China’s Top Taiwan Official to Make First Visit to Island

Ben Blanchard and Michael Gold
Reuters
China’s top official in charge of relations with Taiwan will make his first visit to the island later this month, state media said, following large-scale protests there against a controversial trade pact.

State Firms Barred from Vietnam Contract Bids

Keira Lu Huang
South China Morning Post
Vietnamese and Chinese ships have been clashing since China set up an oil rig near disputed island in the South China Sea last month. Tensions over the move caused anti-China riots in Vietnam.

Iowa Signs Historical Cooperation Agreement With China

Lynn Hicks
Des Moines Register
Iowa’s economic ties with China deepened Thursday as the state signed a cooperation agreement with the Ministry of Commerce of the world’s second-largest economy.

China Threatens Security Checks for Tech Firms After U.S. Indictments

Christopher Buckley
New York Times
China will establish new procedures to assess potential security problems with Internet technology and services used by sectors “related to national security and the public interest.”

China Accuses U.S. of Hypocrisy Amid Charges of Economic Espionage

Massoud Hayoun
Al Jazeera
Unresolved allegations that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on a Chinese telecoms giant Huawei have resurfaced amid growing anger from Chinese officials over accusations that the PLA hacked American databases.

Bitcoin’s Status in China Not So Black-and-White

Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey
Wall Street Journal
The Chinese government has disseminated what amounts to a “confidential” policy governing the digital currency, which has led to uneven enforcement.

Photo Gallery

04.09.14

Sunflower Protestors Open Up

Chien-min Chung
On March 18 some 200 Taiwanese, mostly college students, stormed the offices of Taiwan’s legislature, beginning a protest over a proposed trade agreement between the self-governed island and mainland China, which considers it a “renegade province.”...

Viewpoint

04.09.14

Why Taiwan’s Protestors Stuck It Out

John Tkacik
Some might say, “a half-million Taiwanese can’t be wrong.” That’s how many islanders descended upon their capital city, Taipei, on March 30 to shout their support for the several thousand students who have occupied the nation’s legislature for the...

Media

03.25.14

China, We Fear You

On March 18, thousands of students began a sit-in of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan in the capital, Taipei, a historic first that has paralyzed the island’s lawmaking body. Students have amassed to protest an attempt by the Kuomintang, the island’s...

Books

03.19.14

Unbalanced

Stephen Roach
The Chinese and U.S. economies have been locked in an uncomfortable embrace since the late 1970s. Although the relationship initially arose out of mutual benefits, in recent years it has taken on the trappings of an unstable codependence, with the two largest economies in the world losing their sense of self, increasing the risk of their turning on one another in a destructive fashion.In Unbalanced: The Codependency of America and China Stephen Roach lays bare the pitfalls of the current China-U.S. economic relationship. He highlights the conflicts at the center of current tensions, including disputes over trade policies and intellectual property rights, sharp contrasts in leadership styles, the role of the Internet, the recent dispute over cyberhacking, and more.A firsthand witness to the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, Roach likely knows more about the U.S.-China economic relationship than any other Westerner. Here he discusses:Why America saving too little and China saving too much creates mounting problems for bothHow China is planning to re-boot its economic growth model by moving from an external export-led model to one of internal consumerism with a new focus on service industriesHow America shows a disturbing lack of strategy, preferring a short-term reactive approach over a more coherent Chinese-style planning frameworkThe way out: what America could do to turn its own economic fate around and position itself for a healthy economic and political relationship with ChinaIn the wake of the 2008 crisis, both unbalanced economies face urgent and mutually beneficial rebalancings. Unbalanced concludes with a recipe for resolving the escalating tensions of codependence. Roach argues that the Next China offers much for the Next America—and vice versa.—Yale University Press{chop}

Conversation

02.22.14

What Can the Dalai Lama’s White House Visit Actually Accomplish?

Isabel Hilton, Donald Clarke & more
On February 21, the Dalai Lama visited United States President Barack Obama in the White House over the objections of the Chinese government. Beijing labels the exiled spiritual leader a "wolf in sheep's clothing" who seeks to use...

China and Taiwan Hold First Official Talks Since Civil War

Austin Ramzy
New York Times
The discussions were not expected to produce major breakthroughs, but they had important symbolic significance.

Books

02.05.14

By All Means Necessary

Elizabeth C. Economy and Michael Levi
In the past thirty years, China has transformed from an impoverished country where peasants comprised the largest portion of the populace to an economic power with an expanding middle class and more megacities than anywhere else on earth. This remarkable transformation has required, and will continue to demand, massive quantities of resources. Like every other major power in modern history, China is looking outward to find them.In By All Means Necessary, Elizabeth C. Economy and Michael Levi explore the unrivaled expansion of the Chinese economy and the global effects of its meteoric growth. China is now engaged in a far-flung quest, hunting around the world for fuel, ores, water, and land for farming, and deploying whatever it needs in the economic, political, and military spheres to secure the resources it requires. Chinese traders and investors buy commodities, with consequences for economies, people, and the environment around the world. Meanwhile the Chinese military aspires to secure sea lanes, and Chinese diplomats struggle to protect the country’s interests abroad. And just as surely as China’s pursuit of natural resources is changing the world—restructuring markets, pushing up commodity prices, transforming resource-rich economies through investment and trade—it is also changing China itself. As Chinese corporations increasingly venture abroad, they must navigate various political regimes, participate in international markets, and adopt foreign standards and practices, which can lead to wide-reaching social and political ramifications at home.Clear, authoritative, and provocative, By All Means Necessary is a sweeping account of where China’s pursuit of raw materials may take the country in the coming years and what the consequences will be—not just for China, but for the whole world. —Oxford University Press{chop}

China Loses its Allure

Economist
Life is getting tougher for foreign companies. Those that want to stay will have to adjust.

China Claims Title of World's Top Trading Nation

Joshua Keating
Slate
Despite heavy investments in technology, aerospace, and autombiles, most Chinese trade is still in low-end goods. 

Caixin Media

01.08.14

How Shanghai’s Free Trade Zone Works

At a conference table surrounded by bookshelves in his Shanghai office, the city’s party boss Han Zheng recently polished the image of a commercial crown jewel—the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone—during an exclusive interview with Caixin.Han...

Bitcoin in China

Suwatchai Songwanich
Nation (Thailand)
Bitcoin, a virtual stored-value system not regulated by any country or banking authority, has been a huge phenomenon this year and much of the action has been driven out of China.

Is North Korea Unwinding Economic Ties With China?

Christina Larson
Businessweek
These are grim days not only for the friends and family of recently executed North Korean official Jang Song Thaek, but also for people and programs he had supported—including economic relations with China, which Jang had overseen.

Foreign Correspondents in China Do Not Censor Themselves to Get Visas

Hannah Beech
Time
Compared with five years ago, when the Chinese leadership promised to ease restrictions on foreign journalists as part of reforms unveiled during the Beijing Olympics charm campaign, the atmosphere has clearly chilled. 

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.

The Vitamin C Cartel (Video)

New American Foundation
A Chinese cartel has come to control 100% of the Vitamin C that is contained in foods found in American supermarkets, an unprecedented circumstance which will have political and economic ramifications in the near future. 

Conversation

09.13.13

What Can China and Japan Do to Start Anew?

Paula S. Harrell & Chen Weihua
Paula S. Harrell:While the media keeps its eye on the ongoing Diaoyu/Senkaku islands dispute, heating up yet again this week after Chinese naval ships and aircraft were spotted circling the area, a parallel, possibly game-changing development in...

China Trade Rebounds in Further Sign Economy Stablizing

Bloomberg
China’s exports increased more than estimated in August and inflation stayed below a government target, helping Premier Li Keqiang sustain a rebound in the world’s second-largest economy from a two-quarter slowdown. 

China Bans Milk Powder of Two South Pacific Nations

Reuters
Nearly 90 percent of China’s $1.9 billion in milk powder imports last year originated in New Zealand. Economists said a prolonged ban could produce a shortage of dairy products in China, including foreign-branded infant formula.

Move Over Bordeaux: French Premium Winemakers Eye China Vintage

Terril Yue Jones
Reuters
In a country where cheap plonk and overpriced mediocre wines still define the domestic industry, the French are partnering with Chinese investors to produce super-premium wines for increasingly discerning drinkers at the market’s top end.

Conversation

07.23.13

What Would a Hard Landing in China Mean for the World?

Barry Naughton, James McGregor & more
Barry Naughton:Paul Krugman in a recent post (“How Much Should We Worry About a China Shock?” The New York Times, July 20, 2013) tells us NOT to worry about the impact of a slowing China on global exports, but to be worried, very worried about the...

China Pushes Europe to Lower Hurdles to Solar Deal

Ethan Bilby
Reuters
A European Commission document dated July 12 said China wants any solar agreement to expire by the end of 2014, that the so-called certain parts of the panels should be excluded from tariffs and that any cap on Chinese exports should be...

Viewpoint

07.16.13

CFIUS and the U.S. Senate’s Anti-China Bug

Samuel Kleiner
Last week, senators from both parties finally came together for a common objective: stopping the $4.7 billion sale of America’s largest pork producer to China. Their reason? The sale of Smithfield Farms to a Chinese company, Shuanghui, could pose a...

China’s Blackout of U.S. Media Can No Longer Be Ignored

Jim Sciutto
Washington Post
Web censorship is not just an inconvenience but also a reminder that many leading U.S. media and technology companies are excluded, or largely excluded, from one of the world’s largest markets and this country’s largest trading partner. ...

Reports

07.09.13

Prospects for U.S.-China Trade in Meat Products and Associated Investment Opportunities

Dermot Hayes
Paulson Institute
The rapid growth rate in per capita disposable income in China, coupled with a continued migration of hundreds of millions of new consumers to urban areas, has created challenges for the Chinese crop and livestock sectors. Faced with an increase in...

China’s Strength Could Become Its Weakness

John W. Schoen
NBC News
The heavy reliance on state investment produced unintended consequences. Overbuilding of housing created a real estate bubble. The investment a capacity to produce that overshot demand in a variety of areas. 

Conversation

06.11.13

What’s the Best Way to Advance Human Rights in the U.S.-China Relationship?

Nicholas Bequelin, Sharon Hom & more
Nicholas Bequelin:The best way to advance human rights in the U.S.-China relationship is first and foremost to recognize that the engine of human rights progress in China today is the Chinese citizenry itself. Such progress is neither the product of...

Caixin Media

06.03.13

Trading Companies and the Business of Illusion

Last year, the owner of an export-processing company whom we will call Lin Minyao learned of an easy way to make money in Shenzhen, the port city next to Hong Kong.Like his fellow traders, Lin said he could set up two shell companies, one in Hong...

Is the U.S. About to Become One Big Factory Farm For China?

Tom Philpott
Mother Jones
If Shuanghui International’s purchase of Smithfield is to grease the wheels of trade carrying U.S. hogs to China and its enormous domestic pork market, then we’re looking at the further expansion of factory-scale swine farming here in the U.S.&...

Europe and China Trade Talks End Bitterly

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
China called on the European Union to refrain from imposing tariffs on solar panels, and the European trade commissioner complained that China was pressuring individual countries to prevent Europe from reaching a consensus. 

Caixin Media

04.15.13

China Export Policy Chokes on Vitamin Verdict

Internet cafés covered by the city of Wuhan’s Internet Café Association agreed to set minimum prices for online access nearly a decade ago. And more than one hundred coking coal company-members of the Coke Association of Shanxi Province each agreed...

Beijing Opposes U.S. Rule On Technology Imports

Reuters
The new provision following recent cyberattacks requires NASA, as well as the U.S. Justice and Commerce Departments, to seek approval from national law enforcement officials before buying information technology systems from China. 

Conversation

03.26.13

Can China Transform Africa?

Jeremy Goldkorn, Isabel Hilton & more
Jeremy Goldkorn:The question is all wrong. China is already transforming Africa, the question is how China is transforming Africa, not whether it can. From the “China shops”—small stores selling cheap clothing, bags, and kitchenware—that have become...

Conversation

03.01.13

Is America’s Door Really Open to China’s Investment?

Daniel H. Rosen, Orville Schell & more
Daniel Rosen:There have not been many new topics in U.S.-China economic relations over the past decade: the trade balance, offshoring of jobs, Chinese holding of U.S. government debt, whether China’s currency is undervalued and intellectual property...

Conversation

02.22.13

Will Investment in China Grow or Shrink?

Donald Clarke & David Schlesinger
Donald Clarke:I don’t have the answer as to whether investment in China will grow or shrink, but I do have a few suggestions for how to think about the question. First, we have to clarify why we want to know the answer to this question: what do we...

China Denies It Is World’s Biggest Trader Despite Data Showing It Passed U.S. Last Year

The Associated Press
Washington Post
Official Chinese and American trade data indicate China passed the United States last year in total imports and exports by a margin of $3.866 trillion to $3.822 trillion.

Conversation

02.20.13

Cyber Attacks—What’s the Best Response?

James Fallows, Xiao Qiang & more
With regular ChinaFile Conversation contributor Elizabeth Economy on the road, we turned to her colleague Adam Segal, Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Segal said that “the time for...

Illicit Meth Trade Between China and North Korea Reveals A Lot About Their Relationship

Economist
Border police, especially in the North, are known to take bribes to allow illicit trade to pass. One illegal North Korean export causing social problems is crystal meth, a drug known in China as bingdu, or “ice.”

Morgan Stanley's Latest Alibaba Estimates Suggest It's Worth $66 Billion-$168 Billion

Eric Jackson
Forbes
The most relevant comparison is to Tencent which is still the biggest Chinese Internet company still experiencing rapid growth – albeit at a slightly slower pace than Alibaba.  (Tencent did $1.88 billion in the last year and is currently...

China Plays By Its Own Rules While Going Global

Jack Chang
Associated Press
When Venezuela seized billions of dollars in assets from Exxon Mobil and other foreign companies, Chinese state banks and investors didn't blink. Over the past five years they have loaned Venezuela more than $35 billion...

A War Between China and Japan: What it Could Cost You

Online MBA
Global economists are keeping their eyes glued to the Asia-Pacific region, where a bitter feud is brewing between two of the world’s most powerful nations over a small collectivity of islands in the East China Sea. The Chinese government argues that...

Infographics

02.14.13

Who Supplies Apple? (It’s Not Just China)

Last month, Apple Inc. released its updated list of suppliers. This report says it includes “the major manufacturing locations of suppliers who provide raw materials and components or perform final assembly on Apple.” ChinaFile used this data to...

Beijing Slams U.S. Sanctions on Chinese Companies

Teddy Ng
South China Morning Post
Beijing has denounced U.S. sanctions imposed on four Chinese companies and one individual last week for allegedly breaching a U.S. law designed to hamper the development of weapons of mass destruction by Iran, North Korea or Syria.

China’s String of Fake Pearls (Blog)

Daniel W. Drezner
Foreign Policy
For the past few years, a low level theme that occasionally pops into my news feed is the idea of greater Sino-Pakistani cooperation.  Now this has a certain amount of realpolitik sense to it.  The United States and Pakistan are...

Chinese Hackers Targeted Wall Street Journal

Siobhan Gorman, Devlin Barrett, and...
Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal said its computer systems had been infiltrated by Chinese hackers for the apparent purpose of monitoring the newspaper's China coverage...

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.

Books

01.24.13

Shangri-La

Michael Yamashita
The legendary Chamagudao, the Tea Horse Road, winds through dizzying mountain passes, across famed rivers like the Mekong and the Yangtze, and past monasteries and meadows in a circuitous route from Sichuan and Yunnan provinces in western China to the Tibetan capital city of Lhasa. Actually a network of roads, trails, and highways, rather than one distinct route, the Chamagudao once stretched for almost 1400 miles (2350 km)—a conduit along which the historic trade between the mighty Chinese empire and the nomadic Tibetans linked remote villages and ethnic groups. The Chinese military needed strong horses for their wars against Mongol invaders from the north, and the fiercely religious Tibetans desired tea for sacred rituals and sustenance. Once tea was introduced into Tibet around the 10th century, demand for it grew. Tea soon became a staple for Tibetans, especially when combined with their other staple, yak butter. But with Tibet’s extreme temperatures and altitudes, tea cultivation on a large scale was impossible. This set the stage for the tea-horse trade, which, by the 11th century, flourished along the Chamagudao, continuing until the 1950s. But getting these prized commodities to their growing markets was no easy feat. To transport the tea over the mountains meant many months of hard and dangerous travel for the hundreds of porters.Today, as Chinese culture merges with and even absorbs Tibetan traditions, the Tea Horse Road is a relic of a vastly different time. The Chinese are rapidly paving dirt roads to make highways for cars and trucks. Soon there will be little evidence of this once vital trade route. Though horses are no longer a military imperative for the Chinese army, Tibet has a new commodity that is in much demand in China. A homely caterpillar infected by a parasitic fungus has replaced the horse trade in Tibet. The yartsa gombu is prized for its medicinal qualities. Now Tibetans nomads drive Land Cruisers and motorcycles instead of horses, thanks to the profits they make collecting and selling the miracle mushroom worth more than gold. So trade continues, even though relics of the tea-horse trade are becoming harder to find. Following the Chamagudao, this book is a rare intimate look into the changing world of Tibet—both ancient and modern, sacred and commonplace, the rarefied and the gritty—before the legends and mysteries of the Tea Horse road disappear into the Tibetan mist. —White Star {chop}

Apple and China: A Match Made in Heaven?

Zachary Keck
Diplomat
China has long played a major role in Apple’s success after it moved much of its manufacturing from the U.S. to China and other Asian nations in the 1990’s.

ODI-lay Hee-ho: China's Overseas Investment

The Economist
Economist
China’s outward direct investment (ODI) exceeded $77 billion in 2012, an increase of 12.6% on the previous year.

Economists React: China's GDP Growth Hits 7.9% in Fourth Quarter

China Real Time Report
Wall Street Journal
Chinese growth is likely to stabilize around 8% this year after a more than two-year slowdown. 

Google Concedes Defeat in Chinese Censorship Battle

Josh Halliday
Guardian
U.S. company quietly drops warning message that Chinese users saw when searching for politically sensitive phrases

Caixin Media

12.16.12

Mobile Phones Souring Africa’s Image of China

Every day, about a dozen mobile phone wholesalers field orders and manufacturer offers from offices inside a nondescript, five-story building on Luthuli Avenue in downtown Nairobi.The building doesn’t look like a hub for global commerce, nor does it...

Don’t Underestimate China’s Luxury Market

Michael J. Silverstein
Harvard Business Review
China’s luxury market — and the global phenomenon of “trading up”— are well known. Yet when China's consumer markets recently experienced short terms blips, several doubters promptly questioned the pace of their long term growth. ...

S.E.C. Probe Puts China Listings in Doubt

Kathey Chu, Michael Rapoport and Ben...
Wall Street Journal
The watchdog's look at Chinese affiliates of five U.S. major accounting firms deals a blow to China firms eyeing U.S. captial. ...