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.

Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping Aim to Shelve Rifts Amid Economic Courtship

Ellen Barry and Chris Buckley
New York Times
Indian and Chinese officials are promoting Modi’s three-day visit as a business trip filled out with displays of good will.

Why China and India Just Can’t Get Along

Hannah Beech
Time
A stunning dearth of fraternal ties exist between the two Asian superpowers.

U.S. Gambit Risks Conflict With China

Andrew Browne
Wall Street Journal
Option to challenge Beijing in South China Sea is fraught with danger.

China Lashes Out Over U.S. Plan on South China Sea

Eva Dou and James Hookway
Wall Street Journal
Pentagon proposal to use aircraft and Navy vessels in region prompts swift response: ‘We are severely concerned’.

Searching for Identity in China’s Outer Lands

Q. Sakamaki & Dave Gershgorn
New York Times
“ ‘China’s Outer Lands’ is about people instinctively looking for their own identity, between conformity or originality or autonomy or dependence,” Mr. Sakamaki said. “It’s natural, it’s happening in not only China, it’s everywhere.”

Pentagon Report: China Deploys MIRV Missile

Hans M. Kristensen
Federation of American Scientists
For China to join the MIRV club strains China’s claim of having a minimum nuclear deterrent.

Media

05.11.15

Interactive Map: Follow the Roads, Railways, and Pipelines on China’s New Silk Road

Reid Standish & Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
Foreign Policy has put together an interactive guide tracking Beijing’s victories and obstacles along the new Silk Road. The list of participating countries is still not finalized, but with China forking out billions in trade deals and preferential...

Obama’s Quiet Nuclear Deal with China Raises Proliferation Concerns

Steven Mufson
Washington Post
Beijing could buy more U.S.-designed reactors and pursue a facility or the technology to reprocess plutonium. 

As Russia Remembers War in Europe, Guest of Honor Is From China

Jane Perlez
New York Times
China’s leader, Xi Jinping, is an imperfect symbol of the wartime past and an uncertain one for Russia’s future.

Calls to Punish China Grow

Josh Rogin
Bloomberg
Some in Washington are calling for President Obama to cancel China’s invitation to the largest maritime military exercise in the world.

Caixin Media

05.05.15

A Byronic Hero for China’s Supremo

A little known vignette about Xi Jinping’s fondness for Song Jiang, a fictional hero in the 14th century classic novel The Water Margin, gives a peek into the private thoughts of China’s most powerful man. For someone born with a red spoon in his...

China’s Xi Highlights “Big Picture” in Reform Drive

Xinhua
Authorities must place scientific and technological innovation at the heart of the drive to reform. 

The Battle for Taiwan’s Soul: The 2016 Presidential Election

Jonathan Sullivan
National Interest
Xi Jinping and Kuomintang leader Eric Chu’s summit Monday is the first between respective party leaders since 2009.

Q. and A.: Francis Fukuyama on China's Political Development

New York Times
Stanford historian argues an effective political system has to balance state capacity against rule of law and democracy.

Ask The Vietnamese About War, And They Think China, Not The U.S.

Michael Sullivan
NPR
Vietnam's brief but bloody border war with China in 1979 left more than 50,000 dead...

China and South Korea Criticize Japanese Prime Minister’s Speech in US

Justin McCurry
Guardian
Shinzo Abe denounced for not repeating previous PMs’ apologies for Japan using sex slaves during second world war.

Obama Accuses China of Flexing Muscle in Disputes with Neighbors

Matt Spetalnick and Nathan Layne
Reuters
Obama said a strong U.S.-Japan alliance should not be seen as a provocation to China.

Conversation

04.29.15

Is China Building Up Soft Power by Aiding Nepal?

Ashok Gurung, Zha Daojiong & more
A devastating earthquake has struck one of China’s smallest neighbors, the mountainous former kingdom known, since 2008, as the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. Surrounded on three sides by India—known in Nepali as a “friendly nation”—Nepal...

Commentary: South China Sea No Showcase for U.S.-Japanese Alliance

Zhu Dongyang
Xinhua
As long as Japan refuses to face WWII atrocities, the world community will never loosen the screw.

China on My Mind: U.S.-Japan Visit Mostly About Beijing, State Media Says

Te-Ping Chen
Wall Street Journal
U.S.-Japan talks mainly served to throw into relief concerns about China.

Bat-Winged Dinosaur Fossil Discovered in China

Lori Grisham
USA Today
The new dinosaur is named Yi qi (pronounced "ee chee") and means "strange wing" in Mandarin...

Forced Disappearances, Brutality, and Communist China’s Politics of Fear

Vice News
Low-ranking officials are in a state of continual fear as their colleagues vanish around them.

Obama Presses Case for Asia Trade Deal, Warns Failure Would Benefit China

Gerald F. Seib
Wall Street Journal
President says anti-globalization sentiments from left and right ‘a big mistake’

The Wonderfully Elusive Chinese Novel

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
In teaching Chinese-language courses to American students, which I have done about thirty times, perhaps the most anguishing question I get is “Professor Link, what is the Chinese word for ______?”

China Warns North Korea’s Nuclear Arsenal is Expanding

Agence France Presse
Agence France-Presse
China's communist ally may already have 20 warheads and the enrichment capacity to double that number in a year...

China Is Planning to Rebuild the Silk Road and Transform Global Trade Routes

Samuel Oakford
Vice News
China plans to build a modern version of the Silk Road through Pakistan and beyond.