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12.06.18

‘The Events Were Regrettable’

Perry Link
In late February 1989, a month after becoming president, Bush visited Beijing and invited roughly 500 people to a “Texas barbecue” at a posh Beijing hotel. The invitees included Fang Lizhi, the famous astrophysicist and political dissident. The...

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11.30.18

Cut out of the Operating Room

Christopher Magoon
In June 2015, doctors told 69-year-old Shuai Shuiqing she had stomach cancer and would need surgery. She left her home in the city of Chongzhou in Sichuan province and traveled 20 miles to visit Chengdu’s Huaxi Hospital, which is ranked second best...

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11.23.18

Why the Taiwan Midterm Elections Matter

Lev Nachman & Brian Hioe
On November 24, millions of Taiwanese will vote for more than 11,000 mayors, councilors, and other officials nationwide in a key midterm election—only the country’s fifth since the victory of Chen Shui-Bian in 2000 ended decades of continuousrule by...

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10.23.18

With an Influx of Blue Helmets and Cash, China’s Role in African Security Grows More Pervasive

Michael Kovrig
China’s growing engagement with African countries got a publicity boost on September 3 and 4 with the latest Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit. The triennial event brought leaders and officials from 53 African countries and the...

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10.17.18

‘WeChat Is Not a Land outside the Law’

David Bandurski
The second revision of the Chinese Communist Party’s internal discipline regulations in less than three years was introduced in August. The revised regulations are not dramatically different from the previous 2015 revisions. Not in the sense, at...

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10.05.18

Banning Chinese Students is Not in the U.S. National Interest

Chang Chiu & Thomas Kellogg
President Donald Trump has made no secret of his desire to radically revamp America’s immigration policies. Indeed, his family separation policies, which sparked nationwide protests and public revulsion after they were rolled out in May 2018, were...

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09.04.18

Peak Xi Jinping?

Geremie R. Barmé
The adulation of Xi Jinping, China’s State President, Party General Secretary, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, has yet to reach similar lofty heights as that of Mao Zedong. However, on September 3, the official Beijing media took a...

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08.27.18

Beijing’s Bid for Global Power in the Age of Trump

Alfred W. McCoy from TomDispatch
As the second year of Donald Trump’s presidency and sixth of Xi Jinping’s draws to a close, the world seems to be witnessing one of those epochal clashes that can change the contours of global power. Just as conflicts between American President...

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08.23.18

We Need to Be Careful about How We Use the Word ‘Chinese’

Martin Thorley
In recent years, the growing reach of the Chinese Communist Party’s (C.C.P.’s) political influence abroad has prompted numerous countries to reappraise their engagement with China. Optimism about Chinese convergence with international norms has been...

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08.23.18

It’s Too Easy to Wind up in a Chinese Psychiatric Hospital, and Far Too Hard to Get Out

Jerome A. Cohen & Chi Yin
Every day in China, hundreds of people are involuntarily confined in mental health facilities, some through their involvement in criminal cases, many more via the government’s civil commitment processes. Whether, how, and how long to detain the...

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08.02.18

Remaking China’s Civil Society in the Xi Jinping Era

Shawn Shieh
Given his past animosity towards civil society, Xi’s actions have been seen by some as moving China towards a new form of totalitarianism and a closing of the space for civil society. I would argue instead that we should see Xi’s ascendancy,...

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07.13.18

‘Liu Knew His Responsibility in History’

Ian Johnson
He was risking not the immediate arrival of soldiers, but the inevitable and life-threatening imprisonment that befalls all people who challenge state power in China today. This was not an active decision to die, but a willingness to do so. The...

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05.30.18

Who’s Really Responsible for Digital Privacy in China?

Shazeda Ahmed & Bertram Lang
While the United States is reeling from the revelation that political consultancy Cambridge Analytica harvested data from over 87 million Facebook accounts, China’s biggest tech companies and regulators are confronting a wave of of their own...

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05.23.18

Germany Needs China to Save the Global Order from Trump

Sebastian Heilmann from Mercator Institute for China Studies
The U.S. president’s attacks on multilateralism may push Chancellor Merkel into an unlikely alliance with Beijing. Germany and the EU have to test ways to work with China in the absence of transatlantic coordination. The goal must be to organize an...

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04.19.18

Trump’s Incredibly Risky Taiwan Policy

J. Stapleton Roy
So-called friends of Taiwan in the United States are putting the island at risk as never before. The Taiwan Travel Act, passed unanimously by both houses of Congress, and signed by President Trump on March 16, 2018 without reservations, could...

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04.16.18

Has Xi Jinping Changed China? Not Really

Teng Biao
Xi Jinping has had an eventful early spring. After he abolished presidential term limits and was unanimously elected—if it can be called an election—to serve another term in that post, Xi got the world’s attention again by holding a meeting with Kim...

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04.06.18

I Thought Studying Journalism outside of China Would Open Doors. Now I’m Not So Sure.

Shen Lu
Six years ago as I was about to begin my undergraduate career at The University of Iowa majoring in journalism, a fellow Chinese student who’d switched her major from communications studies to business ruthlessly doubted my choice. “How on earth...

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03.31.18

Nixon in China, Trump in Pyongyang

Sergey Radchenko
On March 25, the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un arrived in Beijing in an armored train for talks with Chinese Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping, the first known time he traveled outside his country since his father and predecessor died in...

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03.27.18

Secretary Pompeo’s First China Briefing

Robert Daly
Donald Trump’s national security documents frame China as the United States’ greatest long-term threat. This declaration caps a historic shift in America’s strategic disposition toward China. From the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1979,...

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03.15.18

Who Really Haunts Xi Jinping, Mao or Gorbachev?

Jessica Batke
Last week, the Chinese National People’s Congress removed Presidential and Vice-Presidential term limits, effectively allowing current President (and Chinese Communist Party General Secretary) Xi Jinping to stay in power beyond the two terms that...

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03.12.18

Chinese History Isn’t Over

Julian B. Gewirtz
One of the simplest and least useful ways to understand the future is to take exactly what’s happening today and project it forward, rigidly and predictably, into tomorrow. This view is more than just a form of mental inertia; it is a breed of...

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03.01.18

Maybe the Law Does Actually Matter to Xi Jinping

Taisu Zhang
The February 25 announcement that the Chinese Communist Party (C.C.P.) has proposed a constitutional amendment that would remove term limits on the office of the presidency is arguably the most significant Chinese political and legal development in...

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02.15.18

A Clash of Cyber Civilizations

Geoffrey Hoffman
There has been little need for the term “cyber sovereignty” among democratic states: the Internet, by its nature, operates under an aegis of freedom and cooperation. However, as the international system slips away from American unipolarity, a...

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01.31.18

The U.K. Needs to Rethink Its Engagement with China

Paul Irwin Crookes & Kyle Jaros
As British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives in Beijing today, where is the U.K.’s relationship with China heading? Despite a complex history, U.K.-China relations have remained a relative bright spot in China’s engagement with the West in recent...

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01.23.18

Who’s to Blame for Hong Kong’s Weakening Rule of Law?

Alvin Y.H. Cheung
Rimsky Yuen, Hong Kong’s third Secretary for Justice, stepped down in early January. He leaves his department, and the city’s reputation for rule of law, markedly worse than they were when he took office in July 2012.According to the Department of...

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01.19.18

China’s Leaders Are Poised to Strike a Blow to Its Legal System

Stanley Lubman
President Xi Jinping has escalated China’s war on corruption with a proposed new law that would expand the reach of the Party in an unprecedented manner. Under current law, two formally separate entities deal with cases of corruption: A Party...

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12.14.17

Can Environmental Lawsuits in China Succeed?

Stanley Lubman
Air and water pollution are rising in China, and so is the number of lawsuits against polluters. Access to the courts is growing: Chinese prosecutors and some NGOs have been empowered to sue polluters, and activist lawyers increasingly participate...

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11.22.17

The Accomplice in Chief

David Wertime
Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump declared victory following his 12-day Asia trip. On the campaign trail, Trump had repeatedly promised to stop making nice with his country’s adversaries; now, thanks to his efforts, he proclaimed, “America is...

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11.17.17

China and the United States Are Equals. Now What?

Robert Daly
Donald Trump’s Asia trip was historic in one respect: it belatedly focused American attention on the competition between the United States and China for global primacy. China has risen, the era of uncontested American leadership has ended, and any...

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11.10.17

Bathed in the Xi Jinping Bromance

Orville Schell
Sitting in a grand salon of the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square and awaiting the official arrival ceremony of President Trump was to be taken back to that period of Sino-Soviet amity when Stalin was Mao’s “big brother” and the Chinese...

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11.09.17

Protecting the Rights of the Accused in U.S.-China Relations

Margaret Lewis
As President Donald Trump visits China, the Chinese government wishes that billionaire fugitive Guo Wengui would follow suit and board a plane to Beijing. For months, he has regaled the world from his luxury apartment in Manhattan with stories of...

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11.08.17

Will Trump’s ‘Flattery Machine’ Work on Xi Jinping?

Orville Schell
Before winging off to Beijing, Trump managed to convince his staff and Korean President Moon to take him to the demilitarized zone (DMZ). Many of his aides were said to have been wary about the idea, fearing he might make some kind of provocative...

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11.07.17

Sticking to the Script, Trump Seems to Internalize It

Orville Schell
Slowly we are stitching our way across Asia on Donald J. Trump’s great five-nation oriental hegira. After a punishing 2:00 a.m. departure from Yokota Air Force Base outside Tokyo, we arrived this morning at Osan Air Base outside of Seoul, a reminder...

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11.06.17

On the Road with Trump in Asia: Day One, Tokyo

Orville Schell
Many are fearful that Xi Jinping’s ability to awe his visitors with over-the-top manifestations of pomp and ceremony will turn Donald Trump to Jell-o. But having watched Trump arrive in Japan yesterday on the first leg of his five-country trip, it’s...

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11.03.17

The Future of Particle Physics Will Live and Die in China

Yangyang Cheng from Foreign Policy
“Don’t you dare kill my project.”My phone interview with a senior official at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) had started with bland, yet polite, responses. But it took a sharp turn toward audible agitation and hostility as I raised my final...

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10.21.17

The Ayes Have It

Geremie R. Barmé
On April 1, 1969, delegates to the Ninth Congress of the Chinese Communist Party convened in the Great Hall of the People on the western flank of Tiananmen Square. The hall had been constructed as one of the Ten Grand Edifices 十大建築 hastily...

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10.20.17

Mao Wished He Could Upend the World Order. Does Xi?

Sergey Radchenko
In his October 18 speech opening the 19th Party Congress, Chinese Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping cautiously embraced the future. Eyeing thousands of Party delegates, Xi spoke for three-and-a-half hours about turning China into a “great modern...

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10.19.17

Could Xi Jinping Stay in Power After He Retires? Here’s How Deng Xiaoping Did It

Julian B. Gewirtz
It was the worst kept secret in Chinese politics. From 1978 until his death in 1997, Deng Xiaoping was Beijing’s ultimate decider, even though he never held any of the top official titles in this period: not general secretary of the Chinese...

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10.17.17

Stein Ringen: ‘The Truth About China’

Stein Ringen
Democracies have found it difficult to deal with the great dictatorships. So now with China. The first difficulty is to recognize just what we are up against, and to avoid wishful thinking.In his first five years, Xi Jinping has reshaped the Chinese...

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10.16.17

Why Do We Keep Writing About Chinese Politics As if We Know More Than We Do?

Jessica Batke & Oliver Melton
In the coming weeks, every major Western newspaper and many top China analysts will be making strong claims about Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s political position in the wake of the 19th Party Congress. These reports will build off years of tea-leaf...

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09.24.17

China, Global Peacemaker?

James Bowen
In May, Chinese President Xi Jinping gave opening remarks to a two-day international forum designed to demystify and attract support for Beijing’s “Belt and Road Initiative.” This estimated $1 trillion investment campaign aims to create extensive...

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09.15.17

The Unprecedented Reach of China’s Surveillance State

Stanley Lubman
The Chinese Party-state is building a social credit system for collecting information about all of its citizens by police, courts, and other institutions. This enables the government to reach into society to a degree unprecedented in history...

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09.15.17

There Is Only One China, And There Is Only One Taiwan

Richard Bernstein
One of Beijing’s least favorite people is Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, who won a landslide election victory 18 months ago on a platform calling for more separation from China—a coded way of rejecting one of the mainland’s most sacred principles...

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08.28.17

China Is Risking the Lives of Political Prisoners by Denying Them Medical Care

Frances Eve
Dissident activist Chen Xi entered Xingyi Prison in Guangxi in January 2012 to serve a 10-year sentence. The previous month, he had been convicted of “inciting subversion of state power” for writing articles about human rights and democracy. This...

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08.22.17

Burn the Books, Bury the Scholars!

Geremie R. Barmé
Chinese censorship has come a long way. During his rule in the second century B.C.E., the First Emperor of a unified China, Ying Zheng, famously quashed the intellectual diversity of his day by ‘burning the books and burying the scholars’. He not...

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08.14.17

China is Forcing Uighurs Abroad to Return Home. Why Aren’t More Countries Refusing to Help?

Jessica Batke
The campaign began quietly. Students studying abroad were told to return home. Many did, and their classmates didn’t hear from them afterwards. For those who needed extra incentive to get moving, police detained their families back home. Finally,...

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08.03.17

China’s ‘New Achievements’ in Legal Reform Exist More in Policy than in Practice

Stanley Lubman
It is no coincidence that two days after Liu Xiaobo’s death, Xinhua published an article praising China’s “new achievements in judicial protection of human rights.” The judicial reforms the article mentions have not yet been fully implemented and...

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07.31.17

Ping Pong Fury

Ma Tianjie from Chublic Opinion
The match was scheduled for 7:40 p.m. on June 23. Thousands of viewers were eagerly anticipating Chinese Ping Pong superstar Ma Long to face off against his Japanese challenger Yuya Oshima at the China Open, held in the southwestern city of Chengdu...

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07.22.17

Why Korean Reunification is in China’s Strategic National Interest

Jamie Metzl
North Korea’s July 4 launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile has highlighted once again both the extent to which Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program and aggressive behavior is destabilizing the Asia Pacific region and the relative impotence...

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07.13.17

The Chinese Think Liu Xiaobo Was Asking For It

James Palmer from Foreign Policy
Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and Chinese dissident writer, is dying of liver cancer. He’s been in prison since 2009, his “crime” being the publication of a charter calling for political reform. But he’s not a hero to his countrymen. Most...

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07.09.17

Why Won’t China Help With North Korea? Remember 1956

Sergey Radchenko
President Donald J. Trump’s short-lived honeymoon with Chinese Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping is over. On June 29, the U.S. imposed sanctions on a Chinese bank, a Chinese shipping company, and two Chinese nationals, all accused of helping...

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06.26.17

Why Are So Many Tibetans Moving to Chinese Cities?

Gerald Roche, Ben Hillman & more
China’s Tibetan areas have been troubled by unrest since 2008, when protests swept the plateau, followed by a series of self-immolations which continue to this day. The Chinese state, as part of its arsenal of responses, has intensified urbanization...

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06.08.17

Can China Really Lead the World on Climate?

Isabel Hilton
On Wednesday, the governor of California, Jerry Brown, found himself, not for the first time, with more in common with Chinese President Xi Jinping than with the president of his own nation, Donald Trump. Just days after President Trump announced...

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06.05.17

China Has a New Domestic Violence Law. So Why Are Victims Still Often Unsafe?

Su Lin Han
In rural Hunan province, about two hours from the city of Changsha, a young woman named Zhang Meili married a violent man. According to local police, Zhang had trouble coping with her husband’s strong sexual appetite and he became jealous and...

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05.09.17

Beijing Is Weakening Hong Kong’s Rule of Law. How Far Will It Go?

Alvin Y.H. Cheung
“The American Chamber of Commerce has urged Hong Kong’s next government to reach out to international businesses still ‘unclear’ about what opportunities the city can offer under the one country, two systems policy.” —South China Morning Post, April...

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05.03.17

Thinking about War with China

Chas W. Freeman
Let’s not kid ourselves. The armed forces of the United States and China are now very far along in planning and practicing how to go to war with each other. Neither has any idea when or why it might have to engage the other on the battlefield but...

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04.20.17

A Taiwanese Man’s Detention in Guangdong Threatens a Key Pillar of Cross-Straits Relations

Jerome A. Cohen & Yu-Jie Chen
Update: On March 26, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office announced that Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che had been formally arrested on charges of “subverting state power.” Jerome Cohen has added a new comment to this essay. To skip to that...

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04.06.17

Is It Time to Give up on Engagement?

Orville Schell & Anders Corr
In the lead-up to U.S. President Trump’s meeting later this week with China’s Xi Jinping, Orville Schell, ChinaFile’s publisher, wrote an essay in The Wall Street Journal on the history of China’s episodic embrace of democratic principles and why in...

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04.06.17

What Do Trump and Xi Share? A Dislike of Muslims

Nury Turkel
During the 1980s, as an idealistic, ambitious Uighur growing up under repressive Chinese conditions in the city of Kashgar, there was one nation to which I pinned my hopes for freedom and democracy. To me, the United States was a symbol of my...

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04.05.17

Xi Is Ready for the Summit. Trump Can’t Possibly Be. So What Should He Do?

Robert Daly
At the summit in Mar-a-Lago, U.S. President Donald Trump hopes to alter deeply-rooted Chinese policies despite having no China strategy. China’s Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping hopes that by making deals on secondary matters important to Trump...