North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un Leaves Beijing after Surprise Visit

SCMP Staff
South China Morning Post
Security returns to normal in Chinese capital as armored train pulls out.

Why Would Kim Jong Un Make a Secret Trip to China?

James Griffiths
CNN
A surprise visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to China may indicate Pyongyang’s need for support from its closest ally ahead of upcoming summits with South Korea and the US.

China Needs More Water. So It's Building a Rain-Making Network Three Times the Size of Spain

Stephen Chen
South China Morning Post
China tests weather modification system to bring more rain to Tibet.

Putin to Visit China as Leaders Consolidate Power at Home

James Griffiths
CNN
Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit China later this year, for his first meetings with senior Chinese officials since being elected for a fourth term.

The US and China Are in Talks to Try to Avoid a Trade War

Jethro Mullen
CNN
The United States and China are acting tough over trade, but they’re also busy talking to try to stop the situation spiraling out of control.

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un Is Said to Be Visiting China

Bloomberg News
Bloomberg
Kim Jong Un has made a surprise visit to Beijing on his first known trip outside North Korea since taking power in 2011, three people with knowledge of the visit said.

Culture

03.23.18

What Chinese High School Students Learn in America

Jonathan Landreth
In 2011, when a rural prep school in Maine invited New York-based director Miao Wang to screen her first film, Beijing Taxi, she was surprised to find so many Chinese students enrolled at the archetypal New England establishment. Not Chinese-...

Books

03.23.18

Curating Revolution

Denise Y. Ho
Cambridge University Press: How did China’s Communist revolution transform the nation’s political culture? In this rich and vivid history of the Mao period (1949-1976), Denise Y. Ho examines the relationship between its exhibitions and its political movements. Case studies from Shanghai show how revolution was curated: museum workers collected cultural and revolutionary relics; neighborhoods, schools, and work units mounted and narrated local displays; and exhibits provided ritual space for ideological lessons and political campaigns. Using archival sources, ephemera, interviews, and other materials, Ho traces the process by which exhibitions were developed, presented, and received. Examples under analysis range from the First Party Congress Site and the Shanghai Museum to the “class education” and Red Guard exhibits that accompanied the Socialist Education Movement and the Cultural Revolution. Operating in two modes—that of a state in power and that of a state in revolution—Mao era exhibitionary culture remains part of China’s revolutionary legacy.{chop}Related Reading:“The Double Helix of Chinese History and Its Powerful Leader,” Denise Y. Ho, The Japan Times, March 20, 2018“Fifty Years Later, How Is the Cultural Revolution Still Present in Life in China?,” ChinaFile Conversation, ChinaFile, April 19, 2016“The Cultural Revolution at 50 — A Q&A with Four Specialists (Part Two),” Alexander C. Cook, Los Angeles Review of Books, March 2, 2016“The Cultural Revolution at 50: A Q&A with Four Specialists (Part One),” Alexander C. Cook, Los Angeles Review of Books, February 24, 2016“Chairman Mao’s Everyman Makeover,” Denise Y. Ho and Christopher Young, The Atlantic, December 19, 2013Author’s Recommendations:The Gender of Memory, Gail Hershatter (University of California, 2014)Anyuan: Mining China’s Revolutionary Tradition, Elizabeth Perry (University of California, 2012)The Temple of Memories, Jun Jing (Cambridge University, 1996)

China, Not North Korea, to Dominate Japan Military Planning

Tim Kelly, Nobuhiro Kubo
Reuters
North Korea’s growing missile arsenal might be the most obvious and immediate military threat facing Japan, but defense planners in Tokyo are focused on a much larger and more challenging foe as they prepare for the years ahead.

How China’s Government Has Changed after the NPC

BBC
BBC
A stronger military and more power to fight corruption are among the major changes revealed at China’s National People's Congress (NPC) this year...

China Approves Giant Propaganda Machine to Improve Global Image

Keith Zhai
Bloomberg
China has approved the creation of one of the world’s largest propaganda machines as it looks to improve its global image, according to a person familiar with the matter.

China Vows to Open Its Markets Further in Response to Trump’s Tariff Threats

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
China responded to the threat of a massive package of tariffs from the United States by vowing Tuesday to further open its own markets to foreign trade and investment, while warning that a trade war between the two nations would hurt both sides.

Xi Jinping Warns against Dividing China after U.S. Passes Taiwan Law

Eva Dou
Wall Street Journal
Chinese President Xi Jinping said Tuesday that any “tricks” to divide China will be thwarted, a warning that followed U.S. legislation opening the door to high-level visits with Taiwan.

Books

03.16.18

Young China

Zak Dychtwald
St. Martin’s Press: The author of Young China: How the Restless Generation Will Change Their Country and the World, who is in his twenties and fluent in Chinese, examines the future of China through the lens of the jiu ling hou, the generation born after 1990.{node, 45751}A close-up look at the Chinese generation born after 1990 exploring through personal encounters how young Chinese feel about everything from money and sex to their government, the West, and China’s shifting role in the world―not to mention their love affair with food, karaoke, and travel. Set primarily in the eastern second-tier city of Suzhou and the budding western metropolis of Chengdu, the book charts the touchstone issues this young generation faces. From single-child pressure to test-taking madness and the frenzy to buy an apartment as a prerequisite to marriage, from one-night-stands to an evolving understanding of family, Young China offers a fascinating portrait of the generation who will define what it means to be Chinese in the modern era.{chop}

Chinese Crackdown Separates Pakistani Husbands from Uighur Wives

Memphis Barker
Guardian
“Where is Mama?” screams Ahmed’s 10-year-old daughter in a WeChat message he can hardly bear to replay.

Hong Kong’s Judges Voice Fears over China Influence in Judiciary

Greg Torode, James Pomfret
Reuters
As Hong Kong’s judges and senior lawyers paraded in ceremonial wigs and gowns on Jan 8 to mark the start of the legal year, anxieties over China’s growing reach into the city’s vaunted legal system swirled with the wintry winds.

Hard-Charging Chinese Energy Tycoon Falls from Xi Government’s Graces

Alexandra Stevenson
New York Times
A mysterious Chinese buyer surprised the financial world last year when it swooped in to buy a $9 billion chunk of Russia’s state oil company.

China, Russia Welcome Korean Peace Efforts with Diplomacy in Overdrive

Christine Kim
Reuters
China’s President Xi Jinping offered encouragement for South Korea’s initiative to nurture peaceful engagement with North Korea, and Russia also expressed support, the South Korean official leading diplomatic efforts said on Thursday.

Viewpoint

03.15.18

Who Really Haunts Xi Jinping, Mao or Gorbachev?

Jessica Batke
Last week, the Chinese National People’s Congress removed Presidential and Vice-Presidential term limits, effectively allowing current President (and Chinese Communist Party General Secretary) Xi Jinping to stay in power beyond the two terms that...

Trump Demands Aides Pump up Anti-China Tariffs

Adam Behsudi and Andrew Restuccia
Politico
President Donald Trump is getting ready to crack down on China. Trump told Cabinet secretaries and top advisers during a meeting at the White House last week that he wanted to soon hit China with steep tariffs and investment restrictions in response...

Chairman Xi, Chinese Idol

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
For nearly sixty years since it opened in 1959, the Great Hall of the People has been the public focus of Chinese politics, a monumental granite block that extends 1,200 feet along the west side of Tiananmen Square. It is where the country’s leaders...

Conversation

03.13.18

When Trump and Kim Meet, What Will Xi Do?

Zha Daojiong, Sergey Radchenko & more
On March 8, South Korea’s National Security Advisor announced that Donald Trump had agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un by May. Although now-ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson previously downplayed the announcement, a summit...

A Malaysian Insta-City Becomes a Flash Point for Chinese Colonialism — and Capital Flight

Brook Larmer
New York Times
A futuristic city funded by China is rising from the sea off Malaysian coast.

A Reporter Rolled Her Eyes, and China’s Internet Broke

Paul Mozur
New York Times
A reporter's eye-roll at China's legislature meeting went viral...

China Sets up New Foreign Aid Agency to Better Project Influence Abroad

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
The communist government establishes a new agency to coordinate its foreign aid program.

Beijing Watches and Waits While Trump Talks up His Meeting with Kim Jong Un

Nyshka Chandran
CNBC
The milestone summit suits Beijing's interests so the communist state isn't expected to interfere...

China Unveils Overhaul of Government Bureaucracy

Chun Han Wong
Wall Street Journal
Plan follows constitutional amendments that boost President Xi Jinping’s power.

Reports

03.13.18

Forbidden Feeds: Government Controls on Social Media in China

PEN America
PEN International
Based on extensive interviews with writers, poets, artists, activists, and others personally affected by the government’s grip on online expression, as well as interviews with anonymous employees at Chinese social media companies, this report lays...

Viewpoint

03.12.18

Chinese History Isn’t Over

Julian B. Gewirtz
One of the simplest and least useful ways to understand the future is to take exactly what’s happening today and project it forward, rigidly and predictably, into tomorrow. This view is more than just a form of mental inertia; it is a breed of...

Excerpts

03.12.18

A Chinese Mayor-to-Be Tells His Story

Zak Dychtwald
When I lived with Tom in the city of Chengdu in 2015 and into 2016, he was a 23-year-old probationary member of the Chinese Communist Party, on his way to joining the organization’s nearly 90 million full members. He wanted to embark on a career in...

Xi Jinping Clear to Rule Indefinitely as China Scraps Presidential Term Limits

Chun Han Wong
Wall Street Journal
Legislature votes to repeal 10-year presidential term limit imposed after Mao’s death.

Ending Term Limits for China’s Xi Is a Big Deal. Here’s Why.

Chris Buck and Adam Wu
New York Times
What is at stake when China ends term limit on Xi’s presidency?

Trump’s China Whisperer: How Billionaire Stephen Schwarzman Has Sought to Keep the President Close to Beijing

Michael Kranish
Washington Post
This American investor has one of the closest relationships to Beijing.

South Korea Moves to Ease Chinese Jitters over U.S.-North Korea Talks

Euan McKirdy
CNN
South Korean officials met with Xi about Trump-Kim Meeting.

China Says Trade War with U.S. Will Only Bring Disaster to Global Economy

Elias Glenn
Reuters
Beijing criticizes proposed tariffs by Washington amid fears it could shatter global growth.

China’s Arms Sales Rise as It Vies with U.S. for Influence on the World Stage

Kristin Huang
South China Morning Post
Research group highlights Beijing’s growing share of global arms trade as it tries to strengthen ties with key allies.

Books

03.09.18

End of an Era

Carl Minzner
Oxford University Press: Since the 1990s, Beijing’s leaders have firmly rejected any fundamental reform of their authoritarian one-party political system, even as a decades-long boom has reshaped China’s economy and society. On the surface, their efforts have been a success. Political turmoil has toppled former communist Eastern Bloc regimes, internal unrest overtaken Middle East nations, and populist movements risen to challenge established Western democracies. China, in contrast, has appeared a relative haven of stability and growth.But as Carl Minzner shows, a closer look at China’s reform era reveals a different truth. Over the past three decades, a frozen political system has fueled both the rise of entrenched interests within the Communist Party itself and the systematic underdevelopment of institutions of governance among state and society at large. Economic cleavages have widened. Social unrest has worsened. Ideological polarization has deepened.{node, 45901}Now, to address these looming problems, China’s leaders are progressively cannibalizing institutional norms and practices that have formed the bedrock of the regime’s stability in the reform era. Technocratic rule is giving way to black-box purges; collective governance sliding back towards single-man rule. The post-1978 era of “reform and opening up” is ending. China is closing down. Uncertainty hangs in the air as a new future slouches towards Beijing to be born. End of an Era explains how China arrived at this dangerous turning point, and outlines the potential outcomes that could result. {chop}

US’s Tillerson Warns African Nations Not to ‘Forfeit Their Sovereignty’ by Taking Chinese Loans

Justina Crabtree
CNBC
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has warned against African nations accepting Chinese cash in agreements which could “forfeit their sovereignty.”

Xi Jinping Says China’s Authoritarian System Can Be a Model for the World

Zheping Huang
Quartz
Chinese president Xi Jinping has repeatedly told the world that China is ready to lead on issues like free trade and climate change.

Chinese Students in America Say ‘Not My President’

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
Foreign Policy
The first posters appeared on a bulletin board at University of California, San Diego on March 1.

How China Is Challenging American Dominance in Asia

Max Fisher and Audrey Carlsen
New York Times
As China grows more powerful, it is displacing decades-old American preeminence in parts of Asia. The outlines of the rivalry are defining the future of the continent.

China, Europe Slam Trump’s Tariffs as U.S. Metalworkers Cheer

Wayne Ma, Emre Peker, and Doug Cameron
Wall Street Journal
China and Europe lashed out against new U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs, while officials and executives from several American allies caught in the crossfire reacted more cautiously, embracing what the White House promised would be some flexibility...

Trump Takes the Bait from Musk, Attacks China Auto Import Duties

Dana Hull and Justin Sink
Bloomberg
President Donald Trump may not follow Elon Musk on Twitter, but the Tesla Inc. chief’s posts decrying China’s automotive trade practices managed to catch his attention.

Media

03.08.18

Weibo Whack-a-Mole

King-wa Fu, Channing Huang & more from Weiboscope
China might be the world’s second-largest economy, and have more Internet users than any other country, but each year it is ranked as the nation that enjoys the least Internet freedom among the 65 sample nations scored by the U.S.-based Freedom...

Excerpts

03.08.18

Reversing Reform

Carl Minzner
Political stability, ideological openness, and rapid economic growth were the hallmarks of China’s post-1978 reform era. But they are ending. China is entering a new era—the counter-reform era.

Francis Fukuyama: China’s ‘Bad Emperor’ Returns

Francis Fukuyama
Washington Post
Since 1978, China’s authoritarian political system has been different from virtually all other dictatorships in part because the ruling Communist Party has been subject to rules regarding succession.

New Chinese Agency Could Undercut Other Anti-Corruption Efforts

Dimitar Gueorguiev and Jonathan...
Brookings Institution
China’s National People’s Congress is expected to ratify legislation during the next two weeks to create a new supra-agency, the National Supervision Commission, to institutionalize President Xi Jinping’s signature anti-corruption campaign as a...

China Protectionism Creates Tech Billionaires Who Protect Xi

Shelly Banjo
Bloomberg
China’s tech giants will add star power to the country’s political festivities this week, paying homage to President Xi Jinping and endorsing constitutional changes for him to remain president indefinitely.

China Unhappy with US Aircraft Carrier’s Visit to Vietnam, State Media Says

South China Morning Post
South China Morning Post
Beijing is unhappy with the visit of a US aircraft carrier to a Vietnamese port, the first by such a vessel since the Vietnam war, and is monitoring developments, according to a state newspaper report on Wednesday.

Talks with North Korea? China Approves (No Matter the Outcome)

Jane Perlez
New York Times
When China hosted the last serious talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, in the mid-2000s, the setting was a huge, hexagonal table covered in green felt, in a government guesthouse in Beijing.

The West Is Doing Its Best to Help China

Edward Luce
Financial Times
Most of it is unintentional. Yet the west could not be helping China more if it tried.

India Is Willing to Snub the Dalai Lama to Please China

Devjyot Ghoshal
Quartz
On March 17, 1959, a 23-year-old Buddhist monk disguised as a soldier fled Tibet, travelling for three weeks across the Himalayas before reaching the border with India.

Box Office: Will ‘Black Panther’ Conquer China?

Patrick Brzeski
Hollywood Reporter
At nearly $900 million worldwide and counting, Marvel’s latest is a certified historic hit, but Ryan Coogler’s blockbuster faces a final challenge to “conventional wisdom” in the world's second-largest film market...

China Boosts Defense Budget in Quest for ‘World Class’ Military but Tells Neighbors Not to Worry

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
China’s government said Monday that it will boost its defense spending by 8.1 percent this year, the biggest increase in three years, even as it insists that it poses no threat to other countries.

Conversation

03.06.18

China’s Military Spending

Dhruva Jaishankar, Dennis J. Blasko & more
On March 5, during the opening of the National People’s Congress, China’s annual parliament, Beijing announced it plans to spend U.S.$175 billion on its military in 2018, an 8.1 percent rise from 2017. China’s military budget is the world’s second...

Conversation

03.02.18

How Will Trump’s Tariffs Affect U.S.-China Relations?

Derek Scissors, Donald Clarke & more
Arguing that America is harmed by other countries’ trade practices, President Donald Trump said on March 1 that the U.S. will impose a new 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum. “People have no idea how badly...

The Brands That Kowtow to China

Richard Bernstein from New York Review of Books
There’s been no joking as the apologies to China have come thick and fast in recent weeks, issued not by teenage singers but by some of the largest and richest multinational corporations in the world—the German luxury car manufacturer Daimler, the...

As Xi Tightens His Grip on China, U.S. Sees Conflict Ahead

Mark Landler
New York Times
A few weeks after Stephen K. Bannon left the White House in August, he was invited to a dinner at the Council on Foreign Relations to discuss American policy toward China.

A Summer Vacation in China’s Muslim Gulag

Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy
Since announcing a “people’s war on terror” in 2014, the Chinese Communist Party has created an unprecedented network of re-education camps in the autonomous Xinjiang region that are essentially ethnic gulags.

An Anbang-Linked Revolutionary Heir Dies in China. Speculation Begins.

Josh Chin and Eva Dou
Wall Street Journal
The sudden death of a revolutionary scion linked to troubled Chinese insurer Anbang Insurance Group Co. is reverberating through China’s battered private business community.