What's Wrong with the Global Times Take on Corruption

Yang Hengjun
China Media Project
The following piece is a response to a May 29, 2012, editorial in the Chinese-language Global Times called “Fighting Corruption is a Crucial Battle for Chinese Society”. The article created a sensation last week on China’s internet, where some...

The Light of the Law Never Shone on Them

Anne Henochowicz
China Digital Times
Soon after self-taught lawyer Chen Guangcheng escaped from illegal house arrest, local officials entered the house of his nephew, Chen Kegui, without any notice or warrent. Chen Kegui lashed out with a kitchen knife, then ran away. None of the...

What Happened on the Shanghai Stock Exchange?

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
China experienced a bizarre numerological happening this week. The Shanghai Composite Index started yesterday morning at 2346.98, which, when read from right to left, shares an uncanny similarity to yesterday’s highly sensitive anniversary: twenty-...

Fallows on Bad Air and Soft Power

James Fallows
Atlantic
This is another fascinating installment in the exercise of Chinese "soft power." For my Big Theory on the nature of Chinese soft power, see this essay and this book. For a few previous installments in the Soft-Power Watch, see this, this,...

Online Tiananmen Commemoration Snuffed Out

Josh Chin
WSJ: China Real Time Report
A snippet from a classical poem about the pain of bidding goodbye to loved ones has experienced an unexpected resurgence in China roughly 12 centuries after it was written. The poem’s author, Li Shangyin, has censors at China’s most talked-about...

Reporting in the Gaps of China's Internet

David Bandurski
China Media Project
One of the key strategies of China’s Party leadership in enforcing media controls — under the information policy mandate of “public opinion guidance“, or yulun daoxiang (舆论导向) — has been to restrict the source of news production. This is why the...

Google Confronts the Great Firewall

Rebecca Mackinnon
Foreign Policy
For centuries, the Yangtze River -- the longest in Asia -- has played an important role in China's history, culture, and economy. The Yangtze is as quintessentially Chinese as the Nile is Egyptian or the Rhine is German. Many businesses use its...

Global Times: Reform Alone Cannot Fight Corruption

David Bandurski
China Media Project
As we edge closer to the 18th Party Congress and its important leadership transition, one of the most crucial things to watch is how the debate over “political system reforms”, or zhengzhi tizhi gaige, shapes up in China’s press. A key related issue...

How People's Daily Reports on Graft in China

Seeing Red in China
A few days ago, it was announced that Liu Zhijun, former head of the Railway Ministry was stripped of his party title as a result of misconduct. In the Western press it was said that his graft involved hundreds of millions of RMB (over 800 million...

Media

05.31.12

Godwin’s Law with Chinese Characteristics

Hu Yong
This winter writer-blogger-race car-driver Han Han found himself facing charges of plagiarism from celebrated fraud-buster Fang Zhouzi. Both Han and Fang have huge followings among China’s microbloggers. And their personal disagreement soon...

Hong Kong US Consulate “Acts Cute” With People's Daily

Anne Henochowicz
China Digital Times
On May 25, the official Weibo account of the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong published its “Thoughts on Reading the U.S. Human Rights Report in the Style of the People’s Daily.” The humorous and sarcastic tone of the comments caused large scale re-...

Reverse Engineering Chinese Censorship

Andrew Phelps
Nieman Journalism Lab
Censoring the Chinese Internet must be exhausting work, like trying to stem the flow of a fire hose with your thumb. Sina Weibo, a popular Twitter-like service, says its 300 million registered users post more than 100 million weibos, or tweet-like...

Stability Trumps All Other Concerns in China

Yu Jie
Washington Post
Contrary to myths and assumptions, economic liberalization and development will not inevitably lead to corresponding political liberalization and development. Economic power has only reinforced an increasingly absurd state power in China.

Caixin Media

05.31.12

Heading Deep for the First Time

On May 9, China National Offshore Oil Corp.’s (CNOOC) first deepwater drilling platform began operating in the South China Sea. The world-class vessel is stationed in the Liwan 6-1-1 field, about 320 kilometers southeast of Hong Kong, in waters...

Viewpoint

05.30.12

The Sweet and the Sour in China-U.S. Relations

Winston Lord
At this very hour, one early May, just shy of a half century ago, I married a girl from Shanghai and we launched our joint adventure.Ever since, Bette Bao and I have practiced the precept of Adam Smith—division of labor. She manages our finances and...

China Confronts the Great Leap Forward

Helen Gao
Atlantic
When Bo Xilai, the now-sacked Chongqing party chief, blanketed the city with a Maoist-style campaign of nationalism and state control, the critics who worried about the dangers of reviving red culture in modern Chinese society included the Communist...

In Thrall of the Empire of the Sons

John Garnaut
Sydney Morning Herald
As the lure of the market grows ever greater, and the Communist Party refuses to fetter its enormous administrative powers or subject itself to any laws, ambitious officials and entrepreneurs have found it difficult to accumulate wealth and...

Ex-Beijing Mayor Plays Down Tiananmen Role

Chow Chun-yang
South China Morning Post
Former Beijing mayor Chen Xitong—blamed for years as one of the main culprits of the military crackdown on the 1989 pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen Square—has called it “a regrettable tragedy that could have been avoided” and aimed to play down...

Watching Dissidents Is a Booming Business in China

Charles Hutzler
ABC
Co-workers, neighbors, government office workers, unemployed young toughs and gang members are being used to monitor perceived troublemakers, according to rights groups and people under surveillance.

Weibo Microblog Introduces User Contracts

BBC
China's biggest microblogging service has introduced a code of conduct explicitly restricting the type of messages that can be posted. Weibo—which resembles Twitter—took the action after local authorities criticised "unfounded"...

Is China Finally Confronting Its Dark History?

Mark MacKinnon
Globe and Mail
You won’t find any state-sponsored memorials to the millions who died during Mao Zedong’s horribly failed Great Leap Forward (the estimates range between 17 million and somewhere upwards of 45 million). While the crimes of the Japanese during the...

Media

05.29.12

Patriots or Traitors?

Amy Qin
In Chinese, to be patriotic is to ai guo, literally “to love [one’s] country.” But what does it really mean to love your country? Does it mean unconditional support for your country’s government, warts and all? Or is there more room for nuance—can...

Watching Dissidents, a Booming Business

Charles Hutzler
Associated Press
Every workday at 7:20 a.m., colleagues pick up Yao Lifa from his second-floor apartment and drive him to the elementary school where he taught for years. This is no car pool. Yao is a prisoner, part of a China boom in outsourced police control. By...

Patriotism with Chinese Characteristics (Op-Ed)

Li Chengpeng
New York Times
Rapeseed plants in Sichuan Province flowered a month late in 2008. People did not think much of it. In those days, people still believed experts and the experts said the delayed flowering season was normal. They also said the thousands of frogs...

Confucius Institutes Not About Confucius

Sam Crane
Useless Tree
They are not about Confucius. Rather, the PRC government has chosen to use the name of Confucius as a trademark of sorts for a global soft power branding project. The Institutes, most of which in the US are hosted by colleges or universities, focus...

China Leadership Rules Bo Case Isolated, Limits Purge

Benjamin Kang Lim and Chris Buckley
Reuters
Chinese President Hu Jintao has demanded senior Communist Party officials stifle tensions over the ousting of ambitious politician Bo Xilai and show unity as they prepare for a change of leadership, sources briefed on recent meetings said.

Caixin Media

05.25.12

Policeman Burned for Dealing With the Devil

On March 17, the Chenzhou Public Security Bureau announced Huang Bailian had been removed as head of the police department’s drug squad.Huang offered a simple explanation for his sacking: “This is retaliation.”Three years earlier Huang, who is forty...

Rigid Thinking Beggars China's Soft Power

David Bandurski
China Media Project
In recent weeks, China has emitted glints of intensifying anti-Western xenophobia. Last week, following the announcement of a three-month crackdown on foreigners without valid visas, CCTV anchor Yang Rui (杨锐) encouraged police to “clean out the...

London: The Triumph of the Chinese Censors

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
When I arrived at the London Book Fair on Monday, April 16, I saw a huge sign outside showing a cute Chinese boy holding an open book with the words underneath him: “China: Market Focus.” The special guest of this year’s fair was the Chinese...

Lijia Zhang: The Specter of the Cultural Revolution

Lijia Zhang
New York Times
A couple of months ago, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao warned that if China fails to make political reforms, the country runs a risk of repeating the Cultural Revolution.

Caixin Media

05.23.12

Identity Crisis Rattles Volvo’s Chinese Owner

New models bearing the Chinese-owned Volvo badge shared a luxury spotlight at the Beijing International Auto Show in April with perennial stars Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Lexus.But behind the diamond-studded presentation was confusion over the legal...

Reports

05.23.12

Amnesty Internation Annual Report—China 

Amnesty International
Amnesty International surveys the landscape of human rights in China during 2011 and finds that China’s economic strength during the global financial crisis increased the country’s leverage in the domain of global human rights—mostly for the worse...

Books

05.22.12

Every Nation for Itself

Ian Bremmer
Forget the G-7 and the G-20; we are entering a leaderless "G- Zero" era—with profound implications for every country and corporation. The world power structure is facing a vacuum at the top. With the unifying urgency of the financial crisis behind us, the diverse political and economic values of the G-20 are curtailing the world's most powerful governments' ability to mediate growing global challenges. There is no viable alternative group to take its place. The United States lacks the resources and the political will to continue as the primary provider of global public goods. China has no interest in accepting the burdens of international leadership. Europe is occupied with saving the eurozone, and Japan is tied down with its own problems. Emerging powers such as Brazil, India, and Russia are too focused on domestic development to welcome new responsibilities abroad. The result is a G-Zero world in which no single country or bloc has the political or economic leverage-or the desire-to drive a truly international agenda. Ian Bremmer explains how this will lead to extended and intensified conflict over vitally important issues, such as international economic coordination, financial regulatory reform, trade policy, and climate change. We are facing a time of profound uncertainty. Bremmer shows who will benefit, who will suffer, and why this increased state of conflict is both inevitable and unsustainable. —Penguin Books Limited

Netizens: 'Power of Weibo,' Not the Law, Saved Wu Ying's LIfe

David Wertime
Ms. Wu, once among the richest women in China, was sentenced to death in January by a provincial court for illegally accumulating over RMB380 million, or about US$60 million, through a combination of loansharking and Ponzi schemes directed at (...

Jerome Cohen on Cheng Guangcheng's Arrival (Audio)

Brian Lehrer
WNYC
Jerome Cohen, China law expert and professor at New York University School of Law, talks about Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, who just arrived to start legal studies at NYU Law school after his dramatic stand-off in Beijing.

In Chongqing, Bo Xilai's Popularity Endures

Keith B. Richbrug
Washington Post
he legacy of Bo Xilai, the ousted regional Communist Party chief, endures in this southwestern Chinese megacity with its four-lane highways, expanding factories and hundreds of thousands of new apartment units. While Bo remains under house arrest in...

State TV Host Responds to Controversy Over 'Foreign Trash' Comments

Josh Chin
WSJ: China Real Time Report
Last week, Chinese state-run TV personality Yang Rui published a message through his verified account on the Twitter-like microblogging service Sina Weibo in which he appeared to throw his support behind a campaign by the Beijing Public Security...

Soft Power or Hard Sell?

Unattributed
Al Jazeera
Over the past few weeks, stories coming out of China have dominated the global headlines. First came the Bo Xilai political scandal, followed by the story of Chen Guangcheng, the blind dissident, and more recently, the expulsion of Al Jazeera's...

Viewpoint

05.20.12

Chen Guangcheng: A Hopeful Breakthrough?

Orville Schell
The arrival of the celebrated Chinese rights activist, Chen Guangcheng in the U.S. after years of prison and house arrest, raises the larger question of what the whole incident will come to mean in terms of the status of dissidents in China and in U...

Details of Negotiations Over Chen Case

William Wan
Washington Post
For weeks, U.S. officials have kept secret many of the sensitive details about their negotiations over Chen’s fate. But with the 40-year-old lawyer safely aboard a plane Saturday, senior administration officials described extensively for the first...

Environment

05.18.12

Europe Can Do Better

from chinadialogue
Since 2005, the European Union and China have sought to develop dialogue and cooperation in the area of climate-change policy. This has taken place primarily within the framework of the EU-China Partnership on Climate Change, agreed at the 2005 EU-...

Caixin Media

05.18.12

Near Three Gorges Dam, the Exodus Continues

Walls inside Zhang Haomin’s home in Zhenxi Township, in Chongqing, started cracking in 2008, around the time the reservoir behind the new Three Gorges Dam neared capacity.“Early on, the cracks were small,” said Zhang, whose home is about three...

Caixin Media

05.18.12

Demography and Destiny

China is facing a demographic reckoning that is approaching a nightmare.For thirty years, the government has been obsessed with keeping population growth down, often resorting to late-term abortions and other brutal measures. The panic now is that...

Caixin Media

05.18.12

Message in a Bottle for Spirits Maker Moutai

A glass of Feitian Moutai packs a wallop, which is one reason why the 106-proof baijiu is a hit among influential government officials.They also like Feitian Moutai because a single bottle, thanks to special arrangements between state agencies and...

Sinica Podcast

05.18.12

Stirring up the South China Sea

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremiah Jenne & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, as the situation in the South China Sea simmers and Chinese society turns noticeably xenophobic, we’re pleased to be joined by Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt from the International Crisis Group, a non-governmental organization that...

Earthbound China

05.11.12

From Protester to Village Head

Zhang Jieping
In September 2011, residents of the village of Wukan in Guangdong province began protesting the illegal seizure and sale of their land by local Party cadres. The protestors demanded fair compensation for the land that had been taken, but officials...

Sinica Podcast

05.11.12

Interesting Times

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Joining Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn on Sinica this week are special guests Gady Epstein from the Economist and Ed Wong from the New York Times, here to discuss what has been a surreal two weeks even by Chinese standards, bringing us the spectacle...

Reports

05.10.12

Understanding China’s Political System

Susan V. Lawrence, Michael F. Martin
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
China’s Communist Party dominates state and society in China, is committed to maintaining a permanent monopoly on power, and is intolerant of those who question its right to rule. Nonetheless, analysts consider China’s political system to be neither...

On Fang Lizhi (1936–2012)

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
Fang Lizhi, a distinguished professor of astrophysics, luminary in the struggle for human rights in contemporary China, and frequent contributor to The New York Review, died suddenly on the morning of April 6. At age seventy-six he had not yet...

Debacle in Beijing

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
The story of a blind Chinese lawyer’s flight to the US Embassy in Beijing is likely to ignite accusations and recriminations until the US presidential election in November. But what few will acknowledge is a harsher truth: that for all our desire to...

Beijing Dilemma: Is Chen Guangcheng the Next Fang Lizhi?

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
The Chinese lawyer Chen Guangcheng, blind since childhood, self-taught in the law, defender of women’s rights to resist forced abortion, thorn in the side of local despots in his home district of Linyi in Shandong province, veteran of a four-year...

Reports

04.30.12

China’s Assertive Behavior

Michael D. Swaine
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
This essay focuses in particular on the military’s role in leadership decision-making and lower-level implementation with regard to political-military crises with foreign powers. This is a difficult topic to tackle: very little detailed, reliable...

Reports

04.30.12

After the Taiwan Elections: Planning for the Future

Alan D. Romberg
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
President Ma Ying-jeou’s solid re-election victory on January 14 and the Kuomintang’s respectable showing in the Legislative Yuan (LY) contests not only eased anxiety in Beijing and Washington, but laid a foundation for yet further progress along...

Reports

04.30.12

The Only Honest Man?—General Liu Yuan Calls Out PLA Corruption

James Mulvenon and Leigh Ann Ragland
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
On 18 January 2012, General Logistics Department Deputy Director Liu Yuan reportedly gave a Chinese New Year speech in which he directly attacked military corruption in the ranks and promised a “do-or-die” fight against it. Within days, General...

Reports

04.30.12

Leadership Transition and the “Top-Level Design” of Economic Reform

Barry Naughton
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
As China’s 18th Party Congress looms, it is clear that we are now in the thick of transition. The impending transition creates uncertainty about China’s future, but it also opens up new possibilities. Already, the discussion of economic policies in...

Reports

04.30.12

Guangdong Leads Calls to Break up “Vested Interests” and Revive Reform

Joseph Fewsmith
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
In September 2011, a protest in a Guangdong village threatened to embarrass the province and its party secretary, Wang Yang, who is a candidate for membership on the powerful Politburo Standing Committee when the 18th Party Congress meets later in...

Reports

04.30.12

Prospects for Solidarity in the Xi Jinping Leadership

Alice L. Miller
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
It may be true, as is often observed, that if all the world’s economists were laid end to end, they would never reach a conclusion. It is all the more notable, therefore, that an increasing number of observers of China’s economy are skeptical that...