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...

Reports

04.30.12

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...

Books

04.24.12

China: Fragile Superpower

Susan L. Shirk
Once a sleeping giant, China today is the world's fastest growing economy—the leading manufacturer of cell phones, laptop computers, and digital cameras—a dramatic turn-around that alarms many Westerners. But in China: Fragile Superpower, Susan L. Shirk opens up the black box of Chinese politics and finds that the real danger lies elsewhere—not in China's astonishing growth, but in the deep insecurity of its leaders. China's leaders face a troubling paradox: the more developed and prosperous the country becomes, the more insecure and threatened they feel.Shirk, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State responsible for China, knows many of today's Chinese rulers personally and has studied them for three decades. She offers invaluable insight into how they think—and what they fear. In this revealing book, readers see the world through the eyes of men like President Hu Jintao and former President Jiang Zemin. We discover a fragile communist regime desperate to survive in a society turned upside down by miraculous economic growth and a stunning new openness to the greater world. Indeed, ever since the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square and the fall of communism in the Soviet Union, Chinese leaders have been afraid of its own citizens, and this fear motivates many of their decisions when dealing with the U.S. and other nations. In particular, the fervent nationalism of the Chinese people, combined with their passionate resentment of Japan and attachment to Taiwan, have made relations with this country a minefield. —Oxford University Press

Reports

04.23.12

Stirring up the South China Sea (I)

International Crisis Group
The conflicting mandates and lack of coordination among Chinese government agencies, many of which strive to increase their power and budget, have stoked tensions in the South China Sea. Any future solution to the South China Sea disputes will...

Earthbound China

04.18.12

What Wukan Means

Ou Ning
It began, in the early stages, as a secret mobilization. Then came the protests, marches of ever-larger numbers, direct confrontation, occupations, blockades, anarchy, media exposure, a case of accidental death, the involvement of higher levels of...

Caixin Media

04.18.12

Unscathed by Scandals, Official Promoted

{vertical_photo_right}(Beijing)—Although sacked once for the coverup of the 2003 SARS epidemic and a second time for blocking media coverage of the 2008 Shanxi mudslides, Meng Xuenong’s career has always bounced back.According to the website of the...

Bringing Censors to the Book Fair

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
When I arrived at the London Book Fair on Monday, 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 Communist Party’s...

Sinica Podcast

03.23.12

L’affaire Daisey

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
If you smell anything burning, it’s likely your Internet cable melting from the heat of all these rumors. Which is why at Sinica we turn our unforgiving gaze this week at unsubstantiated press, foreign and domestic, focusing first on reports of...

China’s Falling Star

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
In China, the year is traditionally divided into periods based on the moon’s orbit around the earth and the sun’s path across the sky. This lunisolar calendar is laden with myths and celebrated by rituals that allowed Chinese to mark time and make...

Sinica Podcast

03.16.12

Midnight in Peking

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
In a China accustomed to glacial political change, Bo Xilai’s dramatic fall from power this week has stunned observers nationwide. Joining us to help make sense of things is Guardian correspondent Tania Branigan, who helps review what exactly...

Sinica Podcast

03.09.12

The Mirror of History: China Through the Looking Glass

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Sinica is coming out a bit earlier than usual this week: We were lucky enough to catch Jeffrey Wasserstrom on Monday during a well-timed visit to Beijing, and dragged him into the studio to get his views on the recent elections in Wukan, what is...

Books

03.08.12

Ballot Box China

Kerry Brown
Since 1988, China has undergone one of the largest, but least understood experiments in grassroots democracy. Across 600,000 villages in China, with almost a million elections, some three million officials have been elected. The Chinese government believes that this is a step towards "democracy with Chinese characteristics". But to many involved in them, the elections have been mired by corruption, vote-rigging and cronyism. This book looks at the history of these elections, how they arose, what they have achieved and where they might be going, exploring the specific experience of elections by those who have taken part in them — the villagers in some of the most deprived areas of China.  —Zed Books

Reports

03.07.12

Bringing China’s Criminal Procedure Law in Line With International Standards

Amnesty International
In August 2011, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress issued the Criminal Procedure Law Draft Revisions, which were then submitted for approval at the March 2012 meeting of the National People’s Congress. This Amnesty...

Learning How to Argue

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
One of China’s most outspoken public intellectuals, Ran Yunfei was detained last year after calls went out for China to emulate the “Jasmine Revolution” protests sweeping North Africa. He was held without trial for six months until last August...

Media

02.29.12

Three Trends in Public Opinion Online in China

Hu Yong
Looking back at China’s Internet in 2011, there were three broad trends that deserve greater attention. The first was a general shift from emotionally-driven nationalist chatter as the defining tone of China’s Internet to more basic attention to...

Books

02.27.12

Public Passions

Eugenia Lean
In 1935, a Chinese woman by the name of Shi Jianqiao murdered the notorious warlord Sun Chuanfang as he prayed in a Buddhist temple. This riveting work of history examines this well-publicized crime and the highly sensationalized trial of the killer. In a fascinating investigation of the media, political, and judicial records surrounding this cause célèbre, Eugenia Lean shows how Shi Jianqiao planned not only to avenge the death of her father, but also to attract media attention and galvanize public support.Lean traces the rise of a new sentiment—"popular sympathy"—in early twentieth-century China, a sentiment that ultimately served to exonerate the assassin. The book sheds new light on the political significance of emotions, the powerful influence of sensational media, modern law in China, and the gendered nature of modernity.  —University of California Press

Sinica Podcast

02.24.12

Journey to the West

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn are pleased to host Ed Wong from The New York Times, along with Adrienne Mong, whom you’ve seen on NBC News. First up is Xi Jinping’s recent visit to the United States, and a closer look at the...

The Chinese Are Coming!

Richard Bernstein from New York Review of Books
The day after the Russian parliamentary elections in early December, the Chinese publication Global Times, an English-language newspaper and website managed by People’s Daily, the official organ of the Communist Party official, ran an editorial on...

Books

02.16.12

Grounds of Judgment

Pär Kristoffer Cassel
Perhaps more than anywhere else in the world, the nineteenth century encounter between East Asia and the Western world has been narrated as a legal encounter. Commercial treaties—negotiated by diplomats and focused on trade—framed the relationships among Tokugawa-Meiji Japan, Qing China, Choson Korea, and Western countries including Britain, France, and the United States. These treaties created a new legal order, very different than the colonial relationships that the West forged with other parts of the globe, which developed in dialogue with local precedents, local understandings of power, and local institutions. They established the rules by which foreign sojourners worked in East Asia, granting them near complete immunity from local laws and jurisdiction. The laws of extraterritoriality looked similar on paper but had very different trajectories in different East Asian countries.Par Cassel's first book explores extraterritoriality and the ways in which Western power operated in Japan and China from the 1820s to the 1920s. In Japan, the treaties established in the 1850s were abolished after drastic regime change a decade later and replaced by European-style reciprocal agreements by the turn of the century. In China, extraterritoriality stood for a hundred years, with treaties governing nearly one hundred treaty ports, extensive Christian missionary activity, foreign controlled railroads and mines, and other foreign interests, and of such complexity that even international lawyers couldn't easily interpret them.Extraterritoriality provided the springboard for foreign domination and has left Asia with a legacy of suspicion towards international law and organizations. The issue of unequal treaties has had a lasting effect on relations between East Asia and the West. Drawing on primary sources in Chinese, Japanese, Manchu, and several European languages, Cassel has written the first book to deal with exterritoriality in Sino-Japanese relations before 1895 and the triangular relationship between China, Japan, and the West. Grounds of Judgment is a groundbreaking history of Asian engagement with the outside world and within the region, with broader applications to understanding international history, law, and politics.  —Oxford University Press

Sinica Podcast

02.10.12

The Allure of the Southwest

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn take a closer look at the beautiful city of Chongqing in a forthright discussion that delves into the myriad attractions of this beautiful and occasionally mysterious Chinese city, famous recently...

He Told the Truth About China’s Tyranny

Simon Leys from New York Review of Books
Better than the assent of the crowd: The dissent of one brave man!—Sima Qian (145–90 BC)Records of the Grand HistorianTruth will set you free.—Gospel according to JohnThe economic rise of China now dominates the entire landscape of international...

Sinica Podcast

02.03.12

Running Dogs and Locusts

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Ongoing tension between Hong Kong and mainland citizens erupted into open flames on February 1, when a Hong Kong group raised more than HKD 100,000 to publish a full-page anti-China advertisement in the Apple Daily comparing mainlanders to parasitic...

Reports

01.31.12

Putting the Pedal to the Metal

Usha C.V. Haley
Economic Policy Institute
China is currently the largest car market in the world. It is also one of the largest auto-parts producers and exporters in the world, with exports, primarily to the United States, constituting about a third of its production. The Chinese...

Is Democracy Chinese?

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Chang Ping is one of China’s best-known commentators on contemporary affairs. Chang, whose real name is Zhang Ping, first established himself in the late 1990s in Guangzhou, where his hard-hitting stories exposed scandals and championed freedom of...

Sinica Podcast

01.20.12

The Elections in Taiwan

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
If your impression of Taiwanese politics has been dominated by the island’s recurring stories of vote-buying and parliamentary brawls, you’ll probably be shocked to hear what Mary Kay Magistad has to say about her recent trip to cover last week’s...