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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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’...

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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...

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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...

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10.01.15

U.S. Presidential Candidates on China

Our Presidential Quotes tracker keeps you up to date on what the candidates are saying about China, and where and when they say it.

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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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07.23.15

Why Taylor Swift’s 1989 Merchandise Is Not Going to Get Her Banned in China

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On July 20, one of China’s largest e-commerce websites, JD.com, announced that it is partnering with popular American singer Taylor Swift to become the first authorized retailer of her merchandise in China. That news likely wouldn’t have turned...

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07.21.15

China: The Best and the Worst Place to Be a Muslim Woman

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
A woman’s solitary voice, earthy and low, rises above the seated worshipers. More than 100 women stand, bow, and touch their foreheads to the floor as a female imam leads evening prayers at a women-only mosque during the first week of Islam’s holy...

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07.20.15

Taming the Flood

David Bandurski
In August 1975, Typhoon Nina, one of the most powerful tropical storms on record, surged inland from the Taiwan Strait, causing floods so catastrophic they overwhelmed dam networks around the city of Zhumadian in China’s Henan province. When Banqiao...

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07.14.15

Megacity Chongqing Now

Tim Franco & David M. Barreda
Earlier this month, photographer Tim Franco visited Asia Society to show his work from Chongqing, a city of more than 25 million where he has been reporting since 2009. Many of the images Franco showed appear in his latest book, Metamorpolis (...

Media

07.02.15

On the Border

Sim Chi Yin
Minutes after we turned off the main road and into the Tumen Economic Development Zone, we spotted a group of workers weeding along an access road.From afar, all we could make out in the gentle early morning light was that they were women in...

Media

07.02.15

Who Would China Vote for in 2016?

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
As 2016 draws nearer, a cascade of mostly Republican presidential hopefuls have announced their entry into the U.S. presidential race. Until a successor to current President Barack Obama is selected in November 2016, Americans can count on an...

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06.26.15

‘Why Do Chinese Lack Creativity?’

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On June 19, the University of Washington and elite Tsinghua University in Beijing announced a new, richly funded cooperative program to be based in Seattle and focused on a topic that has become a sore point in China: innovation. Republican...

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06.26.15

A Chinese Feminist, Made in America

Nancy Tang
In August 2010, two weeks after turning 18, I traveled about 6,700 miles from Beijing, China to attend Amherst, a liberal-arts college in Massachusetts in the northeastern United States. I packed a copy of Harvard economist N. Gregory Mankiw’s...

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06.17.15

American Students in China: It’s Not as Authoritarian as We Thought

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
For some American students about to embark on a study abroad trip to China, the U.S. media reports of Chinese Internet censorship, jailing of dissidents, and draconian population control laws may dominate their perception of the country. But after...

Media

06.11.15

Zhou Yongkang’s Mask of Fear Falls Quietly Away

David Wertime
Zhou Yongkang—erstwhile oil czar, former chief of China’s dreaded state security apparatus, a man once swaggering and fit enough to perform 50 to 100 pushups in front of fawning onlookers—has completed his transformation into a sad historical...

Media

06.09.15

Chinese Censorship of Western Books Is Now Normal. Where’s the Outrage?

Alexa Olesen
In September 2014, I was commissioned by the New York-based free speech advocacy group PEN American Center to investigate how Western authors were navigating the multibillion-dollar Chinese publishing world and its massive, but opaque, censorship...

Media

06.05.15

Hong Kong’s Long-Standing Unity on Tiananmen Is Unraveling

June 4, a day that changed mainland China forever, has become a cross that the city of Hong Kong bears. Each year, thousands of the city’s residents gather on an often steamy night and share anxious memories of 1989, when tanks rolled by bloodied...

Media

06.02.15

Top Chinese Authors Show Up at Book Expo, but Where Are the Readers?

Zhang Xiaoran
Last week, 20,000 publishers convened in New York’s Javits Center for BookExpo America (BEA), the publishing industry’s annual trade show. Among their ranks was a delegation from China 500 strong, attending the convention in the capacity of “guest...

Media

06.02.15

Chinese Netizens to Fiorina: You’re Right, We Don’t Innovate

David Wertime
Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and a declared Republican candidate for U.S. president, evidently has strong opinions about the capacities of Chinese people. “Yeah, the Chinese can take a test,” Fiorina told an Iowa-based video blog...

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05.29.15

Is the Shanghai Stock Market Bubble Finally Bursting?

David Wertime
A customer strolls into a bookstore, goes the popular Chinese joke, and tells the salesperson: “I’m looking for a book with no killers, but much bloodshed; with no love, but great regret; with no spies, but constant paranoia. Can you make a...

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05.26.15

Weighing Mao’s Legacy in China Today

Roderick MacFarquhar, Susan Shirk & more
At the May 21 Asia Society event ChinaFile Presents: Does Xi Jinping Represent a Return to the Politics of the Mao Era?, a discussion of author Andrew Walder’s new book, China Under Mao: A Revolution Derailed, sparked a lively debate about the...

Media

05.20.15

China Liked TPP—Until U.S. Officials Opened Their Mouths

After a brief but frightening setback for proponents, U.S. congressional leaders looked set on May 13 to pass legislation for an eventual up-or-down (“fast-track”) vote on what would be one of the world’s largest trade accords, the U.S.-led Trans-...

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05.11.15

Interactive Map: Follow the Roads, Railways, and Pipelines on China’s New Silk Road

Reid Standish & Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
Foreign Policy has put together an interactive guide tracking Beijing’s victories and obstacles along the new Silk Road. The list of participating countries is still not finalized, but with China forking out billions in trade deals and preferential...

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05.06.15

Online Reaction to Baltimore Protests Reveals Much About Chinese Tension with African Immigrants

Viola Rothschild
Several days ago, a Chinese friend and I were discussing the protests in Baltimore that erupted in response to the death of resident Freddie Gray in connection with his April 12 arrest by city police officers, who have since been charged with crimes...

Media

04.30.15

Will China Ban Katy Perry?

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On April 28, American pop singer Katy Perry gave her first-ever concert in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, the self-governing island which mainland China considers to be its sovereign territory. Tense relations between Taiwan and mainland China mean...

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04.28.15

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Chinese Fugitives

Alexa Olesen
Meet China’s 100 international most-wanted: a history professor, a driving instructor, and a government propaganda office cashier. Chinese graft-busters want you to know that one of them might be your neighbor.On April 22, China’s dreaded Central...

Media

04.21.15

This Chart Explains Everything You Need to Know About Chinese Internet Censorship

David Wertime
What goes through a Chinese web user’s head the moment before he or she hits the “publish” button? Pundits, scholars, and everyday netizens have spent years trying to parse the (ever-shifting) rules of the Chinese Internet. Although Chinese...

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04.15.15

Online Support–and Mockery–Await Chinese Feminists After Release

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On April 13, Chinese authorities released on bail five feminist activists detained for over a month without formal charges. Despite tight censorship surrounding their detention, support on Chinese social media and thinly veiled media criticism...

Media

04.14.15

Henry Paulson: ‘Dealing with China’

Eric Fish from Asia Blog
Speaking at Asia Society New York on April 13 with New Yorker correspondent Evan Osnos, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson explained that it’s impossible to predict the timing or magnitude of a financial crisis, but any country with...

Media

04.13.15

The Chinese Internet Hates Hillary Clinton Even More than Republicans Do

Isaac Stone Fish
On the afternoon of April 12, Hillary Clinton announced her long-expected decision to run for president in 2016. Within hours, Chinese news sites shared the announcement on Weibo, China’s most popular micro-blogging platform, provoking thousands of...

Media

04.02.15

‘Obama Is Sitting Alone at a Bar Drinking a Consolation Beer’

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
Danish and Chinese netizens have just shared in a collective guffaw at America’s expense. The online lampoonery came after Denmark announced on March 28 its intent to join the Asian Investment Infrastructure Bank (AIIB), a China-led initiative...

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03.26.15

Brother, Can You Spare a Renminbi?

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
Who deserves to be poor in modern China? One man in China’s southern Zhejiang province certainly seemed sympathetic: Each day, he pushed himself along the street on a homemade wooden skateboard, his apparently paralyzed legs tucked under his body,...

Media

03.25.15

Was Lee Kuan Yew an Inspiration or a Race Traitor? Chinese Can’t Agree

Rachel Lu
When Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of Singapore, passed away at the ripe age of 91 on March 23, the elderly statesman was as controversial in death as in life—and nowhere was the debate more vigorous than in China. While state media was full of...

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03.20.15

China Has Its Own Anti-Vaxxers—Blame the Internet

Alexa Olesen
While health officials in the United States and parts of Europe wrestle with a growing anti-vaccination, or “anti-vaxxer” movement, China is dealing with a less organized but similarly serious fear of immunizations. Social media reveals traces of...

Media

03.10.15

China’s Good Girls Want Tattoos

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
“It seems that Chinese men don’t want to marry a girl with tattoos,” complained one such girl on the Chinese online discussion platform Douban. She posted a picture of her body art, an abstract design on her lower back. “In East Asian cultural...

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03.09.15

China’s Real Inconvenient Truth: Its Class Divide

Rachel Lu
China is talking about its pollution problem, but its equally serious class problem remains obscured behind the haze. Smog leapt to the forefront of Chinese national discourse after the February 28 release of "Under the Dome," a 103-minute...

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03.04.15

The Other China

Michael Meyer & Ian Buruma
Writers Michael Meyer and Ian Buruma engage in a discussion co-sponsored by The New York Review of Books centered on Meyer’s new book, In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China, which combines immersion...

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03.03.15

The Word That Broke the Chinese Internet

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
It might be gibberish, but it’s also a sign of the times. The word duang, pronounced “dwong,” is spreading like wildfire throughout China’s active Internet—even though 1.3 billion Chinese people still haven’t figured out what it means. In fact, its...