China’s Human Rights Record, Aggressive Military Expansion Damage Its Soft Power Rating

Liu Zhen
South China Morning Post
China’s soft power has been weakened by its hard line on foreign policy and human rights, according to an annual survey released on Thursday.

Conversation

07.12.18

Can China Replace the U.S. in Europe?

Jan Weidenfeld, Isabel Hilton & more
The G7 debacle reminded Europeans the problems with relying on a fraying transatlantic partnership. Meanwhile, China has been playing a larger role on the continent, increasing its investment and its political influence. On July 6-7, Bulgaria held...

Uighur Children Fall Victim to China Anti-Terror Drive

Emily Feng
Financial Times
On a quiet street in the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar, a house lies empty, padlocked from the outside, the family who lived there gone.

Crisis in U.S. Nuclear Talks With Pyongyang Not China’s Doing, Experts Say

Keith Johnson
Foreign Policy
President Donald Trump has suggested that China might be to blame for an apparent crisis in nuclear talks between the United States and North Korea — arguing that Beijing could be undermining the agreement because of anger over the escalating trade...

Qin Yongmin: Prominent Chinese Dissident Jailed for 13 Years

BBC
BBC
One of China’s highest-profile democracy campaigners has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for “subversion of state power”.

New Round of U.S.-China Trade War Rattles Global Markets

Alexandra Stevenson
New York Times
President Trump’s escalating trade war with China rattled global markets on Wednesday.

Books

07.10.18

Blood Letters

Lian Xi
Basic Books: The staggering story of the most important Chinese political dissident of the Mao era, a devout Christian who was imprisoned, tortured, and executed by the regime.Blood Letters tells the astonishing tale of Lin Zhao, a poet and journalist arrested by the authorities in 1960 and executed eight years later, at the height of the Cultural Revolution. Openly and steadfastly opposing communism under Mao, she rooted her dissent in her Christian faith—and expressed it in long, prophetic writings done in her own blood, and at times on her clothes and on cloth torn from her bedsheets.Miraculously, Lin Zhao’s prison writings survived, though they have only recently come to light. Drawing on these works and others from the years before her arrest, as well as interviews with her friends, her classmates, and other former political prisoners, Lian Xi paints an indelible portrait of courage and faith in the face of unrelenting evil.{chop}

Sinica Podcast

07.09.18

Kurt Campbell on U.S.-China Diplomacy

Kaiser Kuo from Sinica Podcast
Kaiser talks to former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell about his career, his critique of engagement, and the fascinating events that happened on his watch—including the extrication of blind activist...

Exclusive: China Presses Europe for Anti-U.S. Alliance on Trade

Robin Emmott, Noah Barkin
Reuters
China is putting pressure on the European Union to issue a strong joint statement against President Donald Trump’s trade policies at a summit later this month but is facing resistance, European officials said.

Trump Moves to Block China Mobile's U.S. Entry on Security Concerns

Brenda Goh, Sijia Jiang
Reuters
The U.S. government has moved to block China Mobile (0941.HK) from offering services to the country’s telecommunications market, recommending its application be rejected because the firm posed national security risks.

How Britain Went to War With China Over Opium

Austin Ramzy
New York Times
In 1840, Britain went to war with China over questions of trade, diplomacy, national dignity and, most importantly, drug trafficking. While British officials tried to play down the illicit origins of the conflict, opponents gave it a name that made...

China’s Massive ‘Belt and Road’ Spending Spree Has Caused Concern around the World, and Now It's China’s Turn to Worry

Christopher Woody
Business Insider
Since announcing its Belt and Road Initiative five years ago, China has spread billions of dollars around Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe, supporting a variety of infrastructure projects and stoking concern about Beijing's growing global sway...

As ‘Health Attacks’ Persist, U.S. Pulls More Americans Out of China

Te-Ping Chen
Wall Street Journal
The U.S. has evacuated at least three Americans from Beijing after they reported unusual health symptoms, in the latest evacuations since unexplained health incidents first affected U.S. diplomatic personnel stationed in Cuba in 2016.

China Issues U.S. Travel Warning Amid Trade Tensions

Reuters
Reuters
China’s embassy in Washington has issued a security advisory to Chinese nationals traveling to the United States, the latest such warning as trade tensions escalate between the two countries.

Xi Hits Back at Critics Who Call China’s Opening Up ‘a Joke’

Bloomberg News
Bloomberg
Chinese President Xi Jinping hit back at critics, saying in a speech on Thursday that those who think the nation’s opening up is "a joke" haven’t seen the confidence that Chinese people have in reform efforts...

China’s Rust-Belt Region Has a New Hope for Revival: North Korea

Frank Tang
South China Morning Post
China’s rust-belt region, which has been plagued by an inefficient state economy and exodus of talent, is now pinning its hopes on a new factor to help its revival: North Korea.

A Full-Blown Trade War between America and China Looks Likely

The Economist
Economist
It is becoming increasingly likely that the phoney trade war between America and China will develop into the real thing.

Books

06.20.18

The Third Revolution

Elizabeth C. Economy
Oxford University Press: In The Third Revolution, eminent China scholar Elizabeth C. Economy provides an incisive look at the transformative changes underway in China today. Chinese leader Xi Jinping has unleashed a powerful set of political and economic reforms: the centralization of power under Xi, himself; the expansion of the Communist Party’s role in Chinese political, social, and economic life; and the construction of a virtual wall of regulations to control more closely the exchange of ideas and capital between China and the outside world. Beyond its borders, Beijing has recast itself as a great power, seeking to reclaim its past glory and to create a system of international norms that better serves its more ambitious geostrategic objectives. In so doing, the Chinese leadership is reversing the trends toward greater political and economic opening, as well as the low-profile foreign policy, that had been put in motion by Deng Xiaoping’s “Second Revolution” 30 years earlier.Through a wide-ranging exploration of Xi Jinping’s top political, economic, and foreign policy priorities—fighting corruption, managing the Internet, reforming the state-owned enterprise sector, improving the country’s innovation capacity, enhancing air quality, and elevating China’s presence on the global stage—Economy identifies the tensions, shortcomings, and successes of Xi’s reform efforts over the course of his first five years in office. She also assesses their implications for the rest of the world, and provides recommendations for how the United States and others should navigate their relationship with this vast nation in the coming years.{chop}

Pompeo Calls China’s Appeals for More Trade Openness a ‘Joke’

Nick Wadhams and Sarah Gardner
Bloomberg
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo amplified President Donald Trump’s tough line in a brewing trade war with China in a speech on Monday, saying U.S. action was long overdue and calling Chinese appeals for greater economic openness “a joke.”

China’s Social Credit System Spreads to More Daily Transactions

Jack Karsten and Darrell M. West
Brookings Institution
In May, enforcement of China’s social credit system spread to the travel industry, restricting millions of Chinese citizens with low social credit scores from purchasing plane and train tickets.

Strange Bedfellows: Trump Trade Fight Brings Japan and China Together

Peter Landers
Wall Street Journal
President Donald Trump’s tough line on trade with China has finally given Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe something to agree with Beijing about.

China Stocks Plunge to Two-Year Low on Tariff Threat; Yuan Sinks

Bloomberg News
Bloomberg
China’s benchmark equity gauge tumbled to a two-year low and the yuan weakened as a worsening trade dispute with the U.S. spurred panic selling. Bonds gained.

Trump Threatens Tariffs On $200 Billion Of Chinese Goods

Christopher Dean Hopkins
NPR
In the latest move in an escalating trade dispute, President Trump announced Monday evening that he was asking U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to suggest $200 billion worth of Chinese goods on which the U.S. could impose a 10 percent...

Kim Jong-un Returns to China, This Time With Leverage

Jane Perlez
New York Times
North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, arrived in Beijing on Tuesday amid an escalating trade conflict between China and the United States, one that gives him an opening to play the powers against each other as Washington presses him to dismantle his...

‘Ruling Through Ritual’: An Interview with Guo Yuhua

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Guo Yuhua is one of China’s best-known sociologists and most incisive government critics. A professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, she has devoted her career to researching human suffering in Chinese society, especially that of peasants, the...

Conversation

06.14.18

One Year After They Almost Went to War, Can China and India Get Along?

Joel Wuthnow, Selina Ho & more
One year ago, the Chinese and Indian armies faced off at Doklam, a disputed Himalayan area on the border between China, India, and the tiny kingdom of Bhutan. While the two sides didn’t go to war over the border as they did in 1962, tensions were...

China’s Master Plan: How the West Can Fight Back

Hal Brands
Bloomberg
In the first three installments of this series, I've explored the changing nature of China's challenge to U.S. interests and the existing international order, with a particular focus on three issues: China’s progressively more global...

China’s Political Meritocracy versus Western Democracy

Daniel Bell
Economist
Chinese meritocrats support democratic values but not elections, says Daniel Bell of Shandong University.

Trump Could Slap China with Tariffs as Soon as Friday

Adam Behsudi
Politico
President Donald Trump is expected to impose tariffs on Chinese goods as soon as Friday or next week, according to two sources briefed on internal deliberations, a move that is sure to further inflame tensions and spark almost immediate retaliation...

The Unexpected Winner From the Trump-Kim Summit: China

Jeremy Page
Wall Street Journal
China is setting its sights on a key role in North Korea’s future, seeking to be part of any peace treaty, weapons inspections and economic assistance, after emerging as a surprise beneficiary of the summit between the U.S. and North Korean leaders.

China Says U.S.-North Korea Summit Offers No Lesson for Taiwan Ties

Reuters Staff
Reuters
A warming of ties between the United States and North Korea does not mean China will reach out to Taiwan for a similar summit, the Chinese government said on Wednesday.

Books

06.13.18

Censored

Margaret E. Roberts
Princeton University Press: As authoritarian governments around the world develop sophisticated technologies for controlling information, many observers have predicted that these controls would be ineffective because they are easily thwarted and evaded by savvy Internet users. In Censored, Margaret Roberts demonstrates that even censorship that is easy to circumvent can still be enormously effective. Taking advantage of digital data harvested from the Chinese Internet and leaks from China’s Propaganda Department, this book sheds light on how and when censorship influences the Chinese public.Roberts finds that much of censorship in China works not by making information impossible to access but by requiring those seeking information to spend extra time and money for access. By inconveniencing users, censorship diverts the attention of citizens and powerfully shapes the spread of information. When Internet users notice blatant censorship, they are willing to compensate for better access. But subtler censorship, such as burying search results or introducing distracting information on the web, is more effective because users are less aware of it. Roberts challenges the conventional wisdom that online censorship is undermined when it is incomplete and shows instead how censorship’s porous nature is used strategically to divide the public.Drawing parallels between censorship in China and the way information is manipulated in the United States and other democracies, Roberts reveals how Internet users are susceptible to control even in the most open societies. Demonstrating how censorship travels across countries and technologies, Censored gives an unprecedented view of how governments encroach on the media consumption of citizens.{chop}

Washington Opens De Facto Embassy in Taiwan, Angering China

Steven Jiang
CNN
China has lodged a protest with the US following the official opening of Washington’s new de facto embassy in Taiwan, a self-ruled island off China's southeastern coast that Beijing considers a renegade province...

Ivanka Trump Quotes ‘Chinese Proverb,’ but China Is Baffled

Javier C. Hernández
New York Times
It was supposed to be a triumphant tweet.

How Did Kim Jong-un Get to Singapore? With Some Help From China.

Jane Perlez
New York Times
When Kim Jong-un arrived in Singapore on Sunday for his landmark summit meeting with President Trump, he stepped off a jumbo jet emblazoned with the logo of Air China and the Chinese national flag.

Ending Military Exercises? Trump’s Plan for North Korea Was China’s Plan First.

Emily Rauhala
Washington Post
President Trump cut a deal with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un — and China is going to like it.

Chinese Companies May Invest in North Korea. American Not so Much

Daniel Shane
CNN
President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on Tuesday at a historic summit that the United States hopes will lead to North Korean nuclear disarmament.

Trump’s North Korea Summit Falls Short of Nixon-Goes-To-China Moment

Matt Spetalnick, David Brunnstrom
Reuters
Donald Trump’s dramatic meeting with North Korea’s leader may have been choreographed to look like a Nixon-goes-to-China moment, but the summit appears to have failed to secure any concrete commitments by Pyongyang for dismantling its nuclear...

A World in Transition

Paul Haenle & William J. Burns from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
As the world is in the midst of considerable uncertainty and transition, Ambassador William J. Burns points to the emergence of rising powers like China and India, challenges to regional order in the Middle East, and revolutions in new technologies...

Conversation

06.04.18

How Should the World Respond to Intensifying Repression in Xinjiang?

Rian Thum, Rachel Harris & more
Deliberate, systematic human rights abuses are happening in China’s northwest. Reporting and research published in recent weeks shows that the Chinese government is targeting the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region’s roughly 11 million Muslims for “re...

Viewpoint

05.30.18

Who’s Really Responsible for Digital Privacy in China?

Shazeda Ahmed & Bertram Lang
While the United States is reeling from the revelation that political consultancy Cambridge Analytica harvested data from over 87 million Facebook accounts, China’s biggest tech companies and regulators are confronting a wave of of their own...

Mattis Says China Is ‘Out of Step’ With International Law

Nancy A. Youssef
Wall Street Journal
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday that he rescinded China’s invitation to take part in a multinational Pacific Rim military exercise because Beijing is “out of step with international law” in how it has militarized the islands and reefs in...

As Chinese ‘Crepe’ Catches On Abroad, a Fight to Preserve Its Soul

Mike Ives and Tiffany May
New York Times
When is a pancake not a pancake?

US-China Trade Battle: Catch Up Here

Alanna Petroff, Rishi Iyengar and...
CNN
The odds of a messy trade war between the United States and China are rising again.

Resetting China-India Relations

Paul Haenle & C. Raja Mohan from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
Following a year marked by mounting tensions between China and India, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi met in Wuhan for an informal summit in April to reset the relationship. Major points of tension dominating China-India...

Trump Announces Tariffs on China, Tech Crackdown Ahead of Key Trade Meeting

David J. Lynch
Washington Post
Trump slaps $50B tariffs as Commerce Secretary is due to arrive in Beijing on Saturday for talks.

U.S.and China Clash over 'Technology Transfer' at WTO

Tom Miles
Reuters
Chinese and U.S. envoys sparred over Trump’s claims that China steals American ideas.

Top Aide to Kim Jong-Un Is Bound for U.S., Trump Says

Jane Perlez and Choe Sang-Hun
New York Times
Kim Yong-chol, one of the most trusted aides to the North’s leader, is “heading now to New York."...

Ivanka Trump Wins China Trademarks, Then Her Father Vows to Save ZTE

Sui-Lee Wee
New York Times
China awarded Ivanka Trump seven new trademarks in businesses including books and housewares.

Viewpoint

05.23.18

Germany Needs China to Save the Global Order from Trump

Sebastian Heilmann from Mercator Institute for China Studies
The U.S. president’s attacks on multilateralism may push Chancellor Merkel into an unlikely alliance with Beijing. Germany and the EU have to test ways to work with China in the absence of transatlantic coordination. The goal must be to organize an...

US Seeks Greater Scrutiny of China Tech Investment

Shawn Donnan
Financial Times
Senate considers bill that may increase U.S. scrutiny of Chinese investments.

China Cuts Car Tariffs, in a Small Offering to U.S. on Trade

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
The small change is unlikely to motivate automakers to shift production.

Trump Retreated from China Tariffs Because of White House Discord, Sources Say

Saleha Mohsin, Justin Sink, Jenny...
Bloomberg
White House disagreement over trade strategy led Trump to retreat from tariffs.

In China, Photo of Trade Talks Embodies ‘Young’ Country Passing Aging U.S.

Raymond Zhong
New York Times
A distinct age gap between Chinese delegates and American lawmakers.

Railroaded: The Chinese High-Speed Train Network No One Else Really Wants

Trefor Moss
Wall Street Journal
Terrain is easy, negotiations hard, as construction begins on politically fraught route through Southeast Asia.

China Drops Sanctions Probe into US Sorghum Imports

BBC
BBC
China says it is dropping an anti-dumping probe into sorghum imports from the US, as the two sides discuss ways of easing trade tensions.

Trump Cedes Trade Leverage to China in His Quest for Kim Summit

Saleha Mohsin and Nick Wadhams
Bloomberg
North Korea may turn out to be Chinese President Xi Jinping’s greatest ally in negotiating a trade deal with President Donald Trump.

Cleared of Spying for China, She Still Doesn’t Have Her Job Back

Nicole Perlroth
New York Times
It is the case that the government simply will not let die.

Railroaded: The Chinese High-Speed Train Network No One Else Really Wants

Trefor Moss
Wall Street Journal
Li Guanghe has built some of the most technically complex railroads in China.

At the Height of His Power, China’s Xi Jinping Moves to Embrace Marxism

Steven Jiang
CNN
Why is President Xi Jinping, the most powerful Chinese leader in decades, presiding over a wealthy and resurgent China, embracing the philosophical ideas of Karl Marx?