Christopher Dodd, Li Bingbing to Be Honored at U.S.-China Film Summit

Patrick Brzeski
Hollywood Reporter
As Hollywood and the booming Chinese film business have worked with increasing urgency to forge deeper ties and more mutual understanding over recent years, the Asia Society’s annual summit has emerged as a noteworthy networking occasion on the...

Chinese Court to Announce Verdict of Bo’s Case on 9/22

Xinhua
The Jinan Intermediate People’s Court announced Wednesday that it will deliver the verdict on former secretary of the Chongqing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (C.P.C.) Bo Xilai’s case at 10 a.m. on Sept. 22...

Conversation

09.27.13

Can China’s Leading Indie Film Director Cross Over in America?

Jonathan Landreth, Michael Berry & more
Jonathan Landreth:Chinese writer and director Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin won the prize for the best screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Though the dialogue and its fine translation and English subtitles by Tony Rayns are exemplary, I...

Media

09.26.13

Execution or Murder? Chinese Look for Justice in Street Vendor’s Death

This morning, a Chinese street vendor named Xia Junfeng was executed. Xia had been found guilty of murdering two urban enforcers, known colloquially as chengguan, in 2009. Xia’s lawyers argued he acted in self-defense, presenting six eyewitness...

Media

09.25.13

The Silk Road of Pop

Nick Holdstock
Most coverage of Xinjiang focuses on the tensions between Han and Uighur in the region, especially since the 2009 Urumqi riots. The Silk Road of Pop, a new documentary about Uighur music directed by Sameer Farooq, is a timely portrait of the rich...

Conversation

09.24.13

A Shark Called Wanda—Will Hollywood Swallow the Chinese Dream Whole?

Stanley Rosen, Jonathan Landreth & more
Stanley Rosen:Wang Jianlin, who personally doesn’t know much about film, made a splash when he purchased America’s No. 2 movie theater chain AMC at a price many thought far too high for what he was getting.  A number of knowledgeable people...

Sinica Podcast

09.20.13

Chinese Twitter and the Big-V Takedown

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Joining Kaiser and Jeremy this week are David Wertime and Rachel Lu from Tea Leaf Nation, along with Paul Mozur from The Wall Street Journal. And our topic? None other than the firestorm that has engulfed Sina Weibo following China’s effective...

Crackdown on Bloggers Is Mounted by China

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Worried about its hold on public opinion, the Chinese government has pursued a propaganda and police offensive against what it calls malicious rumor-mongering online.  

Media

09.18.13

For Chinese, Violence in the Middle East Sparks Debate on Democracy, Stability

Recent months have been rocky for the Middle East: harsh crackdowns on protesters in Egypt and a Rashomon-like scenario in which the Syrian government and the rebels have accused each other of using chemical weapons, just to name a few. The region’s...

Conversation

09.17.13

What’s Behind China’s Recent Internet Crackdown?

Xiao Qiang, John Garnaut & more
Last weekend, Charles Xue Manzi, a Chinese American multi-millionaire investor and opinion leader on one of China’s most popular microblogs, appeared in handcuffs in an interview aired on China Central Television (CCTV). Xue is just the most visible...

Media

09.13.13

Chinese Professor Mocked for Suggesting Elderly Sacrifice Even More

China’s age of retirement has long been a subject of controversy, as the country’s aging population and slowing economic growth have made caring for the elderly an increasingly daunting task. Recently, Yang Yansui, a professor at China’s prestigious...

Books

09.12.13

Blocked on Weibo

Jason Q. Ng
Though often described with foreboding buzzwords such as “The Great Firewall” and the “censorship regime,” Internet regulation in China is rarely either obvious or straightforward. This was the  inspiration for China specialist Jason Q. Ng to write an innovative computer script that would make it possible to deduce just which  terms are  suppressed on  China’s most important social media site, Sina Weibo. The  remarkable and groundbreaking result is Blocked on Weibo, which began as a highly  praised blog and has been expanded here  to list over 150 forbidden keywords, as well as offer possible explanations why the Chinese government would find these terms sensitive.As Ng explains, Weibo (roughly the equivalent of Twitter), with over 500 million registered accounts, censors hundreds of words and phrases, ranging from fairly obvious terms, including “tank” (a reference to the “Tank Man” who stared down the Chinese army in Tiananmen Square) and  the names of top government officials (if they can’t be found online, they can’t be criticized), to deeply obscure references, including “hairy bacon” (a coded insult referring to Mao’s embalmed body).With dozens of phrases that could get a Chinese Internet user invited  to the  local  police station “for a cup of tea” (a euphemism for being detained by the  authorities), Blocked  on Weibo offers an invaluable guide to sensitive topics in modern-day China as well as a fascinating tour of recent Chinese history.  —The New Press{chop}

It’s O.K. to Protest in China, Just Don’t March

Shankar Vedantam
NPR
King has just completed two studies that peer into the Chinese censorship machine — including a field experiment within China that was conducted with extraordinary secrecy. The studies refute popular intuitions about what Chinese censors are after...

Head of Xinhua Says Western Media Pushing Revolution in China

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
Western media organizations are trying to demonize China and promote revolution and national disintegration as they hate seeing the country prosper, the head of China’s official Xinhua news agency said in comments published on...

Conversation

09.09.13

What Are Chinese Attitudes Toward a U.S. Strike in Syria?

Chen Weihua, Vincent Ni & more
Chen Weihua:Chinese truly believe that there is no military solution to the Syrian crisis. On the contrary, a U.S. air strike would only worsen the situation there. Chinese have seen many failures of U.S. intervention in the Middle East in the past...

Sinica Podcast

09.06.13

A Goodbye to the Magistad

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Can it have been merely a few weeks ago that we sequestered Evan “The Turncoat” Osnos in our studio and grilled the celebrated writer on his decision to leave China for what must have myopically seemed like greener pastures? At the time, we intended...

The Death of Independent Cinema in China

Caijing
After wrangling with the authorities all day August 25, on what was supposed to be the opening of the festival on the rural outskirts of Beijing, this year’s Beijing Independent Film Festival has been cancelled. 

Conversation

09.05.13

To Reform or Not Reform?—Echoes of the Late Qing Dynasty

Orville Schell, John Delury & more
Orville Schell:It is true that China is no longer beset by threats of foreign incursion nor is it a laggard in the world of economic development and trade. But being there and being steeped in an atmosphere of seemingly endless political and...

Rape Trial Casts Spotlight on Offspring of China’s Elite

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Like the recent trial of Bo Xilai, the fallen former politician, the case has become an intensely watched and debated parable about the privileges and limited accountability of the Communist Party’s highborn. 

The Confessions of a Reactionary

Teng Biao
China Change
When Xu Zhiyong and I received the “Ten People in Rule of Law in 2003” award at CCTV, neither of us, nor the two sponsors of the event would have thought that, in a few years, the two of us would become “the enemies of the state.”...

China‘s Communist Party Urges Popular Sina Weibo Users to Think of ’National Interests‘

Brian Spegele
Wall Street Journal
The recent uptick in government pressure on popular online pundits was evident as the Communist Party’s mouthpiece People’s Daily weighed in with a sharply worded commentary demanding users with huge followings act in the “national interest.”&...

Media

09.04.13

China’s Crackdown on Social Media: Who Is in Danger?

There is a Chinese proverb that says one must kill a chicken to scare the monkeys, which means to punish someone in order to make an example out of them. That is what many believe happened last Sunday when outspoken investor and Internet celebrity...

China’s Rule-of-Law Trial

Council on Foreign Relations
The just-concluded trial of former Communist Party boss Bo Xilai was unprecedented in opening up a high-profile legal proceeding to public scrutiny, says legal scholar Jerome A. Cohen.   

China’s Press Corps Ordered to Study Marxism

Josh Rudolph
China Digital Times
The nation’s 307,000 reporters, producers and editors will soon have to sit through at least two days of Marxism classes, the Communist Party’s Propaganda Department has announced along with the press association...

Ai Weiwei on China’s Trial of the Century

Ai Weiwei
Bloomberg
Ai Weiwei’s commentary on the twisted courtroom drama provided by the trial of Bo Xilai and what implications it holds for the future of “rule of law” in China, both for citizens and officials of all ranks. 

30-Year Throwback: What Fodor’s Was Saying About China Three Decades Ago

Paul Chung
Asia Blog
When asked to give examples of China's transformation over the last three decades, you may first be tempted to cite year-to-year G.D.P. growth figures. Yet in 2013, we may also find some of these answers tucked inside a Fodor's...

Censorship, Sex, and the Bo Xilai Trial

Jiayang Fan
New Yorker
By allowing the ousted politician to have a say at all, and by releasing portions of the daily transcript the Party has highlighted its progressiveness and successfully deflected attention from the theatrical nature of a masterfully choreographed...

China’s “Seven Base Lines” for a Clean Internet

David Bandurski
China Media Project
Run down the list of the “Seven Base Lines” and it is painfully obvious that this is part of a new government initiative to assert stronger control over online speech. This is yet another internet tightening in China ostensibly...

Police Break Up Beijing Independent Film Festival

Natalie Ornell
China Digital Times
Directors, jury and invited guests who had come from as far as Sweden were told the 10th Beijing Independent Film Festival were threatened with power cuts and the arrest of Wang Hongwei if they persisted in holding the festival. 

How the Media Got the Bo Xilai Trial Wrong

Isaac Stone Fish
Foreign Policy
Beijing managed to keep much of the Bo saga - and the elite machinations that precipitated it - from the foreign press. As humbling as it may be to admit, we know very little about what goes on at the highest levels of Chinese politics. 

Political Staging in Trial of Fallen China Official

Edward Wong and Jonathan Ansfield
New York Times
The courtroom spectacle is an effort by the party to convince Bo’s elite party allies and ordinary supporters that he had his say in court, and that the long prison sentence he is expected to get is based on evidence of crimes committed, not...

6 Things You Need to Know About Bo Xilai’s Trial

Isaac Stone Fish
Foreign Policy
Day one of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai’s trial on charges of bribery, corruption, and abusing his power has come to an end. For those who didn’t spend last night glued to their devices, here’s what you missed. 

Bo Xilai Trial As Blogged by the Court

BBC
The court at which disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai is being tried has taken the unprecedented step of posting live updates of his trial on Sina weibo, one of China’s Twitter-like microblogs. 

A Path to the World for Chinese Directors

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
CNEX, a nonprofit, has unique connections in the Chinese Communist Party which help insulate budding documentarians from undue interference so they can film and release films on a broader array of issues. 

Bo Xilai Trial Draws Comparisons to China’s Greatest Courtroom Drama

Barbara Demick
Los Angeles Review of Books
In 1980, the Gang of Four trial was widely mocked in the West as a political show trial in which Deng Xiaoping purged his enemies. While there are many differences between that trial and Bo’s it is the long ago trial that is likely to prove more...

Mardi Gras In Jinan: Foreign Correspondents Flock To The Party Of The Century

Anthony Tao
Beijing Cream
If you’re a China correspondent, you’re likely in Jinan, Shandong province right now, where disgraced former Chongqing Party Chief Bo Xilai, 64, will stand open trial for corruption tomorrow at the Jinan Intermediate...

Can China’s Show Trial Show the Way to Reform

Adam Minter
Bloomberg
The Communist Party and its mouthpieces will celebrate the decisiveness of the Bo Xilai verdict as proof that the party - and the courts it controls - won’t tolerate corruption in its ranks. But who will believe this? 

Conversation

08.28.13

Beijing, Why So Tense?

Andrew J. Nathan, Isabel Hilton & more
Andrew Nathan:I think of the Chinese leaders as holding a plant spritzer and dousing sparks that are jumping up all around them.  Mao made the famous remark, “A single spark can start a prairie fire.”  The leaders have seen that...

Bo Guagua’s Statement

New York Times
 Bo Guagua released to The New York Times on August 19. Mr. Bo’s father, Bo Xilai, a former Chinese Communist Party official, is scheduled to go on trial on August 22 on charges of taking bribes, corruption and abuse of power. 

Political Rebalancing: Tilting Backwards

J.M.
Economist
The speed with which Mr Xi has moved to establish his conservative ideological credentials, having at first struck a somewhat more liberal tone, has still been a surprise to some observers.  

Media

08.27.13

The Surprise Loser of China’s Trial of the Century: Its Corruption Watchdog

It seems like everybody has something to gain from Show Trial 2.0, a.k.a. the semi-live tweeting of fallen politician Bo Xilai’s day in court.Bo Xilai the showman takes a bow with a flourish; Gu Kailai, the scorned wife, exacts sweet revenge;...

China Takes Aim at Western Ideas

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Communist Party cadres have filled meeting halls around China to hear a somber, secretive warning issued by senior leaders. Power could escape their grip, they have been told, unless the party eradicates seven subversive currents coursing through...

Media

08.27.13

China’s Original Social Media: Bathroom Graffiti

The men’s room in the passenger station in Qujing, Yunnan province will be familiar to anyone who has answered the call of nature in one of China’s provincial bus stations. Dim fluorescent lights give a clinical blue pallor to the bleary-eyed,...

China’s Fallen Former High-Flyer Bo to Stand Trial

Benjamin Kang Lin and Ben Blanchard
Reuters
The long-awaited trial of Bo who is still popular with conservatives and the disaffected, will be the country’s highest-profile hearing since the 1976 downfall of Mao Zedong’s widow, Jiang Qing, and her Gang of Four at the end of the Cultural...

Viewpoint

08.22.13

How Bo Xilai Split the Party and Divided the People

Ouyang Bin from Chinese Law Prof Blog
After the 1989 Tiananmen Incident, Chinese political struggles became milder and more mundane. Members of the Politburo and politicians of higher rank rarely were toppled (except for Chen Liangyu in 2006) and ideology seldom triggered significant...

Media

08.22.13

You Can’t Handle the Truth: Bo Xilai’s Courtroom Performance Wins Fans

A show trial this is not. But is a twist ending in the major blockbuster “The Life of Bo Xilai” in the offing?The long-awaited trial of Bo Xilai, once a rising star in the Chinese Communist Party, took place Thursday morning, but instead of the...

Conversation

08.21.13

Is Xi Jinping Redder Than Bo Xilai Or Vice Versa?

Michael Anti & Shai Oster
Michael Anti:Competing for Redness: The Scarlet Bo vs the Vermilion Xi?Bo Xilai, the fallen Chinese princeling famous for leading a “Red Songs” communist campaign in southwest China's megacity Chongqing, is on trial today, live-Twittered from...

Inside China’s Hoop Dreams

Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
When it comes to cracking the Chinese market, Hollywood could take a page out of the NBA’s playbook. “The love for basketball here is just incredible,” says Kobe Bryant.

Liu Xiaobo’s Brother-in-Law Liu Hui to Serve 11 Years After Losing Appeal

Tania Branigan
Guardian
 Family angered over confirmation of verdict seen as persecution of the Nobel prize-winner’s family.

Amid Tribute to King of Pop, an Echo of Tiananmen Square

Edward Wong
New York Times
 The famous and politcally sensitive “Tank Man” photograph of June 1989 appears during a Michael Jackson tribute concert in Beijing. 

Xi Jinping’s Overlooked Revelation on China’s Maritime Disputes

M. Taylor Fravel
Diplomat
Although unnoticed by foreign analysts, Xi Jinping recently signaled a desire to dial back tensions in the South and East China Seas.

China Vanke Chairman Wang Shi Defends Right to Speak out on Politics

Adrian Wan
South China Morning Post
Property tycoon Wang Shi has defended the rights of businessmen like himself to speak up on political issues, citing disgraced Politburo member Bo Xilai’s efforts to enlist his support for his controversial campaigns.

Why Aren’t Chinese People Reading Books Anymore?

Helen Gao
Atlantic
China’s once-robust trade in serious literature has withered under an increasingly materialistic, results-oriented society.

Japanese visits to shrine on war anniversary anger China

Antoni Slodkowski
Reuters
Japan's prime minister sent an offering to a shrine for war dead on the anniversary of Japan's World War II defeat, drawing harsh complaints from China and South Korea and risking tentative ties...

About That Tiananmen Tank Man Image In Cirque du Soleil’s Beijing Show

Anthony Tao
Beijing Cream
On opening night of Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour in Beijing, the highly sensitive the Tiananmen Tank Man image was displayed on the giant big-screens above the stage in Wukesong MasterCard Arena.

Sinica Podcast

08.16.13

David Moser Interviews Mark Rowswell

David Moser & Mark Rowswell from Sinica Podcast
If you are a long-timer in China, this is a show that needs no introduction. One of the most famous foreigners in China, Mark Rowswell (a.k.a. Dashan), shot to fame in the early 1990s after a fortuitous break on Chinese television. In this live...

Media

08.14.13

Don’t Dream Big—Four Vignettes on Social Mobility in Modern China

The New York Times recently ran an article that detailed the struggles of three young college women from low-income backgrounds, raising questions about whether education remains the “great equalizer” in America. How does the picture look in China,...

Dalai Lama’s Chinese Website Infecting Visitors, Expert Warns

Jim Finkle
Reuters
A prominent computer security firm has warned that the Dalai Lama’s Chinese-language website has been compromised with malicious software that is infecting computers of visitors with software that could be used for spying.

China’s Overdue Payments to Hollywood Could Happen This Week

Patrick Frater
Variety
Hollywood studios expect to be paid every penny of revenue that has bee earned in China, which is currently held up by a payment dispute. Studio sources suggest that an announcement will be made  within a week.

The Olympics’ Leadership Mess

Minky Worden
New York Times
Members of the I.O.C. will vote for a new president for the first time in 12 years. This may be the last chance for many years to reform the committee’s approach to repressive governments that seek to host the games.