Books

12.16.15

One Child

Mei Fong
When Communist Party leaders adopted the one-child policy in 1980, they hoped curbing birth-rates would help lift China’s poorest and increase the country’s global stature. But at what cost? Now, as China closes the book on the policy after more than three decades, it faces a population grown too old and too male, with a vastly diminished supply of young workers.Mei Fong has spent years documenting the policy’s repercussions on every sector of Chinese society. In One Child, she explores its true human impact, traveling across China to meet the people who live with its consequences. Their stories reveal a dystopian reality: unauthorized second children ignored by the state, only-children supporting aging parents and grandparents on their own, villages teeming with ineligible bachelors, and an ungoverned adoption market stretching across the globe. Fong tackles questions that have major implications for China’s future: whether its “Little Emperor” cohort will make for an entitled or risk-averse generation; how China will manage to support itself when one in every four people is over sixty-five years old; and above all, how much the one-child policy may end up hindering China’s growth.Weaving in Fong’s reflections on striving to become a mother herself, One Child offers a nuanced and candid report from the extremes of family planning. —Houghton Mifflin Harcourt{chop}

Books

12.10.15

Pacific

Simon Winchester
Following his acclaimed Atlantic and The Men Who United the States, New York Times bestselling author Simon Winchester offers an enthralling biography of the Pacific Ocean and its role in the modern world, exploring our relationship with this imposing force of nature.As the Mediterranean shaped the classical world, and the Atlantic connected Europe to the New World, the Pacific Ocean defines our tomorrow. With China on the rise, so, too, are the American cities of the West coast, including Seattle, San Francisco, and the long cluster of towns down the Silicon Valley.Today, the Pacific is ascendant. Its geological history has long transformed us—tremendous earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis—but its human history, from a Western perspective, is quite young, beginning with Magellan’s sixteenth-century circumnavigation. It is a natural wonder whose most fascinating history is currently being made.In telling the story of the Pacific, Simon Winchester takes us from the Bering Strait to Cape Horn, the Yangtze River to the Panama Canal, and to the many small islands and archipelagos that lie in between. He observes the fall of a dictator in Manila, visits aboriginals in northern Queensland, and is jailed in Tierra del Fuego, the land at the end of the world. His journey encompasses a trip down the Alaska Highway, a stop at the isolated Pitcairn Islands, and a trek across South Korea and a glimpse of its mysterious northern neighbor.Winchester’s personal experience is vast and his storytelling second to none. And his historical understanding of the region is formidable, making Pacific a paean to this magnificent sea of beauty, myth, and imagination that is transforming our lives. —HarperCollins{chop}

FOCAC 6: A China-Africa Lovefest

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit concluded in Johannesburg on December 5 amid an almost giddy atmosphere. All sides in this relationship seemingly walked away with more than what they had anticipated.Africa provided a welcome...

Why Pollution is Good for China

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
I am a member of a martial arts group that performs at annual temple fairs around Beijing. Half of our group are children, and almost without fail they meet at a park on the west side of town at around three in the afternoon to practice fighting...

Terrorism Forces its Way onto the China-Africa Agenda

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
Terrorism and security issues will likely move close to the top of the agenda when Xi Jinping meets with 50+ African counterparts at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit. China’s vulnerability to terrorism was brazenly exposed when ISIS...

Sinica Podcast

12.01.15

Live at the Bookworm, Part II

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This is the second part of the Live Sinica discussion recorded last month during a special event at the Bookworm literary festival. In this show, David Moser and Kaiser Kuo were joined by China-newcomer Jeremy Goldkorn, fresh off the plane from...

Xi’s China: The Illusion of Change

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Xi Jinping is often described as China’s most powerful leader in decades, perhaps even since Mao. He has been credited—if sometimes grudgingly—with pursuing a vigorous foreign policy, economic reforms, and a historic crackdown on corruption.But as...

China: Novelists Against the State

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
Can writers help an injured society to heal? Did Ōe Kenzaburō, who traveled to Hiroshima in 1963 to interview survivors of the dropping of the atomic bomb on that city eighteen years earlier, and then published a moving book called Hiroshima Notes,...

A Journalist’s View on Reporting the China-Africa Story

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The U.S.-based online news site Quartz is among a growing number of international media companies that is investing resources to better cover Africa. The company launched Quartz Africa in June 2015 with the opening of a new bureau in Nairobi and the...

Sinica Podcast

11.16.15

The Pace of Change in Beijing: Live at the Bookworm, Part I

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week’s Sinica podcast was recorded last month during a special live event at the Bookworm literary festival, where David Moser and Kaiser Kuo were joined by Jeremy Goldkorn, fresh off the plane from Nashville. Topics in this podcast: Beijing...

Challenging the Myth of Chinese Land Grabs in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Among the most durable myths surrounding the China-Africa relationship is the fear that the Chinese government and private enterprises are buying vast tracts of African farm land and have plans to transplant millions of Chinese peasants to live and...

Reports

11.04.15

Special Data Release with Revisions for People’s Republic of China

International Energy Agency
In September 2015, the National Bureau of Statistics of China published China’s energy statistics for 2013, as well as revised statistics for the years 2000 to 2012. NBS supplied the IEA with detailed energy balances for 2011 to 2013 and using these...

What to Expect at this Year’s Mega China-Africa Summit

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The sixth Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) that will be held in December in Johannesburg comes at a critical time in the Sino-African relationship. The combination of China’s slowing economy, a major slump in global commodity prices, and a...

China’s Risky Oil Strategy in Africa’s Sahel Region

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Chad is one of the poorest, most corrupt, and, increasingly, most volatile countries in Africa. A recent wave of suicide bombings, allegedly orchestrated by Boko Haram, killing 36 and injuring 50, highlights the perilous challenges of doing business...

Sinica Podcast

10.27.15

Hope and Fear in the Age of Asia

Kaiser Kuo & David Moser from Sinica Podcast
The West has spent decades pleading with China to become a responsible stakeholder in the global community, but what happens now that China is starting to take a more proactive role internationally? In this podcast, Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are...

The Bloodthirsty Deng We Didn’t Know

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
“Deng was…a bloody dictator who, along with Mao, was responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent people, thanks to the terrible social reforms and unprecedented famine of 1958–1962.” This is the conclusion of Alexander Pantsov and Steven...

Sinica Podcast

10.21.15

Tu Youyou and the Nobel Prize

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, hosts Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn, and David Moser speak with Christina Larson and Ian Johnson about Tu Youyou, the scientist who recently shared a Nobel Prize in Medicine for her discovery of the anti-malaria compound...

Books

10.07.15

Unmade in China

Jeremy R. Haft
If you look carefully at how things are actually made in China—from shirts to toys, apple juice to oil rigs—you see a reality that contradicts every widely-held notion about the world’s so-called economic powerhouse. From the inside looking out, China is not a manufacturing juggernaut. It’s a Lilliputian. Nor is it a killer of American jobs. It’s a huge job creator. Rising China is importing goods from America in such volume that millions of U.S. jobs are sustained through Chinese trade and investment. In Unmade in China, entrepreneur and Georgetown University business professor Jeremy R. Haft lifts the lid on the hidden world of China’s intricate supply chains. Informed by years of experience building new companies in China, Haft’s unique, insider’s view reveals a startling picture of an economy which struggles to make baby formula safely, much less a nuclear power plant. Using firm-level data and recent case studies, Unmade in China tells the story of systemic risk in Chinese manufacturing and why this is both really bad and really good news for America. —Polity Press{chop}

Sinica Podcast

10.05.15

Edmund Backhouse in the Long View of History

Kaiser Kuo & David Moser from Sinica Podcast
Edmund Backhouse, the 20th century Sinologist, long-time Beijing resident, and occasional con-artist, is perhaps best known for his incendiary memoirs, which not only distorted Western understanding of Chinese history for more than 50 years, but...

Are the Good Times Over for China and Africa?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
One of the prevailing media narratives of China’s recent economic turmoil is the effect that it could have on emerging markets, particularly in Africa. Now that the Chinese economy is showing real signs of slowing, the story goes, Beijing will soon...

How China’s Economic Slowdown Will Impact Africa

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
The tremors in China’s faltering economy are being felt across Africa. Now that China has replaced Europe and the United States as most African countries’ largest trading partner, there is understandable concern that slowing demand in the P.R.C...

Reports

10.01.15

China’s Next Opportunity: Sustainable Economic Transition

Anders Hove, Merisha Enoe, and Kate Gordon
Paulson Institute
China’s Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, also known as Jing-Jin-Ji, presents a compelling opportunity to highlight the potential—and the challenges—in transitioning to a more sustainable economic growth model. The Chinese government has prioritized the...

Sinica Podcast

09.24.15

Hip Hop in China

Kaiser Kuo, David Moser & more from Sinica Podcast
Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are joined today by Jerry Chan and Matt Sheehan for a look at hip-hop in China. Both guests should be familiar to long-time listeners in Beijing. Jerry has been involved with the local music scene for over a decade and now...

Reports

09.24.15

Bottled Water In China: Boom Or Bust?

Hongqiao Liu
China Water Risk
It has only taken China two decades to become the world’s largest bottled water consumer and a major producer. But given China’s much publicized water woes from pollution to scarcity and droughts, can China’s bottled water market continue to boom?...

The News Media’s Mixed Record in Covering China-Africa Ties

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
News organizations from across Africa and around the world are devoting more resources to covering China’s engagement on the continent. The overall quantity of coverage has undoubtedly increased over the past decade. The key question, though, is...

Growing Demand in China for Africa’s Lion Bones

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
Traditional Chinese medicine—popular throughout Asia—long has prized the supposed medicinal value of tiger bones. Now, though, as the world’s wild tiger population is disappearing fast, even facing extinction, the Chinese medicine industry may have...

Sinica Podcast

09.14.15

Parading Around China’s Military Legacy

Kaiser Kuo, David Moser & more from Sinica Podcast
The interpretation of history is an inherently political act in China, and the struggle for control of the narrative of the War of Resistance Against Japan—World War II—has heated up during the approach to the September 3 parade commemorating the...

‘I Try to Talk Less’: A Conversation with Ai Weiwei and Liao Yiwu

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
In late July, Chinese authorities renewed travel privileges for conceptual artist and political activist Ai Weiwei, ending a five-year prohibition following his arrest in 2011. He promptly flew to Munich and then Berlin, where he has accepted a...

Sinica Podcast

09.10.15

China’s Millennials

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

South Africa’s Inexplicable Love Affair with China

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
While the recent economic turmoil in China is prompting a number of African countries to reconsider their growing economic dependence on the People’s Republic of China, not so in South Africa. Both the government and the ruling African National...

The China Economy: What Lessons for Africa?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
When African policy makers scan the globe in search of inspiration on how to structure their economies, that search often leads to Beijing. Not surprisingly, African leaders look at what China has done over the past 30 years where it went from being...

Sinica Podcast

08.31.15

A ‘China Watcher’s China Watcher’ Decamps

Kaiser Kuo, David Moser & more from Sinica Podcast
As anyone who reads the Sinocism newsletter knows, Bill Bishop is among the most plugged-in people in Beijing with an uncanny ability to figure out what is actually happening in the halls of power. But as casual readers may not be aware, he is also...

Books

08.27.15

China’s Disruptors

Edward Tse
In September 2014, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba raised $25 billion in the world’s biggest-ever initial public offering. Since then, millions of investors and managers worldwide have pondered a fundamental question: What’s really going on with the new wave of China’s disruptors?Alibaba wasn’t an outlier—it’s one of a rising tide of thriving Chinese companies, mostly but not exclusively in the technology sector. Overnight, its founder, Jack Ma, appeared on the same magazine covers as American entrepreneurial icons like Mark Zuckerberg. Ma was quickly followed by the founders of other previously little-known companies, such as Baidu, Tencent, and Xiaomi.Over the past two decades, an unprecedented burst of entrepreneurialism has transformed China’s economy from a closed, impoverished, state-run system into a major power in global business. As products in China become more and more sophisticated, and as its companies embrace domestically developed technology, we will increasingly see Chinese goods setting global standards. Meanwhile, companies in the rest of the world wonder how they can access the fast-rising incomes of China’s 1.3 billion consumers.Now Edward Tse, a leading global strategy consultant, reveals how China got to this point, and what the country’s rise means for the United States and the rest of the world. Tse has spent more than twenty years working with senior Chinese executives, learning firsthand how China’s most powerful companies operate. He’s an expert on how private firms are thriving in what is still, officially, a communist country. His book draws on exclusive interviews and case studies to explore questions such as:What drives China’s entrepreneurs? Personal fame and fortune—or a quest for national pride and communal achievement?How do these companies grow so quickly? In 2005, Lenovo sold just one category of products (personal computers) in one market, China. Today, not only is it the world’s largest PC seller; it is also the world’s third-largest smartphone seller.How does Chinese culture shape the strategies and tactics of these business leaders? Can outsiders copy what the Chinese are doing?Can capitalists really thrive within a communist system? How does Tencent’s Pony Ma serve as a member of China’s parliament while running a company that dominates online games and messaging?What impact will China have on the rest of the world as its private companies enter new markets, acquire foreign businesses, and threaten established firms in countless industries?As Tse concludes: “I believe that as a consequence of the opening driven by China’s entrepreneurs, the push to invest in science, research, and development, and the new freedoms that people are enjoying across the country, China has embarked on a renaissance that could rival its greatest era in history—the Tang dynasty. These entrepreneurs are the front line in China’s intense hunger for success. They will have an even more remarkable impact on the global economy in the future, through the rest of this decade and beyond.” —Portfolio/Penguin{chop}

Chinese Investment in Africa: Surprisingly Small, but Growing Fast

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
It’s a widespread misconception that just because China is Africa’s top trading partner, it’s also the continent’s largest foreign investor. In fact, China ranks seventh overall in FDI, far behind the United States, long Africa’s largest source of...

Sinica Podcast

08.24.15

The Tianjin Explosion

Kaiser Kuo & David Moser from Sinica Podcast
Insurance scam? Industrial accident? Political machinations? After August excursions to lands of clean air and English-language media, the Sinica team is back this week with a show covering the astonishing explosions that gutted the Binhai economic...

China’s Special Economic Zones in Africa: Lots of Hype, Little Hope

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
A decade ago, China announced it would develop of a series of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Africa to boost trade and industrialization. Given the phenomenal success of China’s SEZs that helped to spark the PRC’s three decades of history-making...

Reports

08.18.15

The Politburo’s Predicament

Freedom House
Drawing on an analysis of hundreds of official documents, censorship directives, and human rights reports, as well as some 30 expert interviews, the study finds that the overall degree of repression has increased under the new leadership. Of 17...

China: The Superpower of Mr. Xi

Roderick MacFarquhar from New York Review of Books
In the almost one-hundred-year existence of the Chinese Communist Party (C.C.P.), its current general secretary, Xi Jinping, is only the second leader clearly chosen by his peers. The first was Mao Zedong. Both men beat out the competition, and thus...

China’s Role in Africa’s ‘Looting Machine’

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
China goes to great lengths to differentiate its engagement in Africa from the continent’s former European colonizers by emphasizing so-called “win-win development.” Chinese leaders regularly visit Africa where they emphatically reject the...

Excerpts

08.10.15

What Happened to the Settlers the Japanese Army Abandoned in China

Michael Meyer
Seventy years ago today, thousands of Japanese settlers—mostly women and children—found themselves trapped in an area then known as Manchuria, or Manchukuo, the name of the puppet state the Japanese military established in 1931. Abandoned by their...

U.S. Not Concerned About Chinese Competition in Africa ... But It Probably Should Be

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
The difference between U.S. and Chinese foreign policies in Africa was on stark display in July when president Barack Obama made his landmark visits to Kenya and Ethiopia. The president brought along with him a vast agenda that transcended trade,...

Sinica Podcast

07.27.15

Beijing’s Great Leap Forward: Microbrew in China

Kaiser Kuo & Carl Setzer from Sinica Podcast
Great Leap Brewing is an institution. As one of the earliest American-style microbreweries in China, not only has the company rescued us from endless nights of Snow and Yanjing, but it has also given us something uniquely Chinese with its assortment...

A Kenyan Columnist’s Provocative Views on the Chinese in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
In Mark Kapchanga’s view, the West, particularly the media, really does not understand what the Chinese are doing in Africa. Kapchanga, a provocative Nairobi-based journalist and columnist, isn’t shy in arguing his case that on balance China’s...

Reports

07.14.15

Lawyers and Activists Detained or Questioned by Police Since 9 July 2015

Amnesty International
Amnesty International has compiled this list of Lawyers and Activists in China who have been detained or questioned by police since July 9, 2015. The list was collated based on various sources. Amnesty International attempted to confirm all...

China’s Rapidly Changing Views on Wildlife Conservation in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
A dramatic shift in Chinese public opinion about animal welfare and global wildlife conservation appears to be underway. Supported by high-profile celebrity campaigns by NBA legend Yao Ming and actress Li Bing Bing, there is growing awareness in...

Sinica Podcast

07.13.15

Good Riddance, Monsieur Epstein

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
The hosts of the Sinica Podcast are not surprised that Gady Epstein is moving on. We used to buy the papers for his “Telegrams from the Orient”, but then he took that Economist gig and his productivity plummeted and it has become hard to even...

A Blind Lawyer vs. Blind Chinese Power

Evan Osnos from New York Review of Books
In early 2012, Chen Guangcheng, a self-taught lawyer who had been blind since infancy, lived with his wife and two children in the village of Dongshigu, where he’d been raised, on the eastern edge of the North China plain. They were not there by...

China, Africa, and the Indian Ocean: A New Balance of Power

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
For centuries the Indian Ocean was a vital conduit in the British empire, connecting colonies in South Asia with Africa as part of a vast imperial network. Today, the Indian Ocean once again plays as a vital role in an emerging global trading empire...

Books

07.07.15

Meeting China Halfway

Lyle J. Goldstein
Though a U.S.–China conflict is far from inevitable, major tensions are building in the Asia-Pacific region. These strains are the result of historical enmity, cultural divergence, and deep ideological estrangement, not to mention apprehensions fueled by geopolitical competition and the closely related "security dilemma." Despite worrying signs of intensifying rivalry between Washington and Beijing, few observers have provided concrete paradigms to lead this troubled relationship away from disaster. Meeting China Halfway: How to Defuse the Emerging US-China Rivalry is dramatically different from any other book about U.S.-China relations. Lyle J. Goldstein's explicit focus in almost every chapter is on laying bare both U.S. and Chinese perceptions of where their interests clash and proposing new paths to ease bilateral tensions through compromise. Each chapter contains a “cooperation spiral”―the opposite of an escalation spiral―to illustrate the policy proposals. Goldstein not only parses findings from the latest American scholarship but also breaks new ground by analyzing hundreds of Chinese-language sources, including military publications, never before evaluated by Western experts. Goldstein makes one hundred policy proposals over the course of this book, not because these are the only solutions to arresting the alarming course toward conflict, but rather to inaugurate a genuine debate regarding cooperative policy solutions to the most vexing problems in U.S.-China relations. ―Georgetown University Press {chop}

China’s Expanding Military Presence in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
China is steadily expanding its military footprint in Africa, highlighted by the recent deployment of 700 combat-ready troops to join a multinational peacekeeping operation in South Sudan. In all, the People’s Liberation Army and Navy now have an...

Sinica Podcast

07.01.15

Who Will Save Us from the Self-help Revolution?

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more
Someone desperately needs to call a fumigator, because China’s self-help bug is eating up the woodwork. Train station bookstores may always have served the genre’s trite pablum to bored businessmen legging it cross-country, but in recent months the...

China Starts to Play Nice with Foreign Aid Partners

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
New research from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in China indicates Beijing is starting to be more open about its international aid programs. If so, this would mark a significant change from the past where the Chinese government was...

South Africa Tourism in Crisis as Chinese Reject New Visa Regulations

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
South Africa’s tourism sector is in crisis as a series of new visa regulations have prompted dramatic falls in arrivals, particularly from the world’s largest source of tourists: China. The number of Chinese visitors to South Africa has plunged a...

Books

06.25.15

City of Virtues

Chuck Wooldridge
Throughout Nanjing’s history, writers have claimed that its spectacular landscape of mountains and rivers imbued the city with “royal qi,” making it a place of great political significance. City of Virtues examines the ways a series of visionaries, drawing on past glories of the city, projected their ideologies onto Nanjing as they constructed buildings, performed rituals, and reworked the literary heritage of the city. More than an urban history of Nanjing from the late 18th century until 1911―encompassing the Opium War, the Taiping occupation of the city, the rebuilding of the city by Zeng Guofan, and attempts to establish it as the capital of the Republic of China―this study shows how utopian visions of the cosmos shaped Nanjing’s path through the turbulent 19th century.―University of Washington Press{chop}

A Partnership with China to Avoid World War

George Soros from New York Review of Books
International cooperation is in decline both in the political and financial spheres. The U.N. has failed to address any of the major conflicts since the end of the cold war; the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference left a sour aftertaste; the...

Sinica Podcast

06.23.15

The Brother Orange Saga

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
The story started when a Buzzfeed editor lost his iPhone in an East Village bar in February of last year and blossomed into the Sino-American romance of the century, and probably the most up-lifting and altogether unlikely China story that we can...

China’s Controversial Technology Partnership with South Africa

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
The Chinese and South Africa governments have signed a pact, or a “plan of action,” where Beijing will provide a broad array of technology training, skills transfer, and ICT (information and communications technology) development for South Africa’s...

Books

06.16.15

The Yellow River

David A. Pietz
Flowing through the heart of the North China Plain―home to 200 million people―the Yellow River sustains one of China’s core regions. Yet this vital water supply has become highly vulnerable in recent decades, with potentially serious repercussions for China’s economic, social, and political stability. The Yellow River is an investigative expedition to the source of China’s contemporary water crisis, mapping the confluence of forces that have shaped the predicament that the world’s most populous nation now faces in managing its water reserves.Chinese governments have long struggled to maintain ecological stability along the Yellow River, undertaking ambitious programs of canal and dike construction to mitigate the effects of recurrent droughts and floods. But particularly during the Maoist years the North China Plain was radically re-engineered to utilize every drop of water for irrigation and hydroelectric generation. As David A. Pietz shows, Maoist water management from 1949 to 1976 cast a long shadow over the reform period, beginning in 1978. Rapid urban growth, industrial expansion, and agricultural intensification over the past three decades of China’s economic boom have been realized on a water resource base that was acutely compromised, with effects that have been more difficult and costly to overcome with each passing decade. Chronicling this complex legacy, The Yellow River provides important insight into how water challenges will affect China’s course as a twenty-first-century global power.―Harvard University Press{chop}

Sinica Podcast

06.15.15

The People’s Republic of Cruiseland

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
We have enough favorite writers on China that we’ve had to develop a sophisticated classification system just to keep track of everyone. That said, one of our hardest to place within the long-form taxonomy is Chris Beam, who you may have heard on...

Books

06.10.15

China’s Millennials

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