Books

07.26.18

Imperial Twilight

Stephen Platt
Alfred A. Knopf: As China reclaims its position as a world power, Imperial Twilight looks back to tell the story of the country’s last age of ascendance and how it came to an end in the 19th-century Opium War.When Britain launched its first war on China in 1839, pushed into hostilities by profiteering drug merchants and free-trade interests, it sealed the fate of what had long been seen as the most prosperous and powerful empire in Asia, if not the world. But internal problems of corruption, popular unrest, and dwindling finances had weakened China far more than was commonly understood, and the war would help set in motion the eventual fall of the Qing dynasty—which, in turn, would lead to the rise of nationalism and communism in the 20th century. As one of the most potent turning points in the country’s modern history, the Opium War has since come to stand for everything that today’s China seeks to put behind it.In this dramatic, epic story, award-winning historian Stephen Platt sheds new light on the early attempts by Western traders and missionaries to “open” China—traveling mostly in secret beyond Canton, the single port where they were allowed—even as China’s imperial rulers were struggling to manage their country’s decline and Confucian scholars grappled with how to use foreign trade to China’s advantage. The book paints an enduring portrait of an immensely profitable and mostly peaceful meeting of civilizations at Canton over the long term that was destined to be shattered by one of the most shockingly unjust wars in the annals of imperial history. Brimming with a fascinating cast of British, Chinese, and American individuals, this riveting narrative of relations between China and the West has important implications for today’s uncertain and ever-changing political climate.{chop}

How Britain Went to War With China Over Opium

Austin Ramzy
New York Times
In 1840, Britain went to war with China over questions of trade, diplomacy, national dignity and, most importantly, drug trafficking. While British officials tried to play down the illicit origins of the conflict, opponents gave it a name that made...

The Rise of Populism and Implications for China

Paul Haenle & Thomas Carothers from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
The rise of populism in Europe and the United States has had a pronounced impact on domestic politics and foreign policy, as seen in Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. In China, leaders are unsettled by the nationalist and anti-globalization...

Viewpoint

01.31.18

The U.K. Needs to Rethink Its Engagement with China

Paul Irwin Crookes & Kyle Jaros
As British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives in Beijing today, where is the U.K.’s relationship with China heading? Despite a complex history, U.K.-China relations have remained a relative bright spot in China’s engagement with the West in recent...

Features

01.26.18

A Most Immoral Woman: George E. Morrison's Life in Turn-of-the-Century China

Linda Jaivin
My historical novel “A Most Immoral Woman” tells the story of Morrison’s passionate and unconventional affair with Mae Perkins, an independent and wealthy young American libertine, in 1904. It’s a tale that roams the landscape of a dynasty in...

China Rebuffs Criticism of Decision to Bar British Activist from Hong Kong

Benjamin Haas and Tom Phillips
Guardian
China has rebuffed criticism of its decision to bar a prominent British activist from Hong Kong, declaring itself unshakably opposed to foreign interference in the former colony’s affairs.

Cambridge University Press Faces Backlash after Bowing to China Censorship Pressure

Washington Post
Cambridge University Press announced Friday it had removed 300 articles and book reviews from a version of the “China Quarterly” website available in China at the request of the government.

China Invites Britain to Attend New Silk Road Summit: Sources

Ben Blanchard and Elizabeth Piper
Reuters
China has invited British Prime Minister Theresa May to attend a major summit in May on its “One Belt, One Road” initiative to build a new Silk Road, diplomatic sources told Reuters

A Plea to Britain: Don’t Forget Tibet in Your Dealings With China

Lobsang Sangay
Guardian
Britain has a fine history of upholding the democratic values of Tibet. It must do once again as it negotiates business and trade ties with Beijing

Viewpoint

05.25.16

Hong Kong’s International Law Problem

Alvin Y.H. Cheung
In the years leading up to Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, Beijing was keen to reassure the world that nothing significant would change in the territory. Business elites and local politicians alike busied themselves with...

Watch: Queen Elizabeth II Shocked by 'Very Rude' Chinese Officials Ahead of State Visit

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
The queen was filmed talking to Metropolitan Police Commander Lucy D’Orsi at her first garden party of the year.

Conversation

10.20.15

Britain: ‘China’s Best Partner in the West’?

Isabel Hilton, Sebastian Heilmann & more
This week, Xi Jinping is in Great Britain for a state visit, his first since assuming leadership of China nearly three years ago. Britain’s government under David Cameron has signaled—increasingly loudly in recent months—that it hopes to usher in a...

Everyone Wants To Decouple From China – Except Osborne

Heather Stewart
Guardian
UK Chancellor George Osborne urged Chinese firms to help build Britain’s “northern powerhouse” during his five-day long grand tour of China.

Chinese State Media Blasts ‘Stereotypical’ and ‘Prejudiced’ BBC Documentary

Ryan Kilpatrick
Hong Kong Economic Journal
China’s state media Xinhua has lashed out at a recent documentary series by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

GSK’s Viiv Arm Agrees China Tie-up to Produce HIV Drugs

Andrew Ward
Financial Times
GlaxoSmithKline signs a deal to manufacture cut-price HIV drugs in China as the UK group rebuilds its presence after a corruption scandal.

‘Better Than Nothing’: U.K. Foreign Office Backs Beijing’s Hong Kong Reforms

Danny Lee
South China Morning Post
London is throwing its weight behind reform proposals in an attempt yet to heal a diplomatic rift with Beijing.

Prince William Attacks China over ‘Ignorant Craving’ for Ivory

Ian Johnston
Independent
According to excerpts of his speech released in advance, Prince William, who is due to go to China early next year, will say: “Some endangered species are now literally worth more than their weight in gold."...

Taking Aim at Hong Kong

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
A surge of emotion washed through me on Sunday night as I watched tens of thousands of protesters fill the streets of Hong Kong on television. It was the same feeling I had in Beijing on the nights leading up to the killings in Tiananmen Square on...

Environment

09.04.14

Alibaba Founder Shoots Himself in the Foot with UK Hunting Trip

from chinadialogue
Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce platform Alibaba and chairman of The Nature Conservancy’s China Program, has drawn hostile fire from environmentalists after a British newspaper recently reported he hunted stags in Scotland in 2012. What’s more, Ma...

China Accuses MPs of Hong Kong ‘Interference’

Laura Kuenssberg
BBC
The Chinese authorities have accused British MPs of interfering in Hong Kong's affairs...

China’s Economic Power Buys British Silence on Human Rights

Jonathan Sullivan
South China Morning Post
For Prime Minister David Cameron and the British government, Premier Li Keqiang’s recent visit could not have gone better. Diplomatic relations, which turned frosty following Cameron's meeting with the Dalai Lama in 2012, are back on track...

Ten Questions Cambridge University Must Now Answer Over the Chong Hua Donation

Peter Foster
Telegraph
The news that one of China's most powerful political families has endowed a professorial chair at Cambridge University raises profound and disturbing questions, both about the integrity of British academia and the reach of China's soft-...

China Cancels Human Rights Dialogue with Britain

Tania Brannigan
Guardian
Beijing accuses UK of using rights issues to interfere in its internal affairs and axes dialogue that resumed after diplomatic freeze over Dalai Lama

Books

04.09.14

Poseidon

Steven R. Schwankert
Royal Navy submarine HMS Poseidon sank in collision with a Chinese freighter during routine exercises in 1931 off Weihaiwei. Thirty of its fifty-six-man crew scrambled out of the hatches as it went down. Of the twenty-six who remained inside, eight attempted to surface using "Davis gear," an early form of diving equipment: six of them made it safely to the surface in the first escape of this kind in submarine history and became heroes. The incident was then forgotten, eclipsed by the greater drama that followed in World War II, until news emerged that, for obscure reasons, the Chinese government had salvaged the wrecked submarine in 1972. This lively account of the Poseidon incident tells the story of the accident and its aftermath, and of the author’s own quest to find out about the 1972 salvage. —Hong Kong University Press {chop}{node, 4183, 3}

Virgin Galactic Bans Chinese Tourists from Space Flights Fearing Espionage

Asian News International
Tycoons willing to pay 250,000 dollars for the tickets have been advised to get another nationality's passport to board the flights. ...

China Pouring Billions into London Real Estate

Zhang Chunyan
China Daily
Chinese investment in London real-estate has risen 1,500 percent since 2010.

Sinica Podcast

12.03.13

One Journalist’s Journey through China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week, Kaiser and Jeremy are pleased to be joined by Isabel Hilton, a longstanding British journalist whose youthful interest in China got her blacklisted by the British security services and the British Broadcasting Corporation and redirected...

Who’s Afraid of Chinese Money?

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
“China is what it is. We have to be here or nowhere.” Chancellor George Osborne, Britain’s second-highest official, was laying out the British government’s view last week, near the end of his trip aimed at selling Britain to Chinese companies...

Viewpoint

10.16.13

Innovation in Britain and What it Means for China

Vincent Ni
On the occasion of a high-level British delegation’s visit to Beiing this week, Vincent Ni, the long-time New York-based U.S. correspondent for the independent Caixin Media group, shared his views about China’s ability to innovate relative to what...

Reports

10.01.13

China’s Absorptive State

Kirsten Bound, Tom Saunders, James Wilsdon, Jonathan Adams
Nesta
A great deal of speculation surrounds China’s prospects in science and innovation, as with other aspects of China’s development and heightened visibility on the global stage. The same pitfalls—of hype, generalization, and only partial awareness of...

Environment

02.13.13

Nuclear Fusion: An Answer to China’s Energy Problems?

from chinadialogue
The global nuclear sector has been through something of an apocalyptic patch since the disaster at Fukushima—from power station shutdowns in Japan and Germany to waste-plan chaos in the U.K. to doubts about China’s ability to showcase new reactor...

Reports

06.01.12

Crossing the River by Feeling for Stones: A New Approach to Exporting Creative Content to China?

Hasan Bakhshi and Philippe Schneider
Nesta
We have all heard the statistics. About how China is forecast to overtake the U.S. to be the largest economy in the world by 2027. How China already has 277 million mobile web users, of which 45 percent use their handsets to access music and 21 per...

Betrayal

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
It is unusual in British political life for a high official to leave his position and immediately reveal in his own words or through an intermediary what in his opinion really happened while he was in office. Furthermore, unless he has been roughly...