Is China’s Grand Ethnic Experiment Working?

David McKenzie
BBC
In a gleaming classroom at Chong Hua High School in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin, students peer at onion slices under microscopes. Their biology teacher calls on Abdurrahman Mamat to explain what he sees."Plasmolysis," he replies...

Manual on How to Spot a Spy Circulates in an Increasingly Wary China

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
“On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” Or an American spy. Or a “hostile foreign force.” So says the “China Folk Counterespionage Manual,” a “how to spot a spy” guide circulating on the Internet.

Media

10.21.14

Chinese Doubt Their Own Soft Power Venture

On September 27, Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong read aloud a letter written by President Xi Jinping at a ceremony in Beijing celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Confucius Institute (CI) program, an international chain of academic centers...

Environment

10.09.14

Locals Attack Factory After Children Poisoned with Lead

from chinadialogue
Villagers from the township of Gangkou in Jiangxi province, southeast China, have smashed up a new lead recycling plant which was due to begin operating.Unconvinced by reassurances from the owners and local government that there would be no...

Penn State Latest School to Drop China’s Confucius Institute

Douglas Belkin
Wall Street Journal
The action signals increasing discontent on university campuses over the institutes' hiring practices and refusal to acknowledge unflattering chapters of Chinese history...

Environment

10.02.14

China ‘Not Ready to be a World Leader’ on Climate Change

from chinadialogue
The U.N. Climate Summit 2014 in New York last week passed, as expected, with public statements of intent but no sign of firm commitments to reducing climate emissions.If a deal is to be reached in Paris next year, at the latest “last hope” climate...

Conversation

10.01.14

Is This the End of Hong Kong As We Know It?

Nicholas Bequelin, Sebastian Veg & more
Over the past week, tens of thousands of Hong Kong people have occupied the streets of their semi-autonomous city to advocate for the democratic elections slated to launch in 2017. The pro-democracy protestors have blocked major roads in the...

The Revolution Will Not Be Instagrammed

Alexa Olesen
Mainland Chinese felt no effects from the protests roiling Hong Kong—until Beijing pulled the plug on another social network.

Books

09.24.14

A Chinaman’s Chance

Eric Liu
From Tony Hsieh to Amy Chua to Jeremy Lin, Chinese Americans are now arriving at the highest levels of American business, civic life, and culture. But what makes this story of immigrant ascent unique is that Chinese Americans are emerging at just the same moment when China has emerged—and indeed may displace America—at the center of the global scene. What does it mean to be Chinese American in this moment? And how does exploring that question alter our notions of just what an American is and will be? In many ways, Chinese Americans today are exemplars of the American Dream: during a crowded century and a half, this community has gone from indentured servitude, second-class status and outright exclusion to economic and social integration and achievement. But this narrative obscures too much: the Chinese Americans still left behind, the erosion of the American Dream in general, the emergence—perhaps—of a Chinese Dream, and how other Americans will look at their countrymen of Chinese descent if China and America ever become adversaries. As Chinese Americans reconcile competing beliefs about what constitutes success, virtue, power, and purpose, they hold a mirror up to their country in a time of deep flux. In searching, often personal essays that range from the meaning of Confucius to the role of Chinese Americans in shaping how we read the Constitution to why he hates the hyphen in "Chinese-American," Eric Liu pieces together a sense of the Chinese American identity in these auspicious years for both countries. He considers his own public career in American media and government; his daughter's efforts to hold and release aspects of her Chinese inheritance; and the still-recent history that made anyone Chinese in America seem foreign and disloyal until proven otherwise. Provocative, often playful but always thoughtful, Liu breaks down his vast subject into bite-sized chunks, along the way providing insights into universal matters: identity, nationalism, family, and more. —PublicAffairs {chop}

Q. and A.: Yong Zhao on Education and Authoritarianism in China

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
Yong Zhao, a professor of education at the University of Oregon, is the author of "Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World.”...

Caixin Media

09.08.14

Gaokao, China’s National College Exam, to Carry Less Weight

The Ministry of Education announced reforms on September 4 that will lessen the weight that the gaokao, the country's national college entrance exam, carries for university enrollment. The changes are to come into effect by 2020.The...

For Australia, a Celebration of China in Theme Park Form

Bree Feng
New York Times
Get ready for Chappypie China Time, a $500 million, 39-acre Chinese culture theme park that aims to bring Australia a replica of the Forbidden City.

Will China Vet Hong Kong Election?

Robert Marquand
Christian Science Monitor
The occupation of Hong Kong's central financial district could start early next week, after Beijing releases its guidelines Sunday on how the city's next leader will be elected...

Sport in China: What’s Wrong with Winning?

Kristy Lu Stout
CNN
China has a fixation on training elite champions in select sports and an education system that considers sports a luxury and not a priority.

Mao’s Little Red Book, Meet Xi Jinping’s Collected Speeches

Te-Ping Chen
Wall Street Journal
Since its publication not quite two months ago, the somewhat turgidly named “A Reader of General-Secretary Xi Jinping’s Important Speeches” has already sold 10 million copies, its publisher reports.

Features

08.14.14

Making It in China and the U.S.

Jonathan Landreth & Emily Parker
Emily Parker is a creator of Green Electronics: A U.S.-China Maker Challenge. The Green Electronics Challenge was an unprecedented collaboration between the New America Foundation, Arizona State University, Slate Magazine, China’s Tsinghua...

My Chinese Education

Tsering Woeser
New York Times
One Tibetan recounts how Beijing’s education system suffocates minority culture serving to unify the country under the rule of the dominant Han ethnic group. 

Conversation

08.11.14

Simon Leys Remembered

Isabel Hilton, Perry Link & more
Isabel Hilton: When I heard the news of the death of Pierre Ryckmans, better known by his pen name, Simon Leys, I began to hunt in my bookshelves for the now yellowing and grimy copies of Chinese Shadows and The Chairman’s New Clothes: Mao and the...

China Sees Boom in Illegal Surrogate Motherhood

Ian Johnson and Cao Li
New York Times
Rising infertility and a relaxation of the one-child policy have given rise to a booming black market in surrogacy that experts say produces well over 10,000 births a year.

Zhang Tiesheng: From Leftist Hero to Multimillionaire

Tania Branigan
Guardian
Zhang was 22 when he came to national attention in 1973, after he wrote to leaders excoriating the examination as a return to the capitalist model of education. Now 63, he is a major shareholder in the publicly-traded Wellhope Agri-Tech.

Helping China’s Doves

Kishore Mahbubani
New York Times
Since Beijing wants to focus on domestic problems the international community should ask itself one simple question: What can we do to help the doves?

Sinica Podcast

07.18.14

Debating Societies in China

Kaiser Kuo & Jeremy Goldkorn from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, we’re happy to welcome back Jeremy Goldkorn in conversation with David Weeks, founder and President of the National High School Debate League of China, a debating society currently established in twenty-seven cities throughout...

Blacklisting Scholars

New York Times
China is increasingly denying entry to foreign scholars to punish those who work on issues that Beijing deems to be politically troublesome. If the government hopes to drive foreign scholars into self-censorship, this policy is self-defeating.&...

Infographics

07.16.14

Learn English, Chinese Style

from Sohu
In 2009, the number of people studying English in China was roughly equal to the population of the U.S. In 2012, Chinese people spent a total of $4.8 billion on English lessons. China is the world’s biggest market for English-as-a-foreign-language...

Sinica Podcast

07.14.14

Education in China

Kaiser Kuo & David Moser from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are joined by Jiang Xueqin, deputy principal of Tsinghua Fuzhong Affiliated High School and author of Creative China, for a discussion of the education system in China. Specifically, we’re curious to...

Environment

07.10.14

U.S.-China Climate Cooperation More Crucial Than Ever

from chinadialogue
As the governments of the United States and China meet in Beijing this week for the Sixth U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), one area worth watching closely is clean energy and climate change cooperation. While this topic may...

Conversation

07.01.14

The Debate Over Confucius Institutes PART II

Gregory B. Lee, Michael Hill & more
Last week, ChinaFile published a discussion on the debate over Confucius Institutes–Chinese language and culture programs affiliated with China’s Ministry of Education—and their role on university campuses. The topic, and several of the...

Conversation

06.23.14

The Debate Over Confucius Institutes

Robert Kapp, Jeffrey Wasserstrom & more
Last week, the American Association of University Professors joined a growing chorus of voices calling on North American universities to rethink their relationship with Confucius Institutes, the state-sponsored Chinese-language programs...

Young Men Who Are Anything Short Of Wealthy In Urban China Face Brutal Girlfriend Reality

Rob Wile
Business Insider
China has at least more than 30 million more men than women. As a result, finding a girlfriend there is extremely difficult.

Do Chinese Classrooms Need to Talk About Sex?

Jemimah Steinfeld
CNN
Sex education is taught inadequately in school and avoided by parents, resulting in generations of Chinese children growing up wondering if babies come out of armpits, or from the garbage dump, as others have also cited.

Environment

06.19.14

What China Should Say at the U.N. Climate Change Summit

from chinadialogue
With a little more than 100 days to go, countries are gearing up for Ban Ki-moon’s New York climate summit, the first climate convention of world leaders since Copenhagen and a meeting that aims to catalyze new commitments and mobilize political...

Ten Questions Cambridge University Must Now Answer Over the Chong Hua Donation

Peter Foster
Telegraph
The news that one of China's most powerful political families has endowed a professorial chair at Cambridge University raises profound and disturbing questions, both about the integrity of British academia and the reach of China's soft-...

Commentary: China, India Strategic Partners, not Rivals

Chen Shilei
Xinhua
China and India have had more high level exchange this past year than in nearly 60 years because they know common development can only be achieved through a strategic cooperative partnership.

From China with Pragmatism

Stephen T. Asma
New York Times
Americans see patronage as corruption, but Chinese recognize that giving money in a red envelope is good manners and important social grooming, and unrelated to graft.

Newton Student Penalized for Democracy Notes in China

Ellen Ishkanian
Boston Globe
High school senior Henry DeGroot was visiting a school outside Beijing on a semester abroad this year when he decided to make a point by writing prodemocracy messages in the notebook of a Chinese student.

The Astrophysicist of Tiananmen

Alex Pasternack
Motherboard
Fang Lizhi, the prominent astrophysicist, was incredulous when, In January 1987, when Deng Xiaoping launched the slogan “modernization with Chinese characteristics.” 

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...

Conversation

06.02.14

25 Years On, Can China Move Past Tiananmen?

Xu Zhiyuan, Arthur Waldron & more
Xu Zhiyuan:Whenever the massacre at Tiananmen Square twenty-five years ago comes up in conversation, I think of Faulkner’s famous line: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”Some believe that China’s economic growth and rise to international...

Sinica Podcast

06.02.14

OMG, in Conversation With Jessica Beinecke

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn interview Jessica Beinecke, host of the VOA-funded OMG Meiyu, a Chinese show on English slang that has earned Jessica hundreds of thousands of followers in China. Now the owner of her own production company, Jessica is...

China's Beachhead in U.S. Schools

David Feith
Wall Street Journal
The Confucius education network shows the promise and peril of doing academic business with Beijing.

A Scholarly Response to ‘Tiger Mom’: Happiness Matters, Too

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
When a child scores 99 on a test, an American parent will lavish praise. But a Chinese parent will say: “What happened? Why didn’t you get 100?”

Environment

05.23.14

Killing Pika Won’t Save Tibetan Grasslands

from chinadialogue
A pest extermination campaign is under way on western China’s Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. But experts say there is no scientific basis for the killing of the pika, a small rabbit-like mammal, and warn that the campaign may throw the ecosystem further...

Books

05.22.14

Age of Ambition

Evan Osnos
From abroad, we often see China as a caricature: a nation of pragmatic plutocrats and ruthlessly dedicated students destined to rule the global economy—or an addled Goliath, riddled with corruption and on the edge of stagnation. What we don’t see is how both powerful and ordinary people are remaking their lives as their country dramatically changes.As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos was on the ground in China for years, witness to profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval. In Age of Ambition, he describes the greatest collision taking place in that country: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party’s struggle to retain control. He asks probing questions: Why does a government with more success lifting people from poverty than any civilization in history choose to put strict restraints on freedom of expression? Why do millions of young Chinese professionals—fluent in English and devoted to Western pop culture—consider themselves “angry youth,” dedicated to resisting the West’s influence? How are Chinese from all strata finding meaning after two decades of the relentless pursuit of wealth?Writing with great narrative verve and a keen sense of irony, Osnos follows the moving stories of everyday people and reveals life in the new China to be a battleground between aspiration and authoritarianism, in which only one can prevail. —Farrar, Straus, and Giroux {chop}

Environment

05.15.14

Anti-Chinese Sentiment on Rise in Myanmar

from chinadialogue
The Shwe pipeline shaves an angry bald strip across the red clay hills and disappears into the morning mist. A sign hanging above an area cordoned off by bamboo fencing warns in English, “Severe punishment on pipeline destruction.”“Families were...

China’s Coal Dependency Threatens Efforts to Curb Warming

Michael Forsythe
New York Times
China's coal consumption contributes one-fifth of the world’s total emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from fossil fuels, which, if it continues, will make it change “almost impossible." ...

Conversation

05.07.14

How is China Doing in Africa?

Tendai Musakwa, Kathleen McLaughlin & more
On his current weeklong tour of Ethiopia, Nigeria, Angola, and Kenya, Premier Li Keqiang announced a new $12 billion aid package intended to address China’s “growing pains” in Africa. China is by turns lauded for bringing development to the...

Solving China’s Schools: An Interview with Jiang Xueqin

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
In December, China stunned the world when the most widely used international education assessment revealed that Shanghai’s schools now outperform those of any other country—not only in math and science but also in reading. Some education experts...

Is the American Middle Class Losing Out to China and India?

Thomas B. Edsall
New York Times
CUNY professor Branko Milanovic says the middle class in China and India experienced 60 to 70 percent income growth from 1998 to 2008, while middle class growth stalled in the United States.

Environment

03.19.14

Is China Underfunding its ‘War on Pollution’?

from chinadialogue
China’s environmental spending showed a year-on-year drop of almost ten percent in 2013, according to the budget report delivered at China’s annual parliamentary gathering.Despite premier Li Keqiang’s vow to declare “war on pollution”, the 2013...

Conversation

03.19.14

What Should Michelle Obama Accomplish on Her Trip to China?

Orville Schell, Vincent Ni & more
Orville Schell:  Looking at the challenges of rectifying U.S.-China relations and building some semblance of the "new kind of a big power relationship" alluded to by presidents Obama and Xi at Sunnylands last year, will most...

Caixin Media

03.11.14

Li Ka-shing’s Remedy for ‘Coddled’ Hong Kong

Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing is again in the media spotlight after he mentioned in late February the possibility of publicly listing his retail business A.S. Watson Group, which is part of the Hong Kong-listed conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa."No...

China’s Academic Battle for the South China Sea

Shannon Tiezzi
Diplomat
Academic institutions in China are now forming think thanks for South China Sea policymaking crossing barriers between academic departments, the military, and other government agencies.

Environment

03.05.14

Should China Follow in America’s Factory Farming Footsteps?

from chinadialogue
The scale of growth in China’s meat production over the past three decades is staggering. Today, one-third of the world’s meat is produced in the country and half of all pigs live there. While per capita consumption may still be below the U.S. and...

Sinica Podcast

03.01.14

In Line Behind a Billion People

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Kaiser and Jeremy are joined by Damien Ma, author of In Line Behind a Billion People, a new book for China-watchers looking at how China’s lack of affordable housing, its food and air pollution, and the country’s poor education...

After Winding Odyssey, Tibetan Texts Find Home

Sophie Beach
China Digital Times
An American scholar of Tibet has collected thousands of Tibetan language books and donated them to Chengdu’s Southwest University for Nationalities.

Chinese Dissident Lands at Cato Institute With a Caution to Colleauges

Tamar Lewin
New York Times
Xia Yeliang -- dismissed from his job as an economics professor at Peking University after clashes with his government over liberalization -- warned that American universities should be careful about partnerships with Chinese universities...

In China, ‘Once the Villages Are Gone, the Culture Is Gone’

Ian Johnson
New York Times
Across China, cultural traditions like the Lei family’s music are under threat. Rapid urbanization means village life, the bedrock of Chinese culture, is rapidly disappearing, and with it, traditions and history.

Class Consciousness

Ian Johnson
New Yorker
China’s new bourgeoisie discovers alternative education

Features

01.26.14

For Freedom, Justice, and Love

from China Change
Following is legal activist Xu Zhiyong’s closing statement at the end of his trial in Beijing on January 22, 2014. According to his lawyer, Xu was only able to read “about ten minutes of it before the presiding judge stopped him, saying it was...