China’s Proposed Ivory Ban: Breakthrough or B.S.?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
China’s surprise announcement that it will phase out the trade and manufacturing of ivory came as a rare piece of good news for Africa’s rapidly shrinking elephant population. While most major international wildlife groups welcomed Beijing’s new...

Sinica Podcast

06.08.15

Writers: Heroes in China?

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
If you happen to live in the anglophone world and aren’t closely tied to China by blood or professional ties, chances are that what you believe to be true about this country is heavily influenced by the opinions of perhaps one hundred other people,...

Reports

06.08.15

China’s “New Normal”: Structural Change, Better Growth, and Peak Emissions

Fergus Green and Nicholas Stern
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
China has grown rapidly—often at double-digit rates—for more than three decades by following a strategy of high investment, strong export orientation, and energy-intensive manufacturing. While this growth lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty,...

NO! China is NOT Exporting Convict Labor to Africa!!!!

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Fifteen minutes into almost any conversation about the Chinese in Africa, the question about Chinese labor invariably comes up. “The Chinese are exporting convicts to work on construction sites,” according to one of the pervasive myths, or, “Chinese...

In North Korea: Wonder & Terror

Ian Buruma from New York Review of Books
The northeast of China used to be called Manchuria. Another name was “the cockpit of Asia.” Many wars were fought there. A French priest who traveled through the region in the 1920s wrote: “Although it is uncertain where God created paradise, we can...

Books

06.02.15

China Under Mao

Andrew G. Walder
China’s Communist Party seized power in 1949 after a long period of guerrilla insurgency followed by full-scale war, but the Chinese revolution was just beginning. China Under Mao narrates the rise and fall of the Maoist revolutionary state from 1949 to 1976—an epoch of startling accomplishments and disastrous failures, steered by many forces but dominated above all by Mao Zedong.Mao’s China, Andrew Walder argues, was defined by two distinctive institutions established during the first decade of Communist Party rule: a Party apparatus that exercised firm (sometimes harsh) discipline over its members and cadres; and a socialist economy modeled after the Soviet Union. Although a large national bureaucracy had oversight of this authoritarian system, Mao intervened strongly at every turn. The doctrines and political organization that produced Mao’s greatest achievements―victory in the civil war, the creation of China’s first unified modern state, a historic transformation of urban and rural life—also generated his worst failures: the industrial depression and rural famine of the Great Leap Forward and the violent destruction and stagnation of the Cultural Revolution.Misdiagnosing China’s problems as capitalist restoration and prescribing continuing class struggle against imaginary enemies as the solution, Mao ruined much of what he had built and created no viable alternative. At the time of his death, he left China backward and deeply divided.—Harvard University Press{chop}{node, 16186, 4}

Sinica Podcast

06.01.15

Earthquake in Nepal!

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
[Note: This podcast was first recorded on May 13.—The Editors]On April 25, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the Katmandu Valley in Nepal, causing over 8,600 deaths, countless more injuries, and triggering mountain avalanches which sent snow...

Reports

06.01.15

Chinese FDI in Europe and Germany

Thilo Hanemann and Mikko Huotari
Mercator Institute for China Studies
The authors have—on the basis of a unique transaction dataset—analyzed the newest trends of Chinese direct investment in Germany and the E.U. The study is able to clearly establish that the new wave of Chinese investment offers exceptional...

Reports

06.01.15

Demand-Driven Data: How Partner Countries are Gathering Chinese Development Cooperation Information

United Nations
As China becomes one of the major development partners and South-South cooperation (SSC) providers globally, there is increasing demand from partner countries for more information on China’s financial flows. China has been taking initiatives to...

Chinese Racist Views Towards Blacks and Africans

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
When riots broke out in the U.S. city of Baltimore in May 2015, the reaction across the Chinese social web was sadly predictable as Internet users posted countless anti-black racist comments. However, what was interesting about their posts is how...

China’s Invisible History: An Interview with Filmmaker and Artist Hu Jie

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Though none of his works have been publicly shown in China, Hu Jie is one of his country’s most noteworthy filmmakers. He is best known for his trilogy of documentaries about Maoist China, which includes Searching for Lin Zhao’s Soul (2004), telling...

Sinica Podcast

05.26.15

Identity, Race, and Civilization

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
It doesn't take much exposure to China to realize the pervasiveness of identity politics here. Indeed, whether in the Chinese government’s occasionally hamfisted efforts to micromanage ethnic minority cultures or the Foreign Ministry’s soft-...

The Dark Side of Chinese Investment in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Sam Pa is a mysterious man, largely unknown to the outside world. Yet Pa, who goes by at least seven different aliases, represents the nefarious side of China’s engagement in Africa. Sam Pa and his associates in the Hong Kong-based consortium known...

Reports

05.20.15

Censorship and Conscience

Alexa Olesen
Alexa Olesen
PEN International
In this report, PEN American Center (PEN) examines how foreign authors in particular are navigating the heavily censored Chinese book industry. China is one of the largest book publishing markets in the world, with total revenue projected to exceed...

Books

05.19.15

No Ordinary Disruption

Richard Dobbs, James Manyika, Jonathan Woetzel
Our intuition on how the world works could well be wrong. We are surprised when new competitors burst on the scene, or businesses protected by large and deep moats find their defenses easily breached, or vast new markets are conjured from nothing. Trend lines resemble saw-tooth mountain ridges.The world not only feels different. The data tell us it is different. Based on years of research by the directors of the McKinsey Global Institute, No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Forces Breaking All the Trends is a timely and important analysis of how we need to reset our intuition as a result of four forces colliding and transforming the global economy: the rise of emerging markets; the accelerating impact of technology on the natural forces of market competition; an aging world population; and accelerating flows of trade, capital, and people.Our intuitions formed during a uniquely benign period for the world economy—often termed the Great Moderation. Asset prices were rising, cost of capital was falling, labor and resources were abundant, and generation after generation was growing up more prosperous than their parents.But the Great Moderation has gone. The cost of capital may rise. The price of everything from grain to steel may become more volatile. The world’s labor force could shrink. Individuals, particularly those with low job skills, are at risk of growing up poorer than their parents.What sets No Ordinary Disruption apart is depth of analysis combined with lively writing informed by surprising, memorable insights that enable us to quickly grasp the disruptive forces at work. For evidence of the shift to emerging markets, consider the startling fact that, by 2025, a single regional city in China—Tianjin—will have a GDP equal to that of the Sweden, or that, in the decades ahead, half of the world’s economic growth will come from 440 cities including Kumasi in Ghana or Santa Carina in Brazil that most executives today would be hard-pressed to locate on a map.What we are now seeing is no ordinary disruption but the new facts of business life—facts that require executives and leaders at all levels to reset their operating assumptions and management intuition.—PublicAffairs{chop}

Sinica Podcast

05.18.15

Leonard Bernstein and China

Kaiser Kuo, David Moser & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are delighted to host Alexander Bernstein, son of Leonard Berstein and director of the Bernstein Family Foundation, who is now in China on part of a cultural tour. Accompanied by Alison Friedman of...

Mao’s China: The Language Game

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
It can be embarrassing for a China scholar like me to read Eileen Chang’s pellucid prose, written more than sixty years ago, on the early years of the People’s Republic of China. How many cudgels to the head did I need before arriving at comparable...

Excerpts

05.14.15

The Bar

Suzanne Ma
She had been working at the bar for less than a week when the skin on her hands started to peel. Little bits of skin, translucent and pink, flaked off like Parmesan cheese. Then the cracks appeared. Tiny fissures ruptured at the joints and split her...

A Flash Point in China-Africa Relations Re-Opens in Zambia

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
When critics of the Chinese in Africa make their case, the Collum coal mine in Zambia is invariably on their list of grievances. The controversial mine has been the site of violent labor disputes that have severely injured, even killed, both...

Sinica Podcast

05.11.15

India Comes to China

Kaiser Kuo & Jeremy Goldkorn from Sinica Podcast
This week’s Sincia Podcast is about the upcoming visit to China of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who served from 2001 to 2014 as Chief Minister of Gujarat and was sworn into office almost one year ago this month. Modi’s visit comes at an...

China Malls Rise Amid Growing Xenophobia in South Africa

Cobus van Staden & Mingwei Huang
Chinese immigrants in South Africa have not been spared from the violent, anti-immigrant riots that have swept across Durban and Johannesburg, two of the country’s largest cities. There have been reports of injuries along with at least 40 business...

Books

05.05.15

Meet Me in Venice

Suzanne Ma
When Ye Pei dreamed of Venice as a girl, she imagined a magical floating city of canals and gondola rides. And she imagined her mother, successful in her new life and eager to embrace the daughter she had never forgotten. But when Ye Pei arrives in Italy, she learns her mother works on a farm far from the city. Her only connection, a mean-spirited Chinese auntie, puts Ye Pei to work in a small-town café. Rather than giving up and returning to China, a determined Ye Pei takes on a grueling schedule, resolving to save enough money to provide her family with a better future.{node, 15611}A groundbreaking work of journalism, Meet Me in Venice provides a personal, intimate account of Chinese individuals in the very act of migration. Suzanne Ma spent years in China and Europe to understand why Chinese people choose to immigrate to nations where they endure hardship, suspicion, manual labor, and separation from their loved ones. Today, all eyes are on China and its explosive economic growth. With the rise of the Chinese middle class, Chinese communities around the world are growing in size and prosperity, a development many westerners find unsettling and even threatening. Following Ye Pei’s undaunted path, this inspiring book is an engrossing read for those eager to understand contemporary China and the enormous impact of Chinese emigrants around the world. —Rowman & Littlefield{chop} 

Sinica Podcast

05.04.15

The Furor and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Kaiser Kuo & Jeremy Goldkorn from Sinica Podcast
A total of 57 countries have now joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China’s newly-launched competitor to the Asian Development Bank (AIIB) that has sparked a flurry of objections from the United States, even culminating in a failed...

Reports

05.01.15

Africa’s Fisheries’ Paradise at a Crossroads

Greenpeace
Irresponsible Chinese Distant Water Fishing (DWF) companies, including China’s largest DWF company—China National Fisheries Corporation (CNFC)—are undermining the long-term sustainability of West Africa’s fisheries through persistent Illegal,...

Reports

05.01.15

New Neighbors: Chinese Investment in the United States by Congressional District

National Committee on United States-China Relations
Foreign direct investment (FDI) is a vital component of the United States economy today and has been throughout the nation’s history. Investors from abroad are a source of growth, employment, competitiveness, and innovation, and their presence is...

Books

04.30.15

Fantasy Islands

Julie Sze
The rise of China and its status as a leading global factory are altering the way people live and consume. At the same time, the world appears wary of the real costs involved. Fantasy Islands probes Chinese, European, and American eco-desire and eco-technological dreams, and examines the solutions they offer to environmental degradation in this age of global economic change.Uncovering the stories of sites in China, including the plan for a new eco-city called Dongtan on the island of Chongming, mega-suburbs, and the Shanghai World Expo, Julie Sze explores the flows, fears, and fantasies of Pacific Rim politics that shaped them. She charts how climate change discussions align with U.S. fears of China’s ascendancy and the related demise of the American Century, and she considers the motives of financial and political capital for eco-city and ecological development supported by elite power structures in the U.K. and China. Fantasy Islands shows how ineffectual these efforts are while challenging us to see what a true eco-city would be. —University of California Press{chop}

An American Hero in China

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
One night in September, three hundred people crowded into the basement auditorium of an office tower in Beijing to hear a discussion between two of China’s most popular writers. One was Liu Yu, a thirty-eight-year-old political scientist and blogger...

Sinica Podcast

04.27.15

Nationalism and Censorship

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Christopher Cairns joins the hosts of Sinica for a discussion of his forthcoming paper, co-authored with Allen Carlson, scheduled for publication in China Quarterly. Why are we so interested in this topic? Because Cairns and his colleagues at...

China, Africa, and the PRC’s Massive New Development Bank

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Fifty-seven countries, including two from Africa, are among the founding members of China’s new development bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). While the new bank’s primary objective will be to develop infrastructure projects in...

Books

04.23.15

Intimate Rivals

Sheila A. Smith
No country feels China’s rise more deeply than Japan. Through intricate case studies of visits by Japanese politicians to the Yasukuni Shrine, conflicts over the boundaries of economic zones in the East China Sea, concerns about food safety, and strategies of island defense, Sheila A. Smith explores the policy issues testing the Japanese government as it tries to navigate its relationship with an advancing China.Smith finds that Japan’s interactions with China extend far beyond the negotiations between diplomats and include a broad array of social actors intent on influencing the Sino-Japanese relationship. Some of the tensions complicating Japan’s encounters with China, such as those surrounding the Yasukuni Shrine or territorial disputes, have deep roots in the postwar era, and political advocates seeking a stronger Japanese state organize themselves around these causes. Other tensions manifest themselves during the institutional and regulatory reform of maritime boundary and food safety issues.Smith scrutinizes the role of the Japanese government in coping with contention as China’s influence grows and Japanese citizens demand more protection. Underlying the government’s efforts is Japan’s insecurity about its own capacity for change and its waning status as the leading economy in Asia. For many, China’s rise means Japan’s decline, and Smith suggests how Japan can maintain its regional and global clout as confidence in its postwar diplomatic and security approach diminishes.—Columbia University Press{chop}

The Wonderfully Elusive Chinese Novel

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
In teaching Chinese-language courses to American students, which I have done about thirty times, perhaps the most anguishing question I get is “Professor Link, what is the Chinese word for ______?”

Sinica Podcast

04.20.15

China’s Ideological Spectrum

Kaiser Kuo & David Moser from Sinica Podcast
Last week, Harvard doctoral student Jennifer Pan and MIT graduate student Yiqing Xu co-released a paper, “China’s Ideological Spectrum,” that has garnered a tremendous amount of attention in China-watching circles. And the reason for the fracas?...

Chinese Cultural Diplomacy in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The Chinese government has spent billions of dollars in Africa on public diplomacy initiatives that are intended to improve the country’s image. Central to that strategy is the growing network of Confucius Institutes (CIs) spread across the...

China’s Controversial Trade in Africa’s Natural Resources

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
China often faces blistering criticism for its voracious appetite for Africa’s natural resources. Chinese companies are spread across the continent mining, logging, and fishing to feed both hungry factories and people back home. In most, if not all...

Reports

04.15.15

Towards A Water & Energy Secure China

Debra Tan, Feng Hu, Hubert Thieriot, Dawn McGregor
China Water Risk
China’s waterscape is changing. Water risks in China, be they physical, economic or regulatory, have great social-economic impacts and are well recognized, especially those in China’s water-energy nexus. Today, 93 percent of power generation in...

Sinica Podcast

04.13.15

Styling It in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Sociologist Ben Ross, a doctoral student at the University of Chicago, focuses on Chinese labor migration and related issues. He first got noticed by Sinica in 2007 while writing a blog about working as the only foreign "hair-washing trainee...

China: What the Uighurs See

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Xinjiang is one of those remote places whose frequent mention in the international press stymies true understanding. Home to China’s Uighur minority, this vast region of western China is mostly known for being in a state of permanent low-grade...

Chinese Dreams and the African Renaissance

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Leaders in both China and Africa have articulated new visions for their respective regions that project a strong sense of confidence, renewal, and a break from once-dominant Western ideologies. In both cases, argues East is Read blogger Mothusi...

Books

04.09.15

Revolutionary Cycles in Chinese Cinema, 1951-1979

Zhuoyi Wang
A comprehensive history of how the conflicts and balances of power in the Maoist revolutionary campaigns from 1951 to 1979 complicated and diversified the meanings of films, this book offers a discursive study of the development of early PRC cinema. Wang closely investigates how film artists, Communist Party authorities, cultural bureaucrats, critics, and audiences negotiated, competed, and struggled with each other for the power to decide how to use films and how their extensively different, agonistic, and antagonistic power strategies created an ever-changing discursive network of meaning in cinema. —Palgrave Macmillan{chop}

Reports

04.09.15

Power Play: China’s Ultra High Voltage Technology and Global Standards

Paulson Institute
As a matter of government policy and corporate strategy, China has been intensifying its effort to set indigenous standards for homegrown ultra-high voltage (UHV) transmission technology. The country also aims to contribute to UHV standards...

Sinica Podcast

04.07.15

Cyber Leninism and the Political Culture of the Chinese Internet

Kaiser Kuo, David Moser & more from Sinica Podcast
Kaiser Kuo and David Moser speak with Rogier Creemers, post-doctoral fellow at Oxford with a focus on Chinese Internet governance and author of the China Copyright and Media blog.{chop}

This Little Bridge Connects Guangzhou and Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou is home to China’s largest African migrant population, predominantly from Nigeria. In the city’s Little North Road neighborhood there is a small pedestrian bridge where immigrants from all over the world go to...

Books

04.02.15

Muslim, Trader, Nomad, Spy

Sulmaan Wasif Khan
In 1959, the Dalai Lama fled Lhasa, leaving the People's Republic of China with a crisis on its Tibetan frontier. Sulmaan Wasif Khan tells the story of the PRC's response to that crisis and, in doing so, brings to life an extraordinary cast of characters: Chinese diplomats appalled by sky burials, Guomindang spies working with Tibetans in Nepal, traders carrying salt across the Himalayas, and Tibetan Muslims rioting in Lhasa. What Chinese policymakers confronted in Tibet, Khan argues, was not a "third world" but a "fourth world" problem: Beijing was dealing with peoples whose ways were defined by statelessness. As it sought to tighten control over the restive borderlands, Mao's China moved from a lighter hand to a harder, heavier imperial structure. That change triggered long-lasting shifts in Chinese foreign policy. Moving from capital cities to far-flung mountain villages, from top diplomats to nomads crossing disputed boundaries in search of pasture, this book shows Cold War China as it has never been seen before and reveals the deep influence of the Tibetan crisis on the political fabric of present-day China. —The University of North Carolina Press{chop}

The Politics of Banning Ivory in China

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
In February 2015, China announced a one-year ban on ivory imports. While many conservation groups such as the Environmental Investigation Agency denounced Beijing’s policy as “ineffective,” the San Francisco-based group WildAid said the ban is an...

Reports

04.01.15

Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China

Robert D. Blackwill, Ashley J. Tellis
Council on Foreign Relations
China represents and will remain the most significant competitor to the United States for decades to come. As such, the need for a more coherent U.S. response to increasing Chinese power is long overdue. Because the American effort to “integrate”...

Reports

04.01.15

Can Fracking Green China’s Growth?

Ilmi Granoff, Sam Pickard, Julian Doczi, Roger Calow, Zhenbo Hou, & Vanessa D’Alançon
Overseas Development Institute
This paper analyses the best available technical, scientific, and engineering literature on the risks and opportunities posed by shale gas, and also what policy environment could maximise the opportunity and minimise the risk. It also analyses China...

Reports

04.01.15

Can Carbon Taxes be Good for China and the United States?

Antung Anthony Liu
Paulson Institute
One way that China may meaningfully control its emissions is through the recent idea of a national carbon permit trading system, building on its carbon permit pilot programs. In China’s case, the internal debate about promulgating these actions...

Reports

04.01.15

U.S.-China 21: The Future of U.S.-China Relations Under Xi Jinping

Kevin Rudd
Harvard University
We are, therefore, seeing the emergence of an asymmetric world in which the fulcrums of economic and military power are no longer co-located, but, in fact, are beginning to diverge significantly. Political power, through the agency of foreign policy...

Reports

03.31.15

Navigating Choppy Waters

Matthew P. Goodman, David A. Parker
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
China faces increasing economic headwinds that call into question not only its near-term growth outlook but the longer-term sustainability of its economic success. At a time of leadership transition in Beijing, global markets and policymakers alike...

A Chinese Perspective on the #RacistRestaurant Scandal in Kenya

Cobus van Staden & Huang Hongxiang
The Chinese restaurant in Nairobi that barred Africans after 5pm sparked a frenzied week of news coverage on both local and international media and, of course, on Twitter. The actions of this small, inconsequential restaurant seemingly took on much...

Sinica Podcast

03.30.15

Comfort Women and the Struggle for Reparations

Kaiser Kuo from Sinica Podcast
Kaiser talks with Lucy Hornby, China correspondent for the Financial Times and author of a recent piece on China’s last surviving Chinese comfort women and their longstanding and often futile attempt to seek reparations in both China and Japan.Also...

Who Knew? Madagascar Has Africa’s Third Largest Chinese Population

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The Chinese population on the east African island of Madagascar defies many of the poorly-informed, albeit widely-held, stereotypes about Chinese migrants on the rest of the continent. First, the community in Madagascar isn't small or isolated...

Sinica Podcast

03.23.15

In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland

Kaiser Kuo, David Moser & more from Sinica Podcast
Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are joined by Michael Meyer, the author of The Last Days of Old Beijing and now In Manchuria, a part literary travelogue and part journalistic account of three years spent living with family in rural Jilin.{...

Books

03.18.15

Confucius

Michael Schuman
Confucius is perhaps the most important philosopher in history. Today, his teachings shape the daily lives of more than 1.6 billion people. Throughout East Asia, Confucius’s influence can be seen in everything from business practices and family relationships to educational standards and government policies. Even as western ideas from Christianity to Communism have bombarded the region, Confucius’s doctrine has endured as the foundation of East Asian culture. It is impossible to understand East Asia, journalist Michael Schuman demonstrates, without first engaging with Confucius and his vast legacy.Confucius created a worldview that is in many respects distinct from, and in conflict with, Western culture. As Schuman shows, the way that East Asian companies are managed, how family members interact with each other, and how governments see their role in society all differ from the norm in the West due to Confucius’s lasting impact. Confucius has been credited with giving East Asia an advantage in today’s world, by instilling its people with a devotion to learning, and propelling the region’s economic progress. Still, the sage has also been highly controversial. For the past 100 years, East Asians have questioned if the region can become truly modern while Confucius remains so entrenched in society. He has been criticized for causing the inequality of women, promoting authoritarian regimes, and suppressing human rights.Despite these debates, East Asians today are turning to Confucius to help them solve the ills of modern life more than they have in a century. As a wealthy and increasingly powerful Asia rises on the world stage, Confucius, too, will command a more prominent place in global culture.Touching on philosophy, history, and current affairs, Confucius tells the vivid, dramatic story of the enigmatic philosopher whose ideas remain at the heart of East Asian civilization.  —Basic Books {chop}

Cameroon Highlights Pros and Cons of Chinese Infrastructure Development

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
When finished, the new deep-sea port in the southern Cameroonian city of Kribi will likely become a major gateway for all of Central Africa. This will be Cameroon’s only deep-sea port that can accommodate the larger inter-continental trading ships...

Excerpts

03.16.15

The Education of Detained Chinese Feminist Li Tingting

Eric Fish
It is probably fair to say no woman has ever taken more flak for walking into a men’s room than Li Tingting. In the run-up to Women’s Day in 2012, the feminist college student was distressed by the one-to-one ratio of public restroom facilities for...

Books

03.16.15

The China Boom

Ho-fung Hung
Many thought China’s rise would fundamentally remake the global order. Yet, much like other developing nations, the Chinese state now finds itself entrenched in a status quo characterized by free trade and American domination. Through a cutting-edge historical, sociological, and political analysis, Ho-fung Hung exposes the competing interests and economic realities that temper the dream of Chinese supremacy—forces that are stymieing growth throughout the global South. Hung focuses on four common misconceptions about China’s boom: that China could undermine orthodoxy by offering an alternative model of growth; that China is radically altering power relations between the East and the West; that China is capable of diminishing the global power of the United States; and that the Chinese economy would restore the world’s wealth after the 2008 financial crisis. His work reveals how much China depends on the existing order and how the interests of the Chinese elites maintain these ties. Through its perpetuation of the dollar standard and its addiction to U.S. Treasury bonds, China remains bound to the terms of its own prosperity, and its economic practices of exploiting debt bubbles are destined to fail. Dispelling many of the world’s fantasies and fears, Hung warns of a post-miracle China that will grow increasingly assertive in attitude while remaining constrained in capability. —Columbia University Press{chop}

Books

03.16.15

The China Collectors

Shareen Blair Brysac and Karl E. Meyer
Thanks to Salem sea captains, Gilded Age millionaires, curators on horseback, and missionaries gone native, North American museums now possess the greatest collections of Chinese art outside of East Asia itself. How did it happen? The China Collectors is the first full account of a century-long treasure hunt in China from the Opium Wars and the Boxer Rebellion to Mao Zedong's 1949 ascent.The principal gatherers are mostly little known and defy invention. They included "foreign devils" who braved desert sandstorms, bandits, and local warlords in acquiring significant works. Adventurous curators like Langdon Warner, a forebear of Indiana Jones, argued that the caves of Dunhuang were already threatened by vandals, thereby justifying the removal of frescoes and sculptures. Other Americans include George Kates, an alumnus of Harvard, Oxford, and Hollywood, who fell in love with Ming furniture. The Chinese were divided between dealers who profited from the artworks' removal, and scholars who sought to protect their country's patrimony. Duanfang, the greatest Chinese collector of his era, was beheaded in a coup and his splendid bronzes now adorn major museums. Others in this rich tapestry include Charles Lang Freer, an enlightened Detroit entrepreneur, two generations of Rockefellers, and Avery Brundage, the imperious Olympian, and Arthur Sackler, the grand acquisitor. No less important are two museum directors, Cleveland's Sherman Lee and Kansas City's Laurence Sickman, who challenged the East Coast's hegemony.Shareen Blair Brysac and Karl E. Meyer even-handedly consider whether ancient treasures were looted or salvaged, and whether it was morally acceptable to spirit hitherto inaccessible objects westward, where they could be studied and preserved by trained museum personnel. And how should the U.S. and Canada and their museums respond now that China has the means and will to reclaim its missing patrimony?—Palgrave Macmillan {chop}

The Spy Cables: Chinese Espionage in Africa

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
Buried in the trove of secret intelligence documents known as “The Spy Cables” obtained by Al Jazeera and The Guardian is a passing reference to allegations Chinese spies broke into a South African nuclear facility in 2007. Interestingly, this was...

Sinica Podcast

03.09.15

Under the Dome

Kaiser Kuo, David Moser & more from Sinica Podcast
Under the Dome, Chai Jing's breakout documentary on China's catastrophic air pollution problem, finally hit insurmountable political opposition last Friday after seven days in which the video racked up over 200 million views. The eventual...