Thucydides’s Trap Has Been Sprung in the Pacific

Graham Allison
Financial Times
China’s increasingly aggressive posture towards the South China Sea and the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea is less important in itself than as a sign of things to come. For six decades after the second world war, an American “Pax Pacifica”...

Simmering Chinese Anger at Japan Is Now on the Boil

Mark McDonald
New York Times
In angry mass protests and subdued smaller gatherings, Chinese citizens have taken to the streets to protest the landing by Japanese activists on some barren islands that are claimed by both countries. Protesters in about a dozen cities on...

China’s Show Trial of the Century

Ma Jian
Project Syndicate
The trial, conviction, and suspended death sentence of Gu Kailai, the wife of purged Chinese leader Bo Xilai, has called into question not only China’s legal system, but the very unity of the Communist Party leadership.

Winning? China Internet Users React to Gu Murder Verdict

Josh Chin
WSJ: China Real Time Report
Gu Kailai has scored another courtroom victory. Such was the takeaway for many of China’s Internet users after it was revealed Monday that the wife of fallen Communist Party heavyweight Bo Xilai had been given a suspended death sentence after being...

China Conflicted Over Anti-Japan Protests

Brian Spegele
WSJ: China Real Time Report
Popular Chinese websites on Monday ran photos from anti-Japan protests across the nation, showing images of flipped-over and smashed Japanese-model cars in apparent reaction to a China-Japan dispute over a clutch of rocky islands.But in a country...

Anti-Japan Protests Erupt in China Over Disputed Island

Keith Bradsher, Martin Fackler, and...
New York Times
Anti-Japanese protests spread across China over the weekend, and the landing of Japanese activists on a disputed island on Sunday sharply intensified tensions between the two countries.

Sheng Shuren: A Journalist in Mao’s New China

Yaxue Cao
Seeing Red in China
I came upon the name Sheng Shuren (盛树人) recently when I was reading one of the documents left behind by Uncle Liu Erning. From the reference I learned Sheng Shuren was a man arrested along with Uncle Erning in Xushui, Hebei Province, in the summer...

China Accused of Crackdown on Family and Friends of Dead Activist

Tania Branigan
Guardian
Human rights groups have warned of a crackdown on relatives and friends of a veteran Chinese activists who questioned his strange death, after one was arrested for inciting subversion of state power. They believe Zhu Chengzhi is being punished for...

Sinica Podcast

08.17.12

The Fourth Estate

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Following the Chinese media’s intense coverage of the blitzkrieg trial of Gu Kailai, those of us at Sinica want to take this opportunity to look back at the most riveting China story of the year. And while we’ve covered developments week-by-week and...

Chinese Media Praises Landing of Activists on Diaoyu Islands

Jing Gao
Ministry of Tofu
Wednesday afternoon, 14 activists from Hong Kong successfully landed on one of a set of disputed islands, over which Japan, China and Taiwan all claim sovereignty, and planted Chinese flags on the island as a gesture of declaring ownership. Chinese...

Media

08.16.12

The People’s Daily Said What?

Bi Cheng
In the course of its dramatic growth, China often churns out unprecedented numbers. But few of them have been more controversial than the recently released National Revival Index, a formula devised to measure China’s economic and social development...

The Bogu Kailai Case: Underwritten by Privilege

Hu Shuli
A review of Xinhua News Agency's account of the Bogu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun murder trial released last Friday revealed a trove of fresh information. The details included the criminal charges, the type of evidence brought forward, expert...

Black Box by the Sea

Economist
This week China’s Communist Party announced the election of the 2,270 delegates who will gather later this year in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People for the 18th National Party Congress. They will be tasked with determining a new roster of top...

News from the Dalai Lama

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
“I told President Obama the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party are missing a part of the brain, the part that contains common sense,” the Dalai Lama said to me during our conversation in London in mid-June.But it can be put back in. I am hopeful...

This Is Awkward: The Politics of a Chinese Orgy

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
Orgies are back in the news in Beijing, but this time it’s the Communist Party that has found itself in an uncomfortable position, and it is now praising the virtues of privacy. A leaked batch of photos swept across the Chinese internet this month,...

“Twitter Is My City”: An Interview with Ai Weiwei

Jonathan Landreth
Foreign Policy
Ai, who lived in New York for much of the 1980s, has become a patron of China's disaffected urbanites, and here, in his tranquil garden, he holds court, offering advice to the thousands of fans, bloggers, activists, and petitioners who visit...

Random Thoughts on the Gu Kailai Trial

Donald C. Clarke
Chinese Law Prof Blog
Did she indeed confess to everything? All the reports state in various ways that Gu confessed. The Zhao Report says, “She fully admitted her acts in the case without reservation; she offered no objections.” The Xinhua Report says that she “confessed...

Bo’s Brand of Justice Leaves Timebomb for China

Chris Buckley
Reuters
China's fallen politician Bo Xilai left a timebomb as a parting gift for the Communist Party leadership that threw him out—the smoldering demands for redress from the many targets of his harsh version of justice in the city he ruled...

2011 Foreign Policy Speech by Paul Ryan

Michael Warren
Weekly Standard
Ryan also called for China to liberalize and become “integrated into the global order.” But, he said, Chinese leaders should not count on the decline of the United States as a great power. “We must demonstrate that planning for the post-American era...

Portrait of a Gadfly—On New Documentary “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry”

Jan Kaesebier
One artist, 90 minutes, 5196 children, 9000 backpacks, 81 days in prison and 40 cats, one of them can open the door. “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” is a short documentary, but it covers many different aspects of the famous Chinese artist-and-dissident’s...

How Dangerous Liaisons Led to Massive Corruption

Wang Chen, Gu Yongqiang, and Yu Ning
A graft investigation into former railways minister Liu Zhijun that started in February 2011 has concluded with the ministry issuing a document on August 3 that lists six disciplinary violations Liu committed. The internal ministry notice sheds...

Scrutiny for Casino Mogul’s Frontman in China

Michael Luo, Neil Gough, and Edward Wong
New York Times
When Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate, needed something done in China, he often turned to his company’s “chief Beijing representative,” a mysterious businessman named Yang Saixin. Mr. Yang arranged meetings for Mr. Adelson with senior Chinese...

Unofficial Account of Gu Kailai Trial (Translation)

Donald Clarke (translator)
Chinese Law Prof Blog
An unofficial report of proceedings in the Gu Kailai trial has surfaced. I can't vouch for its authenticity, but have done a quick and dirty, and not entirely literal, translation anyway. Comments, corrections, and suggestions welcome...

Sinica Podcast

08.10.12

The Chairman

Jeremy Goldkorn & Gady Epstein from Sinica Podcast
Ten years after his elevation to General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, Hu Jintao remains almost as much of an enigma now as he was on first taking power. What do we know about the man beyond his reputation as a somewhat robotic...

Court Observer: Gu Kailai's Trial

Keith Richburg
Washington Post
China’s most widely anticipated trial in a generation ended Thursday less than eight hours after it began, with Gu Kailai — a daughter of the Communist Party’s “red aristocracy” and the wife of deposed charismatic leader...

Murder Trial of Chinese Official’s Wife Begins and Concludes

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
The murder trial of Gu Kailai, the wife of the deposed political leader Bo Xilai, began here on Thursday morning and came to an end seven hours later, with officials saying that the defendant and an accomplice had all but confessed to...

China Leadership Monitor--Issue 38

Alice Miller et al.
Hoover Institution
Includes articles on Bo Xilai and the PLA, the Pacific PIvot, Economic Uncertaintly Its Effect on Politics, and China's Top Future Leaders to watch...

Heavy Burden on Athletes Takes Joy Away From China’s Olympic Success

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
When Liu Xiang, China’s track and field superstar, crashed to the ground at the London Olympic Games on Tuesday after stumbling over the first hurdle in his 110-meter men’s hurdles heat, an announcer on the state broadcaster openly wept and subway...

Party Bristles at Military’s Push for More Sway in China

Edward Wong and Jonathan Ansfield
New York Times
With China’s once-a-decade leadership transition only months away, the party is pushing back with a highly visible campaign against disloyalty and corruption, even requiring all officers to report financial assets. 

The New Great Game in Central Asia

Alexander Cooley
Foreign Affairs
In the last decade, the world has started taking more notice of Central Asia. For the United States and its allies, the region is a valuable supply hub for the Afghanistan war effort. For Russia, it is an arena in which to exert political influence...

Chinese Criminal Procedure at its Worst

Stanley Lubman
WSJ: China Real Time Report
On July 23rd in Guizhou province, lawyers obtained a partial victory for some  of the defendants accused of involvement in organized crime. Not all the accused were as fortunate, and the limited results came with...

The Non-Trial of the Century

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
When China’s fallen political grand dame, Gu Kailai, steps into a courtroom this week to face a murder charge, one of the few things we can expect with any certainty is the verdict: guilty. Barring a political tornado between now and the scheduled...

Caixin Media

08.07.12

Shenyang Businesses Closed By Inspection Panic

Most shop owners in a city of roughly 8 million people have pulled down their shutters to avoid what they fear will be stringent enforcement of a city ordinance tied to the hosting of the 2013 National Games.Small business owners in Shenyang,...

Advising Chinese Leaders: Futile Efforts?

Yiyi Lu
WSJ: China Real Time Report
At a recent conference of Chinese political scientists and international relations scholars in Beijing, a western academic remarked that he was struck by how Chinese scholars often seemed keen to use their research to come up with advice for the...

Reports

08.06.12

Chinese Leadership and Elite Responses to the U.S. Pacific Pivot

Michael D. Swaine
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
Over the past several years, the most significant overall U.S. foreign policy action of relevance to China has been the announcement and initial follow-through of the so-called Pacific pivot or “Rebalancing” of U.S. attention and resources to the...

Reports

08.06.12

Shaping the Future—Part I: Domestic Developments in Taiwan

Alan D. Romberg
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
Three main themes emerged in Taiwan politics in the wake of President Ma Ying-jeou’s convincing reelection victory in January. First, in a highly contentious election that portended continuing intra-party strife, the DPP chose its new chairman,...

Reports

08.06.12

Economic Uncertainty Fuels Political Misgivings

Barry Naughton
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
Political uncertainty is inevitable as China prepares for this fall’s leadership transition. This year economic conditions are also unusually unpredictable. In particular, while China is undergoing an inevitable economic slowdown, few have a clear...

Reports

08.06.12

Bo Xilai and Reform: What Will Be the Impact of His Removal?

Joseph Fewsmith
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
The unexpected flight of Chongqing’s Public Security head to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu in February started an unexpected sequence of events that led to the removal of Bo Xilai, the princeling head of the Chongqing party committee, and the...

Reports

08.06.12

The Bo Xilai Affair in Central Leadership Politics

Alice L. Miller
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
From a procedural perspective, the removal of Bo Xilai from Chongqing and from the party Politburo resembles the 2006 purge of Shanghai party boss Chen Liangyu and the 1995 takedown of Beijing City party chief Chen Xitong. Bo’s removal in that...

Reports

08.06.12

China’s Top Future Leaders to Watch

Cheng Li
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
The composition of the new Politburo that will take power in late 2012, including generational attributes and individual idiosyncratic characteristics, group dynamics, and the factional balance of power, will have profound implications for China’s...

Bo Xilai: The Unanswered Questions

Perry Link
New York Review of Books
The Chinese Communist Party has always put great emphasis on smooth surfaces, maintaining political “face” through a decorous exterior. Men at the top dye their hair black and every strand must be in place. But sometimes there are cracks in the...

The Perils of Private Enterprise: There Was Blood

Economist
A visitor to Jingbian county in northern Shaanxi province finds at its heart a thriving oil town in the grip of a state-owned company, Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum. Yanchang’s building, 12 storeys high, towers over the low-slung town. The company is...

Bo Xilai: The Unanswered Questions

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
The Chinese Communist Party has always put great emphasis on smooth surfaces, maintaining political “face” through a decorous exterior. Men at the top dye their hair black and every strand must be in place. But sometimes there are cracks in the...

Bo Xilai: The Unanswered Questions

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
The Chinese Communist Party has always put great emphasis on smooth surfaces, maintaining political “face” through a decorous exterior. Men at the top dye their hair black and every strand must be in place. But sometimes there are cracks in the...

Beijing’s Growing Credibility Gap

Kelley Currie
CNN
Authoritarian regimes have traditionally relied heavily on controlling the flow of information that their subjects receive as a critical element of maintaining political power. The Chinese Communist Party is no different: they have an extensive and...

Qidong Protest Prompts Anti-Japan Sentiment

Lillian Lin
WSJ: China Real Time Report
Protests in the eastern Chinese city of Qidong ended with victory for opponents of a government-run pipeline project that they claimed would increase pollution in local waters . But it also appears to have exacerbated anti-Japanese sentiment both...

Environment

08.01.12

Protests Show Chinese Kids’ Fears

from chinadialogue
The decision to cancel the metal refinery project in Shifang last month after protesters clashed with the police has been widely reported in the Chinese and global media. This is not the first time a project has been shelved due to public...

Interview: Kenneth Lieberthal on Strategic Distrust

YOICHI KATO
Asahi Shimbun
The United States and China have a relatively successful relationship, but their distrust of each other's long-term intentions has reached a potentially dangerous level, says Kenneth Lieberthal, an experienced China expert based in Washington...

Politics and Crime in China: The Final Act

The Economist
Economist
As weeks have passed without news of the fates of Bo Xilai, a suspended Politburo member, and his wife, Gu Kailai, a suspect in the murder of a foreigner, some speculated that party leaders were having difficulty agreeing on the verdicts, both...

Hong Kong Protests Patriotism Classes

Melissa M. Chan
China Digital Times
Amid fears that the mainland is increasing their involvement in Hong Kong politics, the San Francisco Chronicle reports parents, students, and teachers took to the streets in Hong Kong to protest China’s planned curriculum change.

Minxin Pei: What China's Leaders Fear Most

Minxin Pei
Diplomat
The news that Chinese prosecutors have filed formal murder charges against Gu Kailai, the wife of disgraced former Communist Party boss of Chongqing Bo Xilai, has conjured up tantalizing images of a sensational trial at which the dirtiest laundry of...

Lies, Damned Lies, and China's Economic Statistics

Tom Orlick
Wall Street Journal
China's statisticians get a tough press. After all, it was Europe, not China, whose fudged public finance data helped usher in the latest round of global financial turmoil. The biggest corporate fraud in recent memory isn't China's...

Chinese Olympians Subjected to Routine Doping

John Garnaut
Sydney Morning Herald
Chinese Olympians were subjected to a state-sponsored doping regime which was modelled on eastern Europe, says a retired Chinese Olympic doctor.Steroids and human growth hormones were officially treated as part of ''scientific training...

Olympic Uniforms, Congressional Fashion Statements, and the WTO

Donald Clarke
Chinese Law Prof Blog
Many bloggers have already written about the posturing of certain of our elected representatives on the issue of China-made clothing for US Olympic athletes, using various permutations of the word “idiot” (e.g., Daniel Drezner, “idiocies...

Growing China Clout Sparks Concern in Taiwan Media

Austin Ramzy
Time
Taiwan regulators have put strict conditions on a bid by a China-friendly media group to purchase the island’s second largest cable TV system as concerns grow that China’s commercial clout is already undermining freedom of the press in one of Asia’s...

Media

07.27.12

Could CCTV's Naming of Flood Victims Signal a Turn Toward Transparency?

Amy Qin
In the face of mounting criticism from online commentators and state media, Beijing city officials have finally raised the official death toll of the devastating floodwaters that hit the city last weekend from thirty-six to seventy-seven. The...

Hackers Linked to China's Army Seen From EU To D.C.

Michael Riley and Dune Lawrence
Bloomberg
The hackers clocked in at precisely 9:23 a.m. Brussels time on July 18 last year, and set to their task. In just 14 minutes of quick keyboard work, they scooped up the e-mails of the president of the European Union Council, Herman...

China's Military Moment

Jim Holmes
Foreign Policy
Beguiled by undersea oil and gas deposits and the weakness of fellow claimants to the Paracel Islands, China launched a naval offensive to seize the disputed archipelago. To justify its actions, Beijing pointed to history -- notably Ming Dynasty Adm...

Educational Detente Across Taiwan Strait

NAOMI ROVNICK
New York Times
The government of Taiwan, the self-ruling island over which Beijing claims sovereignty, has been inching toward more amicable relations with the mainland in recent years. The full opening of the island’s universities to students from across the...

Chinese Maker of Olympic Uniforms Baffled by Backlash

David Pierson
Los Angeles Times
If Horatio Alger had spoken Mandarin he would have loved the rags-to-riches tale of garment maker Li Guilian. Chinese President Hu Jintao and fellow Politburo members are loyal customers of her firm,...