Media

05.22.13

On “Strange Stones,” a Discussion with Peter Hessler

Peter Hessler, Michael Meyer & more
On May 21st at the Asia Society in New York City, Peter Hessler, author of the recently published Strange Stones: Dispatches from East and West, discussed his book and a decade of writing about China and elsewhere with author, Michael Meyer and...

A Dangerous Rift Between China and Japan

Ian Buruma
Wall Street Journal
On the surface, the dispute is about history, about which country has the best claim to sovereignty over the Senkaku/Diaoyu. It is more about politics, domestic and international, revealing the tangled relations in a region where history is...

Conversation

05.21.13

U.S.-China Economic Relations—What Will the Next Decade Bring?

Orville Schell & Patrick Chovanec
On Monday, within hours of the announcement that Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet U.S. President Barack Obama on a visit to California on June 7-8, Tung Chee-hwa, the former Chief Executive and President of the Executive Council of Hong Kong,...

Chinese Restaurants in America

G.H. Danton
China Story
In his 1925 account of Chinese restaurants in America, G.H. Danton introduces the reader to the cuisine, clientele and commercial considerations of the industry which had ‘supplanted the Chinese laundryman in typifying for America where China is’...

Presumption of Guilt Stirs More Questions (Op-Ed)

Global Times
The public has quickly jumped to assume the guilt of both Sun and related officials. In all likelihood, if there had been solid evidence the perpetrator would not have gone unpunished.  

India Says China Agrees Retreat to De Facto Border in Faceoff Deal

Reuters
India and China have ended a three-week standoff on a windswept Himalayan plateau where they fought a war 50 years ago by agreeing to pull forces back to positions held before the confrontation. 

Viewpoint

05.13.13

Maoism: The Most Severe Threat to China

Ouyang Bin
Ma Licheng (马立诚) is a former Senior Editorials Editor at People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s most important mouthpiece, and the author of eleven books. In 2003, when Japan’s then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visits to the Yasukuni Shrine...

Conversation

05.10.13

What’s China’s Game in the Middle East?

Rachel Beitarie, Massoud Hayoun & more
Rachel Beitarie:Xi Jinping’s four point proposal for a Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement is interesting not so much for its content, as for its source. While China has maintained the appearance of being involved in Middle East politics for years,...

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

China Seeks Soft Power Influence In U.S. Through C.C.T.V.

David Folkenflik
NPR
“This fixation on soft power arises from their deep and abiding insecurity and sense of not being respected and of being hectored and bullied by the world over the last century and a half.”

A Sino-Japanese Clash In The East China Sea

Sheila A. Smith
Council on Foreign Relations
The United States, as a treaty ally of Japan but with vital strategic interests in fostering peaceful relations with China, has a major stake in averting a clash between the two forces and resolving the dispute, if possible. 

In This Corner Of China, Boxing’s Next Frontier

Greg Bishop
New York Times
Fight promoter Bob Arum insisted that he had seen the future of boxing, and that it was in China and Singapore and would perhaps spread elsewhere in Asia, like the Philippines.  

China, Japan Island Spat Resurfaces

Yuka Hayashi
Wall Street Journal
Japan and China faced off anew over a group of disputed islands after visits to a controversial war shrine by Japanese politicians rankled Tokyo’s neighbors, raising concerns that tensions may be returning after a period of relative calm. 

In Earthquake Aftermath, China Turns To The Web

Jiayang Fan
New Yorker
No matter what the Chinese may think of the disaster-relief efforts of the new leadership, its online contingent seems relieved to find both solace and resources in their new frontier: “I remember in 2008 when there wasn’t Weibo yet. Now...

Hu Shuli: China Has Still Not Compiled A Common Dream

Keiko Yoshioka
Asahi Shimbun
Hu, who has been described as the most dangerous woman in China because of her investigative reporting, gives an interview about the challenges facing new president Xi Jinping in 2013. 

Mother Loses Son, Then Daughter In Both Sichuan Earthquakes

Chris Luo
South China Morning Post
Life has not been fair for 50-year-old Lu Jingkang, who lost her teenage daughter in the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Yaan on April 20, 2013. Barely five years earlier, she lost her son in the other catastrophic Sichuan earthquake, in...

Li Na On Time Cover, Makes Influential 100 List

China Daily
Chinese tennis player Li Na, the first Asian woman to win a Grand Slam title, was named on Thursday among Time magazine’s most influential people in the world, along with N.B.A. player LeBron James and Italian soccer star mario Malotelli.

Bo’s Campaign ‘Worse Than Cultural Revolution’

Radio Free Asia
Chongqing, the largest Chinese municipality, was the epicenter of a Maoist revival campaign under Bo, who spearheaded an effort to crack down on gangs and corruption and promoted the public singing of nostalgic revolutionary songs reflecting the...

The ‘Breaking of an Honorable Career’

Roderick MacFarquhar from New York Review of Books
1.In the 1950s, the late John King Fairbank, the dean of modern China studies at Harvard, used to tell us graduate students a joke about the allegation that a group of red-leaning foreign service officers and academics—the four Johns—had “lost”...

Stuck In The Middle: Korea In Chinese History

J.J.
Economist
For more than two thousand years, successive Chinese dynasties have seen Korea as a tributary to be protected, a prize to be coveted, or as a dangerous land bridge which might convey “outer barbarians” into China. China unsurprisingly has a long...

Poet’s Nightmare In Chinese Prison

Elaine Sciolino
New York Times
 Chinese author and poet Liao Yiwu on his reluctant dissent, his years in a Chinese prison, his relatively new celebrity status, and living with the torutrous memories of his violent experiences. 

Missiles And Memorial Stones: Figuring Out North Korea And China

Didi Kristen Tatlow
International Herald Tribune
Some are speculating that China is trying to ensure that U.S.-North Korean relations remain terrible, as they are, therefore increasing its influence over the region, politically, economically and strategically. 

San Francisco Strengthens Ties With China Despite Washington Suspicion

Rory Carroll
Guardian
San Francisco’s courting of Chinese partnerships contrasts with Washington suspicion towards China. Last year the House Intelligence Committee urged U.S. firms to avoid partnering with Chinese telecom firms, to safeguard customer data. 

Wikileaks Dumps Over 200,000 Documents Related to Kissinger

Wikileaks
A new, full-searchable document dump containing over 206,000 documents related to Henry Kissinger from between 1973 and 1976. 

Playing Margaret Thatcher In China

Melissa Rayworth
Salon
Melissa Rayworth on her  chance to show a small cross-section of China that Margaret Thatcher was not a cartoon. She was a real, three-dimensional person.  

Books

04.12.13

Lin Shu, Inc.

Michael Gibbs Hill
How could a writer who knew no foreign languages call himself a translator? How, too, did he become a major commercial success, churning out nearly 200 translations over twenty years? Lin Shu, Inc. crosses the fields of literary studies, intellectual history, and print culture, offering new ways to understand the stakes of translation in China and beyond. With rich detail and lively prose, Michael Gibbs Hill shows how Lin Shu (1852-1924) rose from obscurity to become China’s leading translator of Western fiction at the beginning of the twentieth century. Well before Ezra Pound’s and Bertolt Brecht’s “inventions” of China revolutionized poetry and theater, Lin Shu and his assistants—who did, in fact, know languages like English and French—had already given many Chinese readers their first taste of fiction from the United States, France, and England. After passing through Lin Shu’s “factory of writing,” classic novels like Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Oliver Twist spoke with new meaning for audiences concerned with the tumultuous social and political change facing China. Leveraging his success as a translator of foreign books, Lin Shu quickly became an authority on traditional Chinese culture who upheld the classical language as a cornerstone of Chinese national identity. Eventually, younger intellectuals—who had grown up reading his translations—turned on Lin Shu and tarred him as a symbol of backward conservatism. Ultimately, Lin’s defeat and downfall became just as significant as his rise to fame in defining the work of the intellectual in modern China. —Oxford University Press

China Escalates Its Response To Outbreak Of Avian Flu

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
Chinese officials escalated their response, advising people to avoid live poultry, sending virologists to chicken farms across the country and slaughtering more than 20,000 birds at a wholesale market in Shanghai.  

China ‘Shifts Position’ On North Korea

Malcolm Moore
Telegraph
Beijing appears to prefer the devil it knows, in the shape of the unpredictable Kim family regime, to the uncertainties, and perhaps American influence, that a reunification on the Korean peninsula could bring, but that seems to be changing.&...

How The American Military Dwarfs China’s In One Infographic

Geoffrey Ingersoll
Business Insider
An infographic from the U.S.C. U.S.-China Institute illustrates well just how outgunned China (and everyone, generally) is by the U.S., regarding firepower, nuclear warhead counts and even the balance of power in the Taiwan Strait...

Jail For Rare China Cultural Revolution Murder Case

Agence France-Presse
Chinese media said Qiu had been arrested last July. But it was unclear why his case went ahead several decades after the Cultural Revolution, a violent period that the government has sought to move beyond. 

Earthbound China

04.11.13

Moving House: Preserving Huizhou’s Vernacular Architecture

Leah Thompson & Sun Yunfan
In 1996, art historian Nancy Berliner, working with the Peabody Essex Museum, purchased a vacant Qing dynasty merchant’s house from the Huizhou region of China and, piece by piece, moved it to the United States to be meticulously reconstructed at...

Earthbound China

04.11.13

There Goes the Neighborhood

Sun Yunfan & Leah Thompson
When, in 1996, art historian Nancy Berliner purchased a late Qing dynasty merchants’ house from Huangcun, a village in Anhui province, it was just one ordinary house among thousands like it in the picturesque Huizhou region of China. It took...

China’s Goodfellas

Howard W. French
Wall Street Journal
“A Death in the Lucky Holiday Hotel” is the most revealing work on the Bo Xilai episode to date. What emerges is an immensely complicated tale of behind-the-scenes power struggles as full of scandal, ambition and betrayal as anything that ancient...

Changing China Through Mandarin

Teng Biao
Seeing Red in China
Mandarin under totalitarianism is brimming with tautologies, self-aggrandizement and gangster logic, it has no use, no mercy, no reason, no fun, and no taste; it is reduced to a language game that has no connection with reality.  

China’s First Lady Serenaded Tiananmen Troops

Associated Press
A photo of China’s new first lady Peng Liyuan in younger days, singing to martial-law troops following the 1989 bloody military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, flickered across Chinese cyberspace...

Viewpoint

04.04.13

‘Hi! I’m Fang!’ The Man Who Changed China

Perry Link
In China in the 1980s, the word renquan (“human rights”) was extremely “sensitive.” Few dared even to utter it in public, let alone to champion the concept. Now, nearly three decades later, a grassroots movement called weiquan (“supporting rights”)...

Conversation

03.28.13

Will China’s Renminbi Replace the Dollar as the World’s Top Currency?

Patrick Chovanec, Damien Ma & more
Patrick Chovanec:This week’s news that Brazil and China have signed a $30 billion currency swap agreement gave a renewed boost to excited chatter over the rising influence of China’s currency, the renminbi (RMB). The belief, in many quarters, is...

China’s Xi Tells Africa He Seeks Relationship Of Equals

Fumbuka Ng’wanakilala and George...
Reuters
On the first stop on an African tour that will include a B.R.I.C.S. summit of major emerging economies, Xi Jinping told Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete that China’s involvement in Africa would help the continent grow richer. 

Lies, Damned Lies, And Chinese Statistics

Tom Orlik
Foreign Policy
Although the information provided by the National Bureau of Statistics is not completely transparent, it has taken steps to free national data from the influence of local exaggeration.

Who Killed Pamela in Peking?

Jonathan D. Spence from New York Review of Books
An ordinary winter evening in the Legation Quarter of Peking, where foreign embassies and consulates were located, January 7, 1937. Cold. The heavy sound of Japanese armored cars, out on patrol down the busy shopping streets that flank the Forbidden...

Their First Trips To China

David Whitford
CNN
David Whitford reviews My First Trip to China, a collection of essays in which distinguished China watchers evoke the world's most dynamic economy as it used to be. ...

Xi Pivots To Moscow

John Garnaut
Foreign Policy
Will Xi’s late March 2013 trip to Vladimir Putin’s Russia -- a bastion of authoritarian state capitalism -- symbolically define China’s path ahead, like Deng’s 1979 U.S. tour? 

Sinica Podcast

03.15.13

A Discussion with Geremie R. Barmé

Kaiser Kuo & Geremie R. Barmé from Sinica Podcast
On March 8, Kaiser Kuo hosted a conversation at Capital M in Beijing with Geremie R. Barmé, the well-known Sinologist and now Director of the Australian Centre for China in the World, as part of the Capital Literary Festival. This week on Sinica, we...

China’s Public Expression Philosophy: A Case Of Too Little Theory?

Dr, Rogier Creemers
Free Speech Debate
For the foreseeable future, accepting pluralism, in all its colours and guises, is simply inconceivable in the epistemology of the Communist Party, and so are liberal conceptions of free expression and democracy. 

Half A Century Of Harvesting Souls In China

Debra Bruno
WSJ: China Real Time Report
Mark O'Neill writes about the life of his Presbyterian missionary grandfather, Frederick, who first moved to Manchuria in search of souls to save in 1897 and ended up staying for 45 years. ...

Media

03.13.13

Chavez and Bo Xilai Gone: Death of a Political Model?

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez’s death on March 5, 2013 came in the same week as the “Two Sessions” began in China, when China’s national legislature meets in Beijing. It was also almost exactly a year since the spectacular political demise of Bo...

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...

The Balinghou: China’s Generation Gap

James Palmer
Aeon Magazine
The raft of criticisms being levelled at the generation of children born in the 80s has very little to do with the actual failings of the young, but is a symptom of the yawning, and unprecedented gulf between young urban Chinese and their parents.

Chinese Cinemas Cancel Propaganda Film Screenings

Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
Theater operators in several cities called off showings of government-backed “Young Lei Feng” after the film failed to sell a single ticket during its premiere on Monday.

Sanmao Learns From Lei Feng

Maura Cunningham
Maura Cunningham
Learn how to be a selfless good Samaritan like Lei Feng through Zhang Leping's Sanmao comics...

Chen Guangcheng Q&A

Nathan Gardels
South China Morning Post
The blind lawyer and human rights activists answers questions regarding China's constitution, rule of law in China, and the inevitability of change in the Chinese government...

New Chinese Leader Shores Up Military Support

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Since taking the top party post, Mr. Xi has made a closer relationship with the military with greater speed and sureness than his recent predecessors.  

Chinese Family Memories, Recycled

Kerri MacDonald
New York Times
Thomas Sauvin's photo project, composed of discarded negatives, "starts with birth, [and] ends with death... It talks a bit about love. People go to the beach. People travel." In short, it's about life. ...

Man Who Had Mother Executed Wants Tomb Honored

Zhou Qun and Chen Baocheng
The 60-year-old Zhang Hongbing, who was among the most radical Red Guards during the tumultuous 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, describes his life as one full of regret. 

Media

03.05.13

What Do You Know About China’s Politics?

Ouyang Bin & Zhang Xiaoran
The Liang Hui or “Two Sessions”—the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC)—are the most crowded, most covered, and probably most hilarious annual political events in China. Every March,...

The Cold War Meets Taiwan

James R. Holmes
Diplomat
James R. Holmes looks at the applicability of a Cold War analogy in regards to U.S.-China and China-Taiwan relations. 

Mo Yan Grants First Interview Since Winning Nobel Prize

Anthony Tao
Beijing Cream
A look at the highlights from a Der Spiegel interview with Mo, covering Ai Weiwei’s and Liao Yiwu’s criticism of the author, his comments on the Cultural Revolution, and his relationship with the government. 

China’s Xi Affirms Goal Of Unification With Taiwan

Christopher Bodeen
Associated Press
The meeting is the first between Xi and a leading Taiwanese politician since Xi assumed the party leadership and was viewed on both sides as a symbolic gesture aimed at reaffirming warming ties between the two nations.

Books

02.25.13

Star Spangled Security

Harold Brown with Joyce Winslow
Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Harold Brown served during the hottest part of the Cold War when the Soviet Union presented an existential threat to America. In Star Spangled Security, Dr. Brown, one of the most respected wise men of American foreign policy, gives an insider’s view of U.S. national security strategy during the Carter administration, relates lessons learned, and bridges them to current challenges facing America.Brown describes his part in the SALT negotiations, the normalization of relations with China, the Camp David Accords, the development of a new generation of ballistic missiles, and more. Drawing on his earlier years as the director of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, as director of defense research and engineering, as Air Force secretary, and as president of Caltech, Brown uses his hard-won wisdom, especially during the painful Iran hostage crisis, to offer specific recommendations and key questions to ponder as America copes with challenges in a turbulent world.Highly readable, Star Spangled Security is for anyone wishing to better understand the debates about defense and its budget, its effect on the entire economy, and America’s relationship with allies during conflict and peace. Brown’s access to the leading forces in national security over sixty years spans ten presidents, giving the reader entrée into the inner circle of decision makers.Since leaving public office, Brown has served on the boards of directors of a dozen corporations. His unique economic, military, research, university, and government experience—at the top of all institutions he served—makes his a voice well worth heeding. —Brookings Institution Press

China Muscles U.S. in the Pacific

John Garnaut
Age
Within two decades the United States will be forced out of the western Pacific, says a senior Chinese military officer, amid concerns that increasingly militarised great-power rivalry could lead to war.