Conversation

04.11.13

Why Is Chinese Soft Power Such a Hard Sell?

Jeremy Goldkorn, Donald Clarke & more
Jeremy Goldkorn:Chairman Mao Zedong said that power comes out of the barrel of a gun, and he knew a thing or two about power, both hard and soft. If you have enough guns, you have respect. Money is the same: if you have enough cash, you can buy guns...

Books

04.03.13

From the Dragon’s Mouth

Ana Fuentes
From The Dragon’s Mouth: Ten True Stories that Unveil the Real China is an exquisitely intimate look into the China of the twenty-first century as seen through the eyes of its people. This is one of the rare times a book combines the voices of everyday Chinese people from so many different layers of society: a dissident tortured by the police; a young millionaire devoted to nationalism; a peasant-turned-prostitute to pay for the best education for her son; a woman who married her gay friend to escape from social pressure, just like an estimated 16 million other women; a venerated kung fu master unable to train outdoors because of the hazardous pollution; the daughter of two Communist Party officials getting rich coaching Chinese entrepreneurs the ways of Capitalism; among others.   —Penguin{chop}{node, 3048, 4}

Conversation

03.26.13

Can China Transform Africa?

Jeremy Goldkorn, Isabel Hilton & more
Jeremy Goldkorn:The question is all wrong. China is already transforming Africa, the question is how China is transforming Africa, not whether it can. From the “China shops”—small stores selling cheap clothing, bags, and kitchenware—that have become...

Conversation

03.13.13

China’s Post 1980’s Generation—Are the Kids All Right?

Sun Yunfan, Orville Schell & more
This week, the ChinaFile Conversation is a call for reactions to an article about China's current generation gap, written by James Palmer, a Beijing-based historian, author, and Global Times editor. The article, first published by Aeon in the U...

Media

03.01.13

No Closer to the Chinese Dream?

Timothy Garton Ash
2013 began dramatically in China with a standoff between journalists and state propaganda authorities over a drastically rewritten New Year’s editorial at the Southern Weekly newspaper.In the first week of the New Year, the editors of Southern...

Media

02.26.13

Flowers of the Motherland

Sun Yunfan
School uniforms have been a hot topic in the Chinese media since last Thursday. On February 20, 2013, on a new satirical TV news talk show akin to the Colbert Report but with a pre-recorded laugh track instead of a live audience, host Jin Yan of...

SF Minister Spreads Gospel Of Sex In China

Don Lattin
San Francisco Chronicle
In March 2013, Rev. Ted McIlvenna will lead a delegation of 10 sex experts to China to help an emerging class of financially independent Chinese women achieve female sexual empowerment.

In China, Families Bet It All on College for Their Children

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
Wu Yiebing has been going down coal shafts practically every workday of his life, wrestling an electric drill for $500 a month in the choking dust of claustrophobic tunnels, with one goal in mind: paying for his daughter’s education.

Return to Rivertown

Peter Hessler
National Geographic
In 1996 a Peace Corps volunteer arrived in Fuling, a sleepy town on the Yangtze, to teach English. He went back recently to find the landscape—and his former students—transformed.

China Plans to Build the Biggest Branch Campus in the World, but Will It Succeed?

Jason Lane and Kevin Kinser
Chronicle of Higher Education
The Chinese government announced recently that it will allow Xiamen University to establish a branch campus in Malaysia. 

Snakes On a Lane

Global Times
Beneath the creepy exterior lies a misunderstood goddess. What pops up in your mind when it comes to the concept of snake? Cold-blooded, dangerous, sly, or even a symbol of evil? It seems that all words related to it are negative. And even though we...

Why China Struggles to Find Soft Power Voice

Ying Zhu
CNN
It’s been almost a year since the U.S. outpost of China Central Television (CCTV) launched under much scrutiny. So far, though, it hasn’t made much of a splash.

From Alberta to China, With Nine Kids in Tow

Licia Corbella
Calgary Herald
Cory and Michelle Coles, both 36, and nine of their 10 children are flying off to China for nine months with the hope of learning Mandarin and understanding more about the fascinating culture behind the emerging superpower.

One of China’s Early AIDS Heroes Hounded into Hiding Identity

Kaijing XIao
ABC
Tian Dawei was the first Chinese man to being a gay, HIV-positive man on state TV. He wanted to help people understand, but in China AIDS still carried a strong stigma. 

International Schools in China Point Students to the West

Lucy Hornby
Reuters
Some Chinese pay as much as 260,000 renminbi, or about $42,000, a year for a Western-style education and a possible ticket to a college overseas for their children.

Chongqing Lifts Exam Ban for Migrant Workers' Children

Xinhua
Global Times
The southwestern mega city is the latest city to ease the household restriction on migrants sitting the college entrance exam. 

Features

12.18.12

College Graduates Compete for Jobs Sweeping Streets

from Tablet
Tong Peng spent six months discovering his bachelor’s degree was “worthless” before deciding to apply for a job as a street sweeper.He graduated from college in Harbin in June, 2012, not expecting to find it so tough to find work with a college...

The Struggle of 15-Year-Old Hukou Protester Zhan Haite

C. Custer
ChinaGeeks
A 15-year-old girl has made waves in the Chinese press recently for her fight against Shanghai authorities after she was banned from taking the college entrance examination because she does not hold a Shanghaihukou(household registration). She and...

Decline of Primary Schools in Rural China: Causes and Consequences

Wenjin Long
China Policy Institute Blog
“Half of rural primary schools have disappeared between 2000 and 2010 and such a trend is still an ongoing process”, says Twenty-first Century Education Research Institution, a NGO based in Beijing. The rapid decline of primary schools in rural...

The Price of Blood: China Faces HIV/AIDS Epidemic

Madison Park
CNN
Near World AIDS Day, China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang said HIV/AIDS is "not only a medical issue but also a social challenge." ...

Media

12.01.12

Chinese AIDS Activist Endures “Degradation” in New York, Determined to Finish What She Started

Chinese people translate “New Yorker” into “New York Ke” to designate people living in New York City, including Chinese immigrants. But in Chinese, “ke” means “visitor” or “guest.” It has been a sad word in Chinese literature and poems for thousands...

Out of School

11.30.12

Heirs of Fairness?

Taisu Zhang
An unusual debate on what may seem an arcane topic—China’s imperial civil service examinations—recently took place on the op-ed page of the The New York Times. The argument centered on the question of whether or not China during the past 1000 years...

Ten Ways to Investigate Transition in China

Tom Marshall
New York Times
How can students learn what kind of place China is today? The Learning Network and The New York Times gathered 10 different ways of looking at the country.

Culture

11.27.12

Remember to Tell the Truth

Maya E. Rudolph
The recording of memory brings history to life and creates a legacy of its own. In 2010, documentary filmmaker Wu Wenguang launched the Memory Project to try to shine a light on the long-shrouded memories of one of modern China’s most traumatic...

The Headache of Mo Yan, China’s Nobel Prize Winner in Literature

Zhang Jie
Washington Post
Mo Yan had a tuxedo made for the December 10 prize gala in Stockholm and is studying the waltz, in case he's invited to dance...

China Considers Limiting Foreign Education Agents

Lara Farrar
New York Times
The Education Ministry is considerting restricting the international education agencies that help Chinese students study overseas.

One-Child Policy Up for Reform in China?

Alexa Olesen
Associated Press
The unpopular policy should be phased out, says a Chinese government think tank.

My First Trip

10.24.12

Struggling with Antonioni

Isabel Hilton
My first sight of Beijing was puzzling. It was October 1973, at the end of a very long flight, and the city seemed so dark I could hardly believe we had arrived. In those days, flights to China were not allowed to cross Soviet airspace—the two...

Li Lei and Han Meimei, The love affair of a whole generation

Alia
Offbeat China
Two characters in China’s English textbook used 20 years ago are back, sparking a wave of nostalgia.

Oxford Stars Building New China Center

JOYCE LAU
New York Times
Oxford University breaks ground on Dickson Poon China Center, with £10 million from Hong Kong philanthropist.

Profiles of Key Contemporary Chinese Intellectuals

The China Story
China Story
He Weifang 贺卫方 is a Chinese law professor affiliated with Peking University (PKU). Before being given tenure at PKU in 1992, he was the editor at Comparative Law 比较法研究 and Peking University Law Journal 中外法学, both published by the...

Amid Protest, Hong Kong Retreats on 'National Education' Plan

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
Faced with tens of thousands of protesters contending that a Beijing-backed plan for “moral and national education” amounted to brainwashing and political indoctrination, Hong Kong’s chief executive backpedaled somewhat on Saturday and revoked a...

Questioning Kristof on Chinese Education

Alex Lew
New York Times
Nicholas Kristof last wrote about Chinese schools shortly after the release of some stunning news: on a comprehensive exam testing students in 65 countries, China had come in first – thirty spots ahead of the U.S. in math. Kristof...

Chinese Parents Defrauded by “Perfect” Education

Tania Branigan
Guardian
For ambitious Chinese parents, the opportunity was too good to miss – even with its 100,000 yuan (£9,950) price tag. Their children would learn to read books in just 20 seconds and identify poker cards by touch. The most talented would instantly see...

Parents Reject China’s Classrooms for Home Schooling

AFP
Agence France-Presse
Giving up his successful career as the head of a medical research firm to spend his days at home reading from children's story books was a tough choice for Chinese father Zhang Qiaofeng. But Zhang, one of a small but growing number of Chinese...

Iron Rice Bowl Redux? Official Jobs No. 1, Says Survey

Lillian Lin
WSJ: China Real Time Report
Government jobs are now the top choice for many of China’s job seekers, according to a survey released this week, in a finding that illustrates an undercurrent of unease in the world’s No. 2 economy.

Advising Chinese Leaders: Futile Efforts?

Yiyi Lu
WSJ: China Real Time Report
At a recent conference of Chinese political scientists and international relations scholars in Beijing, a western academic remarked that he was struck by how Chinese scholars often seemed keen to use their research to come up with advice for the...

Hong Kong Protests Patriotism Classes

Melissa M. Chan
China Digital Times
Amid fears that the mainland is increasing their involvement in Hong Kong politics, the San Francisco Chronicle reports parents, students, and teachers took to the streets in Hong Kong to protest China’s planned curriculum change.

Educational Detente Across Taiwan Strait

NAOMI ROVNICK
New York Times
The government of Taiwan, the self-ruling island over which Beijing claims sovereignty, has been inching toward more amicable relations with the mainland in recent years. The full opening of the island’s universities to students from across the...

Chinese Students Living in Fear in the USA

Laura Desinsa Jackson
Danwei
While there are certainly plenty of Chinese students overseas who are spoiled brats, often called ‘second generation rich’ and ‘second generation officials’ (fu erdai and guan erdai) who live off the fruits of their parents’ corruption or enterprise...

A Liberal Arts Education, Made in China

Eric Abrahamsen
New York Times
No one, it seems, is pleased with China’s educational system. Chinese nationalists fret that students are graduating without the critical and creative skills necessary to compete globally. Foreign observers worry that heavy political indoctrination...

China's New Dictionary: Agricultural Cooperative Is Out, Hair Gel Is In

Johnny Erling
Time
When saying goodbye, people in China often say "Bye Bye." But until this July there was no Chinese way of writing that. There is now: Beijing's guardians of the language have deemed "Bai Bai" the correct written form, and it...

Detention for New Oriental

Tom Orlik
Wall Street Journal
The education of U.S. investors on the risks of overseas-listed Chinese stocks continues. Shares in New Oriental Education & Technology Group, one of China's largest private education providers, plunged 57% in the last two days, wiping...

Out of School

07.15.12

France’s Baccalauréat Sparks Debate on Chinese Education

Bi Cheng
What does one gain by working?Are all beliefs contrary to reason?Comment on an excerpt of Spinoza’s Theologico-Political Treatise Do we have a duty to seek the truth?Would we be freer without the state?Explicate an excerpt of Émile by Jean-...

The Uncertain Future of Beijing's Migrant Schools

Josh Rudolph
China Digital Times
As the gap between China’s urban and rural economies continues to expand, the largest rural-urban migration in world history persists. When those from the countryside arrive in the city, the current hukou system blocks their access to the social...

Teaching Tiananmen

Jeremy Brown and Benedicte Melanie Olsen
Perspectives on History
With more than two decades of hindsight, it has become clear that 1989 marked a key turning point in world history. It is now possible to analyze the momentous events of 1989 in a historical fashion, and also to teach history classes about them. In...

Burden of China's College Entrance Exams

Edward Wong
New York Times
Millions of high school graduates across China have been furiously dialing telephone hot lines or gathering with family members around the home computer in recent days in a nail-biter of a ritual not unlike that of waiting for a winning lottery...

Got a Dream and an Idea, Go to China

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
America is not the only great power struggling with how to handle the future of foreigners in its midst. As the Supreme Court indicated in its mixed decision Monday on Arizona’s immigration-enforcement law, the question of how we regard those who...

Is Its Educational System Pulling China Up or Holding It Back?

Helen Gao
Atlantic
China wants inventors and entrepreneurs, but its schools, built around the notorious gaokao exam, are still designed to produce cookie-cutter engineers and accountants.

Reports

06.25.12

U.S.-China Public Perceptions Opinion Survey 2012

Emily Brill
Committee of 100
The re-establishment of U.S.-China relations in 1971 marked a strategic step that ended China’s isolation and transformed the global balance of power. Since that historic milestone, the United States as an established superpower and China as an...

Media

06.11.12

A Great Massacre, a Great Earthquake, and a Great Famine

Hu Yong
The head of the Gansu branch of People’s Daily, Lin Zhibo, provoked the ire of many netizens for remarks he made regarding the Great Famine on his Weibo account. Lin claimed that in many of the villages in Anhui and Henan (the two provinces that...

Media

06.08.12

Students Tear Up Books Before Big Exam

He Jianan & Sara Segal-Williams
The gaokao, China’s annual National Higher Education Entrance Examination, is known for being extremely difficult and a stressful rite of passage for Chinese students. Due to the society’s traditional emphasis on education, many Chinese people still...

Confucius Institutes Not About Confucius

Sam Crane
Useless Tree
They are not about Confucius. Rather, the PRC government has chosen to use the name of Confucius as a trademark of sorts for a global soft power branding project. The Institutes, most of which in the US are hosted by colleges or universities, focus...

State Department Directive Could Disrupt Confucius Institutes

Karin Fischer
Chronicle of Higher Education
A policy directive sent by the U.S. Department of State to universities that sponsor Confucius Institutes suggests that the language and cultural centers that are a key piece of the Chinese government's diplomatic outreach will have to change...

Media

05.16.12

Du Fu Is Very Busy

Qiaoyi Zhuang
The 1300th birthday anniversary of the great Chinese poet Du Fu will be celebrated this year. An illustration of Du Fu in Chinese literature textbooks has recently been the inspiration for a spat of creative graffiti and videos. In them, he has been...

Out of School

02.29.12

A New China Website Helps Dissertations Find Readers

Maura Cunningham
Dissertations dominate the lives of doctoral students. A PhD candidate spends years researching, writing, and editing his or her dissertation, inching toward the day when the whole process is finished. Finally, he or she can leave behind the nagging...

Culture

02.28.12

The Educators

Sun Dongdong from Leap
The question of art education in China, like just about every question in China, is a complicated one, tied to the myriad issues facing a society in the throes of a massive transition. There is no easy solution, and acknowledging the obstacles is a...

Reports

01.01.12

A Preliminary Mapping of China-Africa Knowledge Networks

Tatiana Carayannis and Nathaniel Olin
The Social Science Research Council
Given the growing importance of Chinese engagement in Africa, over the past year, the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum (CPPF) of the SSRC has expanded its research engagement and policy outreach on China-Africa. The origins of this preliminary...

Sinica Podcast

12.16.11

Learning Chinese

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Shortly after his arrival in China, the late great 19th-century Sinologist Robert Hart would write his frustrations in his private diary, confiding that the convoluted phonemes of the Chinese language struck him like nothing so much as “the sounds...