Media

04.11.14

Is Jesus Really Hotter Than Mao on China’s Social Media?

It’s easier to talk about Jesus than Chinese President and Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping on Weibo, China’s massive Twitter-like social media platform.The atheist Chinese Communist Party, known for its sometimes heavy-handed policies...

Media

04.02.14

The Future of Democracy in Hong Kong

Veteran Hong Kong political leaders Anson Chan and Martin Lee describe some of the core values—such as freedom of the press—that they seek to maintain as Beijing asserts greater control over the territory seventeen years after Britain handed it back...

Media

04.02.14

A Merkel, a Map, a Message to China?

On March 28, German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping at a dinner where they exchanged gifts. Merkel presented to Xi a 1735 map of China made by prolific French cartographer Jean-Baptiste Bourguignon d’Anville and...

Media

03.28.14

Ang Lee and Zhang Yimou Talk Movies

Jonathan Landreth
Ang Lee, the Oscar-winning American film director with Taiwan roots, and Zhang Yimou, the storied veteran of mainland Chinese moviemaking, joined together on March 27 at Cooper Union in New York in a discussion billed “Chinese Film, Chinese...

Media

03.26.14

A Wrinkle to Those Hot Chinese Tech IPOs

Investors, ready your wallets. In the past week, Sina Weibo, China’s massive microblogging platform with 280 million users, and Alibaba, the operator of China’s largest online marketplace which generated $1.84 billion in revenue in the fourth...

Media

03.25.14

China, We Fear You

On March 18, thousands of students began a sit-in of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan in the capital, Taipei, a historic first that has paralyzed the island’s lawmaking body. Students have amassed to protest an attempt by the Kuomintang, the island’s...

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03.21.14

“We’ll Know It When We’re There”

Jonathan Landreth
Martin Johnson (not his real name), is a co-founder of the China-based Internet freedom advocacy collective GreatFire.org. On the condition that he not be photographed, he gave the following interview to ChinaFile at an outdoor cafe in Manhattan...

Media

03.17.14

‘Self-Media’ Pushes and Beijing Pushes Back

Michelle Song, twenty-four, studies international relations at Beijing’s prestigious Peking University and lives in a dormitory, so she doesn’t watch television regularly and doesn’t subscribe to newspapers. But this has not hampered her ability to...

Media

03.14.14

The Other Shoe Drops

Welcome to the big leagues, WeChat.For the past year, the mobile chat app WeChat, or Weixinin Chinese, has been the fresh new face in China’s hyperactive social media, stealing millions of members—not to mention mojo—from its wounded but still...

Media

03.07.14

A Map of China, By Stereotype

Why is the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang “so chaotic”? Why are many from the southern metropolis of Shanghai “unfit to lead”? And do people from central Henan Province really steal manhole covers? These are just some of the questions—...

Media

03.03.14

‘Enemies of Humanity’ — China Debates Who’s to Blame For the Kunming Attack

It’s already being called “3.01,” or “three oh one,” a date that will likely burn in China’s collective memory for years to come. According to Xinhua, China’s state news agency, on the evening of March 1, around 9:00 p.m. Beijing time, ten or more...

Media

03.01.14

China’s Oscar Challenge

Jonathan Landreth
On January 3, the film critics of The New York Times published their Oscar nominations wish list. Many of their wishes came true and on Sunday night, March 2, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will broadcast its annual celebration of...

Media

02.26.14

China, LinkedIn Would Like to Add You to Its Network

LinkedIn is now aiming its bow for the rocky shoals that have claimed Facebook, Twitter, Google, and even eBay: the Chinese market. On February 24, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner announced the launch of LinkedIn’s Chinese-language site, still in beta,...

Media

02.21.14

How the Internet and Social Media Are Transforming China

Shazeda Ahmed
“The Internet has radically transformed China,” said Emily Parker, author of the book Now I Know Who My Comrades Are: Voices from the Internet Underground, in a public discussion at Asia Society in New York on February 19.Talking about the Internet’...

Media

02.19.14

Chinese Netizens (Still) Love ‘House of Cards’

“Everyone in China who works on this level pays who they need to pay.” Mild spoiler alert: These are the words of the fictitious Xander Feng, an influential Chinese billionaire on the Netflix series "House of Cards," a show that follows...

Media

02.14.14

A Kapital Idea

Matthew Niederhauser & David M. Barreda
Matthew Neiderhauser is a photographer and artist whose work is influenced by his studies in anthropology. He lived in Beijing for six years and recently returned to the United States. His pictorial book Sound Kapital, published in 2009, documented...

Media

02.13.14

Did President Xi’s Dumpling Outing Create a Pilgrimage Site?

Isaac Stone Fish & Helen Gao
Beijing, China—It’s well after lunch and Liu Fengju still hasn’t gotten her food. The sixty-seven-year-old wife of a retired railway worker came to Beijing to spend Spring Festival, the annual seven-day Chinese New Year celebration, with her niece...

Media

02.07.14

Why Chinese Media Is Going Soft on Sochi

Ready or not, Putingrad (aka Sochi) is now on prime time. The opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics will take place in the subtropical Russian resort town on February 7. In the Twittersphere, Western journalists and visitors have assailed Sochi’s...

Media

02.06.14

Beijing’s State Secrets Law—Still Broad, Still Opaque

Beijing may be whittling back its widely reviled state secrets laws—but given their opacity, it’s hard to say for sure. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang signed a regulation, announced February 2, that would prohibit Chinese government organs from “using...

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02.03.14

‘Chicken Fart Decade’: GDP Vs. Smog

Chinese media have debated why January saw pollution so extreme it closed schools and airports, chased away foreign tourists, and even prompted a ban on Lunar New Year’s fireworks. It’s likely that a substantial portion of this smog is caused by...

Media

01.31.14

Closing Time? China’s Social Media Crackdown Has Hit Weibo Hard

Findings by East China Normal University (ECNU), a research university in Shanghai, commissioned by respected U.K. outlet The Telegraph and released January 30, lodges concrete data behind what frequent users and analysts of Chinese social media...

Media

01.28.14

Why China’s Li Na Won’t Thank Her Homeland

After winning the Australian Open on January 25, Li Na set off a media blitz in her native China, where the thirty-one-year-old tennis star made the front page of most major papers. Much discussion surrounded Li’s post-victory speech, where she once...

Media

01.23.14

Carpe Coin: Crowdfunding Could Change Chinese Politics

Crowdfunding, which allows web users to contribute small sums of money to fund collective projects like concerts and films, is taking off in China—and just how far it will go is more than a business question. By allowing netizens to vote with their...

Media

01.23.14

Out of the Dark Room

Sharron Lovell
Photographers document China’s breakneck development in fractions of a second every single day. Yet the work of Chinese photojournalists remains largely unseen outside their homeland. Of the thousands of images of the country illustrating the pages...

Media

01.17.14

You’ve Got Mail: Chinese Communist Party Received Almost Two Million Complaints in 2013

In 2013, China’s Communist Party disciplinary organs received an eye-popping 1.95 million citizen complaints about officials. This is a 49.2 percent jump from 2012, according to a January 13 report from state-run website China News Online—but...

Media

01.10.14

Shaq in China: A Love Story

At seven-foot-one, roughly 350 pounds, and with a smile that’s been featured on everything from cereal boxes to CD album covers, Shaquille O’Neal isn’t particularly hard to recognize. And yet there I stood at the airport arrival gate in Chongqing, a...

Media

01.07.14

Grand Theft China: Tase Corrupt Officials in New Online Game

Official corruption in China is a serious matter: In January 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping openly vowed to tackle it, and a 2013 Pew study found that fifty-three percent of Chinese consider it a “very big problem.” But fighting bribery,...

Media

01.03.14

Coming to Chinese Headlines in 2014

Chinese people have spent another year breathing dirty air, fretting about food safety, poking fun at corrupt officials, and complaining about tightening censorship—but as a discerning consumer of international news, you probably knew that already...

Media

01.03.14

2013, According to the Chinese Communist Party

What did the year in foreign policy look like in Chinese official circles? Divining the thoughts and motives of China’s leadership is a famously abstruse exercise even for Chinese citizens, who are often left to parse bland quotes or keep their ears...

Media

12.19.13

Chinese Admiral to U.S. Navy: ‘We Will Block You’

On December 5, the U.S. missile-carrying cruiser Cowpens almost collided with a Chinese ship in international waters. The Cowpens was observing the maiden voyage of China’s new aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, when a vessel accompanying it cut across...

Media

12.11.13

Pollution Has ‘Five Surprising Benefits,’ says State TV, but Chinese Unamused

Polluted air is a fact of life for many Chinese citizens, and it’s currently smothering parts of the country—but that’s not all bad, according to one state media outlet’s widely-ridiculed attempt at positive spin. A recent bout of noxious smog has...

Media

12.06.13

China’s Viral, Nationalist Screed Against Western Encroachment

“You are nothing without your motherland.” It’s a trite phrase, one that seems unlikely to stir the blood of even the most dyed-in-the-wool nationalist—but it has found recent currency in China. An essay with that title has been making the rounds on...

Media

12.04.13

Chinese Chortle at U.S. Request to Scrap Controversial Air Defense Zone

The United States wants China to pull back from its gambit to try to rewrite the East China Sea’s status quo, but the Chinese are having none of it. On December 2, the U.S. State Department said China’s newly-declared air defense identification zone...

Media

11.27.13

China’s Favorite Villainess

Many U.S. viewers identify with serial killer Morgan Dexter of Dexter, inveterate womanizer Don Draper of Mad Men, or family man turned meth kingpin Walter White of Breaking Bad—however morally bankrupt they may be. Now, China has its own anti-hero...

Media

11.25.13

Former Committee to Protect Journalists Honoree Says Bloomberg Chief Should Not Chair Press Freedom Dinner

Emily Brill
A prominent Hong Kong-based journalist has called on Daniel Doctoroff, Chief Executive Officer of Bloomberg L.P., to step down from his role as chairman of the Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) annual International Press Freedom Awards dinner...

Media

11.25.13

Chinese Netizens Applaud Beijing’s Aggressive New Defense Zone

Beijing has just thrown down the latest gauntlet in a long-simmering territorial dispute with Tokyo—and China’s citizens are cheering. On November 23, China’s Ministry of Defense released a map showing the “Chinese Air Defense Identification Zone,”...

Media

11.22.13

Farewell, Everyman: Chinese React to Ambassador Locke’s Departure

Chinese are waving goodbye to the frustratingly normal U.S. Ambassador to Beijing, Gary Locke, who announced on November 20 that he will be leaving his post in early 2014. Over 300,000 netizens discussed Locke’s resignation on Sina Weibo, the...

Media

11.21.13

For Cash-Strapped Parents, Two Babies Are Too Many

Call it reproduction with Chinese capitalist characteristics. On November 15, authorities announced that the country’s One-Child Policy would be loosened, adding couples in which one spouse is an only child to the list of families allowed to have...

Media

11.14.13

Westerners Aren’t the Only Ones Flummoxed by China’s Reform Plans

After the Third Plenum, a high-level meeting to discuss China’s future, ended on November 12, Beijing released a major document likely to affect many of its 1.3 billion citizens’ lives for years. Western media responded to the 5,000-plus character...

Media

11.07.13

After Party Headquarters Explosions, Netizens Debate Value of Violence

On the morning of November 6, an unknown assailant or group of assailants reportedly detonated several bombs outside the front door of the provincial government headquarters of Taiyuan, the capital of Northern China’s Shanxi province. China’s state-...

Media

11.07.13

Chinese State Media: U.S. Bullying ‘Obsolete’

Stop being a bully, and start respecting the rule of the global village. That’s the takeaway from a November 1 editorial in Chinese state media, which castigates the United States in the wake of revelations that the NSA has tapped the phones of...

Media

11.06.13

Sex Ed Videos Go Viral

Liz Carter
A collection of sex education videos have just gone, ahem, viral on the Chinese Internet. On October 29, a three-person team calling itself the “Nutcracker Studio” released three one-minute clips addressing tough topics in childhood sex education,...

Media

11.05.13

China and Hollywood by the Numbers

Jonathan Landreth
Consider this: Hollywood studios now make more money selling movie tickets in China than in any other market outside North America. Wanda, China’s largest real estate developer, bought AMC, the second-largest movie theater chain in the United States...

Media

11.01.13

Apologies for a Horrific Past

On October 9, a farmer named Zhang Jinying appeared on the television show Please Forgive Me, a program usually dedicated to public apologies by unfaithful husbands and wayward sons. But the sixty-one-year-old Zhang’s apology had a depth and a...

Media

10.31.13

Tiananmen Attack Spotlights China’s Beleaguered Uighurs

On October 28, a jeep plowed into a group of pedestrians and burst into flames on the avenue next to Tiananmen Square, the massive public square in Beijing that is the symbolic heart of the Chinese capital. According to Chinese state media reports,...

Media

10.29.13

Why “2 Broke Girls” Is All the Rage in China

In China’s battle between cupcakes and Communists, the cupcakes appear to be winning. While Chinese President Xi Jinping promotes the “Chinese Dream” of national rejuvenation with mixed success, the U.S. sitcom 2 Broke Girls has drawn Chinese...

Media

10.23.13

How to Say “Truthiness” in Chinese

“Official rumors” is more than just an oxymoron. The phrase—pronounced guanyao—has become a useful weapon in Chinese Internet users’ linguistic guerrilla warfare against government censorship. That battle has intensified during a government-led...

Media

10.22.13

China’s Silly War on Starbucks Lattes

There are worse things in the world than an overpriced latte. That’s the message that thousands of Chinese web users are sending China Central Television (CCTV), a state-owned media behemoth that ran an October 20 segment accusing the Seattle-based...

Media

10.18.13

Cross-Culture Fail Watch: “Blacklist” Bungles One-Child Policy

Chinese Internet users have a message for the screenwriters of The Blacklist: You’ve got a lot to learn about our country.The third episode of The Blacklist, a new NBC television drama in which the FBI and a former fugitive team up to fight...

Media

10.17.13

Journalist’s Call for ‘de-Americanized World’ Provokes Alarm in U.S., Fart Jokes in China

As fears mounted this week about a possible (and now, it seems, averted) U.S. government default, the U.S. press stumbled upon an October 13 editorial in Xinhua, China’s largest news agency, calling for a “de-Americanized...

Media

10.11.13

How Social Media Complicates the Role of China’s Rights Lawyers

Xia Junfeng was once unknown, but his 2009 arrest for the murder of security officers—who, he alleged, had savagely beaten him—made him a symbolic figure in a national debate about human rights and reform in China. Yet many wonder whether this...

Media

10.07.13

Just How Free Is Shanghai’s New Free Trade Zone?

This article is adapted, with updates, from the September 20 article “China’s New Free Trade Zone: Silver Bullet or Stopgap Measure?“Two weeks after taking office in March 2013, China’s Premier Li Keqiang announced that Shanghai, the country’s...

Media

10.02.13

ChinaFile Presents: Jia Zhangke on “A Touch of Sin”

On September 30 at Asia Society in New York City, film director and screenwriter Jia Zhangke and his wife, muse, and frequent leading lady on screen, actress Zhao Tao, joined Asia Society’s Film Curator La Frances Hui and journalist Emily Parker to...

Media

10.02.13

China’s Surprising Reaction to the U.S. Government Shutdown

As the U.S. federal government hurtles into shutdown mode, many in the United States have responded with anger or shame. At Foreign Policy, for instance, Gordon Adams compares the congressional bickering that gave rise to the shutdown to Shakespeare...

Media

09.30.13

China Watches “Breaking Bad”

Why do millions of Chinese care about a fictitious New Mexico meth cook? The soon-to-be-concluded television drama series Breaking Bad, which depicts embattled high school chemistry teacher Walter White’s transformation into a crystal...

Media

09.26.13

Execution or Murder? Chinese Look for Justice in Street Vendor’s Death

This morning, a Chinese street vendor named Xia Junfeng was executed. Xia had been found guilty of murdering two urban enforcers, known colloquially as chengguan, in 2009. Xia’s lawyers argued he acted in self-defense, presenting six eyewitness...

Media

09.25.13

The Silk Road of Pop

Nick Holdstock
Most coverage of Xinjiang focuses on the tensions between Han and Uighur in the region, especially since the 2009 Urumqi riots. The Silk Road of Pop, a new documentary about Uighur music directed by Sameer Farooq, is a timely portrait of the rich...

Media

09.18.13

For Chinese, Violence in the Middle East Sparks Debate on Democracy, Stability

Recent months have been rocky for the Middle East: harsh crackdowns on protesters in Egypt and a Rashomon-like scenario in which the Syrian government and the rebels have accused each other of using chemical weapons, just to name a few. The region’s...

Media

09.13.13

Chinese Professor Mocked for Suggesting Elderly Sacrifice Even More

China’s age of retirement has long been a subject of controversy, as the country’s aging population and slowing economic growth have made caring for the elderly an increasingly daunting task. Recently, Yang Yansui, a professor at China’s prestigious...