Conversation

08.07.18

We’re a Long Way from 2008

Kate Merkel-Hess, Maura Cunningham & more
On August 8, 2008, China’s then Chairman Hu Jintao told a group of world leaders visiting Beijing to attend the Olympics that “the historic moment we have long awaited is arriving.” Indeed, awarding the Games to China in 2001 sparked a fierce debate...

Sinica Podcast

05.26.17

Chinese Power in the Age of Donald Trump

Jeremy Goldkorn, Kaiser Kuo & more from Sinica Podcast
When Joseph Nye, Jr., first used the phrase “soft power” in his 1990 book Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power, China did not factor much into his calculus of world order: It had relatively little military and economic power, and...

Media

02.14.17

Surprise Findings: China’s Youth Are Getting Less Nationalistic, Not More

Anyone who’s spent any length of time following Western press coverage of China is familiar with the notion that China’s leaders are obligated to look tough in order to appease a rising nationalism. Much has been written about the online activities...

Viewpoint

08.07.15

Here’s What’s Wrong With Most Commentary on the Beijing 2022 Olympics

Taisu Zhang & Paul H. Haagen
Upon hearing that Beijing would be hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics, we wondered what the Chinese government was thinking. The decision seemed counterintuitive, to say the least: For one thing, it barely snows in Beijing, or even in Zhangjiakou, the...

Media

08.04.15

Beijing’s Winter Doldrums

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On July 31, the International Olympic Committee awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics to Beijing, the arid northern capital of a country with little tradition of winter sports. Beijing will be the first city in history to host both the winter games and...

Books

02.10.15

The People’s Republic of Chemicals

William J. Kelly and Chip Jacobs
Maverick environmental writers William J. Kelly and Chip Jacobs follow up their acclaimed Smogtown with a provocative examination of China’s ecological calamity already imperiling a warming planet. Toxic smog most people figured was obsolete needlessly kills as many as died in the 9/11 attacks every day, while sometimes Grand Canyon-sized drifts of industrial particles aloft on the winds rain down ozone and waterway-poisoning mercury in America.In vivid, gonzo prose blending first-person reportage with exhaustive research and a sense of karma, Kelly and Jacobs describe China’s ancient love affair with coal, Bill Clinton’s blunders cutting free-trade deals enabling the U.S. to "export" manufacturing emissions to Asia in a shift that pilloried the West's middle class, Communist Party manipulation of eco-statistics, the horror of cancer villages, the deception of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and spellbinding peasant revolts against cancer-spreading plants involving thousands in mostly-censored melées. Ending with China’s monumental coal-bases decried by climatologists as a global warming dagger, The People's Republic of Chemicals names names and emphasizes humanity over bloodless statistics in a classic sure to ruffle feathers as an indictment of money as the real green that not even Al Gore can deny.   —Rare Bird Books, A Vireo Book  {chop}

Environment

02.05.15

Parched Beijing’s Olympics Bid Based on Fake Snow

from chinadialogue
Where better for a Winter Olympic Games than famously arid north China?Drought and a fast growing economy have created water shortages so severe that China’s government has spent more than a decade, and up to U.S.$80 billion, constructing 2,400...

The Olympics’ Leadership Mess

Minky Worden
New York Times
Members of the I.O.C. will vote for a new president for the first time in 12 years. This may be the last chance for many years to reform the committee’s approach to repressive governments that seek to host the games. 

Viewpoint

08.09.13

Five Years On

Jonathan Landreth
On August 8, 2008, I was in Beijing reporting on the media aspects of China’s first Olympic Games, and I am still amazed that the four-hour opening ceremony, as designed by film director Zhang Yimou, was seen by sixty-nine percent of China’s...

Books

09.19.12

Beijing Welcomes You

Tom Scocca
Within the past decade, Beijing has debuted as the defining city of the now and foreseeable future, and China as the ascendant global power. Beijing is the ultimate representation of China's political and cultural capital, of its might—and threat. For so long, the city was closed off to the world, literally built around the Forbidden City, the icon of all that was ominous about China. But now, the country is eager to show off its new openness, its glory and magnanimity, and Beijing is its star. When Tom Scocca arrived in 2004—an American eager to see another culture—Beijing was looking toward welcoming the world to its Olympics four years later, and preparations were in full swing to create a renewed city. Scocca talked to the scientists tasked with changing the weather; interviewed designers and architects churning out projects; checked out the campaign to stop public spitting; documented the planting of trees, the rerouting of traffic, the demolition of the old city, and the construction of the new metropolis. Beijing Welcomes You is a glimpse into the future and an encounter with an urban place we do not yet fully comprehend, and the superpower it is essential we get to know better.  —Riverhead Books

Caixin Media

07.19.12

More than Medals for China’s Olympic Stars

China’s best athletes have not only broken records but they’ve hauled in increasingly sizeable cash bonuses from central and local governments for their champion, medal-winning performances at Olympic events.Between 1984, when China re-entered the...

Sinica Podcast

05.07.10

Dimensions of China’s Soft Power

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
The Beijing Olympics, the Shanghai Expo, the hundreds of Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms, and Beijing’s new English-language satellite news networks are all part of a grand Chinese soft power push: an effort to win the world through...

The Death and Life of a Great Chinese City

Richard Bernstein from New York Review of Books
Judging from the evidence of Michael Meyer’s portrait of life in a narrow backstreet of Beijing as China prepared for the Olympic Games, old Beijing has been vanishing for a very long time. “Peking you simply would not be able to recognize except by...

China: Humiliation & the Olympics

Orville Schell from New York Review of Books
The IncidentOn a snowy winter day in 1991, Lu Gang, a slightly built Chinese scholar who had recently received his Ph.D. in plasma physics, walked into a seminar room at the University of Iowa’s Van Allen Hall, raised a snub-nose .38-caliber Taurus...

Reports

07.29.08

People’s Republic of China: The Olympics Countdown—Broken Promises

Amnesty International
Written less than two weeks before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, this papers assesses progress made by the Chinese authorities to improve human rights in line with their own commitments made in 2001. This report provides a final summary and updates...

Reports

07.01.08

China’s Forbidden Zones: Shutting the Media out of Tibet and Other “Sensitive” Stories

Human Rights Watch
This report focuses on the treatment of foreign journalists by the Chinese government. In the buildup to the Beijing 2008 Olympics, the authors contend, the Chinese government has tried to force foreign journalists to avoid sensitive issues. As a...

Reports

03.01.08

People’s Republic of China: The Olympics Countdown—Crackdown on Activists Threatens Olympics Legacy

Amnesty International
With little more than four months to go before the Beijing Olympics, few substantial reforms have been introduced that will have a significant, positive impact on human rights in China. This is particularly apparent in the plight of individual...

Reports

09.20.06

People’s Republic of China: The Olympics Countdown—Failing to Keep Human Rights Promises

Amnesty International
This report summarizes a number of Amnesty International's human rights concerns in China—concerns which the organization is continuing to highlight as key areas for reform in the run-up to the Olympics. They are: the continuing use of the...