Books

02.16.17

Chinese Theology

Chloë Starr
In this groundbreaking and authoritative study, Chloë Starr explores key writings of Chinese Christian intellectuals, from philosophical dialogues of the late imperial era to micro-blogs of pastors in the 21st century. Through a series of close textual readings, she sheds new light on such central issues in Chinese theology as Christian identity and the evolving question of how Christians should relate to society and state.Reading these texts in their socio-political and traditional literary contexts, Starr opens a new conversation about the nature of Chinese theology and the challenge it offers to a broad understanding of how theology is created and contextualized. Concentrating on those theologians who have engaged most actively with their cultural and political milieus, Starr argues throughout her readings, as she examines how Chinese literary traditions and reading patterns have shaped Chinese theology, that text is as important as context. —Yale University Press{chop}

Chinese Students in the U.S. Are Using “Inclusion” and “Diversity” to Oppose a Dalai Lama Graduation Speech

Josh Horwitz
Quartz
On Feb. 2, the University of California, San Diego formally announced that the Dalai Lama would make a keynote speech at the June commencement ceremony. The announcement triggered outrage among Chinese students who view the exiled Tibetan spiritual...

China, the Party-Corporate Complex

Yi-Zheng Lian
New York Times
In December, 15 years after China’s accession to the World Trade Organization, the European Union, the United States and Japan formally refused to grant Beijing the coveted label, denying it important concessions on tariffs and other trade...

Books

02.01.17

Unlikely Partners

Julian Gewirtz
Unlikely Partners recounts the story of how Chinese politicians and intellectuals looked beyond their country’s borders for economic guidance at a key crossroads in the nation’s tumultuous 20th century. Julian Gewirtz offers a dramatic tale of competition for influence between reformers and hardline conservatives during the Deng Xiaoping era, bringing to light China’s productive exchanges with the West.When Mao Zedong died in 1976, his successors seized the opportunity to reassess the wisdom of China’s rigid commitment to Marxist doctrine. With Deng Xiaoping’s blessing, China’s economic gurus scoured the globe for fresh ideas that would put China on the path to domestic prosperity and ultimately global economic power. Leading foreign economists accepted invitations to visit China to share their expertise, while Chinese delegations traveled to the United States, Hungary, Great Britain, West Germany, Brazil, and other countries to examine new ideas. Chinese economists partnered with an array of brilliant thinkers, including Nobel Prize winners, World Bank officials, battle-scarred veterans of Eastern Europe’s economic struggles, and blunt-speaking free-market fundamentalists.Nevertheless, the push from China’s senior leadership to implement economic reforms did not go unchallenged, nor has the Chinese government been eager to publicize its engagement with Western-style innovations. Even today, Chinese Communists decry dangerous Western influences and officially maintain that China’s economic reinvention was the Chinese Communist Party’s achievement alone. Unlikely Partners sets forth the truer story, which has continuing relevance for China’s complex and far-reaching relationship with the West. —Harvard University Press{chop}

China Corruption Prosecutions Drop for First Time in Five Years

Hudson Lockett
Financial Times
Fall of 20% in party officials handed to courts marks change of tack in campaign

China Swings back at Golf, Shutting down 111 Courses

Normaan Merchant
Associated Press
China has launched a renewed crackdown on golf, closing 111 courses in an effort to conserve water and land, and telling members of the ruling Communist Party to stay off the links.

How China’s Liberals Are Feeling the Trump Effect

Wang Lixiong
Washington Post
With the presidential election of Donald Trump, a man whose grasp of both democratic concepts and ethical norms is questionable, we have been forced to ask some hard new questions

Sinica Podcast

01.13.17

Can the Vatican and China Get Along?

Jeremy Goldkorn, Kaiser Kuo & more from Sinica Podcast
Ian Johnson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has lived in Beijing and Taiwan for more than half of the past 30 years, writing for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and other publications. He has...

Books

01.04.17

The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China

Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom
This lavishly illustrated volume explores the history of China during a period of dramatic shifts and surprising transformations, from the founding of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) through to the present day.The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China promises to be essential reading for anyone who wants to understand this rising superpower on the verge of what promises to be the “Chinese century,” introducing readers to important but often overlooked events in China’s past, such as the bloody Taiping Civil War (1850-1864), which had a death toll far higher than the roughly contemporaneous American Civil War. It also helps readers see more familiar landmarks in Chinese history in new ways, such as the Opium War (1839-1842), the Boxer Uprising of 1900, the rise to power of the Chinese Communist Party in 1949, and the Tiananmen protests and Beijing Massacre of 1989.This is one of the first major efforts—and in many ways the most ambitious to date—to come to terms with the broad sweep of modern Chinese history, taking readers from the origins of modern China right up through the dramatic events of the last few years (the Beijing Games, the financial crisis, and China’s rise to global economic pre-eminence) which have so fundamentally altered Western views of China and China’s place in the world. —Oxford University Press{chop}

A Good Year for Xi Jinping— But Trouble is Heading His Way

Tom Phillips
Guardian
After domestic victories in 2016, China’s president must deal with a worsening economy and Trump in the White House

Xi’s Power Play Foreshadows Historic Transformation of How China is Ruled

Jeremy Page and Lingling Wei
Wall Street Journal
Party insiders say president wants to remain in office after his second term, breaking succession conventions

How George Michael’s Wham! Baffled Communist China and Inspired its Youth

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
It was a culture shock to rival the best of them: the coiffured hair and exuberant dancing of British pop stars, and the Communist Party’s dour uniformity

These Three Major China Themes Will Be Pivotal in 2017

Aidan Yao
South China Morning Post
China’s economic growth target, the depreciation of the yuan and a looming change in several senior Communist Party positions will be important factors

Taiwan is Both Exhilarated and Unnerved by Trump’s China’s Remarks

Javier Hernandez and Amy Qin
New York Times
What does it mean for one’s homeland to be put on the table by Mr. Trump, in negotiations with China’s leaders, who are not known for making concessions easily?

China’s Digital Dictatorship

Economist
Turn the spotlight on the rulers, not the ruled: Instead of rating citizens, the government should be allowing them to assess the way it rules

For China’s State Media, Trump Victory Can’t Cure the ‘American Disease’

Chris Buckley
New York Times
China’s ruling elite seems to be consoling itself with the idea that Trump will take charge of a country staggering into decline and disunion

China Universities Must Become Communist Party 'Strongholds', Says Xi Jinping

Tom Phillips
Guardian
All teachers must be ‘staunch supporters’ of party governance, says president in what experts called an effort to reassert control

China’s Second Most Powerful Man Warns of Dissent and Corruption in the CCP

Zheping Huang
Quartz
Tough talk on corruption is not unheard of from Wang, but his harsh manner and candid rundown of the party’s problems mean the speech was given great importance

“We Have a Fake Election”: China Disrupts Local Campaigns

Javier Hernandez
New York Times
Local elections are democratic in name only. The party picks its preferred candidates and leaves no room for an upset

With Odes to Military March, China Puts Nationalism into Overdrive

Javier Hernandez
New York Times
President Xi has been making the case for a “new long march,” using the anniversary to rally the public and warn against creeping complacency

China Revives “Comrade” in Drive for Communist Party Discipline

Lucy Hornby
Financial Times
Anti-corruption watchdog orders return of outmoded greeting now embraced by gay men

China is Also Going to the Polls. But You’d Barely Know It.

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
Between August and December, China is holding staggered local elections all across the country – an exercise in “grass-roots democracy” on a daunting scale

Provincial Party Shake-up Paves Way for Leadership Changes

Lin Yunshi
About half of China's provincial party committees have changed top ranks...

Conversation

11.07.16

The Chinese Communist Party, with Xi Jinping at the Core

Bo Zhiyue & Kerry Brown
In late October, the Chinese Communist Party anointed Xi Jinping as a “core leader.” While the position doesn’t come with any formal responsibilities, its symbolism is important. According to The New York Times, it shows that senior Party officials...

In Xi’s China, Everything Old is New Again

Julian Gewirtz and Jeff Wasserstrom
Foreign Policy
Eighty years after the end of the Long March, a Communist leader asks for another one. What is he really seeking?

Xi Jinping is China’s “Core” Leader: Here’s What That Means

Chris Buckley
New York Times
President Xi got a lift when the CCP give him the title of "Core" Leader last week. But what does that mean for Mr. Xi and China’s political future?...

Conversation

10.27.16

What Does Xi Jinping’s Top-Down Leadership Mean for Innovation in China?

Matthias Stepan, Anna Ahlers & more
One of the hallmarks of Xi Jinping’s leadership has been a centralization of power across a whole range of areas of domestic politics. This week, the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership meets in Beijing for the sixth plenary session of its 18th...

China’s Communist Party Declares Xi Jinping ‘Core’ Leader

Chris Buckley
New York Times
The term suggests Mr. Xi has already joined the same revered league as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping before a big shake-up in the party’s top ranks next year

China’s 6th Plenum Begins With a Focus on Intra-Party Discipline: What to Expect

Ankit Panda
Diplomat
The highlight of China’s 2016 political calendar, the Sixth Plenum of the 18th Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, kicked off on Monday

Researcher Uncovers How Victims of China’s Cultural Revolution Really Died

Violet Law
Los Angeles Times
Her persistence has pierced the official silence enforced by the Chinese government. As time goes on, families of those who died are more willing to open up

China Lags Behind in Rule of Law Ranking

Josh Chin
WSJ: China Real Time Report
A new global ranking finds China is making limited progress

Party Time in China: The Riddle of Xi

Dexter Roberts
Bloomberg
The prospect of the Party Congress in fall 2017 is already roiling politics.

How the Party’s Absolute Power Undermines its Efforts to Strengthen China’s Rule of Law

Cary Huang
South China Morning Post
While Chinese leaders support the need for a credible legal system, it is their iron-clad grip that is the stumbling block to its development

The Race to China’s 19th Party Congress

Jonathan Brookfield
Diplomat
Next fall, China’s leaders will kick off the 19th Party Congress. Start your engines.

Xi Jinping Reminds China’s State Companies of Who’s the Boss

Emily Feng
New York Times
In an unusual meeting that ended on Tuesday, President Xi Jinping announced that the Chinese Communist Party had the ultimate say over state companies

China Anti-Corruption Campaign Backfires

Hudson Lockett
Financial Times
Xi Jinping drive to cleanse Communist party of graft tarnishes its image

China Seeks Tighter Grip in Wake of a Religious Revival

Ian Johnson
New York Times
Increased regulations on religion are the latest move by President Xi to strengthen the Communist Party’s control over society and combat foreign influences.

Conversation

10.06.16

Is the Growing Pessimism About China Warranted?

David Shambaugh, David M. Lampton & more from Washington Quarterly
There are few more consequential questions in world affairs than China’s uncertain future trajectory. Assumptions of a reformist China integrated into the international community have given way in recent years to serious concerns about the nation’s...

Mayor of Major Chinese Port City of Tianjin Faces Corruption Inquiry

Guardian
City’s acting Communist party chief is accused of ‘serious discipline breaches’ by investigators.

Conversation

08.18.16

What Would China Look Like Today Had Zhao Ziyang Survived?

Julian B. Gewirtz, David Shambaugh & more
Almost 500 previously unpublished documents about Zhao Ziyang, the bold reformer who served as China’s premier (1980-1987) and Communist Party general secretary (1987-1989), were smuggled out of China and published in late July by the Chinese...

Viewpoint

08.18.16

Zhao Ziyang’s Legacy

David Shambaugh
It is difficult to say with any certainty how China would have evolved had Zhao Ziyang not been overthrown in 1989. The ostensible cause of his purge was his refusal to endorse martial law and authorize the use of force to suppress the Tiananmen...

Viewpoint

08.11.16

The Future of China’s Legal System

Neysun A. Mahboubi, Carl Minzner & more
In early August, Beijing held show trials of four legal activists—a disheartening turn for those optimistic about legal reform in China. What are the prospects for the development of the rule of law in China under Communist Party Secretary Xi...

China’s Relationship Status with South Africa: ‘It’s Complicated’

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
South Africa’s relationship with China has undergone a profound transformation in a remarkably short period of time. In less than 20 years, the two countries have gone from barely acknowledging one another to developing a deep partnership that...

China Paper Warns U.S. of ‘Price’ to Pay in South China Sea

Washington Post
U.S. is dangerously close to China’s “bottom line”......

Books

06.28.16

John Birch

Terry Lautz
John Birch was better known in death than life. Shot and killed by Communists in China in 1945, he posthumously became the namesake for a right-wing organization whose influence is still visible in today’s Tea Party. This is the remarkable story of who he actually was: an American missionary-turned-soldier who wanted to save China, but instead became a victim. Terry Lautz, a longtime scholar of U.S.-China relations, has investigated archives, spoken with three of Birch’s brothers, found letters written to the women he loved, and visited sites in China where he lived and died. The result, John Birch: A Life, is the first authoritative biography of this fascinating figure whose name was appropriated for a political cause.Raised as a Baptist fundamentalist, Birch became a missionary to China prior to America’s entry into the Second World War. After Pearl Harbor, he volunteered for the U.S. Army in China, served with Claire Chennault, Commander of the famed Flying Tigers, and operated behind enemy lines as an intelligence officer. He planned to resume his missionary work after the war, but was killed in a dispute with Communist troops just days after Japan’s surrender. During the heyday of the Cold War in the 1950s, Robert Welch, a retired businessman from Boston, chose Birch as the figurehead for the John Birch Society, believing that his death was evidence of conspiracy at the highest levels of government. The Birch Society became one of the most polarizing organizations of its time, and the name of John Birch became synonymous with right-wing extremism.Cutting through the layers of mythology surrounding Birch, Lautz deftly presents his life and his afterlife, placing him not only in the context of anti-communism but in the longstanding American quest to shape China’s destiny. —Oxford University Press{chop}

Incendiary Memoir by Chinese Rights Lawyer Reaches Bookshelves Abroad

Michael Forsythe
New York Times
An account of government critique, life in prison, and life under surveillance....

Who Is Xi?

Andrew J. Nathan from New York Review of Books
More than halfway through his five-year term as president of China and general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party—expected to be the first of at least two—Xi Jinping’s widening crackdown on civil society and promotion of a cult of personality...

China's Xi Jinping Denies House of Cards Power Struggle but Attacks 'Conspirators'

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Chinese president warns of ‘cabals and cliques’ within Communist party and promises ‘resolute response to eliminate the problem.'...

Conversation

04.19.16

Fifty Years Later, How Is the Cultural Revolution Still Present in Life in China?

Guobin Yang, Federico Pachetti & more
Fifty years ago this May 16, Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong launched the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, a chaotic, terrifying, and often deadly decade-long campaign to “purify” C.C.P. ideology and reassert his political dominance...

Viewpoint

04.06.16

Will China Ever Have Its Own Cinematic Superhero?

Anthony Kao
As Batman v Superman attempts to barnstorm cinema box offices worldwide, including in China—now the world’s No. 2 movie marketplace—I’ve been watching a different kind of hero movie: Jian Bing Man.This 2015 Chinese blockbuster isn’t exactly a...

Crackdown in China: Worse and Worse

Orville Schell from New York Review of Books
“As a liberal, I no longer feel I have a future in China,” a prominent Chinese think tank head in the process of moving abroad recently lamented in private. Such refrains are all too familiar these days as educated Chinese professionals express...

China ‘Detained 20 over Xi Resignation Letter’

John Sudworth
BBC
The letter focuses on what it says is Xi's “gathering of all power” in his own hands and restrictions on freedom of speech...

China Warns Officials: No Unrest, Or Lose Your Job

Chuin-Wei Yap
Wall Street Journal
The policy announcement comes two weeks after hundreds of unpaid coal workers took to the streets in the gritty northeastern city of Shuangyashan.

Chinese Activist in N.Y. Says Beijing Officials 'Abducted' His Parents and Brother

Los Angeles Times
An influential Communist Party critic with more than 220,000 Twitter followers said authorities detained his family in Guangdong.

Excerpts

03.22.16

Beyond ‘Chicken or Beef’ Choices in China Debates

Jeffrey Wasserstrom
Growing up in California with no special interest in China, one of the few things I associated with the big country across the Pacific was mix-and-match meal creation. On airplanes and in school cafeterias, you just had “chicken or beef” choices,...

Features

03.21.16

A Thousand Yes-Men Cannot Equal One Honest Advisor

Several cadre leaders have been punished for breaking the law, and nearly all of them have said: There isn’t enough internal supervision and no one warned me; if there’d been someone there whispering in my ear, I wouldn’t have committed such grave...

Conversation

03.21.16

Cracks in Xi Jinping’s Fortress?

Andrew J. Nathan, Rana Mitter & more
Two remarkable documents emerged from China last week—the essay “A Thousand Yes-Men Cannot Equal One Honest Advisor,” which appeared on the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, and an open letter calling for Xi Jinping’s...

How a New York Art Show about Chinese Online Censorship Found Itself Censored

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
When the artist behind the cafe tried to organize a round-table event, a speaker starting receiving threats from China.

China: The Benefits of Persecution?

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
During decades of reading and reviewing books on China I have learned a great deal, even from those I didn’t like. Only a few have surprised me. Mao’s Lost Children is such a book, and those like me who believe that the Mao period was bad for China...