Understanding Xi Jinping’s ‘Key Minority’

Lu Yiyi
Wall Street Journal
Xi’s renewed attention to the performance of county leaders shows that he is relying on local officials to play a pivotal role in implementing his program.

One-Time Aide to China’s Ex-President Accused of Corruption

CNN
Party investigators accuse Ling Jihua, 58, once aide to former President Hu Jintao, of accepting bribes and illegally obtaining party and state secrets.

Biggest Ever Winged Dinosaur is Found in China

Ian Sample
Guardian
An ancient feathered creature dug up in northeastern China is the largest winged dinosaur ever found, researchers say.

China Locks Up Lawyers, Defending the Rule of Law

Economist
Amnesty International says 120 lawyers, and more than 50 support staff, family members and activists, have been rounded up in China since July 9th.

Two Way Street

07.09.15

The ‘Two Orders’ and the Future of China-U.S. Relations

Wang Jisi from Two Way Street
The China-U.S. relationship may be the most complex relationship that has ever existed between two major powers. Ties between China and the United States are deepening, and at every level the interaction between the two countries is marked by both...

Both China and Taiwan Have South China Sea Obligations

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
China and Taiwan share claims to the South China Sea, a legacy of the civil war when the Communists beat the Nationalists and took control of the mainland in 1949.

China’s Confucius Institutes and the Soft War

David Volodzko
Diplomat
The first Confucius Institute opened its door in November 2004 in Seoul, South Korea. Hanban, or the Chinese National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language.

Chinese Tourists Warned over Turkey Uighur Protests

BBC
China advised citizens against travelling to Turkey after it said several tourists were attacked in protests over the Chinese government's treatment of Uighur Muslims...

Fears Raised as "A Third" of China Great Wall Vanishes

Maggie Hiufu Wong and Serena Dong
CNN
About 30%, of the ancient fortification built in the Ming Dynasty era has disappeared due to natural erosion and human damage, according to the Beijing Times.

China National Security Law Won’t Apply to Hong Kong

Jeffie Lam
South China Morning Post
Hong Kong has a provision on national security law-Article 23, stating that it can enact laws to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, or subversion.

China National Security Law Aims to Create 'Garrison State'

Chun Han Wong
Wall Street Journal
The law marks a crackdown on activism and dissent, featuring repression of civil-society groups, and warnings against the spread of Western ideas.

Taiwan Youth to China: Treat Us Like a Country

Michael Gold
Reuters
Activists tie themselves up in chains, block mountain roads, scale fences and throw red paint balloons in a wave of anti-China sentiment to turn politics in the next election.

Thousands Protest on Anniversary of Hong Kong’s Return to China

Alan Wong
New York Times
As Hong Kong marks the 18th anniversary of its handover from Britain from China, thousands take to the street to rally for democracy.

The Truth About China’s New National Security Law

Ankit Panda
Diplomat
China’s national legislature passed a national security law who's mandate covers politics, the military, finance, religion, cyberspace, and even ideology and religion...

Features

07.01.15

Hong Kong’s Umbrella Protests Were More Than Just a Student Movement

Samson Yuen & Edmund Cheng
For almost three months in late 2014, what came to be known as the Umbrella Movement amplified Hong Kong’s bitter struggle for the democracy its people were promised when China assumed control of the territory from Britain in 1997. Originally a...

With Beijing’s Voting Plan Dead, Hong Kong Looks Ahead

Michael Forsythe
New York Times
The rejection of a Beijing-backed plan to let the public elect Hong Kong’s top officials begs the question of what happens next.

Books

06.25.15

City of Virtues

Chuck Wooldridge
Throughout Nanjing’s history, writers have claimed that its spectacular landscape of mountains and rivers imbued the city with “royal qi,” making it a place of great political significance. City of Virtues examines the ways a series of visionaries, drawing on past glories of the city, projected their ideologies onto Nanjing as they constructed buildings, performed rituals, and reworked the literary heritage of the city. More than an urban history of Nanjing from the late 18th century until 1911―encompassing the Opium War, the Taiping occupation of the city, the rebuilding of the city by Zeng Guofan, and attempts to establish it as the capital of the Republic of China―this study shows how utopian visions of the cosmos shaped Nanjing’s path through the turbulent 19th century.―University of Washington Press{chop}

Charleston Shooting: A U.S. Expat’s View From Afar

Alyssa Abkowitz
Wall Street Journal
There’s perspective that’s gained by watching the US from afar; it helps expats understand why locals may view America as dangerous.

China Voice: Cooperation Prevails Over Confrontation in China-U.S. Ties

Xinhua
The dialogues will help pave the way for President Xi Jinping's state visit to the U.S. in September...

Caixin Media

06.22.15

Why Fukuyama Still Beats a Drum for Democracy

American author and political scientist Francis Fukuyama has long extolled the virtues of democracy against the backdrop of the Soviet Union’s collapse and the end of the Cold War.Fukuyama’s best-selling book The End of History and the Last Man...

China Extends Reach into Hong Kong to Thwart Democrats

James Pomfret and Greg Torode
Reuters
Democrats rejected a Beijing-backed Hong Kong electoral reform package but face an increasingly organized Chinese government.

China will welcome only anti-independence candidate for Taiwan president

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
For upcoming Taiwan presidential election, China will only accept anti-independence candidates.

Hong Kong Vetoes China-Backed Electoral Reform Proposal

Donny Kwok and Yimou Lee
Reuters
The rejection was expected and will likely appease activists who demanded a veto of what they call "fake" reforms...

Conversation

06.17.15

Has China’s ‘One Country, Two Systems’ Experiment Failed?

George Chen, Alvin Y.H. Cheung & more
As Hong Kong’s legislature began debate this week on the reform package that could shape the future of the local political system, the former British colony’s pro-democracy lawmakers swore again they will reject electoral reforms proposed by the...

Books

06.16.15

The Yellow River

David A. Pietz
Flowing through the heart of the North China Plain―home to 200 million people―the Yellow River sustains one of China’s core regions. Yet this vital water supply has become highly vulnerable in recent decades, with potentially serious repercussions for China’s economic, social, and political stability. The Yellow River is an investigative expedition to the source of China’s contemporary water crisis, mapping the confluence of forces that have shaped the predicament that the world’s most populous nation now faces in managing its water reserves.Chinese governments have long struggled to maintain ecological stability along the Yellow River, undertaking ambitious programs of canal and dike construction to mitigate the effects of recurrent droughts and floods. But particularly during the Maoist years the North China Plain was radically re-engineered to utilize every drop of water for irrigation and hydroelectric generation. As David A. Pietz shows, Maoist water management from 1949 to 1976 cast a long shadow over the reform period, beginning in 1978. Rapid urban growth, industrial expansion, and agricultural intensification over the past three decades of China’s economic boom have been realized on a water resource base that was acutely compromised, with effects that have been more difficult and costly to overcome with each passing decade. Chronicling this complex legacy, The Yellow River provides important insight into how water challenges will affect China’s course as a twenty-first-century global power.―Harvard University Press{chop}

China to Halt Its Building of Islands, but Not Its Projects on Them

Edward Wong
New York Times
China will soon halt island building in the South China Sea but will continue constructing military and civilian facilities.

Features

06.16.15

Does Xi Jinping Represent a Return to the Mao Era?

Andrew G. Walder, Roderick MacFarquhar & more
Following is an edited transcript of a live event hosted at Asia Society New York on May 21, 2015, “ChinaFile Presents: Does Xi Jinping Represent a Return to the Politics of the Mao Era?” The evening convened the scholars Roderick MacFarquhar and...

Conversation

06.11.15

How Will Beijing Treat Myanmar’s Symbol of Democracy?

Jurgen Haacke & David Mathieson
Burmese opposition leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who spent 15 years under house arrest in Myanmar, is visiting the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing for five days this week, through Sunday. Also courted by...

Top Leaders to Host Suu Kyi on Her 1st Visit to China

Louise Watt
Associated Press
The five-day visit includes no public appearances and gives Beijing a chance to get to know Suu Kyi as her country has shifted toward the West.

Americans Buy a Fifth of China’s Exports

Bloomberg
Americans bought almost $1 out of every $5 worth of goods that China exported in May, the highest share since August 2010.

Conversation

06.06.15

Should the U.S. Change its China Policy and How?

Hugh White , Mary Kay Magistad & more
The past several months have seen a growing chorus of calls for the U.S. to take stock of its policy toward China. Some prominent voices have called for greater efforts by the U.S. and China to forge “a substantive sense of common purpose,” while...

Media

06.05.15

Hong Kong’s Long-Standing Unity on Tiananmen Is Unraveling

June 4, a day that changed mainland China forever, has become a cross that the city of Hong Kong bears. Each year, thousands of the city’s residents gather on an often steamy night and share anxious memories of 1989, when tanks rolled by bloodied...

China Is Exporting its Tiananmen Censorship, and We Are All Victims

Foreign Policy
Twenty six years after the killing of student protesters, the code of silence is spreading worldwide.

In North Korea: Wonder & Terror

Ian Buruma from New York Review of Books
The northeast of China used to be called Manchuria. Another name was “the cockpit of Asia.” Many wars were fought there. A French priest who traveled through the region in the 1920s wrote: “Although it is uncertain where God created paradise, we can...

Postcard

06.03.15

Beijing Autumn

Ilaria Maria Sala
Then even August ended. China was disappearing from the news, as portentous events elsewhere thrust themselves to the forefront.South Africa had started to come out of the dark age of apartheid. Eastern Europe had begun the march to unshackle itself...

Books

06.02.15

China Under Mao

Andrew G. Walder
China’s Communist Party seized power in 1949 after a long period of guerrilla insurgency followed by full-scale war, but the Chinese revolution was just beginning. China Under Mao narrates the rise and fall of the Maoist revolutionary state from 1949 to 1976—an epoch of startling accomplishments and disastrous failures, steered by many forces but dominated above all by Mao Zedong.Mao’s China, Andrew Walder argues, was defined by two distinctive institutions established during the first decade of Communist Party rule: a Party apparatus that exercised firm (sometimes harsh) discipline over its members and cadres; and a socialist economy modeled after the Soviet Union. Although a large national bureaucracy had oversight of this authoritarian system, Mao intervened strongly at every turn. The doctrines and political organization that produced Mao’s greatest achievements―victory in the civil war, the creation of China’s first unified modern state, a historic transformation of urban and rural life—also generated his worst failures: the industrial depression and rural famine of the Great Leap Forward and the violent destruction and stagnation of the Cultural Revolution.Misdiagnosing China’s problems as capitalist restoration and prescribing continuing class struggle against imaginary enemies as the solution, Mao ruined much of what he had built and created no viable alternative. At the time of his death, he left China backward and deeply divided.—Harvard University Press{chop}{node, 16186, 4}

Chinese Democracy Isn’t Inevitable

Daniel Bell
Atlantic
Can a political system be democratically legitimate without being democratic?

Will China Close Its Doors?

New York Times
The draft “Foreign NGO Management Law” is part of a package of legislation that includes strict laws on national security and antiterrorism.

Culture

06.01.15

Chinese Writers and Chinese Reality

Ouyang Bin
My first encounter with Liu Zhenyun was in 2003. At the time, cell phones had just become available in China and they were complicating people’s relationships. I witnessed a couple break up because of the secrets stored on a phone. I watched people...

Q&A—Willy Wo-Lap Lam on ‘Chinese Politics in the Era of Xi Jinping’

New York Times
Xi’s reversal of guiding principles guiding Chinese politics post-Mao signals “the closing of the Chinese mind.”

Sinica Podcast

06.01.15

Earthquake in Nepal!

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
[Note: This podcast was first recorded on May 13.—The Editors]On April 25, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the Katmandu Valley in Nepal, causing over 8,600 deaths, countless more injuries, and triggering mountain avalanches which sent snow...

Chubby Blue Cat Hints at Thaw in Ties Between China and Japan

Vanessa Piao
New York Times
In September, three Sichuan newspapers attacked the animated cat Doraemon as a tool of Japan’s “cultural invasion.”

China Voice: South China Sea Issue Should not Hinder China-U.S. Ties

Xinhua
A U.S. anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft flew over waters off China's Nansha Islands last month. ...

The Ultimate Irony: Is China the ‘America’ of Asia?

Doug Bandow
National Interest
Beijing’s claims in Asia are as valid as those made by the U.S. States against Mexico and Great Britain in the mid-19th century.

China Cares Little for Other Countries’ Territorial Claims

Steve Tsang
Guardian
Beijing’s actions in building man-made islands in the South China Sea are motivated by a desire to impose its sovereignty.

Conversation

05.29.15

Did the Game Just Change in the South China Sea? (And What Should the U.S. Do About It?)

Yanmei Xie , Andrew S. Erickson & more
As the 14th annual Asia Security Summit—or the Shangri-La Dialogue, as it has come to be known—gets underway in Singapore, we asked contributors to comment on what appears to be a recent escalation in tensions between the U.S. and China over the two...

China’s Invisible History: An Interview with Filmmaker and Artist Hu Jie

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Though none of his works have been publicly shown in China, Hu Jie is one of his country’s most noteworthy filmmakers. He is best known for his trilogy of documentaries about Maoist China, which includes Searching for Lin Zhao’s Soul (2004), telling...

Media

05.26.15

Weighing Mao’s Legacy in China Today

Roderick MacFarquhar, Susan Shirk & more
At the May 21 Asia Society event ChinaFile Presents: Does Xi Jinping Represent a Return to the Politics of the Mao Era?, a discussion of author Andrew Walder’s new book, China Under Mao: A Revolution Derailed, sparked a lively debate about the...

Sinica Podcast

05.26.15

Identity, Race, and Civilization

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
It doesn't take much exposure to China to realize the pervasiveness of identity politics here. Indeed, whether in the Chinese government’s occasionally hamfisted efforts to micromanage ethnic minority cultures or the Foreign Ministry’s soft-...

How America Should Respond to China’s Moves in the South China Sea

J. Randy Forbes
National Interest
U.S. military superiority is required to keep the Asia-Pacific region from getting out of hand. 

Star Wars to Screen in China for First Time Ever

Time
The Shanghai International Film Festival will screen the original six films.

Taiwan’s Hou Hsiao-hsien Wins Cannes Best Director Award for 'The Assassin'

Agence France-Presse
The Guangdong-born director’s film is a study in contemplative art despite its action-packed premise.

Traces II

Ian Teh
Granta
Few rivers have captured the soul of a nation more deeply than the Yellow River. Historically a symbol of enduring glory, a force of nature both feared and revered, it has provided water for life downstream for thousands...

‘Crotch Bomb’ in Anti-Japan War Drama Blasted by Chinese Netizens as 'Lewd, Bizarre'

Kathy Gao
South China Morning Post
When a prisoner pulls his hand from underneath the heroine's dress, he is holding a bomb, which he then detonates...

Viewpoint

05.19.15

Hong Kong’s Not That Special, And Beijing Should Stop Saying It Is

Alvin Y.H. Cheung
As political wrangling in Hong Kong continues over changes to how the city’s chief executive will be selected in 2017, Beijing marks the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the Hong Kong Basic Law—the Special Administrative Region’s...

Toward a Free and Democratic China

Dan Blumenthal and William Inboden
Weekly Standard
 Overhauling U.S. strategy in Asia.

Indians From All Over China Are Flocking to Shanghai to Hear Their Prime Minister Speak

Rishi Iyengar
Time
More than 5,000 Indian expats are expected to attend an event on Saturday.

U.S., China Set for High-Stakes Rivalry in Skies Above South China Sea

Greg Torode
Reuters
Experts say it's increasingly likley that Beijing will declare an Air Defense Identification Zone in the area...

Mao’s China: The Language Game

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
It can be embarrassing for a China scholar like me to read Eileen Chang’s pellucid prose, written more than sixty years ago, on the early years of the People’s Republic of China. How many cudgels to the head did I need before arriving at comparable...

How the South China Sea Could help Beijing Level the Nuclear Playing Field

Will Englund
Washington Post
China bases its nuclear submarines, including the four equipped to launch ballistic missiles, on Hainan Island.