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. 

Monster Zombie Spider to Crush Super Mario’s China Dreams

Bloomberg
Can Nintendo’s Super Mario take on Tencent Holding’s giant, undead Spider? As the country ends a 13-year ban on consoles, a generation of gamers have grown used to a free online model and increasingly migrating to mobile...

China Box-Office Standoff: Hollywood Could Receive Back Payments Soon

Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
A solution in a tax dispute that has resulted in delays in box-office payments to Hollywood studios could be coming soon as China Film Group explores interim solutions ahead of a more permanent resolution in coming weeks.

Psst, Chinese State Media: It's Satire

Christina Larson
Businessweek
This week, Xinhua, China’s state-run newswire, picked up and translated a satirical blog post from the New Yorker’s Borowitz Report as though it were straight news reporting.

Viewpoint

08.09.13

Five Years On

Jonathan Landreth
On August 8, 2008, I was in Beijing reporting on the media aspects of China’s first Olympic Games, and I am still amazed that the four-hour opening ceremony, as designed by film director Zhang Yimou, was seen by sixty-nine percent of China’s...

Is This Lazy Panda China’s Zuckerberg?

Adam Minter
Bloomberg
State-owned China Network Television has installed more than 30 cameras at a panda reserve in Western China, designed a fancy website providing access to the cameras, launched a mobile app so the pandas can be watched on-the-go, and then...

China Detains Prominent Bo Xilai Supporter Ahead of Trial

Reuters
Song Yangbiao, a reporter for the magazine the Time Weekly, was detained on Sunday according to friends and supporters, apparently after using his Sina Weibo microblog to denounce the trial and call for an uprising to oppose it. ...

Chinese Judges Disciplined for Cavorting With Prostitutes

Jane Perlez
New York Times
 Two judges and an official of the Shanghai high court have been expelled from the Communist Party and dismissed from their jobs after being seen on video apparently consorting with prostitutes in glitzy nightclubs.

China Warns Against Rush to Set Code of Conduct in South China Sea

Xinhua
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday in Hanoi that the envisaged Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) cannot be set in a rush as it concerns the interests of many countries and lots of work is required.

The Chinese Communist Party Has Embraced the Internet—For Public Polling

Adam Pasick
Atlantic
Beijing has started to glean political intelligence from the same systems they restrict access to.

Life in a Toxic Country

Edward Wong
New York Times
Before this assignment, I reported from Iraq, where foreign correspondents talked endlessly of the variety of ways in which one could die. I survived those threats, only now to find myself wondering: Is China doing irreparable harm to me and my...

China Media on the Snowden Saga

BBC
Media in China see further embarrassment for the United States after whistleblower Edward Snowden gets temporary asylum in Russia.

Now Playing: China’s Booming Movie Market

Wei Gu
Wall Street Journal
In China, where pirated movies can be bought for less than $1, people are flocking to theaters, a sign of how Chinese consumers are willing to spend more on entertainment.

Books of the Times—“Five Star Billionaire”

Dwight Garner
New York Times
Shanghai For Strivers: Tash Aw’s new novel captures China’s changes.

Hollywood Studios Denied Payments from China

Rachel Abrams
Variety
Sony is up against an issue that has plagued the studios since at least January: The Chinese government wants to impose a value-added tax that cuts into what the studios expected to be their 25% revenue share of the Chinese box office.

Caixin Media

07.29.13

Why a Reporter Feels Sympathy for an Airport Bomber

These past few years as a reporter, I have met some people with nothing left to live for and now another person can be added to the list. Ji Zhongxing, the disabled man who set off a bomb in a Beijing airport on July 20, is that person.Ji and I are...

Hollywood's Trouble With China? It Has All the Leverage

Wrap
New data from China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television indicates that for the first time in recent history, Hollywood could experience negative growth in China. "The leverage is always on China's side,...

Reports

07.24.13

Throttling Dissent: China’’s New Leaders Refine Internet Control

Madeline Earp
Freedom House
This special report is based on the 2013 China chapter of Freedom House’’s annual Freedom on the Net survey. As the home of one of the most systematically controlled and monitored online environments in the world, China will no doubt retain its...

Bruno Wu, Former Bertelsmann CEO Form China Media Venture

Hollywood Reporter
Thomas Middelhoff and the Chinese mogul launch BT Capital, a “China-originated global media and alternative investment group” that will pool their entertainment assets with revenue of $1 billion-$2 billion.

Reporter Who Interviewed Jack Ma Resigns

WSJ: China Real Time Report
Liu Yi, the reporter who interviewed Mr. Ma, resigned on July 19, according to a statement on the SCMP’s site. The interview generated controversy online as Mr. Ma was quoted as saying the 1989 crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square...

Billionaire Jack Ma Makes About-Face, Praises Chinese Government

Oiwan Lam
Global Voices
Prominent Chinese Internet entrepreneur Jack Ma has in the eyes of some shattered his independent image during a recent newspaper interview in which he applauded China for its online censorship and brutal, strong-arm tactics. 

Conversation

07.18.13

Xu Zhiyong Arrested: How Serious Can Beijing Be About Political Reform?

Donald Clarke, Andrew J. Nathan & more
Donald Clarke:When I heard that Xu Zhiyong had just been detained, my first thought was, “Again?” This seems to be something the authorities do every time they get nervous, a kind of political Alka Seltzer to settle an upset constitution. I searched...

Caixin Media

07.16.13

As Red Cross Probe Stumbles, Critics See Red

Two box lunches—and nothing more. Yuan Yue says that’s what the Red Cross Society of China has frugally handed out so far to each member of a special committee assigned to investigate the charity group’s finances.But critics of the special board...

Media

07.15.13

A Rite of Passage to Nowhere

Ying Zhu & Frances Hisgen
Tiny Times, a Chinese feature film set in contemporary Shanghai, made headline news on its opening day in late June by knocking the Hollywood blockbuster Man of Steel from its perch atop the domestic box-office and breaking the opening-day record...

Sinica Podcast

07.12.13

Ripples from the Egyptian Revolution

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
In Egypt in 2011, what was by all accounts a free and fair democratic election resulted in the victory of Mohammed Morsi, a controversial figure whose brief rule ended last week after being overthrown by the Egyptian military. With Western media...

China’s Blackout of U.S. Media Can No Longer Be Ignored

Jim Sciutto
Washington Post
Web censorship is not just an inconvenience but also a reminder that many leading U.S. media and technology companies are excluded, or largely excluded, from one of the world’s largest markets and this country’s largest trading partner. ...

Censoring the News Before It Happens

Perry Link
New York Review of Books
Chinese censors number in the hundreds-of-thousands. Their duties are to not only block stories they disapprove of, but to alter and obscure details in published stories, and promote stories that cast the Party in a good light.

China Likely to Lift Foreign Game Console Ban

George Chen
South China Morning Post
China is expected to soon end a 13-year ban on the sale of gaming consoles with only one key condition: foreign firms like Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft must make their products in Shanghai’s new free trade zone. 

China Box Office Up 36% to $1.79 Billion in First Half of 2013

Patrick Brzeski and Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
Buoyed by a surge in ticket sales for homegrown domestic films, China’s box office continued its rapid expansion in the first half of 2013, according to figures released by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television...

Media

07.10.13

Old Photo of Tiananmen Square Has Netizens Asking “What’s Wrong With This Picture?”

A rare old color photo of Tiananmen Square was posted on Weibo, China’s Twitter, and it was commented on hundreds of times as Internet users mused about the past and present of China’s most recognizable landmark.Here are the three things that stand...

Media

07.10.13

Australian PM’s Online Musings Have Chinese Wondering: Where Is Xi’s Microblog Account?

On July 9, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd posted on a social media site about a phone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The twist? The message was written in Chinese on the immensely popular Chinese microblogging platform Sina...

Censoring the News Before It Happens

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
Every day in China, hundreds of messages are sent from government offices to website editors around the country that say things like, “Report on the new provincial budget tomorrow, but do not feature it on the front page, make no comparisons to...

For Chinese Families, a Journey Cut Short, and With It Their Dreams

Vivian Yee
New York Times
On their way to Bible camp in America, two Chinese teenagers from Zhejiang Province flew through South Korea and into San Francisco International Airport, where their plane skidded and burst into flames. Both died, the only fatalities in the crash...

Ex-Rail Minister in China Gets a Suspended Death Sentence

Christopher Buckley
New York Times
A Beijing Beijing sentenced former Chinese minister of railways Li Zhijun to a suspended death sentence after finding him guilty of taking bribes and abusing his powers, state-run media reported.

Media

07.02.13

American History, Through Chinese Eyes

White male privilege, genocide against Native Americans, slavery and subsequent racial oppression, exploitation of immigrants and laborers, repression of women and homosexuals, and environmental destruction—teaching American cultural history through...

Mixed Signals On China’s Policies in Tibet

Voice of America
Worshipping the Dalai Lama remains illegal in Tibetan areas of China, despite earlier reports of changes in China's policies in Lhasa and in some parts of neighboring Qinghai province.  ...

China Sex Film Mistakenly Shown on Big Screen in Jilin

BBC
A film banned as pornography in China was accidentally shown on a large LED screen in a public square in Jilin province, Chinese media report. A technician had been watching the film on his computer without realising it was connected to the...

China Online Petition Website Crashes on First Day

Xiaoqing Pi
WSJ: China Real Time Report
For centuries, China has offered its people a chance to come to Beijing to petition the emperor directly to address grievances. But starting Monday, Chinese officials offered a new way for those not inclined to make the trip: petition...