Viewpoint

08.22.17

Burn the Books, Bury the Scholars!

Geremie R. Barmé
Chinese censorship has come a long way. During his rule in the second century B.C.E., the First Emperor of a unified China, Ying Zheng, famously quashed the intellectual diversity of his day by ‘burning the books and burying the scholars’. He not...

Conversation

08.21.17

Should Publications Compromise to Remain in China?

Margaret Lewis, Andrew J. Nathan & more
The prestigious “China Quarterly will continue to publish articles that make it through our rigorous double-blind peer review regardless of topic or sensitivity,” wrote editor Tim Pringle on Monday after days of intense criticism of the brief-lived...

The Spark: 7 Sins of India

Xinhua
7 Sins of India

In China, an Action Hero Beats Box Office Records (and Arrogant Westerners)

New York Times
The success of the two-hour film, Wolf Warrior 2, featuring a red-tinged Rambo named Leng Feng, is being seen in China as a pointer to the national mood after almost five years under Xi Jinping, the president. Mr. Xi has promoted a spirit of hawkish...

Facebook Tests Way Into China Via Secret Photo—Sharing App

Yuan Yang
Financial Times
A photo—sharing app has appeared on Apple’s App Store in China that looks exactly like Facebook’s Moments app, and analysts say it may be a way for the US tech group to finally break into its most coveted market.

Viewpoint

08.14.17

China is Forcing Uighurs Abroad to Return Home. Why Aren’t More Countries Refusing to Help?

Jessica Batke
The campaign began quietly. Students studying abroad were told to return home. Many did, and their classmates didn’t hear from them afterwards. For those who needed extra incentive to get moving, police detained their families back home. Finally,...

In China, Facebook Tests the Waters with a Stealth App

New York Times
Facebook and many of its apps have been blocked in China for years. To change that, Mark Zuckerberg has made a big point of meeting with Chinese politicians, reading stodgy Communist Party propaganda, studying Mandarin and—perhaps more daunting—...

Facebook’s Secret Chinese App Is a Dud in China So Far

Quartz
Over the weekend the New York Times reported (paywall) that Facebook had stealthily released a photo-sharing app in the Chinese iOS App Store translated as “Colorful Balloons.” The news spread rapidly around English-language media, as it marked the...

China’s Pretty Boys Find a New Gig: Propaganda Films

New York Times
Commissioned by the government to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, China’s latest propaganda film was meant to be a patriotic tale about the young soldiers who served their country in its earliest...

Patriotic Action Film Set to Break China Blockbuster Record

Tom Hancock
Financial Times
A patriotic Chinese action film whose tagline is “whoever offends China will be hunted down wherever they are” is poised to become the country’s highest grossing film to date.

‘China Has Conquered Kenya’: Inside Beijing’s New Strategy to Win African Hearts and Minds

Jonathan Kaiman
Los Angeles Times
It took the StarTimes satellite TV salesman about 30 minutes to install a pipeline for Chinese propaganda into Francis Gitonga’s squat, cinder-block home here in southern Kenya, near Africa’s Great Rift Valley.

Viewpoint

08.03.17

China’s ‘New Achievements’ in Legal Reform Exist More in Policy than in Practice

Stanley Lubman
It is no coincidence that two days after Liu Xiaobo’s death, Xinhua published an article praising China’s “new achievements in judicial protection of human rights.” The judicial reforms the article mentions have not yet been fully implemented and...

Holes close in China’s ’Great Firewall’ as Apple and Amazon snub apps to bypass censors

Los Angeles Times
Moves by business giants Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. to stop people from using censorship-skirting apps in China have renewed questions about the extent to which U.S. companies are willing to work with authorities to operate in the vast but...

Apple’s Decision to Remove VPN Apps from the App Store in China Explained by Tim Cook

Andrew Griffin
Independent
Tim Cook has responded to criticisms that Apple is quietly removing apps from the App Store for the Chinese government.

China Chatbot Goes Rogue: ‘Do You Love the Communist Party?’ ‘No’

Louise Lucas, Nicolle Liu, and Yingzhi...
Financial Times
Two chatbots with decidedly non-socialist characteristics were pulled from one of China’s most popular messaging apps after serving up unpatriotic answers about topics including the South China Sea and the Communist party.

Chinese State Media Mocks Trump’s “Emotional Venting” on Twitter

Maya Kosoff
“Only the Fake News Media and Trump enemies want me to stop using Social Media,” Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday morning, referring to himself, characteristically, in the third person. “Only way for me to get the truth out!” Of course, the list of...

Debt-Ridden Chinese Giant Now a Shadow of Its Former Size

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
The Han Show here in central China was supposed to turn the city of Wuhan into a leading tourist destination, with a dazzling spectacle of lights, water jets and acrobats by the former creative director of Cirque du Soleil. But the custom-built 2,...

Joining Apple, Amazon’s China Cloud Service Bows to Censors

Paul Mozur
New York Times
Days after Apple yanked anti-censorship tools off its app store in China, another major American technology company is moving to implement the country’s tough restrictions on online content.

Viewpoint

07.31.17

Ping Pong Fury

Ma Tianjie from Chublic Opinion
The match was scheduled for 7:40 p.m. on June 23. Thousands of viewers were eagerly anticipating Chinese Ping Pong superstar Ma Long to face off against his Japanese challenger Yuya Oshima at the China Open, held in the southwestern city of Chengdu...

A Crackdown on Unfettered Internet Access Is Jeopardizing China’s Pro-Business Credentials

Charlie Campbell
Time
Another big political meeting, another crackdown on Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)—the location-shifting software many in China use to access websites banned by its government, such as Facebook, YouTube and Google.

Apple ‘Pulls 60 VPNs from China App Store’

BBC
The BBC understands that as many as 60 VPNs were pulled over the weekend. Apple said it was legally required to remove them because they did not comply with new regulations. It refused to confirm the exact number of apps withdrawn, but did not deny...

Why Justin Bieber Got Banned from Performing in China

New Yorker
The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture issued an injunction against the twenty-three-year-old pop star, Justin Bieber, who was in the middle of a global tour, prohibiting him from performing in China. (On Monday, Bieber announced that he was...

China Clamping down on Use of VPNs to Evade Great Firewall

CNBC
China is tightening control over foreign companies’ internet use in a move some worry might disrupt their operations or jeopardize trade secrets as part of a crackdown on technology that allows web surfers to evade Beijing’s online censorship.

Sinica Podcast

07.19.17

Guo Wengui: The Extraordinary Tale of a Chinese Billionaire Turned Dissident

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more
The life and times of Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui reads much like an epic play, so it is fitting that we have included with this podcast a dramatis personæ to explain the many characters in Guo’s story. Scroll to the bottom, below the...

Chinese Labor Activist Targeted over ‘Ivanka Trump Supplier Probe’

South China Morning Post
Hua Haifeng believes police arrested him and took a special interest in his work after he began investigating factories supplying Trump’s clothing brand

‘Making China Great Again’: Beijing-Run Media Crows as U.S. Stumbles

Sophia Yan
CNBC
A Communist Party mouthpiece is crowing that malfunctioning U.S. leadership is making China “great again” on the eve of highly anticipated bilateral trade talks between the two countries.

Sinica Podcast

07.17.17

Jerome A. Cohen on Human Rights and Law in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Professor Jerome A. Cohen began studying the law of what was then called “Red China” in the early 1960s, at a time when the country was closed off, little understood, and much maligned in the West.Legal institutions were just developing at that time...

Liu Xiaobo’s Death Pushes China’s Censors into Overdrive

New York Times
It came as little surprise when, after the death of the dissident Liu Xiaobo last week, China’s vast army of censors kicked into overdrive as they scrubbed away the outpouring of grief on social media that followed.

Is New Transformers a Sign of China’s Hollywood Fatigue?

Sherry Fei Ju and Charles Clover
Financial Times
Like a high-flying space robot shot out of the sky, the Transformers film franchise has crash-landed in China—singeing a promising Hollywood business model in the process.

Liu Xiaobo: The Man Who Stayed

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
In 1898, some of China’s most brilliant minds allied themselves with the Emperor Guangxu, a young ruler who was trying to assert himself by forcing through reforms to open up China’s political, economic, and educational systems. But opponents...

Viewpoint

07.13.17

The Chinese Think Liu Xiaobo Was Asking For It

James Palmer from Foreign Policy
Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and Chinese dissident writer, is dying of liver cancer. He’s been in prison since 2009, his “crime” being the publication of a charter calling for political reform. But he’s not a hero to his countrymen. Most...

The Passion of Liu Xiaobo

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
In the late 1960s Mao Zedong, China’s Great Helmsman, encouraged children and adolescents to confront their teachers and parents, root out “cow ghosts and snake spirits,” and otherwise “make revolution.” In practice, this meant closing China’s...

KFC—Yes That KFC—Is Selling Its Own Smartphones in China

Cheang Ming
CNBC
Kentucky Fried Chicken celebrated its 30th anniversary of operations in China by unveiling a limited edition smartphone it had collaborated on with Chinese smartphone maker Huawei.

Diplomats Fear Beijing Is Stalling on Allowing Liu Xiaobo out of China

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Diplomats in Beijing say time is running out for the ailing Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo to go overseas for treatment and fear China’s top leaders are deliberately stalling the process until it is no longer safe for medics to move him.

China Says ‘China Responsibility Theory’ on North Korea Has to Stop

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
China hit back on Tuesday in unusually strong terms at repeated calls from the United States to put more pressure on North Korea, urging a halt to what it called the “China responsibility theory,” and saying all parties needed to pull their weight.

Liu Xiaobo: German Anger at China over Hospital Videos

BBC
Germany has issued a sharp rebuke to China after videos of Western doctors visiting ailing Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in hospital were posted online.

At the Movies in China, Some Propaganda With Your Popcorn

Amy Qin
New York Times
Chinese cinemas have been ordered to play one of four government-issued videos before every movie screening.

China Says It Has Invited Foreign Physicians to Treat Imprisoned Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo

Time
The judicial bureau for the northeastern city of Shenyang said Wednesday in an online statement that Liu’s family members made a request for foreign experts and Liu’s medical team agreed. Liu, China’s best-known political prisoner, is being treated...

Chinese Media Says India Needs to Be Taught a 'Bitter Lesson' over Its Border Dispute

Joseph Hincks
Time
An editorial that ran in China's Global Times Tuesday has ramped up the rhetoric in an ongoing military dispute along a portion of the Sino-Indian border...

Depth of Field

06.29.17

Love, Robots, and Fireworks

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
Included in this Depth of Field column are stories of love, community, remembrance, and the future, told through the discerning eyes of some of China’s best photojournalists. Among them, the lives of African migrants in Guangzhou, seven years inside...

Tycoon’s Claims Reverberate in China Despite Censorship and Thin Evidence

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Since taking office, President Xi Jinping has cultivated an aura of austere probity and stern control. But now a garrulous billionaire living in a lavish apartment in Manhattan, taunting the authorities beyond the easy grasp of Chinese security...

Hollywood Conducting First Independent Audit of China's Box Office

Patrick Brzeski
Hollywood Reporter
After years of U.S. studio concerns over a lack of transparency and possible ticket fraud, Hollywood is getting a closer look at the Chinese industry's books...

Liu Xiaobo, Jailed Chinese Nobel Laureate, Is Moved from Prison for Cancer Treatment

Austin Ramzy
New York Times
Liu Xiaobo, the jailed Chinese dissident who received the Nobel Peace Prize for his writings promoting democracy, has been moved from prison to be treated for late-stage cancer, two of his lawyers said on Monday.

China Charges Labor Activist for ‘Picking Quarrels’

Chun Han Wang
Wall Street Journal
A Chinese activist who for years has documented worker unrest faced charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” on Friday, in a trial seen as a bellwether of Beijing’s approach to containing labor tensions.

Sinica Podcast

06.23.17

Islamophobia in China, Explained

Kaiser Kuo, Alice Y. Su & more from Sinica Podcast
Islamophobia isn’t a phenomenon limited to Trump’s America or the Europe of Brexit and Marine Le Pen. It has taken root in China, too—in a form that bears a striking resemblance to what we’ve seen in recent years in the West. The Chinese Party-state...

Novels from China’s Moral Abyss

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Modern China was built on the nearly thirty ruthless years of Mao’s rule. The country’s elite—the “literati” of educated small landowners who held the empire together at the local level—was brutally eliminated. Almost everyone’s personal life was...

Media

06.21.17

American Universities in China: Free Speech Bastions or Threats to Academic Freedom?

Eric Fish from Asia Blog
In 1986, Johns Hopkins University opened a study center in Nanjing University, making it the first American institution of higher education allowed to establish a physical presence in China during the Communist era. Since then, dozens of other...

China Invites Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner to Visit Beijing

Peter Martin, Keith Zhai, and Jennifer...
Bloomberg
China has invited President Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law to visit later this year, according to people familiar with the matter, in the latest sign of the first family’s growing influence over foreign affairs. Details of the possible trip...

China: Otto Warmbier’s Death ‘Unfortunate’

China on Tuesday (June 20) expressed sorrow over the death of US student Otto Warmbier following his release from North Korea in a coma, and urged Washington and Pyongyang to resolve tensions through dialogue. “I think this is an unfortunate thing...

‘Islamic State Killings: China’s Censored Social Media Is in Uproar, so What’s Beijing Thinking?

Coco Liu
South China Morning Post
The deaths of two Chinese prompt widespread calls for retribution. Beijing, seeking favour in the region with its Belt and Road Initiative, remains curiously silent.

Have a Nice Day, Chinese Gangster Animation, Blocked in France

Stephen McDonelll
BBC
The makers of a cutting-edge Chinese film that was pulled from the world's premier animation festival following government pressure from Beijing say they still hope the movie will get a run in cinemas at home later this year...

‘Lazy’ Chinese Driver Turns Shop into an Instant Drive-Through

Tracy Hu
South China Morning Post
A man drove his car into a convenience store in eastern China to save time from having to park his vehicle, according to Chinese media. Surveillance footage from the store in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province, showed a grey car being driven through the...

Sinica Podcast

06.12.17

How Does Investigative Reporting Happen in China?

Kaiser Kuo & Li Xin from Sinica Podcast
Li Xin is the Managing Director of Caixin Global, the English-language arm of China’s most authoritative financial news source, Caixin. For over 10 years, she has worked closely with the Editor-in-Chief of Caixin, Hu Shuli, whose famously fearless...

Online Gossip Clampdown in China Leads to Netizen Outcry

Yuan Yang, Yingzhi Yang
Financial Times
Chinese netizens have decried a government campaign to shut down many of the nation's top celebrity gossip outlets as Beijing escalates its control over online content...

Godfather of Beijing’s Indie Music Scene Dissects China’s Experimental Soundscape

Malcolm Surer
China’s alternative-punk music scene has evolved from a genre that represented the rebelliousness of a niche group of well-off educated urbanites to one that’s international, hip, and popular. Chinese bands now play to sold-out gigs not only in old...

Apple Customer Data in China Was Sold Illegally, Police Say

New York Times
Police also said the leaked data included the names, Apple identification numbers and phone numbers of Apple users.

Sinica Podcast

05.26.17

Chinese Power in the Age of Donald Trump

Jeremy Goldkorn, Kaiser Kuo & more from Sinica Podcast
When Joseph Nye, Jr., first used the phrase “soft power” in his 1990 book Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power, China did not factor much into his calculus of world order: It had relatively little military and economic power, and...

Conversation

05.25.17

Can Free Speech on American Campuses Withstand Chinese Nationalism?

Yifu Dong, Edward Friedman & more
Earlier this week, Kunming native Yang Shuping, a student at the University of Maryland, gave a commencement speech extolling the “fresh air” and “free speech” she experienced while studying in the United States. Video of her speech spread on the...

Chinese Student’s Commencement Speech in U.S. Isn’t Going over Well in China

NPR
A Chinese student who praised the “fresh air of free speech” in the U.S. during her commencement address at the University of Maryland is facing an online backlash from classmates and from people in China who say she insulted her own country.