship; those days are now long past. If we're lucky, Mrs. Obama and Mme. Peng will give us a glimpse of the Way Forward for our two countries in our highly touted but still misty New Relationship.

But, smog and all, China is simply a mind-bending place to visit, and even if the two First Ladies do not end the tour by agreeing to join hands on specific initiatives, the Obamas are in for an unforgettable experience. I wish them daily enjoyment and plenty of lifelong memories. Let's hope the American people get a "full report" from the First Family when they return.

Jindong Cai

Jindong Cai is a Professor of Orchestral Studies at Stanford University. He is co-author, with Sheila Melvin, of Rhapsody in Red: How Western Classical Music Became Chinese.
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Sheila Melvin

Sheila Melvin writes about culture in China.  She is a regular contributor to The International Herald Tribune and Caixin, and her articles have appeared in numerous other publications, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. She is the author of two books, Rhapsody in Red: How Western Classical Music Became Chinese (co-authored with her husband, Jindong Cai) and The Little Red Book of China Business. She is at work on a new book that examines China’s quest to become a cultural superpower.

The White House has billed First Lady Michelle Obama’s trip to China, in the company of her mother and daughters, as a “cultural exchange.” This seems to be part of an effort to ratchet down expectations and make it clear that the First Lady will not engage in politics.

It is our view, however, that there is already more than enough politics in the U.S.-China relationship and not nearly enough cultural exchange—exchange, of course, being a word that entails reciprocity.

Over the past century and more, China has systematically explored, imported, absorbed, and adapted ideas, values, and art forms from the West on a spectacular scale—the primacy of the nation-state, Marxism-Leninism, the symphony orchestra, and so much more. This is not an aberration, but a tradition—four of the five officially recognized religions in China are foreign imports, as are most of the musical instruments we consider “Chinese.” While we in the West now buy countless manufactured goods from China, we have shown comparatively little interest in its ideas, values, or innovations, frequently denigrating them as communist or copycat.

It wasn’t always this way. Indeed, there was a period—sometimes known as “Sinomania”—when many European intellectuals perceived Chinese culture as superior. The great German polymath Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) was fascinated by Chinese language and philosophy and argued that the trade of “merchandise and spice” should become a “commerce” of ideas, discoveries, light and wisdom in which China and the West would “trade each other’s talents” and “catch fire with fire!” The French writer Voltaire (1694-1778) admired Confucius and wrote a play based on the Yuan Dynasty drama “Orphan of Zhao,” while the princely elites of Europe built pagodas in their gardens and decorated their palaces with Chinese-influenced “Chinoiserie.”

That all largely ended with the nineteenth century and for the past 200 years we have absorbed Chinese immigrants—along with their cuisine, and, to a lesser extent, medical philosophy and martial arts—but have rarely reached out in a systematic effort to learn from China so as to improve, enlighten, or augment our own culture, or even simply to better understand the nation that many now see as a rival. The result is a lop-sided “exchange”—Chinese media call it a “cultural deficit”—that is increasingly irksome to China and harmful to our chances of establishing a balanced and productive relationship with an ever stronger, confident, and pro-active PRC.

If the magnetic Michelle Obama were to take a genuine interest in China’s culture and help spark a true exchange—meaning one that is sustained well beyond her week of sightseeing—it would do far more to improve our increasingly intertwined political and economic relationship than any cherry-picked discussion of controversial issues. It’s time to resurrect the open-minded optimism of Leibniz and catch fire with fire!

Keywords: 
Orville Schell is the Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society in New York. He is a former professor and Dean at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate...
Vincent Weifeng Ni is a multimedia producer at the BBC World Service. He appears on BBC Chinese, World Service radio and BBC World TV. Until 2014, he was a foreign correspondent for Caixin Media. At...
Leta Hong Fincher is the author of Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China (2014). She recently completed her PhD in Sociology at Tsinghua University. She has a Master’s degree...
Elizabeth Economy is the C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). The author of The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China’s...
Robert Kapp began his working career as an historian of twentieth century China at Rice University and the University of Washington. However, his main career contributions have been to the building...
Jindong Cai is a Professor of Orchestral Studies at Stanford University. He is co-author, with Sheila Melvin, of Rhapsody in Red: How Western Classical Music Became Chinese.
Sheila Melvin writes about culture in China.  She is a regular contributor to The International Herald Tribune and Caixin, and her articles have appeared in numerous other publications, including The...

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Zhou Yongkang’s Downfall

Sebastian Veg, Roderick MacFarquhar & more
On July 29, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Chinese Communisty Party announced it was investigating ex-security czar Zhou Yongkang “on suspicion of grave violations of discipline.” Zhou, who retired from the Politburo...

Conversation

07.24.14

Alibaba: How Big a Deal Is It?

David Wolf, Duncan Clark & more
<p>When Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba goes public some time after Labor Day it is expected be one the largest initial public offerings in history. This week, <a href="http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/07/20/alibabas-i-p-o-could-be-a-...

Conversation

07.17.14

How to Read China’s New Press Restrictions

David Schlesinger, Orville Schell & more
<p>On June 30, China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television posted a <a href="http://www.gapp.gov.cn/news/1656/211765.shtml" target="_blank">statement</a> on its website...

Conversation

07.09.14

The U.S. and China Are At the Table: What’s At Stake?

William Adams & Zha Daojiong
<p>U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew are in Beijing this week for the sixth session of the high level bilateral diplomatic exchange known as the Strategic and Economic Dialogue. We asked contributors what'...

Conversation

07.01.14

The Debate Over Confucius Institutes PART II

Gregory B. Lee, Michael Hill & more
<p class="p1">Last week, ChinaFile published <a href="http://www.chinafile.com/Debate-Over-Confucius-Institutes" target="_blank">a discussion</a>&nbsp;on the debate over Confucius Institutes–...

Conversation

06.23.14

The Debate Over Confucius Institutes

Robert Kapp, Jeffrey Wasserstrom & more
<p>Last week, the American Association of University Professors <a href="http://www.aaup.org/file/Confucius_Institutes_0.pdf" target="_blank">joined</a> a growing <a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/...

Conversation

06.11.14

Is a Declining U.S. Good for China?

Zha Daojiong, Gordon G. Chang & more
<p><em>Zha Daojiong:</em></p><p>Talk of a U.S. decline is back in vogue. This time, China features more (if not most) prominently in a natural follow-up question: Which country is going to benefit? My answer: certainly...

Conversation

06.02.14

25 Years On, Can China Move Past Tiananmen?

Xu Zhiyuan, Arthur Waldron & more
<p><em> Xu Zhiyuan</em>:</p><p>Whenever the massacre at Tiananmen Square twenty-five years ago comes up in conversation, I think of Faulkner’s famous line: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”</p><p...

Conversation

05.19.14

Is This the Best Response to China’s Cyber-Attacks? 

Robert Daly, Chen Weihua & more
<p>On Monday, the United States Attorney General Eric Holder&nbsp;<a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/05/19/us-accuses-china-of-cyber-espionage/9273019/" target="_blank">accused China of...

Conversation

05.09.14

The China-Vietnam Standoff: How Will It End?

Daniel Kliman, Ely Ratner & more
<p><em>Daniel Kliman:</em></p><p>Five thousand miles from Ukraine, off the coast of Vietnam, China is taking a page from Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s playbook. Beijing’s recent placement of a huge oil drilling rig in...

Conversation

05.07.14

How is China Doing in Africa?

Tendai Musakwa, Kathleen McLaughlin & more
<p><em>On his current weeklong tour of Ethiopia, Nigeria, Angola, and Kenya, Premier Li Keqiang announced a new $12 billion aid package intended to address China’s “growing pains” in Africa. China is by turns lauded for bringing...

Conversation

04.30.14

Will China’s Economy Be #1 by Dec. 31? (And Does it Matter?)

William Adams, Damien Ma & more
<p><em>On April 30, <a href="http://icp.worldbank.org/" target="_blank">data</a> released by the United Nations International Comparison Program showed China’s estimated 2011 purchasing power parity (PPP)...

Conversation

04.22.14

What Obama Should Say About China in Japan

Yuki Tatsumi, Ely Ratner & more
<p><em>On Wednesday, Barack Obama will land in Tokyo beginning a week-long trip to four of China's neighbors—but not to China itself.</em></p><p><em>In Obama’s stops in Tokyo, Seoul, Manila, and Kuala Lampur...

Conversation

04.12.14

China, Japan, and the U.S.—Will Cooler Heads Prevail?

Ely Ratner, Hugh White & more
<p><em>U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's whirlwind tour of China this week saw a <a href="http://johnib.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/u-s-china-defense-chiefs-trade-barbs-china-accuses-the-philippines-of-illegally-occupying...

Conversation

04.06.14

Spy Vs. Spy: When is Cyberhacking Crossing the Line?

Vincent Ni, Chen Weihua & more
<p><em>Vincent Ni: </em>For a long time, Huawei has been accused by some American politicians of “spying on Americans for the Chinese government,” but their evidence has always been sketchy. They played on fear and possibility. I...

Conversation

03.26.14

The Bloomberg Fallout: Where Does Journalism in China Go from Here?

Chen Weihua, Dorinda Elliott & more
<p><em>On Monday, March 24, a thirteen-year veteran of Bloomberg News, <a href="http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/25/ex-bloomberg-editor-tells-why-he-left/?_php=true&amp;_type=blogs&amp;ref=world&amp;_r=0...

Conversation

03.10.14

Should China Support Russia in the Ukraine?

Alexander V. Pantsov, Alexander Lukin & more
<p><em>Alexander V. Pantsov:</em> The Chinese Communist Party leadership has always maintained: “China believes in non-interference in internal affairs.” In the current Ukrainian situation it is the most we can expect from the P.R...

Conversation

03.02.14

A Racist Farewell to Outgoing U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke

Kaiser Kuo, Hyeon-Ju Rho & more
<p><em>Reacting to departing U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke’s February 27 <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/id/54513468/ns/world_news-asia_pacific/t/us-envoy-stresses-human-rights-china-farewell-speech/" target="_blank"...

Conversation

02.27.14

How Responsible Are Americans for China’s Pollution Problem?

David Vance Wagner, Alex Wang & more
<p><em>David Vance Wagner</em>: China’s latest “airpocalypse” has again sent air pollution in Beijing <a href="http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-02/24/c_133138773.htm" target="_blank">soaring...

Conversation

02.22.14

What Can the Dalai Lama’s White House Visit Actually Accomplish?

Isabel Hilton, Donald Clarke & more
<p><em>On February 21, the Dalai Lama visited United States President Barack Obama in the White House over the objections of the Chinese government. Beijing labels the exiled spiritual leader a "wolf in sheep's clothing"...

Conversation

02.19.14

China in ‘House of Cards’

Steven Jiang, Donald Clarke & more
<p>China figures heavily in the second season of the Netflix series <em>House of Cards</em>, but how accurately does the show portray U.S.-China relations? Steven Jiang, a journalist for CNN in Beijing, binged-watched all thirteen...

Conversation

02.13.14

Are Ethnic Tensions on the Rise in China?

Enze Han, James Palmer & more
<p><em>On December 31, President Xi Jinping <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QobjqUTdahQ" target="_blank">appeared</a> on CCTV and extended his “New Year’s wishes to Chinese of all ethnic groups.”...

Conversation

02.05.14

What Should the U.S. Do about China’s Barring Foreign Reporters?

Nicholas Lemann, Michel Hockx & more
<p><em>Last week, the White House said it was <a href="http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/237720/white-house-very-disappointed-nyt-reporter-was-forced-to-leave-china/" target="_blank">“very...

Conversation

01.27.14

China’s Offshore Leaks: So What?

Paul Gillis & Robert Kapp
<p><em>Two recent stories by the <a href="http://www.icij.org/" target="_blank">International Consortium of Investigative Journalists</a> detailed China’s elite funneling money out of China to tax havens...

Conversation

01.21.14

Time to Escalate? Should the U.S. Make China Uncomfortable?

Edward Friedman, Geoff Dyer & more
<p><em>How should the United States respond to China’s new level of assertiveness in the Asia Pacific? In the past few months as Beijing has stepped up territorial claims around China's maritime borders—and in <a href="http...

Conversation

01.06.14

Will Xi Jinping Bring a Positive New Day to China?

Paul Mooney, Andrew J. Nathan & more
<p><em>Chinese President Xi Jinping, just over a year in office, recently made a rare appearance in public in a Beijing restaurant, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVKD9Bs-7Fg" target="_blank">buying a...

Conversation

12.17.13

Why Is China Purging Its Former Top Security Chief, Zhou Yongkang?

Pin Ho & Richard McGregor
<p><em>Pin Ho:</em></p><p>[Zhou Yongkang’s downfall] is the second chapter of the “Bo Xilai Drama”—a drama begun at the 18th Party Congress. The Party’s power transition has been secret and has lacked convincing...

Conversation

12.07.13

Will China Shut Out the Foreign Press?

Winston Lord, Paul Mooney & more
Some two dozen journalists employed by The New York Times and Bloomberg News have not yet received the visas they need to continue to report and live in China after the end of this year. Without them, they will effectively be expelled from the...

Conversation

12.03.13

What Posture Should Joe Biden Adopt Toward A Newly Muscular China?

Susan Shirk
<p><em>Susan Shirk:</em></p><p>United States Vice President Joseph Biden is the American political figure who has spent the most time with Xi Jinping and has the deepest understanding of Xi as an individual. Before Xi’s...

Conversation

11.27.13

Why’s the U.S. Flying Bombers Over the East China Sea?

Chen Weihua, James Fallows & more
<p><em>Chen Weihua:</em></p><p>The Air Defense Identification Zone (<a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-25062525" target="_blank">ADIZ</a>) is not a Chinese invention. The...

Conversation

11.24.13

What Should the Next U.S. Ambassador to China Tackle First?

Mary Kay Magistad & Robert Kapp
<p><em>Mary Kay Magistad:</em> Gary Locke succeeded in a way that few U.S. ambassadors to China have—in improving public perceptions of U.S. culture.&nbsp; Locke’s down-to-earth approachability and lack of ostentation certainly...

Conversation

11.19.13

What Will the Beginning of the End of the One-Child Policy Bring?

Leta Hong Fincher, Vincent Ni & more
<p><em>Leta Hong Fincher:</em></p><p>The Communist Party’s announcement that it will loosen the one-child policy is, of course, welcome news. Married couples will be allowed to have two children if only one of the...

Conversation

11.12.13

Spiked in China?

John Garnaut, Sidney Rittenberg & more
<p>Last weekend,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/09/world/asia/bloomberg-news-is-said-to-curb-articles-that-might-anger-china.html" target="_blank"><em>The New York Times</em></a>...

Conversation

10.30.13

Trial By TV: What Does a Reporter’s Arrest and Confession Tell Us About Chinese Media?

Wang Feng & Jeremy Goldkorn
<p><em>The latest ChinaFile Conversation focuses on the case of Chen Yongzhou, the Guangzhou New Express journalist whose series of investigative reports exposed fraud at the Changsha, Hunan-based heavy machinery maker <a href="...

Conversation

10.25.13

Can State-Run Capitalism Absorb the Shocks of ‘Creative Destruction’?

Barry Naughton, Shai Oster & more
<p><em>Following are ChinaFile Conversation participants’ reactions to <a href="http://nationalinterest.org/article/china-superpower-or-superbust-9269?page=1" target="_blank">“China: Superpower or Superbust?”...

Conversation

10.22.13

Why’s China’s Smog Crisis Still Burning So Hot?

Alex Wang, Isabel Hilton & more
<p><em>Alex Wang:</em></p><p>On Sunday, the start of the winter heating season in northern China brought the <a href="http://www.chinafile.com/airpocalypse-now-china-tipping-point" target="_blank...

Conversation

10.16.13

Uncomfortable Bedfellows: How Much Does China Need America Now?

Bill Bishop, David Schlesinger & more
<p><em>Bill Bishop:</em></p><p>The D.C. dysfunction puts China in a difficult place. Any financial markets turmoil that occurs because of a failure of Congress to do its job could harm China’s economy, and especially...

Conversation

10.10.13

CCTV Network News Broadcast

<p>Following is a transcript of the network news <a href="http://news.cntv.cn/2013/10/01/VIDE1380638280415972.shtml%20" target="_blank">broadcast</a> of China Central Television on September 30, 2013:</p>...

Conversation

10.08.13

Obama’s Canceled Trip to Asia: How Much Did It Matter?

Winston Lord, Susan Shirk & more
<p><em>Last week as the U.S. Federal Government shut down, President Obama canceled his planned trip to Indonesia and Brunei, where he was to have attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Bali. Some foreign policy...

Conversation

10.07.13

Why Is Xi Jinping Promoting Self-Criticism?

Stephen C. Angle & Taisu Zhang
<p>Critics both within and without China have suggested that Xi Jinping’s promotion of self-criticism by Communist Party cadres has at least two motives: it promotes the appearance of concern with lax discipline while avoiding deeper reform,...

Conversation

09.27.13

Can China’s Leading Indie Film Director Cross Over in America?

Jonathan Landreth, Michael Berry & more
<p><em>Jonathan Landreth:</em></p><p>Chinese writer and director Jia Zhangke’s <em>A Touch of Sin</em> won the prize for the best screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Though the dialogue and its...

Conversation

09.24.13

A Shark Called Wanda—Will Hollywood Swallow the Chinese Dream Whole?

Stanley Rosen, Jonathan Landreth & more
<p><em>Stanley Rosen:</em></p><p>Wang Jianlin, who personally doesn’t know much about film, made a splash when he <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-21/china-s-wanda-group-to-buy-amc-cinema-chain-for...

Conversation

09.17.13

What’s Behind China’s Recent Internet Crackdown?

Xiao Qiang, John Garnaut & more
<p><em>Last weekend, Charles Xue Manzi, a Chinese American multi-millionaire investor and opinion leader on one of China’s most popular microblogs, <a href="http://news.cntv.cn/2013/09/15/VIDE1379202482346211.shtml?utm_source=The...

Conversation

09.13.13

What Can China and Japan Do to Start Anew?

Paula S. Harrell & Chen Weihua
<p><em>Paula S. Harrell:</em></p><p>While the media keeps its eye on the ongoing Diaoyu/Senkaku islands dispute, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/10/japan-workers-disputed-islands-china"...

Conversation

09.09.13

What Are Chinese Attitudes Toward a U.S. Strike in Syria?

Chen Weihua, Vincent Ni & more
<p><em>Chen Weihua:<br /></em></p><p>Chinese truly believe that there is no military solution to the Syrian crisis. On the contrary, a U.S. air strike would only worsen the situation there. Chinese have seen many...

Conversation

09.05.13

To Reform or Not Reform?—Echoes of the Late Qing Dynasty

Orville Schell, John Delury & more
<p><em>Orville Schell:</em><br /><br />It is true that China is no longer beset by threats of foreign incursion nor is it a laggard in the world of economic development and trade. But being there and being steeped in an...

Conversation

08.28.13

Beijing, Why So Tense?

Andrew J. Nathan, Isabel Hilton & more
<p><em>Andrew Nathan:</em><br /><br />I think of the Chinese leaders as holding a plant spritzer and dousing sparks that are jumping up all around them.&nbsp; Mao made the famous remark, “A single spark can start a...

Conversation

08.21.13

Is Xi Jinping Redder Than Bo Xilai Or Vice Versa?

Michael Anti & Shai Oster
<p><em>Michael Anti:</em></p><p><strong>Competing for Redness: The Scarlet Bo vs the Vermilion Xi?</strong></p><p>Bo Xilai, the fallen Chinese princeling famous for leading a “Red Songs”...

Conversation

08.15.13

What Should China Do to Reverse its Tourism Deficit?

Leah Thompson, Damien Ma & more
<p>Recent news stories and industry studies show that fewer international visitors are choosing China as their destination. January-June <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/14/world/asia/china-foreign-tourism-falls-and-smog-may-be-...

Conversation

08.07.13

What Will Come out of the Communist Party’s Polling the People Online?

David Wertime, Duncan Clark & more
<p><em>David Wertime:</em></p><p>Simon Denyer’s recent article (<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/in-china-government-mines-public-opinion/2013/08/02/33358026-f2b5-11e2-ae43-b31dc363c3bf_story.html?...

Conversation

08.01.13

How Dangerous Are Sino-Japanese Tensions?

Jerome A. Cohen
<p>Sino-Japanese relations do not look promising at the moment. Obviously, the Diaoyu-Senkaku dispute is not the only factor in play but it does focus nationalist passions on both sides. Yet both countries are capable of wiser conduct if their...

Conversation

07.30.13

Is Business in China Getting Riskier, Or Are Multinationals Taking More Risks?

Arthur R. Kroeber, David Schlesinger & more
<p><em>Arthur Kroeber:</em></p><p>The environment for foreign companies in China has been getting steadily tougher since 2006, when the nation came to the end of a five-year schedule of market-opening measures it...

Conversation

07.25.13

The Bo Xilai Trial: What’s It Really About?

Jerome A. Cohen, Andrew J. Nathan & more
<p><a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/25/us-china-politics-bo-idUSBRE96O01U20130725" target="_blank">China has charged disgraced senior politician Bo Xilai</a> with bribery, abuse of power and...

Conversation

07.23.13

What Would a Hard Landing in China Mean for the World?

Barry Naughton, James McGregor & more
<p><em>Barry Naughton:</em></p><p>Paul Krugman in a recent post (<a href="http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/20/how-much-should-we-worry-about-a-china-shock/" target="_blank">“How Much...

Conversation

07.18.13

Xu Zhiyong Arrested: How Serious Can Beijing Be About Political Reform?

Donald Clarke, Andrew J. Nathan & more
<p><em>Donald Clarke:</em></p><p>When I heard that Xu Zhiyong had just been detained, my first thought was, “Again?” This seems to be something the authorities do every time they get nervous, a kind of political Alka...

Conversation

07.16.13

What’s the Senate’s Beef with China’s Play for American Pork?

Arthur R. Kroeber, Steve Dickinson & more
<p><span style="font-size: 13.3333339691162px; line-height: 1.538em;">Last week the U.S. Senate held hearings to question the CEO of meat-producer Smithfield Farms, about the proposed $4.7 billion sale of the Virginia-based...

Conversation

07.09.13

What Is the “Chinese Dream” Really All About?

Stein Ringen, Jeremy Goldkorn & more
<p><em>Stein Ringen</em><em>:</em></p><p>I’m coming to the view that the ‘Chinese Dream’ is a signal from the leadership of great import that has much to say about the nature of the Chinese state. It is...

Conversation

07.03.13

How Would Accepting Gay Culture Change China?

Fei Wang & Steven Jiang
<p><em>Last week's <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/06/26/us/annotated-supreme-court-decision-on-doma.html" target="_blank">U.S. Supreme Court decision</a> to strike down the core...

Conversation

06.27.13

Is Xi Jinping’s Fight Against Corruption For Real?

Roderick MacFarquhar, Winston Lord & more
<p><em>Roderick MacFarquhar:</em></p><p>Xi Jinping’s overriding aim is the preservation of Communist party rule in China, as he made clear in speeches shortly after his elevation to be China’s senior leader. &nbsp;...

Conversation

06.25.13

How Badly Have Snowden’s Leaks Hurt U.S.-China Relations?

Matt Schiavenza
<p><em>Matt Schiavenza:</em></p><p>In the understatement of the day, the United States is unhappy with the recent developments of the Edward Snowden situation. Just three days ago, Washington was in negotiations with...

Conversation

06.21.13

How Should the World Prepare for a Slower China?

Arthur R. Kroeber & Patrick Chovanec
<p><strong>Get Ready for a Slower China</strong><br /><br />The recent gyrations on the Chinese interbank market underscore that the chief risk to global growth now comes from China. Make no mistake: credit policy will...

Conversation

06.18.13

What’s Right or Wrong with This Chinese Stance on Edward Snowden?

Shai Oster & Steve Dickinson
<p><em>For today’s ChinaFile Conversation we asked contributors to react to the following excerpt from an <a href="http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/789238.shtml">op-ed published on Monday June 17 in the</a><a...

Conversation

06.13.13

Who’d You Rather Be Watched By: China or the U.S.?

Tai Ming Cheung, Andrew J. Nathan & more
<p><em>Reports of U.S. gathering data on emails and phone calls have stoked fears of an over-reaching government spying on its citizens. Chinese artist <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/11/nsa-surveillance...

Conversation

06.11.13

What’s the Best Way to Advance Human Rights in the U.S.-China Relationship?

Nicholas Bequelin, Sharon Hom & more
<p><em>Nicholas Bequelin:</em></p><p>The best way to advance human rights in the U.S.-China relationship is first and foremost to recognize that the engine of human rights progress in China today is the Chinese...

Conversation

06.06.13

What Would the Best U.S.-China Joint Statement Say?

Winston Lord, Orville Schell & more
<p><em>As we approach the June 7-8 meeting in California of U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping we are holding a small contest. We have asked ChinaFile Conversation regulars and a few guests to envision their...

Conversation

06.04.13

How Would Facing Its Past Change China’s Future?

David Wertime, Isabel Hilton & more
<p><em>David Wertime:</em></p><p>The memory of the 1989 massacre of protesters at Tiananmen Square remains neither alive nor dead, neither reckoned nor obliterated. Instead, it hangs spectre-like in the background, a...

Conversation

05.29.13

What Should Obama and Xi Accomplish at Their California Summit?

Susan Shirk, Orville Schell & more
<p><em>Susan Shirk:</em></p><p>It’s an excellent idea for President Obama and President Xi to spend two days of quality time together at a private retreat in Southern California. Past meetings between Chinese and...

Conversation

05.23.13

China and the Other Asian Giant: Where are Relations with India Headed?

Michael Kulma, Mark Frazier & more
<p><em>Mike Kulma:</em></p><p>Earlier this week at an Asia Society forum on U.S.-China economic relations, Dr. Henry Kissinger remarked that when the U.S. first started down the path of normalizing relations with China...

Conversation

05.21.13

U.S.-China Economic Relations—What Will the Next Decade Bring?

Orville Schell & Patrick Chovanec
<p><em>On Monday, within hours of the announcement that <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/20/us-usa-china-obama-idUSBRE94J0UQ20130520" target="_blank">Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet U.S...

Conversation

05.16.13

China: What’s Going Right?

Michael Zhao, James Fallows & more
<p><em>Michael Zhao:</em><br /><br />On a recent trip to China, meeting mostly with former colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, I got a dose of optimism and hope for one aspect of the motherland. In terms of...

Conversation

05.14.13

Why Can’t China Make Its Food Safe?—Or Can It?

Alex Wang, John C. Balzano & more
<p>The month my wife and I moved to Beijing in 2004, I saw a bag of oatmeal at our local grocery store prominently labeled: “NOT POLLUTED!” How funny that this would be a selling point, we thought.</p><p>But 7 years later as we...

Conversation

05.10.13

What’s China’s Game in the Middle East?

Rachel Beitarie, Massoud Hayoun & more
<p><em>Rachel Beitarie:</em></p><p>Xi Jinping’s four point proposal for a Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement is interesting not so much for its content, as for its source. While China has maintained the appearance of...

Conversation

05.07.13

Why Is a 1995 Poisoning Case the Top Topic on Chinese Social Media?

Rachel Lu, Andrew J. Nathan & more
<p>With a population base of 1.3 billion people, China has no shortage of strange and gruesome crimes, but the attempted murder of Zhu Ling by thallium poisoning in 1995 is burning up China’s social media long after the trails have gone cold...

Conversation

05.02.13

Does Promoting “Core Interests” Do China More Harm Than Good?

Stephanie T. Kleine-Ahlbrandt, Susan Shirk & more
<p><em>On April 30, as tensions around China’s claims to territories in the South- and East China Seas continued to simmer, we began what proved to be a popular ChinaFile Conversation, asking the question, <a href="http://www...

Conversation

04.30.13

What’s Really at the Core of China’s “Core Interests”?

Shai Oster, Andrew J. Nathan & more
<p><em>Shai</em> <em>Oster</em>:</p><p>It’s Pilates diplomacy—work on your core. China’s diplomats keep talking about China’s core interests and it’s a growing list. In 2011, China included its political...

Conversation

04.25.13

Hollywood in China—What’s the Price of Admission?

Jonathan Landreth, Ying Zhu & more
<p>Last week, DreamWorks Animation (DWA), the Hollywood studio behind the worldwide blockbuster <em>Kung Fu Panda</em> films, announced that it will cooperate with the China Film Group (CFG) on an animated feature called <em>...

Conversation

04.23.13

How Would You Spend (the Next) $300 Million on U.S.-China Relations?

Orville Schell & Michael Kulma
<p><em>Orville Schell</em>:</p><p>When Stephen A. Schwarzman announced his new <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/schwarzman-scholars-in-china-2013-4" target="_blank">$300 million program...

Conversation

04.18.13

How Fast Is China’s Slowdown Coming, and What Should Beijing Do About It?

Patrick Chovanec, Barry Naughton & more
<p>Slower Chinese GDP growth is not a bad thing if it’s happening for the right reasons. But it’s not happening for the right reasons.</p><p>Instead of reining in credit to try to curb over-investment, Chinese authorities have...

Conversation

04.16.13

Why is China Still Messing with the Foreign Press?

Andrew J. Nathan, Isabel Hilton & more
<p>To those raised in the Marxist tradition, nothing in the media happens by accident.&nbsp; In China, the flagship newspapers are still the “throat and tongue” of the ruling party, and their work is directed by the Party’s Propaganda...

Conversation

04.11.13

Why Is Chinese Soft Power Such a Hard Sell?

Jeremy Goldkorn, Donald Clarke & more
<p><em>Jeremy Goldkorn:</em></p><p>Chairman Mao Zedong said that power comes out of the barrel of a gun, and he knew a thing or two about power, both hard and soft. If you have enough guns, you have respect. Money is...

Conversation

04.09.13

Is China Doing All it Can to Rein in Kim Jong-un?

Winston Lord, Susan Shirk & more
<p><em>Winston Lord:</em></p><p>No.</p><p>&nbsp;</p>

Conversation

04.03.13

Bird Flu Fears: Should We Trust Beijing This Time?

David Wertime, Yanzhong Huang & more
<p><em>David Wertime:</em></p><p>A new strain of avian flu called H7N9 has <a href="http://www.who.int/csr/don/2013_04_03/en/index.html" target="_blank">infected at least seven humans and...

Conversation

04.02.13

Why Did Apple Apologize to Chinese Consumers and What Does It Mean?

Jeremy Goldkorn, Isabel Hilton & more
<p><em>Jeremy Goldkorn:</em></p><p>On March 22, before the foreign media or Apple themselves seemed to have grasped the seriousness of the CCTV attacks on the Californian behemoth, I wrote a post on <a href="...

Conversation

03.28.13

Will China’s Renminbi Replace the Dollar as the World’s Top Currency?

Patrick Chovanec, Damien Ma & more
<p><em>Patrick Chovanec:</em></p><p>This week’s news that Brazil and China have signed a $30 billion currency swap agreement gave a renewed boost to excited chatter over the rising influence of China’s currency, the...

Conversation

03.26.13

Can China Transform Africa?

Jeremy Goldkorn, Isabel Hilton & more
<p><em>Jeremy Goldkorn:</em></p><p>The question is all wrong. China is already transforming Africa, the question is how China is transforming Africa, not whether it can. From the “<a href="http://www...

Conversation

03.19.13

China’s New Leaders Say They Want to Fight Corruption. Can They? Will They?

Andrew J. Nathan & Ouyang Bin
<p>In his first <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/18/world/asia/li-keqiang-chinas-premier-offers-plan-of-economic-and-social-reforms.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">press conference</a>...

Conversation

03.15.13

Is the One Child Policy Finished—And Was It a Failure?

Dorinda Elliott, Alexa Olesen & more
<p><em style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial; vertical-align: baseline; border-width: 0px; padding: 0px; margin: 0px;">Dorinda Elliott:</em></p><p>China’s recent&nbsp;<a href="http://...

Conversation

03.13.13

China’s Post 1980’s Generation—Are the Kids All Right?

Sun Yunfan, Orville Schell & more
<p><em>This week, the <a href="http://www.chinafile.com/blog" target="_blank">ChinaFile Conversation</a> is a call for reactions to an article about China's current generation gap, written by James...

Conversation

03.08.13

Will China’s Property Market Crash, and So What If It Does?

Dorinda Elliott & Bill Bishop
<p><em>Dorinda Elliott:</em></p><p>At this week’s National People’s Congress, outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao proclaimed that the government kept housing prices from rising too fast. Really? I wonder what my 28-year-old...

Conversation

03.06.13

Are Proposed Sanctions on North Korea a Hopeful Sign for U.S.-China Relations?

Orville Schell, Susan Shirk & more
<p><em>Orville Schell:</em></p><p>What may end up being most significant about the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/06/world/asia/china-said-to-back-new-sanctions-against-north-korea.html" target=...

Conversation

03.01.13

Is America’s Door Really Open to China’s Investment?

Daniel H. Rosen, Orville Schell & more
<p><em>Daniel Rosen:</em></p><p>There have not been many new topics in U.S.-China economic relations over the past decade: the trade balance, offshoring of jobs, Chinese holding of U.S. government debt, whether China’s...

Conversation

02.27.13

How Long Can China Keep Pollution Data a State Secret?

Elizabeth Economy, Orville Schell & more
<p><em>Elizabeth Economy</em>:</p><p>The environment is center stage once again in China. A Chinese lawyer has requested the findings of a national survey on soil pollution from the Ministry of Environmental Protection...

Conversation

02.22.13

Will Investment in China Grow or Shrink?

Donald Clarke & David Schlesinger
<p><em>Donald Clarke:</em></p><p>I don’t have the answer as to whether investment in China will grow or shrink, but I do have a few suggestions for how to think about the question. First, we have to clarify why we want...

Conversation

02.20.13

Cyber Attacks—What’s the Best Response?

James Fallows, Xiao Qiang & more
<p>With regular ChinaFile Conversation contributor <a href="http://www.chinafile.com/contributor/Elizabeth%20Economy" target="_blank">Elizabeth Economy</a> on the road, we turned to her colleague <a href=...

Conversation

02.15.13

U.S.-China Tensions: What Must Kerry Do?

Dorinda Elliott, Elizabeth Economy & more
<p><em>Dorinda Elliott:</em></p><p>On a recent trip to China, I heard a lot of scary talk of potential war over the disputed Diaoyu Islands—this from both senior intellectual types and also just regular people, from an...

Conversation

02.13.13

North Korea: How Much More Will China Take and How Should the U.S. Respond?

Winston Lord, Tai Ming Cheung & more
<p><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">China is increasingly frustrated with North Korea and may even see more clearly that its actions only serve to increase allied unity, stimulate Japanese militarism and accelerate missile...

Conversation

02.08.13

Rich, Poor and Chinese—Does Anyone Trust Beijing to Bust the Corrupt?

Andrew J. Nathan, Susan Shirk & more
<p><em>Andrew Nathan</em>:</p><p>The new Chinese leadership under Xi Jinping seems to be making some bold opening moves with its attacks on corruption and the announcement on February 5 of <a href="%20http://...

Conversation

02.06.13

Airpocalypse Now: China’s Tipping Point?

Alex Wang, Orville Schell & more
<p>The recent run of air pollution in China, we now know, has been worse than the air quality in <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-30/beijing-air-akin-to-living-in-smoking-lounge-chart-of-the-day.html" target="...

Conversation

02.01.13

China’s Cyberattacks — At What Cost?

James Fallows, Donald Clarke & more
<p><em>James Fallows: </em>Here are some initial reactions on the latest <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/31/technology/chinese-hackers-infiltrate-new-york-times-computers.html?_r=0" target="_blank"...

Conversation

01.30.13

China, Japan and the Islands: What Do the Tensions Mean?

Orville Schell, John Delury & more
<p>How did the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wihttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diaoyuki/Diaoyu" target="_blank">Diaoyu</a>, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wihttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...