Trump’s Tariffs Push Electronics From China to Southeast Asia

Debby Wu
Bloomberg
A number of Taiwanese firms that form a crucial plank of the global supply chain have in recent days signaled their intention to diversify away from the world’s No. 2 economy. Delta Electronics Inc., which supplies power components to Apple Inc.,...

China’s Plan to Win Friends and Influence Includes Ski Slopes and Spas

Alexandra Stevenson and Cao Li
New York Times
In Thailand, a theater rigged with hydraulic seats will give moviegoers the sensation of flight. In Australia, an indoor ski slope is going up near the beaches of the Gold Coast. In the Czech Republic, a spa with Chinese medicine is under...

Kazakh Trial Throws Spotlight on China’s Internment Centres

Emily Feng
Financial Times
The trial of a Chinese citizen who fled to Kazakhstan has offered rare insight into China’s secretive internment system, with Beijing’s security campaign in the western region of Xinjiang increasingly putting neighbouring countries in central Asia...

Disgraced Former Chinese Internet Tzar Lu Wei Charged with Bribery

James Griffiths
CNN
Lu Wei “accepted a large number of bribes” during his time as national propaganda chief, head of the Cyberspace Administration of China, deputy head of the official Xinhua news agency, and as a Beijing city official, according to state media.

China in Africa: Win-Win Development, or a New Colonialism?

Guardian
As their hand-built wooden dhow approaches the shore, Ibrahim Chamume and his fellow fishermen take in the sail and prepare to sell their catch to the small huddle of villagers waiting on the white sand. He has been making a living like this on the...

From a Space Station in Argentina, China Expands Its Reach in Latin America

Ernesto Londoño
New York Times
The giant antenna rises from the desert floor like an apparition, a gleaming metal tower jutting 16 stories above an endless wind-whipped stretch of Patagonia. The 450-ton device, with its hulking dish embracing the open skies, is the centerpiece of...

Where Does Africa Fit in Xi Jinping’s Worldview?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit will take place at a delicate time for Chinese President Xi Jinping, as he confronts enormous challenges related to the ongoing trade war with the United States and, at the same time, huge opportunities...

Facebook’s Return to China Thrown into Doubt

BBC
The company, like all major US tech platforms, has been blocked in the country since 2009. Facebook said on Wednesday it had secured a licence to set up an “innovation hub to support Chinese developers, innovators and start-ups”. But 24 hours later...

More of Africa Finds Itself in China’s Debt

Matina Stevis-Gridneff
Wall Street Journal
Chinese President Xi Jinping has signed a slate of investment deals during a weeklong tour of Africa, feeding into concerns in the West and on the continent over ballooning levels of indebtedness to Beijing and its expanding political footprint.

China Hasn’t Delivered on Its $24 Billion Philippines Promise

Jason Koutsoukis, Cecilia Yap
Bloomberg
Of the 27 deals signed between China and the Philippines during Duterte’s visit to Beijing in October 2016, China originally agreed to provide $9 billion in soft loans, including a $3 billion credit line with the Bank of China, with a further $15...

Lone Suspect Wounded in Blast near U.S. Embassy in China

Se Young Lee, Tom Daly
Reuters
The explosion happened on the street outside the southeast corner of the embassy compound. Beijing police said the suspect, a 26-year-old man from China’s Inner Mongolia region, had injured his hand and been taken to the hospital. Police did not...

Books

07.26.18

Imperial Twilight

Stephen Platt
Alfred A. Knopf: As China reclaims its position as a world power, Imperial Twilight looks back to tell the story of the country’s last age of ascendance and how it came to an end in the 19th-century Opium War.When Britain launched its first war on China in 1839, pushed into hostilities by profiteering drug merchants and free-trade interests, it sealed the fate of what had long been seen as the most prosperous and powerful empire in Asia, if not the world. But internal problems of corruption, popular unrest, and dwindling finances had weakened China far more than was commonly understood, and the war would help set in motion the eventual fall of the Qing dynasty—which, in turn, would lead to the rise of nationalism and communism in the 20th century. As one of the most potent turning points in the country’s modern history, the Opium War has since come to stand for everything that today’s China seeks to put behind it.In this dramatic, epic story, award-winning historian Stephen Platt sheds new light on the early attempts by Western traders and missionaries to “open” China—traveling mostly in secret beyond Canton, the single port where they were allowed—even as China’s imperial rulers were struggling to manage their country’s decline and Confucian scholars grappled with how to use foreign trade to China’s advantage. The book paints an enduring portrait of an immensely profitable and mostly peaceful meeting of civilizations at Canton over the long term that was destined to be shattered by one of the most shockingly unjust wars in the annals of imperial history. Brimming with a fascinating cast of British, Chinese, and American individuals, this riveting narrative of relations between China and the West has important implications for today’s uncertain and ever-changing political climate.{chop}

Trump Says China Is ‘Being Vicious’ and Targeting U.S. Farmers on Purpose

Fred Imbert
CNBC
Trump’s comment comes after the administration announced a $12 billion bailout plan for farmers hit by tariffs on their goods. Earlier this month, China slapped a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans, one of the biggest U.S. exports to China.

China Stimulates Again, but Don’t Expect Fireworks

Nathaniel Taplin
Wall Street Journal
The country’s main stock benchmark was up 1.6% Tuesday, after a call from China’s cabinet overnight for more fiscal spending, abundant liquidity, and—perhaps most significant—support for the “reasonable” fundraising needs of local governments’...

Giving In to China, U.S. Airlines Drop Taiwan (in Name at Least)

Sui-Lee Wee
New York Times
You can book a ticket to Taipei from New York on a major American airline. Just don’t ask them which country you are going to. American, which was the first to make the switch, listed Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, the city’s main airport, as...

China and India Launch Investment Spree in Africa Ahead of Key Summit

Justina Crabtree
CNBC
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have continued to lend in tandem to African countries ahead of a major emerging markets summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, beginning on Wednesday.

One in Five Arrests Take Place in ‘Police State’ Xinjiang

Lily Kuo
Guardian
Analysing publicly available government data, the advocacy group Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), found 21% of all arrests in China in 2017 were in Xinjiang

U.S.-China Tensions over Trade and Technology

Paul Haenle & Chen Dingding from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
Chen says deteriorating bilateral relations are due to both the Trump administration’s trade policies and to a growing U.S. consensus that foreign policy toward China should be reevaluated. The Chinese government’s view that industrial policy is a...

Viewpoint

07.13.18

‘Liu Knew His Responsibility in History’

Ian Johnson
He was risking not the immediate arrival of soldiers, but the inevitable and life-threatening imprisonment that befalls all people who challenge state power in China today. This was not an active decision to die, but a willingness to do so. The...

China’s Effort to Control Debt Loses Steam

Chao Deng and Lingling Wei
Wall Street Journal
China is letting up on its drive to keep a lid on debt growth as it faces a softening economy at home and escalating trade tensions with the U.S.

US-China Trade Brawl Threatens America’s Booming Oil Exports

Matt Egan
CNN
China is America’s second-biggest crude oil customer, and Beijing has threatened to retaliate against President Donald Trump’s trade crackdown by imposing tariffs on US crude oil.

Chinese Professor Accused of Sexual Harassment Is Barred From Teaching

Chris Buckley
A major university in southern China has barred a professor from teaching after female students went public with sexual harassment allegations against him, unhappy that the university had not taken swifter, firmer action.

Surveillance Fears Cloud China’s ‘Digital Silk Road’

Nyshka Chadran
CNBC
A major element of China’s continent-spanning Belt and Road Initiative has nothing to do with roads, ports or power plants.

China Is Better Able To Withstand A Trade War Than In The Past

Jim Zarroli
NPR
As President Trump threatens to heap more tariffs on Chinese imports, he’s got one important fact on his side: The United States remains China’s biggest single export market, buying some $500 billion in goods last year alone.

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.