Conversation

02.01.13

China’s Cyberattacks — At What Cost?

James Fallows, Donald Clarke & more
James Fallows: Here are some initial reactions on the latest hacking news.We call this the “latest” news because I don’t think anyone, in China or outside, is actually surprised. In my own experience in China, which is limited compared with many of...

U.S. Weighs Tougher Action Over China Cyberattacks

Lolita Baldor
Associated Press
High-level talks with the Chinese government to address persistent cyberattacks against U.S. companies and government agencies haven’t worked, so officials say the Obama administration is now considering a range of actions.

Chinese Hackers Targeted Wall Street Journal

Siobhan Gorman, Devlin Barrett, and...
Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal said its computer systems had been infiltrated by Chinese hackers for the apparent purpose of monitoring the newspaper's China coverage...

From Alberta to China, With Nine Kids in Tow

Licia Corbella
Calgary Herald
Cory and Michelle Coles, both 36, and nine of their 10 children are flying off to China for nine months with the hope of learning Mandarin and understanding more about the fascinating culture behind the emerging superpower.

Hacking with Chinese Characteristics

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
The New York Times has come under attack by Chinese hackers just at the very moment that the new Chinese leadership, under Xi Jinping, has pledged to root our corruption before it destroys the Party.

Didier Drogba Leaves China: Inside a Failed Soccer Experiment

Austin Ramzy
Time
The relationship between the star Ivorian striker and the mediocre Chinese team was actually a six-month fling. Now after half a season in a Chinese league better known for poor play and corruption—the “Allegedly Super League,” as the ...

Chinese Hackers Infiltrate The New York Times Computers

Nicole Perlroth
New York Times
For the last four months, Chinese hackers have persistently attacked The New York Times, infiltrating its computer systems and getting passwords for its reporters and other employees.

Media

01.30.13

Chinese Web Erupts With Widespread Calls for Change as Beijing Endures Airpocalypse 2.0

Beijingers are choking on their air—again. Just seventeen days after Chinese cyberspace erupted with complaints about air so bad that it was “beyond index,” denizens of the Chinese capital awoke once again to a city blanketed with smog. Over the...

A Survey of China's 24 Most Corrupt Officials in 2012

Barry van Wyk
Danwei
The Renmin University Crisis Management Research Center surveyed 24 cases of corruption that became public knowledge on the Chinese Internet in 2012.

Translation of “Finnegan’s Wake” Sells in China

Didi Tang
Associated Press
The Chinese version is no easier to read than the original, the loyal-minded translator assures, but James Joyce‘s “Finnegans Wake” has still sold out its initial run in China — with the help of some big urban billboards.

Dissident Chen Sure 1-Party China Will Change

The Associated Press
Associated Press
“It’s an inevitability of history, whether the party likes it or not,” Chen said. “Once the people are waking up, change is coming for sure.”

Caixin Media

01.28.13

Cleaning Up China’s Secret Police Sleuthing

Wiretapping, email hacking, cell phone tracking, and secret videotaping are just a few of the cloak-and-dagger techniques long employed by police in the course of criminal investigations in China.But now, for the first time, new rules say that...

Dead-end Trail to Bo’s Trial in China’s South

John Ruwitch
Reuters
China scotched reports that disgraced politician Bo Xilai’s much anticipated trial would open on Monday, amid chaotic scenes at a courthouse packed with expectant journalists in the south of the country.

Will China Buy a Hollywood Studio?

Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
All of China's recent investment in Hollywood raises the question: Is China positioning itself to buy a major studio? Three reasons why it will, and one why it won't...

Media

01.25.13

Former China State TV Director Bemoans Anti-Japanese Propaganda: “Where’s the Creativity?”

Are Chinese audiences growing weary of anti-Japanese propaganda? It would seem that some, at least, are growing sick of the pathetic villains, superhuman heroes, and lame endings that many Chinese movies and television series about World War II, or...

Sinica Podcast

01.25.13

The Call-in Show

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
So our show this week isn’t technically a call-in show, given the lack of phones in our studio, but it is as close as we can get it, so thanks to everyone who sent us a pre-recorded question. We had a lot more responses than we expected, and the...

Former Porn Star is China’s Hottest New Politician

John Chin and Te-ping Chen
Wall Street Journal
Actress Diana Pang, known for starring in “Erotic Ghost Story–Perfect Match,” caused a stir by attending the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Congress in Gansu.

Viewpoint

01.24.13

China at the Tipping Point?

Perry Link & Xiao Qiang
Of all the transformations that Chinese society has undergone over the past fifteen years, the most dramatic has been the growth of the Internet. Information now circulates and public opinions are now expressed on electronic bulletin boards with...

China’s Intelligence Reforms?

Peter Mattis
Diplomat
The Chinese Communist Party is  aware of the need to improve governance and recent rumors include a possible change of contols over the Ministry of State Security.

Media

01.23.13

A Map of Two Chinas

On Friday, China’s National Bureau of Statistics announced that income inequality in the country exceeds a warning level set by the United Nations.China’s publication of its Gini coefficient—a widely used measure of economic equity—drew attention...

Ex-China Leader Steps Back, Fueling Speculation

Chris Buckley
New York Times
A decade after Jiang Zemin stepped down as China’s top leader he has used the death of a former rival to signal that he may allow his political shadow to recede.

(Editorial) Fate of the World Rests with SIno-U.S. Ties

Global Times
The gap between the strength of China and the US will narrow. Previous experiences in international politics will be viewed as realistic reasons to exacerbate tensions between the two sides. This is a dangerous era.

How Social Networks Skirt Censorship in China

Mike Isaac
All Things Digital
WeChat, the social network owned by Tencent—China’s largest listed Internet company—provides a way around the traditional text-based censorship rained down upon users by the state.

An Overture from China Has Yet to Win Hollywood

Michael Cieply
New York Times
In September, China’s Dalian Wanda Group chairman and president said he would invest $10 billion in the U.S. To judge from the deal-making pace, it may take a while.

Crime With Chinese Characteristics

Ilaria Maria Sala
Wall Street Journal
A review of “The Civil Servant’s Notebook,” the first book by popular novelist Wang Xiaofang to be translated into English. 

Apple and China: A Match Made in Heaven?

Zachary Keck
Diplomat
China has long played a major role in Apple’s success after it moved much of its manufacturing from the U.S. to China and other Asian nations in the 1990’s.

China’s ‘Lamborghini’ Coefficient

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
According to China's first official Gini coefficient figures in a decade, China today is more equal than in 2003. ...

In China, Discontent Among the Communist Party Faithful

Edward Wong
New York Times
Some Chinese say that they are starting to realize that a secure life is dependent on the defense of certain principles, perhaps most crucially freedom of expression.

Tell-All on the Internet Fells Chinese Official

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
China's top guardian of Communist literature is said to have provided a woman with a fellowship at his research institute in exchange for $1,600. The sex and jewelry came later...

The Drums of War: China and Japan Square Up

The Economist
Economist
Watch Chinese TV these days and you might conclude that the outbreak of war with Japan over what it calls the Senkaku and China the Diaoyu islands is imminent.

In China, Can Pollution Spur Media Transparency?

Matt Schiavenza
Atlantic
 The Chinese press often puts the best spin on Beijing's pollution problem, questioning the accuracy of air-quality measurements and dismissing concerns as "fog." ...

Culture

01.17.13

An Alternative Top Ten

Shelly Kraicer
Most accounts of the last year in Chinese cinema are dominated by films that were made for the ever-expanding domestic box office, and the local film industry’s struggle for screen time in competition with Hollywood imports. On the one hand, we...

Media

01.16.13

Their Horizons Widening, China’s Web Users Look Abroad — And Want More

Last week, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt urged North Korean leaders to embrace the Internet. Only a small proportion of that country’s 24 million people can access the World Wide Web, and the majority of the 1.5 million mobile phones there...

China Pledges to Curb Auto Emissions, Reduce Air Pollution

David Pierson
Los Angeles Times
The Ministry of Environmental Protection pledged to cut vehicle emissions, the source of about a quarter of China's air pollution, but didn't explain implementation plans. ...

China Allows Media to Report on Air Pollution Crisis

Edward Wong
New York Times
The wide coverage of Beijing’s brown, soupy air, which has been rated “hazardous” or worse by monitors since last week, was the most open in recent memory.

China's Press Freedom Goes South

Annie Zhang
Foreign Policy
Censorship is commonplace, but is usually more subtle, with directives described over the phone rather than by email (where it leaves a trail).

Exposing the ‘Hazardous’ Pollution of Beijing

Jennifer Duggan
Al Jazeera
Cityscapes are part of a daily collection of photos of seven cities, four in China and three in the United States published on the website China Air Daily.

Apple CEO: China Will Be Biggest Market

Joe McDonald
Associated Press
Apple has said sales in China more than doubled in 2010 and 2011 though growth has slowed in the past year.

China Firm Buys Naming Rights to Landmark Hollywood Theater

Richard Verrier
Los Angeles Times
Chinese TV maker TCL paid $5 million to rename Grauman's Chinese Theatre...

(Editorial) Why Southern Weekly Said “No”

QIan Gang
China Media Project
The road to freedom of expression as guaranteed in Article 35 of China’s Constitution will be a long one.

China's Twitter Goes Hollywood

Melinda Liu
Daily Beast
A weibo message from Brad Pitt set off a buzz this week,  and he’s not the only overseas star invading the microblog.

Sinica Podcast

01.11.13

The Southern Drama

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Mere months after China’s handling of the Eighteenth Party Congress suggested the country would undergo a peaceful leadership transition, the issue of freedom of the press surged to attention this week after a censored editorial in Southern Weekly (...

A Retailer Discovers China’s New ‘It‘ Girl: Grandpa

Laurie Burkitt and Josh Chin
Wall Street Journal
Retired Farmer Becomes Fashion Sensation; He's 5-8, Thin and Looks Great in Crimson...

Media

01.09.13

Why is a Mediocre, Low-Budget Comedy Taking China’s Box Office by Storm?

December 2012 saw hot competition in Chinese cinema. It began with Life of Pi, which was directed by Ang Li, an Oscar-winning director, followed by 1942, a historical movie by director Feng Xiaogang, and The Last Supper, by up-and-coming director Lu...

A Bowl of Hot Porridge: A Song for Southern Weekend

David Bandurski
China Media Project
The Beijing News published a loving tribute, yes, to porridge. In particular, to the porridge of the south. But it is really a song of love and support for Southern Weekly. 

China Censorship Protest "Living in Truth" (Opinion)

Christian Science Monitor Editorial...
Christian Science Monitor
Protests erupt following a strike by journalists at a Chinese newspaper whose editorial on free speech was censored. Unlike most other protests in China, this one is about living in the truth.

Solzhenitsyn, Yao Chen, and Chinese Reform

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
When a Chinese ingénue, beloved for comedy, doe-eyed looks, and middle-class charm, tweets Solzhenitsyn's words, we may be seeing a new relationship between technology, politics, and Chinese prosperity. ...

Media

01.08.13

Online and Off, Social Media Users Go to War for Freedom of Press in China

When Mr. Tuo Zhen, the propaganda chief of Guangdong province, rewrote and replaced the New Year’s editorial of the Southern Weekend newspaper without the consent of its editors, he probably did not think it would make much of a splash. Indeed, Mr...

Inside the Southern Weekly Incident

David Bandurski
China Media Project
A Hong Kong University media scholar's review of the strife that led to a strike at one of China's most influential newspapers...

Censorship Protest a Test for Reform-minded China

Jaime Florcruz
CNN
For two days, journalists at the Southern Weekly offices and hundreds of their supporters called for free speech.

The Old Fears of China’s New Leaders

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
I felt a shudder of déjà vu watching the mounting protests inside China this week of the Communist Party for censoring an editorial in Southern Weekend, a well-known liberal newspaper in the southern city of Guangzhou. It is all too similar to the...

Southern Weekend Editorial Staff Goes on Strike (Updated)

Scott Greene
China Digital Times
An internal standoff has escalated into a full-blown crisis at Southern Weekly, where Guangdong's propaganda chief meddled in the publication's "New Year's Greeting." ...

Media

01.07.13

“Help Me Pay This Bill”: A Short But Incisive Send-Up of Chinese Corruption

It is a social media classic, a send-up of the corruption and profligacy that so often enrage Web users in China. A very short story variously titled “I Did Not Eat For Free” and “Help Me Pay This Bill” has been making the rounds for months on Sina...

Supporters Back Strike and Newspaper in China

Edward Wong
New York Times
Hundreds gathered outside the headquarters of a newspaper office in southern China to support journalists who had declared a strike to protest censorship by officials.

Chinese Censors Lift the Veil on Bloggers

Adam Minter
Bloomberg
Can China’s raucous, muckraking Internet culture survive if microbloggers are forced to disclose their identities. 

Google Concedes Defeat in Chinese Censorship Battle

Josh Halliday
Guardian
U.S. company quietly drops warning message that Chinese users saw when searching for politically sensitive phrases

Books

01.04.13

The Rise and Fall of the House of Bo

John Garnaut
When news of the murder trial of prominent Communist Party leader Bo Xilai’s wife reached public attention, it was apparent that, as with many events in the secretive upper echelons of Chinese politics, there was more to the story. Now, during the biggest leadership transition in decades, as the Bo family’s long-time rival Xi Jinping assumes the presidency, China’s rulers are finding it increasingly difficult to keep their poisonous internal divisions behind closed doors.

 Bo Xilai’s breathtaking fall from grace is an extraordinary tale of excess, murder, defection, political purges and ideological clashes going back to Mao himself. China watcher John Garnaut examines how Bo’s stellar rise through the ranks troubled his more reformist peers, as he revived anti-“capitalist roader” sentiment, even while his family and associates enjoyed the more open economy’s opportunities.Amid fears his imminent elevation to the powerful Standing Committee was leading China towards another destructive Cultural Revolution, have his opponents seized their chance to destroy Bo and what he stood for? The trigger was his wife Gu Kailai’s apparently paranoid murder of an English family friend, which exposed the corruption and brutality of Bo’s outwardly successful administration of the massive city of Chongqing. It also led to the one of the highest-level attempted defections in Communist China’s history when Bo’s right-hand man, police chief Wang Lijun, tried to escape the ruins of his sponsor’s reputation.
 
Garnaut explains how this incredible glimpse into the very personal power struggles within the CCP exposes the myth of the unified one-party state. With China approaching super-power status, today’s leadership shuffle may set the tone for international relations for decades. Here, Garnaut reveals a particularly Chinese spin on the old adage that the personal is political.
 —Penguin

Caixin Media

01.04.13

Twisted Tongues

China’s cultural progress in the year 2012 can be summed up with eight words: weibo (microblog), diaosi (commoners), yuanfangti (a Yuanfang-like inquiry), shejian (tip of the tongue), yangsheng (keeping fit), shisanchai (thirteen hairpins, from a...

Media

01.03.13

How a Run-Down Government Building Became the Hottest Item on China’s Social Web

It is perhaps a sign of the times in China that an image of nothing more than a ramshackle county government building could echo so widely. Since its posting on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter, hours before New Year’s Eve, the image (see below) has been...

China Insists Reporter Was Not Forced to Leave

VOA
Voice of America
China is still considering the visa application of a New York Times journalist who the paper says was forced to leave.