Postcard

10.17.19

‘If We Give up on Our Husbands Today, Tomorrow Our Children Will Be Ashamed of Us’

Jiang Xue
This is a story about fear and the attempt to conquer fear. The wives of some of the lawyers who disappeared in China’s “709” crackdown have suffered house arrest, threats, and suppression. In their search to find their husbands, they hope no longer...

Books

10.04.19

The New Art of War

William J. Holstein
Brick Tower Press: The challenge is this: How can America’s fractured democracy and diverse society respond to a centrally orchestrated strategy from China that ultimately may challenge its interests and values?Some Chinese-Americans and Chinese residents—perhaps only a relative handful—have cooperated in obtaining technology for China. And many Chinese nationals who obtained years of experience working at American companies have returned to China to help competitors there.{chop}

Conversation

08.27.19

Can China’s Government Replace Hong Kong?

David Schlesinger & Jerome A. Cohen
As the Hong Kong protests enter their fourth month with no end in sight, on August 18 Beijing announced that the nearby Chinese metropolis of Shenzhen would again become a new type of special economic zone. In a clear message to Hong Kong, the plan...

Viewpoint

08.08.19

The U.S. Recently Erected a New Hurdle to U.S.-China Academic Cooperation. Here’s What It Might Mean.

Julian G. Ku
A recent move by the U.S. Department of Commerce reminds us that academic relationships are not immune from the effects of deteriorating U.S.-China relations. In April 2019, the Department included several Chinese universities on its Unverified List...

Viewpoint

08.02.19

‘Once Their Mental State Is Healthy, They Will Be Able to Live Happily in Society’

Timothy Grose
We should pause before impetuously tracing the practice of describing Islam as an illness, disease, or even cancer to “Western” politicians. While the United States-led “War on Terror” and subsequent global anxieties over Islam have undeniably...

Conversation

06.19.19

Hong Kong in Protest

David Schlesinger, Ho-fung Hung & more
On June 16, an estimated 2 million people took to the streets to protest the Hong Kong government’s handling of a proposed extradition bill. This followed two massive demonstrations against the bill earlier in the month, including one where police...

Viewpoint

06.19.19

What Does the Pause of Hong Kong’s Extradition Bill Mean?

Jerome A. Cohen
The Hong Kong people’s historic mass protests during the past 10 days have demonstrated their awareness that the now suspended extradition bill proposed by Chief Executive Carrie Lam represented a threat to Hong Kong’s promised “high degree of...

Viewpoint

05.31.19

Taiwan and Hong Kong Have a Stake in Mainland China’s Political Development. They Should Act on It.

Andreas Fulda
A range of observers and experts predicted that mainland China’s rapid economic modernization since the early 1990s would lead to social and political liberalization. Needless to say, that has not come to pass. The mainland’s economic reforms have...

Features

05.15.19

ChinaFile Presents: Hong Kong’s Relationship with Beijing, An Update

ChinaFile hosted a conversation at the Asia Society on May 9, with veteran Hong Kong legislator and rule of law advocate Martin Lee, longtime journalist and media rights expert Mak Yin-ting, and democracy activist Nathan Law, moderated by ChinaFile...

Depth of Field

02.25.19

Living by the Rivers

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
If the stories in this edition of Depth of Field share a common thread—apart from their distinguished photographic storytelling—it’s their interest in the flux and churn of life in China in 2019, where nothing seems fixed and pressure of constant...

‘Reeducating’ Xinjiang’s Muslims

James A. Millward from New York Review of Books
In a courtroom in Zharkent, Kazakhstan, in July 2018, a former kindergarten principal named Sayragul Sauytbay calmly described what Chinese officials continue to deny: a vast new gulag of “de-extremification training centers” has been created for...

Conversation

02.02.19

What Do the Huawei Indictments Mean for the Future of Global Tech?

Adam Segal, Samm Sacks & more
The United States indictments against Huawei look set to significantly worsen already tense relations between China and the U.S. As America pressures allies to drop Huawei and other Chinese firms, U.S. and European officials point to China’s own...

Features

01.08.19

Where Did the One Million Figure for Detentions in Xinjiang’s Camps Come From?

Jessica Batke
As journalists and scholars have reported in recent months on the campaign of religious and cultural repression and incarceration taking place in the Chinese region of Xinjiang, a central question has emerged: How many people has China’s government...

Conversation

11.09.18

Forty Years on, Is China Still Reforming?

Carl Minzner, Aaron Halegua & more
In late October, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the “Reform and Opening Up” policy, China’s Chairman Xi Jinping visited the southern metropolis of Shenzhen, the first major laboratory for the Party’s post-Mao economic reforms. Like his...

Media

11.06.18

ChinaFile Presents: The Situation in Xinjiang

ChinaFile and the U.S.-Asia Law Institute of NYU School of Law co-hosted a discussion with historian Rian Thum and journalists Gulchehra Hoja of Radio Free Asia and James Palmer of Foreign Policy on the human rights crisis in the far-western region...

Conversation

10.17.18

The Taxman Cometh for Fan Bingbing. So How Widespread Is Tax Evasion in China?

Wei Cui, Donald Clarke & more
Mega-famous Chinese actress Fan Bingbing emerged from months of silence to admit on Weibo that she had evaded taxes and owed over U.S.$100 million worth of civil fines to Chinese authorities. In a remarkable apology, Fan wrote that, “without good...

Viewpoint

10.05.18

Banning Chinese Students is Not in the U.S. National Interest

Chang Chiu & Thomas Kellogg
President Donald Trump has made no secret of his desire to radically revamp America’s immigration policies. Indeed, his family separation policies, which sparked nationwide protests and public revulsion after they were rolled out in May 2018, were...

Environment

10.03.18

The Anti-Corruption Campaign Takes on the War on Pollution

Julia Bowie
At last year’s 19th Party Congress, Xi Jinping vowed to confront the “principal contradiction” facing Chinese society: “the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life.” While the...

Other

09.21.18

Reporting from Xinjiang

On September 20, 2018, ChinaFile and the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) co-hosted a discussion with BuzzFeed reporter Megha Rajagopalan on her reporting on state-sponsored ethnic and religious repression in Xinjiang and, in particular, on...

Viewpoint

08.23.18

It’s Too Easy to Wind up in a Chinese Psychiatric Hospital, and Far Too Hard to Get Out

Jerome A. Cohen & Chi Yin
Every day in China, hundreds of people are involuntarily confined in mental health facilities, some through their involvement in criminal cases, many more via the government’s civil commitment processes. Whether, how, and how long to detain the...

Infographics

08.15.18

Visualizing China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign

“Catching Tigers and Flies” is ChinaFile’s interactive tool for tracking and, we hope, better understanding the massive campaign against corruption that Xi Jinping launched shortly after he came to power in late 2012. It is designed to give users a sense of the scope and character of the anti-corruption campaign by graphically rendering information about more than 2,000 of its targets whose cases have been publicly announced in official Chinese sources.

China Tightens Grip on Foreign University Ventures

Emily Feng
Financial Times
The directive, which took effect last year but whose existence is being revealed for the first time by the Financial Times, mandates foreign education institutions to include a clause that supports the establishment of a party organisation in any...

A Demonstration of Power: China Derails Protests before They Even Begin

Nathan VanderKlippe
Globe and Mail
It was after midnight and the slow train from Chengdu was nearing the end of its 30-hour journey when Ms. Yang decided to make a run for it. She was headed to Beijing to join a protest, but it was becoming clear that the authorities were closing in...

‘We’re a People Destroyed’: Why Uighur Muslims across China Are Living in Fear

Gene A. Bunin
Guardian
Gene A Bunin has spent the past 18 months talking to Uighur restaurant workers all over China. These conversations reveal how this Muslim minority feel the daily threat of arrest, detention and ‘re-education’

Viewpoint

08.02.18

Remaking China’s Civil Society in the Xi Jinping Era

Shawn Shieh
Given his past animosity towards civil society, Xi’s actions have been seen by some as moving China towards a new form of totalitarianism and a closing of the space for civil society. I would argue instead that we should see Xi’s ascendancy,...

Chinese Spiritual Leader Is Accused of Harassing Female Followers

Javier Hernandez
New York Times
In a 95-page document that circulated widely on social media this week, two male monks accused the Venerable Xuecheng, the abbot of Longquan Monastery in Beijing and a powerful religious official, of sending explicit messages and making unwanted...

Kazakh Trial Throws Spotlight on China’s Internment Centres

Emily Feng
Financial Times
The trial of a Chinese citizen who fled to Kazakhstan has offered rare insight into China’s secretive internment system, with Beijing’s security campaign in the western region of Xinjiang increasingly putting neighbouring countries in central Asia...

Disgraced Former Chinese Internet Tzar Lu Wei Charged with Bribery

James Griffiths
CNN
Lu Wei “accepted a large number of bribes” during his time as national propaganda chief, head of the Cyberspace Administration of China, deputy head of the official Xinhua news agency, and as a Beijing city official, according to state media.

China Set to Leapfrog US in the AI Race

Tristan Greene
It’s only been a year since TNW reported China’s announcement it was shifting its national strategy to claim the artificial intelligence crown. In that time China has advanced its agenda to a startling degree, at least according to the experts.

Chinese Internet Users Employ the Blockchain to Share a Censored News Article

Shannon Liao
Verge
Chinese netizens have turned to blockchain to share a censored news story about faulty vaccines given to small babies. Their efforts to repost an investigative piece about a large vaccine maker were largely thwarted by Internet monitors, but by...

Chinese Professor Accused of Sexual Harassment Is Barred From Teaching

Chris Buckley
A major university in southern China has barred a professor from teaching after female students went public with sexual harassment allegations against him, unhappy that the university had not taken swifter, firmer action.

China’s Human Rights Record, Aggressive Military Expansion Damage Its Soft Power Rating

Liu Zhen
South China Morning Post
China’s soft power has been weakened by its hard line on foreign policy and human rights, according to an annual survey released on Thursday.

Uighur Children Fall Victim to China Anti-Terror Drive

Emily Feng
Financial Times
On a quiet street in the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar, a house lies empty, padlocked from the outside, the family who lived there gone.

Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: A.I., Shame and Lots of Cameras

Paul Mozur
New York Times
In the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, a police officer wearing facial recognition glasses spotted a heroin smuggler at a train station.

Ex-Apple Engineer Arrested on His Way to China, Charged with Stealing Company’s Autonomous Car Secrets

Allyson Chiu
Washington Post
For about two years, Xiaolang Zhang was privy to information to which many in the tech world can only dream of having access: the inner workings of Apple’s secretive autonomous car research.

Qin Yongmin: Prominent Chinese Dissident Jailed for 13 Years

BBC
BBC
One of China’s highest-profile democracy campaigners has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for “subversion of state power”.

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.