Books

02.03.12

The Wobbling Pivot

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

Sinica Podcast

02.03.12

Running Dogs and Locusts

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Ongoing tension between Hong Kong and mainland citizens erupted into open flames on February 1, when a Hong Kong group raised more than HKD 100,000 to publish a full-page anti-China advertisement in the Apple Daily comparing mainlanders to parasitic...

Reports

02.01.12

Fostering Greater Chinese Investment in the United States

David M. Marchick
He Jianan
Council on Foreign Relations
China’s outward investment has substantial room to grow, and the United States has the potential to capture a larger share of it—an outcome that would benefit the U.S. and Chinese economies and strengthen the bilateral economic relationship. China...

Reports

01.31.12

Putting the Pedal to the Metal

Usha C.V. Haley
Economic Policy Institute
China is currently the largest car market in the world. It is also one of the largest auto-parts producers and exporters in the world, with exports, primarily to the United States, constituting about a third of its production. The Chinese...

Is Democracy Chinese?

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Chang Ping is one of China’s best-known commentators on contemporary affairs. Chang, whose real name is Zhang Ping, first established himself in the late 1990s in Guangzhou, where his hard-hitting stories exposed scandals and championed freedom of...

Sinica Podcast

01.20.12

The Elections in Taiwan

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
If your impression of Taiwanese politics has been dominated by the island’s recurring stories of vote-buying and parliamentary brawls, you’ll probably be shocked to hear what Mary Kay Magistad has to say about her recent trip to cover last week’s...

Sinica Podcast

01.13.12

Year-End Roundup

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
It was the year of the housing market (up then down), Ai Weiwei’s imprisonment, Wukan, the Wenzhou train crash, air pollution, gutter oil, tainted milk, clenbuterol, China bulls and bears, government transparency, the soaring price of Maotai, Guo...

Notes from a Chinese Cave: Qigong’s Quiet Return

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Lift up your head Calm your eyes Look far away, as far as you can Look beyond the walls What do you see?The Jinhua caves are located in a wooded, hilly area about 200 miles southwest of Shanghai. The most famous cave, Double Dragon Cave, is entered...

The New York Review of Books China Archive

from New York Review of Books
Welcome to the New York Review of Books China Archive, a collaborative project of ChinaFile.org and The New York Review of Books. In the archive you will find a compilation of full-length essays and book reviews on China dating from the Review'...

Banned in China

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
In late December, a foreign correspondent in Beijing emailed me to say that a four-page article on China I’d written for a special New Year’s edition of Newsweek had been carefully torn from each of the 731 copies of the magazine on sale in China...

Reports

01.06.12

China’s Assertive Behavior

Michael D. Swaine
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
In examining the origins, characteristics, and likely future course of a “more assertive” China, many analysts point to the supposedly growing role of the Chinese military (or People’s Liberation Army—PLA) in Beijing’s overall foreign and foreign-...

Reports

01.06.12

Taiwan Elections Head to the Finish: Concerns, Cautions, and Challenges

Alan D. Romberg
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
Two major political developments in recent weeks have played an important role in Taiwan’s presidential election: Tsai Ing-wen’s visit to Washington and the problems she encountered convincing American officials she has a workable formula to manage...

Reports

01.06.12

Liu Yuan: Archetype of a “Xi Jinping Man” in the PLA?

James Mulvenon and Leigh Ann Ragland
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
Liu Yuan and Xi Jinping clearly share a great deal in common. Both were born to senior CCP cadres, and are members of the elite “princelings” cohort. Yet both men’s fathers were subjected to purge and mistreatment during the late Mao era, and both...

Reports

01.06.12

Macroeconomic Policy to the Forefront: The Changing of the Guard

Barry Naughton
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
Worries continue to swirl around the Chinese and global economies, and China’s growth is slowing at the end of 2011. However, the news from China in the third quarter of 2011 was basically positive: inflationary pressures eased while growth slowed...

Reports

01.06.12

“Social Management” as a Way of Coping With Heightened Social Tensions

Joseph Fewsmith
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
Over the last year there has been an increasing emphasis on “social management” as a way of managing increasing social tensions in Chinese society. Indeed, the effort the CCP is putting into publicizing this concept underscores high-level concerns...

Reports

01.06.12

The Road to the 18th Party Congress

Alice L. Miller
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
The recent scheduling of the Chinese Communist Party’s 18th National Congress kicks off the long process of preparations for what will bring about a turnover in leadership generations next year. National party congresses are the most important...

Reports

01.06.12

Preparing for the 18th Party Congress: Procedures and Mechanisms

Cheng Li
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
By now, just about every China observer knows that the Chinese leadership will undergo a major generational change at the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in the fall of 2012. Knowledge of the leadership transition’s actual...

Reports

01.01.12

A Preliminary Mapping of China-Africa Knowledge Networks

Tatiana Carayannis and Nathaniel Olin
The Social Science Research Council
Given the growing importance of Chinese engagement in Africa, over the past year, the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum (CPPF) of the SSRC has expanded its research engagement and policy outreach on China-Africa. The origins of this preliminary...

Sinica Podcast

12.31.11

The Wukan Uprising

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
For the last few days, international attention has focused on the small fishing town of Wukan in southern China, where villagers are in open revolt. Simmering tensions caused by corruption and illegal land sales have escalated into an armed uprising...

China Gets Religion!

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
This autumn, China has been marking the one hundredth anniversary of the collapse of its last imperial dynasty, the Qing, with a series of grand celebrations. The government has released an epic film showing how the revolution of 1911 prepared the...

Do China’s Village Protests Help the Regime?

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Over the past two weeks, the Western press has focused on a striking story out of China: a riveting series of protests in Wukan, a fishing village in the country’s prosperous south. The story is depressingly familiar: Corrupt cadres sell off public...

Sinica Podcast

12.16.11

Learning Chinese

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Shortly after his arrival in China, the late great 19th-century Sinologist Robert Hart would write his frustrations in his private diary, confiding that the convoluted phonemes of the Chinese language struck him like nothing so much as “the sounds...

Sinica Podcast

12.09.11

Chinese Literature

Jeremy Goldkorn & Alice Xin Liu from Sinica Podcast
Our podcast this week is all about books and money in modern China. If you, like us, are tired of Lu Xun and Lao She, listen to Sinica this week as we look into the state of contemporary Chinese literature, asking what writers are hot, what writers...

Sinica Podcast

12.06.11

The Soul of Beijing

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Today, we’re pleased to share a special live edition of Sinica recorded last Saturday at Capital M in Beijing. Held to a standing-room only crowd, we talked all about our ongoing love-hate relationship with Beijing, and asked what on earth is...

Sinica Podcast

12.02.11

The Bears Are Back in Town

Kaiser Kuo & Arthur R. Kroeber from Sinica Podcast
Falling housing prices, soaring inflation, and an export market peering over the brink of what seems a cataclysmic abyss. If you’ve been following the economic news lately, you can be forgiven for being overwhelmed by the chorus of bearish voices...

Sinica Podcast

11.25.11

Occupy Sinica

Jeremy Goldkorn & Michael Anti from Sinica Podcast
Earlier this week, The New York Times published an editorial by prominent Chinese academic Yan Xuetong claiming that China would defeat the United States on the grounds of moral superiority. While the American bafflement over this piece has died...

Sinica Podcast

11.18.11

Is Soft Power Always This Damn Boring?

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
In some ways, the latest deluge of rhetoric from the Party feels timeless. Ever since Mao’s famous speech in Yan’an on literature and art in 1942, the CCP has made clear that culture ought to serve politics. But there’s also something new about the...

Reports

11.16.11

Telecoms and the Huawei Conundrum

Claude Barfield
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
The Chinese company Huawei has emerged as the second-largest telecommunications equipment company in the world. It operates in 140 countries around the globe, providing equipment, software, and services to forty-five of the world’s fifty largest...

The Real Deng

Fang Lizhi from New York Review of Books
When a scientific experiment uncovers a new phenomenon, a scientist is pleased. When an experiment fails to reveal something that the scientist originally expected, that, too, counts as a result worth analyzing. A sense of the “nonappearance of the...

Reports

11.10.11

Taiwan and East Asian Regionalism

Claude Barfield
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
With a population of only 23 million, Taiwan boasts a gross domestic product of $822 billion, which ranks 19th among the world’s economies. It is the fourth largest economy in Asia. Real GDP per capita increased by roughly 130 percent from 1995 when...

My ‘Confession’

Fang Lizhi from New York Review of Books
From reading Henry Kissinger’s new book On China,1 I have learned that Mr. Kissinger met with Deng Xiaoping at least eleven times—more than with any other Chinese leader—and that the topic of one of their chats was whether Fang Lizhi would confess...

Making It Big in China

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
Jianying Zha describes China as “way too big a cow for anyone to tackle in full.” Therefore, Ms. Zha says, she omits “the rural life, the small-town stories, the migrants working in huge manufacturing plants…continued poverty in parts of interior...

Sinica Podcast

11.04.11

The Extremes of China Media

Jeremy Goldkorn, David Moser & more from Sinica Podcast
It seems to be the consensus among longtime China watchers that the Chinese media has become more radicalized over the last five years, with both online and traditional channels now feeding the public conflicting stories of both reflexive scorn for...

Reports

11.03.11

Foreign Direct Investment, Corruption and Democracy

Aparna Mathur, Kartikeya Singh
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
How do factors such as corruption perception and the level of democracy influence foreign direct investment to developing economies? The authors of this paper suggest that less corrupt countries and less democratic countries receive more foreign...

Reports

11.01.11

Internationalizing the Renminbi and China’s Financial Development Model

Robert N. McCauley
He Jianan
Council on Foreign Relations
Internationalization was a spontaneous outcome of the marketplace for the rest of the world’s major currencies, but China is breaking with history by making it official policy to steer the renminbi on a path toward reserve currency status. However,...

Reports

11.01.11

Historical Precedents for Internationalization of the RMB

Jeffrey Frankel
He Jianan
Council on Foreign Relations
The twentieth century saw the rise of the US dollar, the German mark, and the Japanese yen as international currencies. Now the Chinese renminbi is on a similar course toward reserve currency status, but its path is deviating from those of its...

Reports

11.01.11

The Future of International Liquidity and the Role of China

Alan M. Taylor
He Jianan
Council on Foreign Relations
Financial crises in the 1930s and 1970s showed the world that economic instability results when demand for international liquidity allows a small number of countries to run up massive debts in their own currencies. Named for the economist who first...

Reports

11.01.11

The Internationalization of the RMB: Opportunities and Pitfalls

Tatatoshi Ito
He Jianan
Council on Foreign Relations
China is making swift strides toward internationalizing its currency, the renminbi, but it must be careful when sequencing these changes. Without the proper reforms, wide-open Chinese financial markets would be vulnerable to massive flows of foreign...

Reports

11.01.11

What Drives CNH Market Equilibrium?

Peter Garber
He Jianan
Council on Foreign Relations
The recent rapid growth of the offshore renminbi market presents a puzzle for analysts of China's development strategy. By allowing renminbi to flow offshore uncontrolled before loosening government controls over internal financial markets,...

Reports

11.01.11

Catalyzing Social Investment in China

Brooke Avory, Adam Lane
BSR
In May 2008, an earthquake hit the western Chinese province of Sichuan, taking 80,000 lives and displacing millions of others. The earthquake inspired an increase in donations from RMB13.3 billion in 2007 to RMB76.4 billion in 2008 and highlighted...

Are China’s Rulers Getting Religion?

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
With worsening inflation, a slowing economy, and growing concerns about possible social unrest, China’s leaders have a lot on their plates these days. And yet when the Communist Party met at its annual plenum earlier this week, the issue given...

Reports

10.25.11

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Meetings in Honolulu: A Preview

Michael F. Martin
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
The United States will host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC’s) 19th Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Honolulu, HI, on November 12 & 13, 2011. APEC was founded in 1989 to facilitate trade and investment liberalization in the Asia-...

From Tenderness to Savagery in Seconds

Ian Buruma from New York Review of Books
Much nonsense has been written about the Nanjing Massacre, also known as the Rape of Nanking. We know this much: in December 1937, the Imperial Japanese Army, after taking the Chinese Nationalist capital of Nanjing, went on a six-week rampage,...

Sinica Podcast

10.13.11

Sun Yat-sen and the Xinhai Revolution

Kaiser Kuo, David Moser & more from Sinica Podcast
One hundred years ago this week, local outrage over plans to nationalize provincial railways triggered the Wuchang Uprising, an act of sedition that marked the start of the Xinhai Revolution and the beginning of the end for China’s long-governing...

Books

10.01.11

No Enemies, No Hatred

Perry Link (editor)
When the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded on December 10, 2010, its recipient, Liu Xiaobo, was in Jinzhou Prison, serving an eleven-year sentence for what Beijing called “incitement to subvert state power.” In Oslo, actress Liv Ullmann read a long statement the activist had prepared for his 2009 trial. It read in part: “I stand by the convictions I expressed in my ‘June Second Hunger Strike Declaration’ twenty years ago—I have no enemies and no hatred. None of the police who monitored, arrested, and interrogated me, none of the prosecutors who indicted me, and none of the judges who judged me are my enemies.”That statement is one of the pieces in this book, which includes writings spanning two decades, providing insight into all aspects of Chinese life. These works not only chronicle a leading dissident’s struggle against tyranny but enrich the record of universal longing for freedom and dignity. Liu speaks pragmatically, yet with deep-seated passion, about peasant land disputes, the Han Chinese in Tibet, child slavery, the CCP’s Olympic strategy, the Internet in China, the contemporary craze for Confucius, and the Tiananmen massacre. Also presented are poems written for his wife, Liu Xia, public documents, and a foreword by Václav Havel. This collection is an aid to reflection for Western readers who might take for granted the values Liu has dedicated his life to achieving for his homeland.  —Harvard University Press

Reports

09.30.11

China-U.S. Trade Issues

Wayne M. Morrison
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
U.S.-China economic ties have expanded substantially over the past three decades. Total U.S.-China trade rose from $2 billion in 1979 to $457 billion in 2010. Because U.S. imports from China have risen much more rapidly than U.S. exports to China,...

Sinica Podcast

09.30.11

The Shanghai Train Accident

Kaiser Kuo & Jeremy Goldkorn from Sinica Podcast
At least 284 people were injured on Tuesday when a train in the Shanghai metro smashed into another which had stalled on the tracks. The accident, which threw Shanghai into disarray, came only two months after another near-disastrous incident on the...

Books

09.28.11

Columbia Anthology of Chinese Folk and Popular Literature

Victor H. Mair
In The Columbia Anthology of Chinese Folk and Popular Literature, two of the world’s leading sinologists, Victor H. Mair and Mark Bender, capture the breadth of China’s oral-based literary heritage. This collection presents works drawn from the large body of oral literature of many of China’s recognized ethnic groups—including the Han, Yi, Miao, Tu, Daur, Tibetan, Uyghur, and Kazak—and the selections include a variety of genres. Chapters cover folk stories, songs, rituals, and drama, as well as epic traditions and professional storytelling, and feature both familiar and little-known texts, from the story of the woman warrior Hua Mulan to the love stories of urban storytellers in the Yangtze delta, the shaman rituals of the Manchu, and a trickster tale of the Daur people from the forests of the northeast. The Cannibal Grandmother of the Yi and other strange creatures and characters unsettle accepted notions of Chinese fable and literary form. Readers are introduced to antiphonal songs of the Zhuang and the Dong, who live among the fantastic limestone hills of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region; work and matchmaking songs of the mountain-dwelling She of Fujian province; and saltwater songs of the Cantonese-speaking boat people of Hong Kong. The editors feature the Mongolian epic poems of Geser Khan and Jangar; the sad tale of the Qeo family girl, from the Tu people of Gansu and Qinghai provinces; and local plays known as “rice sprouts” from Hebei province. These fascinating juxtapositions invite comparisons among cultures, styles, and genres, and expert translations preserve the individual character of each thrillingly imaginative work.  —Columbia University Press

Reports

09.28.11

Hong Kong’s Recovery from the Global Financial Crisis

International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Hong Kong’s economy was severely affected by the global financial crisis (through both trade and financial channels). A recovery is now underway, fueled by growth on the Mainland, supportive policies, and accommodative monetary conditions imported...

Reports

09.28.11

Market Integration in China

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

Reports

09.28.11

Growth Poles and Multipolarity

Jonathon Adams-Kane and James Jerome Lim
World Bank
This paper develops an empirical measure of growth poles and uses it to examine the phenomenon of multipolarity. The authors formally define several alternative measures, provide theoretical justifications for these measures, and compute polarity...

Reports

09.26.11

China’s Holdings of U.S. Securities: Implications for the U.S. Economy

Wayne M. Morrison, Marc Labonte
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
Given its relatively low savings rate, the U.S. economy depends heavily on foreign capital inflows from countries with high savings rates (such as China) to meet its domestic investment needs and to fund the federal budget deficit. The willingness...

Sinica Podcast

09.23.11

The Gutter Oil Podcast

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
“It was really distressing for me to talk to a WHO expert and have him tell me, ‘I have no idea where it’s safe to buy food here ...’” — Sharon LaFraniere.When Luoyang journalist Li Xiang broke China’s latest food scandal last week, exposing the...

Books

09.21.11

China: A History

Harold M. Tanner
Eminently accessible, yet rigorous, this engaging introduction to the political, social, and cultural development of Chinese civilization tells the story of China—from its beginnings to the present day—in a way that goes beyond simple, misleading accounts of a glorious civilization falling victim to Western and Japanese imperialism or of a supposedly isolated country only recently and reluctantly opening to the outside world. Woven into the narrative are the striking stories of heroes and villains, of women and men, of tragedy and comedy, of high culture and coarse humor, of extremes of wealth and poverty, of feast and famine, and of exquisite art and terrible suffering. Characteristic of Harold Tanner's presentation is the development and carefully balanced recounting of important themes—such as the ethnic diversity of the early empires, interaction with other civilizations, and the challenge of transforming a multi-ethnic empire into a modern nation-state—that other histories of China omit entirely or discuss only minimally.   —Hackett Publishing Company

Reports

09.21.11

China’s Assertive Behavior

Michael D. Swaine and M. Taylor Fravel
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
The authors of this essay examine Chinese assertiveness concerning U.S. political and military behavior along China’s maritime periphery. This topic inevitably also concerns Chinese behavior toward Japan, South Korea, and some ASEAN nations, given...

Sinica Podcast

09.16.11

North Korea: Open for Business?

Jeremy Goldkorn, Edward Wong & more from Sinica Podcast
As the guillotine of debt contagion hangs over Europe, financial pressures in Asia have led an unexpected player to make a strategic shift. After months of escalating tensions with South Korea have shuttered its opportunities for expanded trade...

Books

09.15.11

Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China

Ezra Vogel
Harvard University Press: Perhaps no one in the twentieth century had a greater long-term impact on world history than Deng Xiaoping. And no scholar of contemporary East Asian history and culture is better qualified than Ezra Vogel to disentangle the many contradictions embodied in the life and legacy of China’s boldest strategist. Once described by Mao Zedong as a “needle inside a ball of cotton,” Deng was the pragmatic yet disciplined driving force behind China’s radical transformation in the late twentieth century. He confronted the damage wrought by the Cultural Revolution, dissolved Mao’s cult of personality, and loosened the economic and social policies that had stunted China’s growth. Obsessed with modernization and technology, Deng opened trade relations with the West, which lifted hundreds of millions of his countrymen out of poverty. Yet at the same time he answered to his authoritarian roots, most notably when he ordered the crackdown in June 1989 at Tiananmen Square. Deng’s youthful commitment to the Communist Party was cemented in Paris in the early 1920s, among a group of Chinese student-workers that also included Zhou Enlai. Deng returned home in 1927 to join the Chinese Revolution on the ground floor. In the fifty years of his tumultuous rise to power, he endured accusations, purges, and even exile before becoming China’s preeminent leader from 1978 to 1989 and again in 1992. When he reached the top, Deng saw an opportunity to creatively destroy much of the economic system he had helped build for five decades as a loyal follower of Mao—and he did not hesitate.{node, 795, 4}

China’s Tibetan Theme Park

Richard Bernstein from New York Review of Books
In the international press, China’s tensions with Tibet are often traced to the Chinese invasion of 1950 and Tibet’s failed uprising of 1959. But for the Chinese themselves, the story goes back much further—at least to the reign of Kangxi, the Qing...

Reports

09.01.11

Managing Instability on China’s Periphery

Paul B. Stares, Scott A. Snyder, Joshua Kurlantzick, Daniel Markey, Evan A. Feigenbaum
He Jianan
Council on Foreign Relations
China’s growing global engagement and presence has increased the number of conceivable places and issues over which it could find itself at odds with the United States, but potential developments in the territories immediately adjacent to China...

Reports

08.30.11

Asian Alliances in the 21st Century

Dan Blumenthal, Michael Mazza, Randall Schriver, Mark Stokes, L.C. Russell Hsiao
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
Asia will become the epicenter of geopolitical activity in the 21st century and the budding U.S.-China security rivalry, conditioned by deep economic interdependence, will shape the region’s future. Perhaps the greatest benefactor of American policy...