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...

Media

07.10.13

Old Photo of Tiananmen Square Has Netizens Asking “What’s Wrong With This Picture?”

A rare old color photo of Tiananmen Square was posted on Weibo, China’s Twitter, and it was commented on hundreds of times as Internet users mused about the past and present of China’s most recognizable landmark.Here are the three things that stand...

Viewpoint

07.10.13

How the Snowden Affair Might End Up Helping U.S.-China Relations

Orville Schell & John Delury
The reason why both Americans and Chinese have become so nostalgic for the great Nixon/Kissinger-Mao Zedong/Zhou Enlai breakthrough in 1972 is because that was the last time that Sino-U.S. relations experienced a dramatic breakthrough. Now, most...

China Vows to Step Up Fight Against Dalai Lama As Shootings Reported

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
“For the sake of national unity and the development of stability in Tibetan regions, we must take a clear-cut stand and deepen the struggle against the Dalai clique,” the official Xinhua news agency cited Yu Zhengsheng as saying. 

More Passages Thru Sea of Japan

Global Times
China has the potential to become a non-hegemonic global power. Such potential, if not wasted, would be a great contribution to mankind.

Excerpts

07.02.13

Rejuvenation (复兴)

Orville Schell & John Delury
If any of the makers of modern China who agonized over their country’s enfeebled state and dreamed of better times during the past century and a half could have visited Beijing’s Pangu Plaza today, they would hardly believe their eyes. Pangu’s...

Books

07.02.13

Wealth and Power

Orville Schell and John Delury
Through a series of lively and absorbing portraits of iconic modern Chinese leaders and thinkers, two of today’s foremost specialists on China provide a panoramic narrative of this country’s rise to preeminence that is at once analytical and personal. How did a nation, after a long and painful period of dynastic decline, intellectual upheaval, foreign occupation, civil war, and revolution, manage to burst forth onto the world stage with such an impressive run of hyperdevelopment and wealth creation—culminating in the extraordinary dynamism of China today?Wealth and Power answers this question by examining the lives of eleven influential officials, writers, activists, and leaders whose contributions helped create modern China. This fascinating survey begins in the lead-up to the first Opium War with Wei Yuan, the nineteenth-century scholar and reformer who was one of the first to urge China to borrow ideas from the West. It concludes in our time with human-rights advocate and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, an outspoken opponent of single-party rule. Along the way, we meet such titans of Chinese history as the Empress Dowager Cixi, public intellectuals Feng Guifen, Liang Qichao, and Chen Duxiu, Nationalist stalwarts Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek, and Communist Party leaders Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and Zhu Rongji.{node, 3592}The common goal that unites all of these disparate figures is their determined pursuit of fuqiang, “wealth and power.” This abiding quest for a restoration of national greatness in the face of a “century of humiliation” at the hands of the Great Powers came to define the modern Chinese character. It’s what drove both Mao and Deng to embark on root-and-branch transformations of Chinese society, first by means of Marxism-Leninism, then by authoritarian capitalism. And this determined quest remains the key to understanding many of China’s actions today.By unwrapping the intellectual antecedents of today’s resurgent China, Orville Schell and John Delury supply much-needed insight into the country’s tortured progression from nineteenth-century decline to twenty-first-century boom. By looking backward into the past to understand forces at work for hundreds of years, they help us understand China today and the future that this singular country is helping shape for all of us. —Random House

Hollywood, the Nazis, and the Chi-Coms

John Fund
National Review
A forthcoming book presents a strong case that pre–World War II Hollywood was in bed with Nazi Germany, in catering to its censorship demands. Is it happening again today, regarding show-business relations with the...

Conversation

06.21.13

How Should the World Prepare for a Slower China?

Arthur R. Kroeber & Patrick Chovanec
Get Ready for a Slower ChinaThe recent gyrations on the Chinese interbank market underscore that the chief risk to global growth now comes from China. Make no mistake: credit policy will tighten substantially in the coming months, as the government...

Books

06.10.13

Anyuan

Elizabeth J. Perry
How do we explain the surprising trajectory of the Chinese Communist revolution? Why has it taken such a different route from its Russian prototype? An answer, Elizabeth Perry suggests, lies in the Chinese Communists’ creative development and deployment of cultural resources – during their revolutionary rise to power and afterwards. Skillful “cultural positioning” and “cultural patronage,” on the part of Mao Zedong, his comrades and successors, helped to construct a polity in which a once alien Communist system came to be accepted as familiarly “Chinese.” Perry traces this process through a case study of the Anyuan coal mine, a place where Mao and other early leaders of the Chinese Communist Party mobilized an influential labor movement at the beginning of their revolution, and whose history later became a touchstone of “political correctness” in the People’s Republic of China. Once known as “China’s Little Moscow,” Anyuan came over time to symbolize a distinctively Chinese revolutionary tradition. Yet the meanings of that tradition remain highly contested, as contemporary Chinese debate their revolutionary past in search of a new political future.—University of California Press

How China Made the Tiananmen Square Massacre Irrelevant

Matt Schiavenza
Atlantic
Though recognized and observed by groups and nations all over the world, in China itself, the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre will pass without any public acknowledgement.  

China’s New Leadership Has Ties to Tiananmen Era

Andrew Jacobs and Chris Buckley
New York Times
Many current top leaders served their political apprenticeship in the 1980s, when the boundaries between the permissible and the forbidden were not as stark and heavily policed as they are now. 

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}

Media

06.04.13

On Eve of Tiananmen Anniversary, China’s Prominent Weiborati Speak Out

“Don’t worry about forgetfulness—at least the Sina censors remember,” tweeted Jia Zhangke, a film director.Like 2013, 1989 was the year of the Snake on the Chinese calendar. It was also a year that Chinese authorities prefer not to remember. On the...

Jung Chang Writes ‘Groundbreaking’ Cixi Biography

Alison Flood
Guardian
The new biography will “comprehensively overturn … the conventional view of Cixi as a deeply conservative and cruel despot”, said Jonathan Cape, and show how she abolished foot-binding, developed foreign trade and diplomacy, and revolutionised China...

Why China’s Riches Won’t Bring It Freedom

Pankaj Mishra
Bloomberg
China poses a challenge to the Anglo-American faith in the global march of liberalism and democracy. It has achieved spectacular growth without embracing electoral democracy.  

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?