Depth of Field

11.20.17

Fake Girlfriends, Chengdu Rappers, and a Chow Chow Making Bank

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
Lonely dog owners in Beijing and a rented girlfriend in Fujian; the last Oroqen hunters in Heilongjiang and homegrown hip hop in Chengdu; young Chinese in an Indian tech hub and Hong Kong apartments only slightly larger than coffins—these are some...

Are China’s Schools Failing?

Adam Minter
Bloomberg
China's much-lauded education system remains riven by inequality, with far-reaching consequences for schools, students and, ultimately, the economy...

Poignant Portraits Show What it is Like Being LGBT in China

Kenneth Dickerman
Washington Post
Despite being decriminalized in 1997, homosexuality is still heavily stigmatized in China.

Mother’s Killing of 4 Children Reveals Cracks in Anti-Poverty Drive

Li Rongde, Xiao Hui, Huang Ziyi, and...
Corruption, red tape has led to most vulnerable citizens receiving little help

Media

05.31.16

Will China’s ‘Taobao Villages’ Spur a Rural Revolution?

from chinadialogue
The province of Shanxi, in northern China, is famous for coal mining, and the industry’s impact is etched across the landscape. But the province’s southern counties, which lie near the Yellow River, are known for a very different commodity—red dates...

Green Space

05.18.16

Time Traveling Through Dramatic Urbanization in China Over Decades

Michael Zhao
Twenty-six years ago, only 26 percent of the Chinese population lived in urban areas. Since then, China’s urbanization rate has risen to almost 56 percent, meaning hundreds of millions of people have packed themselves into the country’s 662 cities...

Caixin Media

04.01.16

China’s Rural Youngsters Drop Out of School at Alarming Rate

Like many other teenagers in his village in the mountains of the northwestern province of Shaanxi, Chen Youliang decided to quit school early so he could follow in the footsteps of his migrant worker parents and find a job in a big city.Chen, who...

Suicide Bombings in China: Beyond Terrorism

Shannon Tiezzi
Diplomat
A suicide bomber attacked a park in Heze in China’s Shandong province, killing two (including the bomber) and injuring 24, with three people receiving “relatively severe” injuries.

Media

03.09.15

China’s Real Inconvenient Truth: Its Class Divide

Rachel Lu
China is talking about its pollution problem, but its equally serious class problem remains obscured behind the haze. Smog leapt to the forefront of Chinese national discourse after the February 28 release of "Under the Dome," a 103-minute...

Infographics

01.09.15

Think Renting in Your City is Bad? Try Beijing

David M. Barreda from Sohu
Compared with the numbers of a few years ago, first and second tier cities in China have an oversupply of stock on the housing market. Additionally, restrictions on multiple-home purchases are easing and “expected to be eased completely,” according...

China’s Water Diversion Project Starts to Flow to Beijing

Jonathan Kaiman
Guardian
The project has roots in an offhand comment by Mao Zedong who, on an inspection tour in the early 1950s, said: “The south has plenty of water, but the north is dry. If we could borrow some, that would be good.”

The End of China’s Hated Hukou System is Less Ground-breaking Than It Seems

Richard Macauley
Quartz
The new rules only make it easier for formerly rural hukou holders to move to small, backwater cities, not the vibrant mega-cities along China’s eastern coast where the vast majority of migrants are.

Infographics

05.02.14

The ‘Nongmin’ Breakdown

from Sohu
Who are China's rural migrant workers?A uniquely Chinese social identity, the category of “rural migrant worker” is a product of China’s urban/rural dichotomy. It refers to a class of citizens no longer employed in the agricultural sector who...

Caixin Media

09.23.13

Measuring the Wealth Gap

Recent findings by China Society of Economic Reform (CSER) have offered a rare glimpse into growing income inequality in the country.The study shows that in 2011 unidentified “gray income,” or the difference between CSER-surveyed income and that of...

In a Rush to Urbanize, China Flattens 700 Mountains

Calum McLeod
USA Today
China’s shift from a rural to urban society is speeding up development projects, including one where a developer is flattening mountains to build a new city.

Books

10.17.12

To the People, Food is Heaven

Audra Ang
In China, life is comfortable for the fortunate few. For others, it’s a hand-to-mouth struggle for a full stomach, a place to live, wages for work done, and freedom to speak openly. It’s a place where few things are more important than food; “Have you eaten yet?” is another way of saying hello. After traversing the country and meeting its people, Ang shares her delicious experiences with us. She tells of a clandestine cup of salty yak butter tea with a Tibetan monk during a military crackdown, and explains how a fluffy spring onion omelet encapsulates China’s drive for rural development. You’ll have lunch with some of the country’s most enduring activists, savor meals with earthquake survivors, and get to know a house cleaner who makes the best fried chicken in all of Beijing. Through her reporting, Ang bites into the gaping divide between rich and poor, urban and rural reform, intolerance for dissent, and the growing dissatisfaction with those in power. By serving these topics to us one at a time through the stories of ordinary citizens, To the People, Food Is Heaven provides a fresh perspective beyond the country’s anonymous identity as an economic powerhouse. Ang plates a terrific, wide-ranging feast that is the new China, a country convulsed by change and propelled by aspiration. Have you eaten yet?  —Lyons Press{chop}

Polymath’s Paradise: Artist and Cultural Promoter Ou Ning Confronts China’s Out-of-Control Urbanization

Madeleine O’Dea
Blouin Artinfo
When I ask Ou Ning how he would answer that perennial dinner party question, "What do you do?,"  he laughs. It’s not easy for one of China’s true polymaths, but he gives it a try. “I’m a cultural worker,” he offers modestly,...

Rural Chinese Get Online as Mobile Overtakes Desktop

BBC
For the first time, desktop computers are no longer the leading method for the country's 538 million connected citizens to get online. The report from the China Internet Network Information Center (CINIC) said over 50% of the year's new...

Media

05.17.12

Villagers Loot Spilled Watermelons From Truck After Car Crash

Qiaoyi Zhuang
Two trucks collided on the Beijing-Hong Kong-Macao Expressway in Yueyang, Hunan Province. While local firemen worked to rescue the drivers stuck in their vehicles, people from a nearby village arrived on the scene to loot watermelons that had fallen...

Books

02.03.12

The Wobbling Pivot

Pamela Kyle Crossley
This comprehensive but concise narrative of China since the eighteenth century builds its story around the delicate relationship between central government and local communities. With a nod to Ezra Pound's translation of the Chinese classic Zhongyong (The Unwobbling Pivot), Pamela Kyle Crossley argues that China's modern history has not wholly adhered to the ideal of the "unwobbling pivot", with China as a harmonious society based on principles of stability. Instead she argues that developments can be explained through China's surprising swings between centralization and decentralization, between local initiative and central authoritarianism. The author's approach is broad enough to provide a full introduction to modern Chinese history. Students new to the subject will be supported with timelines, maps, illustrations, and extensive notes to further readings, while those with a background in Chinese history will find an underlying theme in the narrative addressing long-standing interpretive issues. —Wiley-Blackwell 

Reports

09.28.11

Market Integration in China

Qingqing Chen, Chor-Ching Goh, Bo Sun, and Lixin Colin Xu
World Bank
Over the last three decades, China's product, labor, and capital markets have become gradually more integrated within its borders, although integration has been significantly slower for capital markets. There remains a significant urban-rural...

Reports

11.01.10

On the Road to Prosperity? The Economic Geography of China’s National Expressway Network

Mark Roberts, Uwe Deichmann, Bernard Fingleton, Tuo Shi
World Bank
Over the past two decades, China has embarked on an ambitious program of expressway network expansion. By facilitating market integration, this program aims both to promote efficiency at the national level and to contribute to the catch-up of...

Books

04.01.10

One Country, Two Societies

Martin K. Whyte
This timely and important collection of original essays analyzes China’s foremost social cleavage: the rural-urban gap. It is now clear that the Chinese communist revolution, though professing dedication to an egalitarian society, in practice created a rural order akin to serfdom, in which 80 percent of the population was effectively bound to the land. China is still struggling with that legacy. The reforms of 1978 changed basic aspects of economic and social life in China’s villages and cities and altered the nature of the rural-urban relationship. But some important institutions and practices have changed only marginally or not at all, and China is still sharply divided into rural and urban castes with different rights and opportunities in life, resulting in growing social tensions. The contributors, many of whom conducted extensive fieldwork, examine the historical background of rural-urban relations; the size and trend in the income gap between rural and urban residents in recent years; aspects of inequality apart from income (access to education and medical care, the digital divide, housing quality and location); experiences of discrimination, particularly among urban migrants; and conceptual and policy debates in China regarding the status and treatment of rural residents and urban migrants.  —Harvard University Press

Books

04.01.10

China Road

Rob Gifford
Route 312 is the Chinese Route 66. It flows three thousand miles from east to west, passing through the factory towns of the coastal areas, through the rural heart of China, then up into the Gobi Desert, where it merges with the Old Silk Road. The highway witnesses every part of the social and economic revolution that is turning China upside down. In this utterly surprising and deeply personal book, acclaimed National Public Radio reporter Rob Gifford, a fluent Mandarin speaker, takes the dramatic journey along Route 312 from its start in the boomtown of Shanghai to its end on the border with Kazakhstan. Gifford reveals the rich mosaic of modern Chinese life in all its contradictions, as he poses the crucial questions that all of us are asking about China: Will it really be the next global superpower? Is it as solid and as powerful as it looks from the outside? And who are the ordinary Chinese people, to whom the twenty-first century is supposed to belong?Gifford is not alone on his journey. The largest migration in human history is taking place along highways such as Route 312, as tens of millions of people leave their homes in search of work. He sees signs of the booming urban economy everywhere, but he also uncovers many of the country’s frailties, and some of the deep-seated problems that could derail China’s rise. The whole compelling adventure is told through the cast of colorful characters Gifford meets: garrulous talk-show hosts and ambitious yuppies, impoverished peasants and tragic prostitutes, cell-phone salesmen, AIDS patients, and Tibetan monks. He rides with members of a Shanghai jeep club, hitchhikes across the Gobi desert, and sings karaoke with migrant workers at truck stops along the way.  —Random House

Reports

04.15.09

Village-by-Village Democracy in China

Robert T. Gannett Jr.
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research

China’s Dirty Clean-Up

Sophia Woodman from New York Review of Books
Every year, millions of China’s poorest and most vulnerable people are arrested on the streets of the nation’s cities merely because the way they look or speak identifies them clearly as “outsiders,” not native to the city in question, or because...