Soft Recruits Hinder China’s Military Modernization

Jane Perlez
New York Times
Many of China's army conscripts have been raised as spoiled children of the one-child policy and need toughening up, a RAND report says. ...

China, Russia to Mark 70th Anniversary of End of WWII in Show of Unity |

Laura Zhou
South China Morning Post
Military parades marking anniversary give two nations platform to offset U.S. influence while diplomats reassure Japan.

Conversation

02.12.15

Is Mao Still Dead?

Rebecca E. Karl, Michael Schoenhals & more
It has long been standard operating procedure for China’s leaders to pay tribute to Mao. Even as the People’s Republic he wrought has embraced capitalist behavior with ever more heated ardor, the party he founded has remained firmly in power and his...

Learn the History of Modern China Through Photobooks

Ye Ming
Time
A new book and exhibition reveals the untold history of photobook publishing in China.

In Sharp Words From Xi, Ominous Implications for China’s Legal Reforms

Stanley Lubman
Wall Street Journal
A Communist saying about the role of law states “the handle of the knife is firmly in the hands of the party and the people.”

Books

02.10.15

Buried Ideas

Sarah Allan
The discovery of previously unknown philosophical texts from the Axial Age is revolutionizing our understanding of Chinese intellectual history. Buried Ideas presents and discusses four texts found on brush-written slips of bamboo and their seemingly unprecedented political philosophy. Written in the regional script of Chu during the Warring States period (475–221 BCE), all of the works discuss Yao’s abdication to Shun and are related to but differ significantly from the core texts of the classical period, such as the Mencius and Zhuangzi. Notably, these works evince an unusually meritocratic stance, and two even advocate abdication over hereditary succession as a political ideal. Sarah Allan includes full English translations and her own modern-character editions of the four works examined: Tang Yú zhi dao, Zigao, Rongchengshi, and Bao xun. In addition, she provides an introduction to Chu-script bamboo-slip manuscripts and the complex issues inherent in deciphering them. —SUNY Press{chop}

Q. and A.: Andrew Small on the China-Pakistan Relationship

Jane Perlez
New York Times
The book “The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics” argues that there have always been irritants below the surface.

Obama’s Public Encounter With the Dalai Lama Riles China

New York Times
Obama previously met the Dalai Lama privately in the White House rather than in public.

Conversation

02.05.15

What’s the Case for Heads of State Meeting the Dalai Lama?

Francesco Sisci, Robert Barnett & more
On Thursday in Washington, the Dalai Lama attended the annual National Prayer Breakfast hosted by President Barack Obama, angering China's leaders in Beijing who have long called the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader a "splittist" and...

Culture

02.04.15

‘This is not that China Story’

James Carter & Michael Meyer
James Carter spent much of the 1990s researching the modern history of Harbin, China’s northernmost major city, in the region that is today known as dongbei, the northeast. That region is the subject of Michael Meyer’s forthcoming book, In Manchuria...

Why Scrapping Quotas in China’s Criminal Justice System Won’t Be Easy

Stanley Lubman
Wall Street Journal
Can judicial reform increase the courts' independence by reducing local government and party influence? ...

China and the World: Yuan for All

Economist
The yuan is not yet fully convertible and will not be for several years, which limits China's influence...

China Expels Top Police Official from Communist Party

Reuters
Cai Guangliao, a major general in the paramilitary armed police, accepted bribes, illegally engaging in business activities and accepting gifts.

Excerpts

01.28.15

The View from Wasteland

Michael Meyer
In winter the land is frozen and still. A cloudless sky shines off snow-covered rice paddies, reflecting light so bright, you have to shield your eyes. I lean into a stinging wind and trudge north up Red Flag Road, to a village named Wasteland.The...

China Tries to Stay Aloof From a Warming U.S.-India Relationship

Jane Perlez
New York Times
Beijing is aware India’s problems with the United States are based largely on Washington’s relationship with Pakistan.

Xi Stresses Adherence to Dialectical Materialism

Xinhua
China should not be judged by GDP alone, said the president. China should be judged by its transition in economic development, restructuring, dissolution of overcapacity and by the strength of the nation's commitment to an ecological society...

China Communist Party Magazine Blasts Professors Who Spread ‘Western Values’

George Chen
South China Morning Post
Party journal's commentary targets liberal academics after President Xi Jinping calls for 'ideological guidance' for teachers and students ...

Reporter Honored for Clearing Dead Man’s Name

Ma Chi
China Daily
Hugjiltu, a man of Mongolian ethnicity, was sentenced to death for rape and murder in Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia autonomous region, in 1996. The 18-year-old was executed 62 days after being charged, despite doubts about the evidence...

China Says Ousted Security Tsar’s Influence Corrupted Others

Megha Rajagopalan
Reuters
Last year, China arrested Zhou and expelled him from the party, accusing him of crimes ranging from taking bribes to leaking state secrets.

Why Paul Krugman is Scared of China

Sophia Yan
CNN
"China scares me," he said Tuesday at the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong. "It scares me not because the policies have been wrong or anything, but because of the magnitude of the adjustment."...

5 Takeaways from China’s GDP

Richard Silk
Wall Street Journal
For much of the last two decades, China has been working overtime to drive the growth of the world economy. Now, it’s slowing to suborbital speeds.

China Reports Sharp Rise in HIV Cases

Patti Waldmeir
Financial Times
China had nearly half a million people living with the virus or disease by the end of August last year, with 70,000 of them newly diagnosed in the first eight months of 2014, official statistics showed.

Is ‘China’s Machiavelli’ Now Its Most Important Political Philosopher?

Ryan Mitchell
Diplomat
Much like a dragon, “the ruler of men has bristling scales. Only if a speaker can avoid brushing against them can he have any hope of success.”

Conversation

01.16.15

Why Did The West Weep for Paris But Not for Kunming?

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, Taisu Zhang & more
In the days since the attacks that killed 12 people at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, Chinese netizens have watched the outpouring of solidarity. As our colleagues at Foreign Policy reported earlier this week, the...

‘Better Than Nothing’: U.K. Foreign Office Backs Beijing’s Hong Kong Reforms

Danny Lee
South China Morning Post
London is throwing its weight behind reform proposals in an attempt yet to heal a diplomatic rift with Beijing.

China Enlists Citizens to Patrol Border with North Korea

Sui-Lee Wee and Megha Rajagopalan
Reuters
China is sending civilian militias to help secure the border it shares with North Korea in the wake of two reported killings of Chinese citizens by North Koreans that could strain ties between Pyongyang and its sole major ally.

One Among Many

The Economist
Economist
Across Africa, radio call-in programs are buzzing with tales of Africans, usually men, bemoaning the loss of their spouses and partners to rich Chinese men.

China’s 109-Year-Old Dissenter Is Still Fighting for Democracy

Tom Hancock
Business Insider
Born when a Qing dynasty emperor was on the throne, the man who helped invent the Pinyin writing system used for transliterating Chinese worldwide turns 109 on Tuesday. But Zhou Youguang's outspoken support for democracy means his writings are...

In Remote Thai Villages, Legacy of China’s Lost Army Endures

Amy Qin
New York Times
At night, traditional Chinese red lanterns illuminate the hotels, shop fronts and Yunnanese-style restaurants lining the main road in this highland village of just over 1,000 people. On one recent evening, as the mist rose off a nearby reservoir,...

Why China Will Become a Global Military Power

Oriana Skylar Mastro
Lawfare Blog
To some, China is likely an expansionist country akin to Germany before WWI. Others argue that China’s assertive behavior in its regional offshore island disputes is simply a manifestation of the Chinese Communist Party’s focus on domestic stability...

Sri Lankan Poll Upset a Blow to China’s Indian Ocean Plans

Natalie Obiko Pearson
Bloomberg
Mahinda Rajapaksa, who tightened ties with China during his decade-long rule, conceded defeat today in Sri Lanka’s closely-fought presidential election. His successor Maithripala Sirisena used his campaign to criticize the island nation’s increasing...

Conversation

01.08.15

What Does Hong Kong’s Post-Protest Report Signal For Relations with Beijing?

David Schlesinger, Joseph Cheng & more
This week, we saw the release of the official government “Report on the Recent Community and Political Situation in Hong Kong.” It concluded: "It is the common aspiration of the Central Authorities [in Beijing], the [Hong Kong Special...

Sinica Podcast

01.06.15

The Sinica Podcast’s Second Annual Call-In Show

Kaiser Kuo & Jeremy Goldkorn from Sinica Podcast
If you’ve been following all of the news and gossip involving China for the last year, join Kaiser and Jeremy as they take call-in questions and talk insider politics on everything from the ongoing anti-corruption campaign to the question of coming...

Caixin Media

01.06.15

In Praise of Hu Feng

Sheila Melvin
Hu Feng (1902-85) is a name that most students of P.R.C. history have undoubtedly encountered at one time or another. I remember reading it for the first time years ago in Jonathan Spence's "The Search for Modern China." It stuck in...

Tencent Launches China’s First Online-only Bank

Gabriel Wildau
Financial Times
WeBank, a joint venture led by Chinese gaming and social network group Tencent Holdings, became the first private bank to start operations under a pilot, after the banking regulator granted licences to six such institutions last year. Its name comes...

Inside a Chinese Test-Prep Factory

Brook Larmer
New York Times
One minute later, at precisely 11:45, the stillness was shattered. Thousands of teenagers swarmed out of the towering front gate of Maotanchang High School. Many of them wore identical black-and-white Windbreakers emblazoned with the slogan, in...

China’s Brave Underground Journal—II

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
In downtown Beijing, just a little over a mile west of the Forbidden City, is one of China’s most illustrious high schools. Its graduates regularly attend the country’s best universities or go abroad to study, while foreign leaders and CEOs make...

Other

12.30.14

A Look Back at 2014

It’s hard to believe, but ChinaFile is almost two years old. It’s been an exciting year for us, and, as ever, an eventful year for China. It was a year of muscular leadership from Xi Jinping, who has now been in office just over two years and who...

Books

12.23.14

Top Five China Books of 2014

Laura Chang
As the editor of ChinaFile’s Books section, I have the privilege of meeting and interviewing some amazing writers covering China today—academics, journalists, scholars, activists. Based on these conversations, we create short videos of the...

China in 2014 Through the Eyes of a Human Rights Advocate

Yaxue Cao from China Change
This time last year, volunteers and I were busy writing and translating articles to prepare for the New Citizens Movement trials. Many Chinese voices were speaking out forcefully against these trials: law professors, rights lawyers, liberal...

Conversation

12.19.14

Just How Successful Is Xi Jinping?

Ian Johnson & Trey Menefee
Last week, Arthur Kroeber, Editor of the China Economic Quarterly opined that “…the Chinese state is not fragile. The regime is strong, increasingly self-confident, and without organized opposition.” His essay, which drew strong, if divided,...

As Obama Opens to Cuba, China Experts Remember Benefits from U.S. Engagement

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
As Washington moves to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba after decades of trying to isolate and overthrow the Castro regime, Chinese people and China experts in the United States have been reminded of a much more momentous opening 36 years ago that...

China’s Housing Resists Efforts to Spur Market

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
Every urban real estate market is different in mainland China, driven by myriad municipal and provincial regulations and the varying strength of local economies. But the outcome is the same: The property market is under serious pressure.

China's Economy Is worth $300 Billion More than It Thought

Geoffrey Smith
Fortune
China just discovered an economy the size of Malaysia’s hiding down the back of the sofa.

Beijing Cannot Count on Easy Money to Sustain Its Economic Miracle

Ruchir Sharma
Financial Times
Just three months ago the main Chinese stock market was dormant. Since then it has surged 30 per cent and has started to show signs of the manic trading that normally does not appear until a bull market has been gathering steam for years.

Dalai Lama Concedes He May Be the Last

BBC
BBC
Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has said he realizes that he may be the last to hold the title. But he told the BBC it would be better that the centuries-old tradition ceased "at the time of a popular Dalai Lama"...

China’s Mountain Hermits Seek a Highway to Heaven

Tom Hancock
Agence France-Presse
His unheated hut is half way up a mountain with no electricity, and his diet consists mostly of cabbage. But Master Hou says he has found a recipe for joy. "There is no happier way for a person to live on this earth," he declared,...

Maldives to Officially Join China's Maritime Silk Route Policy

Xinhua
Global Times
"With projects such as oil exploration and bridge construction in the agenda for discussion, the meeting will benefit economies of both countries. This is a great achievement to us as well," Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed...

Diversity the New Game for Macau as Gambling Revenues Tumble

Tiffany Ap
South China Morning Post
When inaugural chief executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah threw the liberalisation dice that took Macau's flagging gaming industry into the 21st century in 2002, few could have predicted its stellar rise to become the top city for global gaming, leaving...

Conversation

12.16.14

What Must China and Japan Do to Get Along in 2015?

Allen Carlson & Zha Daojiong
Last week, Akio Takahara, a professor at the University of Tokyo currently visiting Peking University, wrote a New York Times Op-Ed praising recent diplomatic efforts by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and Chinese President Xi Jinping to deflect...

Viewpoint

12.16.14

Why Marx Still Matters: The Ideological Drivers of Chinese Politics

Rogier Creemers
In days of greater political brouhaha, “to go and see Marx” used to be a slang expression among Chinese Communists, to refer to death. More recently, a considerable number of commentators have pronounced the expiry of Marxism itself. China’s reform...

San Gabriel Valley’s El Monte Getting a Boost from Chinese Investors

Frank Shyong
Los Angeles Times
Trucks loaded with construction materials park in front of a vacant lot in El Monte, where a homeless man slumbers on the sidewalk next to a mountain of rags and trash bags. Overhead, colorful flags whip in the breeze, advertising opportunities for...

China’s Lost Generation Finds Itself in Ukraine

Adam Minter
Bloomberg
A working class high-school graduate who scored abysmally on China's college entrance exam, Mei now owns his own business, claims title to three-quarters of an acre of land, lives in a split-level house, and is married to an eighteen-year-old...

Patent Fiction

The Economist
Economist
“What has long been predicted has now become a reality: China is leading the world in innovation.” So declares a press release promoting a new report by Thomson Reuters, a research firm, called “China’s IQ (Innovation Quotient).”

China Tightening Curbs on Opaque Local Debt Spurs Market Tumble

Helen Sun and Judy Chen
Bloomberg
While the change caught traders off guard, authorities in the world’s second-largest economy are trying to rein in the use of lightly-regulated Local Government Finance Vehicles (LGFVs) as they promote the development of a more transparent municipal...

China Arrests Ex-Security Chief Zhou Yongkang

BBC
The most senior Chinese official to be investigated for corruption, has been arrested and expelled from the Communist Party, state media report.

Infographics

12.05.14

China’s Fallen Mighty [Graphic]

David M. Barreda, Youyou Zhou & more
Over the past thirty-eight years, twelve of China’s top leaders have been purged. This infographic and the bios of these leaders explain how and why these mighty men fell. Download the high-resolution graphic.

Features

12.05.14

China’s Fallen Mighty [Updated]

Ouyang Bin, Zhang Mengqi & more
Political infighting and purges have been hallmarks of the Chinese Communist Party since its earliest days but came to a peak during Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, damaging the country and paralyzing the Party itself. When Mao died in 1976, it...

China’s Brave Underground Journal

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
On the last stretch of flatlands north of Beijing, just before the Mongolian foothills, lies the satellite city of Tiantongyuan. Built during the euphoric run-up to the 2008 Olympics, it was designed as a modern, Hong Kong–style housing district of...