Recharging Chinese Art

Jonathan D. Spence from New York Review of Books
Retirement was not usually a concept of pressing concern to Chinese emperors. Succession and survival were normally quite enough to keep them occupied, and death—when it came—was often unexpected and frequently brutal. But Emperor Qianlong, who...

Reports

04.27.11

China’s Green Revolution

Isabel Hilton, Olivia Boyd, Tan Copsey, Hu Angang, Liang Jiaochen, Liu Jianqiang, Shin Wei Ng, Linden Ellis, Thomas Ho, Sam Geall
chinadialogue
In March, China officially adopted its Twelfth Five-Year Plan, a blueprint for the country’s development from 2011 to 2015. Its green targets will shape China’s action on the environment over the next five years. To mark the occasion, chinadialogue...

China Misunderstood: Did We Contribute to Ai Weiwei’s Arrest?

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Like many artists, Ai Weiwei enjoys provoking. It isn’t just his finger-to-the-Chinese-government images that he has become known for but also how he does it: his obsessive-compulsive documentation of himself in photos, blogs, tweets, and rants into...

Sinica Podcast

04.22.11

China’s Second Internet Bubble?

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Interest in Chinese Internet companies has reached a fever pitch. Fueled by the fact that roughly fifty percent of the companies that went public on NASDAQ last year were Chinese in origin, at least seventeen more high-profile companies are planning...

Reports

04.18.11

Books

04.15.11

Tide Players

Jianying Zha
In Tide Players, acclaimed New Yorker contributor and author Jianying Zha depicts a new generation of movers and shakers who are transforming modern China. Through half a dozen sharply etched and nuanced profiles, Tide Players captures both the concrete detail and the epic dimension of life in the world’s fastest growing economy. Zha’s vivid cast of characters includes an unlikely couple who teamed up to become the country’s leading real-estate moguls; a gifted chameleon who transformed himself from Mao’s favorite “barefoot doctor” during the Cultural Revolution to a publishing maverick; and a tycoon of home-electronic chain stores who insisted on avenging his mother, who had been executed as “a counter-revolutionary criminal.” Alongside these entrepreneurs, Zha also brings us the intellectuals: a cantankerous professor at China’s top university; a former cultural minister turned prolific writer; and Zha’s own brother, a dissident who served a nine-year prison term for helping to found the China Democracy Party. Deeply engaging, lucid, and poignant, Zha’s insightful “insider-outsider” portraits offer a picture of a China that few Western readers have seen before. —The New Press{chop}

On the Sacred Mountain

Pico Iyer from New York Review of Books
A powerful, unexpected scene suddenly surfaces near the beginning of Colin Thubron’s characteristically beautiful, though uncharacteristically haunted, new book of travel. As he walks through the mountains of Nepal, toward the holy peak of Mount...

Reports

04.01.11

Diagnosing Development Bottlenecks: China and India

Wei Li, Taye Mengistae, and Lixin Colin Xu
World Bank
Although it had a a lower income level than India in 1980, China's 2006 per capita gross domestic product stood more than twice that of India's. This paper investigates the role of the business environment in explaining China's...

Reports

04.01.11

The China New Energy Vehicles Program: Challenges and Opportunities

Sara Segal-Williams
World Bank
In June 2010, the World Bank organized a team of international experts in urban transport, electric vehicle technologies, and policy and environment to carry out a survey study of China’s New Energy Vehicle (NEV) Program. The preliminary findings of...

Sinica Podcast

04.01.11

Scandal in Baidu and Chongqing

Kaiser Kuo, Gady Epstein & more from Sinica Podcast
A year after our first show memorialized Google’s retreat from the China market, our first anniversary sees Sinica host Kaiser Kuo and his employer on the defensive as Gady Epstein and Bill Bishop grill Kaiser over recent allegations of copyright...

Reports

03.31.11

Jasmine in the Middle Kingdom: Autopsy of China’s (Failed) Revolution

Dale Swartz
Sara Segal-Williams
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
China’s version of the Arab world's “Jasmine Revolution” was a complete failure. Online calls for protests against Communist Party rule have elicited little response from would-be protesters. Yet Beijing’s reaction was swift and overwhelming—...

Sinica Podcast

03.25.11

Where Did the Internet/Salt Go?

Kaiser Kuo, Gady Epstein & more from Sinica Podcast
In less time than it took Chinese netizens to strip their supermarkets of common table salt, China ended its live-and-let-live policy with regards to the most commonly used tools for evading the country’s Internet restrictions. Recent weeks have...

How China Fears the Middle East Revolutions

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
Chinese authorities have done what they can to stop news—and worse, from their point of view, any influence—of Tunisian and Egyptian people-power from spreading to China. They have been worrying especially about what social media like Twitter and...

Sinica Podcast

03.11.11

The Exercise of Power

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
In the last week, power and pageantry have engulfed Beijing as China has convened its Twin Congresses: the annual meeting of the country’s two highest decision-making councils. As the Communist Party has seized the opportunity to celebrate its grip...

Reports

03.11.11

Environmental and Social Impact Assessment: Urumqi District Heating Project

World Bank
The city of Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in westernmost China, is experiencing rapid urbanization and economic growth, which poses challenges to Urumqi Municipal Government in providing adequate and efficient public...

Reports

03.01.11

How Do Special Economic Zones and Industrial Clusters Drive China’s Rapid Development?

Douglas Zhihua Zeng
World Bank
In the past thirty years, China has achieved phenomenal economic growth, an unprecedented development “miracle” in human history. How did China achieve this rapid growth? What have been its key drivers? And, most important, what can be learned from...

Reports

03.01.11

Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights

Human Rights in China
Throughout the world, terrorism continues to pose major threats to peace, security, and stability. Since September 11, 2001, intensified counter-terrorism debates and responses, including national, multilateral, and regional approaches, have been...

Sinica Podcast

02.26.11

Troubles and Ambitions in China

Jeremy Goldkorn, Gady Epstein & more from Sinica Podcast
Watch your rice, folks. That’s our takeaway from this week’s Sinica, which ruminates on troubles old and new in the Middle Kingdom. Up for discussion in particular are Chinese activities in Rwanda, dodgy rice, ongoing worker troubles at Apple...

The Secret Politburo Meeting Behind China’s New Democracy Crackdown

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
In an NYRblog post on February 17 (“Middle East Revolutions: The View from China”), I discussed Chinese government’s efforts to block news of the democracy uprisings spreading across the Middle East and speculated how China’s rulers might view those...

Sinica Podcast

02.18.11

Turmoil in Egypt and Groupon

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Welcome back to Sinica after our New Year’s break. And what could headline our first podcast of the New Year but Egypt, where an unexpected political uprising has raised obvious parallels for China-watchers worldwide. Moving beyond the politics of...

Middle East Revolutions: The View from China

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
Chinese authorities have done what they can to block news of Egyptian people-power from spreading to China. Reports about Egypt in China’s state-run media have been brief and vacuous. On February 6, at the height of the protests, the People’s Daily...

The Worst Man-Made Catastrophe, Ever

Roderick MacFarquhar from New York Review of Books
When the first waves of Chinese graduate students arrived on American campuses in the early 1980s, they were excited at entering an unfettered learning environment. After the recent ravages of the Cultural Revolution, political science students had...

Reports

02.08.11

Beyond Symbolism? 

Lavina Lee
Cato Institute
The Obama administration has elevated nuclear disarmament to the center of its nuclear agenda through the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia and the release of the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). The administration also...

Reports

02.03.11

China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities

Ronald O'Rourke
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
The question of how the United States should respond to China’s military modernization effort, including its naval modernization effort, has emerged as a key issue in U.S. defense planning. This issue is of particular importance to the U.S. Navy,...

Reports

02.01.11

A Seventeen-Province Survey of Rural Land Rights in China

He Jianan
Landesa
China continues to boost economic development in the countryside by extending secure land tenure rights to its 200 million farming families, according to findings from a seventeen-province survey, published in the 2011 Chinese Academy of Social...

Reports

02.01.11

Prospects for Democracy in Hong Kong: The 2012 Election Reforms

Michael F. Martin
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
Support for the democratization of Hong Kong has been an element of U.S. foreign policy for over seventeen years. The democratization of Hong Kong is also enshrined in the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s quasi-constitution that was passed by China’s National...

Sinica Podcast

01.21.11

Hu Jintao and the Washington Summit

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
As part of our ongoing efforts to secure the hottest scoops for you, our Sinica team originally planned to storm Hu Jintao’s flight to Washington and record a live podcast with everyone’s favorite chairman during his flight across the Pacific. Sadly...

Books

01.15.11

Sound and Script in Chinese Diaspora

Jing Tsu
What happens when language wars are not about hurling insults or quibbling over meanings, but are waged in the physical sounds and shapes of language itself? Native and foreign speakers, mother tongues and national languages, have jostled for distinction throughout the modern period. The fight for global dominance between the English and Chinese languages opens into historical battles over the control of the medium through standardization, technology, bilingualism, pronunciation, and literature in the Sinophone world. Encounters between global languages, as well as the internal tensions between Mandarin and other Chinese dialects, present a dynamic, interconnected picture of languages on the move.In Sound and Script in Chinese Diaspora, Jing Tsu explores the new global language trade, arguing that it aims at more sophisticated ways of exerting influence besides simply wielding knuckles of power. Through an analysis of the different relationships between language standardization, technologies of writing, and modern Chinese literature around the world from the nineteenth century to the present, this study transforms how we understand the power of language in migration and how that is changing the terms of cultural dominance. Drawing from an unusual array of archival sources, this study cuts across the usual China-West divide and puts its finger on the pulse of a pending supranational world under “literary governance.”                 —Harvard University Press

Sinica Podcast

01.14.11

Amy Chua and the Tiger Mother Furor

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Judging from the explosive reaction to her recent Wall Street Journal editorial, it’s clear that Amy Chua's memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother has set off a storm of controversy over the appropriateness of “Chinese parenting” in America. Or...

China: From Famine to Oslo

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
Each year around the “sensitive” anniversary of the Beijing massacre of June 4, 1989, Ding Zilin, a seventy-four-year-old retired professor of philosophy, is accompanied by a group of plainclothes police whenever she leaves her apartment to go buy...

Sinica Podcast

01.07.11

China 2010—Year in Review

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week we take a look back at China in 2010, revisiting some of the biggest stories we covered and discussing a few we missed. With Kaiser Kuo hosting the discussion as usual, our guests in the studio include Sinica stalwarts and regulars Jeremy...

Reports

01.01.11

Early Childhood Development and Education in China: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty and Improving Future Competitiveness

World Bank
Given China's goal to develop a harmonious society and to improve the competitiveness of its future workforce in order to overcome the challenges of an aging population and move toward a high-income society, there is an urgent need to identify...

Reports

01.01.11

Reducing Inequality for Shared Growth in China: Strategy and Policy Options for Guangdong Province

World Bank
This report is the result of a partnership of the World Bank and the Guangdong provincial government to assess economic and regional inequality in Guangdong. It defines three major types of inequality: Absolute poverty, Inequality of Opportunity,...

Reports

01.01.11

Promises Unfulfilled: An Assessment of China’s National Human Rights Action Plan

Sara Segal-Williams
Human Rights Watch
In 2009, the Chinese government unveiled the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP), the first of its kind in China. However, two years on, deficiencies in the action plan and government failures to adequately implement some of its key...

Reports

01.01.11

Equity and Public Governance in Health System Reform: Challenges and Opportunities for China

Hana Brixi, Yan Mu, Beatrice Targa and David Hipgrave
Sara Segal-Williams
World Bank
Achieving the objective of China's current health system reform, namely equitable improvements in health outcomes, will be difficult not least because of the continuously growing income disparities in the country. The analysis in this paper...

Reports

01.01.11

Rural Energy Consumption and Its Impacts on Climate Change

He Jianan
Global Environmental Institute
Global Envionment Institute has started a rural energy program, focusing on the effects of rural energy consumption on climate change, and seeking out short- to long-term solutions to rural energy consumption and emissions, along with selecting key...

Books

12.28.10

A Subversive Voice in China

Shelley Wing Chan
Mo Yan, the most prolific writer in present-day China as well as one of its most prominent avant-gardists, is an author whose literary works have enjoyed an enormous readership and have caught much critical attention not only in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan but also in many other countries around the world. This book provides the most comprehensive exposition of Mo Yan’s fiction in any language. Author Shelley Chan delves into Mo Yan’s entire collection of literary works, considering novels as well as short stories and novellas. In this analysis, Mo Yan’s works are dealt with in a diachronic fashion––Chan discusses the development of Mo Yan’s style throughout his career by considering themes that he has addressed in a variety of narratives over time. This provides the reader with valuable insight into understanding how individual narratives fit into the entire collection of Mo Yan’s body of literary work. Scholars will also welcome the book’s extensive reference to secondary scholarship and theory, which not only skillfully deals with the Chinese scholarship on Mo Yan but also thoroughly covers the English-language sources. This book on one of the most important figures in contemporary Chinese literary history will be a landmark resource for scholars in Asian studies, cultural studies, and literary criticism, as well as an enticing read for people interested in Chinese literature and historical fiction.  —Cambria Press

Sinica Podcast

12.24.10

The Long Arm of History

Kaiser Kuo, David Moser & more from Sinica Podcast
{vertical_photo_right}Visitors to China might be forgiven for concluding that history carries more weight here. For whatever the reason, even the far-off ghosts of the Opium War, the scramble for concessions, and the Treaty of Versailles still haunt...

Xanadu in New York

Eliot Weinberger from New York Review of Books
1.The Mongols inhabited a vast, featureless grass plain where the soil was too thin for crops. They raised horses, cattle, yaks, sheep, and goats, and subsisted almost entirely on meat and milk and milk products. The women milked the cows and the...

Finding the Facts About Mao’s Victims

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Yang Jisheng is an editor of Annals of the Yellow Emperor, one of the few reform-oriented political magazines in China. Before that, the seventy-year-old native of Hubei province was a national correspondent with the government-run Xinhua news...

Sinica Podcast

12.17.10

China and India

Kaiser Kuo, Stephanie T. Kleine-Ahlbrandt & more from Sinica Podcast
Asia’s rising colossi share a great deal besides rich cultures, great culinary traditions, billion-plus populations, and a long border. But relations haven’t always been smooth. Have a recent round of border talks, followed up by Premier Wen Jiabao’...

Reports

12.14.10

Sino-U.S. Competition and U.S. Security

Dan Blumenthal
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
Assessments of the military competition between China and the U.S. are badly needed but mostly missing. Such assessments should consider the political objectives of the competitors, their military doctrines, and alliance politics, in addition to...

At the Nobel Ceremony: Liu Xiaobo’s Empty Chair

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
On December 10, I attended the award ceremony in Oslo, Norway, for the Nobel Peace Prize, which the government of China had a few days earlier declared to be a “farce.” The recipient was a friend of mine, the Chinese scholar and essayist Liu Xiaobo...

Sinica Podcast

12.10.10

The Wikileaks Revelations, Part III

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
As Interpol deepens its investigation into Mr. Assange’s use of birth control and financial service companies feel the wrath of script-kiddies worldwide, our own crew of Internet vigilantes sifts through the remains of the Wikileaks data-dump in...

Books

12.10.10

Remapping the Past

Howard Y. F. Choy
The most prominent literary phenomenon in the 1980s and 1990s in China, historical fiction, has never been systematically surveyed in Anglophone scholarship. This is the first investigation into how, by rewriting the past, writers of Deng Xiaoping’s reform era undermined the grand narrative of official history. It showcases fictions of history by eleven native Chinese, Muslim and Tibetan authors. The four chapters are organized in terms of spatial schemes of fictional historiography, namely, regional histories and family romances, discourses on diaspora and myths of minorities, nostalgia for the hometown in the country and the city, as well as the bodily text and the textual body, thus broadly covering the eternal themes of memory, language, food, sex, and violence in historical writing.  —Brill

Unveiling Hidden China

Christian Caryl from New York Review of Books
Napoleon famously described China as a sleeping giant that would shake the world when it finally awoke. Well, now the giant is up and about, and the rest of us can’t help but notice. 2010, indeed, could well end up being remembered as the year when...

Sinica Podcast

12.04.10

The Wikileaks Revelations, Part II

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Kaiser’s despair on learning that last week’s Sinica episode had been lost in a freak weather accident turned quickly to plotting. “We’ll simply have to make up for it somehow,” he mused. Which is how today’s special show came about: a better,...

Sinica Podcast

12.03.10

The Wikileaks Revelations

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
In the first of what will likely be many podcasts discussing some of the latest China-related revelations contained in the recent Wikileaks data-dump, our discussion today turns towards North Korea and Chinese diplomatic overtures suggesting that...

Books

12.01.10

Tea Horse Road

Michael Freeman
One of the longest and most dramatic trade routes of the ancient world, the Tea Horse Road carried a crucial exchange for 13 centuries between China and Tibet. China needed war horses to protect its northern frontier, and Tibet could supply them. When the Tibetans discovered tea in the 7th century, it became a staple of their diet, but its origins are in southwest China, and they had to trade for it. The result was a network of trails covering more than 3,000 kilometres through forests, gorges and high passes onto the Himalayan plateaus, traversed by horse, mule and yak caravans, and human porters. It linked cultures, economies and political ambitions, and lasted until the middle of the 20th century. Re-tracing the many branches of the Road, photographer and writer Michael Freeman spent two years compiling this remarkable visual record, from the tea mountains of southern Yunnan and Sichuan to Tibet and beyond. Collaborating on this fascinating account, ethnobotanist Selena Ahmed’s description of tea and bio-cultural diversity in the region draws on her original doctoral research.—River Books

Books

12.01.10

Asian Literary Voices

Philip Williams
The essays in this collection give voice to a wide range of artists and writers from China, Japan, Korea, and India who to this day remain largely unknown or poorly understood in literary circles around the world. Contributors from Asia, Europe, and the United States cover a wide range of topics from a vast expanse of time, from Sanskrit poetry dating back over a thousand years to Chinese fiction of the twenty-first century.  —University of Chicago Press

Reports

12.01.10

Catastrophe Insurance Policy for China

Jun Wang
World Bank
The vast majority of China's population lies to the southeast of a line running from Beijing to Sichuan. This entire region is subjected to major floods each year, while typhoons affect the southern and eastern coastal areas and major...

Reports

12.01.10

Can China’s Rural Elderly Count on Support from Adult Children? Implications of Rural to Urban Migration

John Giles, Dewen Wang, and Changbao Zhao
World Bank
Support from the family continues to be an important source of support for the rural elderly, particularly the rural elderly over seventy years of age. Decline in likelihood of co-residence with, or in close proximity to, adult children raises the...

Reports

12.01.10

The Role of Trade Costs in Global Production Networks: Evidence from China’s Processing Trade Regime

Alyson C. Ma and Ari Van Assche
World Bank
This paper uses data from China's processing trade regime to analyze the role of trade costs on trade within global production networks (GPNs). Under this regime, firms are granted duty exemptions on imported inputs as long as they are used...

Reports

12.01.10

Income Uncertainty and Household Savings in China

Marcos Chamon, Kai Liu, and Eswar Prasad
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
China’s household saving rate has increased markedly since the mid-1990s and the age-savings profile has become U-shaped. The authors find that rising income uncertainty and pension reforms help explain both of these phenomena. Using a panel of...

Reports

12.01.10

Transforming China: Insights from the Japanese Experience of the 1980s

Papa N'Diaye
Sara Segal-Williams
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
China is poised on the brink of a transition to a service-based economy. The Japanese experience of the 1980s provides several insights about the way to manage such a transition and the downsides to avoid. In particular Japan offers useful insights...

Sinica Podcast

11.12.10

The End of Chinese Internet Civility

Jeremy Goldkorn, Gady Epstein & more from Sinica Podcast
Simmering tensions between Qihoo 360 and Tencent broke into open war last week, as Tencent disabled its chat software on computers running 360 antivirus software. This move was the most aggressive yet in a serious of escalating attacks between the...

How Reds Smashed Reds

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
July and August 1966, the first months of the ten-year Cultural Revolution, were the summer of what Andrew Walder, a sociologist at Stanford, calls “The Maoist Shrug.” Jiang Qing, Mao Zedong’s wife, told high school Red Guards, “We do not advocate...

A Hero of Our Time

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
On October 8, Liu Xiaobo became the first Chinese to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and one of only three winners ever to receive it while in prison. The Oslo committee had already received a warning from Beijing not to give Liu the prize because he...

Reports

11.05.10

Staff Report of the People’s Republic of China—Hong Kong Special Administrative Region: 2010 Article IV Consultation Discussions

International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Two potent forces continue to influence Hong Kong SAR's prospects: the unprecedented monetary policy easing in the United States and the solid domestic recovery, in part driven by spillovers from the Mainland. While the substantial expansion of...

Sinica Podcast

11.05.10

The Li Gang Scandal

Jeremy Goldkorn, Gady Epstein & more from Sinica Podcast
A deadly hit-and-run at Hebei University by the unapologetic son of a high-ranking official has sparked outrage across China, with early efforts to cover up the incident ultimately leading to father and son both making tearful apologies on national...