China's Pollution Crackdown Is Gaining Momentum

Bloomberg News
Bloomberg
That political will overlaps with an economic need to rein in surplus production of steel, aluminum and other basic materials after years of over-investment. How and when that capacity gets replaced will be a key factor in the economy’s performance...

Conversation

10.16.17

What to Watch at China’s Party Congress

Ho-fung Hung, Taisu Zhang & more
The Chinese Communist Party’s 19th Party Congress, a hugely important political meeting usually held once every five years, will begin on October 18 in Beijing. Like many events involving China’s ruling party, the most important decisions and...

China September Exports up 8.1%, Imports up 18.7% as Trade with North Korea Slides

CNBC
China reported strong trade data on Friday just days ahead of a major Communist Party Congress.

Xi Jinping Has More Clout Than Donald Trump. The World Should Be Wary

Economist
American presidents have a habit of describing their Chinese counterparts in terms of awe. A fawning Richard Nixon said to Mao Zedong that the chairman’s writings had “changed the world”. To Jimmy Carter, Deng Xiaoping was a string of flattering...

China Rebuffs Criticism of Decision to Bar British Activist from Hong Kong

Benjamin Haas and Tom Phillips
Guardian
China has rebuffed criticism of its decision to bar a prominent British activist from Hong Kong, declaring itself unshakably opposed to foreign interference in the former colony’s affairs.

China Offers Support to Spanish Government amid Catalonia Crisis

South China Morning Post
China understands and supports the Spanish government’s efforts to protect the country’s unity and territorial integrity, Beijing said on Thursday, amid moves by Catalonia to declare independence.

China Targets Pollution on Eve of Xi Jinping’s Second Term

Tom Hancock and Lucy Hornby
Financial Times
A wave of environmental inspections in China has led to the closure of tens of thousands of businesses producing commodities from industrial chemicals to cement and rubber, pushing up prices and disrupting some global supply chains.

China Threatens U.S. Congress for Crossing Its ‘Red Line’ on Taiwan

Josh Rogin
Washington Post
In a rare pressure campaign, the Chinese government is demanding that the U.S. Congress back off passing new laws that would strengthen the U.S. relationship with Taiwan. Beijing’s efforts are the latest sign that it is stepping up its campaign to...

The Communist Party Ghostwriters Who Wrote the Book on Xi Jinping

Jun Mai
South China Morning Post
The call came in 2015. He Yiting, a vice-chairman of the training ground for top Communist Party cadres, was given a mission that would take the next two years of his life.

China's Xi Looks Set to Keep Right-Hand Man on Despite Age

Benjamin Kang Lim, Ben Blanchard, and...
Reuters
Chinese President Xi Jinping is likely to retain his right-hand man, the graft-buster Wang Qishan, in a senior position at a key Communist Party Congress this month even though he has reached retirement age, according to a majority of people with...

China Treats Its Foreign Aid Like a State Secret. New Research Aims to Reveal It.

Adam Taylor
Washington Post
Since the turn of the century, China has become an unavoidable global provider of foreign assistance, funding everything from opera houses in Algeria to tobacco farms in Zimbabwe.

China to Debtors: Pay up or Be Shamed

Keith Bradsher and Ailin Tang
New York Times
Troubled by huge debts run up by big state companies and politically connected local governments, China is taking steps instead to go after the little guys.

China Grabbed American as Spy Wars Flare

Ali Watkins
Politico
The sun was setting over Chengdu when they grabbed the American. It was January 2016. The U.S. official had been working out of the American consulate in the central Chinese metropolis of more than 10 million. He may not have seen the plainclothes...

China Names New Leaders of Anti-Corruption Agencies at Financial Regulators

South China Morning Post
China’s Communist Party has named new top officials to lead anti-corruption agencies at the country’s banking and insurance regulators as it makes final preparations for a twice-a-decade party congress later this month.

Asia's Longest-Serving Strongman Shows Power of China's Cash

Blake Schmidt
Bloomberg
A few decades ago, the U.S. and its allies could use financial leverage over aid-dependent Cambodia to nurture a democracy forged after Pol Pot’s genocide wiped out about a fifth of the population. But these days the biggest spender is China, which...

China May Consider These Countries for Its Overseas Military Base

Ralph Jennings
Forbes
China is most likely to put more military bases on the African east coast, as well as along the Indian Ocean or Arabian Sea.

In China, Scholars Are Being Punished amid Growing Squeeze on Public Expression

Anthony Kuhn
NPR
In late July, Beijing Normal University authorities fired Shi Jiepeng, an assistant professor, citing a number of offenses, including "expressing views outside the mainstream of society."...

Chinese Village Where Xi Jinping Fled Is Now a Monument to His Power

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Almost 50 years after Xi Jinping first trudged into this village as a cold, bewildered teenager, hundreds of political pilgrims retrace his footsteps every day. They follow a well-trod course designed to show how the seven years that the young Mr...

China Congress: Military Facelift a Sign of Bigger Changes

Cheng Li
BBC
Of the many noteworthy developments that have characterised Chinese President Xi Jinping's first five-year term, none stands out as much as military reform, and this reveals a great deal about the coming political trajectory in China, writes...

Philippines Apologizes to China over Wrong Taiwan Logo

Jim Gomez
Bloomberg
The Philippine defense department has apologized to China for the "grievous but purely unintentional mistake" of using Taiwan's defense ministry logo during a ceremony where the Chinese ambassador turned over thousands of assault...

Does Chinese Leader Xi Jinping Plan to Hang on to Power for More Than 10 Years?

Choi Chi-yuk Viola Zhou
South China Morning Post
The leader of China’s Communist Party, Xi Jinping, will begin a second five-year term this month. Many observers say it’s unlikely to be his last.

Exclusive: Russia’s Rosneft Aims for Big Boost in Oil Exports to China - Sources

Vladimir Soldatkin, Gleb Gorodyankin
Reuters
Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft (ROSN.MM) wants to boost its supplies of oil to China through Kazakhstan to as much as 18 million tonnes (36,000 bpd) per year from around 10 million tonnes in 2017, three industry sources said on Friday.

From Innovation to Provocation, China’s Artists on a Global Path

Holland Cotter
New York Times
Strange to say, although China has 1.4 billion people, it has only one artist, Ai Weiwei. Or so you’d think if you followed the Western news media. “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum wants to correct...

Waiting Game for North Korean Workers in China as Shutdown Deadline Looms

Stuart Lau Choi Chi-yuk
South China Morning Post
On a quiet street in the embassy district of Beijing, a neon-lit national flag forms an impressive backdrop to an almost empty North Korean restaurant as young waitresses sent from Pyongyang stand around waiting for customers.

U.S. Confronts China over Suspected Cyberattack as Fugitive Guo Wengui Appears in Washington

Cezary Podkul, Kate O’Keeffe and Aruna...
Washington Post
A suspected Chinese cyberattack on the website of a prominent Washington think tank drew a complaint from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week in a meeting with top Chinese government officials.

Bannon’s Back and Targeting China

Joshua Green
Bloomberg
As President Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon operated mostly behind the scenes to press his hard-right brand of nationalist politics, with only intermittent success. Since leaving the White House on Aug. 18, he’s taken on a much more public...

White House Conducting Wide-Ranging Review of China Policy

Adam Behsudi, Andrew Restuccia, Nahal...
Politico
The White House is quietly conducting a comprehensive review of its approach toward China, according to administration officials and outside advisers with knowledge of the plan.

High-Level US-China Talks Focus on Immigration, Fugitives

Nike Ching
Voice of America
Shilan Zhao, former wife of fugitive Chinese official Jianjun Qiao, pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges by the U.S. government of conspiring to commit immigration fraud related to the EB5 “investor” visa program.

Why the Rest of Asia Is Worried about China's Big Communist Confab

Ralph Jennings
Forbes
Not sure whether China will be nice to self-ruled Taiwan? Wait until after the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party. What’s in store for the hotly disputed, resource-rich South China Sea, where Beijing has taken a military and technological...

Communist Party Expels Former High-Flyer Sun Zhengcai in Countdown to Key Congress

Nectar Gan
South China Morning Post
Former political star Sun Zhengcai has been expelled from China’s Communist Party and will face prosecution, state media reported on Friday – two months after his shock downfall and just weeks before a key five-yearly leadership reshuffle.

What We Know about China’s 19th Party Congress and the Possible Economic Fallout

Sara Hsu
Forbes
On October 18, China will hold its 19th National Party Congress, which will provide broad indications for economic policy in the coming years. While it has been projected that there will be significant changes among the top party members, President...

Ivanka Trump’s Business in China Shrouded in Secrecy as Public Trade Data Disappears

Erika Kinetz
Independent
It is no secret that the bulk of Ivanka Trump's merchandise comes from China. But just which Chinese companies manufacture and export her handbags, shoes and clothes is more secret than ever, an Associated Press investigation has found...

White House Again Rejects Talks with North Korea on Nuclear Issue

Steve Holland
Reuters
The White House on Monday ruled out talks with North Korea except to discuss the fate of Americans held there, again appearing to rebuke Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who said Washington was directly communicating with Pyongyang on its nuclear...

China's Real Reasons for Enforcing North Korea Sanctions: Trump, Party Congress

Nyshka Chandran
CNBC
Washington has praised the world's second-largest economy for making progress in enforcing sanctions imposed on North Korea. But China's current measures may just be a temporary move for its own gain...

The Curious Career Paths of China's Public-Sector Bosses

Tom Mitchell
Financial Times
The official heroes of China’s state-sector reform program range from dedicated anti-graft investigators, who have purged dozens of allegedly corrupt executives over recent years, to strategically minded administrators determined to create a stable...

To Intervene or Not? China's Foreign Policy Experiment in South Sudan Raises Questions

Yanmei Xie and Casie Copeland
South China Morning Post
Yanmei Xie and Casie Copeland say China’s growing involvement in South Sudan’s civil war differs from its past approach to non-interference, though there is debate on the long-term implications as its role in African, and global, security affairs...

Why Kim Jong Un Is Alienating China

Blaine Harden
Washington Post
Totalitarian leaders usually don’t explain themselves, and Kim — six years in power and only 33 — is no exception. But insights into his Sino-belligerence can be gleaned from the back story of his family.

Facebook Blocks Chinese Billionaire Who Tells Tales of Corruption

Alexandra Stevenson
New York Times
A Chinese billionaire living in virtual exile in New York, Guo Wengui has riled China’s leaders with his sometimes outlandish tales of deep corruption among family members of top Communist Party officials.

As Sanctions Bite, North Korean Workers Leave Chinese Border Hub

Philip Wen
Reuters
Almost 100,000 overseas workers, based predominantly in China and Russia, funnel some $500 million in wages a year to help finance the North Korean regime, the U.S. government says.

Tillerson Masters the Art of Comity in Talks with China Leaders

Nick Wadhams
Bloomberg
Rex Tillerson made a show of harmony with Chinese leaders during a whirlwind visit to Beijing, skipping over tensions around trade and North Korea to emphasize the personal bond between the countries’ presidents.

In Tillerson's China Stop, Questions on North Korea but Slim Chance of Clarity

David E. Sanger
New York Times
Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson is scheduled to arrive in Beijing early Saturday for a brief visit, amid confusing signals about President Trump’s position on two questions looming over the confrontation with North Korea: Is America’s long-term...

U.S. Directly Communicating with North Korea, Seeks Dialogue

Phil Stewart, Ben Blanchard
Reuters
The disclosure by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during a trip to China represented the first time he has spoken to such an extent about U.S. outreach to North Korea over its pursuit of a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile.

Media

09.29.17

Trump on China

In the run-up to and during his race toward the presidency of the United States, Donald Trump made frequent statements about China, its people, and the government in Beijing, in remarks that ranged from effusive praise to outright attack, and which...

Leaving Nothing to Chance, China Increases Security, Social Control before Congress

Christian Shepherd and Ben Blanchard
Reuters
China is tightening security for next month’s twice-a-decade Communist Party Congress, cancelling police leave in Beijing, limiting tourism to Tibet, and clamping down on the spread of political rumors.

China to Shut down North Korean Companies

BBC
China has told North Korean companies operating in its territory to close down as it implements United Nations sanctions against the reclusive state.

Books

09.27.17

Cracking the China Conundrum

Yukon Huang
China’s rise is altering global power relations, reshaping economic debates, and commanding tremendous public attention. Despite extensive media and academic scrutiny, the conventional wisdom about China’s economy is often wrong. Cracking the China Conundrum provides a holistic and contrarian view of China’s major economic, political, and foreign policy issues.Yukon Huang trenchantly addresses widely accepted yet misguided views in the analysis of China’s economy. He examines arguments about the causes and effects of China’s possible debt and property market bubbles, trade and investment relations with the West, the links between corruption and political liberalization in a growing economy, and Beijing’s more assertive foreign policies. Huang explains that such misconceptions arise in part because China’s economic system is unprecedented in many ways—namely because it’s driven by both the market and state—which complicates the task of designing accurate and adaptable analysis and research. Further, China’s size, regional diversity, and uniquely decentralized administrative system pose difficulties for making generalizations and comparisons from micro to macro levels when trying to interpret China’s economic state accurately.This book not only interprets the ideologies that experts continue building misguided theories upon, but also examines the contributing factors to this puzzle. Cracking the China Conundrum provides an enlightening and corrective viewpoint on several major economic and political foreign policy concerns currently shaping China’s economic environment. —Oxford University Press{chop}Related Reading:“What the West Gets Wrong About China’s Economy,” Yukon Huang, Foreign Affairs, September 14, 2017“Challenging Conventional Wisdom,” Chen Weihua, China Daily, April 28, 2017“Cracking China’s Debt Conundrum,” Yukon Huang, Financial Times, December 6, 2016“Despite Slower Growth, China’s Economy Is Undergoing Major Changes,” NPR Interview with Yukon Huang, January 19, 2016

China Says Taiwan Not a Country, Taiwan Says China Needs Reality Check

Reuters
China warned self-ruled Taiwan on Wednesday that it would “reap the consequences” of promoting formal independence, a red line for Beijing which claims the island as its own.

This Is What World War III with China Might Look Like

Alfred W. McCoy
Nation
For the past 50 years, American leaders have been supremely confident that they could suffer military setbacks in places like Cuba or Vietnam without having their system of global hegemony, backed by the world’s wealthiest economy and finest...

There’s One North Korea Taboo China's Leaders Won’t Talk About

Ting Shi and David Tweed
Bloomberg
In discussions between the U.S. and China about reining in North Korea, one topic remains taboo: What would happen if Kim Jong Un’s regime collapses?

Conversation

09.27.17

How are NGOs in China Faring under the New Law?

Holly Snape, Anthony Saich & more
In September 2016, Beijing implemented a new law governing charities, which changed the ways domestic charitable organizations can register and fundraise. Then in January 2017, Beijing began implementation of a new law on the management of foreign...

Cyber Norms in U.S.-China Relations

Paul Haenle & Tim Maurer from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
The United States and China agreed in 2015 that neither government would support or conduct cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property and committed to working with international partners to identify appropriate norms in cyberspace. Both countries...

Is Trump All Talk on North Korea? The Uncertainty Sends a Shiver

Julie Hirschfeld Davis
New York Times
Mr. Trump’s willingness to casually threaten to annihilate a nuclear-armed foe was yet another reminder of the steep risks inherent in his brute-force approach to diplomacy.

US Commerce Secretary Visits Beijing Ahead of Trump Trip

AP
Washington Post
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday that Washington is hoping for concrete progress during President Donald Trump’s planned trip to China amid rising trade tensions.

Touching on History, a Chinese Film May Have Been Burned by It

Chris Buckley
New York Times
One of China’s most popular directors, Feng Xiaogang, was determined to triumph at the box office with the release of his new film “Youth” during the weeklong National Day holiday. But then Mr. Feng’s premiere was abruptly canceled.

Wang Qishan's Bannon Ties Fuel Talk of Second Term

Tom Mitchell and Demetri Sevastopulo
Financial Times
The recent secret meeting between the godfather of the US “alt right” movement and the Chinese Communist party’s ruthless anti-graft tsar was consistent with Beijing’s rapidly growing interest in US economic nationalism. 

Viewpoint

09.24.17

China, Global Peacemaker?

James Bowen
In May, Chinese President Xi Jinping gave opening remarks to a two-day international forum designed to demystify and attract support for Beijing’s “Belt and Road Initiative.” This estimated $1 trillion investment campaign aims to create extensive...

Media

09.23.17

The German Edition of the Falun Gong-Affiliated ‘Epoch Times’ Aligns with the Far Right

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On the eve of the German election Sunday, it’s no surprise that Russian state-funded media outlets are attacking German Chancellor Angela Merkel, sensationalizing migrant violence, and providing conciliatory coverage of far-right groups. Russia,...

Sinica Podcast

09.22.17

North Korea Behind the Scenes

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
North Korea is a mystery to nearly everyone—even those who have dedicated their lives to studying the country, including Korean experts based in Seoul, national security experts in Washington or Beijing, and a variety of foreigners who have spent...

China Lifts Travel Ban on Feminist Activist

Emily Feng
Financial Times
A Chinese feminist activist who was banned from leaving mainland China for a decade has been given back her travel documents and allowed to travel. Wu Rongrong will fly to Hong Kong on Sunday, where she will begin a post-graduate degree in law.

China's Path out of Poverty Can Never Be Repeated at Scale by a Country Again

Zheping Huang, Tripti Lahiri
Quartz
Since China began its market reforms in the late 1970s, it has lifted more than 800 million people out of poverty, slashing the rate from nearly 90% in 1981 to under 2%, as measured by the World Bank’s latest spending benchmark.