Books

08.08.18

Poisonous Pandas

Matthew Kohrman, Gan Quan, Liu Wennan, Robert N. Proctor
Stanford University Press: A favorite icon for cigarette manufacturers across China since the mid-20th century has been the panda, with factories from Shanghai to Sichuan using cuddly cliché to market tobacco products. The proliferation of panda-branded cigarettes coincides with profound, yet poorly appreciated, shifts in the worldwide tobacco trade. Over the last 50 years, transnational tobacco companies and their allies have fueled a tripling of the world’s annual consumption of cigarettes. At the forefront is the China National Tobacco Corporation, now producing 40 percent of cigarettes sold globally. What’s enabled the manufacturing of cigarettes in China to flourish since the time of Mao and to prosper even amidst public health condemnation of smoking?In Poisonous Pandas, an interdisciplinary group of scholars comes together to tell that story. They offer novel portraits of people within the Chinese polity―government leaders, scientists, tax officials, artists, museum curators, and soldiers―who have experimentally revamped the country’s pre-Communist cigarette supply chain and fitfully expanded its political, economic, and cultural influence. These portraits cut against the grain of what contemporary tobacco-control experts typically study, opening a vital new window on tobacco―the single largest cause of preventable death worldwide today.{chop}Related Reading:“In China, Industry Push-Back Stubs out Anti-Smoking Gains,” Christian Shepherd, Reuters, May 31, 2018“China’s Ministry in Charge of Tobacco Control Had Ties to the Tobacco Industry. Not Anymore,” Sidney Leng, South China Morning Post, March 15, 2018“The End of China’s ‘Ashtray Diplomacy’,” Heather Timmons and Quartz, The Atlantic, December 30, 2013“The Political Mapping of China’s Tobacco Industry and Anti-Smoking Campaign,” Cheng Li, Brookings, May 30, 2012Author’s Recommendations:Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor, Rob Nixon (Harvard University Press, 2013)Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable?, Judith Butler (Verso; Reprint edition 2010)Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, Giorgio Agamben, Translated by Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford University Press, 1998)

How China Is Evolving From a Maker of Copycat Medicines Into a Producer of Complex Drugs

Preetika Rana
Wall Street Journal
At a cancer conference in Chicago in June last year, a little-known Chinese startup stunned researchers with early results showing its experimental gene therapy was abating an aggressive form of blood cancer in patients back home.

Online Sales of Illegal Opioids from China Surge in U.S.

Ron Nixon
New York Times
Nearly $800 million worth of fentanyl pills were illegally sold to online customers in the United States over two years by Chinese distributors who took advantage of internet anonymity and an explosive growth in e-commerce, according to a Senate...

Green Gold: How China Quietly Grew into a Cannabis Superpower

Stephen Chen
South China Morning Post
Every year in April, Jiang Xingquan sets aside part of his farm in northern China to grow cannabis. The size of the plot varies with market demand but over the last few years it has been about 600 hectares.

China Moves to Keep Its Deadly Opioids out of U.S.

Brian Spegele
Wall Street Journal
China moved to stem its flow of deadly drugs to the U.S., adding four lethal heroin-like narcotics to a list of controlled substances after Washington had urged it to help combat a growing opioid epidemic.

China’s ‘Walter White’ Sold $600k of Illegal Drugs Every Month to the US and Europe

Charlie Campbell
Time
A chemistry professor in China has been convicted in a case that has drawn comparisons with the hit TV show "Breaking Bad"...

Depth of Field

07.01.16

Tornados and Drag Queens

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
Being a photojournalist involves reacting to breaking news, a dedication to long-term projects, and everything in between. This month’s showcase of work by Chinese photographers published in Chinese media underscores this range of angles: from the...

In China, ‘Breaking Bad’ is Real

Wall Street Journal
Chinese police have arrested a Chinese college chemistry professor for joining forces with a drug kingpin.

China’s Big Plunge in Pakistan

The Editorial Board
New York Times
 If China can advance a stable Pakistan through development programs, the whole region would benefit.

Sinica Podcast

02.16.15

Business and F*cking in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week's show starts with us grilling James on "what you have to do to be part of Chinese business culture" and descends from there into stories of the sort of booze-and-ketamine-fuelled business deal-making that seems to consist...

Sinica Podcast

02.09.15

The Changing Look of China, Myanmar, and Visual Journalism—A Chat With Jonah Kessel

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Jeremy and Kaiser are joined by Jonah M. Kessel, former freelance photographer and now full-time videographer for The New York Times who has covered a wide range of China stories, traveled widely through the country, and...

Postcard

02.04.15

The Bro Code

James Palmer
Turning down an after-dinner invite to a brothel is always a social minefield. But the city’s Party Secretary, a 50-something man with baby-soft hands, had been gently fondling my thigh underneath the banquet table for the past 45 minutes, making me...

China Indicts Jackie Chan’s Son on Drug Charge

Associated Press
Associated Press
Beijing police detained the younger Chan at his Beijing apartment in August along with Taiwanese movie star Ko Kai. Police said Chan and Ko both tested positive for marijuana and admitted using the drug, and that 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of it were...

Sinica Podcast

07.05.14

Sin and Vice

Jeremy Goldkorn & David Moser from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Jeremy Goldkorn and David Moser turn their attention to vice, in conversation with Robert Foyle Hunwick, a media consultant and editor for Beijing Cream. We talk about everything naughty that happens here, with special attention...

Undercover Sex Tape Deepens GSK’s China Scandal

Harriet Dennys
Telegraph
GlaxoSmithKline has confirmed the existence of a sex tape featuring Mark Reilly, the former manager at the centre of the company's corruption investigation...

Police Seize 3 Tons Meth in South China Village

Julie Makinen
Los Angeles Times
Call it “Breaking Bad: China Edition.” More than 3,000 police officers equipped with helicopters and motorboats and accompanied by dogs descended on a southern Chinese village notorious for making crystal meth, seizing 3 tons of the drug and 23 tons...

Media

09.30.13

China Watches “Breaking Bad”

Why do millions of Chinese care about a fictitious New Mexico meth cook? The soon-to-be-concluded television drama series Breaking Bad, which depicts embattled high school chemistry teacher Walter White’s transformation into a crystal...

Drug Research in China Falls Under a Cloud

Katie Thomas
New York Times
A leaked document related to the recent G.S.K. scandal underscores the problems that can arise when major drug companies export their scientific development to emerging markets like China. 

For Global Drug Manufacturers, China Becomes a Perilous Market

Katie Thomas
New York Times
Selling pharmaceuticals and other health care products in China is increasingly fraught with peril. China is accusing GlaxoSmithKline of funnelling payments through travel agents to doctors, hospitals and government officials to bolster...

China Considered Drone Strike On Foreign Soil In Hunt For Drug Lord

Ernest Kao
South China Morning Post
Liu Yuejin said one of the plans to end the manhunt for drug lord Naw Kham was to strafe a hideout in Myanmar using an unmanned aircraft.

Illicit Meth Trade Between China and North Korea Reveals A Lot About Their Relationship

Economist
Border police, especially in the North, are known to take bribes to allow illicit trade to pass. One illegal North Korean export causing social problems is crystal meth, a drug known in China as bingdu, or “ice.”

Opinion: Cheap Meth! Cheap Guns! Click Here

Nicholas Kristof
New York Times
How about cracking down on Web sites that sell guns and drugs, while leaving be those that traffic in ideas and information?

Why 'Breaking Bad' Should be Set in China

Eveline Chao
Motherboard
Records of large drug busts involving meth in recent years--an increasingly common occurrence--tend to show a trail that leads back to China.

Caixin Media

05.25.12

Policeman Burned for Dealing With the Devil

On March 17, the Chenzhou Public Security Bureau announced Huang Bailian had been removed as head of the police department’s drug squad.Huang offered a simple explanation for his sacking: “This is retaliation.”Three years earlier Huang, who is forty...

Reports

01.01.10

“Where Darkness Knows No Limits”: Incarceration, Ill-Treatment, and Forced Labor as Drug Rehabilitation in China

Sara Segal-Williams
Human Rights Watch
Based on research in Yunnan and Guangxi provinces, this report documents how China's June 2008 Anti-Drug Law compounds the health risks of suspected illicit drug users by allowing government officials and security forces to incarcerate them for...