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...
09.15.17

Analysis: How Businesses and Universities Should Respond to the Foreign NGO Law

New in our Analysis section: Rob Precht of Justice Labs argues that the obstacles the Foreign NGO Management Law creates for already beleaguered international human rights and rule of law organizations mean businesses and universities need to assume...
09.15.17

Is the Foreign NGO Law a Blessing in Disguise?

Rob Precht
Many foreign NGOs working in China view its newly adopted Law on the Management of Foreign NGOs as a threat to their work and say the law may force their organizations to leave the country. Yet, at least for the work I am familiar with—namely, the...

China Subverting UN Efforts to Protect Human Rights, Says Pressure Group

South China Morning Post
A human rights group said in a report on Tuesday that China has tried to intimidate, blacklist and suppress the voices of rights advocates who operate within the UN system, calling on Beijing to stop such pressure and urging UN agencies to resist.

Reports

09.01.17

The Costs of International Advocacy

Human Rights Watch
Even as it engages with U.N. human rights institutions, China has worked consistently and often aggressively to silence criticism of its human rights record before U.N. bodies and has taken actions aimed at weakening some of the central mechanisms...

Chinese Activist Jiang Tianyong's Subversion Trial Dismissed as Sham

Tom Phillips
Guardian
China’s Communist party–controlled media claimed Jiang — whose past clients include activists such as the exiled dissident lawyer Chen Guangcheng — had confessed to the crime of ”inciting subversion of state power”. 

The Lonely Struggle of Lee Ching-yu

Richard Bernstein from New York Review of Books
On March 19, a human rights activist from Taiwan named Lee Ming-che disappeared in mainland China, and his wife back in Taipei, Lee Ching-yu, became a member of one of the least desirable clubs in the world: the spouses of people who for political...

Eye-Catching China Activist Super Vulgar Butcher ‘Admits Wrongdoing’

Reuters
A human rights activist best known as “Super Vulgar Butcher” who rose to prominence by harnessing social media to mobilize public support admitted in a closed-door trial that his actions “violated the law”, a Chinese court said on Monday.

China accused over ’enforced disappearance’ of Liu Xiaobo’s widow

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Chinese authorities are guilty of the Kafkaesque enforced disappearance of Liu Xia, the wife of late Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, the couple’s US lawyer has claimed.

Sinica Podcast

07.17.17

Jerome A. Cohen on Human Rights and Law in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Professor Jerome A. Cohen began studying the law of what was then called “Red China” in the early 1960s, at a time when the country was closed off, little understood, and much maligned in the West.Legal institutions were just developing at that time...

Excerpts

07.13.17

Liu Xiaobo’s Three Refusals: No Enemies, No Hatred, No Lies

Orville Schell & John Delury
In the spring of 1989, Liu Xiaobo was a thirty-four-year-old professor of literature and philosophy at Beijing Normal University with a keen interest in political ideas, who when demonstrations broke out, quickly became a habitué of Tiananmen...

Liu Xiaobo Vigil: Doctors Tell Chinese Nobel Laureate’s Family to Prepare for His Death

Mimi Lau
South China Morning Post
Family and friends of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo are keeping vigil after doctors warned that the dissident’s condition had worsened.

Viewpoint

06.26.17

Why Are So Many Tibetans Moving to Chinese Cities?

Gerald Roche, Ben Hillman & more
China’s Tibetan areas have been troubled by unrest since 2008, when protests swept the plateau, followed by a series of self-immolations which continue to this day. The Chinese state, as part of its arsenal of responses, has intensified urbanization...

Rethinking the Human Rights Business Model

Edwin Rekosh
Center for Strategic and International Studies

Greece Blocks E.U. Statement on China Human Rights at U.N.

Robin Emmott, Angeliki Koutantou
Reuters
Greece has blocked a European Union statement at the United Nations criticizing China's human rights record, a decision EU diplomats said undermined efforts to confront Beijing's crackdown on activists and dissidents...

Sinica Podcast

05.26.17

Chinese Power in the Age of Donald Trump

Jeremy Goldkorn, Kaiser Kuo & more from Sinica Podcast
When Joseph Nye, Jr., first used the phrase “soft power” in his 1990 book Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power, China did not factor much into his calculus of world order: It had relatively little military and economic power, and...

Xi Jinping Is ‘Putting the House in Order.’ or Is China Facing Destabilizing Changes?

Washington Post
Instead of political instability, recent political science research suggests that Xi’s reforms are on track to repair an undisciplined CCP and strengthen China’s fragmented government.

Sinica Podcast

05.16.17

America’s Top Trade Negotiator in 2001 Looks at China Today

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Charlene Barshefsky was a name you couldn’t avoid if you were in Beijing in the late 1990s. As the United States Trade Representative from 1997 to 2001, she led the American team that negotiated China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO...

Sinica Podcast

05.12.17

What It Takes to Be a Good China-Watcher

Kaiser Kuo & Bill Bishop from Sinica Podcast
China-watching isn’t what it used to be. Not too long ago, the field of international China studies was dominated by a few male Westerners with an encyclopedic knowledge of China, but with surprisingly little experience living in the country or...

AP Exclusive: China Lawyer’s Family Says U.S. Helped Them Flee

Gerry Shih
Washington Post
Chen Guiqiu whose husband, prominent rights lawyer Xie Yang, is held on charge of inciting subversion made a harrowing flight from China with her daughters chased by Chinese security agents across Southeast Asia.

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.

Viewpoint

04.20.17

A Taiwanese Man’s Detention in Guangdong Threatens a Key Pillar of Cross-Straits Relations

Jerome A. Cohen & Yu-Jie Chen
Update: On March 26, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office announced that Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che had been formally arrested on charges of “subverting state power.” Jerome Cohen has added a new comment to this essay. To skip to that...

China Conducts Foreign Policy in Africa without Judgment

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
In this edition of the China in Africa podcast, we pull the focus back to look at China’s rapidly evolving foreign policy agenda in this new era of Western populism led by Donald Trump in the United States.François Godement, Director of the Asia and...

Yahoo Is Sued over $17 Million Fund for Chinese Dissidents

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
A group of Chinese political activists filed a lawsuit in federal court against Yahoo on Tuesday, saying the company failed to properly oversee a $17 million fund it created a decade ago to help Chinese dissidents

Wife of Detained Activist from Taiwan Is Barred from China

Chris Horton
New York Times
China’s Ministry of Public Security has barred the wife of a detained Taiwan-born rights activist from flying to Beijing on Monday, adding to the drama surrounding the man’s disappearance after he entered China more than three weeks ago.

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...

Viewpoint

04.06.17

What Do Trump and Xi Share? A Dislike of Muslims

Nury Turkel
During the 1980s, as an idealistic, ambitious Uighur growing up under repressive Chinese conditions in the city of Kashgar, there was one nation to which I pinned my hopes for freedom and democracy. To me, the United States was a symbol of my...

Canada Deports Hundreds to China Each Year with No Treatment Guarantee

Nathan VanderKlippe
Globe and Mail
The Canadian government is deporting hundreds of people to China each year without receiving any assurances that they will not be tortured or otherwise mistreated, statistics provided to The Globe and Mail reveal.

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.

China Says It Has Detained Rights Activist from Taiwan

Chris Buckley and Chris Horton
New York Times
The detention adds to signs of an intensified clampdown on outsiders working with China’s beleaguered rights lawyers and groups.

Australian Vote on Extradition Treaty With China Is Canceled

Amien Cave
New York Times
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull canceled a parliamentary vote to ratify an extradition treaty with China on Tuesday after opposition lawmakers said they would not support it

China Bars Professor at Australian University From Leaving, Lawyer Says

Chris Buckley
New York Times
A Chinese-born professor at an Australian university who has often criticized Beijing’s crackdown on political dissent has been barred from leaving China and is being questioned by state security officers as a suspected threat to national security,...

Eleven Countries Signed a Letter Slamming China for Torturing Lawyers. The U.S. Did Not.

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
When 11 embassies signed on to a joint letter criticizing China over “credible claims” that lawyers and human rights activists have been tortured while in detention, there were two notable abstentions.

Conversation

03.22.17

China Writers Remember Robert Silvers

Ian Johnson, Orville Schell & more
Robert Silvers died on Monday, March 20, after serving as The New York Review of Books Editor since 1963. Over almost six decades, Silvers cultivated one of the most interesting, reflective, and lustrous stables of China writers in the world, some...

Rex Tillerson’s Deferential Visit to China

Hannah Beech
New Yorker
America’s top diplomat agreed that “the U.S. side is ready to develop relations with China based on the principle of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win coöperation.”

China Rails against U.S. for Human Rights Violations

Reuters
China lashed out at the United States for its “terrible human rights problems” in a report on Thursday, adding to recent international criticism of Washington on issues ranging from violence inflicted on minorities to U.S. immigration policies.

Books

03.08.17

The Killing Wind

Tan Hecheng, translated by Stacy Mosher and Guo Jian
Over the course of 66 days in 1967, more than 4,000 “class enemies”—including young children and the elderly—were murdered in Daoxian, a county in China’s Hunan province. The killings spread to surrounding counties, resulting in a combined death toll of more than 9,000. Commonly known as the Daoxian massacre, the killings were one of many acts of so-called mass dictatorship and armed factional conflict that rocked China during the Cultural Revolution. However, in spite of the scope and brutality of the killings, there are few detailed accounts of mass killings in China’s countryside during the Cultural Revolution’s most tumultuous years.Years after the massacre, journalist Tan Hecheng was sent to Daoxian to report on an official investigation into the killings. Tan was prevented from publishing his findings in China, but in 2010, he published the Chinese edition of The Killing Wind in Hong Kong. Tan’s first-hand investigation of the atrocities, accumulated over the course of more than 20 years, blends his research with the recollections of survivors to provide a vivid account exploring how and why the massacre took place and describing its aftermath. Dispelling the heroic aura of class struggle, Tan reveals that most of the Daoxian massacre’s victims were hard-working, peaceful members of the rural middle class blacklisted as landlords or rich peasants. Tan also describes how political pressure and brainwashing turned ordinary people into heartless killing machines.More than a catalog of horrors, The Killing Wind is also a poignant meditation on memory, moral culpability, and the failure of the Chinese government to come to terms with the crimes of the Maoist era. By painting a detailed portrait of this massacre, Tan makes a broader argument about the long-term consequences of the Cultural Revolution, one of the most violent political movements of the twentieth century. A compelling testament to the victims and survivors of the Daoxian massacre, The Killing Wind is a monument to historical truth—one that fills an immense gap in our understanding of the Mao era, the Cultural Revolution, and the status of truth in contemporary China. —Oxford University Press{chop}

I Went to Jail for Handing out Feminist Stickers in China

Li Maizi
Guardian
The backlash is painful, but it coexists with progress as women activists manage—slowly—to bring about a change in attitudes

China’s New Civil Code Light on Individual Rights Reforms

Christian Shepherd
Reuters
China’s Communist leaders will this week introduce sweeping new laws that codify social responsibilities for the country’s 1.4 billion citizens while also providing some modest new protections.

China Accuses Western Media of ‘Fake News’ about Human Rights

Tom Phillips
Guardian
China has launched a Donald Trump-style attack on foreign media, branding claims that a leading human rights lawyer was tortured by government agents “fake news.”

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

He Called China’s President ‘Xitler’ on Twitter. Now He Faces Prison.

Chris Buckley
New York Times
From his hometown in northeast China, Kwon Pyong used the internet to mock and criticize the nation’s rulers, including posting a selfie in which he wore a T-shirt that likened President Xi Jinping to Hitler.

‘We Had to Sue’: The Five Lawyers Taking on China’s Authorities over Smog

Benjamin Haas
Guardian
In an unprecedented legal case, a group of Chinese lawyers have charged the governments of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei with failing to protect their citizens from air pollution, which is linked to a third of all deaths in the country

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...

Trump Has the Power to Fight China on Human Rights. Will He Use It?

Benjamin Haas
Guardian
President inherits law originally aimed at Russia that allows him to sanction any official involved in violations—and China activists have put forward a list

Punches, Kicks and the ‘Dangling Chair’: Detainee Tells of Torture in China

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Perched unsteadily on a stack of plastic stools in an isolated room, Xie Yang, a Chinese lawyer, was encircled day and night by interrogators

Hong Kong Human Rights Situation ‘Worst Since Handover to China’

Benjamin Haas
Guardian
Amnesty International report says rule of law, freedom of speech, and trust in government all deteriorated in 2016

A Human Rights Activist, A Secret Prison and A Tale from Xi Jinping’s New China

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Peter Dahlin spent 23 days in a ‘black prison’ in Beijing, where he says he was deprived of sleep and questioned with a ‘communication enhancement’ machine.

Uncertainty Over New Chinese Law Rattles Foreign Nonprofits

Chris Buckley
New York Times
A new law in China is raising concern among thousands of nongovernmental organizations about their ability to continue their work in the new year

Conversation

12.21.16

Did Oslo Kowtow to Beijing?

Isaac Stone Fish, Stein Ringen & more
In 2010, the Oslo-appointed Nobel Peace Prize committee bestowed the honor on imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. Furious with the selection of Liu, a human rights advocate, who is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence on spurious...

China Unveils List of Activities Permitted for Foreign Non-Profits

Josh Chin
Wall Street Journal
Law taking effect Jan. 1 is widely seen as targeted at groups working in areas such as human rights and rule of law

Tibetan Leader Urges Trump to Confront China on Rights

Sanjeev Miglani
Reuters
The head of the Tibetan government-in-exile said he was encouraged by Trump’s tough stand on China

China Police Confirm Detention of Human Rights Lawyer Jiang Tianyong

Benjamin Haas
Guardian
The activist’s family are still waiting to hear from him despite officials saying he was released more than two weeks ago

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...

Two Movies China Desperately Wants to Hide

Jeff Jacoby
Boston Globe
In China, prisoners of conscience are literally being butchered. These films take a look inside China's organ harvesting market. ...

Features

11.15.16

For Chinese Orphan with a Disability, Life in the U.S. Brought the Strength to Help a Friend Left Behind

Ming Canaday
According to my caretakers at the orphanage, Chunchun arrived a few years before I did, when she was a baby. They estimate that I was around three or four years old at the time of my arrival, howling and screaming at the top of my lungs. I had been...

New Interpol Head is Chinese Former Deputy Head of Paramilitary Police

Benjamin Haas
Guardian
Vice-minister Meng Hongwei’s election has sparked concerns his position may be used to boost China’s campaign to pursue dissidents around the globe

China Tantalized by US Election Mayhem and Prospect of ’Thug’ Trump as President

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Experts say that Beijing would prefer Republican over Hillary Clinton who is considered a hardliner on human rights