Why Is China’s Internet Turning to Obama To Solve a Decades-Old Poisoning Mystery?

Alex Pasternack
Motherboard
On May 3rd, an anonymous Chinese expat posted on the White House website a petition demanding justice for the woman who many believe is responsible for Zhu Ling’s poisoning. In six days it has collected over 140,000 signatures. 

Media

05.17.13

Chinese Anxiety—In Debate About Overwork, a Glimpse of Shifting Expectations

Almost half of all Chinese report feeling “more anxiety” now than they did five years ago. What, exactly, is driving these concerns, or increasing reports of these concerns? Avid followers of China-related news might immediately think of censorship...

Chinese Restaurants in America

G.H. Danton
China Story
In his 1925 account of Chinese restaurants in America, G.H. Danton introduces the reader to the cuisine, clientele and commercial considerations of the industry which had ‘supplanted the Chinese laundryman in typifying for America where China is’...

Presumption of Guilt Stirs More Questions (Op-Ed)

Global Times
The public has quickly jumped to assume the guilt of both Sun and related officials. In all likelihood, if there had been solid evidence the perpetrator would not have gone unpunished.  

China’s Baidu to Pay $370 Million for Internet Video Business

Neil Gough
Deal Book
Acquiring the video business from P.P.S. will increase Baidu’s position in China’s fractious market for online entertainment and help iQiyi compete better against Youku Tudou. 

Chinese Suggestions for Improving Internet Disappear

Adam Minter
Bloomberg
Few things irritate Chinese netizens as much as how their government acts on the Internet: blocking access to many foreign websites, censoring content and comments on Chinese websites and directing paid commentators to promote the...

Conversation

05.14.13

Why Can’t China Make Its Food Safe?—Or Can It?

Alex Wang, John C. Balzano & more
The month my wife and I moved to Beijing in 2004, I saw a bag of oatmeal at our local grocery store prominently labeled: “NOT POLLUTED!” How funny that this would be a selling point, we thought.But 7 years later as we prepared to return to the US,...

Viewpoint

05.13.13

Maoism: The Most Severe Threat to China

Ouyang Bin
Ma Licheng (马立诚) is a former Senior Editorials Editor at People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s most important mouthpiece, and the author of eleven books. In 2003, when Japan’s then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visits to the Yasukuni Shrine...

Media

05.10.13

Unrest in Beijing Over Mysterious Death of Young Woman

A rare protest in Beijing involving hundreds of people was documented by photos posted on China’s social media (scroll down to see a sample photo). The cause of the protest was the death of a twenty-two-year-old migrant worker, who fell several...

Alibaba Buys Stake In Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter

Michael J. De La Merced
Deal Book
Alibaba and Sina also agreed to cooperate in improving ways to marry social networking with e-commerce, as microblogging services like Sina’s continue to grow in popularity.

Books

05.09.13

Lao She in London

Anne Witchard
Lao She remains revered as one of China’s great modern writers. His life and work have been the subject of volumes of critique, analysis and study. However, the four years the young aspiring writer spent in London between 1924 and 1929 have largely been overlooked. Dr. Anne Witchard, a specialist in the modernist milieu of London between the wars, reveals Lao She’s encounter with British high modernism and literature from Dickens to Conrad to Joyce. Lao She arrived from his native Peking to the whirl of London’s West End scene—Bloomsburyites, Vorticists, avant-gardists of every stripe, Ezra Pound and the cabaret at the Cave of The Golden Calf. Immersed in the West End 1920s world of risqué flappers, the tabloid sensation of England’s “most infamous Chinaman Brilliant Chang” and Anna May Wong’s scandalous film Piccadilly, simultaneously Lao She spent time in the notorious and much sensationalised East End Chinatown of Limehouse. Out of his experiences came his great novel of London Chinese life and tribulations—Mr. Ma and Son: Two Chinese in London. However, as Witchard reveals, Lao She’s London years affected his writing and ultimately the course of Chinese modernism in far more profound ways. —Hong Kong University Press

28,000 Rivers Disappeared In China

Angel Hsu and William Miao
Atlantic
Official explanations from the Chinese government have attributed the significant reduction to statistical discrepancies, water and soil loss, and climate change, but Netizens aren’t satisfied with these answers.

Media

05.09.13

Truth in Chinese Cinema?

Jonathan Landreth
In 1997, as James Cameron’s Titanic sank box office records around the world—including in China—Sally Berger, assistant film curator at the Museum of Modern Art, worked to bring New York moviegoers a raft of Chinese movies they’d never heard of.The...

Culture

05.09.13

“I Just Want to Write”

Whether or not I deserved the Nobel Prize, I already received it, and now it’s time to get back to my writing desk and produce a good work. I hear that the 2013 list of Nobel Prize nominees has been finalized. I hope that once the new laureate is...

China Seeks Soft Power Influence In U.S. Through C.C.T.V.

David Folkenflik
NPR
“This fixation on soft power arises from their deep and abiding insecurity and sense of not being respected and of being hectored and bullied by the world over the last century and a half.”

Media

05.07.13

Rat Meat Masquerading as Lamb—Yet Another Food Safety Scandal

Rat meat + gelatin + red food coloring + nitrates = lamb. Have you tried it yet?“This is what a ‘complete’ sheep looks like,” reads a caption under the photoshopped image of a sheep with Jerry, the mouse from Tom and Jerry, as its head. The image...

Conversation

05.07.13

Why Is a 1995 Poisoning Case the Top Topic on Chinese Social Media?

Rachel Lu, Andrew J. Nathan & more
With a population base of 1.3 billion people, China has no shortage of strange and gruesome crimes, but the attempted murder of Zhu Ling by thallium poisoning in 1995 is burning up China’s social media long after the trails have gone cold. Zhu, a...

Reports

05.03.13

The PEN Report: Creativity and Constraint in Today’s China

Sarah Hoffman and Larry Siems
Sara Segal-Williams
PEN International
The report which follows measures the conditions for freedom of expression through literature, linguistic rights, Internet freedom and legal obligations. This is an approach anchored both in the breadth of history and in today’s realities, one that...

Media

05.01.13

The Wall Street Journal: Covering China Past and Present

The Wall Street Journal was one of the first American publications to set up a bureau in Beijing. Since its establishment, scores of the Journal’s correspondents have traveled in and out of the country to cover China’s economic and political...

Media

05.01.13

The Long Battle Over “White Pollution”

In the past weeks, Chinese citizens have learned that the styrofoam boxes from which they eat their lunches will soon be legal. On February 16, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s highest economic policy-making body,...

Watch Imprint On Quake Official’s Wrist Goes Viral

Laura Zhou
South China Morning Post
A picture showing an official's wrist, with what appears to be the imprint of a watch, has gone viral with many Netizens wondering whether the timepiece was removed in light of scandals involving corrupt officials caught wearing expensive...

After Quake, Chinese Donors Seek Out Private Charities

Edward Wong
New York Times
The Red Cross Society of China, a state-run organization that is one of the country’s largest charities, has yet to recover from a 2011 scandal that struck a serious blow to China’s nascent notions of philanthropy. 

Other

04.30.13

Events

A listing of upcoming ChinaFile events. Each of the events will be live-streamed here.

China Reacts To The Boston Bombing, Draws Parallels To China

Lily Kuo
Quartz
While the traditional jabs at America are still present on Chinese social media, it’s notable that so many reflected on the peace and safety both countries are trying to achieve. 

Katzenberg Unveils China Film Project

Andrew Browne, James T. Areddy and...
Wall Street Journal
The Hollywood power broker has lately turned his marketing skills on China, which is expected to surpass the U.S. box office by the end of the decade, driven by a boom in cinemas across the country. Tibet will be the topic of one of the first...

Media

04.26.13

Making a Show of the News?

Ouyang Bin & Zhang Xiaoran
In what seemed like a flash on April 20, Chinese netizens dubbed TV reporter Chen Ying “the most beautiful bride” on China’s Internet. It was the day of her wedding but a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Ya’an in Sichuan province and Chen didn’t bother...

Conversation

04.25.13

Hollywood in China—What’s the Price of Admission?

Jonathan Landreth, Ying Zhu & more
Last week, DreamWorks Animation (DWA), the Hollywood studio behind the worldwide blockbuster Kung Fu Panda films, announced that it will cooperate with the China Film Group (CFG) on an animated feature called Tibet Code, an adventure story based on...

China Censors The Word ‘Censorship’

Al Jazeera
‘China’s Spielberg’, film director Feng Xiaogang, gave an emotional acceptance speech for ‘director of year’ in which he referred to censorship as a “torment” for Chinese filmmakers. The video - in which the word ‘censorship’ was censored - has...

Tale Of China’s Leader In A Taxicab Is Retracted

Chris Buckley
New York Times
The state-run news media, which had initially given credence to the story, abruptly reversed course, and the tale was in shreds. What does it mean when feel-good propaganda cannot be trusted even on its own fanciful terms? 

China’s Social Media Gurus Face Off In The Weibo/WeChat Debate

Adam Pasick
Quartz
In China’s rapidly expanding social media sphere, most of the buzz is split between Tencent’s WeChat, a text and voicemail service and Sina Weibo, a microblogging service where users post unfiltered snippets of news in a...

As Cancer Rates Rise In China, Trust Remains Low

Didi Kristen Tatlow
New York Times
At the top of the list of reasons China may be facing a cancer crisis is the crucial issue of mistrust between patient and doctor. The lack of trust, reflected in regular accounts in the Chinese news media, is rooted in a perception that...

No Poultry Contact In Some Chinese Bird Flu Cases

Stephanie Nebehay and Sui-Lee Wee
Reuters
W.H.O. spokesman Gregory Hartl confirmed that “there are people who have no history of contact with poultry”, after a top Chinese scientist was quoted as saying this applied to about 40 percent of those infected. 

Chinese Media Seize On Death Of Promising Student

Didi Kristen Tatlow
International Herald Tribune
The family of Lu Lingzi, the young Chinese woman killed in the attack at the Boston Marathon, didn’t want their daughter’s name revealed, but at least 12,000 people had left comments in her memory on her microblog account after it was...

China Sees The Best And Worst Of America In Boston Bombing

Max Fisher
Washington Post
Chinese Web users seemed to draw two general conclusions: that China would be more effective at preventing a Boston-style attack, but that the U.S. is better equipped to respond to and cope such an event. 

Hollywood Descends On China For Beijing International Film Festival

Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
At this year’s festival Keanu Reeves debuts his upcoming movie, LucasArts’ Kathleen Kennedy delivers a keynote speech on modern storytelling, and many other Hollywood bigwigs come to town for business, screenings, signings, and more.

China Dismisses N.Y.T.'s Pulitzer-Winning Report On Wen

Agence France-Presse
The article provoked anger from authorities in China, who said it was part of a “smear” by “voices” opposed to the country’s development. The Times’ Chinese and English websites were subsequently blocked in China and remain inaccessible as...

Media

04.22.13

Social Media’s Role in Ya’an Earthquake Aftermath is Revealing

China’s social media was in mourning yesterday as users turned their profile photos to grey in remembrance of the victims of the 7.0 earthquake that struck the Ya’an region in Sichuan province on Saturday. As of April 22, the death toll has risen to...

Caixin Media

04.20.13

Bird Flu’s Latest Talons Force Fresh Defense

A surprise attack by a new strain of the bird flu virus has forced Chinese authorities into the trenches for a two-pronged defense against unseen enemies.The primary threat is the deadly virus that scientists identified as a new strain of H7N9. It...

In China, The World’s Biggest Movie Lot Gets Even Bigger

Ian Johnson
New Yorker
Some of China’s most iconic buildings have been erected on Hengdian’s sprawling lot, giving the place the ersatz-historical feel of Colonial Williamsburg.  

‘Old School’ Hip-Hop Radio Station Likely To Change To Chinese-Language Programming

Brian Watt
Southern California Public Radio
The owners of the Los Angeles classic hip-hop radio station 93.5 FM KDAY have agreed to sell their stations to Hong Kong-based R.B.C. Communications. If the deal closes, it will likely to change to a Chinese-language format.  &...

Books

04.17.13

A Death in the Lucky Holiday Hotel

Pin Ho, Wenguang Huang
The downfall of Bo Xilai in China was more than a darkly thrilling mystery. It revealed a cataclysmic internal power struggle between Communist Party factions, one that reached all the way to China’s new president Xi Jinping.The scandalous story of the corruption of the Bo Xilai family—the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood; Bo’s secret lovers; the secret maneuverings of Bo’s supporters; the hasty trial and sentencing of Gu Kailai, Bo’s wife—was just the first rumble of a seismic power struggle that continues to rock the very foundation of China’s all-powerful Communist Party. By the time it is over, the machinations in Beijing and throughout the country that began with Bo’s fall could affect China’s economic development and disrupt the world’s political and economic order.—PublicAffairs

‘Daily Show’ Clip Mocking Kim Jong-un Gets 2.8 million Chinese Views

Max Fisher
Washington Post
The voraciousness with which Chinese viewers are watching the segment suggests that their appetite for such coverage, for publicly criticizing an ally that has become something of an embarrassment, far exceeds what they’re getting from state media...

PLA Officer Calls H7N9 Virus A U.S. ‘Bio-Psychological Weapon’

Patrick Boehler
South China Morning Post
A senior military official has caused an outrage among netizens for calling the current avian flu outbreak in mainland China an American conspiracy and belittling a string of deaths from the virus.   

Conversation

04.16.13

Why is China Still Messing with the Foreign Press?

Andrew J. Nathan, Isabel Hilton & more
To those raised in the Marxist tradition, nothing in the media happens by accident.  In China, the flagship newspapers are still the “throat and tongue” of the ruling party, and their work is directed by the Party’s Propaganda Department...

Caixin Media

04.15.13

Tencent Lets WeChat’s Rapid Growth Do the Talking

Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s free messaging service, WeChat, has seen its popularity grow among both individual users and businesses, even amid a dispute with the Big Three telecom operators [China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom].Since launching...

China’s Internet: A Giant Cage

Economist
Not only has Chinese authoritarian rule survived the internet, but the state has shown great skill in bending the technology to its own purposes, enabling it to exercise better control of its own society and setting an example for other repressive...

Media

04.12.13

Leftist Hawks and Conspiracy Theorists: The People’s Liberation Army’s Online Presence

Is Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter, turning into a new war zone? Dai Xu, a colonel in the Chinese Air Force and military strategist, thinks so.“A month ago, a pseudo-Japanese devil [derogatory term for pro-Japan Chinese] at Shanghai’s Fudan University...

Can N. Korea Learn From Coca Cola? (China Did)

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
“The military-first regime derives support from the public perception that it is feared and respected around the world. So international ridicule may well put the regime under more pressure to carry through on at least some of its rhetoric.”&...

Now Sharper, Xi Jinping’s ‘China Dream’ Marks Departure From Past

Russel Leigh Moses
Wall Street Journal
A recent editorial elaboartes upon Xi’s ‘Chinese Dream’: “...realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation... [achieving] national prosperity, revitalization of the nation and its people’s happiness.”   

Apple’s Apology In China Part of ‘Rite Of Passage’ For Foreign Companies

Neil Hughes
Apple Insider
The same newspapers that attacked Apple and even China's Foreign Ministry are now heaping praise on the American company,  calling Apple’s revised policies evidence that the company had “conscientiously” responded to consumers...

A Chinese Jihadist In Syria?

Isaac Stone Fish and J. Dana Stuster
Foreign Policy
The purpose of the video seems to be to allow Bo (if that's his real name) to threaten China about the cost of its support for Bashar al-Assad’s government. It is the first most have heard of a Chinese national claiming to be fighting in the...

Conversation

04.11.13

Why Is Chinese Soft Power Such a Hard Sell?

Jeremy Goldkorn, Donald Clarke & more
Jeremy Goldkorn:Chairman Mao Zedong said that power comes out of the barrel of a gun, and he knew a thing or two about power, both hard and soft. If you have enough guns, you have respect. Money is the same: if you have enough cash, you can buy guns...

Video

04.05.13

Censored: A Chinese Journalist’s Inside View

Jonah Kessel from Committee to Protect Journalists
Journalist Liu Jianfeng worked at the China Economic Times newspaper in Beijing for fifteen years. Eventually, frustration with the nation’s state-controlled media system and pressure from his colleagues prompted him to quit. He then did brief...

China Convicts And Sentences 20 Accused Of Militant Separatism In Restive Region

Chris Buckley
New York Times
“It’s not clear what is being alleged against these people beyond being members of a clandestine organization,” said Nicholas Bequelin, a researcher based in Hong Kong for Human Rights Watch. 

Books

04.03.13

From the Dragon’s Mouth

Ana Fuentes
From The Dragon’s Mouth: Ten True Stories that Unveil the Real China is an exquisitely intimate look into the China of the twenty-first century as seen through the eyes of its people. This is one of the rare times a book combines the voices of everyday Chinese people from so many different layers of society: a dissident tortured by the police; a young millionaire devoted to nationalism; a peasant-turned-prostitute to pay for the best education for her son; a woman who married her gay friend to escape from social pressure, just like an estimated 16 million other women; a venerated kung fu master unable to train outdoors because of the hazardous pollution; the daughter of two Communist Party officials getting rich coaching Chinese entrepreneurs the ways of Capitalism; among others.   —Penguin{chop}{node, 3048, 4}

Media

04.02.13

China Concerto

Jonathan Landreth
Before February 2012, when his name exploded onto the front pages of newspapers around the globe, most people outside of China had never heard of Bo Xilai, the now-fallen Communist Party Secretary of the megacity of Chongqing. But in the years...

Media

04.02.13

Singing a Note of Caution About New First Lady Peng Liyuan

Xi Jinping, the newly appointed Chinese President, unfolded his presidency with a grand foreign tour to Russia, Tanzania, South Africa, and the Republic of the Congo. While this series of state visits unequivocally underscored China’s diplomatic...

Conversation

04.02.13

Why Did Apple Apologize to Chinese Consumers and What Does It Mean?

Jeremy Goldkorn, Isabel Hilton & more
Jeremy Goldkorn:On March 22, before the foreign media or Apple themselves seemed to have grasped the seriousness of the CCTV attacks on the Californian behemoth, I wrote a post on Danwei.com that concluded:“The signs are clear that regulators and...

The Myth Of The Superbaby

Will Oremus
Slate
The technique of preimplantation genetic testing, discussed in a March 2013 article in Vice magazine, is unlikely to be used to create hyperintelligent babies, but it will have an expanding role in avoiding disease likelihood in children.

China Mourns “Most Famous Peasant” With Fake “Time” Cover

Lily Kuo
Quartz
Xinhua erroneously reports that Party Secretary of Jiangsu province, Wu Renbao, was once featured on the cover of Time magazine. Other Chinese media follow suit, in the latest embarrassment for Xinhua.