When the Law Meets the Party

Ian Johnson
Like an army defeated but undestroyed, China’s decades-long human rights movement keeps reassembling its lines after each disastrous loss, miraculously fielding new forces in the battle against an illiberal state. Each time, foot soldiers and...

Books

08.01.17

Globalization against Democracy

Guoguang Wu
Globalization has reconfigured both the external institutional framework and the intrinsic operating mechanisms of capitalism. The global triumph of capitalism implies the embracing of the market by the state in all its variants, and that global capitalism is not confined to the shell of nation-state democracy. Guoguang Wu provides a theoretical framework of global capitalism for specialists in political economy, political science, economics, and international relations, for graduate and undergraduate courses on globalization, capitalism, development, and democracy, as well as for the public who are interested in globalization. Wu examines the new institutional features of global capitalism and how they re-frame movements of capital, labor, and consumption. He explores how globalization has created a chain of connection in which capital depends on effective authoritarianism, while democracy depends on capital. Ultimately, he argues that the emerging state-market nexus has fundamentally shaken the existing institutional systems, harming democracy in the process. —Cambridge University Press{chop}

In China, Despair for Cause of Democracy after Nobel Laureate’s Death

New York Times
Now, the ruling Communist Party’s feverish attempts to erase Mr. Liu Xiaobo’s legacy have raised fears that Mr. Xi will intensify his campaign against activists pushing for ideas like freedom of speech and religion.

Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo, Who Fought for Democracy in China, Dies in Police Custody

Wall Street Journal
Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, who embodied the hopes of China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy movement long after the protests were crushed, died in detention on Thursday after a battle with liver cancer, according to a government statement. He...

Hong Kong’s Youth Press Campaign despite China’s Rejection of Full Democracy

Reuters
When the British handed over Hong Kong to China in 1997, Beijing promised to allow universal suffrage as an “ultimate aim”, along with other freedoms, under a “one country, two systems” arrangement agreed with London.

Taiwan’s Failure to Face the Threat from China

ENOCH Y. WU
New York Times
China’s aggression in the Asia-Pacific region has been met with little tangible response from the United States and other countries. China’s neighbors have acquiesced to Beijing’s claims to the airspace above the East China Sea and have stood by as...

Outrage as Hong Kong Democracy Campaigners Urge U.S. to Get Tough with Beijing

Ng Kang-chung
South China Morning Post
The central government has accused Hong Kong’s highest-profile democracy campaigners of involvement in foreign meddling in China’s internal affairs by addressing a U.S. congressional panel on Wednesday night.

Why Does China Pretend to Be a Democracy?

Washington Post
Why does China still call itself a democracy? Making this claim allows Beijing to legitimize its own actions—and, in the case of its views on the U.S. missile attacks, the Syrian government’s— as representing the will of the people.

Viewpoint

04.06.17

Is It Time to Give up on Engagement?

Orville Schell & Anders Corr
In the lead-up to U.S. President Trump’s meeting later this week with China’s Xi Jinping, Orville Schell, ChinaFile’s publisher, wrote an essay in The Wall Street Journal on the history of China’s episodic embrace of democratic principles and why in...

China’s Once and Future Democracy

Orville Schell
Wall Street Journal
Despite Xi Jinping’s crackdown and Donald Trump’s silence on human rights, China has a vibrant democratic legacy that may yet reassert itself.

Conversation

03.31.17

Is Hong Kong on Its Way to Becoming Just Another City in the P.R.C.?

Antony Dapiran, Suzanne Sataline & more
On March 26, the roughly 1,200-person Hong Kong Election Committee chose Carrie Lam as chief executive—Hong Kong’s fourth leader since the United Kingdom returned the territory to Chinese rule in 1997. Unpopular with Hong Kong’s pro-democracy...

Taiwan Democracy Activist Said To Be Detained in China

Fox News
People close to a Taiwanese pro-democracy activist say he went missing nine days ago during a visit to the Chinese territory of Macau and appears to be in Chinese custody.

As Hong Kong Chooses Its Next Leader, China Still Pulls the Strings

Alan Wong
New York Times
For the fifth time, Hong Kong’s next chief executive will be selected on Sunday by a committee stacked with supporters of the Chinese government rather than by a free election.

Viewpoint

02.27.17

Back to the Jungle?

Zhang Boshu
The recent election of Donald J. Trump as the president of the United States is likely to have a profound effect on world history. The issue is not the controversies raised by Trump’s character, personality, abilities, and preferences, but rather...

We Must Resist until China Gives Hong Kong a Say in Our Future

Joshua Wong and Emily Lim
Guardian
If Beijing allows human rights to deteriorate in Hong Kong, then the whole country will lose all hope of reform

Viewpoint

02.10.17

Taiwan Needs to Hear Trump Say ‘Democracy’

William Kazer
President Trump has sent conflicting signals on Taiwan, first suggesting cozier relations with the self-ruled island and then walking that back to reassure China.In a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday, he pledged no change to...

Features

02.04.17

Why’s Beijing So Worried About Western Values Infecting China’s Youth?

Eric Fish
In early December, Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered the country’s universities to “adhere to the correct political orientation.” Speaking at a conference on ideology and politics in China’s colleges, he stressed that schools must uphold the...

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

Viewpoint

12.15.16

The Missing Topic in Trump’s Tough Talk on China

Melissa Chan
President-elect Donald Trump’s rhetoric suggests he will push China on many issues, not just one. Some observers have held on to the hope that his phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, his burst of anti-China tweets, and his most recent...

Media

12.09.16

U.S.-China Relations As a Cycle of ‘Rapturous Enchantment’ and ‘Deep Disappointment’

Eric Fish from Asia Blog
In 1872, China’s imperial government began sending teenage boys to the United States to study science and technology. After a series of “humiliating” military defeats at the hands of technologically superior foreign powers, China’s leaders realized...

“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

Trump May Push African Countries Away From America and Closer to China

Cobus van Staden
Quartz
The idea of the US as the guardian of liberal values against powers like China might now be upended

Features

11.11.16

Watching A Chinese Professor Watching American Democracy

Isaac Stone Fish
On the morning of Election Day, I joined He Haibo, a legal scholar at Tsinghua University in Beijing, as he spent several hours observing a polling station in the upscale Graham and Parks public elementary school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “If I...

Sinica Podcast

11.11.16

How Will Donald Trump’s Victory Impact China and U.S.-China Relations?

Kaiser Kuo & Isaac Stone Fish from Sinica Podcast
The U.S. election is over, and Donald Trump’s pundit-defying victory over Hillary Clinton has stunned and surprised people all over the world. In China—where activity on Weibo and WeChat indicated strong support for Trump among netizens both in...

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

Chinese Journalists Get an Exhilarating Look at the U.S. Election

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
Chinese journalists observing the election expressed surprise at how seriously Americans took their votes

In a First, China Moves to Bar 2 Hong Kong Legislators From Office

Michael Forsythe and Alan Wong
New York Times
The extraordinary intervention in the affairs of this semiautonomous former British colony could prompt a constitutional crisis and incite more street protests

China Will Intervene in the Case of Hong Kong’s Pro-Independence Lawmakers

Kevin Lui
Time
Experts worry Beijing's move to interpret HK's Basic Law would damage the people’s trust in the rule of law and the independence of the courts...

Chaos Again at Hong Kong’s Legislature as Chinese Intervention Said to Loom Large

Kevin Lui
Time
Two separatist lawmakers attempt to take their oaths of office for a fourth time, as rumors of direct Chinese intervention fly

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

An Exiled Editor Traces the Roots of Democratic Thought in China

Luo Siling
New York Times
An interview with Hu Ping, editor of the pro-democracy journal "Beijing Spring," based in New York...

In China, Close to 8,000 People are Vying for One Government Job

Josh Chin
Wall Street Journal
The job — with more than 7,700 applicants vying for a single position as of Sunday — is head of the reception office at the China Democratic League

Trump Thinks China’s Leaders are Smarter. They Didn't Even Let Their People Watch the Debate

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
Once again, China was cast as the foil to expose the weakness of the Obama administration and, by extension, Hillary Clinton.

Features

10.19.16

Why Newly Elected Hong Kong Legislators Cursed and Protested—At Their Own Swearing-In

Suzanne Sataline
There’s a bit of a nanny state in the city of Hong Kong. The government is quick to issue advice and admonitions about all matter of hazards—high ocean waves, food waste, incense burning during the annual grave-sweeping festival. One night in late...

What China Sees in Donald Trump--and in Itself

Jiayang Fan
New Yorker
Chinese observers have described the Trump-Clinton standoff as a spectacle of unfettered “chaos” that shakes their faith in the legitimacy of Western democracy

Rebel Hong Kong Politicians Defy China at Chaotic Swearing-In Ceremony

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Pro-democracy politicians cross fingers and make protest signs and subversive references to Beijing’s authoritarian rulers

Provincial Boss Ordered Crackdown on China's 'Democracy Village' with Eye on National Power

James Pomfret and Benjamin Kang Lim
Reuters
Wukan is Hu Chunhua's tryout for the Politburo Standing Committee...

How to Counter China’s Global Propaganda Offensive

Mareike Ohlberg and Bertram Lang
New York Times
It has been a difficult year for many Western democracies — and China is rubbing it in.

Hong Kong Protest Leaders Avoid Jail After Failed Court Bid

AFP
Channel NewsAsia
"Umbrella Revolution" leaders walk free from court...

Media

09.14.16

The Chinese Democratic Experiment that Never Was

David Wertime
Protesters in southern China are up in arms. They feel that Beijing’s promises that they’d be able to vote for their own local leaders have been honored in the breach. They’re outraged at the show of force in the face of peaceful protest, and...

Conversation

09.07.16

The Hong Kong Election: What Message Does it Send Beijing?

David Schlesinger, Melissa Chan & more
On September 4, Hong Kong elected a batch of its youngest and most pro-democratic lawmakers yet. Six new legislators, all under 40, won on platforms that called for Hong Kongers to decide their own fate. The youngest is 23-year-old Nathan Law, a...

Brexit Is Providing Great Fodder for China's Communist Propaganda Machine

Josh Horwitz
Quartz
Brexit is concrete evidence that democratic decision-making can lead to catastrophic results.

China Rebuffs Taiwan President's Offer on Democracy

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
President Tsai Ing-wen made the offer via Facebook on Saturday in a post about the June 4 anniversary of China's crackdown on Tiananmen Square Protest...

Viewpoint

05.24.16

“It’s Time for Us To Set a New Political Agenda for Hong Kong”

Jonathan Landreth, Susan Jakes & more
Last month, midway through a whirlwind tour of United States universities, Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong took a break for a crab cake and mac-and-cheese lunch at a Manhattan brasserie. Wong, 19, came to international prominence during the...

Rise of 'Racist' Trump Shows Democracy is Scary, China Paper Writes

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
An "abusively racist and extremist" candidate is on the rise in the U.S., says China's Global Times. Maybe democracy isn't such a good idea after all...

China Paper Says Rise of ‘Racist’ Trump Shows Democracy Is Scary

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
Hitler came to power through elections, China’s Global Times said, and democracy resulted in a mess.

Viewpoint

01.21.16

After a Landslide Election, Now Comes the Hard Part for Taiwan's President

William Kazer
Taiwan elected its first woman president on Saturday in a landslide victory that brought a nominally pro-independence party back to power after eight years in opposition.Tsai Ing-wen led her Democratic Progressive Party to a thumping victory,...

Why 2,500-Year-Old Tale Gives Ma Hope for Chinese Democracy

Adela Lin Chris Anstey
Bloomberg
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou said history gives him hope for political change on the Communist-ruled mainland.

Viewpoint

11.19.15

A Response to Andrew Nathan

Daniel A. Bell
I’d like to thank Andrew Nathan for his thoughtful critique of my book, published originally in short form in The National Interest and in longer form on ChinaFile. At first glance, his argument may seem far-fetched: although I’ve been living and...

Burma’s Election Leaves Former Patron China with Uncomfortable Questions

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
How might China’s Communist rulers get along with a Burmesse civilian government?

Media

11.09.15

Can the China Model Succeed?

Daniel A. Bell, Timothy Garton Ash & more
Is this a new model? Is authoritarian capitalism, Leninist capitalism, something that has durability? Have the rules changed about how countries develop? That used to be, remember, that open markets led ineluctably to open societies. How does it...

Viewpoint

11.05.15

The Problem With the China Model

Andrew J. Nathan
The ideological competition between democracy and authoritarianism was supposed to have died with the Cold War. But it has returned with a vengeance, powered above all by the rise of China. Now comes a book by a respected scholar that purports to...

Viewpoint

10.16.15

How Contagious is Taiwan’s Democracy?

Richard Bernstein
The old barriers have crumbled, the old animosities have abated, and as a result, millions of people from the authoritarian mainland of China now spend various lengths of time on democratic Taiwan. In fact, the two-way traffic is tremendous. On...

A Year on, Mixed Views on What Hong Kong Protests Achieved

Vincent Yu
Associated Press
"Has the Umbrella Movement accomplished anything? If so, what?"...

Q. and A.: Johannes Chan on Academic Freedom in Hong Kong

MICHAEL FORSYTHE
New York Times
The governing council of the University of Hong Kong rejected this week the nomination of Johannes Chan.

On China’s National Day, Hong Kong Protesters Say That They Are Not Part of China

Rishi Iyengar
Time
Small groups of protesters waved the blue colonial flag.

Conversation

09.30.15

The Future of Autonomy in Hong Kong

David Schlesinger, Denise Y. Ho & more
Yesterday, the governing board of Hong Kong University, one of the territory’s most esteemed institutions of higher education, voted to reject the promotion of Johannes Chan, a former law school dean, over the objections of the faculty and students...

Obama and China: Trying to Play Well With A Close Frenemy

David Nakamura
Washington Post
Obama plans to welcome Xi with the highest level of diplomatic pageantry for a foreign leader.

Media

09.10.15

Chinese Web Users Grieve for Syrian Toddler—and Blame America

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
A photo of Syrian three-year-old Aylan Kurdi lying dead on a Turkish beach, who drowned as his family attempted to flee their war-torn homeland by crossing the Mediterranean Sea to find refuge in Greece, has stunned viewers across Europe and the...

Louisa Lim: “How Chinese People Became Complicit...”

Louisa Lim
Guardian
I didn’t want to write this book. Even the thought of it scared me, but it hammered away at my conscience. When I finally gave in, I took elaborate precautions.