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,...

The Cybersecurity Bill, China and Innovation

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
After years of debate, the Senate is set to take up a cyber-security bill that would force power companies and other vulnerable parts of the infrastructure to meet a certain level of security. President Obama is backing...

Bo Xilai's Wife Charged in Killing of British Businessman

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
Gu Kailai, the wife of the disgraced political leader Bo Xilai, has been charged with the intentional homicide of a British businessman, a crime that triggered China’s most serious political crisis in decades, the state media...

Caixin Media

07.26.12

Mass Medal Preparedness

China’s Olympic training system demands its athletes give their all—and not expect much in return.It’s a structured, planned, and government-funded system specifically designed to churn out winners.While other countries around the world build...

Caixin Media

07.26.12

Buried Under Water

Ding Zhijian, a 34-year-old editor at a children’s literature publishing company, was on his way home after meeting a colleague when a horrific rainstorm hit Beijing.Earlier that day, his wife had asked Ding not to leave the house. It was the...

Crisis Management Falters as Beijing Mayor Resigns

Russel Leigh Moses
WSJ: China Real Time Report
If this past weekend’s deluge in Beijing shows us anything, it’s that nothing and no one in this city is waterproof.

Floods in Beijing

The Economist
Economist
For a capital city unusual, and perhaps unique, in being situated neither on a coastline nor along the banks of a big river, Beijing has been under water a lot of late. Violent summer rainstorms flooded the city in June of last year, overwhelming...

The Chinese Political System is Not a Meritocracy (Opinion)

Sam Crane
Useless Tree
Daniel A. Bell has a piece today in the CSM, arguing that the PRC political system is, basically, a meritocracy that holds lessons that might correct the flaws of US democracy.  Bell is a philosopher and he tends to...

Media

07.24.12

Propaganda Chief Leaves a Legacy of Control

Amy Qin
Monday’s top story was the torrential rains and flooding that thrashed Beijing over the weekend and left at least thirty-seven people dead. Only one non-flood related news item made the cut for the front page of the Beijing Daily, the local Party-...

An Inside Look at China’s Most Famous Political Prisoner

Mark McDonald
New York Times
Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the most famous political prisoner in China, has now served about one-fourth of his 11-year sentence for seeking democratic reforms. The government, at his trial, said Mr. Liu was guilty of “inciting...

Reports

07.24.12

Stirring Up the South China Sea (II) 

International Crisis Group
The South China Sea dispute between China and some of its South East Asian neighbours - Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei - has reached an impasse. Increasingly assertive positions among claimants have pushed regional tensions to new...

Stirring up the South China Sea: Regional Responses

Unattributed
International Crisis Group
The South China Sea dispute between China and some of its South East Asian neighbours – Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei – has reached an impasse. Increasingly assertive positions among claimants have pushed regional tensions to new...

Ding Guangen, Former China Propaganda Chief, Dies at 83

New York Times
Ding Guangen, a former chief of propaganda for the Chinese Communist Party, died here in Beijing on Sunday. He was 83. His death was announced by Xinhua, China’s state news agency, which did not specify the cause. Mr. Ding stepped down in 2002 after...

China’s Communist Elders Take Backroom Intrigue Beachside

Edward Wong and Jonathan Ansfield
New York Times
Clutching a wooden cane and aided by an entourage of young people, the old man in a black silk shirt and matching shorts hobbled up the stairs to Kiessling, a decades-old Austrian restaurant not far from the teeming beaches of this seaside...

Chinese Court Upholds Ai Weiwei Tax Fine

Sui-Lee Wee
Reuters
A Chinese court on Friday upheld a $2.4 million fine for tax evasion against the country's most famous dissident, Ai Weiwei, after barring him from attending the hearing, in a case that critics accuse Beijing of using to muzzle the outspoken...

It's Time to Redefine the China Expert

Jan Kaesebier
Misrepresentations and misunderstandings of “China” is a complicated issue that won’t disappear overnight. The news media you have trusted doesn’t always give you an unbiased perspective, even though they have been trying their best. Even visiting...

Why China Will Back Assad—Until It Won't

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
In vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria for the third time, China and Russia have tested Western diplomats’ capacity for creative contempt. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton already described their veto as “...

Fears of Chinese Media Crackdown Ahead of Leadership Transition

Tom Phillips and Malcolm Moore
Telegraph
On Wednesday it emerged that Lu Yan and Sun Jian, the publisher and deputy editor of Shanghai's often-combative Oriental Morning Post, had been removed from their positions. It is unclear exactly what triggered the editorial changes and some...

Long Wait Leads to Standoff With Officials

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
Thousands of people threw water bottles and blocked traffic at a popular nature preserve in northeastern China on Sunday after word spread that the arrival of top Communist Party leaders was causing an hours-long wait to visit a scenic lake. It was...

Caixin Media

07.19.12

More than Medals for China’s Olympic Stars

China’s best athletes have not only broken records but they’ve hauled in increasingly sizeable cash bonuses from central and local governments for their champion, medal-winning performances at Olympic events.Between 1984, when China re-entered the...

As China Talks of Change, Fear Rises on the Risks

Michael Wines
New York Times
A heavyweight crowd gathered last October for a banquet in Beijing’s tallest skyscraper. The son of Mao Zedong’s immediate successor was there, as was the daughter of the country’s No. 2 military official for nearly three decades, along with the...

The Chinese Media Reciprocity Act and Censorship of Foreign Journalists in China (Pt. 2)

Elizabeth Lynch
China Law & Policy
Putting aside the shrill rhetoric surrounding the Chinese Media Reciprocity Act and the fact that it only deals with the harassment of a small segment of U.S. journalists in China (the VOA and RFA reporters), the Act does draw attention to an...

What is Wrong With the Chinese Media Reciprocity Act (Pt. 1 of 3)

Elizabeth Lynch
China Law & Policy
The Chinese Media Reciprocity Act attempts to combat China’s restrictive visa policies for U.S. government-employed journalists. In reality, the impact of the Chinese Media Reciprocity Act is anything but reciprocal.  The U.S. has two...

China Cracks Down on Money-Smuggling Ring

Lingling Wei
Wall Street Journal
A Chinese court in Chongqing convicted 18 people on Tuesday of running a nearly $10 billion money-smuggling ring, according to an attorney involved, giving Chinese officials one of their biggest victories yet in their efforts to stop the illegal...