Conversation

01.24.19

What Does Xi Want from Taiwan? (And What Can Taiwan Do About It?)

Brian Hioe, Jieh-min Wu & more
In a major speech in early January, China’s leader Xi Jinping called unification across the Taiwan Strait “the great trend of history,” and warned that attempts to facilitate Taiwan’s independence would be met by force. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-...

Books

04.27.18

The China Mission

Daniel Kurtz-Phelan
W. W. Norton & Company: As World War II came to an end, General George Marshall was renowned as the architect of Allied victory. Set to retire, he instead accepted what he thought was a final mission―this time not to win a war, but to stop one. Across the Pacific, conflict between Chinese Nationalists and Communists threatened to suck in the United States and escalate into revolution. His assignment was to broker a peace, build a Chinese democracy, and prevent a Communist takeover, all while staving off World War III.{node, 46371}In his 13 months in China, Marshall journeyed across battle-scarred landscapes, grappled with Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, and plotted and argued with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and his brilliant wife, often over card games or cocktails. The results at first seemed miraculous. But as they started to come apart, Marshall was faced with a wrenching choice. Its consequences would define the rest of his career, as the secretary of state who launched the Marshall Plan and set the standard for American leadership, and the shape of the Cold War and the U.S.-China relationship for decades to come. It would also help spark one of the darkest turns in American civic life, as Marshall and the mission became a first prominent target of McCarthyism, and the question of “who lost China” roiled American politics.The China Mission traces this neglected turning point and forgotten interlude in a heroic career―a story of not just diplomatic wrangling and guerrilla warfare, but also intricate spycraft and charismatic personalities. Drawing on eyewitness accounts both personal and official, it offers a richly detailed, gripping, close-up, and often surprising view of the central figures of the time―from Marshall, Mao, and Chiang to Eisenhower, Truman, and MacArthur―as they stood face-to-face and struggled to make history, with consequences and lessons that echo today.{chop}

China Says Taiwan Not a Country, Taiwan Says China Needs Reality Check

Reuters
China warned self-ruled Taiwan on Wednesday that it would “reap the consequences” of promoting formal independence, a red line for Beijing which claims the island as its own.

Viewpoint

09.15.17

There Is Only One China, And There Is Only One Taiwan

Richard Bernstein
One of Beijing’s least favorite people is Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, who won a landslide election victory 18 months ago on a platform calling for more separation from China—a coded way of rejecting one of the mainland’s most sacred principles...

Caixin Media

11.10.15

Mao’s ‘Proud Poplar’: Yang Kaihui

Sheila Melvin
Yang Kaihui—who was killed 85 years ago this month—was the first of Mao Zedong’s three freely chosen wives. (Mao was forced by his parents to wed an older neighbor when he was just 14 but did not consider this a true marriage.) Yang’s dramatic, and...

Photo Zines That Explore Singapore’s Identity

Rena Silverman, photos by Sim Chi Yin
New York Times
In 1949, Sim Chi Yin’s grandfather, Shen Huansheng, a school principal and chief editor for the leftist Ipoh Daily newspaper, became a “Communist martyr.” A monument in Gaoshang with the inscription, “The tomb of martyr Shen Huansheng” proves it.

In Remote Thai Villages, Legacy of China’s Lost Army Endures

Amy Qin
New York Times
At night, traditional Chinese red lanterns illuminate the hotels, shop fronts and Yunnanese-style restaurants lining the main road in this highland village of just over 1,000 people. On one recent evening, as the mist rose off a nearby reservoir,...

Big Brother Comes Wooing

Economist
For more than six decades after the Chinese civil war, the mainland did not allow its minister-level officials openly to set foot in Taiwan. This changed on June 25th when Zhang Zhijun, director of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, visited the island...

Politics in Taiwan: Daggers Drawn

Economist
Though he is often accused of being ineffectual, it is actually a rare show of decisiveness that has lost Ma Ying-jeou recent support. At issue is his handling of alleged wrongdoing by a titan of Mr. Ma’s Kuomintang (K.M.T.), Wang Jin-pyng. 

China’s Xi Affirms Goal Of Unification With Taiwan

Christopher Bodeen
Associated Press
The meeting is the first between Xi and a leading Taiwanese politician since Xi assumed the party leadership and was viewed on both sides as a symbolic gesture aimed at reaffirming warming ties between the two nations.

China's Long History of Defying the Doomsayers

Jeffrey Wasserstrom and Stephen Platt
Atlantic
Thirty-six years after "Great Helmsman" Mao Zedong died of a heart attack, leaving his country briefly rudderless during a time of crisis and uncertainty, the Chinese ship of state is still sailing. But is it still seaworthy? Observers are...

Reports

01.22.08

Taiwan’s Legislative Elections, January 2008: Implications for U.S. Policy

Kerry Dumbaugh
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
On January 12, 2008, Taiwan’s ruling party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), suffered a crushing defeat in elections for the Legislative Yuan, the national legislature. The DPP won only twenty-seven seats in the new 113-member body, while the...

Chiang’s Monster

Jonathan D. Spence from New York Review of Books
1.During the late 1930s and World War II, it was common to call Dai Li “China’s Himmler,” as if Chiang Kai-shek’s secret police and intelligence chief during that period performed functions similar to the head of the Gestapo and the SS under Hitler...

‘Taiwan Stands Up’

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
Politics in Taiwan is a deadly business, sometimes literally. Chen Shui-bian’s first public act, on the morning of his inauguration as president on May 20, was to carry his wife in his arms to their waiting car. In 1985 she had been run down by a...

How China Lost Taiwan

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
1.For foreign correspondents who had been present in Peking’s Tiananmen Square in June 1989, the events of the night of March 17, 1996, in the plaza in front of the Taipei city hall, showed more clearly than any other what the China-Taiwan crisis is...

The Underground War for Shanghai

Jonathan D. Spence from New York Review of Books
During the night of November 21–22, 1928 a steamer moored at the docks in the Chinese section of Shanghai, and a group of harbor coolies, flanked by a squad of thirty armed guards, began to unload chests onto the dock. Alerted by a tip some weeks...

The Other China

Jonathan D. Spence from New York Review of Books
On the same late fall day in 1991, two stories about China appeared in the Western press. One announced that thirty-five drug dealers had just been executed in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming, probably by a single police bullet fired into...

His Man in Canton

John K. Fairbank from New York Review of Books
In the Chinese united front of the mid-1920s, the Soviet agent Borodin has been a protean figure. Bringing Leninist skills, arms, and advisers to Canton, he seemed to be the priceless ingredient that finally catalyzed Sun Yat-sen’s revolution...

Peanuts and the Good Soldier

John Gittings from New York Review of Books
In 1927, the province of Shantung was under the control of the warlord Chang Tsung-chang, a ferocious ex-coolie with a taste for white mercenaries and white women. His forces included a Russian brigade with four armored trains; he himself went to...

Was Chinese Communism Inevitable?

Martin Bernal from New York Review of Books
It is likely that, even now, many people in America and Britain still hold to the simple formula that people are good and communism is evil. And, just as good cannot support evil, people cannot support communism. Therefore any political movement...