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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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11.09.17

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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11.03.17

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...

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04.05.17

No Winners or Losers, Please

Paul Gewirtz
Who will be the winner of the upcoming Trump-Xi summit? My answer: That’s a dangerous—and wrongheaded—question to focus on. Yes, we want the U.S. to win, but the U.S.-China relationship must be played and judged as a long game.The present situation...

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04.03.17

What Does the Future Hold for Business between the U.S. and China under Trump?

Ker Gibbs
We are now well into the first 100 days of the Trump administration. His supporters expect major changes in the China relationship. They voted for a man who promised to impose a 45 percent tariff on Chinese goods and slap China with the currency...

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03.01.17

Is the U.S.’s Withdrawal China’s Gain in Latin America?

Latin Americans can’t afford to wait four years to see when the United States will be willing to have an honest and reciprocal conversation about economic prosperity in the Western Hemisphere. Luckily for the U.S.’s southern neighbors, over the past...

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02.27.17

Back to the Jungle?

Zhang Boshu
The recent election of Donald J. Trump as the president of the United States is likely to have a profound effect on world history. The issue is not the controversies raised by Trump’s character, personality, abilities, and preferences, but rather...

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02.13.17

The U.S. Should Not Demand In-Kind Reciprocity from China

James Zimmerman
In a well-drafted task force report issued this week by the Asia Society and the University of California San Diego, a group of scholars and former government officials recommend that the Trump administration take steps to make the U.S.-China...

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02.10.17

Taiwan Needs to Hear Trump Say ‘Democracy’

William Kazer
President Trump has sent conflicting signals on Taiwan, first suggesting cozier relations with the self-ruled island and then walking that back to reassure China.In a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday, he pledged no change to...

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02.07.17

Can the New U.S. Ambassador to China See Xi Jinping for Who He Really Is?

Jeffrey Wasserstrom
When the Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds confirmation hearings on Terry Branstad’s nomination to be Ambassador to China, the Iowa Governor is sure to be asked about the positions of the president who nominated him. I hope, though, that...

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02.02.17

The Art of a China Deal

James McGregor
By his own admission, President Donald J. Trump is a brilliant businessman, a master negotiator, an exceptional deal maker, somebody who always wins. When it comes to China, he is prepared to do just that—win. “I’ve read hundreds of books about...

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01.31.17

The Origins of China’s New Law on Foreign NGOs

Shawn Shieh
For many years, the vast majority of foreign NGOs operated quietly in China in a legal grey area. Many are unregistered and work in China through local partners, while others are registered as commercial enterprises. That all changed with the...

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01.23.17

The Chairmen, Trump and Mao

Geremie R. Barmé
The January 13, 1967 issue of TIME magazine featured Mao Zedong on its cover with the headline “China in Chaos.” Fifty years later, TIME made U.S. President-elect Donald Trump its Man of The Year. With a groundswell of mass support, both men...

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01.19.17

Do We Want to Live in China’s World?

Robert Daly
Each weekday morning, I cross D.C.’s National Mall and pass a sign on Constitution Avenue bearing an epigram by the U.S. architect Daniel Burnham: Make No Little Plans. And every morning, these words make me think not of Burnham’s 20th century...

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01.06.17

No, Hong Kong’s Democracy Movement Is Not Anti-Mainland

Sebastian Veg
In a November 29 essay, “The Anti-Mainland Bigotry of Hong Kong’s Democracy Movement,” published in Foreign Policy, Taisu Zhang tries to make the case that Beijing’s hardline attitude toward Hong Kong is traceable to what he calls the “bigotry of...

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12.15.16

The Missing Topic in Trump’s Tough Talk on China

Melissa Chan
President-elect Donald Trump’s rhetoric suggests he will push China on many issues, not just one. Some observers have held on to the hope that his phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, his burst of anti-China tweets, and his most recent...

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12.09.16

I Think That Chinese Official Really Liked Me!

David Wertime & James Palmer
“Friendship” is everywhere in China, at least when it comes to dealing with foreigners. International societies are friendship associations. The stores once accessible only to foreign currency holders were called Friendship Stores. Provincial cities...

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12.01.16

Why I’m Giving Away My Book in China

Mei Fong
After a decade covering Asia for The Wall Street Journal, I devoted three years of my life to researching and writing a book about China’s one-child policy, One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment. This month, I’m giving away the...

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11.29.16

The Anti-Mainland Bigotry of Hong Kong’s Democracy Movement

Taisu Zhang
Given the political earthquake that occurred on November 8, the recent political and constitutional crisis in Hong Kong now seems comparatively diminished in significance. At the time, however, it was widely seen as—and continues to be—a major...

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11.22.16

Making China Great Again

Ann Carlson & Alex Wang
China loomed large in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. He accused the country of stealing American jobs and manipulating its currency for trade advantage. He famously tweeted that global warming was a concept created by the Chinese to “make U.S...

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11.09.16

A Chinese Observer of the U.S. Election Reacts to Trump’s Win

Jonathan Landreth
On the heels of Donald Trump’s election as the next U.S. president on Tuesday, Hua Jianping, a 40-year-old Beijing native and host of the popular Chinese-language “U.S. Election” podcast, spoke to ChinaFile by telephone from his home in College...

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11.09.16

Donald Trump’s Peace Through Strength Vision for the Asia-Pacific

Peter Navarro from Foreign Policy
In 2011, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced with great fanfare in Foreign Policy that the United States would begin a military “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific. This beating of the American chest was done against the backdrop of China’s...

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11.09.16

China Just Won The U.S. Election

James Palmer from Foreign Policy
The election of Donald Trump will be a disaster for anyone who cares about human rights, U.S. global leadership, and media freedom. That means it’s a victory for Beijing, where, as I write, the Chinese leaders near me in the palatial complex of...

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10.14.16

Let One Hundred Panthers Bloom

Eveline Chao
“Chairman Mao says that death comes to all of us, but it varies in its significance: to die for the reactionary is lighter than a feather; to die for the revolution is heavier than Mount Tai.” So wrote Huey P. Newton, founder of the Black Panther...

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09.08.16

Mao the Man, Mao the God

Sergey Radchenko
Mao Zedong was dying a slow, agonizing death. Diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in July 1974, he gradually lost control of his motor functions. His gait was unsure. He slurred his speech and panted heavily. The decline was...

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09.01.16

How to Deal With China’s Human Rights Abuses

Sophie Richardson
When world leaders touch down in early September in the city of Hangzhou for this year’s G20 leaders’ summit, which China will they see? The one of glossy skylines, enviable growth statistics, and perfectly choreographed diplomatic exchanges? Or the...

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08.18.16

Zhao Ziyang’s Legacy

David Shambaugh
It is difficult to say with any certainty how China would have evolved had Zhao Ziyang not been overthrown in 1989. The ostensible cause of his purge was his refusal to endorse martial law and authorize the use of force to suppress the Tiananmen...

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08.11.16

The Future of China’s Legal System

Neysun A. Mahboubi, Carl Minzner & more
In early August, Beijing held show trials of four legal activists—a disheartening turn for those optimistic about legal reform in China. What are the prospects for the development of the rule of law in China under Communist Party Secretary Xi...

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07.26.16

Sex Workers and Condoms

Charmain Mohamed & Shen Tingting
China has long taken a punitive approach to sex work, but sex workers in China have recently experienced the harshest crackdown in a decade. The “strike hard” campaigns which began in Beijing and Dongguan in 2010 and 2014 respectively, ultimately...

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07.14.16

China’s Failure in the South China Sea

Orville Schell
By reiterating its policy of “no acceptance, no participation, no recognition, and no implementation,” China has painted itself into a difficult corner and diminished the chances of resolving the myriad maritime disputes—involving Vietnam, Brunei,...

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07.07.16

The South China Sea Needs ASEAN More Than Ever

Yanmei Xie
A ruling from The Hague next week on maritime disputes in the South China Sea is likely to exacerbate frictions between China and the U.S. Both would be better off respecting the central role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)...

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05.26.16

China and the End of Reform

Thomas Kellogg
Is the Chinese Communist Party putting an end to the decades-long process of China’s opening to the outside world? Is the era of liberal reform over? Consider the latest piece of evidence: on April 28, the Standing Committee of the National People’s...

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05.26.16

Why Does Japan’s Wartime Ghost Keep Reemerging?

Friso M.S. Stevens
The ritual offerings made by Japanese Cabinet members and lawmakers at the Yasukuni Shrine in April once again brought Japan’s troubled wartime past back into the spotlight. An all-too familiar routine followed, with Beijing urging Japan to “make a...

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05.25.16

Hong Kong’s International Law Problem

Alvin Y.H. Cheung
In the years leading up to Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, Beijing was keen to reassure the world that nothing significant would change in the territory. Business elites and local politicians alike busied themselves with...

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05.24.16

“It’s Time for Us To Set a New Political Agenda for Hong Kong”

Jonathan Landreth, Susan Jakes & more
Last month, midway through a whirlwind tour of United States universities, Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong took a break for a crab cake and mac-and-cheese lunch at a Manhattan brasserie. Wong, 19, came to international prominence during the...