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...

Caixin Media

10.21.13

Is Freedom of Thought in China Just a Dream?

The Shanghai Free Trade Zone was recently launched. The measure is commonly regarded as an attempt by the leadership of the Communist Party to further economic reform, which has slowed over the past decade. It is also part of what policymakers call...

Viewpoint

10.16.13

Innovation in Britain and What it Means for China

Vincent Ni
On the occasion of a high-level British delegation’s visit to Beiing this week, Vincent Ni, the long-time New York-based U.S. correspondent for the independent Caixin Media group, shared his views about China’s ability to innovate relative to what...

Parents Bribe to Get Students into Top Schools, Despite Campaign Against Corruption

William Wan
Washington Post
Almost everything, from admission to grades to teacher recommendations, is negotiable in Chinese schools if you know the right person or have enough cash, a fact that's worsening rather than mending the vast gap...

Why Are Hundreds of Harvard Students Studying Ancient Philosophy?

Christine Gross-Loh
Atlantic
Professor Michael Puett uses Chinese philosophy as a way to give undergraduates concrete, counter-intuitive, and even revolutionary ideas, which teach them how to live a better life, putting ancient Chinese thought in the context of contemporary...

Media

09.25.13

The Silk Road of Pop

Nick Holdstock
Most coverage of Xinjiang focuses on the tensions between Han and Uighur in the region, especially since the 2009 Urumqi riots. The Silk Road of Pop, a new documentary about Uighur music directed by Sameer Farooq, is a timely portrait of the rich...

Letter from Beijing

Helen Gao
Prospect Magazine
For recent college graduates strugglgin to find a job, positions inside the government, the state enterprises and state banks, which offer steady incomes and generous benefits, have increased dramatically in their appeal. 

Chinese Teacher Suspended for Teaching Constitution

Abby
Global Voices
Professor Zhang Xuezhong of East China University of Politics and Law in Shanghai published an article entitled “The Origin and Perils of the Anti-constitutionalism Campaign in 2013″. On August 17, Zhang was notified that his teaching status had...

Seeking Edge in Academics, Chinese Spend Summer in U.S.

Jane Perlez and Helen Gao
New York Times
The surge in students traveling to the United States for the summer is the latest iteration in China’s booming multibillion-dollar overseas education business.  

China Bans Professor From Teaching Over His Advocacy of Constitution

Andrew Mytelka
Chronicle of Higher Education
The crackdown on Zhang Xuezhong is part of a broader stiffening of ideological control in the country’s universities as faculty and students grow skeptical of required courses in Communist ideology. 

Viewpoint

09.03.13

China’s Higher Education Bubble

Carl Minzner
The number of university graduates in China has exploded.In 1997, 400,000 students graduated from four-year university programs. Today, Chinese schools produce more than 3 million per year. But employment rates at graduation have plunged. And remote...

Teach About Sex? Attitudes Start to Shift Slowly in China

Anna Richardson
Christian Science Monitor
 Professor of sociology Li Yinhe never thought she would see the day she’d be allowed to host a safe-sex education exhibition at a public institution in conservative China. That it was permitted at all...

Sinica Podcast

08.23.13

Turning the Tables on Sinica

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week sets a new record for introspective profanity as we reverse our usual format, in a show that features David Moser and Mary Kay Magistad turning the tables on Jeremy Goldkorn and Kaiser Kuo with an interview that explores how both view...

Why Aren’t Chinese People Reading Books Anymore?

Helen Gao
Atlantic
China’s once-robust trade in serious literature has withered under an increasingly materialistic, results-oriented society.

What the Word ‘Toad’ Can Tell You About China’s Modernization

Dan Kedmey
Time
While users of a phonetic alphabet can sound out a word, writers of Chinese must memorize a series of character strokes unique to that word, and the strokes have to be executed in a precise order. 

Media

08.12.13

Is Support for Transgender Rights Increasing in China?

In the last few weeks of July, the story of a young transgender couple who transitioned together, which had previously gone viral in the Western media, trended on Sina Weibo, China’s popular microblogging platform. Although some Chinese netizens...

Bo Xilai's Son Bo Guagua Continues His Studies at Columbia University

Joanna Chiu, Patrick Boehler
South China Morning Post
Bo Guagua, the son of disgraced former Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai, appears to be enrolled in the prestigious Columbia Law School at Columbia University, according to public records available on the school’s website. 

Features

07.23.13

Discrimination in China’s Schools

In a new report titled As Long As They Let Us Stay in Class: Barriers to Education for Persons with Disabilities in China, the New York-based non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) outlines systemic discrimination...

Media

07.17.13

A Minority in the Middle Kingdom: My Experience Being Black in China

In the 1996 China edition of the Lonely Planet guidebook, a text box aside comment from a street interview provided some interesting conversation fodder: “…there is no racism in China because there are no black people,” a Chinese woman was reported...

Training Future Macau Casino Bosses

Calvin Yang
New York Times
Macau opened its doors to major U.S. investors like Sands and Wynn Resorts when it liberalized its casino industry in 2002. It now has at least 35 casinos employing more than 81,000 staff, mostly expatriates.  

Independent Thinking “Not Encouraged” in China’s Film Schools

Radio Netherlands Worldwide
The Chinese authorities have put an abrupt end to a training programme for aspiring independent filmmakers. And there’s still no official explanation why the 9th Edition of the Li Xianting Film School in Beijing was closed down. 

Reports

07.15.13

‘As Long as They Let Us Stay in Class’

Human Rights Watch
According to official statistics, over 40 percent of people with disabilities are illiterate and 15 million live on less than one dollar a day in the countryside. The Chinese government has an impressive record in providing primary education for...

Viewpoint

07.11.13

China at the Tipping Point?

Carl Minzner
What will be the future of China’s authoritarian political system?Many predicted that China’s rapid development over the past several decades would inevitably lead to gradual liberalization. Economic growth was expected to generate a cascade of...

For Chinese Families, a Journey Cut Short, and With It Their Dreams

Vivian Yee
New York Times
On their way to Bible camp in America, two Chinese teenagers from Zhejiang Province flew through South Korea and into San Francisco International Airport, where their plane skidded and burst into flames. Both died, the only fatalities in the crash...

Conversation

07.03.13

How Would Accepting Gay Culture Change China?

Fei Wang & Steven Jiang
Last week's U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down the core provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act is not only “a stride toward greater equality in the United States, but also a shift that will reverberate far beyond our shores,” wrote...

Media

07.02.13

American History, Through Chinese Eyes

White male privilege, genocide against Native Americans, slavery and subsequent racial oppression, exploitation of immigrants and laborers, repression of women and homosexuals, and environmental destruction—teaching American cultural history through...

Media

06.17.13

Do Quotas in China’s College Admissions System Reinforce Existing Inequalities?

Earlier this month, millions of Chinese students took the exam for which they had been preparing their entire lives—the National Higher Education Entrance Examination, known colloquially as the gaokao. For some, the process was more arduous than for...

China's Universities Aren't Keeping Up With the Rest of Asia

Jake Maxwell Watts, Adam Pasick
Atlantic
By the end of this decade, three out of every 10 college graduates will come from China. However, the 2013 University Rankings for Asia, out this week, are dominated by Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Japan, with...

Media

06.11.13

Chinese Web Users React to U.S. National Security Agency Surveillance Program

The online reactions to the PRISM incident, in which the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has been revealed to conduct a far-ranging surveillance program affecting many both in the U.S. and abroad, have been as fascinating as the event itself...

Viewpoint

06.05.13

A Re-Opening to China?

Paul Gewirtz
Five months into his second term, President Obama is about to undertake the most important diplomatic initiative of his presidency: an effort to reshape the relationship with China. With little fanfare thus far but considerable boldness on both...

Conversation

06.04.13

How Would Facing Its Past Change China’s Future?

David Wertime, Isabel Hilton & more
David Wertime:The memory of the 1989 massacre of protesters at Tiananmen Square remains neither alive nor dead, neither reckoned nor obliterated. Instead, it hangs spectre-like in the background, a muted but latently powerful symbol of resistance...

Books

06.04.13

Strange Stones

Peter Hessler
During the past decade, Peter Hessler has persistently illuminated worlds both foreign and familiar—ranging from China, where he served as The New Yorker’s correspondent from 2000 to 2007, to southwestern Colorado, where he lived for four years. Strange Stones is an engaging, thought-provoking collection of Hessler’s best pieces, showcasing his range as a storyteller and his gift for writing as both native and knowledgeable outsider. From a taste test between two rat restaurants in South China to a profile of Yao Ming to the moving story of a small-town pharmacist, these pieces are bound by subtle but meaningful ideas: the strength of local traditions, the surprising overlap between cultures, and the powerful lessons drawn from individuals who straddle different worlds.Full of unforgettable figures and an unrelenting spirit of adventure, Strange Stones is a dazzling display of the powerful storytelling, shrewd cultural insight, and warm sense of humor that are the trademarks of Peter Hessler’s work. —Harper Collins{node, 3320, 4}

Books

05.28.13

Stumbling Giant

Timothy Beardson
While dozens of recent books and articles have predicted the near-certainty of China’s rise to global supremacy, this book boldly counters such widely-held assumptions. Timothy Beardson brings to light the daunting array of challenges that today confront China, as well as the inadequacy of the policy responses. Threats to China come on many fronts, Beardson shows, and by their number and sheer weight these problems will thwart any ambition to become the world’s “Number One Power.”Drawing on extensive research and experience living and working in Asia over the last 35 years, the author spells out China’s situation: an inexorable demographic future of a shrinking labor force, relentless aging, extreme gender disparity, and even a falling population. Also, the nation faces social instability, a devastated environment, a predominantly low-tech economy with inadequate innovation, the absence of an effective welfare safety net, an ossified governance structure, and radical Islam lurking at the borders. Beardson’s nuanced, first-hand look at China acknowledges its historic achievements while tempering predictions of its imminent hegemony with a no-nonsense dose of reality. —Yale University Press

Media

05.28.13

Trending on Weibo: #AIDSPatientsCanBeTeachers#

In the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, carriers of the AIDS virus are now allowed to teach schoolchildren. The recently-announced change in regulations marks a step forward for AIDS activists, with the hashtag #AIDSPatientsCanBeTeachers# now...

Hackers Find China Is Land of Opportunity

Edward Wong
New York Times
Whether it is used to break into private networks, track online dissent back to its source or steal trade secrets, hacking is openly discussed and even promoted at trade shows, inside university classrooms and on Internet forums. 

Books

05.09.13

Lao She in London

Anne Witchard
Lao She remains revered as one of China’s great modern writers. His life and work have been the subject of volumes of critique, analysis and study. However, the four years the young aspiring writer spent in London between 1924 and 1929 have largely been overlooked. Dr. Anne Witchard, a specialist in the modernist milieu of London between the wars, reveals Lao She’s encounter with British high modernism and literature from Dickens to Conrad to Joyce. Lao She arrived from his native Peking to the whirl of London’s West End scene—Bloomsburyites, Vorticists, avant-gardists of every stripe, Ezra Pound and the cabaret at the Cave of The Golden Calf. Immersed in the West End 1920s world of risqué flappers, the tabloid sensation of England’s “most infamous Chinaman Brilliant Chang” and Anna May Wong’s scandalous film Piccadilly, simultaneously Lao She spent time in the notorious and much sensationalised East End Chinatown of Limehouse. Out of his experiences came his great novel of London Chinese life and tribulations—Mr. Ma and Son: Two Chinese in London. However, as Witchard reveals, Lao She’s London years affected his writing and ultimately the course of Chinese modernism in far more profound ways. —Hong Kong University Press

Son Of Chinese Official Jailed After Attempted Bribe And Threat

James Griffiths
Shanghaiist
At a meeting he had requested to discuss a 37 percent mark he had recently received on his dissertation (3 percentage points short of a pass) Li Yang offered £5,000 (47,000 yuan). He also came armed with an air pistol.  

U.S. Financier Backs China Scholarship Program

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
The Schwarzman Scholars program will pay all expenses for 200 students each year from around the world for a one-year master’s program at  Tsinghua University in Beijing.  

Conversation

04.23.13

How Would You Spend (the Next) $300 Million on U.S.-China Relations?

Orville Schell & Michael Kulma
Orville Schell:When Stephen A. Schwarzman announced his new $300 million program aimed at sending foreign scholars to Tsinghua University in Beijing the way Rhodes Scholarship, set up by the businessman and statesman Cecil Rhodes in 1902 began...