Beijing’s Dangerous Game

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
Over the past few days, angry crowds in more than thirty Chinese cities have trashed Japanese stores, overturned Japanese cars, shouted “Down with Japan,” and carried banners that demand Chinese sovereignty over the uninhabited Diaoyu Islands in the...

Prominent Chinese Writer: I Am a Traitor

Sijia Song
Li Chengpeng, an influential writer and social commentator, has published an article on his blog denouncing the boycott of Japanese goods and the violent anti-Japan sentiment currently sweeping China as the two wrangle over the Diaoyu Islands,...

State Media Call For “Rational” Patriotism

David Bandurski
China Media Project
After two days of violent anti-Japanese protests in China stemming from a territorial dispute over a chain of islands in the East China Sea, media in China are now calling on the public to remain calm and “rational,” apparently concerned about how...

Beijing both Encourages and Reins in Anti-Japanese Protests, Analysts Say

William Wan
Washington Post
As anger increases over a territorial dispute between China and Japan, Chinese authorities have been playing both sides of the issue by quietly encouraging recent anti-Japanese protests, then publicly reining them in.Experts point to signs that...

China Warns of ‘Further Actions’ as Anti-Japan Protests Resume

Ian Johnson and Thom Shanker
New York Times
China drove home its opposition to Japanese control of a contested group of islands on Tuesday, with angry protests in dozens of cities and a warning from its defense minister that “further actions” were possible.

Seriously Hooked on Nationalism

Jeremiah Jenne
Rectified.name
This is the worst kind of dispute because everybody’s right and nobody’s right.  Japan and China have more than their share of nationalist nitwits, but nobody actually lives on these rocks and it’s not like you can go and ask the goats what...

China’s Anti-Japan Riots Are State-Sponsored. Period.

Charlie Custer
ChinaGeeks
But anyone who has followed domestic protests in China for even a short period of time should be clear on the fact that if it wants to, the government has the means to totally shut these protests down. They may have sent in the tanks back in ’89,...

The Anti-Japanese Eruptions in China

James Fallows
Atlantic
Six years ago, in the first article I filed after moving to Shanghai, I listed the things that struck me as different, compared with my initial visits to China 20 years before. At the top of the list was the increased virulence of anti-Japanese...

Caixin Media

09.17.12

How a Protest in Beijing Stuck to the Script

On the afternoon of September 16, rows of policemen and security personnel in black T-shirts lined Beijing’s Liangmaqiao Road near the Japanese embassy during protests over the Diaoyu Islands controversy. Security guards were visible everywhere,...

Ming Pao: Rules for Anti-Japan Protests

Anne Henochowicz
China Digital Times
Numerous mainland cities are experiencing days-long Anti-Japan protests in defense of China’s sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands. Authorities have begun exerting increasingly strict control over the demonstrations. Police...

A Chinese Leader Returns Amid Tumult

Ian Johnson and Jane Perlez
New York Times
The reappearance on Saturday of Xi Jinping, a top Chinese leader who had vanished from public view, removes one question mark facing the Communist Party, but a wave of protests against Japan is a sign that internal power struggles are far...

Is China's Global Times Misunderstood?

Allen Carlson
Diplomat
A growing conviction is taking root in America that Chinese views of the international system are becoming increasingly assertive and nationalistic. One of the prime referents for this contention is the Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao), a hugely...

Caixin Media

09.14.12

Why War is Not a Possibility

There won’t be a war in East Asia.The United States has five military alliances in the western Pacific. Its allies are South Korea, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, and Singapore. And American battleships are busy patrolling the seas.Without a go-...

What "911" Means in Chinese

Liz Carter
Even in Chinese, “911” is shorthand for September 11 and the events that transpired 11 years ago today. Web users in China have taken to social media to mark the anniversary, some waxing philosophical about the passage of time and the elusiveness of...

Amid Protest, Hong Kong Retreats on 'National Education' Plan

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
Faced with tens of thousands of protesters contending that a Beijing-backed plan for “moral and national education” amounted to brainwashing and political indoctrination, Hong Kong’s chief executive backpedaled somewhat on Saturday and revoked a...

A Diplomatic Incident in China

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
The Japanese ambassador to Beijing, Uichiro Niwa, and his wife were riding in their limo this week when an unknown Chinese man approached and tore the mini-flag off the hood. There is some debate about whether the limo was blocked...

Diaoyu in Our Heart: The Revealing Contradictions of Chinese Nationalism

Helen Gao
Atlantic
There was another side to the anti-Japanese demonstrations that rocked Chinese cities this weekend, reacting to Japanese activists who had landed on a disputed island chain in the East China Sea. As Chinese protesters asserted their national...

China, Olympic Victim?

Economist
The race is not to the swift, says the Bible, nor the battle to the strong. But, in words attributed to Damon Runyon, an American writer, that is how the smart money bets. Unless, of course, it belongs to a Chinese nationalist, who will wager his...

Simmering Chinese Anger at Japan Is Now on the Boil

Mark McDonald
New York Times
In angry mass protests and subdued smaller gatherings, Chinese citizens have taken to the streets to protest the landing by Japanese activists on some barren islands that are claimed by both countries. Protesters in about a dozen cities on...

The New Olympics Arms Race

Ian Johnson
New York Review of Books
You can follow the Olympics two ways. First, there’s the right way: you pay attention to the athletes and root for great performances. You see them cry and hug each other in joy or look away in disgust at a bad performance. You empathize with them...

Media

08.03.12

Netizens Weigh in on Weightlifting Defeat

Amy Qin
When seventeen-year-old Zhou Jun from Hubei province stepped onto the mat in London on Sunday, the pressure she was facing far exceeded the weight of the 96-kg barbell sitting at her feet. The entire history of China’s success in women’s...

Sinica Podcast

08.03.12

Yeah, She Wins—Sinica at the Olympics

Jeremy Goldkorn, William Moss & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, we go to the Olympics in recognition of what is unarguably the biggest story coming out of London: the spectacular performance of Chinese swimming sensation Ye Shiwen and the subsequent allegations of doping and anti-competitive...

China, the Olympics and the Swimmer

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
The People’s Daily, the flagship of China’s state-run media empire, tried, in all honesty, to make sense of the opening ceremony at the London Olympics—an event, the paper noted, that cost not only a fraction of the opening ceremony four years ago...

Interview: Kenneth Lieberthal on Strategic Distrust

YOICHI KATO
Asahi Shimbun
The United States and China have a relatively successful relationship, but their distrust of each other's long-term intentions has reached a potentially dangerous level, says Kenneth Lieberthal, an experienced China expert based in Washington...

Hong Kong Protests Patriotism Classes

Melissa M. Chan
China Digital Times
Amid fears that the mainland is increasing their involvement in Hong Kong politics, the San Francisco Chronicle reports parents, students, and teachers took to the streets in Hong Kong to protest China’s planned curriculum change.

China's Military Moment

Jim Holmes
Foreign Policy
Beguiled by undersea oil and gas deposits and the weakness of fellow claimants to the Paracel Islands, China launched a naval offensive to seize the disputed archipelago. To justify its actions, Beijing pointed to history -- notably Ming Dynasty Adm...

Reports

07.24.12

Stirring Up the South China Sea (II) 

International Crisis Group
The South China Sea dispute between China and some of its South East Asian neighbours - Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei - has reached an impasse. Increasingly assertive positions among claimants have pushed regional tensions to new...

Stirring up the South China Sea: Regional Responses

Unattributed
International Crisis Group
The South China Sea dispute between China and some of its South East Asian neighbours – Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei – has reached an impasse. Increasingly assertive positions among claimants have pushed regional tensions to new...

Nationalist and Liberal Spar in Beijing Park (With Ai Weiwei Cameo)

David Pilling
Financial Times
In China, as is doubtless the case elsewhere, the distinction between online and offline is blurring. That presents the Communist party with a potentially dangerous problem. Online comment can serve a useful official function, allowing people to...

China-Japan Diaoyu Dispute, Now an iPad Game

Paul Mozur
WSJ: China Real Time Report
Forget about Angry Birds. One new videogame for China’s iPad users is all about the angry words flung back and forth between China and Japan over a series of small islands in the East China Sea. The new game, called Defend the Diaoyu Islands,...

Media

05.29.12

Patriots or Traitors?

Amy Qin
In Chinese, to be patriotic is to ai guo, literally “to love [one’s] country.” But what does it really mean to love your country? Does it mean unconditional support for your country’s government, warts and all? Or is there more room for nuance—can...

Patriotism with Chinese Characteristics (Op-Ed)

Li Chengpeng
New York Times
Rapeseed plants in Sichuan Province flowered a month late in 2008. People did not think much of it. In those days, people still believed experts and the experts said the delayed flowering season was normal. They also said the thousands of frogs...

Sinica Podcast

03.02.12

China in the World

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, your hosts Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn are pleased to welcome Geremie R Barmé, the well-known Chinese historian, author, filmmaker, and translator, and the Director of the Australian Centre on China in the World at the...

Books

02.29.12

The Culture of War in China

Joanna Waley-Cohen
What particularly distinguished the Qing from other ruling houses in China's imperial period? In this pathbreaking book, Joanna Waley-Cohen overturns conventional wisdom to identify military power and an accompanying martial ethos as defining characteristics of the high Qing empire. From 1636 to 1800, Emperors reinforced massive military expansion with a wide-ranging cultural campaign intended to bring military success, and the martial values associated with it, into the mainstream of cultural life. Military prowess and imperial power were linked in the popular imagination though endless repetition in literature, art and architecture a startlingly modern use of words and images that demonstrates the imperial grasp of culture's potency as a political tool. Overturning the presumption that reads back China's late-nineteenth-century military weakness into the past, Waley-Cohen shows that the Qing strongly emphasized military affairs, which they understood as complementary rather than subordinate to civil matters. Arguing that the militarization of culture that took place under the high-Qing emperors provided fertile ground from which the modern militarized nation-state could develop, Waley-Cohen contends that the past two centuries of Chinese weakness on the international scene may turn out to have been a protracted aberration, rather than the normal state of affairs. The Culture of War in China is a striking revisionist history that brings new insight into the nature of the Qing dynasty and the roots of the militarized modern state.  —I. B. Tauris

Media

02.29.12

Three Trends in Public Opinion Online in China

Hu Yong
Looking back at China’s Internet in 2011, there were three broad trends that deserve greater attention. The first was a general shift from emotionally-driven nationalist chatter as the defining tone of China’s Internet to more basic attention to...

Sinica Podcast

12.24.10

The Long Arm of History

Kaiser Kuo, David Moser & more from Sinica Podcast
{vertical_photo_right}Visitors to China might be forgiven for concluding that history carries more weight here. For whatever the reason, even the far-off ghosts of the Opium War, the scramble for concessions, and the Treaty of Versailles still haunt...

Books

04.01.10

China’s New Nationalism

Peter Gries
Three American missiles hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, and what Americans view as an appalling and tragic mistake, many Chinese see as a "barbaric" and intentional "criminal act," the latest in a long series of Western aggressions against China. In this book, Peter Hays Gries explores the roles of perception and sentiment in the growth of popular nationalism in China. At a time when the direction of China's foreign and domestic policies have profound ramifications worldwide, Gries offers a rare, in-depth look at the nature of China's new nationalism, particularly as it involves Sino-American and Sino-Japanese relations—two bilateral relations that carry extraordinary implications for peace and stability in the twenty-first century. Through recent Chinese books and magazines, movies, television shows, posters, and cartoons, Gries traces the emergence of this new nationalism. Anti-Western sentiment, once created and encouraged by China's ruling PRC, has been taken up independently by a new generation of Chinese. Deeply rooted in narratives about past "humiliations" at the hands of the West and impassioned notions of Chinese identity, popular nationalism is now undermining the Communist Party's monopoly on political discourse, threatening the regime's stability. As readable as it is closely researched and reasoned, this timely book analyzes the impact that popular nationalism will have on twenty-first century China and the world.  —University of California Press

Books

03.15.10

Art, Politics and Commerce in Chinese Cinema

Stanley Rosen
Art, politics, and commerce are intertwined everywhere, but in China the interplay is explicit, intimate, and elemental, and nowhere more so than in the film industry. Understanding this interplay in the era of market reform and globalization is essential to understanding mainland Chinese cinema. This interdisciplinary book provides a comprehensive reappraisal of Chinese cinema, surveying the evolution of film production and consumption in mainland China as a product of shifting relations between art, politics, and commerce. Within these arenas, each of the twelve chapters treats a particular history, development, genre, filmmaker or generation of filmmakers, adding up to a distinctively comprehensive rendering of Chinese cinema. The book illuminates China’s changing state-society relations, the trajectory of marketization and globalization, the effects of China’s stark historical shifts, Hollywood’s role, the role of nationalism, and related themes of interest to scholars of Asian studies, cinema and media studies, political science, sociology, comparative literature and Chinese language. Contributors include Ying Zhu, Stanley Rosen, Seio Nakajima, Zhiwei Xiao, Shujen Wang, Paul Clark, Stephen Teo, John Lent, Ying Xu, Yingjin Zhang, Bruce Robinson, Liyan Qin, and Shuqin Cui.  —Hong Kong University Press

China at 60: Who Owns the Guns

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
The most striking feature of China’s October 1 celebration of sixty years of Communist rule was the spectacular and tightly choreographed military parade in the center of Beijing. The display of crass militarism—paralleled only by parades in...

China: Humiliation & the Olympics

Orville Schell from New York Review of Books
The IncidentOn a snowy winter day in 1991, Lu Gang, a slightly built Chinese scholar who had recently received his Ph.D. in plasma physics, walked into a seminar room at the University of Iowa’s Van Allen Hall, raised a snub-nose .38-caliber Taurus...

The Prodigal Sons

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
What do Xi Yang, Wei Jingsheng, and Wang Juntao have in common? Yes, they are all “counter-revolutionary elements, subversives, splittists, black hands”—whatever Peking cares to call them—and all three are familiar with the Party’s prison...

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...