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...

Epiphanies from Kevin Rudd

Isaac Stone Fish
Foreign Policy
Former prime minister who spent time with Xi Jinping notes the importance of language proficiency. 

Left-Behind Children of China’s Migrant Workers Bear Grown-Up Burdens

Andrew Browne
Wall Street Journal
About 61 Million Chinese Kids Haven’t Seen One or Both Parents for at Least Three Months

C. T. Hsia, Who Brought Chinese Literature to the West, Dies at 92

William Yardley
New York Times
Hsia argued that Chinese writers suffered from an "obsession with China."...

The Curious, and Continuing, Appeal of Mark Twain in China

Amy Qin
New York Times
Mark Twain’s “Running for Governor” was taught alongside the writings by Mao Zedong and other prominent Chinese thinkers and literary figures in middle schools across China for more than 40 years.

Q. & A.: David Der-wei Wang on C.T. Hsia, Chinese Literary Critic

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
C.T. Hsia, the Chinese literary critic who died in New York on Dec. 29, aged 92, had a “legendary career” as “a true cosmopolitan, shrewd, critical and brilliant,” says David Der-wei Wang, Professor of Chinese Literature at Harvard University, in an...

Media

01.03.14

Coming to Chinese Headlines in 2014

Chinese people have spent another year breathing dirty air, fretting about food safety, poking fun at corrupt officials, and complaining about tightening censorship—but as a discerning consumer of international news, you probably knew that already...

Environment

01.03.14

Predictions for China’s Environment in 2014

from chinadialogue
From dead pigs in the Shanghai river to toxic smog in major cities, 2013 was a year of dramatic environmental stories in China. We asked some of our contributors for their predictions on how these and other stories are likely to develop in the...

Other

12.26.13

2013 Year in Review

As the year draws to a close, we want to take a moment to look back at some of the stories ChinaFile published in 2013. We hope you’ll find something that interests you to read—or watch—over the holidays.It’s hard to remember a recent year that didn...

Caixin Media

12.17.13

Are Changes to China’s Family-Planning Rules Too Little, Too Late?

Among the sixty areas covered in the Communist Party’s “decision” document released after the third plenum of the Eighteenth Central Committee, the most popular among ordinary people is a revision to the family planning policy to allow some couples...

The End of China’s One-Child Policy? An Interview with Mei Fong

Jeffrey Wasserstrom
Dissent
What exactly did the recent Third Plenum reveal about China’s strategy for dealing with the “One-Child Policy?” Questions for Mei Fong, a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter working on a book about the policy.

U.S. Colleges Finding Ideals Tested Abroad

Tamar Lewin
New York Times
Like U.S. corporations, American colleges are extending their brands overseas. But colleges claim to place ideals over income. As professors abroad face consequences for what they say, most universities are doing little more than wringing their...

Conversation

12.07.13

Will China Shut Out the Foreign Press?

Winston Lord, Paul Mooney & more
Some two dozen journalists employed by The New York Times and Bloomberg News have not yet received the visas they need to continue to report and live in China after the end of this year. Without them, they will effectively be expelled from the...

China Is Cheating World Student Rankings

David Stout
Time
The results from a global exam that evaluates students’ reading, science and math skills are in and, once again, Chinese students appear to be reigning supreme while American students continued to underperform.

Conversation

11.19.13

What Will the Beginning of the End of the One-Child Policy Bring?

Leta Hong Fincher, Vincent Ni & more
Leta Hong Fincher:The Communist Party’s announcement that it will loosen the one-child policy is, of course, welcome news. Married couples will be allowed to have two children if only one of the spouses is an only child, meaning that millions more...

Chinese University Defends Outspoken Teacher’s Firing

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
In the week since Professor Xia Yeliang was dismissed, university officials have been buffeted by criticism that their decision was in retaliation for his activism against the government.  

Media

11.06.13

Sex Ed Videos Go Viral

Liz Carter
A collection of sex education videos have just gone, ahem, viral on the Chinese Internet. On October 29, a three-person team calling itself the “Nutcracker Studio” released three one-minute clips addressing tough topics in childhood sex education,...

Video

11.05.13

Small Part, Big Screen

Gilles Sabrié
Every morning outside the imposing gate of the Beijing Film Studio, a throng gathers to try to find a way inside. These aren’t fans, exactly. Look at their faces, the practiced way they crane their necks or square their shoulders when the man with...

Books

10.28.13

In Line Behind a Billion People

Damien Ma, William Adams
Nearly everything you know about China is wrong! Yes, within a decade, China will have the world’s largest economy. But that is the least important thing to know about China. In this enlightening book, two of the world’s leading China experts turn the conventional wisdom on its head, showing why China’s economic growth will constrain rather than empower it. Pioneering political analyst Damien Ma and global economist Bill Adams reveal why, having thirty-five years of ferocious economic growth, China’s future will be shaped by the same fundamental reality that has shaped it for millennia: scarcity.{node, 4231}Ma and Adams drill deep into Chinese society, illuminating all the scarcities that will limit its power and progress. Beyond scarcities of natural resources and public goods, they illuminate China’s persistent poverties of individual freedoms, cultural appeal, and ideological legitimacy—and the corrosive loss of values and beliefs amongst a growing middle class shackled by a parochial and inflexible political system. Everyone knows “the 21st century is China’s to lose”—but, as with so many things that “everyone knows,” that’s just wrong. Ma and Adams get beyond cheerleading and fearmongering to tell the complex truth about China today. This is a truth you need to hear—whether you’re an investor, business decision-maker, policymaker, or citizen. —Pearson{chop}

Excerpts

10.28.13

Stark Choices for China’s Leaders

Damien Ma & William Adams
One Beijing morning in early November 2012, seven men in dark suits strode onto the stage of the Great Hall of the People. China’s newly elected Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Chairman Xi Jinping stood at the center of the ensemble, flanked on each...

U.S. Tycoon Breaks Ground for China Scholars Project

Didi Tang
ABC
Wall Street tycoon Stephen A. Schwarzman helped break ground Thursday on a college building in Beijing that will house a $300 million scholarship program bearing his name that is intended to rival the prestigious Rhodes Scholarships. 

Top Chinese University Expels Outspoken Economist

Didi Tang
Associated Press
Peking School of Economics’ Xia Yeliang was expelled for his political views and activism, including his vocal support of democracy, his involvement in the drafting of Charter 08, and his refusal to comply with government directives to de-politicize...

Conversation

10.22.13

Why’s China’s Smog Crisis Still Burning So Hot?

Alex Wang, Isabel Hilton & more
Alex Wang:On Sunday, the start of the winter heating season in northern China brought the “airpocalypse” back with a vengeance.Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang Province and home to 11 million people, registered fine particulate (PM2.5) pollution...