Reports

09.08.10

Winds From the East: How the People’s Republic of China Seeks to Influence the Media in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia

Douglas Farah and Andy Mosher
Center for International Media Assistance
The People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.) is using various components of public diplomacy to influence the media in Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. China’s primary purposes appear to be to present China as a reliable friend and partner, as...

Reports

09.01.10

Price Dynamics in China

Nathan Porter
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Chinese inflation, particularly non-food inflation, has been surprisingly modest in recent years. The author finds that supply factors, including those captured through upstream foreign commodity and producer prices, have been important drivers of...

Sinica Podcast

08.20.10

China’s Troubled Waters

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Are Chinese-American maritime relations running aground? The recent sinking of the South Korean corvette the Cheonan, most likely by China’s unruly client state North Korea, has led to the U.S.S. George Washington participating in naval exercises...

Waiting for WikiLeaks: Beijing’s Seven Secrets

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
While people in the U.S. and elsewhere have been reacting to the release by WikiLeaks of classified U.S. documents on the Afghan War, Chinese bloggers have been discussing the event in parallel with another in their own country. On July 21 in...

Sinica Podcast

08.13.10

The Guo Degang Affair and China Apologists

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Jeremy Goldkorn, Gady Epstein, Will Moss, and David Moser join Kaiser to talk about the Guo Degang Affair. When a fight with the media at the famous comedian’s house became news, the incident sparked a week of heated public...

Sinica Podcast

08.06.10

China in Africa

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
The world is abuzz over a number of recent large-scale infrastructure-for-resources deals China has signed in Africa. While some observers see these agreements as a force for good in local economic development, others have gone so far as to call the...

Reports

08.01.10

Chess on the High Seas: Dangerous Times for U.S.-China Relations

Michael Mazza
Sara Segal-Williams
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
The Obama administration’s hopes that its warmer approach to Beijing would yield a more fruitful Sino-American relationship have been disappointed. Rather than adopting a more cooperative bearing, Beijing has become increasingly assertive over the...

Reports

08.01.10

Addressing the Environmental and Social Governance Challenges of Chinese Mining Companies Operating in Africa

Carole Biau
Global Environmental Institute
The growth of China’s consumption of base metals is reflected in increased overseas engagement in mining activities, particularly in Africa. There is increasing concern about the environmental and social implications of China’s overseas involvement...

Reports

08.01.10

Addressing the Environmental and Social Governance Challenges of Chinese Mining Companies Operating in Africa

Carole Biau
He Jianan
Global Environmental Institute
There is growing concern about the environmental and social implications of China’s overseas involvement in Africa, especially in environmentally-sensitive sectors such as mining and other extractive industries. In particular, Chinese firms are...

Books

08.01.10

Dreaming in Chinese

Deborah Fallows
Deborah Fallows has spent much of her life learning languages and traveling around the world. But nothing prepared her for the surprises of learning Mandarin, China's most common language, or the intensity of living in Shanghai and Beijing. Over time, she realized that her struggles and triumphs in studying the language of her adopted home provided small clues to deciphering the behavior and habits of its people, and its culture's conundrums. As her skill with Mandarin increased, bits of the language-a word, a phrase, an oddity of grammar-became windows into understanding romance, humor, protocol, relationships, and the overflowing humanity of modern China.Fallows learned, for example, that the abrupt, blunt way of speaking that Chinese people sometimes use isn't rudeness, but is, in fact, a way to acknowledge and honor the closeness between two friends. She learned that English speakers' trouble with hearing or saying tones-the variations in inflection that can change a word's meaning-is matched by Chinese speakers' inability not to hear tones, or to even take a guess at understanding what might have been meant when foreigners misuse them.In sharing what she discovered about Mandarin, and how those discoveries helped her understand a culture that had at first seemed impenetrable, Deborah Fallows's Dreaming in Chinese opens up China to Westerners more completely, perhaps, than it has ever been before.  —WalkerBooks

Sinica Podcast

07.23.10

Death of the China Blog

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
The China blog is officially dead, moribund, cadaverous, extinct, buried, bereft of life, defunct, and totally-and-utterly-inert. It could even be said to be resting in peace, save for the fact that Will Moss drove a silver stake through its heart...

Reports

07.14.10

China and the United States - A Comparison of Green Energy Programs and Policies

Richard J. Campbell
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
China has experienced tremendous economic growth over the last three decades, with an annual average increase in gross domestic product of 9.8 percent during that period. This has led to an increasing demand for energy, spurring China to add an...

Sinica Podcast

07.12.10

Ich Bin Ein Beijinger

Kaiser Kuo from Sinica Podcast
Sad as it is to admit, the rare solar eclipse that incited such mayhem on Easter Island earlier this week has thrown our own Beijing community into a tizzy. Or perhaps the culprit is the stultifying heatwave which has descended on our city, turning...

Sinica Podcast

07.09.10

China’s Environmental Collapse

Kaiser Kuo, William Moss & more from Sinica Podcast
After the collapse of international climate change talks in Copenhagen in 2009, Mark Lynas’ devastating article, published in the Guardian, laid the blame squarely at China’s feet, accusing the Chinese government of deliberately scuttling American-...

Reports

07.06.10

U.S.-China Military Contacts: Issues for Congress

Shirley A. Kan
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
The United States suspended military contacts with China and imposed sanctions on arms sales in response to the Tiananmen Crackdown in 1989. In 1993, the Clinton Administration re-engaged with the top PRC leadership, including China's military...

Sinica Podcast

07.02.10

Newsweek Bid, Renminbi Revaluation

Kaiser Kuo, Evan Osnos & more from Sinica Podcast
In a sudden move clearly intended to stave off criticism at the G20 meeting in Toronto, China loosened the yuan’s twenty-three-month-old peg to the American dollar earlier this month, allowing its currency to appreciate against the greenback. This...

Sinica Podcast

07.01.10

What If the BP Oil Spill Happened in China...

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
As Gady Epstein reports in this special dispatch, “some time ago, we reached the China Zone in the BP story.” The China Zone is—for those of you who haven’t heard of it yet—the point at which a reasonable observer will believe almost anything about...

Reports

07.01.10

People’s Republic of China: 2010 Article IV Consultation-Staff Report; Staff Statement; Public Information Notice on the Executive Board Discussion

International Monetary Fund (IMF)
This is the staff report for the 2010 Article IV consultation, prepared by a staff team of the IMF, following discussions that ended on July 1, 2010, with the officials of the People's Republic of China on economic developments and policies...

Reports

07.01.10

“Justice, Justice”: The July 2009 Protests in Xinjiang, China

Amnesty International
On July 5, 2009, thousands of Chinese of Uighur ethnicity demonstrated in Urumqi, the regional capital of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). In the aftermath of the Urumqi protests, the authorities detained more than 1,400 people. In this...

Reports

07.01.10

“I Saw It With My Own Eyes”

Sara Segal-Williams
Human Rights Watch
More than two years after protests—the largest and most sustained in decades—erupted across the Tibetan plateau in March 2008, the Chinese government has yet to explain the circumstances that led to dozens of clashes between protesters and police...

Reports

06.30.10

Breaking the Ice on Environmental Open Information

Ma Jun, Wang Jingjing, Ruan Qingyuan, Shen Sunan, Wu Wei, Alex Wang, Hu Yuanqiong, Michael Zhang & Zhang Xiya
Natural Resources Defense Council
On May 1, 2008, the Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Open Government Information and the Ministry of Environmental  Protection Measures on Open Environmental Information (trial) entered into effect. These regulations stand...

Sinica Podcast

06.25.10

Beijing’s Ambivalent Relationship with the Internet

Jeremy Goldkorn, Bill Bishop & more from Sinica Podcast
Mere mention of Chinese Internet censorship is no longer taboo. Or that’s our take-away from a recent white paper by the State Council Information Office that outlines exactly how and why the Chinese government plans to tighten controls over online...

Sinica Podcast

06.18.10

Review of Chinese Books

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Looking for a little summer reading? This week, Sinica sorts the wheat from the chaff with a massive review of books on China. Our discussion touches on a everything from Chinese fiction to non-fiction academic works on Chinese politics, economics,...

Sinica Podcast

06.11.10

Science Fiction in China

Kaiser Kuo & Gady Epstein from Sinica Podcast
Science fiction serves as a kind of mirror for how a society sees itself in the future. So what future do Chinese sci-fi writers envision in the far-off yet-to-come? And what role does China play in that future? Do contemporary Chinese writers see a...

Sinica Podcast

06.04.10

Suicides, Strikes, and Labor Unrest in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
A spate of suicides leaves ten dead at the Shenzhen campus of Foxconn, the giant electronics manufacturer that makes many of the world’s most popular consumer electronics. A rare strike paralyzes production at Honda Motors, shutting down all of the...

Reports

06.01.10

Game-Changing China: Lessons from China about Disruptive Low Carbon Innovation

David Tyfield, Jun Jin, Tyler Rooker
Nesta
Big hydro, big solar photovoltaic, and big wind—these are the usual focus of accounts of low-carbon technologies in China. But a very different type of innovation—ranging from a farm cooperative in Yunnan, to woodchip and corn pellets in rural...

Sinica Podcast

05.28.10

Critical Media, Foreign and Domestic

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Is the “Western media” biased in its reporting about China? What are the frames and narratives that inform the Anglophone media’s understanding of the county, and what are the misunderstandings about the “Western media” that lead Chinese people into...

The Message from the Glaciers

Orville Schell from New York Review of Books
It was not so long ago that the parts of the globe covered permanently with ice and snow, the Arctic, Antarctic, and Greater Himalayas (“the abode of the snows” in Sanskrit), were viewed as distant, frigid climes of little consequence. Only the most...

Reports

05.26.10

Democratic Reforms in Taiwan: Issues for Congress

Shirley A. Kan
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
Taiwan, which its government formally calls the Republic of China (ROC), is a success story for U.S. interests in the promotion of universal freedoms and democracy. Taiwan’s people and their leaders transformed politics from rule imposed from the...

Talking About Tibet: An Open Dialogue Between Chinese Citizens and the Dalai Lama

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
Following is an English translation of an Internet dialogue between the Dalai Lama and Chinese citizens that took place on May 21. The exchange was organized by Wang Lixiong, a Chinese intellectual known for his writing on Tibet and for theorizing...

Reports

05.21.10

Navigating Climate Change: An Agenda for U.S.-Chinese Cooperation

Jacqueline McLaren Miller and Piin-Fen Kok
EastWest Institute
This paper focuses on two areas that pose the biggest obstacles to progress in bilateral and multilateral efforts to address climate change concerns: the trade-off between emission caps and development goals; and technology transfer and intellectual...

Sinica Podcast

05.21.10

Mao’s Legacy and Foreign Self-Censorship

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Notice your friends holding something back? In this Sinica podcast, we talk about the self-censoring phenomenon that’s taken root among the foreign community in China, and discuss a surprising case which demonstrates exactly the opposite: how one of...

Sinica Podcast

05.15.10

Schoolyard Violence with Chinese Characteristics

Jeremy Goldkorn, Gady Epstein & more from Sinica Podcast
Despite efforts to downplay the story in the face of the Shanghai Expo, news of a recent wave of copycat killings has spread quickly through China, driven in part by the surprising revelation that many of the killers have been middle-aged and...

Sinica Podcast

05.07.10

Dimensions of China’s Soft Power

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
The Beijing Olympics, the Shanghai Expo, the hundreds of Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms, and Beijing’s new English-language satellite news networks are all part of a grand Chinese soft power push: an effort to win the world through...

Reports

05.05.10

Restructuring Paper on a Proposed Project Restructuring of Jiangxi Integrated Agricultural Modernization Project

Sara Segal-Williams
World Bank
The development objective of the Jiangxi Integrated Agricultural Modernization Project (JIAMP) for China is to improve the livelihood of the farmers in the project areas through establishment of integrated, sustainable, and market-driven...

Reports

05.04.10

Manufacturing Discord

Daniel Ikenson
Cato Institute
Frictions in the U.S.-China relationship are nothing new, but they have intensified in recent months. This paper examines the U.S.-China economic relationship and some of its high-profile sources of friction, distills the substance from the hype,...

Reports

05.01.10

What to Do About China? 

Doug Bandow
Cato Institute
The United States is the world’s dominant power, and America will remain influential for decades to come. But China is poised to eventually force Washington to share its leadership position. Such a change would be uncomfortable for American...

Reports

05.01.10

Seeding Positive Impacts: How Business and Civil Society Can Contribute to the Sustainability of Chinese Agriculture

Laura Ediger, Fengyuan Wang, Stephanie Tian, and Keanu Zhang
Sara Segal-Williams
BSR
From farm-level impacts related to pesticide and fertilizer use, to the processing and packaging of the final product, processes along the agricultural supply chain in China have an adverse environmental health impact. Companies and civil society...

Sinica Podcast

04.30.10

Huang Guangyu Trial, Real Estate Dilemma

Kaiser Kuo, Gady Epstein & more from Sinica Podcast
Huang Guangyu, the richest man in China, went on trial last week in Beijing. The founder of home electronics chain GOME was brought up on charges of bribery, money laundering, and insider trading. The dragnet in the investigation leading up to the...

Sinica Podcast

04.26.10

A Tom Friedman Exclusive

Kaiser Kuo from Sinica Podcast
As you’re probably aware, earlier this month Hu Jintao hotfooted it to Washington to attend a nuclear security summit and discuss potential United Nations sanctions against Iran.While the rest of the Internet was sleeping on this story, we at Sinica...

Sinica Podcast

04.23.10

The Eulogy and the Aftershocks

Jeremy Goldkorn, Gady Epstein & more from Sinica Podcast
Coming twenty-one years after the death of former Party Secretary Hu Yaobang, Premier Wen Jiabao’s surprise eulogy to his former mentor last week was the subject of much discussion among China-watchers worldwide. In today’s episode of Sinica, we...

Reports

04.21.10

What’s the Difference?—Comparing U.S. and Chinese Trade Data

Michael F. Martin
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
There is a large and growing difference between the official trade statistics released by the United States and the People’s Republic of China. According to the United States, the 2009 bilateral trade deficit with China was $226.8 billion. According...

Sinica Podcast

04.16.10

China’s Gadflies and the Mine Miracle

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This Week: Kaiser Kuo hosts a discussion all about China’s best-known gadflies: artist-cum-activist Ai Weiwei and writer, auto racer, and blogger Han Han. So join us as we talk about who both of these public figures are and why they have gained so...

Reports

04.15.10

East Asian Regional Architecture: New Economic and Security Arrangements and U.S. Policy

Dick K. Nanto
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
The global financial crisis, the end of the Cold War, the rise of China, globalization, free trade agreements, the war on terror, and an institutional approach to keeping the peace are causing dramatic shifts in relationships among countries in East...

Books

04.15.10

Superstitious Regimes

Rebecca Nedostup
We live in a world shaped by secularism—the separation of numinous power from political authority and religion from the political, social, and economic realms of public life. Not only has progress toward modernity often been equated with secularization, but when religion is admitted into modernity, it has been distinguished from superstition. That such ideas are continually contested does not undercut their extraordinary influence.These divisions underpin this investigation of the role of religion in the construction of modernity and political power during the Nanjing Decade (1927–1937) of Nationalist rule in China. This book explores the modern recategorization of religious practices and people and examines how state power affected the religious lives and physical order of local communities. It also looks at how politicians conceived of their own ritual role in an era when authority was meant to derive from popular sovereignty. The claims of secular nationalism and mobilizational politics prompted the Nationalists to conceive of the world of religious association as a dangerous realm of “superstition” that would destroy the nation. This is the first “superstitious regime” of the book’s title. It also convinced them that national feeling and faith in the party-state would replace those ties—the second “superstitious regime.” —Harvard University Press{chop}

Sinica Podcast

04.09.10

Iran and the Vaccination Scandal

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Welcome back to the Sinica Podcast, a roundtable on current affairs in China featuring China-watchers from a wide range of backgrounds. In this week’s installment, host Kaiser Kuo talks about China’s delicate maneuvering in the Middle East, as well...

Sinica Podcast

04.02.10

Google China and the Pullout

Kaiser Kuo & Jeremy Goldkorn from Sinica Podcast
What exactly happened earlier this week with Google’s inaccessibility? Does Yasheng Huang have the right take on their pull-out of China, or is Tania Branigan from The Guardian more on the money? What are the consequences for Google’s future in Asia...

Books

04.01.10

Myth of the Social Volcano

Martin K. Whyte
Is popular anger about rising inequality propelling China toward a "social volcano" of protest activity and instability that could challenge Chinese Communist Party rule? Many inside and outside of China have speculated, without evidence, that the answer is yes. In 2004, Harvard sociologist Martin King Whyte has undertaken the first systematic, nationwide survey of ordinary Chinese citizens to ask them directly how they feel about inequalities that have resulted since China's market opening in 1978. His findings are the subject of this book. —Stanford University Press

Books

04.01.10

Socialist Insecurity

Mark Frazier
Over the past two decades, China has rapidly increased its spending on its public pension programs, to the point that pension funding is one of the government's largest expenditures. Despite this, only about fifty million citizens—one-third of the country's population above the age of sixty—receive pensions. Combined with the growing and increasingly violent unrest over inequalities brought about by China's reform model, the escalating costs of an aging society have brought the Chinese political leadership to a critical juncture in its economic and social policies.In Socialist Insecurity, Mark W. Frazier explores pension policy in the People's Republic of China, arguing that the government's push to expand pension and health insurance coverage to urban residents and rural migrants has not reduced, but rather reproduced, economic inequalities. He explains this apparent paradox by analyzing the decisions of the political actors responsible for pension reform: urban officials and state-owned enterprise managers. Frazier shows that China's highly decentralized pension administration both encourages the "grabbing hand" of local officials to collect large amounts of pension and other social insurance revenue and compels redistribution of these revenues to urban pensioners, a crucial political constituency.More broadly, Socialist Insecurity shows that the inequalities of welfare policy put China in the same quandary as other large uneven developers—countries that have succeeded in achieving rapid growth but with growing economic inequalities. While most explanations of the formation and expansion of welfare states are derived from experience in today's mature welfare systems, developing countries such as China, Frazier argues, provide new terrain to explore how welfare programs evolve, who drives the process, and who sees the greatest benefit.  —Cornell University Press

Books

04.01.10

One Country, Two Societies

Martin K. Whyte
This timely and important collection of original essays analyzes China’s foremost social cleavage: the rural-urban gap. It is now clear that the Chinese communist revolution, though professing dedication to an egalitarian society, in practice created a rural order akin to serfdom, in which 80 percent of the population was effectively bound to the land. China is still struggling with that legacy. The reforms of 1978 changed basic aspects of economic and social life in China’s villages and cities and altered the nature of the rural-urban relationship. But some important institutions and practices have changed only marginally or not at all, and China is still sharply divided into rural and urban castes with different rights and opportunities in life, resulting in growing social tensions. The contributors, many of whom conducted extensive fieldwork, examine the historical background of rural-urban relations; the size and trend in the income gap between rural and urban residents in recent years; aspects of inequality apart from income (access to education and medical care, the digital divide, housing quality and location); experiences of discrimination, particularly among urban migrants; and conceptual and policy debates in China regarding the status and treatment of rural residents and urban migrants.  —Harvard University Press

Books

04.01.10

Chinese Politics

Stanley Rosen
Written by a team of leading China scholars, this text interrogates the dynamics of state power and legitimation in 21st-century China. Despite the continuing economic successes and rising international prestige of China there has been increasing social protests over corruption, land seizures, environmental concerns, and homeowner movements. Such political contestation presents an opportunity to explore the changes occurring in China today—what are the goals of political contestation, how are Chinese Communist Party leaders legitimizing their rule, who are the specific actors involved in contesting state legitimacy today and what are the implications of changing state-society relations for the future viability of the People’s Republic?  —Routledge

Reports

04.01.10

Determinants of China’s Private Consumption: An International Perspective

Kai Guo and Papa N'Diaye
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Gauges the key determinants of China's private consumption in relation to GDP using data on the Chinese economy and evidence from other countries' experiences. The results suggest there is nothing "special" about consumption in...

Reports

04.01.10

Who Owns Carbon in Rural China?

Zhu Keliang, Darryl Vhugen, and Nathan Hilgendorf
He Jianan
Landesa
Despite decades of rapid economic growth in China, rural areas remain largely undeveloped. Rural China is home to more than 195 million hectares of forestland—the equivalent of around 5 billion tons of carbon. Rights to forestland are either 1)...

Books

04.01.10

Between Heaven and Modernity

Peter Carroll
Combining social, political, and cultural history, this book examines the contestation over space, history, and power in the late Qing and Republican-era reconstruction of the ancient capital of Suzhou as a modern city. Located fifty miles west of Shanghai, Suzhou has been celebrated throughout Asia as a cynosure of Chinese urbanity and economic plenty for a thousand years. With the city's 1895 opening as a treaty port, businessmen and state officials began to draw on Western urban planning in order to bolster Chinese political and economic power against Japanese encroachment. As a result, both Suzhou as a whole and individual components of the cityscape developed new significance according to a calculus of commerce and nationalism. Japanese monks and travelers, Chinese officials, local people, and others competed to claim Suzhou’s streets, state institutions, historic monuments, and temples, and thereby to define the course of Suzhou’s and greater China’s modernity.  —Stanford University Press

Books

04.01.10

China’s Telecommunications Revolution

Eric Harwit
China's telecommunications industry has seen revolutionary transformation and growth over the past three decades. Chinese Internet users number nearly 150 million, and the P.R.C. expects to quickly pass the U.S. in total numbers of connected citizens. The number of mobile and fixed-line telephone users soared from a mere 2 million in 1980 to a total of nearly 800 million in 2007. China has been the most successful developing nation in history for spreading telecommunications access at an unparalleled rapid pace.This book tells how China conducted its remarkable “telecommunications revolution.” It examines both corporate and government policy to get citizens connected to both voice and data networks, looks at the potential challenges to the one-party government when citizens get this access, and considers the new opportunities for networking now offered to the people of one of the world's fastest growing economies. The book is based on the author's fieldwork conducted in several Chinese cities, as well as extensive archival research. It focuses on key issues such as building and running the country's Internet, mobile phone company rivalry, foreign investment in the sector, and telecommunications in China’s vibrant city of Shanghai. It also considers the country’s internal “digital divide,” and questions how equitable the telecommunications revolution has been. Finally, it examines the ways the P.R.C.'s entry to the World Trade Organization will shape the future course of telecommunications growth.             —Oxford University Press

Books

04.01.10

China’s New Nationalism

Peter Gries
Three American missiles hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, and what Americans view as an appalling and tragic mistake, many Chinese see as a "barbaric" and intentional "criminal act," the latest in a long series of Western aggressions against China. In this book, Peter Hays Gries explores the roles of perception and sentiment in the growth of popular nationalism in China. At a time when the direction of China's foreign and domestic policies have profound ramifications worldwide, Gries offers a rare, in-depth look at the nature of China's new nationalism, particularly as it involves Sino-American and Sino-Japanese relations—two bilateral relations that carry extraordinary implications for peace and stability in the twenty-first century. Through recent Chinese books and magazines, movies, television shows, posters, and cartoons, Gries traces the emergence of this new nationalism. Anti-Western sentiment, once created and encouraged by China's ruling PRC, has been taken up independently by a new generation of Chinese. Deeply rooted in narratives about past "humiliations" at the hands of the West and impassioned notions of Chinese identity, popular nationalism is now undermining the Communist Party's monopoly on political discourse, threatening the regime's stability. As readable as it is closely researched and reasoned, this timely book analyzes the impact that popular nationalism will have on twenty-first century China and the world.  —University of California Press

Books

04.01.10

China Road

Rob Gifford
Route 312 is the Chinese Route 66. It flows three thousand miles from east to west, passing through the factory towns of the coastal areas, through the rural heart of China, then up into the Gobi Desert, where it merges with the Old Silk Road. The highway witnesses every part of the social and economic revolution that is turning China upside down. In this utterly surprising and deeply personal book, acclaimed National Public Radio reporter Rob Gifford, a fluent Mandarin speaker, takes the dramatic journey along Route 312 from its start in the boomtown of Shanghai to its end on the border with Kazakhstan. Gifford reveals the rich mosaic of modern Chinese life in all its contradictions, as he poses the crucial questions that all of us are asking about China: Will it really be the next global superpower? Is it as solid and as powerful as it looks from the outside? And who are the ordinary Chinese people, to whom the twenty-first century is supposed to belong?Gifford is not alone on his journey. The largest migration in human history is taking place along highways such as Route 312, as tens of millions of people leave their homes in search of work. He sees signs of the booming urban economy everywhere, but he also uncovers many of the country’s frailties, and some of the deep-seated problems that could derail China’s rise. The whole compelling adventure is told through the cast of colorful characters Gifford meets: garrulous talk-show hosts and ambitious yuppies, impoverished peasants and tragic prostitutes, cell-phone salesmen, AIDS patients, and Tibetan monks. He rides with members of a Shanghai jeep club, hitchhikes across the Gobi desert, and sings karaoke with migrant workers at truck stops along the way.  —Random House

Books

04.01.10

City of Heavenly Tranquility

Jasper Becker
When the world descends on Beijing for the 2008 Olympics, it will find the results of a helter skelter rush for modernization and wealth. In the course of a thousand years, temples and shrines, palaces, and gardens had filled the walls of old Peking. Its narrow, twisting streets held the collective memories of five dynasties and turbulent events of the 20th century. It has now all been swept away to make way for a new city filled with dull, boxy high rises, rows of shopping malls, office towers blocks, and residential housing developments marching down uniform streets. The City of Heavenly Tranquility explores how and why the Chinese buried their history and destroyed one of the world's most fabled cities, virtually extinguishing the culture of one of the greatest and oldest civilizations within the span of a single lifetime. In a tour de force by a long time resident, British journalist Jasper Becker brings to life the strange and exotic lives of the emperors, eunuchs, courtesans, and warriors who for centuries ruled from behind the red walls of the Forbidden City. Becker mixes his own experiences with poignant stories from those who were destroyed in the tornado of destruction as they tried to rescue something from the past. Writing vividly and with passion, Becker shows how ruthless officials and a fiercely nationalistic government set itself the monumental mission to change the fabric of a nation—and succeeded. He also explains how those currently in power, Mao's former Red Guards, remain determined to modernize China by jettisoning the past and clearing space for the future, evicting over three million residents in Beijing alone.  —Oxford University Press

Reports

03.24.10

Appreciate This: Chinese Currency Rise Will Have a Negligible Effect on the Trade Deficit

Daniel Ikenson
Cato Institute
This report argues that the Obama administration and Congress should consider whether RMB appreciation would even lead to the outcomes they desire—namely, more balanced trade. The evidence does not support their objective. Although the short-term...

Books

03.15.10

Art, Politics and Commerce in Chinese Cinema

Stanley Rosen
Art, politics, and commerce are intertwined everywhere, but in China the interplay is explicit, intimate, and elemental, and nowhere more so than in the film industry. Understanding this interplay in the era of market reform and globalization is essential to understanding mainland Chinese cinema. This interdisciplinary book provides a comprehensive reappraisal of Chinese cinema, surveying the evolution of film production and consumption in mainland China as a product of shifting relations between art, politics, and commerce. Within these arenas, each of the twelve chapters treats a particular history, development, genre, filmmaker or generation of filmmakers, adding up to a distinctively comprehensive rendering of Chinese cinema. The book illuminates China’s changing state-society relations, the trajectory of marketization and globalization, the effects of China’s stark historical shifts, Hollywood’s role, the role of nationalism, and related themes of interest to scholars of Asian studies, cinema and media studies, political science, sociology, comparative literature and Chinese language. Contributors include Ying Zhu, Stanley Rosen, Seio Nakajima, Zhiwei Xiao, Shujen Wang, Paul Clark, Stephen Teo, John Lent, Ying Xu, Yingjin Zhang, Bruce Robinson, Liyan Qin, and Shuqin Cui.  —Hong Kong University Press