Conversation

09.02.14

Hong Kong—Now What?

David Schlesinger, Mei Fong & more
David Schlesinger:Hong Kong’s tragedy is that its political consciousness began to awaken precisely at the time when its leverage with China was at its lowest ebb.Where once China needed Hong Kong as an entrepôt, legal center, financial center,...

Hong Kong’s Democracy Dilemma

Margaret Ng
New York Times
In a huge rally on Sunday in Hong Kong, democratic groups already were declaring a new era of civil disobedience.

China Opposes Proposed EU Sanctions Against Russia

Sui-Lee Wee
Reuters
EU proposed sanctions against Russia over accusations Moscow was sending troops into Ukrainian territory, saying the European Union's push to draw up more measures would only complicate the crisis...

China Accuses MPs of Hong Kong ‘Interference’

Laura Kuenssberg
BBC
The Chinese authorities have accused British MPs of interfering in Hong Kong's affairs...

Mongolia's ‘Rebalance’ Towards Russia and China

Gabriel Dominguez
Deutsche Welle
In a bid to boost its ailing economy, Mongolia is refocusing its foreign policy on its traditional partners Russia and China. But experts warn Ulan Bator runs the risk of becoming increasingly dependent.

China’s Hong Kong Mistake

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
The Beijing government has rejected demands for free, open elections for Hong Kong’s next chief executive, in 2017, enraging protesters who had called for broad rights to nominate candidates.

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...

China’s Toilet Paper Makers Flush With Cash

Shu-ching Jean Chen
Forbes
China’s invention of toilet paper in the 6th century, came well ahead of the availability of modern toilet paper in the United States, where inventor Joseph Gayetty first marketed it in 1857.

Xi Eyes Mended China-Vietnam Ties

Xinhua
China and Vietnam will earnestly implement a basic guideline for the resolution of China-Vietnam maritime issues signed in October 2011.

China Says 8 Executed in Western Region; Charges Stem From Separatist Attacks

Chris Buckley`
New York Times
The executions were the latest in a succession of displays of might and resolve by the Chinese government, which is trying to extinguish increasingly violent discontent among Uighurs in Xinjiang.

Xi Jinping Wants to be Seen As on a Par with Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping

Cary Huang
South China Morning Post
Xi Jinping has amassed more power in 20 months than his two immediate predecessors, but it may be premature to call him China's new strongman...

New Map Shows China’s True Expanse, General Says

Edward Wong
New York Times
A new vertical map of China issued in June by the Hunan Map Publishing House, uses 10 dashes around the South China Sea to broadly delineate China’s claims to contested waters, shoals, rocks, reefs and islands there.

Under the Knife

Christopher Beam
New Yorker
 Why Chinese patients are turning against their doctors.

Reading Howl in China

Guo XIaolu
Aeon Magazine
My generation, once impassioned by the Western literature of rebellion, is now lulled by ‘Wealthy Socialism.’

Wang Lixiong and Woeser: A Way Out of China’s Ethnic Unrest?

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Woeser and Wang Lixiong are two of China’s best-known thinkers on the government’s policy toward ethnic minorities. With violence in Tibet and Xinjiang now almost a monthly occurrence, I met them at their apartment in Beijing to talk about the issue...

Chinese Rights Lawyer Grilled by Police Over Meetings with US Envoy, ‘Insults’ to Officials

Reuters
Lawyer says timing of police questioning about well-known events could mean that authorities plan to charge Pu Zhiqiang with collusion.

China’s Xi Jinping Seeks Launch of New Media Clusters

Patrick Frater
Variety
Xi said that the new groups should be “diversified,” “advanced,” and “competitive” and said that state authorities should properly integrate and manage traditional and new media.”

China Chides U.S. Over Ferguson Violence, American Racism

Stuart Leavenworth
McClatchy
State media of the world’s largest country has stepped up coverage of the Ferguson violence and protests, publishing commentaries accusing the United States of hypocrisy in seeking to be a global guardian of human rights.Read more here: http://www...

China Said to Deploy Drones After Unrest in Xinjiang

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
Three days after an eruption of violence in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang this summer left nearly 100 people dead, the region’s “antiterrorist command” asked the country’s biggest space and defense contractor for help.

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.

Japan’s Abe Avoids Yasukuni Shrine

Anna Fifield
Washington Post
Japanese prime minister skips visit to controversial shrine to war dead in hopes of meeting with China’s Presidnet Xi Jinping.

In China’s Shadow, U.S. Courts Old Foe Vietnam

Jane Perlez
New York Times
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, courted Vietnam over the past several days.

Vietnam and China—Through a Border Darkly

Economist
Relations between two Communist neighbors are at their lowest point in decades.

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...

Culture

08.11.14

The Bard in Beijing

Sheila Melvin
At the end of a rollicking production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream—directed by Tim Robbins and staged in China in June by the Los Angeles-based Actors’ Gang—the director and actors returned to the stage for a dialogue with the...

China Says Japan Fighter Jets Shadowed its Planes over Disputed Waters

Michael Martina
Reuters
Tension has been high between Asia's two largest economies in recent months, with each accusing the other of flying military aircraft too close to its own jets in a long-running territorial dispute...

China Says Can Build What it Wants on South China Sea Isles

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
China can build whatever it wants on its islands in the South China Sea, a senior Chinese official said, rejecting proposals ahead of a key regional meeting to freeze any activity that may raise tensions in disputed waters there.

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.

Conversation

07.31.14

Zhou Yongkang’s Downfall

Sebastian Veg, Roderick MacFarquhar & more
On July 29, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Chinese Communisty Party announced it was investigating ex-security czar Zhou Yongkang “on suspicion of grave violations of discipline.” Zhou, who retired from the Politburo...

Beijing Begins Apparent Corruption Probe Into High-Level Official

Anthony Kuhn
NPR
China has begun investigations into one of the country's senior politicians. Zhou Yongkang was a former domestic security chief, and he's suspected of "serious disciplinary violations" — a phrase which usually stands for...

China’s Leaders Draw Lessons From War of ‘Humiliation’

CHRIS BUCKLEY
New York Times
The lessons from the twilight of the Qing Dynasty have become all the more pointed today, when Chinese-Japanese ties are tenser than they have been for decades, and President Xi Jinping of China has embarked on an ambitious program to overhaul the...

Defining Taiwan’s Status Quo

Timothy Rich
Thinking Taiwan
This month, the Democratic Progressive Party chairperson proposed a controversial amednment to the party charter that includes a freeze on the party’s independence clause.

Japan’s Opposition Leader Visits Beijing, Vows Candid Talks

Li Xiaokun
China Daily
Banri Kaieda, who arrived in Beijing on July 15, told journalists that he would discuss with high-ranking Chinese officials ways to break the impasse in ties and smooth out disputes China has with current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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...

Tibet Resists

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
Tsering Woeser was born in Lhasa in 1966, the daughter of a senior officer in the Chinese army. She became a passionate supporter of the Dalai Lama. When she was very young the family moved to Tibetan towns inside China proper. In school, only...

Conversation

07.09.14

The U.S. and China Are At the Table: What’s At Stake?

William Adams & Zha Daojiong
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew are in Beijing this week for the sixth session of the high level bilateral diplomatic exchange known as the Strategic and Economic Dialogue. We asked contributors what's likely...

China’s Rise and Asian Tensions Send U.S. Relations Into Downward Spiral

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
Hundreds of rocky islands, islets, sandbanks, reefs and cays lie scattered across Asia’s eastern waters, unimportant-looking to the naked eye but significant enough to spark what may be the most worrying deterioration in U.S.-China relations in...

China’s State Media Goes Into Overdrive Over the Marco Polo Incident

Te-Ping Chen
Wall Street Journal
President Xi Jinping led other members of the leadership to the area on the western outskirts of Beijing where 77 years ago Japanese troops attacked Chinese soldiers. The 1937 skirmish led to Japan invading much of eastern China and...

Shadow of Brutal ’79 War Darkens Vietnam’s View of China Relations

Jane Perlez
New York Times
She was 14 when Chinese artillery fire echoed across the hills around her home in northern Vietnam, and hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers swarmed across the border.

Is Xi Jinping Trying to Provoke Anger Against Japan?

Celia Hatton
BBC
More than 1,000 top Communist officials, military veterans and young children, turned out for a highly choreographed memorial marking the Marco Polo bridge incident which sparked the Sino-Japanese in 1937.

Two Studies of Modern China: ‘Age of Ambition’ & ‘The New Emperors’

Isabel Hilton
Guardian
Evan Osnos examines a changing China through gentle reportage, while Kerry Brown provides illuminating forensic analysis of its vicious power struggles

Is Japan Targeting China in Next Move?

Xinhua
The Japanese government’s endorsing of a reinterpretation of its pacifist Constitution on Tuesday for the right to collective self-defense is a dangerous move that will lead to security worries for other Asian countries.

Big Brother Comes Wooing

Economist
For more than six decades after the Chinese civil war, the mainland did not allow its minister-level officials openly to set foot in Taiwan. This changed on June 25th when Zhang Zhijun, director of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, visited the island...

China Official Makes Rare Cross-Strait Trip in Effort to Forge Ties With Taiwan

Jenny W. Hsu
Wall Street Journal
China's top cross-strait negotiator began a landmark visit to Taiwan aimed at forging ties with the Taiwanese people amid growing skepticism toward Beijing...

Books

06.25.14

Chinese Comfort Women

Peipei Qiu with Su Zhiliang and Chen Lifei
During the Asia-Pacific War, the Japanese military forced hundreds of thousands of women across Asia into "comfort stations" where they were repeatedly raped and tortured. Japanese imperial forces claimed they recruited women to join these stations in order to prevent the mass rape of local women and the spread of venereal disease among soldiers. In reality, these women were kidnapped and coerced into sexual slavery. Comfort stations institutionalized rape, and these "comfort women" were subjected to atrocities that have only recently become the subject of international debate.Chinese Comfort Women: Testimonies from Japan's Imperial Sex Slaves features the personal narratives of twelve women forced into sexual slavery when the Japanese military occupied their hometowns. Beginning with their prewar lives and continuing through their enslavement to their postwar struggles for justice, these interviews reveal that the prolonged suffering of the comfort station survivors was not contained to wartime atrocities but was rather a lifelong condition resulting from various social, political, and cultural factors. In addition, their stories bring to light several previously hidden aspects of the comfort women system: the ransoms the occupation army forced the victims' families to pay, the various types of improvised comfort stations set up by small military units throughout the battle zones and occupied regions, and the sheer scope of the military sexual slavery—much larger than previously assumed. The personal narratives of these survivors combined with the testimonies of witnesses, investigative reports, and local histories also reveal a correlation between the proliferation of the comfort stations and the progression of Japan's military offensive.The first English-language account of its kind, Chinese Comfort Women exposes the full extent of the injustices suffered by and the conditions that caused them. —Oxford University Press {chop}

To Bolster Its Claims, China Plants Islands in Disputed Waters

Edward Wong and Jonathan Ansfield
New York Times
China has been moving sand onto reefs and shoals to add several new islands to the Spratly archipelago, in what foreign officials say is a new effort to expand the Chinese footprint in the South China Sea.

Anson Chan on Beijing’s Pressure Tactics in Hong Kong

Michael Forsythe
New York Times
In an interview, Anson Chan talked about what she sees as increasing control from Beijing, which had guaranteed Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy until 2047 under the “One Country, Two Systems” formula.

China Cultivates India Amid Tension With Neighbors

Christopher Bodeen
ABC
Amid fierce disputes with Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, China is reaching out to India in a warming trend that could help ramp up economic exchanges and dissipate decades of distrust between the two giant neighbors.

Elaborate Lattice Work in Confucius Lane

Sue Ann
Shanghai Street Stories
In my few years of photographing old houses around Shanghai, I have never been this buoyant over lattice woodwork in its original setting.

China Media: White Paper on Hong Kong

BBC
Media in China give full support to an official document reaffirming total control over Hong Kong, while papers in the special administrative region express pessimism over the future.

Conversation

06.11.14

Is a Declining U.S. Good for China?

Zha Daojiong, Gordon G. Chang & more
Zha Daojiong:Talk of a U.S. decline is back in vogue. This time, China features more (if not most) prominently in a natural follow-up question: Which country is going to benefit? My answer: certainly not China.Arguably, the first round of “U.S.-in-...

Caixin Media

06.10.14

A Jesuit Astronomer in a Qing Emperor’s Court

Sheila Melvin
Of the 920 Jesuits who served in the China mission between 1552 and 1800, only the Italian Matteo Ricci (Li Madou) remains well known. This is understandable—it was Ricci who first gained permission for the Jesuits to live in Beijing and who...

Despite Critics, China Asserts Democratic Progress in Hong Kong

Gerry Mullany
New York Times
A week after roughly 100,000 people turned out in Hong Kong in a protest directed at China’s Communist leadership, Beijing has issued a ringing of defence of its oversight of the territory.

Young Chinese Twitter User Arrested for Proposing Method to Spread Truth About June 4th Massacre

China Change
On Monday China’s state-run media outlet China News (中新网) reported that Beijing police had arrested a 22-year-old female for posting an article on Twitter that teaches how to use a pseudo base station “to send illegal information.”

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.

State Firms Barred from Vietnam Contract Bids

Keira Lu Huang
South China Morning Post
Vietnamese and Chinese ships have been clashing since China set up an oil rig near disputed island in the South China Sea last month. Tensions over the move caused anti-China riots in Vietnam.

Books

06.09.14

Voices from Tibet

Tsering Woeser and Wang Lixiong, Edited and Translated by Violet S. Law
Tsering Woeser and Wang Lixiong are widely regarded as the most eloquent, insightful writers on contemporary Tibet. Their reportage on the economic exploitation, environmental degradation, cultural destruction, and political subjugation that plague the increasingly Han Chinese-dominated Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) is as powerful as it is profound, ardent, and analytical in equal measure, and not in the least bit ideological. Voices from Tibet is a collection of essays and reportage in translation that captures the many facets of an unprecedented sea change wreaked by a rising China upon a scared land and its defenseless people. With the TAR in a virtual lockdown after the 2008 unrest, this book sheds important light on the simmering frustrations that touched off the unrest and Beijing’s stability über alles control tactics in its wake. The authors also interrogate longstanding assumptions about Tibetans’ political future. Woeser’s and Wang’s writings represent a rare Chinese view sympathetic to Tibetan causes, one that should resonate in many places confronting threats of cultural subjugation and economic domination by a non-indigenous power. —Hong Kong University Press {chop}

Beijing, Vatican Prepare to Resume Talks for the First Time Since 2010

Kristine Kwok
South China Morning Post
Meeting said to be in the works, but recent anti-church actions could complicate dialogue.

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.”