Media

12.15.15

The Proletariat Experience of Beijing’s Airpocalypse

On December 8, a Tuesday, a man surnamed Cao piloted his electric scooter along Beijing’s profoundly hazy streets, parking in front of one towering apartment complex after another to deliver packages. Although the government had just issued a “red...

Green Space

12.15.15

China is ‘Rational’ Leader on Climate Change, Says Retired NASA Scientist James Hansen

Michael Zhao
James Hansen, retired NASA scientist and “father of climate change awareness,” believes China, the world’s largest CO2 emitter, will now step up to provide the carbon emissions reduction leadership lacking from the U.S., according to a Guardian...

Media

12.14.15

R.I.P. SCMP?

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian & David Wertime
On December 11, Chinese Internet behemoth Alibaba announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire Hong Kong’s flagship English-language newspaper, the South China Morning Post (SCMP). The announcement came as no surprise, as the ailing paper...

Caixin Media

12.14.15

Lack of Clear Policy Direction on Two-Child Rule Leaves Nation Guessing

Regional family-planning officials say the lack of clarity on when the new two-child rule will come into effect has put them in legal limbo, unable to issue birth permits to couples who conceive a second child before the new policy kicks in, leading...

Green Space

12.11.15

Tiananmen Police Don Smog Masks, Wind Makes or Breaks the Blue Sky

Michael Zhao
Now that Beijing has had its first red alert since institutionalizing its smog alert system in 2013, it was news when the special forces who guard Tiananmen Square were seen, for the first time, wearing face masks to protect them from the smog, too...

Green Space

12.11.15

Saving Elephants No Tall Order for Yao Ming

Michael Zhao
Chinese Internet giant Tencent teamed up with international NGO The Nature Conservancy to launch a campaign to promote December 2015 as Elephant Loving Month in China. The following animated short illustrates the toll human greed for ivory takes on...

Environment

12.10.15

Global Carbon Emissions May Stall in 2015

from chinadialogue
Global carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal, oil, and gas as well as from industrial activities grew by just 0.6 percent in 2014, according to researchers from the Global Carbon Project of the organization Future Earth.The researchers say...

Media

12.09.15

How to Say ‘Islamic State’ in Mandarin

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On December 6, the Islamic State released a slick recording of a Mandarin Chinese-language song glorifying jihad, in what seems to be a direct attempt to recruit Chinese Muslims to the terrorist group’s cause. “Awaken, Muslim brothers! Now is the...

Caixin Media

12.09.15

Progress for NGOs Battling Polluters in Court

Two environmental groups have become the first non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in China to win a lawsuit that champions nationwide battles against polluters on behalf of the public. A court in Nanping, a city in the southeastern province of...

Green Space

12.08.15

Smog Strike Round II

Michael Zhao
Not surprisingly, smog yet again strikes back in much of China. Using the automatic weapon of our archive of daily photos of three of China’s major cities, I’d like to share a flashback of Beijing’s air quality throughout the month of November,...

Green Space

12.04.15

Green Activists Detained for ‘Prostitution,’ Yangtze Dolphins Rebound

Michael Zhao
Given that the Paris climate negotiations are underway, it is fair to start off with something about rising temperatures. This comes from a neat animation posted on Data Seeds’ WeChat Account that visualizes the warming trend within China’s borders...

Green Space

12.03.15

Smog and Imagination

Michael Zhao
The last few days of November, air pollution was back in the headlines and social media feeds of millions of Chinese. Here are a few highlights:The creative WeChat post “Beijing Smog: Use Your Imagination When You Go Out,” shows a series of photos...

Caixin Media

12.02.15

Zhang Zhixin: The Woman who Took on the ‘Gang of Four’

Sheila Melvin
Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). The desire not to dwell on that tumultuous decade, after half a century has passed, is understandable, but the failure to reflect on its impact, offer a full...

Viewpoint

11.30.15

Court in China Adds Last-Minute Charge Against Rights Leader During Sentencing

Yaxue Cao from China Change
On August 8, 2013, Guo Feixiong (real name Yang Maodong) was arrested and then indicted on charges of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.” The heavy sentence came as a shock to everyone following the case. More shockingly, the...

Green Space

11.30.15

China’s Joking on Smog

Michael Zhao
In the world of Chinese air pollution, there’s a new kid on the block. Shenyang, the northeastern stronghold of heavy industry and manufacturing since the Mao era, last week saw its levels of PM2.5 pollution shoot past 1000 and register a whopping...

Media

11.27.15

‘Personal Media’ in China Takes a Hit From Pre-Publication Censorship

Hu Yong
Observers have long thought that Chinese authorities censor the media depending on type: the censorship of traditional media is primarily conducted in advance, with a thorough inspection of news and discussion before publication; new media, in...

Caixin Media

11.24.15

China Eyes More Muscle for Market Supervision

Strengthening the People’s Bank of China’s regulatory clout is high on a list of suggestions for improving financial market oversight following last summer’s stock market crash.As supporters of the plan see it, no government institution is in a...

Media

11.20.15

Pulitzer’s ‘Lookout on the Bridge’ vs. China’s ‘News Ethics Committees’

David Bandurski
In a recent harangue on the imperative of better journalism, a website run by the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Propaganda Department tore a jagged page from the wisdom of American newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer: “A journalist is the...

Environment

11.20.15

China Remains a Rocky Road for Electric Cars

from chinadialogue
Recent revelations about Volkswagen’s emissions have focused attention on the environmental damage caused by the auto and fuel industries—and the need for a decisive shift towards genuinely green transport that can cut smog in the world’s major...

Media

11.20.15

China Censors Online Outcry After ISIS Execution

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On November 18, the Islamic State (IS) released photos of what it claimed were two executed hostages. The photos, appearing in the terrorist group’s English-language magazine Dabiq, depict two men with bloodied faces, the word “executed” emblazoned...

Viewpoint

11.19.15

A Response to Andrew Nathan

Daniel A. Bell
I’d like to thank Andrew Nathan for his thoughtful critique of my book, published originally in short form in The National Interest and in longer form on ChinaFile. At first glance, his argument may seem far-fetched: although I’ve been living and...

Caixin Media

11.18.15

Government Enlists NGOs to Help Homeless

Drivers roll up car windows as an autumn wind chills a traffic-clogged overpass in western Beijing’s Liuliqiao area. And under the concrete overpass, homeless people are gathering for a chilly night’s rest after wandering city streets.Among the...

Media

11.18.15

Chinese Students in America: 300,000 and Counting

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
In 1981, when Erhfei Liu entered Brandeis University as an undergraduate, he was only the second student from mainland China in the school’s history. “I was a rare animal from Red China,” Liu said in a September 1 interview with Foreign Policy, “an...

Viewpoint

11.17.15

What Xi and Ma Really Said

Perry Link
The Chinese government employs hundreds of thousands of people at all administrative levels, central to local, to prescribe and monitor how news stories are presented to the public. These people tell editors of newspapers and web pages not only what...

Postcard

11.13.15

The Watch

Hai Zhang
On a trip back to China in 2011, photographer Hai Zhang came across a crowd in the People’s Square of Wushan, a town outside of Chongqing. People had gathered to watch a gala sponsored by a local real estate developer to promote his new residential...

Media

11.13.15

The Real Reason for China’s Two-Child Policy: Millions of New Consumers

Two fictitious Chinese brothers are born in Tuanjiehu Maternity Hospital in the Chinese capital of Beijing. Let’s say the first was born already, in late 2015; his parents nickname him Laoda, meaning “oldest child.” That’s because they have hopes...

Media

11.12.15

Good Journalist, Bad Journalist

David Bandurski
As China marked its annual Journalists’ Day over the weekend, proclaiming the importance of “correct news ideals,” even jaded New Yorkers stopped in their tracks and took notice. How could they not? The message beamed over 7th Avenue on Times Square...

Media

11.12.15

Watch Frank Underwood Advertise China’s Black Friday

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On November 11, at the stroke of midnight Beijing time, millions of Chinese sitting behind their computers or cradling their mobile phones began purchasing cell phones, handbags, and clothing at cutthroat prices. By the end of November 11, analysts...

Environment

11.11.15

China’s Bottled Water Industry to Exploit Tibetan Plateau

from chinadialogue
Tibet wants to bottle up much more of the region’s water resources, despite shrinking glaciers and the impact that exploitation of precious resources would have on neighboring countries.This week, the Tibet Autonomous Region’s government released a...

Media

11.10.15

Chinese Hits Miss Out on the Global Box Office

Jonathan Landreth from China Film Insider
If he’d had the time after meeting American captains of industry in Seattle and Barack Obama at the White House, Chinese President Xi Jinping might have ducked out at the close of his United Nations appearance and into a New York movie theater to...

Caixin Media

11.10.15

Mao’s ‘Proud Poplar’: Yang Kaihui

Sheila Melvin
Yang Kaihui—who was killed 85 years ago this month—was the first of Mao Zedong’s three freely chosen wives. (Mao was forced by his parents to wed an older neighbor when he was just 14 but did not consider this a true marriage.) Yang’s dramatic, and...

Media

11.09.15

Can the China Model Succeed?

Daniel A. Bell, Timothy Garton Ash & more
Is this a new model? Is authoritarian capitalism, Leninist capitalism, something that has durability? Have the rules changed about how countries develop? That used to be, remember, that open markets led ineluctably to open societies. How does it...

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...

Media

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...

Media

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...

Viewpoint

11.05.15

The Problem With the China Model

Andrew J. Nathan
The ideological competition between democracy and authoritarianism was supposed to have died with the Cold War. But it has returned with a vengeance, powered above all by the rise of China. Now comes a book by a respected scholar that purports to...

Culture

11.04.15

Zhang Yimou: ‘Even Though Our Market Is Growing Fast, We’re Still Not Satisfied’

Jonathan Landreth
Hollywood has Steven Spielberg and China has Zhang Yimou, the senior statesman of moviemaking in the People’s Republic. From Red Sorghum, his 1987 debut right out of the Beijing Film Academy, through Hero, which grossed more in America in 2002 than...

Environment

10.30.15

China’s Stalk-Burning Clampdown Shows Limits of Command-and-Control

from chinadialogue
At the end of the National Day holiday earlier this month, Beijing bid farewell to weeks of relatively good air quality and experienced another episode of “Airpocalypse.” Levels of PM2.5, tiny pollution particles that are deemed particularly harmful...

Media

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...

Media

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...

Media

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...

Features

10.27.15

Rich Man, Pu’er Man

Christina Larson
“These men always have machetes,” shouts the driver. Through trees along an unpaved road, he spots a ramshackle hut, slows down, and warns his passengers: this is a checkpoint. It’s the only way to enforce rules in this part of the jungle, at the...

Caixin Media

10.27.15

Does the Punishment Fit the Corruption?

After Chen Bokui, the deputy head of a government advisory body in the central province of Hubei, was convicted of taking 2.8 million yuan in bribes by a court in the eastern province of Fujian in April, he received a somewhat stiff sentence—17...

Culture

10.26.15

Xi Jinping on What’s Wrong with Contemporary Chinese Culture

from China Film Insider
At the Beijing Forum on Literature and Art last October, President Xi Jinping spoke to a high-level audience of arts professionals about the role of arts and culture in China. The event, along with excerpts of the October 15, 2014 speech, given in...

Media

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...

Caixin Media

10.23.15

Hemingway's Literary Escape

Sheila Melvin
One noonday in 2002, a friendly acquaintance of mine—I’ll call him Q—left his office in a Beijing concert hall to go to lunch and never returned. After a series of inquiries, his wife and colleagues learned that he had been arrested. Various charges...

Environment

10.22.15

China's Boom Has Hurt Wetlands, Threatens Extinction of Rare Birds

from chinadialogue
The destruction of China’s wetlands, which are critical stopping points for birds migrating as far away as the Arctic or the South Pacific, threatens mass extinctions of species across East Asia, new research has found.Besides providing shelter and...

Caixin Media

10.20.15

Moving 2 Million People for Beijing’s Urban Reset

Nearly 2 million Beijing residents will be moved to the city’s outlying districts from the center by 2020 as part of a massive urban revamp designed to better control people, traffic, and smog.The movers include up to 1 million government workers...

Environment

10.19.15

Can the South-North Water Transfer Project and Industry Co-Exist?

from chinadialogue
Sixty-two years after Chairman Mao first envisioned the South-North Water Transfer project, the Middle Route (SNWT-MR) formally began transferring supplies of water from Danjiangkou reservoir on the border of Hubei and Henan in December 2014.In the...

Viewpoint

10.16.15

How Contagious is Taiwan’s Democracy?

Richard Bernstein
The old barriers have crumbled, the old animosities have abated, and as a result, millions of people from the authoritarian mainland of China now spend various lengths of time on democratic Taiwan. In fact, the two-way traffic is tremendous. On...

Environment

10.14.15

U.S.-China Announcement is the Most Significant Milestone to Date for Battling Global Climate Change

from Rocky Mountain Institute
The September 25 joint announcement by President Obama and President Xi represents the second time in two years the leaders have met to make significant climate commitments. Last year’s meeting focused on setting aggressive goals that reflect each...

Media

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’...

Caixin Media

10.13.15

Insider Trading Is Hindering Development of Stock Market

A series of investigations into apparent market violations emerged after the recent stock market turmoil, bringing down Zhang Yujun, an assistant chairman at the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC); Cheng Boming, general manager of CITIC...

Culture

10.07.15

Jia Zhangke on Finding Freedom in China on Film

Jonathan Landreth
Jia Zhangke is among the most celebrated filmmakers China has ever produced—outside of China. His 2013 film, A Touch of Sin, a weaving-together of four tales of violence ripped from modern-day newspaper headlines, won the Best Screenplay award at...

Media

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...

Caixin Media

10.06.15

Authorities Should Do More to Protect China’s Lawyers

A Communist Party group led by General Secretary Xi Jinping that was established to spearhead reform efforts finished a document on September 15 addressing the plight of lawyers. A day later, top judicial authorities, including the Supreme People...

Culture

10.02.15

In Zhang Yimou’s ‘Coming Home’ History is Muted But Not Silent

Eva Shan Chou
Coming Home, directed by the celebrated Zhang Yimou and released in the U.S. last week, begins as a man escapes a labor camp in China’s northwest and tries to return home. But he is captured when he and his wife attempt to meet, after their daughter...

Media

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...

Media

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.