Books

06.20.18

The Third Revolution

Elizabeth C. Economy
Oxford University Press: In The Third Revolution, eminent China scholar Elizabeth C. Economy provides an incisive look at the transformative changes underway in China today. Chinese leader Xi Jinping has unleashed a powerful set of political and economic reforms: the centralization of power under Xi, himself; the expansion of the Communist Party’s role in Chinese political, social, and economic life; and the construction of a virtual wall of regulations to control more closely the exchange of ideas and capital between China and the outside world. Beyond its borders, Beijing has recast itself as a great power, seeking to reclaim its past glory and to create a system of international norms that better serves its more ambitious geostrategic objectives. In so doing, the Chinese leadership is reversing the trends toward greater political and economic opening, as well as the low-profile foreign policy, that had been put in motion by Deng Xiaoping’s “Second Revolution” 30 years earlier.Through a wide-ranging exploration of Xi Jinping’s top political, economic, and foreign policy priorities—fighting corruption, managing the Internet, reforming the state-owned enterprise sector, improving the country’s innovation capacity, enhancing air quality, and elevating China’s presence on the global stage—Economy identifies the tensions, shortcomings, and successes of Xi’s reform efforts over the course of his first five years in office. She also assesses their implications for the rest of the world, and provides recommendations for how the United States and others should navigate their relationship with this vast nation in the coming years.{chop}

Washington Opens De Facto Embassy in Taiwan, Angering China

Steven Jiang
CNN
China has lodged a protest with the US following the official opening of Washington’s new de facto embassy in Taiwan, a self-ruled island off China's southeastern coast that Beijing considers a renegade province...

Conversation

06.04.18

How Should the World Respond to Intensifying Repression in Xinjiang?

Rian Thum, Rachel Harris & more
Deliberate, systematic human rights abuses are happening in China’s northwest. Reporting and research published in recent weeks shows that the Chinese government is targeting the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region’s roughly 11 million Muslims for “re...

Cleared of Spying for China, She Still Doesn’t Have Her Job Back

Nicole Perlroth
New York Times
It is the case that the government simply will not let die.

China Gave Trump a List of Crazy Demands, and He Caved to One of Them

Josh Rogin
Washington Post
China’s list of economic and trade demands that suggest its negotiating position.

Features

05.11.18

Central and Regional Leadership for Xinjiang Policy in Xi’s Second Term

Jessica Batke from China Leadership Monitor
After the 19th Party Congress last fall and the recent “two meetings” in March, the Party-state has now completed its quinquennial leadership turnover and announced a major restructuring of a number of Party and state entities. This institutional...

With Jail Sentences and Corporate Flameouts, China Is Tackling its Debt

Alexandra Stevenson
New York Times
A Shanghai court imprisoned a tycoon who used a mountain of debt to buy the Waldorf Astoria hotel.

Former CIA Officer Charged With Spying For China

Scott Neuman
NPR
An ex-CIA officer arrested in January at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport has been charged with conspiracy to commit espionage on behalf of China years after FBI agents turned up notebooks containing classified information in a search of his hotel...

One-Time Potential Rival to China’s Xi Draws Life Sentence

Josh Chin
Wall Street Journal
A former top Communist Party official once seen as a potential successor and rival to Chinese President Xi Jinping received a life sentence on corruption charges—a punishment state media portrayed as lenient.

China Guards Its Historical Heroes with New Law

Chun Han Wong
Wall Street Journal
As President Xi Jinping entrenches Communist Party rule, new law mandates ‘all of society’ honor its heroes and martyrs.

Conversation

04.25.18

Does China Want the Koreas to Reconcile?

Bo Zhiyue, Zhang Baohui & more
This Friday, April 27, the South Korean and North Korean leaders will meet in the demilitarized zone dividing their estranged countries to discuss improving relations and possibly even formally ending the Korean War, which has continued in the form...

Books

04.24.18

Sold People

Johanna S. Ransmeier
Harvard University Press: A robust trade in human lives thrived throughout North China during the late Qing and Republican periods. Whether to acquire servants, slaves, concubines, or children―or dispose of unwanted household members―families at all levels of society addressed various domestic needs by participating in this market. Sold People brings into focus the complicit dynamic of human trafficking, including the social and legal networks that sustained it. Johanna Ransmeier reveals the extent to which the structure of the Chinese family not only influenced but encouraged the buying and selling of men, women, and children.For centuries, human trafficking had an ambiguous status in Chinese society. Prohibited in principle during the Qing period, it was nevertheless widely accepted as part of family life, despite the frequent involvement of criminals. In 1910, Qing reformers, hoping to usher China into the community of modern nations, officially abolished the trade. But police and other judicial officials found the new law extremely difficult to enforce. Industrialization, urbanization, and the development of modern transportation systems created a breeding ground for continued commerce in people. The Republican government that came to power after the 1911 revolution similarly struggled to root out the entrenched practice.Ransmeier draws from untapped archival sources to recreate the lived experience of human trafficking in turn-of-the-century North China. Not always a measure of last resort reserved for times of extreme hardship, the sale of people was a commonplace transaction that built and restructured families as often as it broke them apart.{chop}

Viewpoint

04.19.18

Trump’s Incredibly Risky Taiwan Policy

J. Stapleton Roy
So-called friends of Taiwan in the United States are putting the island at risk as never before. The Taiwan Travel Act, passed unanimously by both houses of Congress, and signed by President Trump on March 16, 2018 without reservations, could...

Conversation

04.18.18

A Ban on Gay Content, Stopped in Its Tracks

Siodhbhra Parkin, Steven Jiang & more
On April 13, China’s major microblogging platform Sina Weibo announced that, in order to create “a sunny and harmonious” environment, it would remove videos and comics “with pornographic implications, promoting bloody violence, or related to...

One-Time Potential Rival to China’s Xi Pleads Guilty to Corruption

Chun Han Wong
Wall Street Journal
A purged Communist Party politician once regarded as a future Chinese leader stood trial on corruption charges in a case seen as part of an effort by President Xi Jinping to neutralize potential political rivals.

Conversation

04.11.18

China’s Communist Party Takes (Even More) Control of the Media

Stanley Rosen, Chris Fenton & more
China’s Communist Party made moves last month to solidify and formalize its (already substantial) control over the country’s media. China’s main state-run broadcasters are to be consolidated into a massive new “Voice of China” under the management...

Viewpoint

04.06.18

I Thought Studying Journalism outside of China Would Open Doors. Now I’m Not So Sure.

Shen Lu
Six years ago as I was about to begin my undergraduate career at The University of Iowa majoring in journalism, a fellow Chinese student who’d switched her major from communications studies to business ruthlessly doubted my choice. “How on earth...

Facial Recognition in China Is Big Business as Local Governments Boost Surveillance

Rob Schmitz
NPR
Dozens of cameras meet visitors to the Beijing headquarters of SenseTime, China’s largest artificial intelligence company. One of them determines whether the door will open for you; another tracks your movements.

China’s Financial Opening Isn't Quite What It Seems

Andrew Polk
Bloomberg
Although trade tensions between the U.S. and China show no signs of abating, there are some reasons for cautious optimism.

China Academics Divided over Australia Influence Crackdown

Jamie Smyth
Financial Times
Canberra’s proposed crackdown on Chinese government influence in Australia has prompted a bitter split among academics, following claims the policy is driven by racism and is stigmatising Chinese Australians.

Conversation

03.20.18

What Is the Significance of China’s #MeToo Movement?

Aaron Halegua, Kevin Lin & more
As the #MeToo movement has swept America, it has also made waves in greater China. On the mainland, the most widely publicized incident involved Luo Xixi’s allegation in a January 2018 Weibo post that her professor at Beihang University, Chen Xiaowu...

Hong Kong’s Judges Voice Fears over China Influence in Judiciary

Greg Torode, James Pomfret
Reuters
As Hong Kong’s judges and senior lawyers paraded in ceremonial wigs and gowns on Jan 8 to mark the start of the legal year, anxieties over China’s growing reach into the city’s vaunted legal system swirled with the wintry winds.

China Just Got One Step Closer to Ending Its Family-Planning Policies

Echo Huang
Quartz
Over the years few things have symbolized China’s heavy-handedness quite like the one-child policy it implemented in 1979. But in a sign of change, this week Beijing announced the end of the commission charged with implementing such policies.

Chairman Xi, Chinese Idol

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
For nearly sixty years since it opened in 1959, the Great Hall of the People has been the public focus of Chinese politics, a monumental granite block that extends 1,200 feet along the west side of Tiananmen Square. It is where the country’s leaders...

Conversation

03.13.18

When Trump and Kim Meet, What Will Xi Do?

Zha Daojiong, Sergey Radchenko & more
On March 8, South Korea’s National Security Advisor announced that Donald Trump had agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un by May. Although now-ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson previously downplayed the announcement, a summit...

Xi Jinping Says China’s Authoritarian System Can Be a Model for the World

Zheping Huang
Quartz
Chinese president Xi Jinping has repeatedly told the world that China is ready to lead on issues like free trade and climate change.

Media

03.08.18

Weibo Whack-a-Mole

King-wa Fu, Channing Huang & more from Weiboscope
China might be the world’s second-largest economy, and have more Internet users than any other country, but each year it is ranked as the nation that enjoys the least Internet freedom among the 65 sample nations scored by the U.S.-based Freedom...

Francis Fukuyama: China’s ‘Bad Emperor’ Returns

Francis Fukuyama
Washington Post
Since 1978, China’s authoritarian political system has been different from virtually all other dictatorships in part because the ruling Communist Party has been subject to rules regarding succession.

New Chinese Agency Could Undercut Other Anti-Corruption Efforts

Dimitar Gueorguiev and Jonathan...
Brookings Institution
China’s National People’s Congress is expected to ratify legislation during the next two weeks to create a new supra-agency, the National Supervision Commission, to institutionalize President Xi Jinping’s signature anti-corruption campaign as a...

Sinica Podcast

03.06.18

Courts & Torts: Driving the Chinese Legal System

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
“Having read hundreds and hundreds of these cases, I have decided that I’m never going to drive in China.” That is what Benjamin Liebman, the director of the Center for Chinese Legal Studies at Columbia University, concluded after his extensive...

Conversation

03.06.18

China’s Military Spending

Dhruva Jaishankar, Dennis J. Blasko & more
On March 5, during the opening of the National People’s Congress, China’s annual parliament, Beijing announced it plans to spend U.S.$175 billion on its military in 2018, an 8.1 percent rise from 2017. China’s military budget is the world’s second...

A Summer Vacation in China’s Muslim Gulag

Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy
Since announcing a “people’s war on terror” in 2014, the Chinese Communist Party has created an unprecedented network of re-education camps in the autonomous Xinjiang region that are essentially ethnic gulags.

Viewpoint

03.01.18

Maybe the Law Does Actually Matter to Xi Jinping

Taisu Zhang
The February 25 announcement that the Chinese Communist Party (C.C.P.) has proposed a constitutional amendment that would remove term limits on the office of the presidency is arguably the most significant Chinese political and legal development in...

China: Big Data Fuels Crackdown in Minority Region

Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch
Chinese authorities are building and deploying a predictive policing program based on big data analysis in Xinjiang, Human Rights Watch said today. The program aggregates data about people – often without their knowledge – and flags those it deems...

Xi’s Power Grab Gives a Short-Term Boost with Long-Term Ramifications

David Dollar
Brookings Institution
China’s stock market and currency rallied Monday on news that the country would revise its constitution to abolish term limits for the president.

Conversation

02.25.18

Xi Won’t Go

Richard McGregor, Taisu Zhang & more
In a surprise Sunday move, Beijing announced that the Communist Party leadership wants to abolish the two-term limit for China’s president and vice president, potentially paving the way for China’s 64-year-old President Xi Jinping to stay in power...

Hong Kong Millionaire’s Arrest Exposes Chinese Corruption in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Former Hong Kong Secretary for Home Affairs Patrick Ho Chi-ping pleaded not guilty last month to corruption charges brought by a U.S. federal court in New York after he was accused of offering bribes worth a total of U.S.$2.9 million to prominent...

China Probes Report of Possible North Korea Sanctions Breach at Sea

Reuters Staff
Reuters
China said on Thursday it is investigating a Japanese report that a Chinese ship may have carried out a ship-to-ship transfer with a North Korean vessel in breach of U.N. sanctions.

3M and H&M Probe Claim They Used Chinese Prison Labor

Daniel Shane
CNN
Three big Western companies are investigating allegations that prisoners in China made packaging bearing their brand names.

Battleground Malaysia: China Extends Crackdown on Uygurs across Borders

James M. Dorsey
South China Morning Post
Malaysia has emerged as the latest battleground pitting Chinese efforts to export its security notions against principles of the rule of law.

China Wages War on Funeral Strippers

Neil Connor
Telegraph
China has launched its latest crackdown against a phenomenon which just won’t seem to die in rural areas - funeral strippers.

Who Owns Red Envelope Cash – Parents or Children? A Chinese Court Decides

Kinling Lo
South China Morning Post
Chinese internet users have been arguing about whether red envelopes – filled with cash and given as gifts during the Lunar New Year – should go to children or their parents, after a court published rulings on several cases.

Viewpoint

02.15.18

A Clash of Cyber Civilizations

Geoffrey Hoffman
There has been little need for the term “cyber sovereignty” among democratic states: the Internet, by its nature, operates under an aegis of freedom and cooperation. However, as the international system slips away from American unipolarity, a...

Conversation

02.15.18

Is American Policy toward China Due for a ‘Reckoning’?

Charles Edel, Elizabeth Economy & more
Former diplomats Kurt M. Campbell and Ely Ratner argue that United States policy toward China, in administrations of both parties, has relied in the past on a mistaken confidence in America’s ability to “mold China to the United States’ liking.”...

China Confirms Detention of Hong Kong Bookseller Snatched from Train

Te-Ping Chen
Wall Street Journal
China confirmed it was holding Swedish citizen Gui Minhai and that he would be dealt with according to Chinese law, as Stockholm stepped up criticism of Beijing for its “brutal” treatment of the Hong Kong bookseller.

Conversation

02.05.18

Is the Belt and Road Anti-Democratic?

Nadège Rolland, Tim Summers & more
During her visit to Beijing, Shanghai, and Wuhan January 31-February 2, Prime Minister Theresa May attempted to improve her country’s trade relations with China—an increasingly important partner for the post-Brexit United Kingdom. And yet, May was...

China Considers Legal Gambling on Hainan Island

Keith Zhai and Daniela Wei
Bloomberg
China is drafting a proposal to allow gambling on Hainan Island, people familiar with the talks said, in what would be an unprecedented move that could reshape gaming in China’s territories and transform the economy of a strategic southern province.

Pyramid Schemes Cause Huge Social Harm in China

Economist
The authorities call them “business cults”. Tens of millions of people are ensnared in these pyramid schemes that use cult-like techniques to brainwash their targets and bilk them out of their money.

China’s Plans for Creating New International Courts Are Raising Fears of Bias

Nyshka Chandran
CNBC
Multi-jurisdictional dealings between Chinese entities and their emerging market counterparts can pose immense regulatory challenges, especially in the realms of financing and execution.

Pyramid Schemes Cause Huge Social Harm in China

The authorities call them “business cults”. Tens of millions of people are ensnared in these pyramid schemes that use cult-like techniques to brainwash their targets and bilk them out of their money.

Media

02.02.18

Chinese Civil Society in 2018: What’s Ahead?

Wang Yongmei, Anthony Saich & more
The impetus for this event is it’s about a year since the new Foreign NGO Law was implemented in China. There was also another law implemented in 2016, the Charity Law, that governs how domestic NGOs function in China. But there’s a lot more going...

Theresa May Pledges to Raise Hong Kong and Human Rights with China

Tom Phillips and Jessica Elgot
Guardian
Theresa May has insisted she will raise human rights and Hong Kong’s political situation with China’s leaders this week, amid criticism of Britain’s “pusillanimous” response to Beijing’s increasingly hard line.

‘Me Too,’ Chinese Women Say. Not so Fast, Say the Censors.

Javier C. Hernández and Zoe Mou
New York Times
They call themselves “silence breakers,” circulate petitions demanding investigations into sexual harassment and share internet memes like clenched fists with painted nails.

Viewpoint

01.23.18

Who’s to Blame for Hong Kong’s Weakening Rule of Law?

Alvin Y.H. Cheung
Rimsky Yuen, Hong Kong’s third Secretary for Justice, stepped down in early January. He leaves his department, and the city’s reputation for rule of law, markedly worse than they were when he took office in July 2012.According to the Department of...

Chinese Bank Fined over Multibillion-Dollar Bad-Debt Cover-Up

Mandy Zuo
South China Morning Post
China’s banking regulator has slapped a 462 million yuan (US$72 million) fine on a bank branch over a massive shell company fraud, as Beijing continues to crack down on financial risks.

China’s Vpn Crackdown Is about Money as Much as Censorship

Lucy Hornby
Financial Times
For years, Beijing has played a cat-and-mouse game with anyone trying to breach its Great Firewall of internet censorship. Recently, however, it has switched gears from high-tech censorship to old-fashioned shakedown, as the Ministry of Industry and...

Viewpoint

01.19.18

China’s Leaders Are Poised to Strike a Blow to Its Legal System

Stanley Lubman
President Xi Jinping has escalated China’s war on corruption with a proposed new law that would expand the reach of the Party in an unprecedented manner. Under current law, two formally separate entities deal with cases of corruption: A Party...

Joshua Wong Sentenced in Hong Kong for Role in Umbrella Movement

Alan Wong
New York Times
Mr. Wong had pleaded guilty to contempt of court for refusing to obey a court order to leave a protest site in the last days of demonstrations, known as the Umbrella Movement, that paralyzed parts of Hong Kong without winning any political...

China to Look at Changing Its Constitution

Tom Mitchell
Financial Times
China’s Communist party will meet next month to deliberate revisions to the country’s state constitution that would mark the document’s first amendments since 2004.

China Says Part of Hong Kong Rail Station to Be Subject to Mainland Laws

Christian Shepherd, Venus Wu
Reuters
China’s parliament on Wednesday said part of a high-speed railway station being built in Hong Kong would be regarded as mainland territory governed by mainland laws, an unprecedented move that critics say further erodes the city’s autonomy.