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04.15.16

A ‘Lost’ Daughter Speaks, and All of China Listens

A woman in her mid-40s cradled a scrap of blue cloth checkered with red. “Have you seen this before?” she asked. “Do you recognize this pattern?”I held it up to the light and noticed the cotton edges had frayed and tattered over years. “We already...

Media

04.14.16

‘Taiwan Independence’ Doesn’t Mean What You Think

On February 23, all eyes were on Taiwan’s new Member of Parliament Freddy Lim as he took the podium at the Legislative Yuan for the first time. Lim is now best known as the heavy metal rock star who, following January 2016 elections on the self-...

Media

04.05.16

Chinese Censors Rush to Make ‘Panama Papers’ Disappear

David Wertime
On April 3, the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit International Committee of Investigative Journalists dropped what struck many as a bombshell: news that a leaked trove of 11.5 million previously secret files from Panama-based law firm Mossack...

Media

03.29.16

‘River Town’ the Movie

Jonathan Landreth from China Film Insider
Not since Iron and Silk premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1991 has a movie based on a memoir about teachers on the front lines of U.S.-China relations come to the big screen. Director Shirley Sun’s mostly-English-language film adaptation of...

Media

03.15.16

Taiwan’s New Direction

Eric Fish from Asia Blog
In January, Taiwan’s voters handed the traditionally pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) a landslide victory, giving it control of both the parliament and presidency for the first time ever. The victory came at the expense of the...

Media

03.10.16

China’s Secret Weapon on Disputed Island: Beer and Badminton

Soldiers, ships, and military outposts are the usual tools of nations staking out their territory. But on disputed shoals in the South China Sea, Beijing may be deploying a new arsenal: soccer fields, pipelines, and tea shops.Woody Island is a...

Media

03.04.16

China’s Coming Ideological Wars

Taisu Zhang
For most Chinese, the 1990s were a period of intense material pragmatism. Economic development was the paramount social and political concern, while the various state ideologies that had guided policy during the initial decades of the People’s...

Media

03.01.16

Why China Isn’t Hosting Syrian Refugees

The civil war in Syria, now spanning almost half a decade, and the Islamic State’s territorial advances there have led to the world’s worst refugee crisis in decades. More than 4.7 million Syrians have left their homeland, pouring into neighboring...

Media

02.22.16

Leave China, Study in America, Find Jesus

Shelly Cai was 18 years old when she left the southern Chinese metropolis of Nanjing to enroll in the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In August 2010, after a 13-hour flight from Shanghai to Chicago and a three-hour bus ride, Cai finally arrived in...

Media

02.19.16

New Video Celebrates Chinese Missiles With Old-School Communist Pomp

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
Trumpets sound and trombones blare as a warhead launches. Intercontinental ballistic missiles mounted on trucks parade down the center of a boulevard crowded with bystanders. “We are the glorious Rocket Force,” a mixed choir sings in a Soviet-...

Media

02.11.16

Chinese Students Are Flooding U.S. Christian High Schools

It is no secret that Chinese students are pouring into the United States; over 300,000 of them attended U.S. colleges and universities in 2015 alone, and Chinese are filling up spots in U.S. secondary schools in search of a better education and an...

Media

02.04.16

Seeking Justice for China’s ‘Underage Prostitutes’

Four and a half years ago in a small village on the outskirts of the coastal city of Yingkou in northern China, a woman stopped a 12-year-old girl outside the child’s school and lured her into a car. “If you don’t come with me, I will beat you every...

Media

02.02.16

When Push Comes to Shove—Movies, China, and the World

Jonathan Landreth from China Film Insider
The moviemaking dance the United States is doing with China is picking up pace. The Asian giant’s audience influence is soaring as estimates show that Chinese box office returns could overtake American ticket sales this year or next. Parity in...

Media

01.29.16

‘The New Yorker’ on China

Jiayang Fan, Peter Hessler & more
Following is an edited transcript of a live event hosted at Asia Society New York on December 17, 2015, “ChinaFile Presents: The New Yorker On China.” (The full video appears above.) The evening, introduced by Asia Society President Josette Sheeran...

Media

01.29.16

‘I Don't Want to Think About Activating Change’

Eric Fish from Asia Blog
In 2012, The New York Times published a groundbreaking investigative report showing that the family of Wen Jiabao, China’s then-prime minister, possessed wealth in excess of $2.7 billion. In response, the Chinese government blocked the Times’...

Media

01.07.16

Assessing China’s Plan to Build Internet Power

Scott D. Livingston
When the Chinese Communist Party targeted clean energy in its 11th Five Year Plan (2006-2010), the resulting investment spree upended the global clean energy market almost overnight. Now, as China approaches its 13th Five Year Plan, a new policy...

Media

01.06.16

Is it Too Late for a ‘Two-Child Policy’?

Zhang Xiaoran from U.S.-China Dialogue
As of January 1, all married couples in China are now allowed to have a second child without penalty. When, in October, word spread that China’s government would end its longstanding one-child policy, Xiaoran Zhang posed the following questions to a...

Media

01.05.16

China’s Top 5 Censored Posts in 2015

Louisa Lim
Chinese President Xi Jinping rounded off 2015 by posting his first message on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, in the form of a new year’s greeting to the People’s Liberation Army. His post received 52,000 comments, mostly fawning messages of...

Media

12.30.15

After Deadly Chinese Landslide, Word Games Begin

David Wertime
On December 20, a tidal wave of red dirt and construction waste descended on Guangming New District, part of the Chinese southern megacity of Shenzhen, burying whole buildings and sending residents scrambling in fright. Those facts, captured in...

Media

12.22.15

‘New Yorker’ Writers Reflect on ‘Extreme’ Reporting About China

Eric Fish from Asia Blog
While international reporting on China has improved by leaps and bounds since foreign journalists first started trickling into the country in the 1970s, major challenges remain in giving readers back home a balanced image. That was the message from...

Media

12.17.15

Smarter, Sexier State Media: There’s an App for That

Before the Internet age, it used to be relatively straightforward for authoritarian regimes to dictate popular news consumption: just control all the major newspapers, as China’s ruling Communist Party has done since the founding of the People’s...

Media

12.15.15

The Proletariat Experience of Beijing’s Airpocalypse

On December 8, a Tuesday, a man surnamed Cao piloted his electric scooter along Beijing’s profoundly hazy streets, parking in front of one towering apartment complex after another to deliver packages. Although the government had just issued a “red...

Media

12.14.15

R.I.P. SCMP?

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian & David Wertime
On December 11, Chinese Internet behemoth Alibaba announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire Hong Kong’s flagship English-language newspaper, the South China Morning Post (SCMP). The announcement came as no surprise, as the ailing paper...

Media

12.09.15

How to Say ‘Islamic State’ in Mandarin

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On December 6, the Islamic State released a slick recording of a Mandarin Chinese-language song glorifying jihad, in what seems to be a direct attempt to recruit Chinese Muslims to the terrorist group’s cause. “Awaken, Muslim brothers! Now is the...

Media

11.27.15

‘Personal Media’ in China Takes a Hit From Pre-Publication Censorship

Hu Yong
Observers have long thought that Chinese authorities censor the media depending on type: the censorship of traditional media is primarily conducted in advance, with a thorough inspection of news and discussion before publication; new media, in...

Media

11.20.15

Pulitzer’s ‘Lookout on the Bridge’ vs. China’s ‘News Ethics Committees’

David Bandurski
In a recent harangue on the imperative of better journalism, a website run by the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Propaganda Department tore a jagged page from the wisdom of American newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer: “A journalist is the...

Media

11.20.15

China Censors Online Outcry After ISIS Execution

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On November 18, the Islamic State (IS) released photos of what it claimed were two executed hostages. The photos, appearing in the terrorist group’s English-language magazine Dabiq, depict two men with bloodied faces, the word “executed” emblazoned...

Media

11.18.15

Chinese Students in America: 300,000 and Counting

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
In 1981, when Erhfei Liu entered Brandeis University as an undergraduate, he was only the second student from mainland China in the school’s history. “I was a rare animal from Red China,” Liu said in a September 1 interview with Foreign Policy, “an...

Media

11.13.15

The Real Reason for China’s Two-Child Policy: Millions of New Consumers

Two fictitious Chinese brothers are born in Tuanjiehu Maternity Hospital in the Chinese capital of Beijing. Let’s say the first was born already, in late 2015; his parents nickname him Laoda, meaning “oldest child.” That’s because they have hopes...

Media

11.12.15

Good Journalist, Bad Journalist

David Bandurski
As China marked its annual Journalists’ Day over the weekend, proclaiming the importance of “correct news ideals,” even jaded New Yorkers stopped in their tracks and took notice. How could they not? The message beamed over 7th Avenue on Times Square...

Media

11.12.15

Watch Frank Underwood Advertise China’s Black Friday

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On November 11, at the stroke of midnight Beijing time, millions of Chinese sitting behind their computers or cradling their mobile phones began purchasing cell phones, handbags, and clothing at cutthroat prices. By the end of November 11, analysts...

Media

11.10.15

Chinese Hits Miss Out on the Global Box Office

Jonathan Landreth from China Film Insider
If he’d had the time after meeting American captains of industry in Seattle and Barack Obama at the White House, Chinese President Xi Jinping might have ducked out at the close of his United Nations appearance and into a New York movie theater to...

Media

11.09.15

Can the China Model Succeed?

Daniel A. Bell, Timothy Garton Ash & more
Is this a new model? Is authoritarian capitalism, Leninist capitalism, something that has durability? Have the rules changed about how countries develop? That used to be, remember, that open markets led ineluctably to open societies. How does it...

Media

11.06.15

‘A Brutality Born of Helplessness’

Alexa Olesen
When China finally scrapped its one-child policy after more than three decades of brutality, almost no one lamented its passing. But Paul R. Ehlich, a Stanford-educated biologist and author of the 1968 fear-baiting classic The Population Bomb, was...

Media

11.06.15

Xi Jinping’s Taiwan Trap

Isaac Stone Fish
Before Chinese President Xi Jinping had a dream, his predecessor Hu Jintao had a wish: the “peaceful reunification” of China and Taiwan. In fact, all of Xi’s predecessors since Mao Zedong founded the People’s Republic of China in 1949 have pined for...

Media

11.05.15

With Historic Ma-Xi Summit, Chinese State Media Walks a Fine Line

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
For the first time in 66 years, the president of mainland China and the president of self-governing Taiwan will meet face to face. On November 3, Zhang Zhijun, minister in charge of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, stated that China’s Xi Jinping would...

Media

10.30.15

Xi’s State Visits As Seen on the Cover of ‘China Daily’

Orville Schell
The state visits of Chinese Communist Party General Secretary and President Xi Jinping to Washington, D.C. in September and London last week were both significant milestones in China’s long term “rejuvenation,” a key element in Xi’s vaunted notion...

Media

10.29.15

Ai Weiwei Doesn’t Need Anyone to Give Him Legos

James Palmer
The noted Chinese artist and perennial dissident Ai Weiwei recently announced that Lego, a Denmark-based company, had refused his request to purchase more than a million of the tiny toy bricks for an Australian display of his work “Trace,” a...

Media

10.28.15

‘Stop Boasting and Fight’

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On October 27, the high-stakes maritime game of chicken that has been playing out in the South China Sea came to a head. In a long-discussed freedom of navigation patrol, the United States sailed the USS Lassen, a guided missile destroyer, within 12...

Media

10.23.15

The Eagle, the Dragon, and the ‘Excellent Sheep’

Former Yale University English professor William Deresiewicz’s book, Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life, created a firestorm in the United States when it was released in August 2014. “The...

Media

10.13.15

Chinese Censors Are Giving North Korea a P.R. Makeover

David Wertime
On October 10, Liu Yunshan, a member of the elite Politburo Standing Committee and one of the seven most powerful men in China, paid a visit to North Korea to observe a massive parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Worker’...

Media

10.07.15

An International Victory, Forged in China’s Tumultuous Past

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On October 5, a share of this year’s Nobel Prize in medicine went to 84-year-old Chinese pharmacologist Tu Youyou for her discovery, decades ago, of the anti-malarial drug artemisinin. Tu and her team made the discovery during the Cultural...

Media

10.02.15

Meet China’s Salman Rushdie

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On a warm late afternoon in June, I sat with Perhat Tursun as he slowly exhaled a puff of smoke from a blue cigarette with shiny gold trim. Arrayed on the pale lace tablecloth before us was an assortment of nuts, sunflower seeds, and wine. The...

Media

10.01.15

U.S. Presidential Candidates on China

Our Presidential Quotes tracker keeps you up to date on what the current candidates are saying about China, and where and when they say it. We’ll be updating the site with new and expanded tools for understanding China’s role in the U.S. election in...

Media

10.01.15

When Chinese Internet Users Call Xi Jinping Daddy

Anne Henochowicz
Internet censorship in China has inspired the invention of a menagerie of online creatures: the river crab, the elephant of truth, the monkey-snake. Each beast’s name plays on a word or phrase that has at some point angered Chinese Internet users,...

Media

09.28.15

What’s China’s Mood Under Xi? New Data Gives a Glimpse

David Wertime
China, under the presidency of Xi Jinping, has invited a number of breathless pronouncements about the state of the country. Chinese media regularly conjure the “Chinese Dream,” one of Xi’s favored phrases, which means whatever readers want it to...

Media

09.24.15

Mapping the World’s Winners and Losers from China Trade

The story of China’s trade over the past half-decade or more has stayed relatively consistent: countries exporting commodities to China have seen enormous inflows of money as the country has consumed huge quantities of raw materials, while developed...

Media

09.23.15

‘God’s United Front’ and the Battle Over China’s Crosses

This article first appear in Chinese on September 2 in Hong Kong-based outlet The Initium Media. Foreign Policy translates with permission, with edits for brevity and clarity.On the evening of August 16, nearly one hundred pastors, ministers, and...

Media

09.10.15

Chinese Web Users Grieve for Syrian Toddler—and Blame America

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
A photo of Syrian three-year-old Aylan Kurdi lying dead on a Turkish beach, who drowned as his family attempted to flee their war-torn homeland by crossing the Mediterranean Sea to find refuge in Greece, has stunned viewers across Europe and the...

Media

09.03.15

Who Is Xi Jinping? Introducing the Asia Society Podcast

Eric Fish from Asia Blog
Three years after Xi Jinping took control of China’s Communist Party and assumed the country’s leadership, he has emerged as one of the world’s most powerful people. But his tenure has also raised uncomfortable questions. Is he a reformer bent on...

Media

09.03.15

Chinese Web Users Aren’t Blaming Detained Journalist for Market Panic

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
China’s stock markets have been in free-fall for some time. Now, so is a financial journalist who had the temerity to write about them. On August 31, Chinese journalist Wang Xiaolu confessed on state-run China Central Television (CCTV) to writing a...

Media

08.31.15

Netanyahu, Shanghai, and the Communist Party’s Forbidden History

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On August 26, the Israeli Embassy in China posted a one-minute video to its official account on Weibo, China’s huge microblogging platform, thanking the coastal Chinese city of Shanghai for its role sheltering roughly 20,000 Jews fleeing persecution...

Media

08.27.15

Chinese Media Jumps on Tragic Virginia Shooting

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On the morning of August 26, a reporter and a cameraman for a local Virginia television station were fatally shot during a live television interview. The alleged gunman, now dead, apparently shot himself before being apprehended by police.The...

Media

08.26.15

Mapping Fallout From ‘Black Monday’: Who Was Hardest Hit?

David Wertime
August 24, which some have already dubbed “Black Monday,” was not a kind day to global equity markets. The rout began with a massive sell-off in China, where the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index plunged 8.49 percent in just one day. Those losses...

Media

08.17.15

4 Questions Chinese Want Answered After Deadly Tianjin Blast

David Wertime
Around 11:30 p.m., Beijing time, on Wednesday, at least two fearsome blasts in quick succession rocked the large northeastern Chinese port city of Tianjin. Originating at or near a hazardous materials warehouse near the city’s downtown, the...

Media

08.13.15

Sorry China, the Internet You’re Looking for Does Not Exist

David Wertime
The long arm of China’s massive internal security apparatus just reached further into the heart of the country’s web. On August 4, China’s Ministry of Public Security announced that it would embed law enforcement officers at major Internet companies...

Media

08.05.15

Beijing’s Ban on Smoking Is Actually (Sort of) Working

They rarely trash hotel rooms or boast about drugs, but Chinese rock stars could at least be counted on to smoke. Now even that’s starting to change in the face of a smoking ban in China’s capital that shows little sign of burning out, almost two...

Media

08.04.15

Beijing’s Winter Doldrums

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On July 31, the International Olympic Committee awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics to Beijing, the arid northern capital of a country with little tradition of winter sports. Beijing will be the first city in history to host both the winter games and...

Media

07.28.15

Clickbait Nationalism

On July 16, the lower house of the Japanese Parliament passed a set of new security legislation that would grant Japan limited power to engage in foreign conflicts for the first time since its defeat in World War II. Despite domestic public...

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