Cambridge University Press Faces Backlash after Bowing to China Censorship Pressure

Washington Post
Cambridge University Press announced Friday it had removed 300 articles and book reviews from a version of the “China Quarterly” website available in China at the request of the government.

Liu Xiaobo’s Death Pushes China’s Censors into Overdrive

New York Times
It came as little surprise when, after the death of the dissident Liu Xiaobo last week, China’s vast army of censors kicked into overdrive as they scrubbed away the outpouring of grief on social media that followed.

Liu Xiaobo: The Man Who Stayed

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
In 1898, some of China’s most brilliant minds allied themselves with the Emperor Guangxu, a young ruler who was trying to assert himself by forcing through reforms to open up China’s political, economic, and educational systems. But opponents...

Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo, Who Fought for Democracy in China, Dies in Police Custody

Wall Street Journal
Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, who embodied the hopes of China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy movement long after the protests were crushed, died in detention on Thursday after a battle with liver cancer, according to a government statement. He...

The Passion of Liu Xiaobo

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
In the late 1960s Mao Zedong, China’s Great Helmsman, encouraged children and adolescents to confront their teachers and parents, root out “cow ghosts and snake spirits,” and otherwise “make revolution.” In practice, this meant closing China’s...

On Tiananmen Square Anniversary, Detentions in China and Candlelight Vigil in Hong Kong

Washington Post
Police detained at least 11 Chinese activists after a pair of small events to commemorate the 28th anniversary of the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, according to human rights groups and activists.

Sinica Podcast

05.16.17

America’s Top Trade Negotiator in 2001 Looks at China Today

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Charlene Barshefsky was a name you couldn’t avoid if you were in Beijing in the late 1990s. As the United States Trade Representative from 1997 to 2001, she led the American team that negotiated China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO...

Conversation

03.22.17

China Writers Remember Robert Silvers

Ian Johnson, Orville Schell & more
Robert Silvers died on Monday, March 20, after serving as The New York Review of Books Editor since 1963. Over almost six decades, Silvers cultivated one of the most interesting, reflective, and lustrous stables of China writers in the world, some...

Viewpoint

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...

Books

01.04.17

The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China

Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom
This lavishly illustrated volume explores the history of China during a period of dramatic shifts and surprising transformations, from the founding of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) through to the present day.The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China promises to be essential reading for anyone who wants to understand this rising superpower on the verge of what promises to be the “Chinese century,” introducing readers to important but often overlooked events in China’s past, such as the bloody Taiping Civil War (1850-1864), which had a death toll far higher than the roughly contemporaneous American Civil War. It also helps readers see more familiar landmarks in Chinese history in new ways, such as the Opium War (1839-1842), the Boxer Uprising of 1900, the rise to power of the Chinese Communist Party in 1949, and the Tiananmen protests and Beijing Massacre of 1989.This is one of the first major efforts—and in many ways the most ambitious to date—to come to terms with the broad sweep of modern Chinese history, taking readers from the origins of modern China right up through the dramatic events of the last few years (the Beijing Games, the financial crisis, and China’s rise to global economic pre-eminence) which have so fundamentally altered Western views of China and China’s place in the world. —Oxford University Press{chop}

Books

12.15.16

Crashing the Party

Scott Savitt
It’s 1983. Scott Savitt, one of the first American exchange students in Beijing, picks up his guitar and begins strumming “Blackbird.” He’s soon surrounded by Chinese students who know every word to every Beatles song he plays. Savitt stays on in Beijing, working as a reporter for Asiaweek Magazine. The city’s first nightclubs open; rock ‘n’ roll promises democracy. Promoted to foreign correspondent for The Los Angeles Times and then United Press International, Savitt finds himself drawn into China’s political heart. His girlfriend is the assistant to Bette Bao Lord, the wife of the U.S. ambassador. He interviews people who will become leaders of the democracy movement.Later, at 25 years old, Savitt is the youngest accredited foreign correspondent in China, with an intimate knowledge of Beijing’s backstreets. But as the seven-week occupation of Tiananmen Square ends in bloodshed on June 4, 1989, his greatest asset is his flame-red 500cc Honda motorcycle—giving Savitt the freedom to witness first-hand what the Chinese government still denies ever took place. After Tiananmen, Savitt founds the first independent English-language newspaper in China, Beijing Scene. He knows that it’s only a matter of time before the authorities move in, and sure enough, in 2000 he’s arrested, flung into solitary confinement and, after a month in jail, deported.Savitt’s extraordinary memoir of his two decades in China manages to take an extremely complex political-historical subject and turn it into an adventure story. —Soft Skull{chop}

China’s Last Tiananmen Prisoner Set to be Freed, but Frail

Gillian Wong
New York Times
Miao Deshun, the 51-year-old former factory worker, is severely ill after spending more than half his life behind bars

Books

10.11.16

The Red Guard Generation and Political Activism in China

Guobin Yang
Raised to be “flowers of the nation,” the first generation born after the founding of the People’s Republic of China was united in its political outlook and ambitions. Its members embraced the Cultural Revolution of 1966 but soon split into warring factions. Guobin Yang investigates the causes of this fracture and argues that Chinese youth engaged in an imaginary revolution from 1966 to 1968, enacting a political mythology that encouraged violence as a way to prove one’s revolutionary credentials. This same competitive dynamic would later turn the Red Guard against the communist government.Throughout the 1970s, the majority of Red Guard youth were sent to work in rural villages. These relocated revolutionaries developed an appreciation for the values of ordinary life, and an underground cultural movement was born. Rejecting idolatry, their new form of resistance marked a distinct reversal of Red Guard radicalism and signaled a new era of enlightenment, culminating in the Democracy Wall movement of the late 1970s and, finally, the Tiananmen protest of 1989. Yang completes his significant recasting of Red Guard activism with a chapter on the politics of history and memory, arguing that contemporary memories of the Cultural Revolution are factionalized along the lines of political division that formed 50 years before. —Columbia University Press{chop}

The People in Retreat

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Ai Xiaoming is one of China’s leading documentary filmmakers and political activists. Since 2004, she has made more than two dozen films, many of them long, gritty documentaries that detail citizen activism or uncover whitewashed historical events...

Conversation

08.18.16

What Would China Look Like Today Had Zhao Ziyang Survived?

Julian B. Gewirtz, David Shambaugh & more
Almost 500 previously unpublished documents about Zhao Ziyang, the bold reformer who served as China’s premier (1980-1987) and Communist Party general secretary (1987-1989), were smuggled out of China and published in late July by the Chinese...

Viewpoint

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...

Media

08.08.16

How Chinese Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Their Military Again

Every evening, as regular and obstreperous as a rooster, the People’s Liberation Army (P.L.A.) soldiers sing from the barracks outside my Beijing home, a chorus of teenage troops reminding the neighborhood when it’s dinner time:“Unity is strength,...

China Rebuffs Taiwan President's Offer on Democracy

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
President Tsai Ing-wen made the offer via Facebook on Saturday in a post about the June 4 anniversary of China's crackdown on Tiananmen Square Protest...

Squaring Off

Economist
A museum of China’s democracy movement in 1989 is in trouble.

The Heritage of a Great Man

Freeman Dyson from New York Review of Books
Why did communism grow deep roots and survive in China, while it withered and died in Russia? This is one of the central questions of modern history. A plausible answer to the question is that communism in China resonated with the two-thousand-year-...

China Set to Free Last Remaining Jailed Tiananmen Square Protester, Reports Say

Charlie Campbell
Time
Miao Deshun, 25 at the time of his arrest, was convicted of throwing a basket at a burning PLA tank during the movement.

‘My Personal Vendetta’

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
The presumed kidnapping of the Hong Kong bookseller and British citizen Lee Bo late last year has brought international attention to the challenges faced by the Hong Kong publishing business. During a break from The New York Review’s conference on...

The Bloodthirsty Deng We Didn’t Know

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
“Deng was…a bloody dictator who, along with Mao, was responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent people, thanks to the terrible social reforms and unprecedented famine of 1958–1962.” This is the conclusion of Alexander Pantsov and Steven...

How A 10-Gallon Hat Helped Heal Relations Between China And America

Adam Taylor
Washington Post
Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping's 1979 tour marked a turning point in Americans' views of Communist China...

Media

07.23.15

Why Taylor Swift’s 1989 Merchandise Is Not Going to Get Her Banned in China

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On July 20, one of China’s largest e-commerce websites, JD.com, announced that it is partnering with popular American singer Taylor Swift to become the first authorized retailer of her merchandise in China. That news likely wouldn’t have turned...

Louisa Lim: “How Chinese People Became Complicit...”

Louisa Lim
Guardian
I didn’t want to write this book. Even the thought of it scared me, but it hammered away at my conscience. When I finally gave in, I took elaborate precautions.

Books

06.10.15

China’s Millennials

Eric Fish
In 1989, students marched on Tiananmen Square demanding democratic reform. The Communist Party responded with a massacre, but it was jolted into restructuring the economy and overhauling the education of its young citizens. A generation later, Chinese youth are a world apart from those who converged at Tiananmen. Brought up with lofty expectations, they’ve been accustomed to unprecedented opportunities on the back of China’s economic boom. But today, China’s growth is slowing and its demographics rapidly shifting, with the boom years giving way to a painful hangover.Immersed in this transition, Eric Fish, a millennial himself, profiles youth from around the country and how they are navigating the education system, the workplace, divisive social issues, and a resurgence in activism. Based on interviews with scholars, journalists, and hundreds of young Chinese, his engrossing book challenges the idea that today’s youth have been pacified by material comforts and nationalism. Following rural Henan students struggling to get into college, a computer prodigy who sparked a nationwide patriotic uproar, and young social activists grappling with authorities, Fish deftly captures youthful struggle, disillusionment, and rebellion in a system that is scrambling to keep them in line—and, increasingly, scrambling to adapt when its youth refuse to conform.—Rowman & Littlefield{chop}

Media

06.05.15

Hong Kong’s Long-Standing Unity on Tiananmen Is Unraveling

June 4, a day that changed mainland China forever, has become a cross that the city of Hong Kong bears. Each year, thousands of the city’s residents gather on an often steamy night and share anxious memories of 1989, when tanks rolled by bloodied...

Postcard

06.03.15

Beijing Autumn

Ilaria Maria Sala
Then even August ended. China was disappearing from the news, as portentous events elsewhere thrust themselves to the forefront.South Africa had started to come out of the dark age of apartheid. Eastern Europe had begun the march to unshackle itself...

Viewpoint

04.10.15

Bury Zhao Ziyang, and Praise Him

Julian B. Gewirtz
Zhao Ziyang, the premier and general secretary of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the 1980s, died on January 17, 2005. At a tightly controlled ceremony designed to avoid the kind of instability that the deaths of other controversial...

Infographics

12.05.14

China’s Fallen Mighty [Graphic]

David M. Barreda, Youyou Zhou & more
Over the past thirty-eight years, twelve of China’s top leaders have been purged. This infographic and the bios of these leaders explain how and why these mighty men fell. Download the high-resolution graphic.

Features

12.05.14

China’s Fallen Mighty [Updated]

Ouyang Bin, Zhang Mengqi & more
Political infighting and purges have been hallmarks of the Chinese Communist Party since its earliest days but came to a peak during Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, damaging the country and paralyzing the Party itself. When Mao died in 1976, it...

Books

06.25.14

Tiananmen Exiles

Rowena Xiaoqing He
In the spring of 1989, millions of citizens across China took to the streets in a nationwide uprising against government corruption and authoritarian rule. What began with widespread hope for political reform ended with the People's Liberation Army firing on unarmed citizens in the capital city of Beijing, and those leaders who survived the crackdown became wanted criminals overnight. Among the witnesses to this unprecedented popular movement was Rowena Xiaoqing He, who would later join former student leaders and other exiles in North America, where she has worked tirelessly for over a decade to keep the memory of the Tiananmen Movement alive. This moving oral history interweaves He's own experiences with the accounts of three student leaders exiled from China. Here, in their own words, they describe their childhoods during Mao's Cultural Revolution, their political activism, the bitter disappointments of 1989, and the profound contradictions and challenges they face as exiles. Variously labeled as heroes, victims, and traitors in the years after Tiananmen, these individuals tell difficult stories of thwarted ideals and disconnection that nonetheless embody the hope for a freer China and a more just world. —Palgrave Macmillan {chop}

Books

06.18.14

The People’s Republic of Amnesia

Louisa Lim
On June 4, 1989, People's Liberation Army soldiers opened fire on unarmed civilians in Beijing, killing untold hundreds of people. A quarter-century later, this defining event remains buried in China's modern history, successfully expunged from collective memory. In The People's Republic of Amnesia, NPR correspondent Louisa Lim charts how the events of June 4th changed China, and how China changed the events of June 4th by rewriting its own history.{node, 5555}Lim reveals new details about those fateful days, including how one of the country's most senior politicians lost a family member to an army bullet, as well as the inside story of the young soldiers sent to clear Tiananmen Square. She also introduces us to individuals whose lives were transformed by the events of Tiananmen Square, such as a founder of the Tiananmen Mothers, whose son was shot by martial law troops; and one of the most important government officials in the country, who post-Tiananmen became one of its most prominent dissidents. And she examines how June 4th shaped China's national identity, fostering a generation of young nationalists, who know little and care less about 1989. For the first time, Lim uncovers the details of a brutal crackdown in a second Chinese city that until now has been a near-perfect case study in the state's ability to rewrite history, excising the most painful episodes. By tracking down eyewitnesses, discovering U.S. diplomatic cables, and combing through official Chinese records, Lim offers the first account of a story that has remained untold for a quarter of a century. The People's Republic of Amnesia is an original, powerfully gripping, and ultimately unforgettable book about a national tragedy and an unhealed wound. —Oxford University Press {chop}

Young Chinese Twitter User Arrested for Proposing Method to Spread Truth About June 4th Massacre

China Change
On Monday China’s state-run media outlet China News (中新网) reported that Beijing police had arrested a 22-year-old female for posting an article on Twitter that teaches how to use a pseudo base station “to send illegal information.”

Media

06.05.14

A Time-Lapse Map of Protests Sweeping China in 1989

Twenty-five years ago in the southern Chinese province of Hunan, a group of small-town high school students listening to shortwave radio heard news of a deadly crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators nearly 1,000 miles away in the capital of...

Exiled Tiananmen Leader Slips into China

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
Zhou Fengsuo, 47, a student leader in 1989, spent two days in the capital—visiting Tiananmen Square and a detention center where his friends are being held—before the authorities caught him on June 3.

The Ghosts of Tiananmen Square

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Every spring, an old friend of mine named Xu Jue makes a trip to the Babaoshan cemetery in the western suburbs of Beijing to lay flowers on the tombs of her dead son and husband. She always plans her visit for April 5, which is the holiday of Pure...

Never Before Seen Tiananmen Square Photos Found in Shoebox

China Girls
I was searching through my parents’ photos for a piece I was writing on Tiananmen Square and my father, when I stumbled across two rolls of negatives that appeared to be from the 1989 student democracy protests in Tiananmen Square.

Where the Flame Still Burns

J. C.
Economist
Hong Kong is the only place on Chinese soil where large public commemorations of the Tiananmen massacre take place; elsewhere memorials of the June 4th crackdown remain strictly forbidden.

After Tiananmen Square, New Lives On A New Continent

MICHEL MARTIN
NPR
After the democracy protests were crushed in 1989, many thought China would turn inward. Instead, a million Chinese citizens moved to Africa. Howard French discusses his book China's Second Continent...

The Tiananmen Square Massacre, According to WikiLeaks

Jeff South
Medium
Diplomatic cables chronicle China’s quashing of pro-democracy movement.

See What China Sees When It Searches For “Tiananmen” and Other Loaded Terms

Nikhil Sonnad
Quartz
Blocked on Weibo is one of the most interesting websites on the internet: A list that explains the search terms that are censored on China’s massive microblogging site Weibo.

25 Years Later, Tiananmen Square Still Colors U.S.-China Relations

Tom Malinowski
U.S. State Department
Today, the United States is asking of the Chinese government what we have asked for 25 years: to provide the fullest possible accounting of the Tiananmen events and to stop retribution against those who wish to remember them.

25 Years Later, Lessons From Tiananmen Square Crackdown

Melinda Liu
National Geographic
A quarter century after democracy protests ended in bloodshed, Chinese still clamor for clean government and courts.

Catholic Cardinal Makes First Appearance at Vigil

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
Cardinal Joseph Zen of the Catholic Church, a longtime advocate of greater democracy in Hong Kong and mainland China, attended the annual candlelight vigil for Tiananmen Square victims for the first time in Hong Kong on Wednesday evening.

Remarks by President Obama at at 25th Anniversary of Freedom Day

Barack Obama
Office of the Press Secretary
Barack Obama reminds Poles that while they voted for democracy twenty-five years ago this day, China crushed pro-democracy protests in Beijing's Tiananmen Square...

In Pictures, Remembering the Tiananmen Square Massacre

Niki Walker
Mashable
Twenty-five years ago on Wednesday, the Chinese government, acting under martial law, deployed 200,000 troops into Beijing's Tiananmen Square...

Tiananmen at Twenty-Five: "Victory Over Memory"

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
Today, technology and globalism are prying open the lives of China’s people. But, in matters of politics and history, the Party is determined to silence even the “few flies” that Deng Xiaoping once described as a bearable side effect of an open...

Hong Kong Recalls Tiananmen Killings, China Muffles Dissent

Adam Rose and Ben Blanchard
Reuters
Tens of thousands of people held a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong to mark the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters 25 years ago in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, while mainland China authorities sought to whitewash the event...

Stuart Franklin: How I Photographed Tiananmen Square and 'Tank Man'

Mee-Lai Stone
Guardian
The Magnum photographer tells his story of the 1989 protests, from peaceful demonstration to bloody crackdown, the iconic 'tank man' – and how hamburgers gave him his big break...

Marking 25th Anniversary of China's Tiananmen Square Takes Creativity

Barbara Demick
Los Angeles Times
Every year, political activists try to commemorate those who died in the 1989 crackdown at Tiananmen Square, and the Chinese government tries to prevent them, a cat-and-mouse game as classic as "Tom and Jerry."...

Media

06.03.14

A Day to Remember/A Day Forgotten

Susan Jakes
China’s suppression of the memory of the June 4 massacre of demonstrators in Beijing in 1989 is a perennial and important subject of commentary. Much written on the subject is excellent, but little I’ve seen describes repressed memory in action as...

Tiananmen, Forgotten

Helen Gao
New York Times
To my generation, the widespread patriotic liberalism that bonded the students in the early 1980s feels as distant as the political fanaticism that defined the preceding decades.

Culture

06.03.14

A Visit to Hong Kong’s June 4th Museum

Amy Chung
Every Saturday in Hong Kong, volunteer curator and translator C.S. Liu helps guide visitors through the first permanent museum dedicated to the history of the Tiananmen Square massacre of June 4, 1989 in Beijing.At the entrance to the June 4th...

Features

06.03.14

Voices from Tiananmen

This Wednesday marks the 25th anniversary of the deadly suppression of the 1989 Tiananmen protests on June 4. It has been a quarter of a century of enormous change in China, but one key fact of life in that country has not changed: its leaders...

The Tanks and the People

Liao Yiwu from New York Review of Books
Twenty-five years ago, before the Tiananmen massacre, my father told me: “Son, be good and stay at home, never provoke the Communist Party.”My father knew what he was talking about. His courage had been broken, by countless political campaigns...

25 Years After the Tiananmen Crackdown

Zhang Hongtu and Zhao Gang
Creative Time Reports
The Asian American Arts Centre responded to the June 1989 events with an open-call exhibition of artworks related to the uprising and its suppression called “China: June 4, 1989.” To commemorate the event's 25th anniversary, Creative Time...

China Escalating Attack on Google

Dan Levin
New York Times
The authorities in China have made Google’s services largely inaccessible in recent days, a move most likely related to the government’s broad efforts to stifle discussion of the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations.