The Separation Between Mosque and State

Alice Y. Su
Driving through the Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu province, in China’s northwest, minarets puncture the sky every few minutes. Many rise out of mosques that resemble Daoist temples, their details a blend of traditional Chinese and...

Delia Davin Obituary

John Gittings
A pioneer of Chinese women’s studies who avoided the stereotypes offered by the communist regime and its critics

Depth of Field


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...

Is China's Gaokao The World's Toughest School Exam?

Alec Ash
Chinese children must endure years of stress and impossible expectations preparing for their final school exam

The ‘Patriotic Education’ of Chinese Students at Australian Universities

Alexander Joske and Philip Wen
Sydney Morning Herald
As larger numbers of Chinese students study abroad, greater efforts are being made to ensure they do not return with new-found opposition to the Communist Party

Recognizing Boarding Schools’ Psychic Toll in China

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
The most deeply affected may be those born in the early decades after 1949, as the boarding system spread — those in their 50s and 60s who run the country today.



Can China’s Best Newspaper Survive?

Isaac Stone Fish, David Schlesinger & more
On September 9, the South China Morning Post’s Chinese-language website went dark with little explanation, leading to concerns that censorship might next spread to the newspaper’s English-language coverage. Can Alibaba’s founder, Jack Ma, who has...

Depth of Field


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...

Why More Africans Are Learning Mandarin

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The South African government’s 2015 decision to start offering Mandarin Chinese classes as a foreign language option at schools nation-wide sparked an uproar that baffled people in other, often more affluent, societies around the world where the...

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...



The Hong Kong Election: What Message Does it Send Beijing?

David Schlesinger, Melissa Chan & more
On September 4, Hong Kong elected a batch of its youngest and most pro-democratic lawmakers yet. Six new legislators, all under 40, won on platforms that called for Hong Kongers to decide their own fate. The youngest is 23-year-old Nathan Law, a...

In China, Some Schools Are Playing With More Creativity, Less Cramming

Anthony Kuhn
Educators are hopeful that these new teaching methods will produce young people who are curious, self-motivated and independent critical thinkers.

Depth of Field


Tornados and Drag Queens

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
Being a photojournalist involves reacting to breaking news, a dedication to long-term projects, and everything in between. This month’s showcase of work by Chinese photographers published in Chinese media underscores this range of angles: from the...



Using Free Sex to Expose Sexual Abuse in China

Jonathan Landreth
Nanfu Wang hoped that a woman called Ye Haiyan (“Hooligan Sparrow”), who had offered free sex on the Internet to draw attention to the plight of poor women selling their bodies to support their children, would lead her to the prostitutes she wanted...

Loan Sharks in China Offer Student Loans for Nude Photos, Giving New Meaning to ‘Naked Greed’

Pamela Constable
Washington Post
Internet lenders are now usuing naked pictures as collatoral for high-interest loans to female students....

Caixin Media


Middle Class Chinese Flock to International High Schools, Eyeing College Abroad

A decade earlier, less than 4 percent of graduates from a popular high school in Beijing, known for high quality teachers who groomed students for elite universities, left to study abroad each year.The majority chose to pursue their higher studies...

In China, Cheating on an Exam Will Get Students Detention—in Prison

Max Bearak
Washington Post
More than 9.4 million Chinese students attended this year's college entrance exams (Gaokao) in China, and cheating in Gaokao is now considered a criminal offense...

China Threatens Jail Time For College Entrance Exam Cheaters

Javier Hernandez
New York Times
Mixed feelings proceed the approval of a new law, punishing exam cheaters with up to seven years in prison....



Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Yidi Wu, Ding Feng & more
It’s graduation time, and Chinese graduates from American colleges are now pondering what to do next: return to China or stay in the U.S. We reached out to recent graduates to ask about their decision-making process and how they view their prospects...

Depth of Field


Families, Weddings, and Beekeepers

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
This month’s Depth of Field column brings the stories of Chinese adoption; the marriage ceremony of Hu Mingliang and Sun Wenlin, a gay couple who filed the first civil rights marriage lawsuit to be accepted by a Chinese court (they lost); beekeepers...



“It’s Time for Us To Set a New Political Agenda for Hong Kong”

Jonathan Landreth, Susan Jakes & more
Last month, midway through a whirlwind tour of United States universities, Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong took a break for a crab cake and mac-and-cheese lunch at a Manhattan brasserie. Wong, 19, came to international prominence during the...

Will China's Educational System Strangle Economic Growth?

Zhu Tian
Despite the brain drain, China still managed to produce enough talents to make it the fastest growing nation in the past two decades.

China's Toxic School: Officials Struggle to Contain Uproar over Sick Students

Tom Phillips
Illnesses among pupils at Changzhou Foreign Languages School, with highly toxic illegal waste dumping blamed.

China Wants to Become a ‘Soccer Superpower’ by 2050

Charlie Campbell
It isn't just about sport. The strategy also has broad economic and political implications...



Should Internet Censorship Be Considered a Trade Issue?

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, Susan Shirk & more
A new report from the Office of the United States Trade Representative lists, for the first time, Chinese Internet censorship as a trade barrier. The possible implications are complex: it could strengthen the hand of U.S. businesses, but also stands...

Depth of Field


Meet ‘Depth of Field’: The Month’s Best Chinese Photojournalism

Yan Cong, Ye Ming & more from Yuanjin Photo
Welcome to ChinaFile’s inaugural “Depth of Field” column. In collaboration with Yuanjin Photo, an independent photo blog published by photographers Yan Cong and Ye Ming on the Chinese social media platform WeChat, we will highlight new and...

Caixin Media


China’s Rural Youngsters Drop Out of School at Alarming Rate

Like many other teenagers in his village in the mountains of the northwestern province of Shaanxi, Chen Youliang decided to quit school early so he could follow in the footsteps of his migrant worker parents and find a job in a big city.Chen, who...

China Charges Tibetan Education Advocate With Inciting Separatism

New York Times
A detained entrepreneur who advocated for bilingual education in Tibet has been charged with inciting separatism.

China Opens a New University Every Week

Andreas Schleicher
In 2013, 40% of Chinese graduates completed their studies in a Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) subject—more than twice the share of US graduates.

China Focus: Campaigners Call For Education on Sexual Abuse

Lessons on how to avoid sexual abuse are absent from the national curriculum, and Sun wants to change this.

China Lets Rights Lawyer Flee to U.S. After Release

Edward Wong
New York Times
Professor detained last summer has joined family after being released from surveillance.



Xi Jinping: A Cult of Personality?

Jonathan Landreth, Taisu Zhang & more
By some accounts, Chinese Presdient Xi Jinping is the most powerful leader the country has  had since Mao Zedong. One arrow in his quiver that echoes Mao’s armory is Xi’s embrace of popular song, listened to these days not on the radio or...



Leave China, Study in America, Find Jesus

Shelly Cai was 18 years old when she left the southern Chinese metropolis of Nanjing to enroll in the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In August 2010, after a 13-hour flight from Shanghai to Chicago and a three-hour bus ride, Cai finally arrived in...



Chinese Students Are Flooding U.S. Christian High Schools

It is no secret that Chinese students are pouring into the United States; over 300,000 of them attended U.S. colleges and universities in 2015 alone, and Chinese are filling up spots in U.S. secondary schools in search of a better education and an...

China Says Its Students, Even Those Abroad, Need More ‘Patriotic Education’

Chris Buckley
New York Times
The directive calls for “patriotic education” to suffuse each stage and aspect of schooling.

Wanted in China: More Male Teachers, to Make Boys Men

Javier Hernandez
New York Times
Worried that a shortage of male teachers has produced a generation of timid boys, Chinese educators reinforce traditional gender roles in the classroom.



Seeking Justice for China’s ‘Underage Prostitutes’

Four and a half years ago in a small village on the outskirts of the coastal city of Yingkou in northern China, a woman stopped a 12-year-old girl outside the child’s school and lured her into a car. “If you don’t come with me, I will beat you every...

Green Space


Sea Level Rise In Pictures, Cancer Villages Near Beijing

Michael Zhao
I think a big part of the reason why citizens of the world have not rallied to deal with climate change is the lack of a certain deadline that would warrant our immediate response to the grave consequences of our warming planet. There is no...



Visualizing China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign

“Catching Tigers and Flies” is ChinaFile’s new interactive tool for tracking and, we hope, better understanding the massive campaign against corruption that China’s President, Xi Jinping, launched shortly after he came to power in late 2012. It is designed to give users a sense of the scope and character of the anti-corruption campaign by graphically rendering information about nearly 1,500 of its targets whose cases have been publicly announced in official Chinese sources.



After a Landslide Election, Now Comes the Hard Part for Taiwan's President

William Kazer
Taiwan elected its first woman president on Saturday in a landslide victory that brought a nominally pro-independence party back to power after eight years in opposition.Tsai Ing-wen led her Democratic Progressive Party to a thumping victory,...



Chinese Cities Most at Risk from Rising Sea Levels

from chinadialogue
A study by Climate Central, a non-profit news organization focusing on climate science, showed that 12 other nations have more than 10 million people living on land that would be destroyed should the earth’s temperature rise to 4 degrees Celsius.As...



Assessing China’s Plan to Build Internet Power

Scott D. Livingston
When the Chinese Communist Party targeted clean energy in its 11th Five Year Plan (2006-2010), the resulting investment spree upended the global clean energy market almost overnight. Now, as China approaches its 13th Five Year Plan, a new policy...

China Says Extremism Losing Grip in Restless Xinjiang

Ben Blanchard
The government says it was broadly successful in maintaining stability in the far west of the nation in 2015.

China: Scaling The World’s Highest Innovation Peaks

Vikram Jandhyala
The word “innovation” was mentioned 71 times in a communiqué after the Chinese Communist Party’s recent plenary meeting. 



Is China a Leader or Laggard on Climate Change?

Isabel Hilton, Li Shuo & more
As ongoing climate talks wind down at COP21 this week, participants in and observers of the summit in Paris wrote in to share their assessment of the message coming from the official delegation from China, currently the world’s largest emitter of...

Bribery Confession in China Calls Into Question Integrity of College Admissions

New York Times
In a country where cash and connections rule, one bastion of meritocracy, it was thought, remained: admission to a university.

Chinese Student Protesting Books’ Stance on Homosexuality Meets With Officials

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Gay activists in China brought their demands for public acceptance to a court.

Dream of The Bed Chamber

It is not just China’s economy that has loosened up since 1979. The country is in the midst of a sexual revolution.

China’s College Counselors Told to Join the Party — the Communist Party

Hannah Beech
China’s Education Ministry has deemed universities an “ideological frontline”.



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...



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...

How China Wants to Rate Its Citizens

New Yorker
In certain respects, a national credit system of some kind is long overdue in China.

China Is Losing Interest in Learning English

Huileng Tan
China is losing interest in learning English, sending its proficiency in the global language of business falling ten places in a worldwide ranking.

Kids Get Violent: China's School Bullying Epidemic

Shen Lu and Elaine Yu
Liu Lizhu was not aware her shy, 15-year-old son had been bullied at school until he ended up in hospital with a ruptured spleen.

Teaching the Common Core in China

New York Times
It was to be my first parents meeting at Zhoushan’s most elite high school.



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


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...

Chinese Schools 'Robbing Young of Individuality'

Hannah Richardson
China's education system is robbing its young people of the chance to become unique individuals...

China Turns to Online Courses, and Mao, for Soft-Power Mission

New York Times
“It was like watching propaganda.”



Is There a China Model?

Daniel A. Bell, Timothy Garton Ash & more
The most recent public event in our ChinaFile Presents series, which we held October 15 in New York, was a discussion of the philosopher Daniel A. Bell’s controversial book, The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy, co-...