Chinese High School Pupils Make a Film Tackling LGBT Issues

Eva Li
South China Morning Post
A group of high school students in Beijing has made a film about the life of a transgender boy in a bid to raise public awareness of the issue, local media reported. The 75-minute production, titled Flee, tells the story of Zhang Wangan, a...

Depth of Field

06.29.17

Love, Robots, and Fireworks

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
Included in this Depth of Field column are stories of love, community, remembrance, and the future, told through the discerning eyes of some of China’s best photojournalists. Among them, the lives of African migrants in Guangzhou, seven years inside...

Features

04.03.17

Boxing For Survival in a Chinese Fight Club

Robert Foyle Hunwick
“I was supposed to be fighting some IT guy,” Bo Junhui groaned afterward. Instead, the 18-year-old student was up against someone a year older, ten pounds heavier, and a lot hungrier. Xia Tian has never worked behind a desk; he’d spent the last few...

Books

03.27.17

Wish Lanterns

Alec Ash
If China will rule the world one day, who will rule China? There are more than 320 million Chinese between the ages of 16 and 30. Children of the one-child policy, born after Mao, with no memory of the Tiananmen Square massacre, they are the first net native generation to come of age in a market-driven, more international China. Their experiences and aspirations were formed in a radically different country from the one that shaped their elders, and their lives will decide the future of their nation and its place in the world.Wish Lanterns offers a deep dive into the life stories of six young Chinese. Dahai is a military child, netizen, and self-styled loser. Xiaoxiao is a hipster from the freezing north. Fred, born on the tropical southern island of Hainan, is the daughter of a Party official, while Lucifer is a would-be international rock star. Snail is a country boy and Internet-gaming addict, and Mia is a fashionista rebel from far west Xinjiang. Following them as they grow up, go to college, and find work and love, all the while navigating the pressure of their parents and society, Wish Lanterns paints a vivid portrait of Chinese youth culture and of a millennial generation whose struggles and dreams reflect the larger issues confronting China today. —Arcade Publishing{chop}

Media

02.14.17

Surprise Findings: China’s Youth Are Getting Less Nationalistic, Not More

Anyone who’s spent any length of time following Western press coverage of China is familiar with the notion that China’s leaders are obligated to look tough in order to appease a rising nationalism. Much has been written about the online activities...

Surprise Findings: China’s Youth Are Getting Less Nationalistic, Not More

Matt Schrader
Foreign Policy
Harvard and Peking University researchers just upended conventional wisdom.

Features

02.04.17

Why’s Beijing So Worried About Western Values Infecting China’s Youth?

Eric Fish
In early December, Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered the country’s universities to “adhere to the correct political orientation.” Speaking at a conference on ideology and politics in China’s colleges, he stressed that schools must uphold the...

Sinica Podcast

01.31.17

Talking ’Bout My Generation: Chinese Millennials

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Alec Ash, a young British writer who lives in Beijing, has covered “left-behind” children in Chinese villages, the “toughest high-school exam in the world,” and Internet live-streaming, among many other subjects. He is the author of Wish Lanterns,...

Migrant-School Students Face Difficulty Getting Into College, Study Finds

Chen Shaoyuan and Li Rongde
Less than 6% of students in Beijing schools for migrant children entered college. In local public schools, 60% did

Chinese Prosecutors Charge Thousands of School Bullies

Mimi Lau
South China Morning Post
Nationwide crackdown includes three-year jail sentence for 15-year-old who robbed his classmates

China’s Millennial Consumers: What Victoria’s Secret Got Wrong, and Nike Got Right

Helen Wang
Forbes
Chinese millennials are conflicted between their national pride and their love for western brands

Facing a Transition of Power, China’s Xi is More Desperate Than Ever to Control Young Minds

Echo Huang
Quartz
With 2017 nearing, it’s likely China will expand its campaign to further instill the ideologies of the party in young minds

Lost Lives: The Battle of China’s Invisible Children to Recover Missed Years

Coco Liu and Shanshan Chen
Reuters
With the end of the One-Child Policy, unregistered younger siblings are trying to make up for lost time

In China, Eugenics Determines Who Plays in School Bands

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
“We’ve chosen your children according to their physical attributes,” the leader told a group of parents at a Beijing public elementary school.

China’s Millennials Are Risk Takers—and They’re Dreaming Big

Bloomberg
Having grown up in a booming economy, China's 7.5 million school leavers this year are intent on forging paths very different from their parents...

I Broadcast Myself on the Chinese Web for Two Weeks

Viola Rothschild
In the process, I learned why Chinese millennials can't seem to unplug from the live-streaming craze...

China’s Internet Child-Safety Policies Could Force Changes at Tech Firms

Eva Dou and Li Yuan
Wall Street Journal
Tech companies doing business in China might have to adjust operations to comply with proposed rules

Is China's Gaokao The World's Toughest School Exam?

Alec Ash
Guardian
Chinese children must endure years of stress and impossible expectations preparing for their final school exam

Once a Voice of Young China, Han Han Stakes Out a Different Path

Karoline Kan
New York Times
Han Han discusses his writings, the turns his life has taken and what people in the West fail to understand about China

Made in China Robot turned Creative Human

China Personified
At age 19, Mojia Shen knew where she came from, what she was expected to do, and she had worked hard to follow rules, fulfill everyone’s expectation, earn her marks and deliver results.  Then came a surprise.  When she got...

Married at 16: How a Story of Young Love Gripped China

BBC
Pictures of the baby-faced couple from Guangxi province in their wedding outfits went viral on social networks earlier this week.

Media

02.22.16

Leave China, Study in America, Find Jesus

Shelly Cai was 18 years old when she left the southern Chinese metropolis of Nanjing to enroll in the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In August 2010, after a 13-hour flight from Shanghai to Chicago and a three-hour bus ride, Cai finally arrived in...

Media

02.11.16

Chinese Students Are Flooding U.S. Christian High Schools

It is no secret that Chinese students are pouring into the United States; over 300,000 of them attended U.S. colleges and universities in 2015 alone, and Chinese are filling up spots in U.S. secondary schools in search of a better education and an...

Big in China: Over-the-Top Marriage Proposals

Robert Foyle Hunwick
Atlantic
The craze reflects a tendency toward flamboyant gestures—but also how high the stakes have become for the modern Chinese marriage.

China's Nearly 700 Million Internet Users Are Hot For Online Finance

Melanie Lee
Forbes
According to data from the China Internet Network Center, in 2015, online trading in stocks and online payment were hot areas of growth.

Chinese Youth Admire American Culture But Remain Wary of U.S. Policy

CHRIS BUCKLEY
New York Times
“We really like American culture, but we also like to have a government that doesn’t show weakness abroad.”

Sinica Podcast

09.10.15

China’s Millennials

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn record from San Francisco, where they interview Eric Fish, a long-time China resident, writer at Asia Society, and author of the recent book China’s Millennials: The Want Generation. The hosts talk...

How Chinese and Americans Are Misreading Each Other—And Why It Matters

Fu Ying
Huffington Post
Young Chinese don't like it when Americans see China as a monolith. ...

No Coins, No Red Faces: Apps Change Chinese Attitudes to Splitting Bills

Shen Lu
CNN
Splitting the bill is a relatively new idea to most Chinese, but now it's being embraced by cash-strapped young people...

Taiwan Youth to China: Treat Us Like a Country

Michael Gold
Reuters
Activists tie themselves up in chains, block mountain roads, scale fences and throw red paint balloons in a wave of anti-China sentiment to turn politics in the next election.

Books

06.10.15

China’s Millennials

Eric Fish
In 1989, students marched on Tiananmen Square demanding democratic reform. The Communist Party responded with a massacre, but it was jolted into restructuring the economy and overhauling the education of its young citizens. A generation later, Chinese youth are a world apart from those who converged at Tiananmen. Brought up with lofty expectations, they’ve been accustomed to unprecedented opportunities on the back of China’s economic boom. But today, China’s growth is slowing and its demographics rapidly shifting, with the boom years giving way to a painful hangover.Immersed in this transition, Eric Fish, a millennial himself, profiles youth from around the country and how they are navigating the education system, the workplace, divisive social issues, and a resurgence in activism. Based on interviews with scholars, journalists, and hundreds of young Chinese, his engrossing book challenges the idea that today’s youth have been pacified by material comforts and nationalism. Following rural Henan students struggling to get into college, a computer prodigy who sparked a nationwide patriotic uproar, and young social activists grappling with authorities, Fish deftly captures youthful struggle, disillusionment, and rebellion in a system that is scrambling to keep them in line—and, increasingly, scrambling to adapt when its youth refuse to conform.—Rowman & Littlefield{chop}

Media

03.10.15

China’s Good Girls Want Tattoos

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
“It seems that Chinese men don’t want to marry a girl with tattoos,” complained one such girl on the Chinese online discussion platform Douban. She posted a picture of her body art, an abstract design on her lower back. “In East Asian cultural...

Sinica Podcast

03.02.15

Keep in Touch, Nightman

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
In 1997, Beijing was smaller city, and Keep in Touch, Jamhouse, and Nightman were the hippest venues around. There was no traffic on the ring roads, and if you got tired of Chinese food you might take a trip to Fangzhuang to visit this Italian...

Chinese Babies Should be Trained to Play Football—President Xi

BBC
BBC
Beijing has approved the country's "football reform plan," and says being good at soccer is the "ardent wish of the whole nation."...

Inside a Chinese Test-Prep Factory

Brook Larmer
New York Times
One minute later, at precisely 11:45, the stillness was shattered. Thousands of teenagers swarmed out of the towering front gate of Maotanchang High School. Many of them wore identical black-and-white Windbreakers emblazoned with the slogan, in...

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...

Young, Idealistic, and Caught Up in a Wave of Detentions

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
Well educated and deeply committed to helping their fellow Chinese, Liu Jianshu and Zhao Sile are the kind of idealistic young people who pepper the story of China’s transformation over the past century as it searches for a modern identity.

Sport in China: What’s Wrong with Winning?

Kristy Lu Stout
CNN
China has a fixation on training elite champions in select sports and an education system that considers sports a luxury and not a priority.

Video

08.12.14

Chinese Dreamers

Sharron Lovell & Tom Wang
A dream, in the truest sense, is a solo act. It can’t be created by committee or replicated en masse. Try as you might, you can’t compel your neighbor to conjure up the reverie that you envision. And therein lies the latent, uncertain energy in the...

Viewpoint

09.03.13

China’s Higher Education Bubble

Carl Minzner
The number of university graduates in China has exploded.In 1997, 400,000 students graduated from four-year university programs. Today, Chinese schools produce more than 3 million per year. But employment rates at graduation have plunged. And remote...

Media

08.14.13

Don’t Dream Big—Four Vignettes on Social Mobility in Modern China

The New York Times recently ran an article that detailed the struggles of three young college women from low-income backgrounds, raising questions about whether education remains the “great equalizer” in America. How does the picture look in China,...

Young Chinese People May Just Not Be That Into Western-Style Democracy

Damien Ma
Atlantic
A new study shows that the country's youth have an increasingly lukewarm attitude about democratic political systems. At a minimum, surveys like these bolster emerging Chinese public intellectuals who are championing Chinese...

Conversation

03.13.13

China’s Post 1980’s Generation—Are the Kids All Right?

Sun Yunfan, Orville Schell & more
This week, the ChinaFile Conversation is a call for reactions to an article about China's current generation gap, written by James Palmer, a Beijing-based historian, author, and Global Times editor. The article, first published by Aeon in the U...

Video

10.16.12

The Rat Tribe

Sim Chi Yin from VII Magazine
The evening sun sits low in the smoggy Beijing sky. Beneath a staid, maroon apartment block, Jiang Ying, 24, is stirring from her bed after having slept through the day. Day is night and night is day anyway in the window-less world she inhabits...

Books

08.15.12

Red Rock

Jonathan Campbell
Rock and roll—rebellious, individualistic, explosive—seems incongruent with modern Chinese society. But as the music has evolved from a Western import into something uniquely Chinese, it has shaped and been shaped by China’s unique system and its relationship with the outside world. Red Rock: The Long, Strange March of Chinese Rock & Roll looks at the people and events that have created Chinese rock’s unique identity, and tracks the music’s long journey from the Mao years to present. After boiling below the surface for over twenty years and now emerging from a thriving underground scene, Chinese rock may be ready to smash its guitars on the global stage.  —Earnshaw Books