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...

South China Sea: U.S. Warship Challenges China’s Claims with First Operation under Trump

CNN
A U.S. Navy destroyer has sailed close to a disputed South China Sea island controlled by China for the first time under U.S. President Donald Trump.

China Throws out More Trade and Business Offers to Trump’s America

South China Morning Post
A report issued by the Ministry of Commerce on Thursday said China may buy further goods from the U.S., including crude and refined oil products, cotton and machine tools.

Trump Adds Another Chinese Trademark to His Portfolio

New York Times
China has granted President Trump preliminary approval for another trademark in apparel, expanding business interests that have already generated criticism over potential conflicts.

Larry Summers: Trump’s ‘China Deal’ Is Only a Good Deal for China

Washington Post
It is true that a ludicrously hyped squib of a deal is much better than a trade war. So perhaps we should be pleased that the president and his commerce secretary are so easily manipulated. Perhaps our officials know how bad a deal they got and are...

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.

Killing C.I.A. Informants, China Crippled U.S. Spying Operations

MARK MAZZETTI, ADAM GOLDMAN, MICHAEL S...
New York Times
The Chinese government systematically dismantled C.I.A. spying operations in the country starting in 2010, killing or imprisoning more than a dozen sources over two years and crippling intelligence gathering there for years afterward.

Philippines, China Play down Duterte's Talk of War in Disputed Sea

Reuters
The Philippines and China played down on Monday a warning by President Rodrigo Duterte that China would go to war if the Philippines drilled for oil in the disputed South China Sea.

Why Soft Power Could Be the Real Value of China’s Massive Belt and Road Project

Justina Crabtree, Cheang Ming
CNBC
The real benefits of OBOR to China could be the international clout it stands to gain as its attempts to spearhead international policy and improve relations with OBOR partner countries.

What Belt and Road Snub Means for Singapore’s Ties with China

BHAVAN JAIPRAGAS
South China Morning Post
China’s decision not to invite Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to last weekend’s Belt and Road Forum highlights the still-strained ties between the two countries, observers say, though officials in the Lion City have tried to shrug off...

China, Philippines to Hold First South China Sea Talks Friday

CLIFF VENZON
Nikkei Asian Review
The meeting will take place in the southern Chinese province of Guizhou, which is also hosting talks on Thursday between China and member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on establishing a framework for a code of conduct in the...

Conversation

05.16.17

How Big a Deal is the New U.S.-China Trade Deal?

Wendy Cutler, Zha Daojiong & more
Last week, the United States and China announced a new trade deal on the eve of China launching a sweeping conference to promote its One Belt, One Road development and infrastructure investment initiative. How good are the terms of the Washington-...

India Boycotts China’s Global Trade Jamboree

Rishi Iyengar
CNN
India’s main objection is the partnership China is developing with Pakistan. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a key component of One Belt, One Road -- passes through the disputed region of Kashmir, which both India and Pakistan claim in its...

China’s New Silk Road Promises Trade and Riches, with President Xi at Helm

Ben Blanchard, Sue-Lin Wong
Reuters
Chinese President Xi Jinping and 29 other heads of state on Monday reaffirmed their commitment to build an open economy and ensure free and inclusive trade, under the ambitious Belt and Road initiative led by Beijing.

Why China Will Never Put America First

J. Michael Cole
National Interest
The Trump administration will eventually awaken to the fact that Beijing cannot, and has no desire to, deliver on North Korea.

Commentary: Why North Korea Is Turning into a Headache for China and Xi Jinping

Bo Zhiyue
Channel NewsAsia
Chinese President Xi Jinping has found himself in a peculiar predicament over the North Korean nuclear issue. Although Xi is widely believed to be far more popular as a global leader than his immediate predecessor, President Hu Jintao, he is...

Trump’s Pretty Good China Deal

Wall Street Journal
Wilbur Ross made some startling claims after Thursday’s announcement of a 10-point agreement with China on trade. The U.S. Commerce Secretary boasted that the “herculean accomplishment” was “more than has been done in the whole history of U.S.-China...

China Pledges More Than $100 Billion in Belt and Road Projects

sophia yan
CNBC
China is pledging more than $100 billion to finance projects under its “One Belt, One Road” strategy, an ambitious initiative to strengthen the world’s second-largest economy’s investment, influence and trade links to the rest of the globe.

China’s Summit for Its New Silk Road Is Missing 44 Heads of State from the 65 Nations Involved

zheping huang
Quartz
World leaders are gathering in Beijing this weekend for a big summit touting China’s infrastructure spending spree to connect Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. The project, known as the Belt and Road Initiative—or “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR...

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...

South Korea’s New President Moves to Soothe Tensions with China

CHOE SANG-HUN
New York Times
Moon Jae-in, the newly elected leader of South Korea, moved swiftly to mend ties with China on Thursday, announcing plans to dispatch a delegation to Beijing to resolve a festering dispute over the deployment of an American missile-defense system in...

China Says Silk Road Plan Is Not Tied to Presidency

Reuters
China’s President Xi Jinping initiated the ambitious “Belt and Road” development plan but it has become a world plan not tied to his presidency, the Commerce Ministry said on Wednesday, days before Xi hosts a global forum on the initiative.

The Princeling in the West Wing

JILL ABRAMSON
New York Times
Over the weekend, there was the unseemly spectacle of Jared Kushner’s sister, Nicole Meyer, hawking golden visas to connected Chinese investors if they would put $500,000 into one of the Kushners’ real estate projects in Jersey City.

Books

05.08.17

The Souls of China

Ian Johnson
From journalist Ian Johnson, a revelatory portrait of religion in China today—its history, the spiritual traditions of its Eastern and Western faiths, and the ways in which it is influencing China’s future.The Souls of China tells the story of one of the world’s great spiritual revivals. Following a century of violent anti-religious campaigns, China is now filled with new temples, churches, and mosques—as well as cults, sects, and politicians trying to harness religion for their own ends. Driving this explosion of faith is uncertainty over what it means to be Chinese and how to live an ethical life in a country that discarded traditional morality a century ago and is searching for new guideposts.Johnson first visited China in 1984. In the 1990s, he helped run a charity to rebuild Daoist temples, and in 2001 he won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the suppression of the Falun Gong spiritual movement. While researching this book, he lived for extended periods with underground church members, rural Daoists, and Buddhist pilgrims. Along the way, he learned esoteric meditation techniques, visited a nonagenarian Confucian sage, and befriended government propagandists as they fashioned a remarkable embrace of traditional values. He has distilled these experiences into a cycle of festivals, births, deaths, detentions, and struggle—a great awakening of faith that is shaping the soul of the world’s newest superpower. —Pantheon{chop}

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...

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.

China Repeats West’s Mistakes in Pakistan

Mihir Sharma
Bloomberg
When President Xi Jinping announced in 2015 that China would pump $46 billion worth of investments into Pakistan, the recipients of his largesse seemed less surprised than one might have expected.

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

05.03.17

Thinking about War with China

Chas W. Freeman
Let’s not kid ourselves. The armed forces of the United States and China are now very far along in planning and practicing how to go to war with each other. Neither has any idea when or why it might have to engage the other on the battlefield but...

Trump Warns North Korea on Missile Tests, Says ‘We’ll See’ If Military Action Is Needed

NBC News
President Donald Trump declared that neither the U.S. nor China would be “happy” if North Korea tested more missiles, and said “we’ll see” if military action would be needed to curb the country’s nuclear ambitions.

U.S., Russia and China: A Tale of Big Egos, Profound Mistrust and Foolish Nationalism

Joseph Camilleri, La Trobe University
ABC
Mr Trump’s first 100 days as President have dramatically demonstrated this failure. For all the rhetoric about “making America great again”, Mr Trump is rapidly discovering the US has limited capacity to impose its will on the rest of world.

China Finds U.S. Businesswoman Guilty of Stealing State Secrets, Orders Deportation

Newsweek
A Chinese court on Tuesday sentenced a U.S. citizen to three-years and six-months in prison for espionage but then ordered she be deported, her lawyer said, in a case that has added to U.S.-China tension.

Conversation

04.25.17

What's the Best Way for Trump to Persuade China to Up the Pressure on North Korea?

Michael Swaine, Bruce Klingner & more
China’s President Xi Jinping called U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday morning urging American restraint in reaction to North Korea. Tensions between the United States and North Korea have risen to new levels ever since Pyongyang’s April 16...

Sinica Podcast

04.24.17

Chris Buckley: The China Journalist’s China Journalist

Chris Buckley, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Chris Buckley is a highly regarded and very resourceful correspondent based in Beijing for The New York Times. He has worked as a researcher and journalist in China since 1998, including a stint at Reuters, and is one of the few working China...

Xi, Trump Discuss Ties, Korean Peninsula Situation over Phone

Xinhua
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump on Monday discussed bilateral ties and the situation on the Korean Peninsula on phone, pledging close contact by various means to promptly exchange views on major issues of common...

China’s Leader Urges Restraint on North Korea in Call With Trump

CHRIS BUCKLEY
New York Times
China’s president, Xi Jinping, has urged President Trump to show restraint toward North Korea despite signs that the North may be preparing a nuclear test. Mr. Xi made the appeal in a phone call with Mr. Trump on Monday that reflected growing alarm...

China Is Sending the U.S. a New Message about North Korea

Evelyn Cheng
CNBC
Beijing appears to be sending fresh signals about its view on North Korea, in order to convince U.S. President Donald Trump to take less aggressive action against the rogue nuclear state, several political analysts say.

Why Xi Jinping Is Planning a Historic Move to Rename China’s Army Corps

Minnie Chan
South China Morning Post
Army corps in China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are likely to have their unit numbers changed for the first time in their history as part of President Xi Jinping’s efforts to reshape the world’s biggest army, military sources said.

Why Trump’s Plan to Use China against North Korea Is Probably Doomed

Zeeshan Aleem
Vox
President Trump believes the road to disarming North Korea runs through China, its biggest and most powerful ally. The problem is that Beijing doesn’t seem willing to do much of anything to rein Pyongyang in.

Is China Too Tough a Steel Beast for Trump to Tame?

Manolo Serapio Jr, Muyu Xu
Reuters
China exported 620,000 tonnes of steel direct to the United States last year, a fraction of the 800 million tonnes it produces each year, equal to about half of world output.

China Criticizes North Korea, Praises US on Nuclear Issue

Brad Lendon
CNN
China may be getting fed up with continued nuclear bluster from long-time ally North Korea and tilting toward the United States.

China Left as Observer as Tensions Rise on Korean Peninsula

Christopher Bodeen
Washington Post
China’s foreign minister recently likened the U.S. and North Korea to two speeding trains hurtling toward each other, an analogy that would seem to place China in the role of helpless bystander. And indeed, while tensions have risen, Beijing has...

South Korea Tells Trump It’s Actually Never Been a Part of China

Bloomberg
South Korea’s government wants to know whether Chinese President Xi Jinping gave alternative facts on the nation’s history to Donald Trump.

China Reshuffles 84 Corps-Level Military Units

Xinhua
China announced Tuesday a military reshuffle with 84 corps-level units newly adjusted or established, a move hailed by President Xi Jinping as another major step in strengthening the country’s armed forces.

China’s President Is Playing Donald Trump Like a Fiddle

Week
President Trump thinks he has worked out a magnificent “deal” with China. The outlines of the deal are fairly simple to understand: Trump is prepared to drop his economic grievances against China in exchange for China's help in fixing “the...

Trump: I Haven't Softened My Stance on China

Louis Nelson
Politico
Trump left open the possibility that China might ultimately be unable, or unwilling, to apply sufficient pressure on North Korea.

The North Korean threat is literally on parade. Can Trump get China to act?

Washington Post
Is Mr. Trump driving toward a new outcome with China or the same old dead end?

Senior Chinese, U.S. Officials Exchange Views on Korean Peninsula Situation

China Central Television (CCTV)
Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson exchanged views on the situation on the Korean Peninsula via phone on April 16.

Changing Trump Views toward Russia, China Worry Some Allie

ABC
Once soft on Russia and hard on China, President Donald Trump rapidly reversed course in the last weeks, concluding there’s more business to be done with Beijing than with Moscow.

What Happened at Mar-a-Lago?

Paul Haenle & Zha Daojiong from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
One week before their first in-person meeting, President Trump told the world on Twitter that he expected the dialogue with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to be “a very difficult one” unless China was prepared to make major concessions on issues...

How a U.S.-China War Could Begin

Week
President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping sat down for their first superpower summit in Florida earlier this month, and by all accounts, things went well. Still, it is time to consider the sheer magnitude of problems dividing America and China.

Conversation

04.14.17

Ivanka: A ChinaFile Conversation

Rebecca E. Karl, Yishu Mao & more
At a time of strained and erratic relations between the U.S. and China, Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter and, more recently, a member of his administration, has emerged as an unlikely but singularly potent emissary, not to just to China’s...

Trump and China: Master Diplomat or Paper Tiger?

Katie Hunt
CNN
When it comes to China, has U.S. President Donald Trump played a diplomatic master stroke? Not so fast, say analysts who are quick to puncture hopes of budding bromance between the leaders of the two countries.

The Classic Chinese Text That Ivanka Trump’s Kids Recited for Xi Jinping Was Long Banned in China

Zheping Huang
Quartz
For decades, Sanzijing had been banned from all public kindergartens and schools in China as the Communist regime cracked down on non-socialist ideas.

China’s Xi Tells Trump He Wants Peaceful Solution to North Korea

Ryan Gaydos
Fox News
Xi told Trump that China insists on peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula in the wake of the deployment of the USS Carl Vinson to the area and the conducting of the biggest-ever U.S.-South Korea military drills.

Why Does China Pretend to Be a Democracy?

Washington Post
Why does China still call itself a democracy? Making this claim allows Beijing to legitimize its own actions—and, in the case of its views on the U.S. missile attacks, the Syrian government’s— as representing the will of the people.

Is Trump Backing Down on China?

Eric Geller and Doug Palmer
Politico
The president last year compared China’s economic behavior to ‘rape.’ Now he says he and Xi are ‘in the process of getting along very well.’

Trump and Xi’s First Meeting

Paul Haenle & Ashley J. Tellis from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
All eyes are on Mar-a-Lago this week, where Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump will meet for the first time. The summit is expected to be heavy on symbolism rather than on concrete deliverables, but the ability to set a...

After Xi Leaves U.S., Chinese Media Assail Strike on Syria

Jane Perlez
New York Times
With President Xi Jinping safely out of the United States and no longer President Trump’s guest, China’s state-run media on Saturday was free to denounce the missile strike on Syria.

Tang Poems and Folk Tales: History’s Role in the Trump-Xi Reset

Katsuji Nakazawa
Nikkei Asian Review
The Syria airstrike and other moments that made for a rocky summit start