My ‘Confession’

Fang Lizhi from New York Review of Books
From reading Henry Kissinger’s new book On China,1 I have learned that Mr. Kissinger met with Deng Xiaoping at least eleven times—more than with any other Chinese leader—and that the topic of one of their chats was whether Fang Lizhi would confess...

Are China’s Rulers Getting Religion?

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
With worsening inflation, a slowing economy, and growing concerns about possible social unrest, China’s leaders have a lot on their plates these days. And yet when the Communist Party met at its annual plenum earlier this week, the issue given...

Reports

10.25.11

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Meetings in Honolulu: A Preview

Michael F. Martin
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
The United States will host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC’s) 19th Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Honolulu, HI, on November 12 & 13, 2011. APEC was founded in 1989 to facilitate trade and investment liberalization in the Asia-...

Books

10.01.11

No Enemies, No Hatred

Perry Link (editor)
When the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded on December 10, 2010, its recipient, Liu Xiaobo, was in Jinzhou Prison, serving an eleven-year sentence for what Beijing called “incitement to subvert state power.” In Oslo, actress Liv Ullmann read a long statement the activist had prepared for his 2009 trial. It read in part: “I stand by the convictions I expressed in my ‘June Second Hunger Strike Declaration’ twenty years ago—I have no enemies and no hatred. None of the police who monitored, arrested, and interrogated me, none of the prosecutors who indicted me, and none of the judges who judged me are my enemies.”That statement is one of the pieces in this book, which includes writings spanning two decades, providing insight into all aspects of Chinese life. These works not only chronicle a leading dissident’s struggle against tyranny but enrich the record of universal longing for freedom and dignity. Liu speaks pragmatically, yet with deep-seated passion, about peasant land disputes, the Han Chinese in Tibet, child slavery, the CCP’s Olympic strategy, the Internet in China, the contemporary craze for Confucius, and the Tiananmen massacre. Also presented are poems written for his wife, Liu Xia, public documents, and a foreword by Václav Havel. This collection is an aid to reflection for Western readers who might take for granted the values Liu has dedicated his life to achieving for his homeland.  —Harvard University Press

Reports

09.30.11

China-U.S. Trade Issues

Wayne M. Morrison
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
U.S.-China economic ties have expanded substantially over the past three decades. Total U.S.-China trade rose from $2 billion in 1979 to $457 billion in 2010. Because U.S. imports from China have risen much more rapidly than U.S. exports to China,...

My First Trip

09.30.11

With Nixon in China

Chas W. Freeman
On a chill, gray Monday morning, on February 21, 1972, I stood on the steps of the old Hongqiao Airport terminal. I had arrived in Shanghai twenty minutes in advance of President Nixon. I was on the backup plane, which arrived first, so I actually...

Sinica Podcast

09.30.11

The Shanghai Train Accident

Kaiser Kuo & Jeremy Goldkorn from Sinica Podcast
At least 284 people were injured on Tuesday when a train in the Shanghai metro smashed into another which had stalled on the tracks. The accident, which threw Shanghai into disarray, came only two months after another near-disastrous incident on the...

Reports

09.26.11

China’s Holdings of U.S. Securities: Implications for the U.S. Economy

Wayne M. Morrison, Marc Labonte
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
Given its relatively low savings rate, the U.S. economy depends heavily on foreign capital inflows from countries with high savings rates (such as China) to meet its domestic investment needs and to fund the federal budget deficit. The willingness...

My First Trip

09.24.11

An Australian Gets to Beijing, 1964

Ross Terrill
In the early 1960s, few Westerners set foot in the People’s Republic of China. Australians needed permission from their own government to go there. Some got a green light, but Beijing guarded visas for people from non-Communist countries like...

Reports

09.21.11

China’s Assertive Behavior

Michael D. Swaine and M. Taylor Fravel
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
The authors of this essay examine Chinese assertiveness concerning U.S. political and military behavior along China’s maritime periphery. This topic inevitably also concerns Chinese behavior toward Japan, South Korea, and some ASEAN nations, given...

Sinica Podcast

09.16.11

North Korea: Open for Business?

Jeremy Goldkorn, Edward Wong & more from Sinica Podcast
As the guillotine of debt contagion hangs over Europe, financial pressures in Asia have led an unexpected player to make a strategic shift. After months of escalating tensions with South Korea have shuttered its opportunities for expanded trade...

Books

09.15.11

Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China

Ezra Vogel
Harvard University Press: Perhaps no one in the twentieth century had a greater long-term impact on world history than Deng Xiaoping. And no scholar of contemporary East Asian history and culture is better qualified than Ezra Vogel to disentangle the many contradictions embodied in the life and legacy of China’s boldest strategist. Once described by Mao Zedong as a “needle inside a ball of cotton,” Deng was the pragmatic yet disciplined driving force behind China’s radical transformation in the late twentieth century. He confronted the damage wrought by the Cultural Revolution, dissolved Mao’s cult of personality, and loosened the economic and social policies that had stunted China’s growth. Obsessed with modernization and technology, Deng opened trade relations with the West, which lifted hundreds of millions of his countrymen out of poverty. Yet at the same time he answered to his authoritarian roots, most notably when he ordered the crackdown in June 1989 at Tiananmen Square. Deng’s youthful commitment to the Communist Party was cemented in Paris in the early 1920s, among a group of Chinese student-workers that also included Zhou Enlai. Deng returned home in 1927 to join the Chinese Revolution on the ground floor. In the fifty years of his tumultuous rise to power, he endured accusations, purges, and even exile before becoming China’s preeminent leader from 1978 to 1989 and again in 1992. When he reached the top, Deng saw an opportunity to creatively destroy much of the economic system he had helped build for five decades as a loyal follower of Mao—and he did not hesitate.{node, 795, 4}

China’s Tibetan Theme Park

Richard Bernstein from New York Review of Books
In the international press, China’s tensions with Tibet are often traced to the Chinese invasion of 1950 and Tibet’s failed uprising of 1959. But for the Chinese themselves, the story goes back much further—at least to the reign of Kangxi, the Qing...

Reports

09.01.11

Managing Instability on China’s Periphery

Paul B. Stares, Scott A. Snyder, Joshua Kurlantzick, Daniel Markey, Evan A. Feigenbaum
He Jianan
Council on Foreign Relations
China’s growing global engagement and presence has increased the number of conceivable places and issues over which it could find itself at odds with the United States, but potential developments in the territories immediately adjacent to China...

Reports

08.30.11

Asian Alliances in the 21st Century

Dan Blumenthal, Michael Mazza, Randall Schriver, Mark Stokes, L.C. Russell Hsiao
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
Asia will become the epicenter of geopolitical activity in the 21st century and the budding U.S.-China security rivalry, conditioned by deep economic interdependence, will shape the region’s future. Perhaps the greatest benefactor of American policy...

China’s ‘Liberation’ of Tibet: Rules of the Game

Robert Barnett from New York Review of Books
Much of the talk about Vice President Joe Biden’s four-day visit to China last week centered on the man who hosted him: Xi Jinping, expected to become the country’s next president in 2012. Biden’s office has said that the principal purposes of his...

Sinica Podcast

08.19.11

Not in My Backyard

Kaiser Kuo, Josh Chin & more from Sinica Podcast
While some Chinese media have flown into high dudgeon over allegations of sun-exposed hamburger buns at McDonalds, powder-based soy milk at KFC, and pork broth made from concentrate at Ajisen, a more grassroots protest gained notice across China...

‘I’m Not Interested in Them; I Wish They Weren’t Interested in Me’

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Amid the recent crackdown on dissidents by the Chinese government, the case of Liao Yiwu, the well-known poet and chronicler of contemporary China, is particularly interesting. For years, Liao’s work, which draws on extensive interviews with...

Sinica Podcast

08.12.11

The Schadenfreude Podcast

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Last week must have felt good for embattled Chinese patriots. Not only did the United States lose its coveted triple-A rating from Standard and Poor’s, but months after unrest in the Middle East sparked renewed speculation about political...

Reports

08.04.11

U.S.-Taiwan Relationship: Overview of Policy Issues

Shirley A. Kan, Wayne M. Morrison
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
Taiwan today calls itself the sovereign Republic of China (ROC), tracing its political lineage to the ROC set up in 1911 on mainland China and commemorating in 2011 the 100th anniversary of its founding. The ROC government retreated to Taipei in...

Sinica Podcast

07.29.11

Train Wrecks

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
After a long and hot July marked by the near-absence of most of our guests, Sinica host Kaiser Kuo is pleased to be back this week leading a discussion of the recent accident on the high-speed Hangzhou-Wenzhou rail line, an accident that has...

Murdoch’s Chinese Adventure

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
During a Parliamentary hearing last week in London, the Murdochs, father and son, riveted television audiences with their combination of wide-eyed, hand-on-heart innocence (James), and long silences and “Yups” and “Nopes” (Rupert). After the elder...

Reports

07.18.11

China’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Mitigation Policies

Jane A. Leggett
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
The 112th Congress continues to debate whether and how the United States should address climate change. Most often, this debate includes concerns about the effects of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions controls if China and other major countries...

Reports

07.14.11

Strangers at Home: North Koreans in the South

International Crisis Group
As the number of defectors from North Korea arriving in the South has surged in the past decade, there is a growing understanding of how difficult it would be to absorb a massive flow of refugees. South Korea is prosperous and generous, with a...

China’s Political Prisoners: True Confessions?

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s ankle-deep heap of porcelain sunflower seeds bewitched recent visitors to London’s Tate Modern. But in early April Ai’s strong criticisms of the regime led to his disappearance somewhere in Beijing. On June 22, eighty-...

The Past and the Future

Fang Lizhi from New York Review of Books
Concerning the Past:I have maintained that China should move forward with the reform of society. In many speeches before 1988, I openly expressed my advocacy of reform in China.I acknowledge that the following are my principal views:Marxism—whether...

Reports

05.27.11

Fighting Spam to Build Trust

Karl Frederick Rauscher and Zhou Yonglin
EastWest Institute
The EastWest Institute and the Internet Society of China convened a team of China-U.S. experts for an ongoing bilateral dialogue on cybersecurity issues. This report, the first from the team, represents the first effort by Chinese and U.S. experts...

Will There Be a ‘Duel of Dalai Lamas’?

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
On March 10 the Fourteenth Dalai Lama made front-page news throughout the world by saying,As early as the 1960s, I have repeatedly stressed that Tibetans need a leader, elected freely by the Tibetan people, to whom I can devolve power. Now, we have...

My First Trip

05.14.11

Let the Devil Take the Hindmost

Lois Snow
China became part of my life when I met and married Edgar Snow. I had read Red Star Over China long before I knew the author but the years that followed were largely devoted to my acting career in New York. China was rather remote from Broadway...

China Misunderstood: Did We Contribute to Ai Weiwei’s Arrest?

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Like many artists, Ai Weiwei enjoys provoking. It isn’t just his finger-to-the-Chinese-government images that he has become known for but also how he does it: his obsessive-compulsive documentation of himself in photos, blogs, tweets, and rants into...

My First Trip

04.16.11

The First American Official to Visit China since 1949

Winston Lord
Certainly, the single most dramatic event that I've been involved in had to do with the opening to China in the early 1970s. In my entire career the question of relations with China has been the most important, including not only the work I did...

On the Sacred Mountain

Pico Iyer from New York Review of Books
A powerful, unexpected scene suddenly surfaces near the beginning of Colin Thubron’s characteristically beautiful, though uncharacteristically haunted, new book of travel. As he walks through the mountains of Nepal, toward the holy peak of Mount...

Sinica Podcast

04.01.11

Scandal in Baidu and Chongqing

Kaiser Kuo, Gady Epstein & more from Sinica Podcast
A year after our first show memorialized Google’s retreat from the China market, our first anniversary sees Sinica host Kaiser Kuo and his employer on the defensive as Gady Epstein and Bill Bishop grill Kaiser over recent allegations of copyright...

Reports

03.31.11

Jasmine in the Middle Kingdom: Autopsy of China’s (Failed) Revolution

Dale Swartz
Sara Segal-Williams
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
China’s version of the Arab world's “Jasmine Revolution” was a complete failure. Online calls for protests against Communist Party rule have elicited little response from would-be protesters. Yet Beijing’s reaction was swift and overwhelming—...

Sinica Podcast

03.25.11

Where Did the Internet/Salt Go?

Kaiser Kuo, Gady Epstein & more from Sinica Podcast
In less time than it took Chinese netizens to strip their supermarkets of common table salt, China ended its live-and-let-live policy with regards to the most commonly used tools for evading the country’s Internet restrictions. Recent weeks have...

How China Fears the Middle East Revolutions

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
Chinese authorities have done what they can to stop news—and worse, from their point of view, any influence—of Tunisian and Egyptian people-power from spreading to China. They have been worrying especially about what social media like Twitter and...

Sinica Podcast

03.11.11

The Exercise of Power

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
In the last week, power and pageantry have engulfed Beijing as China has convened its Twin Congresses: the annual meeting of the country’s two highest decision-making councils. As the Communist Party has seized the opportunity to celebrate its grip...

Sinica Podcast

02.26.11

Troubles and Ambitions in China

Jeremy Goldkorn, Gady Epstein & more from Sinica Podcast
Watch your rice, folks. That’s our takeaway from this week’s Sinica, which ruminates on troubles old and new in the Middle Kingdom. Up for discussion in particular are Chinese activities in Rwanda, dodgy rice, ongoing worker troubles at Apple...

The Secret Politburo Meeting Behind China’s New Democracy Crackdown

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
In an NYRblog post on February 17 (“Middle East Revolutions: The View from China”), I discussed Chinese government’s efforts to block news of the democracy uprisings spreading across the Middle East and speculated how China’s rulers might view those...

Sinica Podcast

02.18.11

Turmoil in Egypt and Groupon

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Welcome back to Sinica after our New Year’s break. And what could headline our first podcast of the New Year but Egypt, where an unexpected political uprising has raised obvious parallels for China-watchers worldwide. Moving beyond the politics of...

Middle East Revolutions: The View from China

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
Chinese authorities have done what they can to block news of Egyptian people-power from spreading to China. Reports about Egypt in China’s state-run media have been brief and vacuous. On February 6, at the height of the protests, the People’s Daily...

The Worst Man-Made Catastrophe, Ever

Roderick MacFarquhar from New York Review of Books
When the first waves of Chinese graduate students arrived on American campuses in the early 1980s, they were excited at entering an unfettered learning environment. After the recent ravages of the Cultural Revolution, political science students had...

Reports

02.08.11

Beyond Symbolism? 

Lavina Lee
Cato Institute
The Obama administration has elevated nuclear disarmament to the center of its nuclear agenda through the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia and the release of the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). The administration also...

Reports

02.01.11

Prospects for Democracy in Hong Kong: The 2012 Election Reforms

Michael F. Martin
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
Support for the democratization of Hong Kong has been an element of U.S. foreign policy for over seventeen years. The democratization of Hong Kong is also enshrined in the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s quasi-constitution that was passed by China’s National...

Sinica Podcast

01.21.11

Hu Jintao and the Washington Summit

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
As part of our ongoing efforts to secure the hottest scoops for you, our Sinica team originally planned to storm Hu Jintao’s flight to Washington and record a live podcast with everyone’s favorite chairman during his flight across the Pacific. Sadly...

China: From Famine to Oslo

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
Each year around the “sensitive” anniversary of the Beijing massacre of June 4, 1989, Ding Zilin, a seventy-four-year-old retired professor of philosophy, is accompanied by a group of plainclothes police whenever she leaves her apartment to go buy...

Reports

01.01.11

Promises Unfulfilled: An Assessment of China’s National Human Rights Action Plan

Sara Segal-Williams
Human Rights Watch
In 2009, the Chinese government unveiled the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP), the first of its kind in China. However, two years on, deficiencies in the action plan and government failures to adequately implement some of its key...

Reports

01.01.11

Equity and Public Governance in Health System Reform: Challenges and Opportunities for China

Hana Brixi, Yan Mu, Beatrice Targa and David Hipgrave
Sara Segal-Williams
World Bank
Achieving the objective of China's current health system reform, namely equitable improvements in health outcomes, will be difficult not least because of the continuously growing income disparities in the country. The analysis in this paper...

Finding the Facts About Mao’s Victims

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Yang Jisheng is an editor of Annals of the Yellow Emperor, one of the few reform-oriented political magazines in China. Before that, the seventy-year-old native of Hubei province was a national correspondent with the government-run Xinhua news...

Sinica Podcast

12.17.10

China and India

Kaiser Kuo, Stephanie T. Kleine-Ahlbrandt & more from Sinica Podcast
Asia’s rising colossi share a great deal besides rich cultures, great culinary traditions, billion-plus populations, and a long border. But relations haven’t always been smooth. Have a recent round of border talks, followed up by Premier Wen Jiabao’...

At the Nobel Ceremony: Liu Xiaobo’s Empty Chair

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
On December 10, I attended the award ceremony in Oslo, Norway, for the Nobel Peace Prize, which the government of China had a few days earlier declared to be a “farce.” The recipient was a friend of mine, the Chinese scholar and essayist Liu Xiaobo...

Sinica Podcast

12.10.10

The Wikileaks Revelations, Part III

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
As Interpol deepens its investigation into Mr. Assange’s use of birth control and financial service companies feel the wrath of script-kiddies worldwide, our own crew of Internet vigilantes sifts through the remains of the Wikileaks data-dump in...

Unveiling Hidden China

Christian Caryl from New York Review of Books
Napoleon famously described China as a sleeping giant that would shake the world when it finally awoke. Well, now the giant is up and about, and the rest of us can’t help but notice. 2010, indeed, could well end up being remembered as the year when...

Sinica Podcast

12.04.10

The Wikileaks Revelations, Part II

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Kaiser’s despair on learning that last week’s Sinica episode had been lost in a freak weather accident turned quickly to plotting. “We’ll simply have to make up for it somehow,” he mused. Which is how today’s special show came about: a better,...

Sinica Podcast

12.03.10

The Wikileaks Revelations

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
In the first of what will likely be many podcasts discussing some of the latest China-related revelations contained in the recent Wikileaks data-dump, our discussion today turns towards North Korea and Chinese diplomatic overtures suggesting that...

Reports

12.01.10

Can China’s Rural Elderly Count on Support from Adult Children? Implications of Rural to Urban Migration

John Giles, Dewen Wang, and Changbao Zhao
World Bank
Support from the family continues to be an important source of support for the rural elderly, particularly the rural elderly over seventy years of age. Decline in likelihood of co-residence with, or in close proximity to, adult children raises the...

A Hero of Our Time

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
On October 8, Liu Xiaobo became the first Chinese to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and one of only three winners ever to receive it while in prison. The Oslo committee had already received a warning from Beijing not to give Liu the prize because he...

Sinica Podcast

10.22.10

Recent Considerations on China

Kaiser Kuo, Gady Epstein & more from Sinica Podcast
As backdrop for this podcast, Sinica would like to remind our gentle listeners that the word quisling comes from Norway, that barbarous queen of northern Europe whose parliament has recently been condemned internationally for its involvement in a...

Rumblings of Reform in Beijing?

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Over the past six weeks, China’s thin class of the politically aware has been gripped by a faint hope that maybe, against all odds, some sort of political opening might be in the cards this year. Monday’s conclusion of a key Communist Party meeting...

‘A Turning Point in the Long Struggle’: Chinese Citizens Defend Liu Xiaobo

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
It would be hard to overstate how much the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo on October 8 has meant to China’s community of dissidents, bloggers, and activists. Not only has it lifted their spirits tremendously; many also view it as a...