In China, Suspicions Cloud Trade Dispute Involving Tech Companies

Paul Mozur and Jane Perlez
New York Times
Top Internet regulator has warned foreign companies to behave if they want to stay in China’s $450 billion technology market.

China Looks West to Bring ‘Wolf Totem’ to Screen

New York Times
French director Jean-Jacques Annaud was reportedly long-banned from China for “his 1997 film "Seven Years in Tibet."...

In China, Oscars Ceremony Touches Nerves Over Hong Kong, Snowden

Simon Denyer and Xu Yangjingjing
Washington Post
Common spoke about dreams of better lives, including “people in Hong Kong fighting for democracy."...

Media

02.19.15

Why 700 Million People Keep Watching the Chinese New Year Gala, Even Though It’s Terrible

Rachel Lu
The Chinese New Year Gala, which aired live on February 18 on Chinese Central Television (CCTV), is a four-and-half hour variety show with song and dance, comedic skits, magic tricks, acrobatic acts, and celebrity cameos. The show celebrates the...

Culture

02.18.15

Cai Guo-Qiang’s Love Affair With Fireworks

Orville Schell
New York City-based artist Cai Guo-Qiang, one of the most celebrated contemporary artists born in China, has become the Godfather of a spectacular new kind of fireworks displays which he calls “explosion events.” Having done large-scale events...

With Lunar New Year Show, Another Link to China for a New York Fireworks Family

Kirk Semple
New York Times
The Central Academy of Fine Arts, China’s largest art academy, is involved in the celebrations this year.

Sinica Podcast

02.09.15

The Changing Look of China, Myanmar, and Visual Journalism—A Chat With Jonah Kessel

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Jeremy and Kaiser are joined by Jonah M. Kessel, former freelance photographer and now full-time videographer for The New York Times who has covered a wide range of China stories, traveled widely through the country, and...

A Softer Touch on Soft Power

David Bandurski
China Media Project
Soft power has become strategically important for China because cultural productivity and influence are now regarded as important components of comprehensive national power.

China Says Web Authors Must Use Real Names

New York Times
Guidelines aim to force online authors to “take better responsibility” for their works. 

China’s Wanda Cinema Stock Surges in Market Debut

Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
Wanda has earmarked $200 million of the proceeds from the IPO to expand its exhibition network to 260 theaters and 2,300 screens by the end of next year.

Pictures of the Day: January 15, 2015

Telegraph
Telegraph
A man walks along a newly built rainbow-colored tunnel in Zhengzhou, Henan province. The 400-meter-long tunnel is the first of this kind in China, local media reported.

China Is Using ‘Charlie Hebdo’ to Justify Its Own Crackdown on Free Speech

Matt Schiavenza
New Republic
“The world is diverse and there should be limits on press freedom,” read the editorial by Paris bureau chief Ying Qiang. “Unfettered and unprincipled satire, humiliation, and free speech are not acceptable.”

Sources: Nicolas Cage’s ‘Outcast’ Has Chinese Release Date Delayed Again

Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
There have been a host of theories about why Outcast is being delayed. Some distribution sources said in September that YFG was unhappy with the number of screens made available for the film.

The Colorful Propaganda of Xinjiang

BBC
BBC
The government believes religion breeds terror and has been trying to control religious expression in the region by imposing rules on the Uighur community. Critics say it is exacerbating the terror problem.

Media

01.13.15

This Culture Has Not Yet Been Rated

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
It all started with plunging necklines. After the sudden withdrawal and subsequent sanitizing of a popular Chinese show, viewers in China have renewed longstanding calls to strip government censors of their power, using one simple solution: a...

Drawing the News: Wo Shi Chali (Je Suis Charlie)

Anne Henochowicz
China Digital Times
Chinese cartoonists and netizens have responded quickly to the slaying of cartoonists and editors at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo yesterday. Masked gunmen entered the offices of the journal and fired automatic weapons at staff in an...

Caixin Media

01.06.15

In Praise of Hu Feng

Sheila Melvin
Hu Feng (1902-85) is a name that most students of P.R.C. history have undoubtedly encountered at one time or another. I remember reading it for the first time years ago in Jonathan Spence's "The Search for Modern China." It stuck in...

Beijing’s Art Scene Raises Its Profile

Vanessa Able
New York Times
On a recent Sunday afternoon in the sunken terrace of Beijing’s sleek Opposite House Hotel, an art event was in full swing. The wine was chilling, the dumplings steaming and a few dozen locals and foreigners were looking on with curiosity as the...

Other

12.30.14

A Look Back at 2014

It’s hard to believe, but ChinaFile is almost two years old. It’s been an exciting year for us, and, as ever, an eventful year for China. It was a year of muscular leadership from Xi Jinping, who has now been in office just over two years and who...

Books

12.23.14

Top Five China Books of 2014

Laura Chang
As the editor of ChinaFile’s Books section, I have the privilege of meeting and interviewing some amazing writers covering China today—academics, journalists, scholars, activists. Based on these conversations, we create short videos of the...

Culture

12.19.14

‘One Day the People Will Speak Out for Me’

Sheila Melvin
The ongoing exhibition “@Large: Ai Weiwei at Alcatraz” is both revelatory and heart-wrenching, a stunning and sobering work by an artist who understands firsthand the fragility and pricelessness of freedom.Detained without warning or charge for 81...

Fidel Castro Wins China’s Alternative Peace Prize

Associated Press
Guardian
In line with past recipients, the ailing Castro did not come to Beijing to pick up his award and it was unclear whether he was aware of the honour. The prize, in the form of a gold statuette and certificate, was instead handed to a Cuban foreign...

Environmental Filmmakers Have Rare Impact in China

Louise Watt
Associated Press
One clip shows a girl swatting flies from a younger child among piles of trash. Another has children blowing up used medical gloves like balloons. The footage is on the computer screen of Wang Jiuliang as he edits his second film about waste harming...

Chinese Online Giants Eating Into U.S. Dominance of Digital Media

Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
China now accounts for two of the six companies with the highest online media revenues and four of the 10 fastest-growing, according to a report from the global research and advisory company Strategy Analytics.

China Will Be Banishing Its Creative Class to the Countryside

John Dyer
Vice News
Chinese President Xi Jinping is channeling the late communist revolutionary Mao Zedong in a potential crackdown on China's burgeoning creative class...

As Chinese Duo Perform at American Music Awards, Those at Home Are Skeptical

Te-Ping Chen and Yang Jie
Wall Street Journal
In an indication of how fragile domestic confidence is in the country’s cultural exports, many Chinese commentators were immediately skeptical of the award’s authenticity. By the next morning on Weibo, the phrase “Chopstick Brothers bought an award...

Xi and Peng Now Have a Song of Their Own

South China Morning Post
After a series of high-profile events highlighting their marriage bonds, China’s president, Xi Jinping, and his wife, Peng Liyuan, now have a song praising their relationship.

Los Angeles Mayor Presses China to Allow More Hollywood Films

Gerry Shih
Reuters
Hollywood producers, eager to build ties to the world's second-largest film market, have embraced an influx of Chinese capital in recent years, leading to a series of high-profile partnerships...

Writers Phil Klay and Evan Osnos win top National Book Awards

Patricia Reaney
Reuters
Klay was awarded the fiction prize for "Redeployment," his book of stories about the wars in Afghanistan. Osnos earned his award for "Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China" in the non-fiction...

“Hunger Games” China Release Date canceled, Likely Due to “Revolutionary” Political Content

Cecilia Wang
That’s
The film's sudden withdrawal may be due to the film's apparently incendiary content, depicting a fictitious revolution aimed at toppling a dystopian future government. It's feared that movie-goers might draw parallels to Taiwan's...

As Chinese Adoptees Return Home, a New Genre Tells Their Tales

Mei Fong
Wall Street Journal
"Ricki’s Promise” a documentary about a Seattle teen’s summer spent with her birth family in China, began showing on the U.S. film festival circuit this month. Next month, the U.S. cable network SundanceTV will premiere “One Child,” a fictional...

Conversation

11.12.14

Xi Jinping’s Culture Wars

Stanley Rosen, Michael Berry & more
Given China’s tightening restrictions on film, TV, art, writing, and journalism, and the reverberations from President Xi Jinping’s recent speech on culture, we asked contributors why they think Beijing has decided to ramp up its involvement in the...

‘A Map of Betrayal,’ by Ha Jin

Ben Macintyre
New York Times
Many years ago, the F.B.I. coined an acronym, MICE, to describe the motivations of the spy. This stands for Money, Ideology, Compromise and Ego. All spies, it is argued, are drawn into espionage by some combination of these factors.

Culture

11.07.14

‘The Training Wheels Are Coming Off,’ But That’s Not Necessarily A Good Thing

Jonathan Landreth
Making a movie is a wild ride no matter where you are in the world, a process fraught with ego and pride; wobblier, riskier, yet potentially more lucrative, the bigger and faster it gets.With U.S. gross sales of movie tickets basically flat, up just...

In Pictures: Designed in China

BBC
The Guo Shoujing Telescope, or Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope, is named after the 13th Century Chinese astronomer and is aimed at bringing Chinese astronomy into the 21st Century.

Toronto School District Cancels Plans for Confucius Institute

Austin Ramzy
New York Times
Canada’s largest school district moved to terminate its agreement with the institute, which would have offered after-school Chinese language and culture classes, over concerns about China’s human rights record and restrictions on academic freedom.

600-Year-Old Chinese Book Found in California

Lian Zi
China Daily
The manuscript of a unique volume of the Yongle Encyclopedia (Yongle Dadian), a 16th century Chinese encyclopedia, was uncovered by a Chinese archivist at the Huntington Library in southern California.

China’s Crackdown on Dissent Shows How Nervous Its Leaders Are

The Washington Post Editorial Board
Washington Post
The legal assault on a critic of Mao gives a flavor of the current climate. Tie Liu is the pen name of Huang Zerong, 81, who has collected and published memoirs of people who were purged by Chinese dictator Mao Zedong in the 1950s and 1960s.

Why China Chose a French-Directed Film as Its Oscar Submission

Lilian Lin and Josh Chin
Wall Street Journal
“It’s a mild, breezy, accessible, feel-good drama which really pictures China as a harmonious, wonderful place where conflicts of various stripes—across age, class or geographical divides—could easily be reconciled,” said Clarence Tsui, a film...

Dispatches From Xinjiang: The Uyghur Blockbuster “Money On The Road”

Beige Wind
Beijing Cream
The comedy Money on the Road (Money Found on the Way in Chinese) features an ensemble of stars, including a cameo by the famous singer Abdulla. It follows the misadventures of three Uyghur farmers who come to the city as migrant workers to...

China’s Alibaba Reportedly Eyeing 37 Percent Stake in Lionsgate

Etan Vessing
Hollywood Reporter
The New York Post reported on Friday that the chairman of Lionsgate is looking to unload his influential stake in the mini-studio, with Ma in line to possibly buy it.

Books

10.21.14

Hou Hsiao-hsien

Richard I. Suchenski, Editor
For younger critics and audiences, Taiwanese cinema enjoys a special status, comparable with that of Italian Neorealism and the French New Wave for earlier generations, a cinema that was and is in the midst of introducing an innovative sensibility and a fresh perspective. Hou Hsiao-hsien is the most important Taiwanese filmmaker working today, and his sensuous, richly nuanced films reflect everything that is vigorous and genuine in contemporary film culture. By combining multiple forms of tradition with a uniquely cinematic approach to space and time, Hou has created a body of work that, through its stylistic originality and historical gravity, opens up new possibilities for the medium. This new volume includes contributions by Olivier Assayas, Peggy Chiao, Chung Mong-hong, Jean-Michel Frodon, Hasumi Shigehiko, Ichiyama Shōzō, Jia Zhang-ke, Kent Jones, Koreeda Hirokazu, Jean Ma, Ni Zhen, Abé Mark Nornes, James Quandt, Richard I. Suchenski, James Udden, and Wen Tien-hsiang, as well as conversations with Hou Hsiao-hsien and some of his most important collaborators over the decades.  —Columbia University Press {chop}

When Hong Kong Protests Are Over, Where Will the Art Go?

Ramy Inocencio
Wall Street Journal
As Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests wane, what will become of the iconic artwork Umbrella Man, the Lennon Wall of sticky notes and all the banners?...

Caixin Media

10.14.14

Sounds of Distinction

Sheila Melvin
The Peking Opera star Mei Lanfang (1894-1961) is generally acknowledged to have been the greatest performer of female dan roles in the history of his art. He was also a renowned theatrical innovator whose performance style is carried on as the...

China Approves $3.25 Billion Universal Theme Park in Beijing

Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
The facility will cover a 300-acre site in the suburbs of China's capital...

Chinese Media Accuse Japanese Manga Star Doraemon of Subverting Youth

Justin McCurry
Guardian
“Doraemon is a part of Japan’s efforts of exporting its national values and achieving its cultural strategy; this is an undisputed fact,” the local communist party newspaper Chengdu Daily said in an editorial.

Media

10.10.14

China Bans Law-Breaking Actors From Movies and Television

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
Amid an ongoing government campaign against drugs, prostitution, and other moral vices, a powerful government agency has reportedly issued new regulations banning actors with histories of drug use or prostitution from appearing in movies and...

China’s Wanda to Create Movie Fund to Attract Hollywood Productions

Abid Rahman
Hollywood Reporter
Wanda's billionaire chairman, Wang Jianlin, said the planned fund would work with the private sector to recreate Hollywood in China...

China Detains Poet Wang Zang and 7 Others Ahead of Hong Kong Event

Jack Chang and Isolda Morillo
Huffington Post
On Sept. 30, Wang Zang had posted on Twitter a picture of himself raising his middle finger and holding an umbrella, a symbol of solidarity adopted by the protesters demanding open nominations for Hong Kong's chief executive...

A Cinematic Context for Hong Kong’s Turmoil

Edward Wong
New York Times
Hong Kong’s film industry, commercial and broad-based as it is, has always provided a mirror of the territory’s political anxieties, and a record of its complex history.

Busan: China’s Online Movie Revenues Forecast to Match Box Office in 5 Years

Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
China's online giants, who are launching a big push into the film business, have been a significant presence at the South Korean festival this year, popping up as buyers, sponsors and producers...

A Chinese Artist Confronts Environmental Disaster

Orville Schell
New Yorker
What were all these sick animals—lions, wolves, camels, monkeys, gazelles, pandas, and zebras—doing on this dilapidated Chinese fishing boat, sailing past the famous frieze of colonial banks, trading houses, and clubs that make up Shanghai’s Bund?

Hong Kong Celebrities Largely Mum on Protests Gripping City

Violet Law
Los Angeles Times
Hong Kong celebrities are known for their omnipresence and outspokenness, but the city's galaxy of stars and starlets has been almost entirely out of sight during the pro-democracy sit-ins. ...

Chow Yun-fat, Andy Lau Speak Up Against Use of Tear Gas on HK Protesters

Channel NewsAsia
Both famous actors spoke against the police use of tear gas, and urged that the safety of the student demonstrators should be a priority.

Culture

09.23.14

Contact Lenses

Vera Tollmann
Will we all become “Chinese?” International New York Times correspondent Didi Kirsten Tatlow ironically asked recently. The question plays both on our fears over China’s economic power and on reflections on the NSA files released by Edward Snowden...

Video

09.18.14

Collecting Insanity

Joshua Frank
Every country has a past it likes to celebrate and another it would rather forget. In China, where history still falls under the tight control of government-run museums and officially approved textbooks, the omissions appear especially stark. An...

Chinese Studio Huayi Brothers to Invest $130 Million in New U.S. Branch

Los Angeles Times
The leading Beijing based independent film production house didn’t say where its U.S. office might be or hint at the number of employees it expects to staff its operation. The plan still needs official Chinese approval.