Have a Nice Day, Chinese Gangster Animation, Blocked in France

Stephen McDonelll
BBC
The makers of a cutting-edge Chinese film that was pulled from the world's premier animation festival following government pressure from Beijing say they still hope the movie will get a run in cinemas at home later this year...

Godfather of Beijing’s Indie Music Scene Dissects China’s Experimental Soundscape

Malcolm Surer
China’s alternative-punk music scene has evolved from a genre that represented the rebelliousness of a niche group of well-off educated urbanites to one that’s international, hip, and popular. Chinese bands now play to sold-out gigs not only in old...

Sinica Podcast

05.26.17

Chinese Power in the Age of Donald Trump

Jeremy Goldkorn, Kaiser Kuo & more from Sinica Podcast
When Joseph Nye, Jr., first used the phrase “soft power” in his 1990 book Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power, China did not factor much into his calculus of world order: It had relatively little military and economic power, and...

The Earthy Glories of Ancient China

Ian Buruma from New York Review of Books
French schoolchildren used to be taught that they were descended from the Gauls, a tribe that emerged around the fifth century BC. It is a common conceit of 19th-century nationalism that citizens of modern nation-states can trace their national...

Depth of Field

05.01.17

From the Inside Looking Out

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
Each March, Beijing hosts the “Two Sessions,” massive meetings of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Members of the two bodies of the nation’s legislature meet for a week in the Great Hall of...

Conversation

04.14.17

Ivanka: A ChinaFile Conversation

Rebecca E. Karl, Yishu Mao & more
At a time of strained and erratic relations between the U.S. and China, Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter and, more recently, a member of his administration, has emerged as an unlikely but singularly potent emissary, not to just to China’s...

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...

Sinica Podcast

03.17.17

Big Daddy Dough: Hip-hop and Macroeconomics in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
By day, Andrew Dougherty is a macroeconomist who manages a China research team for Capital Group, one of the world’s largest actively managed mutual funds. By night, he is Big Daddy Dough, creator of an album of parody hip-hop songs that explain...

China’s Political Propaganda Gets a Digital Makeover

BBC
There are more such tactics being adopted this year.

Conversation

02.23.17

Can China Expand its Beachhead in Hollywood?

Stanley Rosen, Ying Zhu & more
With The Great Wall, a classic army vs. monsters tale, director Zhang Yimou has brought America the most expensive Chinese film ever created. The movie may be backed by a Hollywood studio and it may star no less an American icon than Matt Damon, and...

Depth of Field

02.16.17

Riding into the New Year

Yan Cong, Ye Ming & more from Yuanjin Photo
As preparations for the Chinese New Year got underway, Liang Yingfei set up a roadside studio and asked migrants traveling home by motorbike to stop for a quick photograph. While in Cambodia for the Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops, Jia...

Using Stealth, and Drones, to Document a Fading Hong Kong

Mike Ives
New York Times
If history was any guide, the explorers said, the building the drone was filming—a 1952 theater with unusual roof supports—would eventually be demolished because it is not on Hong Kong’s list of declared monuments.

China’s Latest Hollywood Move: Pumping $1B into Paramount Movies

Sherisse Pham
CNN
Paramount Pictures has announced a $1 billion financing deal with two Chinese firms, strengthening the U.S. studio's ties with a lucrative but difficult market...

Sinica Podcast

01.19.17

The State of Journalism in China—Ed Wong’s Exit Interview

Jeremy Goldkorn, Kaiser Kuo & more from Sinica Podcast
Edward Wong became a reporter for The New York Times in 1999. He covered the Iraq war from Baghdad from 2003 to 2007, and then moved to Beijing in 2008. He has written about a wide range of subjects in China for the Times, and became its Beijing...

In China, Pollution Fears Are Both Literal and Metaphorical

Jeffrey Wasserstrom and Benjamin Van...
NPR
Last month, as China encountered some of its worst pollution yet, artists in Chengdu did something bold: They put smog-filtering cotton masks over the faces of statues representing ordinary urbanites that dot a centrally located shopping street.

Film Review: ‘Plastic China’

Dennis Harvey
Variety
Life in one Chinese town is entirely dedicated to recycling of First World waste in Jiu-liang Wang’s documentary.

Zhou Youguang, Architect of a Bridge between Languages, Dies At 111

Colin Dwyer
NPR
Zhou Youguang, the inventor of a system to convert Chinese characters into words with the Roman alphabet, died Saturday at the age of 111.

China Is Mad About Hollywood Remakes

Lillian Lin
Wall Street Journal
Aiming to crack new frontiers in China, Hollywood studios are turning to something familiar: established American films and TV series that can be remade for Chinese audiences.

How ‘Bambi’ Got Its Look From 1,000-Year-Old Chinese Art

Daniel McDermon
New York Times
The Chinese-American artist Tyrus Wong, who died last week at 106, was an incredibly accomplished painter, illustrator, calligrapher and Hollywood studio artist. But as Margalit Fox wrote in her obituary for Mr. Wong, “because of the marginalization...

To Speak is to Blunder

Yiyun Li
New Yorker
My brain has banished Chinese. I dream in English. I talk to myself in English. It was a crucial decision to be orphaned from my mother tongue

How George Michael’s Wham! Baffled Communist China and Inspired its Youth

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
It was a culture shock to rival the best of them: the coiffured hair and exuberant dancing of British pop stars, and the Communist Party’s dour uniformity

Could Jane Zhang Become China’s First Global Pop Star?

Grace Tsoi
BBC
Zhang's latest single breaks the mould of China's pop industry and could help her become its first global superstar...

Norway and China Restore Ties, 6 Years After Nobel Prize Dispute

Sewell Chan
New York Times
The news accompanied an unannounced visit to Beijing by the Norwegian foreign minister, Borge Brende, who met with Premier Li Keqiang

“Messy, Mindless, Illogical”: Chinese Moviegoers Review “Great Wall”

Josh Horwitz and Echo Huang
Quartz
One of the most hyped-up film productions of the year is shaping up to be a box office success, and a critical bomb

China to Review Film Limits as Box Office Growth Slows

Lisa Richwine and Adam Jourdan
Reuters
China's box office is set to end the year with its smallest growth in a decade...

Sinica Podcast

12.19.16

Beijing Meets Banjo: Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Wu Fei is a classically trained composer and performer of the guzheng, or traditional Chinese 21-string zither. Abigail Washburn is a Grammy Award–winning American banjo player and fluent speaker of Chinese. They’ve been friends for a decade and are...

As 'The Great Wall’ Hits Theaters in China, Hollywood is Watching

Erich Schwartzel
Wall Street Journal
Movie industry sees $150 million picture starring Matt Damon as harbinger for future U.S.-China co-productions

The Great Wall: China Takes on the World with New Matt Damon Film

John Sudworth
BBC
Despite a long tradition of movie-making, and much critical acclaim for its directors overseas, China has never yet produced a truly global blockbuster

Two Movies China Desperately Wants to Hide

Jeff Jacoby
Boston Globe
In China, prisoners of conscience are literally being butchered. These films take a look inside China's organ harvesting market. ...

S.Korea Says China is Retaliating Against Its Missile-Defense System by Taking Aim at Korean Dramas

Echo Huang
Quartz
China has turned down Korean stars’ applications to perform in the country and has not let any Korean movies screen in the mainland

Author’s Vision of a Future Beijing Looks to China’s Present

Karoline Kan and Javier Hernandez
New York Times
Meet Hao Jingfang, author of "Folding Beijing,” the science-fiction novelette that beat out Stephen King to win a Hugo Award. ...

Inside and Outside the System: Chinese Writer Hu Fayun

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Over the summer, I traveled to Wuhan to continue my series of talks with people about the challenges facing China. Coming here was part of an effort to break out of the black hole of Beijing politics and explore the view from China’s vast hinterland...

A Magician of Chinese Poetry

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
Some people, and I am one, feel that Tang (618–907 CE) poetry is the finest literary art they have ever read. But does one need to learn Chinese in order to have such a view, or can classical Chinese poetry be adequately translated?In 1987 Eliot...

Ancient Town in China Enjoys Profitable Rebirth as a ‘Beautiful Stage’

Amy Qin
New York Times
With selfie-ready backdrops — flowing green canals and sloping tiled roofs — Wuzhen, China, takes off with tourists

Books

11.04.16

Land of Fish and Rice

Fuchsia Dunlop
The lower Yangtze region, or Jiangnan, with its modern capital Shanghai, has been known since ancient times as a “land of fish and rice.” For centuries, local cooks have harvested the bounty of its lakes, rivers, fields, and mountains to create a cuisine renowned for its delicacy and beauty. In Land of Fish and Rice, Fuchsia Dunlop draws on years of study and exploration to present the recipes, techniques, and ingredients of the Jiangnan kitchen. You will be inspired to try classic dishes such as Beggar’s Chicken and sumptuous Dongpo Pork, as well as fresh, simple recipes such as Clear-Steamed Sea Bass and Fresh Soybeans with Pickled Greens. Evocatively written and featuring stunning recipe photography, this is an important new work celebrating one of China’s most fascinating culinary regions. —W.W. Norton{chop}

Culture

11.04.16

A New Comedy Looks Back at a Bygone Beijing

Jonathan Landreth
The forthcoming Mandarin-language comedy King of Peking takes the viewer back to Beijing in 1998. The sooty rooms, the boxy automobiles of just a few makes, models, and colors, and the alleyways crammed with shops hawking cheap home cooking and...

Dick Clark Productions to be Sold to Chinese Company for $1 Billion

Amie Tsang
New York Times
The deal will give Dalian Wanda Group broadcasting rights to the Golden Globes, the Country Music Awards and the NYC New Years countdown

The 80-Year-Old Runway Model Reshaping China’s Views on Aging

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
Last year, at 79, Mr. Wang walked the runway for the first time, his physique at his age causing a national sensation

Ai Weiwei to West: Tackle China on Human Rights Whatever the Cost

Benjamin Haas
Guardian
‘It doesn’t matter it will hurt me or not – do what you think is right’: artist says Beijing has axed rule of law for anyone with contrary political views

Seeking Lower Rent, Chinese Artists Cut Path for Themselves Outside Beijing

Emily Feng
New York Times
A small and decidedly nondescript city called Yanjiao, about an hour’s drive from Beijing, has been experiencing an influx of artists

An Exiled Editor Traces the Roots of Democratic Thought in China

Luo Siling
New York Times
An interview with Hu Ping, editor of the pro-democracy journal "Beijing Spring," based in New York...

Smiling Panda, Weeping Dragon: China’s Banksy Brings Life to City Sprawl

Christy Yao
Guardian
Qi Xinghua, famous as a 3-D painter, says he wants to ‘add some fun to our lives’ by brightening up drab cityscapes

Dalian Wanda’s Hollywood Event Is Itself a Production

Brooks Barnes
New York Times
"Star Wars" music. Ushers in gold evening gowns. The mayor of Los Angeles. Inside Dalian Wanda's Hollywood event...

Red Star Over Hollywood: ‘Dr. Evil’ Says China Wants Movies

Anousha Sakoui and David McLaughlin
Bloomberg
Lobbyist questions companies’ motives in U.S. takeovers: ‘You will never see a Chinese villain in the movies’ again

Chinese Billionaire Wang Jianlin Descends on Hollywood

Patrick Brzeski
Hollywood Reporter
Wanda's gala event at LACMA is expected to attract A-list stars and executives, as the company's outspoken chairman announces a major new production incentive in China...

Depth of Field

10.18.16

Over-Protective Mothers, E-cigarettes, Sports Hunting, and More

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
A photojournalist’s job is to capture the unique and the universal—to portray brief moments that tell individual stories, yet are instantly relatable to a wide audience. The delightful task of curating that type of Chinese photojournalism is the...

Police Recover 300 Million Yuan Worth of Stolen Sichuan Relics

Teng Jing Xuan
The two-year operation ends with 70 arrests and breakup of 10 criminal gangs

How Hong Kong's Cantopop Scene Went from Heartbreak to Protest

Helier Cheung
BBC
Cantonese pop music is formulaic, intensely emotional, strangely addictive and quintessentially Hong Kong. Now it is also becoming political.

Books

10.07.16

The Age of Irreverence

Christopher Rea
The Age of Irreverence tells the story of why China’s entry into the modern age was not just traumatic, but uproarious. As the Qing dynasty slumped toward extinction, prominent writers compiled jokes into collections they called “histories of laughter.” In the first years of the Republic, novelists, essayists, and illustrators alike used humorous allegories to make veiled critiques of the new government. But, again and again, political and cultural discussion erupted into invective, as critics gleefully jeered and derided rivals in public. Farceurs drew followings in the popular press, promoting a culture of practical joking and buffoonery. Eventually, these various expressions of hilarity proved so offensive to high-brow writers that they launched a concerted campaign to transform the tone of public discourse, hoping to displace the old forms of mirth with a new one they called youmo (humor).Christopher Rea argues that this period—from the 1890s to the 1930s—transformed how Chinese people thought and talked about what is funny. Focusing on five cultural expressions of laughter—jokes, play, mockery, farce, and humor—he reveals the textures of comedy that were a part of everyday life during modern China’s first “age of irreverence.” This new history of laughter not only offers an unprecedented and up-close look at a neglected facet of Chinese cultural modernity, but also reveals its lasting legacy in the Chinese language of the comic today and its implications for our understanding of humor as a part of human culture. —University of California Press{chop}

China’s Rising Threat to the U.S. Movie Industry

Richard Berman
Politico
With firms like Dalian Wanda gaining influence in the U.S., would a war movie called South China Sea ever play in one of Wanda’s theaters?

Fate Catches Up to a Cultural Revolution Museum in China

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
The museum was covered up and shut down in the spring, a few weeks before the 50th anniversary of the start of the Cultural Revolution.

Humanizing the China-Africa Relationship with Film

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
When independent filmmaker Carl Houston Mc Millan was growing up in the tiny southern African country of Lesotho, he saw firsthand the effects of China’s surging engagement in Africa. Even in this remote country, embedded within South Africa, far...

‘The Songs of Birds’

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Day and night,I copy the Diamond Sutraof Prajnaparamita.My writing looks more and more square.It proves that I have not gone entirelyinsane, but the tree I drewhasn’t grown a leaf.—from “I Copy the Scriptures,” in Empty ChairsEvery month, the...

Culture

09.27.16

The Perils of Translating a Classic Novel from the Chinese Page to the American Stage

Nick Frisch
Welcome to my dream,” says a Chinese monk pacing along the stage of the San Francisco Opera. So begins Dream of the Red Chamber, a new opera based on the classic Chinese novel of the same name. Its central story is a love triangle framed as Buddhist...

Sony and Wanda Team Up to Market Films in China

Wayne Ma and Erich Schwartzel
Wall Street Journal
Deal could boost Sony Pictures’ box-office returns, strengthen Dalian Wanda’s movie-business profile

A New Literary Genre Critiques the Scariest Part of Life in China: Reality

Adrienne Matei
Quartz
Enter chaohuan, the "ultra-unreal"...

Once a Voice of Young China, Han Han Stakes Out a Different Path

Karoline Kan
New York Times
Han Han discusses his writings, the turns his life has taken and what people in the West fail to understand about China

Depth of Field

09.12.16

African Migrants in Guangzhou, Forgetting, Family Planning’s Fate, and More...

Yan Cong, Ye Ming & more from Yuanjin Photo
Photographing the aftermath of catastrophic events is challenging—one that photographer Mu Li handles with creativity and grace looking back at the chemical explosion in Tianjin that damaged as many as 17,000 homes August 12, 2015. Another challenge...