Activist Says Human Rights Will Grow in China

Annie Huang
ABC
 On Monday, Chen accused Beijing of Spending billions of dollars annually to monitor dissidents and activists and out them in jail if they refused to stop their advocacies. "No other regimes in the world have feared or monitored their...

Beijing Police Seek ‘Large and Vicious’ Suspects (With Wet Noses)

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
Police in Beijing are enforcing a longstanding ban on dogs taller than 13.7 inches in the districts that make up the heart of the capital. Officials note that rabies last year killed 13 people in Beijing, more than double the number in 2011. Big...

China’s Venetian Quandary: Chinese Artists

Kevin Holden Platt
New York Times
The Chinese exhibition at the 55th Venice Biennale, which opened June 1 and runs through Nov. 24, has been organized by Wang Chunchen, head of curatorial research at the Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum in Beijing. Its theme, “...

Beijing Air Laden With Arsenic, Other Heavy Metals

Yan Shuang
Global Times
Such heavy metals can damage the nervous system and cause cardiovascular disease and cancer, according to a report by a joint team of Greenpeace members and scholars from Peking University that tested the capital’s air over a 15-day period. 

Why Leave Job In Beijing? To Breathe

Laurie Burkitt and Brian Spegele
Wall Street Journal
The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China says air pollution is a key challenge facing companies here, and is an underlying reason why many expatriate workers choose to leave. 

Infographics

04.09.13

China, North Korea, and Nuclear Arms

Ouyang Bin, David M. Barreda & more
As tensions again escalate on the Korean Peninsula, ChinaFile examines more than a decade of developments in North Korea’s nuclear armaments program. We begin our timeline in late 2002, when China first joined diplomatic discussions, paving the...

Who Killed Pamela in Peking?

Jonathan D. Spence from New York Review of Books
An ordinary winter evening in the Legation Quarter of Peking, where foreign embassies and consulates were located, January 7, 1937. Cold. The heavy sound of Japanese armored cars, out on patrol down the busy shopping streets that flank the Forbidden...

Zhang Xin: China’s Real Estate Mogul

Shachar Bar-On
CBS News
Cultural Revolution child Zhang Xin talks with Leslie Stahl about her transformation from sweatshop worker to self-made billionaire.

A Streak Of Brooklyn In Beijing

Mitch Moxley
New York Times
Gulou residents have been joined by a new breed of Chinese and expatriate clad in skinny jeans, riding fixed-gear bikes and a loyal customer base for restaurants that offer locavore menu options.

Rally Cry for the U.S. to Catch Up to the Chinese in Africa

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
In this episode of the China in Africa Podcast, hosts Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden focus on Delaware Senator Chris Coons' warning that unless the United States places a greater emphasis on Africa, it will be too late to catch up to the...

Media

01.30.13

Chinese Web Erupts With Widespread Calls for Change as Beijing Endures Airpocalypse 2.0

Beijingers are choking on their air—again. Just seventeen days after Chinese cyberspace erupted with complaints about air so bad that it was “beyond index,” denizens of the Chinese capital awoke once again to a city blanketed with smog. Over the...

One Nation Under Smog: Rules for Beijing Living

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
The following will sound like a joke, but I’m sorry to say it’s not: the filters for our air purifying machines are so expensive that we get ours under the table. 

Environment

01.15.13

We’re Winning the Air Pollution Data Battle—So What Next?

from chinadialogue
Last year, China made a breakthrough in the publication of air quality data, as more than sixty cities started to monitor and publish levels of the dangerous air pollutant PM2.5. But the figures themselves were depressing. With PM2.5—fine...

Environment

01.07.13

Taxi Drivers in China Have Highest PM2.5 Air Pollutant Exposure

from chinadialogue
A study conducted by Greenpeace has revealed that taxi drivers suffer the greatest levels of exposure to PM2.5 air pollution: three times that of the average person, and five times the world standard.The study, carried out by Greenpeace in...

Video

12.20.12

Stars in the Haze

Joshua Frank
Flying kites is the quintessential Chinese pastime. But “wind zithers” or “paper sparrow hawks,” as they are known in Chinese, also have a long history as tools. Over millennia, Chinese have used them for measuring the wind, gauging distances, and...

China hints at move to strengthen Communist rule

Sui-Lee Wee
Reuters
Xinhua says China's ruling Communist Party will discuss a proposal aimed at strengthening one-party rule over the next five years. ...

Video

10.16.12

The Rat Tribe

Sim Chi Yin from VII Magazine
The evening sun sits low in the smoggy Beijing sky. Beneath a staid, maroon apartment block, Jiang Ying, 24, is stirring from her bed after having slept through the day. Day is night and night is day anyway in the window-less world she inhabits...

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

Beijing Revisited After Half a Century

David Willey
BBC
Returning to Beijing after nearly 50 years sparks recollections of a China long gone, and the memory of one very special meeting.

Interview with Head of Beijing Independent Film Festival Li Xianting

Kevin B. Lee
dGenerate Films
Last Saturday China’s independent film community faced their latest setback when the Beijing Independent Film Festival was forced to cancel its public screenings upon pressure from local authorities.  This was the third consecutive...

“Twitter Is My City”: An Interview with Ai Weiwei

Jonathan Landreth
Foreign Policy
Ai, who lived in New York for much of the 1980s, has become a patron of China's disaffected urbanites, and here, in his tranquil garden, he holds court, offering advice to the thousands of fans, bloggers, activists, and petitioners who visit...

Beijing Forever

Michael Meyer
Foreign Policy
Beijing, as most Chinese know it, was a neglected relic after the Japanese occupation of World War II and the Chinese Civil War. In 1949, when the victorious communists moved the capital back there from Nanjing, it was a bankrupt town of 1.4 million...

Books

07.31.12

Sound Kapital

Matthew Niederhauser
China exists today in a liminal realm, caught between the socialist idealism of old and a calamitous drive for wealth spurned by recent free market reforms. This seemingly unbridgeable gap tears at the country’s social fabric while provoking younger generations to greater artistic heights. The unique sound emerging from Beijing’s underground delves deeply into this void, aggressively questioning the moral and social basis of China’s fragile modernity even as it subsists upon it.A formidable new wave of Chinese musicians is taking the city by storm. Revolving around four venues spread across Beijing, a burgeoning group of performers are working outside government-controlled media channels, and in the process, capturing the attention of the international music community. They now constitute a fresh, independent voice in a country renowned for creative conformity and saccharine Cantonese pop. In Sound Kapital, photographer Matthew Niederhauser captures the energy of the personalities and performers at D-22, Yugong Yishan, 2 Kolegas, and Mao Livehouse. These revolutionary Beijing nightclubs remain at the core of the city’s creative explosion by hosting an eclectic mix of punk, experimental, rock, and folk performances.Included with the book are concert posters and illustrations that encapsulate the underground scene in Beijing, as well as a CD sampler of the new music being produced. There is no doubt that these musicians will continue to break ground within Beijing’s nascent artistic landscape, helping to push the boundaries of an already expanding realm of independent thought and musical expression in China.—powerHouse Books

Flood Brings Out Beijing's Digital Samaritans

Wendy Qian
China Digital Times
Netizens have reached out a digital hand to those left stranded by Beijing’s torrential rains. There are over 7.4 million posts on Weibo on the subject ('Beijing' + 'Baoyu' or 'rainstorm'), many of them calls for help—...

Beijing Meets Critics Online in Wake of Deadly Floods

Loretta Chao and Paul Mozur
Wall Street Journal
Skies were blue and streets mostly dry on Sunday and Monday in Beijing, with only a scattering of abandoned cars as a reminder of the downpour that caused flooding throughout the sprawling capital and killed at least 37 people on Saturday. ...

The Beijing Deluge of 2012

Jeremy Goldkorn
Danwei
Xinhua reported on Monday morning that the death toll after torrential rains pounded Beijing on Saturday had climbed to 37. The report said that “Among the victims, 25 were drowned, six were killed in house collapses, one...

Heaviest Rains in 60 Years Kill 37 in Beijing

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
The Chinese capital's heaviest rainstorm in six decades killed at least 37 people, flooded streets and stranded 80,000 people at the main airport, state media and the government said on Sunday...

A Catholic Wedding in Beijing (video)

Joshua Frank
New York Times
In China, people are flocking to the city’s oldest Catholic church for a sense of community, entertainment, or a wedding ceremony, even if they are not Catholic.

Books

07.10.12

3 Years: Arrow Factory

Pauline J. Yao, Rania Ho, Wang Wei (Eds.)
Arrow Factory is an independently run art space located in a narrow 200-year-old alleyway in the center of Beijing. Founded in 2008, Arrow Factory reclaimed an existing storefront and transformed it into a space for site-specific installations and projects by contemporary artists that are designed to be viewed from the street twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Arrow Factory has aimed at reaching a diverse public made up of neighboring residents, as well as local and international art audiences, and has been instrumental in encouraging new avenues for site-oriented artistic production in China.With this publication, audiences are able to view comprehensive documentation of some twenty-eight temporary site-specific works produced by Chinese and international artists at Arrow Factory over the past three years between April 2008 to March 2011. 3 Years: Arrow Factory provides a valuable look into the uniqueness of our contemporary situation, and captures for posterity the fleeting connections that situate Arrow Factory in China’s larger economic, intellectual, and artistic zeitgeist. —Sternberg Press 

Rat World (Photographs)

Sim Chi Yin
Foreign Policy
Picture Beijing, and a skyline of fancy steel architecture and clouds of smog likely come to mind. But the most fitting metaphor for the city's growing pains may lie beneath its streets: In the past two decades, underground storage basements,...

Media

05.18.12

Drunken Brit Assaults Chinese Woman in Beijing

Bo Wang
A drunken foreigner was caught sexually assaulting a Chinese woman in Beijing near the Xuanwumen subway station. Pedestrians stopped him and it ended in a fight. This video shows the initial confrontation with the foreigner and then jumps to the...

Books

05.11.12

Midnight in Peking

Paul French
January, 1937: Peking is a heady mix of privilege and scandal, lavish cocktail bars and opium dens, warlords and corruption, rumors and superstition—and the clock is ticking down on all of it. In the exclusive Legation Quarter, the foreign residents wait nervously for the axe to fall. Japanese troops have already occupied Manchuria and are poised to advance south. Word has it that Chiang Kai-shek and his shaky government, long since fled to Nanking, are ready to cut a deal with Tokyo and leave Peking to its fate. Each day brings a racheting up of tension for Chinese and foreigners alike inside the ancient city walls. On one of those walls, not far from the nefarious Badlands, is a massive watchtower—haunted, so the locals believe, by fox spirits that prey upon innocent mortals.Then one bitterly cold night, the body of an innocent mortal is dumped there. It belongs to Pamela Werner, the daughter of a former British consul to China, and when the details of her death become known, people find it hard to credit that any human could treat another in such a fashion. Even as the Japanese noose on the city tightens, the killing of Pamela transfixes Peking. Seventy-five years after these events, Paul French finally gives the case the resolution it was denied at the time. Midnight in Peking is the un-put-downable true story of a murder that will make you hold your loved ones close, and also a sweepingly evocative account of the end of an era. —Penguin Books

Caixin Media

05.04.12

The Ruins of Yuanmingyuan

Sheila Melvin
On a balmy, moonlit evening in the autumn of 2010, I took my son out to Yuanmingyuan to wander among the ruins. The 150th anniversary of the destruction of “The Garden of Perfect Brightness”—often called the Old Summer Palace—was approaching and I...

Sinica Podcast

03.16.12

Midnight in Peking

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
In a China accustomed to glacial political change, Bo Xilai’s dramatic fall from power this week has stunned observers nationwide. Joining us to help make sense of things is Guardian correspondent Tania Branigan, who helps review what exactly...

Sinica Podcast

12.06.11

The Soul of Beijing

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Today, we’re pleased to share a special live edition of Sinica recorded last Saturday at Capital M in Beijing. Held to a standing-room only crowd, we talked all about our ongoing love-hate relationship with Beijing, and asked what on earth is...

The High Price of the New Beijing

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
One recent weekend, I went for a walk through the alleys around the Qianmen shopping district, once Beijing’s commercial heart and still home to nationally known traditional shops. One of its chief side streets, Dazhalan, had been turned into a Ye...

How Reds Smashed Reds

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
July and August 1966, the first months of the ten-year Cultural Revolution, were the summer of what Andrew Walder, a sociologist at Stanford, calls “The Maoist Shrug.” Jiang Qing, Mao Zedong’s wife, told high school Red Guards, “We do not advocate...

Sinica Podcast

07.12.10

Ich Bin Ein Beijinger

Kaiser Kuo from Sinica Podcast
Sad as it is to admit, the rare solar eclipse that incited such mayhem on Easter Island earlier this week has thrown our own Beijing community into a tizzy. Or perhaps the culprit is the stultifying heatwave which has descended on our city, turning...

Books

04.01.10

City of Heavenly Tranquility

Jasper Becker
When the world descends on Beijing for the 2008 Olympics, it will find the results of a helter skelter rush for modernization and wealth. In the course of a thousand years, temples and shrines, palaces, and gardens had filled the walls of old Peking. Its narrow, twisting streets held the collective memories of five dynasties and turbulent events of the 20th century. It has now all been swept away to make way for a new city filled with dull, boxy high rises, rows of shopping malls, office towers blocks, and residential housing developments marching down uniform streets. The City of Heavenly Tranquility explores how and why the Chinese buried their history and destroyed one of the world's most fabled cities, virtually extinguishing the culture of one of the greatest and oldest civilizations within the span of a single lifetime. In a tour de force by a long time resident, British journalist Jasper Becker brings to life the strange and exotic lives of the emperors, eunuchs, courtesans, and warriors who for centuries ruled from behind the red walls of the Forbidden City. Becker mixes his own experiences with poignant stories from those who were destroyed in the tornado of destruction as they tried to rescue something from the past. Writing vividly and with passion, Becker shows how ruthless officials and a fiercely nationalistic government set itself the monumental mission to change the fabric of a nation—and succeeded. He also explains how those currently in power, Mao's former Red Guards, remain determined to modernize China by jettisoning the past and clearing space for the future, evicting over three million residents in Beijing alone.  —Oxford University Press

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...