Excerpts

07.25.13

Kashgar Prepares to Feast

Jen Lin-Liu
The next day, my husband, Craig, and I arrived in Kashgar, the most Uighur town in Xinjiang. At the western edge of the Taklamakan Desert and near the foot of the Pamirs and the Tien Shan mountain ranges, the city had been a trading post for Central...

Reports

07.24.13

Throttling Dissent: China’’s New Leaders Refine Internet Control

Madeline Earp
Freedom House
This special report is based on the 2013 China chapter of Freedom House’’s annual Freedom on the Net survey. As the home of one of the most systematically controlled and monitored online environments in the world, China will no doubt retain its...

Reports

07.23.13

Thirsty Coal 2: Shenhua’s Water Grab

Greenpeace
This investigation report is a follow-up to the 2012 Greenpeace and the China Academy of Sciences joint study: “Thirsty Coal: A Water Crisis Exacerbated By China’s New Mega Coal Bases.” In this report, we focus on the most controversial part of...

Reports

07.15.13

‘As Long as They Let Us Stay in Class’

Human Rights Watch
According to official statistics, over 40 percent of people with disabilities are illiterate and 15 million live on less than one dollar a day in the countryside. The Chinese government has an impressive record in providing primary education for...

Sinica Podcast

07.12.13

Ripples from the Egyptian Revolution

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
In Egypt in 2011, what was by all accounts a free and fair democratic election resulted in the victory of Mohammed Morsi, a controversial figure whose brief rule ended last week after being overthrown by the Egyptian military. With Western media...

Books

07.10.13

For a Song and a Hundred Songs

Liao Yiwu. Translated by Wenguang Huang
In June 1989, news of the Tiananmen Square protests and its bloody resolution reverberated throughout the world. A young poet named Liao Yiwu, who had until then led an apolitical bohemian existence, found his voice in that moment. Like the solitary man who stood firmly in front of a line of tanks, Liao proclaimed his outrage—and his words would be his weapon. For a Song and a Hundred Songs captures the four brutal years Liao spent in jail for writing the incendiary poem “Massacre.” Through the power and beauty of his prose, he reveals the bleak reality of crowded Chinese prisons—the harassment from guards and fellow prisoners, the torture, the conflicts among human beings in close confinement, and the boredom of everyday life. But even in his darkest hours, Liao manages to unearth the fundamental humanity in his cell mates: he writes of how they listen with rapt attention to each other’s stories of criminal endeavors gone wrong and of how one night, ravenous with hunger, they dream up an “imaginary feast,” with each inmate trying to one-up the next by describing a more elaborate dish. In this important book, Liao presents a stark and devastating portrait of a nation in flux, exposing a side of China that outsiders rarely get to see. In the wake of 2011’s Arab Spring, the world has witnessed for a second time China’s crackdown on those citizens who would speak their mind, like artist Ai Weiwei and legal activist Chen Guangcheng. Liao stands squarely among them and gives voice to not only his own story, but to the stories of those individuals who can no longer speak for themselves. For a Song and a Hundred Songs bears witness to history and will forever change the way you view the rising superpower of China.   —New Harvest

Censoring the News Before It Happens

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
Every day in China, hundreds of messages are sent from government offices to website editors around the country that say things like, “Report on the new provincial budget tomorrow, but do not feature it on the front page, make no comparisons to...

Books

07.09.13

Legal Orientalism

Teemu Ruskola
Since the Cold War ended, China has become a global symbol of disregard for human rights, while the United States has positioned itself as the world’s chief exporter of the rule of law. How did lawlessness become an axiom about Chineseness rather than a fact needing to be verified empirically, and how did the United States assume the mantle of law’s universal appeal? In a series of wide-ranging inquiries, Teemu Ruskola investigates the history of “legal Orientalism,” a set of globally circulating narratives about what law is and who has it. For example, why is China said not to have a history of corporate law, as a way of explaining its “failure” to develop capitalism on its own? Ruskola shows how a European tradition of philosophical prejudices about Chinese law developed into a distinctively American ideology of empire, influential to this day.The first Sino–U.S. treaty in 1844 authorized the extraterritorial application of American law in a putatively lawless China. A kind of legal imperialism, this practice long predated U.S. territorial colonialism after the Spanish–American War in 1898, and found its fullest expression in an American district court’s jurisdiction over the “District of China.” With urgent contemporary implications, legal Orientalism lives on in the enduring damage wrought on the U.S. Constitution by late-nineteenth-century anti-Chinese immigration laws, and in the self-Orientalizing reforms of Chinese law today. In the global politics of trade and human rights, legal Orientalism continues to shape modern subjectivities, institutions, and geopolitics in powerful and unacknowledged ways.     —Harvard University Press

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...

Sinica Podcast

07.05.13

Myanmar’s Uncertain Glasnost

Jeremy Goldkorn from Sinica Podcast
Buddhist terrorists, military juntas, resource clashes, and pro-Western democracy movements? If China has lulled you into thinking that Southeast Asia is predictable and boring, join us for this week’s discussion of Myanmar, the former client state...

Excerpts

07.02.13

Rejuvenation (复兴)

Orville Schell & John Delury
If any of the makers of modern China who agonized over their country’s enfeebled state and dreamed of better times during the past century and a half could have visited Beijing’s Pangu Plaza today, they would hardly believe their eyes. Pangu’s...

Books

07.02.13

Wealth and Power

Orville Schell and John Delury
Through a series of lively and absorbing portraits of iconic modern Chinese leaders and thinkers, two of today’s foremost specialists on China provide a panoramic narrative of this country’s rise to preeminence that is at once analytical and personal. How did a nation, after a long and painful period of dynastic decline, intellectual upheaval, foreign occupation, civil war, and revolution, manage to burst forth onto the world stage with such an impressive run of hyperdevelopment and wealth creation—culminating in the extraordinary dynamism of China today?Wealth and Power answers this question by examining the lives of eleven influential officials, writers, activists, and leaders whose contributions helped create modern China. This fascinating survey begins in the lead-up to the first Opium War with Wei Yuan, the nineteenth-century scholar and reformer who was one of the first to urge China to borrow ideas from the West. It concludes in our time with human-rights advocate and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, an outspoken opponent of single-party rule. Along the way, we meet such titans of Chinese history as the Empress Dowager Cixi, public intellectuals Feng Guifen, Liang Qichao, and Chen Duxiu, Nationalist stalwarts Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek, and Communist Party leaders Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and Zhu Rongji.{node, 3592}The common goal that unites all of these disparate figures is their determined pursuit of fuqiang, “wealth and power.” This abiding quest for a restoration of national greatness in the face of a “century of humiliation” at the hands of the Great Powers came to define the modern Chinese character. It’s what drove both Mao and Deng to embark on root-and-branch transformations of Chinese society, first by means of Marxism-Leninism, then by authoritarian capitalism. And this determined quest remains the key to understanding many of China’s actions today.By unwrapping the intellectual antecedents of today’s resurgent China, Orville Schell and John Delury supply much-needed insight into the country’s tortured progression from nineteenth-century decline to twenty-first-century boom. By looking backward into the past to understand forces at work for hundreds of years, they help us understand China today and the future that this singular country is helping shape for all of us. —Random House

Sinica Podcast

06.29.13

The Fate of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Bill Bishop swears by part of it. Jeremy Goldkorn swears regularly at it. Chances are you’ve got strong opinions on Traditional Chinese Medicine (T.C.M.) yourself, which is why we’re delighted to be joined by James Palmer this week, author of The...

Books

06.25.13

Civil Society in China

Karla W. Simon
This is the definitive book on the legal and fiscal framework for civil society organizations (CSOs) in China from earliest times to the present day. Civil Society in China traces the ways in which laws and regulations have shaped civil society over the 5,000 years of China’s history and looks at ways in which social and economic history have affected the legal changes that have occurred over the millennia.This book provides an historical and current analysis of the legal framework for civil society and citizen participation in China, focusing not merely on legal analysis, but also on the ways in which the legal framework influenced and was influenced in turn by social and economic developments. The principal emphasis is on ways in which the Chinese people—as opposed to high-ranking officials or cadres—have been able to play a part in the social and economic development of China through the associations in which they participateCivil Society in China sums up this rather complex journey through Chinese legal, social, and political history by assessing the ways in which social, economic, and legal system reforms in today’s China are bound to have an impact on civil society. The changes that have occurred in China’s civil society since the late 1980’s and, most especially, since the late 1990’s, are nothing short of remarkable. This volume is an essential guide for lawyers and scholars seeking an in depth understanding of social life in China written by one of its leading experts. —Oxford University Press

Sinica Podcast

06.22.13

The Evan Osnos Exit Interview

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
In a summer when many reporters and their families are departing Beijing (including many people who have appeared on this podcast), perhaps the biggest loss to the foreign correspondents’ pool in the Chinese capital is the departure of Evan Osnos,...

Books

06.21.13

Why Has China Grown So Fast For So Long?

Khalid Malik
For analysts China presents a conundrum. It is clear that China has made rapid progress, and the landscape of the world is changing due to China’s unique position. Yet for decades, many have questioned this phenomenon, showing concern about cooked data, asset bubbles about to burst, and so on. Yet the Chinese economy has kept growing at a blistering pace, 9-10 per cent annually, and more at times, over a span of almost three decades.Analysing the last 30 years of reforms, this book helps us understand the Chinese growth success, the factors that made this possible, and the lessons that can be distilled from this experience for other developing countries. Arguing that traditional explanations are inadequate, the author applies the “development as transformation” thesis to provide answers to a wide range of questions: Why has China grown so rapidly over such a long time, and what are the country’s prospects in the future? Will it keep growing? Will it in the next few decades actually overtake the US as the largest economy in the world, as some observers have been forecasting, or will it implode as the many contradictions in the economy and society grind it to a halt? This is a unique book in that it is based on years of close interaction with the Chinese leadership, institutions, and society, as well as international organizations in the development community, when the author was posted in China.   —Oxford University Press

Books

06.19.13

Confucianism as a World Religion

Anna Sun
Is Confucianism a religion? If so, why do most Chinese think it isn’t? From ancient Confucian temples, to nineteenth-century archives, to the testimony of people interviewed by the author throughout China over a period of more than a decade, this book traces the birth and growth of the idea of Confucianism as a world religion.The book begins at Oxford, in the late nineteenth century, when Friedrich Max Müller and James Legge classified Confucianism as a world religion in the new discourse of “world religions” and the emerging discipline of comparative religion. Anna Sun shows how that decisive moment continues to influence the understanding of Confucianism in the contemporary world, not only in the West but also in China, where the politics of Confucianism have become important to the present regime in a time of transition. Contested histories of Confucianism are vital signs of social and political change.Sun also examines the revival of Confucianism in China today and the social significance of the ritual practice of Confucian temples. While the Chinese government turns to Confucianism to justify its political agenda, Confucian activists have started a movement to turn Confucianism into a religion. Confucianism as a world religion might have begun as a scholarly construction, but are we witnessing its transformation into a social and political reality?   —Princeton University Press

Sinica Podcast

06.14.13

China in Images and Words

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn are delighted to host Matthew Niederhauser. A photographer focusing on urban development in China, Matthew has been published in various journals including The New Yorker, National Geographic, The...

Books

06.12.13

Cool War

Noah Feldman
The Cold War seemingly ended in a decisive victory for the West. But now, Noah Feldman argues, we are entering an era of renewed global struggle: the era of Cool War. Just as the Cold War matched the planet’s reigning superpowers in a contest for geopolitical supremacy, so this new age will pit the United States against a rising China in a contest for dominance, alliances, and resources. Already visible in Asia, the conflict will extend to the Middle East (U.S.-backed Israel versus Chinese-backed Iran), Africa, and beyond.   Yet this Cool War differs fundamentally from the zero-sum showdowns of the past: The world’s major power and its leading challenger are economically interdependent to an unprecedented degree. Exports to the U.S. account for nearly a quarter of Chinese trade, while the Chinese government holds 8 percent of America’s outstanding debt. This positive-sum interdependence has profound implications for nations, corporations, and international institutions. It makes what looked to be a classic contest between two great powers into something much more complex, contradictory, and badly in need of the shrewd and carefully reasoned analysis that Feldman provides.  The U.S. and China may be divided by political culture and belief, but they are also bound together by mutual self-interest. Cool War makes the case for competitive cooperation as the only way forward that can preserve the peace and make winners out of both sides.   —Random House

Books

06.10.13

Anyuan

Elizabeth J. Perry
How do we explain the surprising trajectory of the Chinese Communist revolution? Why has it taken such a different route from its Russian prototype? An answer, Elizabeth Perry suggests, lies in the Chinese Communists’ creative development and deployment of cultural resources – during their revolutionary rise to power and afterwards. Skillful “cultural positioning” and “cultural patronage,” on the part of Mao Zedong, his comrades and successors, helped to construct a polity in which a once alien Communist system came to be accepted as familiarly “Chinese.” Perry traces this process through a case study of the Anyuan coal mine, a place where Mao and other early leaders of the Chinese Communist Party mobilized an influential labor movement at the beginning of their revolution, and whose history later became a touchstone of “political correctness” in the People’s Republic of China. Once known as “China’s Little Moscow,” Anyuan came over time to symbolize a distinctively Chinese revolutionary tradition. Yet the meanings of that tradition remain highly contested, as contemporary Chinese debate their revolutionary past in search of a new political future.—University of California Press

Books

06.08.13

China: Portrait of a People

Tom Carter
From the subtropical jungles of Yunnan to the frozen wastes of Heilongjiang; across the scalding deserts of Xinjiang and beneath Hong Kong’s neon blur.  Tramping through China by train, bus, boat, motorcycle, mule or hitching on the back of anything that moved.  On a budget so scant that he drew sympathetic stares from peasants. Backpacking photographer Tom Carter somehow succeeded in circumnavigating over 35,000 miles (56,000 kilometers) across all 33 provinces in China during a 2-year period, the first foreigner on record ever to do so.What Carter found along the way, and what his photographs ultimately reveal, is that China is not just one place, one people, but 33 distinct geographical regions populated by 56 different ethnicities, each with their own languages, customs and lifestyles.Despite increased tourism and surging foreign investment, the cultural distances between China and the West remain as vast as the oceans that separate them. CHINA: Portrait of a People was published as a means to visually introduce China to the world by providing a glimpse into the daily lives of the ordinary people who don’t make international headlines, yet whom are invariably the heart and soul of this country. —Blacksmith Books, Hong Kong

Sinica Podcast

06.07.13

What China is Getting Right

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Complain as we might about life in China, the last thirty-four years or so haven’t been all bad: we have seen three decades of roughly ten percent GDP growth, a whole lot of people eating a whole lot better than they did, and impressive progress...

Faking It in China

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
One of the most striking features about daily life in China is how much of what one encounters has been appropriated from elsewhere. It’s not just the fake iPhones or luxury watches—pirated consumer goods are common in many developing countries. In...

Reports

06.06.13

Chinese Views Regarding the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands Dispute

Michael D. Swaine
China Leadership Monitor
China’s behavior and rhetoric toward Japan regarding a range of controversial events occurring in the East China Sea from resource claims to naval transits and island territories constitutes a major component of an arguably escalating pattern of...

Books

06.04.13

Strange Stones

Peter Hessler
During the past decade, Peter Hessler has persistently illuminated worlds both foreign and familiar—ranging from China, where he served as The New Yorker’s correspondent from 2000 to 2007, to southwestern Colorado, where he lived for four years. Strange Stones is an engaging, thought-provoking collection of Hessler’s best pieces, showcasing his range as a storyteller and his gift for writing as both native and knowledgeable outsider. From a taste test between two rat restaurants in South China to a profile of Yao Ming to the moving story of a small-town pharmacist, these pieces are bound by subtle but meaningful ideas: the strength of local traditions, the surprising overlap between cultures, and the powerful lessons drawn from individuals who straddle different worlds.Full of unforgettable figures and an unrelenting spirit of adventure, Strange Stones is a dazzling display of the powerful storytelling, shrewd cultural insight, and warm sense of humor that are the trademarks of Peter Hessler’s work. —Harper Collins{node, 3320, 4}

Reports

06.03.13

Obama’s Meeting with China’s Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping

Dean Cheng, Derek Scissors
The Heritage Foundation
President Obama and the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping, will meet June 7–8 in California. The meeting has been characterized as a way for the two to establish a personal relationship and build trust. This would all be...

Reports

06.01.13

Defending an Open, Global, Secure, and Resilient Internet

John D. Negroponte, Samuel J. Palmisano, Adam Segal
Council on Foreign Relations
The Task Force recognizes that there are both considerable opportunities and perilous challenges in cyberspace. This report identifies guiding principles and makes policy recommendations to mobilize a coalition of old friends and rising cyber powers...

Reports

06.01.13

Inequality in China

John Knight
Sara Segal-Williams
World Bank
This paper provides an overview of research on income inequality in China over the period of economic reform. It presents the results of two main sources of evidence on income inequality and, assisted by various decompositions, explains the reasons...

Reports

06.01.13

Expanding Social Insurance Coverage in Urban China

John Giles, Dewen Wang, Albert Park
World Bank
This paper first reviews the history of social insurance policy and coverage in urban China, documenting the evolution in the coverage of pensions and medical and unemployment insurance for both local residents and migrants, and highlighting...

Sinica Podcast

05.31.13

The Abuse of Children

Jeremy Goldkorn, Leta Hong Fincher & more from Sinica Podcast
{vertical_photo_right} After a few weeks grousing about the state of Chinese humor, sex, and Bill Bishop, we turn our gaze to the plight of the nation’s children, and the stories of child abuse and maltreatment which have filled the mainland...

Excerpts

05.29.13

Every Thousand Years

Dan Washburn
There are no guardrails on the road to Qixin. And there is only one other way to the top of the mountain—a four-hour hike. It was February, and the ice and snow from Guizhou’s winter storms had recently melted, leaving the famously treacherous cliff...

Books

05.28.13

Stumbling Giant

Timothy Beardson
While dozens of recent books and articles have predicted the near-certainty of China’s rise to global supremacy, this book boldly counters such widely-held assumptions. Timothy Beardson brings to light the daunting array of challenges that today confront China, as well as the inadequacy of the policy responses. Threats to China come on many fronts, Beardson shows, and by their number and sheer weight these problems will thwart any ambition to become the world’s “Number One Power.”Drawing on extensive research and experience living and working in Asia over the last 35 years, the author spells out China’s situation: an inexorable demographic future of a shrinking labor force, relentless aging, extreme gender disparity, and even a falling population. Also, the nation faces social instability, a devastated environment, a predominantly low-tech economy with inadequate innovation, the absence of an effective welfare safety net, an ossified governance structure, and radical Islam lurking at the borders. Beardson’s nuanced, first-hand look at China acknowledges its historic achievements while tempering predictions of its imminent hegemony with a no-nonsense dose of reality. —Yale University Press

Sinica Podcast

05.17.13

An Evening with Bill Bishop

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week, Kaiser and Jeremy welcome back Bill Bishop, the force behind the invaluable Sinocism newsletter and the man Evan Osnos once referred to as “the China watcher’s China watcher.” Starting with a look at Bill’s past and how he ended up in...

Excerpts

05.15.13

When You Grow Up

Peter Hessler
Little Lu, Little Zhang, and Little Liu waited for me at the end of the bridge. They were ten, twelve, and fourteen years old, respectively, and they had come from the same village in northern Sichuan Province. They said that they had dropped out of...

Books

05.15.13

China Dreams

William A. Callahan
After celebrating their country’s three decades of fantastic economic success, many Chinese now are asking, “What comes next?” How can China convert its growing economic power into political and cultural influence around the globe? William A. Callahan's China Dreams gives voice to China’s many different futures by exploring the grand aspirations and deep anxieties of a broad group of public intellectuals. Stepping outside the narrow politics of officials vs. dissidents, Callahan examines what a third group—“citizen intellectuals”—think about China’s future. China Dreams eavesdrops on fascinating conversations between officials, scholars, soldiers, bloggers, novelists, filmmakers and artists to see how they describe China’s different political, strategic, economic, social and cultural futures. Callahan also examines how the P.R.C.’s new generation of twenty- and thirty-somethings is creatively questioning “The China Model” of economic development. The personal stories of these citizen intellectuals illustrate China’s zeitgeist and a complicated mix of hopes and fears about “The Chinese Century,” providing a clearer sense of how the PRC’s dramatic economic and cultural transitions will affect the rest of the world. China Dreams explores the transnational connections between American and Chinese people, providing a new approach to Sino-American relations. While many assume that 21st century global politics will be a battle of Confucian China vs. the democratic west, Callahan weaves Chinese and American ideals together to describe a new “Chimerican dream.”  —Oxford University Press

Reports

05.14.13

“Swept Away”: Abuses Against Sex Workers in China

Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch believes the Chinese government should take immediate steps to protect the human rights of all people who engage in sex work. It should repeal the host of laws and regulations that are repressive and misused by the police, and end...

Sinica Podcast

05.10.13

Humor in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Feel that your jokes have been falling flat lately? Enough that you’ve even started wondering whether China is a grand experiment in irony and deadpan humor? This week on Sinica, hosts Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn are delighted to invite guests...

Books

05.09.13

Lao She in London

Anne Witchard
Lao She remains revered as one of China’s great modern writers. His life and work have been the subject of volumes of critique, analysis and study. However, the four years the young aspiring writer spent in London between 1924 and 1929 have largely been overlooked. Dr. Anne Witchard, a specialist in the modernist milieu of London between the wars, reveals Lao She’s encounter with British high modernism and literature from Dickens to Conrad to Joyce. Lao She arrived from his native Peking to the whirl of London’s West End scene—Bloomsburyites, Vorticists, avant-gardists of every stripe, Ezra Pound and the cabaret at the Cave of The Golden Calf. Immersed in the West End 1920s world of risqué flappers, the tabloid sensation of England’s “most infamous Chinaman Brilliant Chang” and Anna May Wong’s scandalous film Piccadilly, simultaneously Lao She spent time in the notorious and much sensationalised East End Chinatown of Limehouse. Out of his experiences came his great novel of London Chinese life and tribulations—Mr. Ma and Son: Two Chinese in London. However, as Witchard reveals, Lao She’s London years affected his writing and ultimately the course of Chinese modernism in far more profound ways. —Hong Kong University Press

Chen Guangcheng in New York

Jerome A. Cohen & Ira Belkin from New York Review of Books
Following are excerpts from a recent conversation among Chen Guangcheng, the blind legal activist who was recently permitted to leave China and is currently a distinguished visitor at New York University School of Law; Jerome A. Cohen, Professor of...

Reports

05.06.13

Annual Report to Congress: Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2013

Office of the Secretary of Defense
United States of America Department of Defense
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to pursue a long-term, comprehensive military modernization program designed to improve the capacity of its armed forces to fight and win short-duration, high-intensity regional military conflict...

Books

05.03.13

China’s Superbank

Henry Sanderson, Michael Forsythe
Anyone wanting a primer on the secret of China’s economic success need look no further than China Development Bank (CDB)—which has displaced the World Bank as the world’s biggest development bank, lending billions to countries around the globe to further Chinese policy goals. In China’s Superbank, Bloomberg authors Michael Forsythe and Henry Sanderson outline how the bank is at the center of China’s domestic economic growth and how it is helping to expand China’s influence in strategically important overseas markets.100 percent owned by the Chinese government, the CDB holds the key to understanding the inner workings of China’s state-led economic development model, and its most glaring flaws. The bank is at the center of the country’s efforts to build a world-class network of highways, railroads, and power grids, pioneering a lending scheme to local governments that threatens to spawn trillions of yuan in bad loans. It is doling out credit lines by the billions to Chinese solar and wind power makers, threatening to bury global competitors with a flood of cheap products. Another $45 billion in credit has been given to the country’s two biggest telecom equipment makers who are using the money to win contracts around the globe, helping fulfill the goal of China’s leaders for its leading companies to “go global.”Bringing the story of China Development Bank to life by crisscrossing China to investigate the quality of its loans, China’s Superbank travels the globe, from Africa, where its China-Africa fund is displacing Western lenders in a battle for influence, to the oil fields of Venezuela. As China’s influence continues to grow around the world, many people are asking how far it will extend. China’s Superbank addresses these vital questions, looking at the institution at the heart of this growth.  —Bloomberg Press 

Reports

05.03.13

The PEN Report: Creativity and Constraint in Today’s China

Sarah Hoffman and Larry Siems
Sara Segal-Williams
PEN International
The report which follows measures the conditions for freedom of expression through literature, linguistic rights, Internet freedom and legal obligations. This is an approach anchored both in the breadth of history and in today’s realities, one that...

Sinica Podcast

05.03.13

Sex in China

Kaiser Kuo & Jeremy Goldkorn from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, we deliver a salacious podcast that covers everything you always wanted to know about sex in China, but have been afraid to ask. And with a discussion that stretches from Daoist sex manuals and imperial sex customs to getting...

Books

05.02.13

China and the Environment

Sam Geall
Sixteen of the world’s twenty most polluted cities are in China. A serious water pollution incident occurs once every two-to-three days. China’s breakneck growth causes great concern about its global environmental impacts, as others look to China as a source for possible future solutions to climate change. But how are Chinese people really coming to grips with environmental problems? This book provides access to otherwise unknown stories of environmental activism and forms the first real-life account of China and its environmental tensions. China and the Environment provides a unique report on the experiences of participatory politics that have emerged in response to environmental problems, rather than focusing only on macro-level ecological issues and their elite responses. Featuring previously untranslated short interviews, extracts from reports and other translated primary documents, the authors argue that going green in China isn’t just about carbon targets and energy policy; China’s grassroots green defenders are helping to change the country for the better. —Zed Books

Reports

05.01.13

A Changing China: Implications for Developing Countries

Philip Schellekens
World Bank
Three decades of rapid growth and structural change have transformed China into an upper-middle-income country and global economic powerhouse. China's transformations over this period wielded increasing influence over the development path of...

Sinica Podcast

04.26.13

Healthcare in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
The state of healthcare in China is in many ways better than it was in the era of the barefoot doctors, with average life expectancy in the country now trailing the United States by only three years and morbidity rates far lower too. But while even...

The ‘Breaking of an Honorable Career’

Roderick MacFarquhar from New York Review of Books
1.In the 1950s, the late John King Fairbank, the dean of modern China studies at Harvard, used to tell us graduate students a joke about the allegation that a group of red-leaning foreign service officers and academics—the four Johns—had “lost”...

China’s Sufis: The Shrines Behind the Dunes

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Lisa Ross’s luminous photographs are not our usual images of Xinjiang. One of China’s most turbulent areas, the huge autonomous region in the country’s northwest was brought under permanent Chinese control only in the mid-twentieth century...

Books

04.23.13

Original Copies

Bianca Bosker
A 108-meter high Eiffel Tower rises above Champs Elysées Square in Hangzhou. A Chengdu residential complex for 200,000 recreates Dorchester, England. An ersatz Queen’s Guard patrols Shanghai’s Thames Town, where pubs and statues of Winston Churchill abound. Gleaming replicas of the White House dot Chinese cities from Fuyang to Shenzhen. These examples are but a sampling of China’s most popular and startling architectural movement: the construction of monumental themed communities that replicate towns and cities in the West.Original Copies presents the first definitive chronicle of this remarkable phenomenon in which entire townships appear to have been airlifted from their historic and geographic foundations in Europe and the Americas, and spot-welded to Chinese cities. These copycat constructions are not theme parks but thriving communities where Chinese families raise children, cook dinners, and simulate the experiences of a pseudo-Orange County or Oxford.In recounting the untold and evolving story of China’s predilection for replicating the greatest architectural hits of the West, Bianca Bosker explores what this unprecedented experiment in “duplitecture” implies for the social, political, architectural, and commercial landscape of contemporary China. With her lively, authoritative narrative, the author shows us how, in subtle but important ways, these homes and public spaces shape the behavior of their residents, as they reflect the achievements, dreams, and anxieties of those who inhabit them, as well as those of their developers and designers. — University of Hawai‘i Press{chop}{node, 3673, 4}

Books

04.19.13

The Power of the Internet in China

Guobin Yang
Since the mid-1990s, the Internet has revolutionized popular expression in China, enabling users to organize, protest, and influence public opinion in unprecedented ways. Guobin Yang’s pioneering study maps an innovative range of contentious forms and practices linked to Chinese cyberspace, delineating a nuanced and dynamic image of the Chinese Internet as an arena for creativity, community, conflict, and control. Like many other contemporary protest forms in China and the world, Yang argues, Chinese online activism derives its methods and vitality from multiple and intersecting forces, and state efforts to constrain it have only led to more creative acts of subversion. Transnationalism and the tradition of protest in China’s incipient civil society provide cultural and social resources to online activism. Even Internet businesses have encouraged contentious activities, generating an unusual synergy between commerce and activism. Yang’s book weaves these strands together to create a vivid story of immense social change, indicating a new era of informational politics.              —Columbia University Press

Sinica Podcast

04.19.13

Do Not Marry Before Age Thirty

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
{vertical_photo_right}This week on Sinica, Kaiser and Jeremy are delighted to be joined by Joy Chen, former Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles, and now high-profile author of the book Do Not Marry Before Age 30, a look at the state of gender issues in...

Books

04.17.13

A Death in the Lucky Holiday Hotel

Pin Ho, Wenguang Huang
The downfall of Bo Xilai in China was more than a darkly thrilling mystery. It revealed a cataclysmic internal power struggle between Communist Party factions, one that reached all the way to China’s new president Xi Jinping.The scandalous story of the corruption of the Bo Xilai family—the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood; Bo’s secret lovers; the secret maneuverings of Bo’s supporters; the hasty trial and sentencing of Gu Kailai, Bo’s wife—was just the first rumble of a seismic power struggle that continues to rock the very foundation of China’s all-powerful Communist Party. By the time it is over, the machinations in Beijing and throughout the country that began with Bo’s fall could affect China’s economic development and disrupt the world’s political and economic order.—PublicAffairs

Books

04.12.13

Lin Shu, Inc.

Michael Gibbs Hill
How could a writer who knew no foreign languages call himself a translator? How, too, did he become a major commercial success, churning out nearly 200 translations over twenty years? Lin Shu, Inc. crosses the fields of literary studies, intellectual history, and print culture, offering new ways to understand the stakes of translation in China and beyond. With rich detail and lively prose, Michael Gibbs Hill shows how Lin Shu (1852-1924) rose from obscurity to become China’s leading translator of Western fiction at the beginning of the twentieth century. Well before Ezra Pound’s and Bertolt Brecht’s “inventions” of China revolutionized poetry and theater, Lin Shu and his assistants—who did, in fact, know languages like English and French—had already given many Chinese readers their first taste of fiction from the United States, France, and England. After passing through Lin Shu’s “factory of writing,” classic novels like Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Oliver Twist spoke with new meaning for audiences concerned with the tumultuous social and political change facing China. Leveraging his success as a translator of foreign books, Lin Shu quickly became an authority on traditional Chinese culture who upheld the classical language as a cornerstone of Chinese national identity. Eventually, younger intellectuals—who had grown up reading his translations—turned on Lin Shu and tarred him as a symbol of backward conservatism. Ultimately, Lin’s defeat and downfall became just as significant as his rise to fame in defining the work of the intellectual in modern China. —Oxford University Press

Sinica Podcast

04.12.13

Gady Epstein on The Internet

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
The Internet was expected to help democratize China, but has instead enabled the authoritarian state to get a firmer grip. So begins The Economist’s special fourteen-page report on the state of the Internet in China, a survey that paints the country...

Reports

04.09.13

Toward a New Phase of U.S.-China Museum Collaborations

Melissa Chiu and Orville Schell
Orville Schell
Asia Society
The 2012 U.S.-China Museum Directors Forum, organized by Asia Society and the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, brought together 17 Chinese and 15 American museum leaders for a two-day dialogue to assess common...

Tibet: The CIA’s Cancelled War

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
For much of the past century, U.S. relations with Tibet have been characterized by kowtowing to the Chinese and hollow good wishes for the Dalai Lama. As early as 1908, William Rockhill, a U.S. diplomat, advised the Thirteenth Dalai Lama that “close...

Reports

04.08.13

Dangerous Waters: China-Japan Relations on the Rocks

Sara Segal-Williams
International Crisis Group
The world’s second and third largest economies are engaged in a standoff over the sovereignty of five islets and three rocks in the East China Sea, known as the Diaoyu in Chinese and the Senkaku in Japanese. Tensions erupted in September 2012 when...

Excerpts

04.05.13

Living Underground

Ana Fuentes
They are called rats, and they have become a symbol of Beijing’s red-hot real estate market. Because of soaring housing costs, there are at least a million people living underground, only able to afford a rented room in the basements of skyscrapers...

Sinica Podcast

04.05.13

The Transgressions of Apple Computer

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
While foreign media coverage these last two weeks has focused on environmental disasters, over-fishing, and emerging forms of the avian flu, the Chinese state media has turned its gaze towards the transgressions of Apple Computer, which found itself...

Will the Chinese Be Supreme?

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
During the turbulent Maoist era from the 1950s to 1970s, China clashed militarily with some of its most important neighbors—India, Vietnam, the Soviet Union—and embarked on disastrous interventions in Indonesia and Africa. But by the 1980s, Deng...