Myanmar Returns to What Sells: Heroin

Thomas Fuller
New York Times
A decade ago, Myanmar seemed on course to wipe out the opium fields and heroin jungle labs along its eastern border, the notorious Golden Triangle.

Inside a Chinese Test-Prep Factory

Brook Larmer
New York Times
One minute later, at precisely 11:45, the stillness was shattered. Thousands of teenagers swarmed out of the towering front gate of Maotanchang High School. Many of them wore identical black-and-white Windbreakers emblazoned with the slogan, in...

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...

Caixin Media

12.22.14

Wild Stock Market Is Detrimental to Reform Efforts

Chinese leaders' pledge to strengthen risk control at last week's Central Economic Work Conference could not be more timely, given the frenzied exuberance in the stock market.In a statement released after three days of meetings, the...

China Offers Russia Ruble Help

Brian Spegele
Wall Street Journal
China says it is willing to provide assistance to Russia following recent sharp drops in the value of its currency, said a senior official, as President Vladimir Putin’s regime faces continuing strains with the U.S. and Europe.

In China, a Rapid Jump to Mobile Advertising

Alexandra Stevenson
New York Times
Liu Xuelong, a television and documentary producer in Beijing, hasn’t used his television in years. He gets all of his entertainment on his iPhone 6 Plus, where he also taps a plethora of apps to buy plane tickets, pay bills, talk with clients.

Conversation

12.19.14

Just How Successful Is Xi Jinping?

Ian Johnson & Trey Menefee
Last week, Arthur Kroeber, Editor of the China Economic Quarterly opined that “…the Chinese state is not fragile. The regime is strong, increasingly self-confident, and without organized opposition.” His essay, which drew strong, if divided,...

Here’s Where All Those Cheap Santa Hats and Plastic Snowmen Come from

Heather Timmons
Quartz
The Chinese city of Yiwu, about 250 kilometers from Shanghai, is often referred to as China’s “Christmas village” thanks to the massive amount of holiday-related merchandise made there. Xinhua, China’s state-news agency, claims that 60% of the world...

As Obama Opens to Cuba, China Experts Remember Benefits from U.S. Engagement

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
As Washington moves to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba after decades of trying to isolate and overthrow the Castro regime, Chinese people and China experts in the United States have been reminded of a much more momentous opening 36 years ago that...

China’s Housing Resists Efforts to Spur Market

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
Every urban real estate market is different in mainland China, driven by myriad municipal and provincial regulations and the varying strength of local economies. But the outcome is the same: The property market is under serious pressure.

China's Economy Is worth $300 Billion More than It Thought

Geoffrey Smith
Fortune
China just discovered an economy the size of Malaysia’s hiding down the back of the sofa.

Sinica Podcast

12.19.14

Cooperation or Exploitation

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Exactly how exploitative are Chinese development activities on the African continent? What exactly is motivating the various resources-for-development deals inked by African governments over the last decade, and what strategies are these governments...

Media

12.18.14

Hong Kong, the Resilient City

David Wertime
The tents have folded. After 75 days of camping on the street, braving police crackdowns, occasional civilian attacks, and the city’s (admittedly mild) winter chill, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters have cleared out. As promised, police moved in...

Beijing Cannot Count on Easy Money to Sustain Its Economic Miracle

Ruchir Sharma
Financial Times
Just three months ago the main Chinese stock market was dormant. Since then it has surged 30 per cent and has started to show signs of the manic trading that normally does not appear until a bull market has been gathering steam for years.

Israeli Tech Startups Attract Chinese Investors

Orr Hirschauge
Wall Street Journal
As China scours the world for tech investments, it is increasingly flocking to Israel for the next big thing.

Maldives to Officially Join China's Maritime Silk Route Policy

Xinhua
Global Times
"With projects such as oil exploration and bridge construction in the agenda for discussion, the meeting will benefit economies of both countries. This is a great achievement to us as well," Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed...

Diversity the New Game for Macau as Gambling Revenues Tumble

Tiffany Ap
South China Morning Post
When inaugural chief executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah threw the liberalisation dice that took Macau's flagging gaming industry into the 21st century in 2002, few could have predicted its stellar rise to become the top city for global gaming, leaving...

Conversation

12.16.14

What Must China and Japan Do to Get Along in 2015?

Allen Carlson & Zha Daojiong
Last week, Akio Takahara, a professor at the University of Tokyo currently visiting Peking University, wrote a New York Times Op-Ed praising recent diplomatic efforts by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and Chinese President Xi Jinping to deflect...

Viewpoint

12.16.14

Why Marx Still Matters: The Ideological Drivers of Chinese Politics

Rogier Creemers
In days of greater political brouhaha, “to go and see Marx” used to be a slang expression among Chinese Communists, to refer to death. More recently, a considerable number of commentators have pronounced the expiry of Marxism itself. China’s reform...

San Gabriel Valley’s El Monte Getting a Boost from Chinese Investors

Frank Shyong
Los Angeles Times
Trucks loaded with construction materials park in front of a vacant lot in El Monte, where a homeless man slumbers on the sidewalk next to a mountain of rags and trash bags. Overhead, colorful flags whip in the breeze, advertising opportunities for...

China Shocked by Fatal Riot in Madagascar

Didi Tang
Huffington Post
"We hope the Madagascar government will take necessary measures to properly handle the attack at the Morondava sugar plant and to erase the ill impact this incident has brought to the country's international image and its ability to...

Infographics

12.15.14

Is Studying Abroad Worth the Cost?

from Sohu
The number of Chinese students who choose to study abroad has increased by more than 1,000% since 2000. Yet education costs abroad also continue to rise. This infographic looks at reasons why Chinese students are choosing an education overseas.

China’s Baidu Set to Partner with Uber and Reportedly Invest up to $600M

Jon Russell and Catherine Shu
TechCrunch
If Baidu does put money into Uber, it will be a significant expansion of its international portfolio of products and investments. Baidu has focused on emerging markets, including Southeast Asia, Egypt and Brazil, where it recently acquired e-...

Beijing Rejects Hanoi’s Legal Challenge on Spratly, Paracel Islands Disputes

Zuraidah Ibrahim and Kristine Kwok
South China Morning Post
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei dismissed the Vietnamese action on Thursday, describing its claims over the Spratly and Paracel islands—known in China as the Nansha and Xisha—as invalid.

Falling Oil Prices Push Venezuela Deeper Into China’s Orbit

Peter Wilson
Businessweek
The late Hugo Chávez cozied up to China as part of his drive to curb U.S. influence in the Americas. Maduro, like his predecessor, has relied on Beijing to underwrite Venezuela’s flagging socialist revolution and finance the country’s gaping fiscal...

Sinica Podcast

12.12.14

Band of Brothers: China and South Africa

Kaiser Kuo & Jeremy Goldkorn from Sinica Podcast
Pomp and ritual surrounded South African President Jacob Zuma's recent state visit to China, a trip that saw China roll out the red carpet in a very uncritical fashion, not often seen these days, with even Xinhua getting into the spirit of...

Viewpoint

12.11.14

Here Is Xi’s China: Get Used To It

Arthur R. Kroeber from China Economic Quarterly
The prevailing mood among China-watchers in 2014 was one of anxiety and skepticism. The year began in the shadow of Chinese assertiveness in the East and South China Seas. Economic concerns quickly took over: by February the property market seemed...

Caixin Media

12.11.14

Sacked Deputy Reform Commissioner Gets Life in Jail for Graft

A former deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has been sentenced to life in prison for taking 35.6 million yuan (U.S.$5.8 million) in bribes between 2002 and 2012, according to a microblog post from a Langfang court...

Features

12.10.14

Why Beijing’s Troubles Could Get a Lot Worse

from Barron’s
Few foreigners know China as intimately as Anne Stevenson-Yang does. She has spent the bulk of her professional life there since first arriving in 1985, working as a journalist, magazine publisher, and software executive, with stints in between...

China Flexes Its High-speed Rail Muscles by Rolling out 32 New Routes in One Day

Lily Kuo
Quartz
China has lofty expectations of becoming a global leader in high-speed rail technology, with projects in over a dozen countries, as well as plans to more than double its own domestic network of high-speed rail, which is already the world’s largest.

Caixin Media

12.09.14

With New Fund, China Hits a Silk Road Stride

China's ambitious plan to expand trade links westward into Central Asia in the spirit of the ancient Silk Road is taking shape now that the government has decided to shift foreign currency into a special fund.The State Council will tap the...

China Tightening Curbs on Opaque Local Debt Spurs Market Tumble

Helen Sun and Judy Chen
Bloomberg
While the change caught traders off guard, authorities in the world’s second-largest economy are trying to rein in the use of lightly-regulated Local Government Finance Vehicles (LGFVs) as they promote the development of a more transparent municipal...

Why Beijing’s Troubles Could Get a Lot Worse

Anne Stevenson-Yang
Barron’s
Anne Stevenson-Yang: China, for all its talk about economic reform, is in big trouble. The old model of relying on export growth and heavy investment to power the economy isn’t working anymore.

Labor Movement ‘Concertmaster’ Tests Beijing’s Boundaries

John Ruwitch
Reuters
When local officials warned striking shoe factory workers in China's Pearl River Delta this summer that they were breaking the law, a slight, bespectacled figure barely 5 feet 5 inches (1.65 meters) tall faced them down. "Where is the...

The BRICS Bank: China’s Drive to Shake Up Development Finance

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (aka the ‘BRICS’) are moving forward with an ambitious plan to shake up the clubby world of development finance. The new BRICS bank announced over the summer 2014 is expected to have a profound impact on...

Teachers’ Strikes Spread Across Northeast China

Edward Wong
New York Times
Teachers are asking for raises and for the government to end a requirement that teachers make payments to a pension plan as part of an experimental policy. China National Radio reported that one teacher was making less than $400 a month after...

Hong Kong IPOs Become Losing Bets for Investors

Prudence Ho
Wall Street Journal
Hong Kong is one of the world’s top venues for initial public offerings, thanks to listings by Chinese companies over the years, but most of the IPOs have been a losing bet for investors, with the bulk of them lagging behind the market in recent...

Environment

11.26.14

The People’s Republic of Chemicals

from chinadialogue
The name of China is almost obscured by a grey smudge on the title page of The People’s Republic of Chemicals, and this image proves to be apt.  This book examines the crisis caused by toxic&...

China’s Rich Want to Send Children Abroad for Education

Xinhua
China Daily
The report said that some 80 percent of the country's rich people have plans to send children abroad, the highest ratio in the world. By contrast, Japan has less than 1 percent and Germany has less than 10 percent of its rich people having such...

Journeys Along the Seventh Ring

That's Beijing...
That’s
The story of Beijing’s Ring Roads is in many ways the story of Beijing’s urban development. The original ring (known confusingly as the Second Ring) was constructed in the early 1980s, at the behest of city planners, who, in embracing reform-minded...

Exclusive: China Ready to Cut Rates Again on Fears of Deflation — Sources

Kevin Yao
Reuters
Friday's surprise cut in rates, the first in more than two years, reflects a change of course by Beijing and the central bank, which had persisted with modest stimulus measures before finally deciding last week that a bold monetary policy step...

Sinica Podcast

11.22.14

Banned but Booming: Golf in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Despite China's legal moratorium on the development of the golf industry, a policy driven by concerns over illegal farmland seizures and the potential misallocation of agricultural land and water resources, the golf industry has experienced an...

Viewpoint

11.21.14

What Will Make the U.S.-China Climate Deal Work

Mark Hertsgaard
Nearly everyone agrees that the U.S.-China climate announcement is a big deal, but most observers have overlooked what truly makes it a game-changer: if the world’s two climate change superpowers limit their greenhouse gas emissions, it will have...

China Commits $45.6 Billion for Economic Corridor with Pakistan

Mehreen Zahra-Malik
Reuters
The Chinese companies will be able to operate the projects as profit-making entities, according to the deal signed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during a visit to China earlier this month.

Infographics

11.20.14

Who Really Benefits from Poverty Alleviation in China?

from Sohu
A series of reports issued by China's National Audit Office highlights problems in 19 counties that have received funding from national poverty alleviation programs. News of "impoverished counties’" constructing luxurious new...

‘China Strikes Back’: An Exchange

Perry Link & Orville Schell from New York Review of Books
Letters in response to: “China Strikes Back!” from the October 23, 2014 issue of The New York Review of Books.To the Editors:In “China Strikes Back” [NYR, October 23], Orville Schell sounds a much-needed wake-up call about China’s recent attitude...

Conversation

11.19.14

Was the U.S.-China Climate Deal Worth the Wait?

Deborah Seligsohn, Orville Schell & more
Last week, Ann Carlson and Alex Wang, environmental experts at UCLA Law School, called the November 12 U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change "monumental." "No two countries are more important to tackling the problem than the...

China’s New Old Financial Capital

Wall Street Journal
Hong Kong’s democracy protests are often said to be futile because the city is no longer China’s golden goose, protected from Beijing’s wrath by its economic importance. But Monday’s big news shows that things aren’t so simple: The opening of a “...

First China-Made Plane Coming To U.S. Skies

Gordon G. Chang
Forbes
“This purchase marks the first time for any Chinese-made planes to enter an advanced market, and the U.S. has the highest standards, so this testifies to the achievement of Chinese aircraft manufacturing,” said Li Xianzhe of Avicopter to the South...

Caixin Media

11.17.14

Visa and MasterCard Confront China’s Stacked Deck

Visa and MasterCard executives eager to expand in China were thrilled recently when Premier Li Keqiang seemed to suggest that a door would open to them for bank card yuan business in the country.But they had read Li wrong: The premier's...

Sinica Podcast

11.14.14

Behind the Curtain at APEC

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
With tensions between the West and Russia running high over Ukraine, China and Japan still wrangling over the Diaoyu islands, and America and China fighting over pretty much the same old petty stuff, it's easy to be cynical about APEC. But this...

What Brookings Experts Are Saying about Obama in Asia

Fred Dews
Brookings Institution
Experts recently joined together in a full-day conference to examine the economic, environmental, political, and security implications of President Obama's trip to China and his interactions with President Xi Jinping...

China to Debut Fighter Jet as U.S. Brass Attends Airshow

Clement Tan
Bloomberg
Manufactured by the Shenyang subsidiary of Aviation Industry Corp of China, also known as AVIC, the J-31 is a test of the country’s ability to deliver cutting-edge defense technology.

Obama’s Focus in China Is on Leader, Not Public

Mark Landler
New York Times
The White House has also changed its approach to the Chinese news media. In 2009, Mr. Obama gave an interview to Southern Weekly, a newspaper based in Guangdong Province that is known for pushing the limits of China’s censorship rules. The...

Sinica Podcast

11.10.14

Damned Lies, Statistics, and China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
In a country where every single province frequently reports annual growth rates exceeding the national average, and the country’s premier is applauded for publicly ignoring his own National Bureau of Statistics, it isn't hard to take Mark Twain...

Xi Outlines Four Expected Achievements of APEC Meetings

China Daily
China Daily
The first achievement will be the launch of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) process, which points out the direction for Asia-Pacific cooperation, Chinese President Xi Jinping said.

Few Signs of Construction at Yujiapu, China's Manhattan Replica

Ian Williams
NBC News
Complete with its own Rockefeller Center and Twin Towers, Yujiapu been billed as the world's largest financial center in the making. But this Manhattan still has a long way to go...

Shanghai-Hong Kong Link to Start in a Week as China Opens

Eduard Gismatullin and Kana Nishizawa
Bloomberg
The program allowing a net 23.5 billion yuan ($3.8 billion) of daily cross-border purchases will begin on November 17, regulators said in a joint statement today after weeks of investor speculation on the start date.