Viewpoint

04.26.13

Sino-American Relations: Amour or Les Miserables?

Winston Lord
Winston Lord, former United States Ambassador to China, tells us he recently hacked into the temples of government, pecking at his first-generation iPad with just one finger—a clear sign that...

Environment

04.22.13

Why It’s Time to End China-Bashing on the Environment

from chinadialogue
The major impact that international summits and treaties have had on China’s environmental governance is often overlooked. Environmental protection first emerged as an issue in China in 1972, after the country dispatched a delegation to the U.N...

Caixin Media

04.22.13

Heading off a China-style Subprime Mortgage Crisis

Warning of local governments’ high exposure to bad debts, the credit agency Fitch recently downgraded China’s long-term local-currency rating from AA– to A+. Officials should take note: the downgrade underlines how closely international markets are...

Media

04.22.13

Social Media’s Role in Ya’an Earthquake Aftermath is Revealing

China’s social media was in mourning yesterday as users turned their profile photos to grey in remembrance of the victims of the 7.0 earthquake that struck the Ya’an region in Sichuan province on Saturday. As of April 22, the death toll has risen to...

Caixin Media

04.20.13

Bird Flu’s Latest Talons Force Fresh Defense

A surprise attack by a new strain of the bird flu virus has forced Chinese authorities into the trenches for a two-pronged defense against unseen enemies.The primary threat is the deadly virus that scientists identified as a new strain of H7N9. It...

Environment

04.16.13

Morococha: The Peruvian Town the Chinese Relocated

from chinadialogue
The headlines have been stark: a Chinese mining company moves an entire Peruvian town of 5,000 people five miles down the road to make way for its new mine.It sounds like another story about an extractive corporation riding roughshod over local...

Caixin Media

04.15.13

China Export Policy Chokes on Vitamin Verdict

Internet cafés covered by the city of Wuhan’s Internet Café Association agreed to set minimum prices for online access nearly a decade ago. And more than one hundred coking coal company-members of the Coke Association of Shanxi Province each agreed...

Caixin Media

04.15.13

Tencent Lets WeChat’s Rapid Growth Do the Talking

Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s free messaging service, WeChat, has seen its popularity grow among both individual users and businesses, even amid a dispute with the Big Three telecom operators [China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom].Since launching...

Media

04.12.13

Leftist Hawks and Conspiracy Theorists: The People’s Liberation Army’s Online Presence

Is Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter, turning into a new war zone? Dai Xu, a colonel in the Chinese Air Force and military strategist, thinks so.“A month ago, a pseudo-Japanese devil [derogatory term for pro-Japan Chinese] at Shanghai’s Fudan University...

Earthbound China

04.11.13

Moving House: Preserving Huizhou’s Vernacular Architecture

Leah Thompson & Sun Yunfan
In 1996, art historian Nancy Berliner, working with the Peabody Essex Museum, purchased a vacant Qing dynasty merchant’s house from the Huizhou region of China and, piece by piece, moved it to the United States to be meticulously reconstructed at...

Earthbound China

04.11.13

There Goes the Neighborhood

Sun Yunfan & Leah Thompson
When, in 1996, art historian Nancy Berliner purchased a late Qing dynasty merchants’ house from Huangcun, a village in Anhui province, it was just one ordinary house among thousands like it in the picturesque Huizhou region of China. It took...

Environment

04.10.13

Writing Yunnan a Rubber Check

Chris Horton
Our van stopped at a scenic vista on the contour road where verdant mountains undulated southward toward China’s border with Laos. Stepping out to take some photos, I was overcome by an acrid, unpleasant odor. I asked my local travel partner, Xiao...

Caixin Media

04.08.13

A Day in the Life of a Beijing “Black Guard”

After receiving his delayed wages, thirty-year-old Wang Jie decided to change professions.On March 7, he pressed a fingerprint onto a receipt that read: “Today I have received settlement of the 12,000 yuan in wages owed to me by Mr. Shao.”“Actually...

Viewpoint

04.05.13

Christopher Hill on North Korea’s Provocations

Ouyang Bin
The first months of 2013 have seen a rapid intensification of combative rhetoric and action from North Korea. In the sixteen months since Kim Jong-un assumed leadership of the country, North Korea has run through the whole litany of provocations his...

Viewpoint

04.04.13

‘Hi! I’m Fang!’ The Man Who Changed China

Perry Link
In China in the 1980s, the word renquan (“human rights”) was extremely “sensitive.” Few dared even to utter it in public, let alone to champion the concept. Now, nearly three decades later, a grassroots movement called weiquan (“supporting rights”)...

Media

04.02.13

China Concerto

Jonathan Landreth
Before February 2012, when his name exploded onto the front pages of newspapers around the globe, most people outside of China had never heard of Bo Xilai, the now-fallen Communist Party Secretary of the megacity of Chongqing. But in the years...

Media

04.02.13

Singing a Note of Caution About New First Lady Peng Liyuan

Xi Jinping, the newly appointed Chinese President, unfolded his presidency with a grand foreign tour to Russia, Tanzania, South Africa, and the Republic of the Congo. While this series of state visits unequivocally underscored China’s diplomatic...

Caixin Media

04.01.13

Staking a New Claim on Internet Insurance

When three household brand names in China announced they would cooperate to form a company offering insurance services on the Internet, excitement naturally was the order of the day.Last year, Alibaba Group, Tencent Holdings, and Ping An Insurance...

Caixin Media

04.01.13

New Hands Take the Financial Regulation Wheel

Who’s steering China’s carefully managed financial system? Speculators were busy name-guessing before and for several months after the Communist Party’s 18th National Congress in November.Finally, the dust started to settle with formal appointments...

Environment

03.25.13

Chinese Nuclear Disaster “Highly Probable” by 2030

from chinadialogue
Some members of the nuclear power industry rely too much on theoretical calculations, when only experience can provide real accuracy.The lifetime of nuclear reactors is calculated in “reactor-years.” One reactor-year means one reactor operating for...

Caixin Media

03.23.13

China’s Economic Policymakers Turning a Page

Written into the script for China’s once-in-a-decade leadership shuffle, confirmed at the recently concluded National People’s Congress, are macroeconomic policies for the new government that plot a course for future growth.The policy book has...

Caixin Media

03.23.13

Achieving Real Progress in How Government Functions

After months of speculation, the reorganization of the State Council has finally been approved by the National People’s Congress.Under the shake-up, China’s rail business will no longer be managed by the regulator. Three national agencies will be...

Environment

03.22.13

Public Fury After Chinese Environment Minister Keeps Job

from chinadialogue
In his eight years as China’s environmental protection minister, Zhou Shengxian has failed to keep almost a single promise. I say “almost”: he has kept his word at least when it comes to his own career—as promised, he has not quit.When the new...

Media

03.21.13

The Men Are Louder: A Gender Analysis of Weibo

Does Sina Weibo provide an equal platform for expression for both men and women in China? According to a recent study conducted by Sun Huan, a graduate student in Comparative Media Studies and a research assistant at the Center for Civic Media at...

Viewpoint

03.19.13

For Many in China, the One Child Policy is Already Irrelevant

Leslie T. Chang
Before getting pregnant with her second child, Lu Qingmin went to the family-planning office to apply for a birth permit. Officials in her husband’s Hunan village where she was living turned her down, but she had the baby anyway. She may eventually...

Environment

03.18.13

Baby Milk Restrictions Cause Outrage in Mainland China

from chinadialogue
The Hong Kong government’s recent listing of baby formula as a “reserved commodity” and a 1.8kg per person per day export limit has sparked widespread criticism—as well as becoming a hot topic at China’s annual session of parliament [the Lianghui,...

Caixin Media

03.17.13

Ladders, Losers, and Direct-Marketing Schemes

A skin cream customer pays an extra fee and, voilà, instantly becomes a company representative with the right to sell cream and other products, as well as recruit more dealers.Eventually, she persuades other women to buy the cream and join the...

Caixin Media

03.16.13

Spin of a Crooked Record

Hundreds of villagers in Hebei province discovered they were victims of identity theft—and in demanding officials find the culprit, they became the recipients of harassment and legal bills. Instead of seeing a shakeout, the villagers watched...

Media

03.15.13

CNBC Quarrel About China’s Housing Market Bubbles Over on Chinese Internet

Ouyang Bin & Luo Xiaoyuan
China’s real estate prices continue to skyrocket despite government efforts to rein them in to prevent a dangerous housing bubble. On March 5, American television network CNBC invited two analysts to debate the state of the sector. But when Peter...

Environment

03.13.13

Chinese Fracking Plans Prompt “Water-Grabbing” Fears

from chinadialogue
China has become one of Asia’s leaders in expanding unconventional shale-gas extraction in the name of energy self-sufficiency and national autonomy. Experiences of “fracking” worldwide, however, suggest the costs to China of joining this revolution...

Media

03.13.13

Chavez and Bo Xilai Gone: Death of a Political Model?

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez’s death on March 5, 2013 came in the same week as the “Two Sessions” began in China, when China’s national legislature meets in Beijing. It was also almost exactly a year since the spectacular political demise of Bo...

Media

03.12.13

Pig Carcasses in Shanghai River Spawn Dark Humor on Chinese Internet

The Huangpu River usually appears in glamor shots of Shanghai, serving as scenic backdrop to the colonial splendor of the Bund or the modern marvel of the Pudong skyline. But of late, a more grim and distasteful association has emerged. As of March...

Media

03.11.13

Young Family’s Arrest Brings Tension Between Vendors and Police into Focus

A one-and-a-half-year-old girl wraps her arms around her mother’s neck, crying. Her mother, handcuffed, cannot hug her back—she can only squat down beside the police car to match her daughter’s height. “I’m sorry, mommy can’t hold you…”On March 6,...

Caixin Media

03.10.13

Finding IPO Alley

China’s IPO action has been locked in ice since October by China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) officials intent on boosting investor confidence and improving scrutiny of stock market hopefuls.Yet the heat is on for aspiring executives at...

Caixin Media

03.09.13

Is Railway Reform Finally On Track?

Finally, it seems the railways ministry may soon be restructured as part of a wider exercise by the government to streamline its ministries. Putting railway reform on the agenda of this year’s meetings of the National People’s Congress and the...

Media

03.08.13

“Shanghai Calling” Translates Funny

Jonathan Landreth
Director Daniel Hsia and producer Janet Yang were motivated to make Shanghai Calling, their first feature film together, by the shared feeling that no matter how much more important relations between the United States and China grew, they always...

Culture

03.06.13

Lei Lei: A Sketch of the Animator As a Young Man

Sun Yunfan
Lei Lei, a.k.a. Ray Lei, 27, is one of the best-known animators in China. Unlike many other smart kids of his generation who graduated from China’s top universities, he went off the beaten path early in his career and never turned back. In a country...

Environment

03.06.13

Environmentalists Unconvinced by Wen Jiabao’s Green Words

from chinadialogue
China’s outgoing premier Wen Jiabao vowed that the government would solve the country’s ever-worsening pollution in his final work report yesterday as he opened the annual session of parliament.But coming amid rising public concern about China’s air...

Media

03.05.13

What Do You Know About China’s Politics?

Ouyang Bin & Zhang Xiaoran
The Liang Hui or “Two Sessions”—the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC)—are the most crowded, most covered, and probably most hilarious annual political events in China. Every March,...

Media

03.04.13

‘Zombies’ and ‘Reincarnation’

Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, announced on February 20 that it had surpassed half a billion users—more people than live in South America, and approximately the population of North America. Thickly-settled Europe edges out Weibo by...

Caixin Media

03.04.13

China’s Frills and Posh Market Springs a Leak

Imagine a luxury goods shopper so confident and flush with cash that one day he walks into a Shanghai handbag shop, flashes 300,000 yuan, and waltzes out with almost every bag in stock.That’s what happened last year at a Prada store where Benny Lu...

Environment

03.02.13

China Criticized over Tiger Farms and Illegal Ivory

from chinadialogue
China is under pressure to regulate its rampant trade in illegal ivory and tiger parts ahead of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), opening this weekend in Bangkok.It has also been accused of quietly stimulating...

Caixin Media

03.02.13

Poison Eaters of Gansu Province

Barely any rainfall on a bone-dry landscape has always made crop farming in the province of Gansu a rough gamble between the sky and local irrigation policies. But now, farmers reap only sorrow from fields that experts say are severely contaminated...

Media

03.01.13

No Closer to the Chinese Dream?

Timothy Garton Ash
2013 began dramatically in China with a standoff between journalists and state propaganda authorities over a drastically rewritten New Year’s editorial at the Southern Weekly newspaper.In the first week of the New Year, the editors of Southern...

Culture

02.28.13

Classical Music with Chinese Characteristics

Sheila Melvin
On a frigid Friday morning at the end of 2012, a stream of expectant concertgoers poured through the cavernous lobby of the China National Center for the Performing Arts. They had come to the stunning, egg-shaped arts complex at this unusually early...

Environment

02.28.13

Drought and Earthquakes Pose “Enormous Risk” to China’s Nuclear Plans

from chinadialogue
When the Fukushima nuclear disaster struck, China was building new nuclear power capacity at a rate unprecedented in world history: 40 percent of all reactors planned or under construction were in China. Targets for installed nuclear generation...

Media

02.26.13

Flowers of the Motherland

Sun Yunfan
School uniforms have been a hot topic in the Chinese media since last Thursday. On February 20, 2013, on a new satirical TV news talk show akin to the Colbert Report but with a pre-recorded laugh track instead of a live audience, host Jin Yan of...

Viewpoint

02.25.13

Xi Jinping Should Expand Deng Xiaoping’s Reforms

Zhou Ruijin
A month after the conclusion of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 18th National Congress, the new Secretary General of the CCP and Central Military Commission, comrade Xi Jinping, left Beijing to visit Shenzhen, the first foothold of China’s...

Caixin Media

02.24.13

Dirty Business for China’s Internet Scrubbers

Flames of a public relations disaster were licking at the heels of a private equity firm when China’s most notorious Internet-scrubbing company rode to the rescue.Saving the Shenzhen-based firm’s image was not cheap, and it took more than two months...

Caixin Media

02.23.13

China’s 3D Printing: Not a Revolution—Yet

Engineers, inventors, and industrial futurists in China are setting sights on a new technological frontier as three-dimensional printing slowly revolutionizes manufacturing.A Beijing University research team, for example, has been working on what...

Environment

02.22.13

Could Smartphones Help Clear China’s Congested Roads?

from chinadialogue
The extraordinary growth of China’s cities is well-known. Today, 160 Chinese metropolises have over one million inhabitants and more than half the population lives in urban areas, which are growing at two to three times the rate of Western cities...

Media

02.22.13

Complaints, Nationalism, and Spoofs

Ouyang Bin & Zhang Xiaoran
This week, United States government and American media charges of Chinese cyberattacks have led to a variety of responses from netizens across China. On February 19, a CNN camera crew tried to shoot video of the twelve-story military-owned building...

Media

02.22.13

China’s State-Run Media Shares Powerful Map of “Cancer Villages” Creeping Inland

It appears that Chinese environmental activism is going further mainstream. The Sina micro-blogging account of Global Times, a well-known Communist Party mouthpiece, has just shared news about the horrific proliferation of “cancer villages” in China...

Media

02.21.13

In Face of Mainland Censorship, Taiwanese Revisit Reunification Question

Within twenty-four hours of registration, Sina Weibo (China’s equivalent of Twitter) deleted the microblog account of Frank Hsieh, former premier of Taiwan’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Ironically, Hsieh’s last tweet before...

Environment

02.20.13

Air Quality in China: A Snapshot

Nearly five weeks ago, Beijing experienced its worst day of air quality on record: Levels of PM2.5—small particulates that can cause lung, cardiovascular, and respiratory disease—soared to more than thirty times the level considered safe by the...

Media

02.20.13

On China’s Twitter, Discussion of Hacking Attacks Proceeds Unblocked

As The New York Times reported yesterday evening, U.S.-based cybersecurity firm Mandiant has just released a deeply troubling report called “Exposing One of China’s Cyber Espionage Units.” The report alleges wide-spread hacking sponsored by the...

Environment

02.19.13

China’s Disappointing Absence from U.N. Water Summit

from chinadialogue
After recent heated debate over China’s mega-dam plans, any visitor to the launch on February 11 of the U.N.’s much-vaunted International Year of Water Cooperation would have been disappointed.As well as a notable absence of any...

Media

02.16.13

NBA Star Debuts on Chinese Social Media, Fans Clamor: #I want to speak to Kobe#

Tea Leaf Nation editor David Wertime spoke on February 15 on Public Radio International’s The World about NBA star Kobe Bryant (@KobeBryant), who has recently opened an account on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter. Listen to the full two-minute interview...

Media

02.15.13

Free Coffee for North Korea?

Ouyang Bin & Zhang Xiaoran
What should China do to persuade its moody ally North Korea to comply with international restrictions on its nuclear ambitions?“Free conference rooms, free coffee, free soft drinks and dessert,” was the surprising and quickly viral Internet...