Hong Kong Journalists Warn of Self-Censorship

Te-Ping Chen
WSJ: China Real Time Report
As the 15th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to mainland China on July 1 approaches, local journalists say that press freedoms have eroded in recent years and self-censorship is on the rise. According to a survey by the Hong Kong Journalist’s...

Teaching Tiananmen

Jeremy Brown and Benedicte Melanie Olsen
Perspectives on History
With more than two decades of hindsight, it has become clear that 1989 marked a key turning point in world history. It is now possible to analyze the momentous events of 1989 in a historical fashion, and also to teach history classes about them. In...

South China Morning Post Editor Under Fire

David Watkins
Agence France-Presse
The first China-born editor of Hong Kong's flagship English-language paper admits he made a "bad call" in cutting coverage of a mainland dissident's death, but denies he is a stooge for Beijing. The South China Morning Post'...

China’s Turn Against Law

Carl F. Minzner
Social Science Research Network
Chinese authorities are reconsidering legal reforms they enacted in the 1980s and 1990s. These reforms had emphasized law, litigation, and courts as institutions for resolving civil grievances between citizens and administrative grievances against...

Media

06.30.12

Bloomberg Unearths Xi Jinping’s Family Fortune

Amy Qin
A recent Bloomberg report detailing the millionaire assets of the extended family of Xi Jinping, China’s presumptive next leader, has drawn praise from the community of China media observers for its thorough investigative work and fact-...

Bo Xilai: Inside the Scandal - A WSJ Documentary (Video)

Josh Chin
Wall Street Journal
The fall of Bo Xilai, once a rising star in Chinese politics, has plunged the country into its biggest crisis since Tiananmen Square. In this documentary, The Wall Street Journal examines how his downfall has altered the debate about China's...

Xi Jinping Millionaire Relations Reveal Fortunes Of Elite

Bloomberg News
Bloomberg
Xi Jinping, the man in line to be China’s next president, warned officials on a 2004 anti-graft conference call: “Rein in your spouses, children, relatives, friends and staff, and vow not to use power for personal gain.” As Xi climbed the Communist...

Caixin Media

06.29.12

Shale Gas Race

The shale gas revolution in the United States has led to a debate in China over shale gas development. But can the United States really achieve energy self-sufficiency? And if it can, what are the implications for China?Ever since the Nixon era,...

A World War II Story That China Would Like You to Hear

Conor Friedersdorf
Atlantic
On May 6, 1944, U.S. army pilot Glen Beneda of the Flying Tigers was shot at by Japanese fighters while flying a combat mission over China. His plane caught fire, he ejected, and minutes later he landed in a rice paddy, frightening a group of...

The Great Leap from Myth to History

Josh Rudolph
China Digital Times
n an article for Asia Times Online posted earlier this month, Peter Lee examines the cooling prohibition on discussion of the disastrous effects of the Great Leap Forward. The collection of hastily enacted policies resulted in mass starvation. What...

Hillary Clinton’s Last Tour As Rock Star

Steven Lee Myers
New York Times
(With a blow-by-blow of the Cheng Guangcheng negotiations.) On May 3, the day after an artful deal to end the diplomatic crisis over Chen Guangcheng, China’s now-famous dissident, unraveled spectacularly, Hillary Rodham Clinton followed a scrum of...

Chinese Company in Kickback Scandal in the Philippines

Andrew Higgins
Washington Post
After a tense showdown over a disputed shoal in the South China Sea, the closest U.S. ally in Southeast Asia and a rising China now face a new source of potential friction over the alleged corrupt practices of a well-connected Chinese corporation.

Explaining the U.S. Healthcare Debate in China

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
The farther away one stands from the Obamacare cases, the more curious they look against the portrait we usually imagine of ourselves. By now, America’s declining place in rankings of global health is so well known at home that it has lost its...

China Polices Its Police

Unattributed
Economist
In the run-up to this autumn’s Communist Party Congress, at which China will change its most senior leaders for the first time in ten years, provincial- and lower-level party committees have already been revamped. In the process, provincial chiefs...

The South China Sea Oil Card

M. Taylor Fravel
Diplomat
Over the weekend, the China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) quietly announced that nine new blocks in the South China Sea were now open to foreign oil companies for exploration and development. This move reflects one of the starkest efforts by...

Got a Dream and an Idea, Go to China

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
America is not the only great power struggling with how to handle the future of foreigners in its midst. As the Supreme Court indicated in its mixed decision Monday on Arizona’s immigration-enforcement law, the question of how we regard those who...

Tale of the Dragon Lady: Gu Kaili

Paul French
Foreign Policy
The press has called her China's Jackie Kennedy, Lady Macbeth, and the Empress. There's been no trial, except by the blogosphere; no real evidence, beyond rumor and innuendo. Yet Gu Kailai, the wife of fallen Politburo member Bo Xilai has...

Interview with Chen Guangcheng

Ian Johnson
New York Review of Books
The Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng arrived in the United States last month following top-level negotiations between US and Chinese officials. Several weeks earlier, Chen had dramatically escaped from house arrest in his village in northeast...

China's Bloggers Push for Change, One Click at a Time

Keith B. Richburg
Washington Post
Blogger-activists are far from revolutionary. Like the incoming leaders , many of them are children of Communist Party officials. They are patriots who love China, but want its institutions to work better and on behalf of the people. They take on...

The Censor at Hong Kong's Post

Hugo Restall
WSJ: China Real Time Report
Five months ago when Wang Xiangwei was named editor-in-chief of the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's leading English-language daily, local journalists shook their heads in dismay. Mr. Wang, a former China Daily reporter and current member...

Where Does Soft Power Begin?

David Bandurski
China Media Project
As we edge closer to the 18th National Congress of the CCP, we can expect hard news to enter a new cycle of tightening at every level in China. No local leader wants “negative news” to erupt on their turf, especially now. So the soldiers of “news...

As Western Media Contract, the China Daily Expands

Mark MacKinnon
Globe and Mail
These are unsettling times to be a journalist. I spent part of my Sunday afternoon watching “Page One,” a movie documenting the funereal mood inside The New York Times newsroom, while highlighting the seemingly insurmountable challenges facing “...

The Censor at Hong Kong's South China Morning Post

Hugo Restall
Wall Street Journal
Five months ago when Wang Xiangwei was named editor-in-chief of the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's leading English-language daily, local journalists shook their heads in dismay. Mr. Wang, a former China Daily reporter and current member...

‘Pressure for Change is at the Grassroots

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
The Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng arrived in the United States last month following top-level negotiations between U.S. and Chinese officials. Several weeks earlier, Chen had dramatically escaped from house arrest in his village in...

Reports

06.26.12

Isolated in Yunnan

Human Rights Watch
Since June 2011, an estimated 75,000 ethnic Kachin have hostilities between the Burmese army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in northern Burma. Thousands of them have sought refuge in southwestern China’s Yunnan province, where the Chinese...

Out of School

06.25.12

Review: “The Revolutionary”

Jeffrey Wasserstrom
The Revolutionary, a new documentary that has begun showing on university campuses and at cultural centers, looks at the life of Sidney Rittenberg, a ninety-year-old man who has had an extraordinary variety of experiences. Born into a well-to-do...

Snapshots from a Rising China

Jane Weizhen Pan, Martin Merz, Ling Wang
Sina Blog
Mention China and people think of the Great Wall, tofu, kung fu, and of course, Confucius. They might also think of the skyscrapers in Beijing and Shanghai, and the unforgettable 2008 Olympics which heralded China’s rise as a great nation. People...

Reports

06.25.12

U.S.-China Public Perceptions Opinion Survey 2012

Emily Brill
Committee of 100
The re-establishment of U.S.-China relations in 1971 marked a strategic step that ended China’s isolation and transformed the global balance of power. Since that historic milestone, the United States as an established superpower and China as an...

North Korea Tests China's Patience

Jane Perlez
New York Times
As Kim Jong-un, the young leader of North Korea, consolidates his grip on power, China is showing signs of increasing frustration at the bellicose behavior of its longtime ally.

Media

06.23.12

Self-Censorship at the South China Morning Post?

Amy Qin
According to an article published on June 19 in the Asia Sentinel, an internal squabble at the Hong Kong-based English language newspaper the South China Morning Post has led some to raise questions regarding the journalistic ethics of the long-...

Sinica Podcast

06.22.12

The One-Child Policy

Kaiser Kuo, Alexa Olesen & more from Sinica Podcast
While the African community in Guangzhou has taken to the streets to protest the suspicious death of a foreign national in police custody, the Chinese Internet has proven equally volatile as gruesome photos of a late-stage abortion have circulated...

Xu Zhiyong (许志永): An Account of My Recent Disappearance

Xu Zhiyong
Seeing Red in China
Dr. Xu Zhiyong is a lecturer of law at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, and one of the founders of Open Constitution Initiative (公盟) that offers legal assistance to petitioners and rights defenders, and has been repeatedly...

China: Politics as Warfare

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
Mao’s Invisible Hand is one of those books that make one feel good about scholarship. It describes inner workings of Chinese Communist society about which few nonexperts know anything—it may even surprise the experts—and it will interest anyone...

Why the Dalai Lama is Hopeful

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 Wednesday.But it can be put back in. I am hopeful...

Why Chinese Soccer Matters

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
Imagine if David Stern, after his retirement as commissioner of the N.B.A., was led off in leg irons for taking bribes. His predecessor goes with him on a ten-year hitch behind bars. And, for good measure, throw in a couple of members of the...

Associate of Bo Xilai's Wife Arrested

Jeremy Page
Wall Street Journal
Police in Cambodia said they have arrested a French architect who was close to the wife of Bo Xilai, the ousted Chinese Communist Party leader, in the latest twist in a case that has triggered the worst political crisis in China in more than two...

Journalistic Ethics Questioned at SCMP

Asia Sentinel
Asia Sentinel
So why was Li Wangyang’s suicide not news – at first?A decision by the South China Morning Post’s new editor in chief, Wang Xiangwei, to reduce a major breaking story on the suspicious death of Tiananmen dissident Li Wangyang in a Hunan hospital to...

Chinese Ambassador Dismisses Fears over Confucius Institutes

Tania Branigan
Guardian
China's ambassador to Britain has accused critics of its overseas language and culture training centres of "cold war thinking", after an LSE professor questioned whether universities should host the Confucius Institutes...

How Chinese Writers Elude Censors

Louisa Lim and Jeffrey Wasserstrom
New York Times
Two months ago at the London Book Fair, where China was this year’s “guest of honor,” Ma Jian, the exiled author of the Tiananmen-era novel “Beijing Coma,” inked a red X across his face in an emotional protest against Chinese censorship. It may be a...

Abortion and Politics in China

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
China convulsed this week around the story of Feng Jianmei, a twenty-three-year-old expectant mother, who was escorted from a relative’s home in Shaanxi province by local family-planning officials, shoved into a van, and driven to a hospital. She...

Ian Johnson Interviews Bao Tong

Ian Johnson
New York Review of Books
I recently met Bao, who is 79 and partly blind, at a McDonald’s in Beijing, after secret police refused me permission to enter his apartment building in the city’s western suburbs.

‘In the Current System, I’d Be Corrupt Too’

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Bao Tong is one of China’s best-known political dissidents. In the early to mid 1980s, he was director of the Communist Party’s Office of Political Reform and the policy secretary for Zhao Ziyang, the party’s former general secretary. Just before...

The Unwritten Rules in Chinese Technology

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
What do we mean when we say a Chinese company has “close ties to the government”? Or is “connected to the military”? And does this matter? It is a problem that writers on China have encountered for years, and it can be difficult get firm evidence...

Viewpoint

06.11.12

Dirty Air and Succession Jitters Clouding Beijing’s Judgment

Stephen Oliver & Susan Shirk
Last week the Chinese government accused the U.S. Embassy and consulates of illegally interfering in China’s domestic affairs by publishing online hourly air-quality information collected from their own monitoring equipment. (While the critiques...

Media

06.11.12

A Great Massacre, a Great Earthquake, and a Great Famine

Hu Yong
The head of the Gansu branch of People’s Daily, Lin Zhibo, provoked the ire of many netizens for remarks he made regarding the Great Famine on his Weibo account. Lin claimed that in many of the villages in Anhui and Henan (the two provinces that...

You've Got State-Sponsored Mail

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
Living in Beijing, writing about politically sensitive things now and then, you get used to the idea that somebody, somewhere, might be watching. But it is usually an abstract threat. I opened my Gmail account a couple of mornings ago and found this...

Media

06.11.12

Did A CCTV Anchor’s Outburst Even Matter?

Hu Yong
Yang Rui, a host on China Central Television's (CCTV) English-language channel, called on the Public Security Bureau via Sina Weibo on May 16 to “clean out foreign trash, wipe out foreign snake heads (human smugglers), root out foreign spies,...

Harvard Report on Government Criticism on Chinese Social Media

David Wertime
Contrary to previous understandings, posts with negative, even vitriolic, criticism of the state, its leaders, and its policies are not more likely to be censored. Instead, we show that the censorship program is aimed at curtailing collective action...

The World's Toughest Job: Pu Zhiqiang

William J. Dobson
Slate
It wasn’t safe for Pu Zhiqiang to go home. Or, to be more precise, he could go home, but once there he might not be able to leave again. Over the previous 48 hours, Chinese authorities had detained more than a dozen lawyers and activists. More than...

New Account of Bo Xilai Meeting

Edward Wong
New York Times
In the chill of late January, around the time Chinese were celebrating the Lunar New Year, the police chief of this foggy southwestern metropolis pressed Bo Xilai, the ambitious Communist Party official who ruled the area, with evidence that Mr. Bo’...

Media

06.07.12

An Absent Presence

Sun Yunfan
In Chan Koonchung’s dystopian science fiction novel The Fat Years, set in China in 2013, the whole month of Feburary 2011 has disappeared from people’s memory. In reality, the month that is closest to being spirited away is the month of June 1989...

A Chinese Murder Mystery?

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Roughly every decade, China’s political system cracks, its veil is rent, and its inner workings are laid bare. 2012, the Year of the Dragon, is turning out to be one of those periods when the country’s high priests can’t quite carry out their...

Media

06.06.12

In the News: Fact vs. Rumor

Amy Qin
China-focused news editors have had numerous causes for celebration in the past few months. The various scandals surrounding the dethronement of Bo Xilai, the dramatic nighttime escape of blind activist Chen Guancheng, and the upcoming Party...

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...