Conversation

11.27.18

How to Be a Chinese Scientist without Being China’s Scientist

Yangyang Cheng, Yu He & more
As trade tensions between the United States and China worsen, a new technological cold war looms, casting its shadow over American universities and research institutions. How should individual scientists of Chinese origin decide whether to accept a...

Conversation

10.12.18

Is America Overreacting to the Threat of Chinese Influence?

Isaac Stone Fish, Taisu Zhang & more
American civil and political discourse has seen a growing number of reports about worrying Chinese governmental influence in the United States. Most recently, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence decried the “malign influence” of China in the United...

Viewpoint

10.05.18

Banning Chinese Students is Not in the U.S. National Interest

Chang Chiu & Thomas Kellogg
President Donald Trump has made no secret of his desire to radically revamp America’s immigration policies. Indeed, his family separation policies, which sparked nationwide protests and public revulsion after they were rolled out in May 2018, were...

Worries Grow in Singapore Over China’s Calls to Help ‘Motherland’

Amy Qin
New York Times
Growing up in Singapore, Chan Kian Kuan always took pride in his Teochew heritage — the dialect, the cultural traditions and the famous steamed fish. But after visiting his ancestral village in Teochew, in Guangdong Province, China, and seeing the...

The Rise of Populism and Implications for China

Paul Haenle & Thomas Carothers from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
The rise of populism in Europe and the United States has had a pronounced impact on domestic politics and foreign policy, as seen in Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. In China, leaders are unsettled by the nationalist and anti-globalization...

Viewpoint

04.06.18

I Thought Studying Journalism outside of China Would Open Doors. Now I’m Not So Sure.

Shen Lu
Six years ago as I was about to begin my undergraduate career at The University of Iowa majoring in journalism, a fellow Chinese student who’d switched her major from communications studies to business ruthlessly doubted my choice. “How on earth...

Books

03.29.18

Patriot Number One

Lauren Hilgers
Crown Publishing Group: In 2014, in a snow-covered house in Flushing, Queens, a village revolutionary from Southern China considered his options. Zhuang Liehong was the son of a fisherman, the former owner of a small tea shop, and the spark that had sent his village into an uproar—pitting residents against a corrupt local government. Under the alias Patriot Number One, he had stoked a series of pro-democracy protests, hoping to change his home for the better. Instead, sensing an impending crackdown, Zhuang and his wife, Little Yan, left their infant son with relatives and traveled to America. With few contacts and only a shaky grasp of English, they had to start from scratch.In Patriot Number One, Hilgers follows this dauntless family through a world hidden in plain sight: a byzantine network of employment agencies and language schools, of underground asylum brokers and illegal dormitories that Flushing’s Chinese community relies on for survival. As the irrepressibly opinionated Zhuang and the more pragmatic Little Yan pursue legal status and struggle to reunite with their son, we also meet others piecing together a new life in Flushing. Tang, a democracy activist who was caught up in the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989, is still dedicated to his cause after more than a decade in exile. Karen, a college graduate whose mother imagined a bold American life for her, works part-time in a nail salon as she attends vocational school and refuses to look backward.With a novelist’s eye for character and detail, Hilgers captures the joys and indignities of building a life in a new country—and the stubborn allure of the American dream.{chop}

Books

01.26.18

A Village with My Name

Scott Tong
When journalist Scott Tong moved to Shanghai, his assignment was to start up the first full-time China bureau for Marketplace, the daily business and economics program on public radio stations across the United States. But for Tong, the move became much more—it offered the opportunity to reconnect with members of his extended family who had remained in China after his parents fled the communists six decades prior. By uncovering the stories of his family’s history, Tong discovered a new way to understand the defining moments of modern China and its long, interrupted quest to go global.A Village with My Name offers a unique perspective on the transitions in China through the eyes of regular people who have witnessed such epochal events as the toppling of the Qing monarchy, Japan’s occupation during World War II, exile of political prisoners to forced labor camps, mass death and famine during the Great Leap Forward, market reforms under Deng Xiaoping, and the dawn of the One Child Policy. Tong’s story focuses on five members of his family, who each offer a specific window on a changing country: a rare American-educated girl born in the closing days of the Qing Dynasty, a pioneer exchange student, an abandoned toddler from World War II who later rides the wave of China’s global export boom, a young professional climbing the ladder at a multinational company, and an orphan (the author’s daughter) adopted in the middle of a baby-selling scandal fueled by foreign money. Through their stories, Tong shows us China anew, visiting former prison labor camps on the Tibetan plateau and rural outposts along the Yangtze, exploring the Shanghai of the 1930s, and touring factories across the mainland.With curiosity and sensitivity, Tong explores the moments that have shaped China and its people, offering a compelling and deeply personal take on how China became what it is today. —University of Chicago Press{chop}

Donald Trump's Unwitting Surrender to China

Edward Luce
Financial Times
Sixty years ago Russia shocked the world with the launch of the Sputnik satellite. Donald Trump was 11 years old.

A New Generation Looks at the China-Africa Relationship

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Independent filmmakers Jidi Guo and Philip Man join Eric and Cobus to discuss their new documentary about how a new generation is responding to China’s growing influence in Kenya. This is the first documentary produced by the Shanghai-based pair,...

New Documentary Portrays Nuanced View of Africans’ Experience Living in China

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
When filmmakers Zhang Yong, Hodan Abdi, and Fu Dong set out to make a new documentary on the African migrant experience in China, they were determined to ensure that their own voices and experiences came through in the story. Until now, most if not...

High-Level US-China Talks Focus on Immigration, Fugitives

Nike Ching
Voice of America
Shilan Zhao, former wife of fugitive Chinese official Jianjun Qiao, pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges by the U.S. government of conspiring to commit immigration fraud related to the EB5 “investor” visa program.

Kushner Company a No-Show at China Visa Event After Ethics Uproar

TRACY CONNOR
NBC News
Richard Painter, who was an ethics attorney for President George W. Bush, told NBC News last week that Saturday’s meeting in Shenzhen came “very, very close to solicitation of a bribe” and amounted to “corruption, pure and simple.”

China Appears to be Losing Interest in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Beijing-based investment attorney Kai Xue joins Eric and Cobus to discuss why he thinks Africa is no longer appealing to Chinese companies. Kai Xue is a longtime Sino-African affairs analyst and carefully monitors trade, foreign direct investment,...

China Pitch by Kushner Sister Renews Controversy over Visa Program for Wealthy

Michael Kranish
Washington Post
A much-criticized visa program that allows foreigners to win fast-track immigration in return for investing $500,000 in U.S. properties was extended in a bill signed by President Trump just one day before a sister of senior White House adviser Jared...

Video

04.19.17

Trafficked into Wedlock

Yan Cong
When Buntha left Cambodia to marry a Chinese man, she did so for money, not for love.Thirty-two years old at the time, and never married, she had few opportunities to earn money for her family in her village in Kampong Cham, Cambodia. The China she...

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.

Great Wall of China’s Troubled History Offers Lessons for Trump, Scholars Say

Tom Phillips
Guardian
The president has described his border proposal as ‘the Great Wall of Trump,’ evoking what one expert sees as a calamitous and ill-conceived folly

China Says ‘Reasonable Concerns’ Must Be Factored into Trump Travel Bans

South China Morning Post
China is building diplomatic role in Middle East, and has close ties with Iran and Sudan, two of Trump’s seven proscribed countries

2016 China-Africa Year in Review

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
After years of relatively trouble-free development, 2016 marked a turning point in the China-Africa relationship, amid turbulent changes in the global economic and political order. China increased its deployment of combat troops to the continent,...

‘Is This What the West Is Really Like?’ How It Felt to Leave China for Britain

Xiaolu Guo
Guardian
Desperate to find somewhere she could live and work as she wished, Xiaolu Guo moved from Beijing to London in 2002.

Born in the U.S., Raised in China: ’Satellite Babies’ Have a Hard Time Coming Home

Hansi Lo Wang
NPR
Studies show the arrangement can take a great emotional toll on both parents and children

What Do Zambians Really Think of Chinese Immigrants?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
For decades, Zambia had been the flash point of anti-Chinese sentiment in Africa. Late president and outspoken opposition leader Michael Sata was unrivaled in his seething criticisms of both China and the Chinese who had migrated to his country...

China Was Once a Hot Destination for African Migrants, Not Any More

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
It was not that long ago that entire neighborhoods in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou were overflowing with African migrants. Although there are no precise figures, scholars estimated that between 20,000-100,000 African immigrants used to...

California Sees Surge in Chinese Illegally Crossing Border from Mexico

Tatiana Sanchez
Los Angeles Times
Between October and May, the first eight months of the fiscal year, Border Patrol agents in the San Diego sector apprehended an estimated 663 Chinese nationals, compared with 48 in the entire previous fiscal year and eight...

Conversation

06.03.16

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Yidi Wu, Ding Feng & more
It’s graduation time, and Chinese graduates from American colleges are now pondering what to do next: return to China or stay in the U.S. We reached out to recent graduates to ask about their decision-making process and how they view their prospects...

Viewpoint

05.25.16

Hong Kong’s International Law Problem

Alvin Y.H. Cheung
In the years leading up to Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, Beijing was keen to reassure the world that nothing significant would change in the territory. Business elites and local politicians alike busied themselves with...

Race, Culture, and the Politics of Being Black in China

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Being black in China is not easy, but it’s not as bad as many would have you think, according to our two guests this week, who are both black immigrants currently living in Beijing. Sure, people stare a lot and there are often some inappropriate...

As Economy Worsens, Chinese Migrants in Africa Confront New Challenges

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Thousands of Chinese migrants who settled in Africa over the past 10 years now face mounting uncertainty as economic growth slows across the continent and back home in China. While there are no reliable estimates as to how many Chinese migrants...

Books

02.23.16

The Diplomacy of Migration

Meredith Oyen
During the Cold War, both Chinese and American officials employed a wide range of migration policies and practices to pursue legitimacy, security, and prestige. They focused on allowing or restricting immigration, assigning refugee status, facilitating student exchanges, and enforcing deportations. The Diplomacy of Migration focuses on the role these practices played in the relationship between the United States and the Republic of China both before and after the move to Taiwan. Meredith Oyen identifies three patterns of migration diplomacy: migration legislation as a tool to achieve foreign policy goals, migrants as subjects of diplomacy and propaganda, and migration controls that shaped the Chinese American community.Using sources from diplomatic and governmental archives in the United States, the Republic of China on Taiwan, the People’s Republic of China, and the United Kingdom, Oyen applies a truly transnational perspective. The Diplomacy of Migration combines important innovations in the field of diplomatic history with new international trends in migration history to show that even though migration issues were often considered “low stakes” or “low risk” by foreign policy professionals concerned with Cold War politics and the nuclear age, they were neither “no risk” nor unimportant to larger goals. Instead, migration diplomacy became a means of facilitating other foreign policy priorities, even when doing so came at great cost for migrants themselves. —Cornell University Press{chop}Correction: Meredith Oyen’s employer was misidentified in an earlier version of this video. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Sinica Podcast

02.22.16

Allegiance

Kaiser Kuo & Jeremy Goldkorn from Sinica Podcast
Kaiser and Jeremy recorded today’s show from New York, where they waylaid Holly Chang, founder of Project Pengyou and now Acting Executive Director of the Committee of 100, for a discussion on spying, stealing commercial spying, spying, and Broadway...

Large Companies Game H-1B Visa Program, Costing the U.S. Jobs

JULIA PRESTON
New York Times
“I had this great American dream that got broken.”

Donald Trump Meet the Chinese American Cook and the Father of ‘Birthright Citizenship’

Fred Barbash
Washington Post
All born or naturalized in the US and subject to jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the state where they reside.

South Africa Tourism in Crisis as Chinese Reject New Visa Regulations

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
South Africa’s tourism sector is in crisis as a series of new visa regulations have prompted dramatic falls in arrivals, particularly from the world’s largest source of tourists: China. The number of Chinese visitors to South Africa has plunged a...

The Ultimate Irony: Is China the ‘America’ of Asia?

Doug Bandow
National Interest
Beijing’s claims in Asia are as valid as those made by the U.S. States against Mexico and Great Britain in the mid-19th century.

Q. and A.: Luo Yufeng, a.k.a. Sister Feng, on Life as a Manicurist in New York

Vanessa Piao
New York Times
Sister Feng, whose real name is Luo Yufeng, is an Internet celebrity with more than 4.7 million followers on Sina Weibo

Excerpts

05.14.15

The Bar

Suzanne Ma
She had been working at the bar for less than a week when the skin on her hands started to peel. Little bits of skin, translucent and pink, flaked off like Parmesan cheese. Then the cracks appeared. Tiny fissures ruptured at the joints and split her...

China Malls Rise Amid Growing Xenophobia in South Africa

Cobus van Staden & Mingwei Huang
Chinese immigrants in South Africa have not been spared from the violent, anti-immigrant riots that have swept across Durban and Johannesburg, two of the country’s largest cities. There have been reports of injuries along with at least 40 business...

Media

05.06.15

Online Reaction to Baltimore Protests Reveals Much About Chinese Tension with African Immigrants

Viola Rothschild
Several days ago, a Chinese friend and I were discussing the protests in Baltimore that erupted in response to the death of resident Freddie Gray in connection with his April 12 arrest by city police officers, who have since been charged with crimes...

China Restricts Travel By Shenzhen Residents To Hong Kong

Frank Langfitt
NPR
The move is designed to assuage Hong Kongers angry with mainlanders who buy up goods.

This Little Bridge Connects Guangzhou and Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou is home to China’s largest African migrant population, predominantly from Nigeria. In the city’s Little North Road neighborhood there is a small pedestrian bridge where immigrants from all over the world go to...

Who Knew? Madagascar Has Africa’s Third Largest Chinese Population

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The Chinese population on the east African island of Madagascar defies many of the poorly-informed, albeit widely-held, stereotypes about Chinese migrants on the rest of the continent. First, the community in Madagascar isn't small or isolated...

Infographics

02.03.15

Wealthy Chinese Are Fleeing the Country Like Mad

from Sohu
Last year, Chinese millionaires maxed out the quota for EB-5 visas under the U.S.’s Immigrant Investor Program, and recently it was reported that 90% of Australia’s Significant Investor visas were given to Chinese nationals. All over the world,...

Religion Among African Immigrants in China

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
Nestled in apartments and offices throughout the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou are dozens of improvised churches that cater to the region’s Pentacostal Africans, largely from Nigeria. These churches not only serve the community’s religious...

Sinica Podcast

12.19.14

Cooperation or Exploitation

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Exactly how exploitative are Chinese development activities on the African continent? What exactly is motivating the various resources-for-development deals inked by African governments over the last decade, and what strategies are these governments...

Who Are the Chinese in Africa?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Some say the number of Chinese in Africa now exceeds one million people; some even go as high as two million. Although no one has a precise accounting of just how many Chinese migrants now live on the continent, there is no doubt their numbers are...

China’s Lost Generation Finds Itself in Ukraine

Adam Minter
Bloomberg
A working class high-school graduate who scored abysmally on China's college entrance exam, Mei now owns his own business, claims title to three-quarters of an acre of land, lives in a split-level house, and is married to an eighteen-year-old...

A Career in China-Africa Research

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Dr. Yoon Jung Park is among the most well-known Sino-Africa scholars in the field. Park has taught and done research on China-African affairs for over 20 years at universities in both the U.S. and Africa. Now based in Washington, D.C., where she co-...

Books

09.24.14

A Chinaman’s Chance

Eric Liu
From Tony Hsieh to Amy Chua to Jeremy Lin, Chinese Americans are now arriving at the highest levels of American business, civic life, and culture. But what makes this story of immigrant ascent unique is that Chinese Americans are emerging at just the same moment when China has emerged—and indeed may displace America—at the center of the global scene. What does it mean to be Chinese American in this moment? And how does exploring that question alter our notions of just what an American is and will be? In many ways, Chinese Americans today are exemplars of the American Dream: during a crowded century and a half, this community has gone from indentured servitude, second-class status and outright exclusion to economic and social integration and achievement. But this narrative obscures too much: the Chinese Americans still left behind, the erosion of the American Dream in general, the emergence—perhaps—of a Chinese Dream, and how other Americans will look at their countrymen of Chinese descent if China and America ever become adversaries. As Chinese Americans reconcile competing beliefs about what constitutes success, virtue, power, and purpose, they hold a mirror up to their country in a time of deep flux. In searching, often personal essays that range from the meaning of Confucius to the role of Chinese Americans in shaping how we read the Constitution to why he hates the hyphen in "Chinese-American," Eric Liu pieces together a sense of the Chinese American identity in these auspicious years for both countries. He considers his own public career in American media and government; his daughter's efforts to hold and release aspects of her Chinese inheritance; and the still-recent history that made anyone Chinese in America seem foreign and disloyal until proven otherwise. Provocative, often playful but always thoughtful, Liu breaks down his vast subject into bite-sized chunks, along the way providing insights into universal matters: identity, nationalism, family, and more. —PublicAffairs {chop}

China’s Second Continent: The Howard French Interview

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
China may be sincere in its belief that its engagement in Africa is not neo-colonial or imperial in nature but author Howard French argues that may be what ultimately happens if Beijing continues on its current path. In his provocative new book,...

Books

08.06.14

China’s Second Continent

Howard W. French
An exciting, hugely revealing account of China’s burgeoning presence in Africa—a developing empire already shaping, and reshaping, the future of millions of people. A prizewinning foreign correspondent and former New York Times bureau chief in Shanghai and in West and Central Africa, Howard French is uniquely positioned to tell the story of China in Africa. Through meticulous on-the-ground reporting—conducted in Mandarin, French, and Portuguese, among other languages—Howard French crafts a layered investigation of astonishing depth and breadth as he engages not only with policy-shaping moguls and diplomats, but also with the  ordinary men and women navigating the street-level realities of cooperation, prejudice, corruption, and opportunity forged by this seismic geopolitical development. With incisiveness and empathy, French reveals the human face of China’s economic, political, and human presence across the African continent—and in doing so reveals what is at stake for everyone involved.We meet a broad spectrum of China’s dogged emigrant population, from those singlehandedly reshaping African infrastructure, commerce, and even environment (a self-made tycoon who harnessed Zambia’s now-booming copper trade; a timber entrepreneur determined to harvest the entirety of Liberia’s old-growth redwoods), to those just barely scraping by (a sibling pair running small businesses despite total illiteracy; a karaoke bar owner–cum–brothel madam), still convinced that Africa affords them better opportunities than their homeland. And we encounter an equally panoramic array of African responses: a citizens’ backlash in Senegal against a “Trojan horse” Chinese construction project (a tower complex to be built over a beloved soccer field, which locals thought would lead to overbearing Chinese pressure on their economy); a Zambian political candidate who, having protested China’s intrusiveness during the previous election and lost, now turns accommodating; the ascendant middle class of an industrial boomtown; African mine workers bitterly condemning their foreign employers, citing inadequate safety precautions and wages a fraction of their immigrant counterparts’.French’s nuanced portraits reveal the paradigms forming around this new world order, from the all-too-familiar echoes of colonial ambition—exploitation of resources and labor; cut-rate infrastructure projects; dubious treaties—to new frontiers of cultural and economic exchange, where dichotomies of suspicion and trust, assimilation and isolation, idealism and disillusionment are in dynamic flux.Part intrepid travelogue, part cultural census, part industrial and political exposé, French’s keenly observed account ultimately offers a fresh perspective on the most pressing unknowns of modern Sino-African relations: why China is making the incursions it is, just how extensive its cultural and economic inroads are, what Africa’s role in the equation is, and just what the ramifications for both parties—and the watching world—will be in the foreseeable future. —Knopf {chop}

Sino-African Marriages in China: ‘Til Death Do Us Part’?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
A marriage boom of sorts is underway in China, where a growing number of African men are tying the knot with Chinese women. While these new families are breaking long-held cultural stereotypes, they are also confronting a whole set of new challenges...

After Tiananmen Square, New Lives On A New Continent

MICHEL MARTIN
NPR
After the democracy protests were crushed in 1989, many thought China would turn inward. Instead, a million Chinese citizens moved to Africa. Howard French discusses his book China's Second Continent...

Environment

02.20.14

Pollution Tax Suggested for Wealthy Chinese Fleeing for Greener Pastures

from chinadialogue
Environmental problems have become an important factor causing the rich to leave China—but one academic has now suggested that they should first pay an environmental levy. Chen Guoen, a professor at Wuhan University, said that some Western...

Late to the Party? The U.S. Government’s Response to China’s Censorship

Elizabeth Lynch
China Law & Policy
When China denied veteran journalist Paul Mooney’s visa request in November, neither the State Department, Administration officials nor anyone on Capitol Hill said anything publicly about a U.S. citizen appearing to be punished for his speech.

China’s Strong-Arm Tactics Toward U.S. Media Merit a Response

Washington Post
Chinese journalists get an open door to the United States. This reflects U.S. values and is fundamentally correct. If China continues to exclude and threaten American journalists, the U.S. should inject a little more symmetry into its visa policy.

Chinese Immigration to U.S. Still Rising

Kelly Chung Dawson
China Daily
The number of foreign-born Chinese Americans in the US doubled between 2000 and 2010, according to a UN report, and experts attribute the increase in large part to China’s growing middle class. 

Slowly, Americans Moving to China

Kenneth Rapoza
Forbes
All told, 1,202 foreigners received the equivalent of a Chinese “green card” — making them legal, permanent residents of the world’s No. 2 economy. The numbers, minuscule compared to U.S. immigration figures, are clearly on the rise. &...

Communist Party Members May Be Ineligible for U.S. Green Card

U.S. and China Visa Law Blog
The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act still makes ineligible for permanent residence any person who “is or has been a member of or affiliated with” the Chinese Communist Party (C.C.P.). There are certain exceptions and waivers, however...

Eastern Promise in LIttle Africa

Kit Gillet
Globe and Mail
Chasing their slice of China’s raging appetite, tens of thousands of African traders are settling uneasily in the ghettos of Guangzhou.