Searching for Identity in China’s Outer Lands

Q. Sakamaki & Dave Gershgorn
New York Times
“ ‘China’s Outer Lands’ is about people instinctively looking for their own identity, between conformity or originality or autonomy or dependence,” Mr. Sakamaki said. “It’s natural, it’s happening in not only China, it’s everywhere.”

China Shocks World by Genetically Engineering Human Embryos

Sarah Knapton
Telegraph
Critics warn China's the ‘Wild West’ of genetic research, on its way to desiging children. ...

Conversation

04.23.15

A New Era for China and Pakistan?

Andrew Small, Paul J. Smith & more
This week, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Islamabad and showered Pakistan with attention and promises of $46 billion in development support. What does this intensified Sino-Pakistani engagement mean for Asia and the rest of the world? —The...

Sinica Podcast

04.20.15

China’s Ideological Spectrum

Kaiser Kuo & David Moser from Sinica Podcast
Last week, Harvard doctoral student Jennifer Pan and MIT graduate student Yiqing Xu co-released a paper, “China’s Ideological Spectrum,” that has garnered a tremendous amount of attention in China-watching circles. And the reason for the fracas?...

Wild Pigeon

Photos by Carolyn Drake, words by...
Daylight
“The underlying theme I heard when talking to people was that how you interpret things is how they will be, so its best to look at the bright side of things. You don’t mention bad dreams, or you try to interpret them in a positive way. People told...

China: What the Uighurs See

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Xinjiang is one of those remote places whose frequent mention in the international press stymies true understanding. Home to China’s Uighur minority, this vast region of western China is mostly known for being in a state of permanent low-grade...

Mystery Surrounds Disappearance of Xinjiang Article and Related Apology

Dan Levin
New York Times
An article on a Muslim couple jailed for beard and burqa appeared Sunday in state media but was gone Monday.

Chinese Relic Experts Claim 1,000-year-old Mummified Monk Was Stolen

Naomi Ng
CNN
Fujian officials found photos and historical records suggesting the statue belonged to a village temple.

China’s Tensions With Dalai Lama Spill Into the Afterlife

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Chinese Communist Party leaders are deathly afraid that the Dalai Lama will not have an afterlife.

China’s Tensions With Dalai Lama Spill Into the Afterlife

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Chinese Communist Party leaders are deathly afraid that the Dalai Lama will not have an afterlife.

China Says Thousands Forced to Flee Myanmar Fighting

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
The Yunnan government said that since Feb. 9 there had been more than 30,000 trips by border residents both into and out of China.

Caixin Media

02.17.15

Prosperity, International Cooperation, Civil Rights Key to Defeating Terror

The global fight against terrorism has entered a new stage with the emergence of the Islamic State (IS), and the battle lines have never been so clearly drawn all over the world.On February 18, Washington will host the Summit on Countering Violent...

Parent Meddling Makes for Unmerry Marriages in China

Laurie Burkitt
Wall Street Journal
"Parental matchmaking is robustly correlated with lower marital harmony,” says a new World Bank report...

Is China Making Its Own Terrorism Problem Worse?

Justine Drennan
Foreign Policy
Beijing's repressive policies toward members of its Uighur minority may be helping to strengthen ties to the Islamic State and al Qaeda...

Obama’s Public Encounter With the Dalai Lama Riles China

New York Times
Obama previously met the Dalai Lama privately in the White House rather than in public.

Conversation

02.05.15

What’s the Case for Heads of State Meeting the Dalai Lama?

Francesco Sisci, Robert Barnett & more
On Thursday in Washington, the Dalai Lama attended the annual National Prayer Breakfast hosted by President Barack Obama, angering China's leaders in Beijing who have long called the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader a "splittist" and...

Viewpoint

02.04.15

Why China Is Banning Islamic Veils

Timothy Grose & James Leibold
This week, regional authorities outlawed Islamic veils from all public spaces in the regional capital of China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). The Urumqi ban, which went into effect on Sunday February 1 (coincidentally the third annual*...

Features

02.04.15

The City of Urumqi Prohibition on Wearing Items That Mask the Face or Robe the Body

A Proclamation from the Standing Committee of the Urumqi People’s CongressThe “Regulation banning the wearing of items that mask the face or robe the body in public places in the city of Urumqi,” which was passed at the 21st Meeting of the 15th...

Xi’s Yunnan Visit Highlights Poverty Elimination, Ethnic Solidarity

Xinhua
Xinhua
President Xi Jinping seeks to rally support for a "tough battle" against poverty and to speed up growth in the country's relatively underdeveloped ethnic regions...

Sinica Podcast

01.19.15

China and Charlie

Kaiser Kuo & Jeremy Goldkorn from Sinica Podcast
First there were the terrorist attacks in Paris. And then there was the global reaction to the attacks, with its spate of frenzied free-speech cartooning. And then there was the counter-reaction to the initial reaction, which played out mostly on...

Conversation

01.16.15

Why Did The West Weep for Paris But Not for Kunming?

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, Taisu Zhang & more
In the days since the attacks that killed 12 people at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, Chinese netizens have watched the outpouring of solidarity. As our colleagues at Foreign Policy reported earlier this week, the...

Religion Among African Immigrants in China

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
Nestled in apartments and offices throughout the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou are dozens of improvised churches that cater to the region’s Pentacostal Africans, largely from Nigeria. These churches not only serve the community’s religious...

American Film On A Tibetan Migrant Finds Unlikely Success In China

Frank Langfitt
NPR
Journalist Jocelyn Ford spent years documenting the life of Zanta, a Tibetan migrant who fled her poor, mountain village to build a life for herself and her son in Beijing.

Turks Are Held in Plot to Help Uighurs Leave China

New York Times
Shanghai police arrested 10 Turkish citizens and two Chinese citizens and accused them of providing altered Turkish passports to terrorist suspects from the western region of Xinjiang.

China Has Just Banned the Burqa in Its Biggest Muslim City

Quartz
Moves like these are likely to further alienate an already disenchanted minority group—the Uighurs, who feel their culture and economy is being overrun by Han Chinese.

Compilation of Xi Jinping’s Anti-Graft Remarks Published

Xinhua
Xinhua
A circular issued jointly by the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee and the CPC's discipline agency asked Party officials to take the essence of the remarks to heart and behave in line with the decisions so as to ensure an...

China Steps up Political Arrests, Prosecutions

Agence France Presse
Agence France-Presse
A total of 2,318 people were arrested or indicted on charges of “endangering state security”, the US-based Dui Hua Foundation said, citing statistics from China’s central prosecution office. 

Maoists in China, Given New Life, Attack Dissent

Chris Buckley and Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
They pounce on bloggers who dare mock their beloved Chairman Mao. They scour the nation’s classrooms and newspapers for strains of Western-inspired liberal heresies. And they have taken down professors, journalists and others deemed disloyal to...

Other

12.30.14

A Look Back at 2014

It’s hard to believe, but ChinaFile is almost two years old. It’s been an exciting year for us, and, as ever, an eventful year for China. It was a year of muscular leadership from Xi Jinping, who has now been in office just over two years and who...

Pope Francis’ China Problem

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
China-watchers, friends of Tibet, and admirers of Pope Francis were amazed and disappointed last week when the Pope announced he would not be meeting the Dalai Lama during the Tibetan leader’s visit to Rome. The Dalai Lama was there with other...

China in 2014 Through the Eyes of a Human Rights Advocate

Yaxue Cao from China Change
This time last year, volunteers and I were busy writing and translating articles to prepare for the New Citizens Movement trials. Many Chinese voices were speaking out forcefully against these trials: law professors, rights lawyers, liberal...

Dalai Lama Concedes He May Be the Last

BBC
BBC
Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has said he realizes that he may be the last to hold the title. But he told the BBC it would be better that the centuries-old tradition ceased "at the time of a popular Dalai Lama"...

China’s Mountain Hermits Seek a Highway to Heaven

Tom Hancock
Agence France-Presse
His unheated hut is half way up a mountain with no electricity, and his diet consists mostly of cabbage. But Master Hou says he has found a recipe for joy. "There is no happier way for a person to live on this earth," he declared,...

Pope Francis Denies Dalai Lama an Audience Because of China Concerns

Reuters
Guardian
The Dalai Lama, in Rome for a meeting of Nobel peace prize winners, told Italian media he had approached the Vatican about a meeting but was told it could create inconveniences.

Xi Jinping: The Growing Cult of China’s ‘Big Daddy Xi’

Tom Phillips
Telegraph
The construction of a cult of personality around president Xi represents a dramatic direction change for a country that sought to rule collectively after the devastation wrought during Chairman Mao's three-decade monopoly on power...

Books

11.12.14

The Sacred Routes of Uyghur History

Rian Thum
For 250 years, the Turkic Muslims of Altishahr—the vast desert region to the northwest of Tibet—have led an uneasy existence under Chinese rule. Today they call themselves Uyghurs, and they have cultivated a sense of history and identity that challenges Beijing’s official national narrative. Rian Thum argues that the roots of this history run deeper than recent conflicts, to a time when manuscripts and pilgrimage dominated understandings of the past. Beyond broadening our knowledge of tensions between the Uyghurs and the Chinese government, this meditation on the very concept of history probes the limits of human interaction with the past.Uyghur historical practice emerged from the circulation of books and people during the Qing Dynasty, when crowds of pilgrims listened to history readings at the tombs of Islamic saints. Over time, amid long journeys and moving rituals, at oasis markets and desert shrines, ordinary readers adapted community-authored manuscripts to their own needs. In the process they created a window into a forgotten Islam, shaped by the veneration of local saints.Partly insulated from the rest of the Islamic world, the Uyghurs constructed a local history that is at once unique and assimilates elements of Semitic, Iranic, Turkic, and Indic traditions—the cultural imports of Silk Road travelers. Through both ethnographic and historical analysis, The Sacred Routes of Uyghur History offers a new understanding of Uyghur historical practices, detailing the remarkable means by which this people reckons with its past and confronts its nationalist aspirations in the present day. —Harvard University Press {chop}

China Planning $16.3 Billion Fund for “New Silk Road”

Bloomberg
The fund, overseen by Chinese policy banks, will be used to build and expand railways, roads and pipelines in Chinese provinces that are part of the strategy to facilitate trade over land and shipping routes.

A Comb Worth Fighting For

Economist
By one estimate, the number of Chinese Christians could by 2030 have reached 250 million—the largest Christian population of any country in the world.

The Dalai Lama Forces China to Overplay its Hand in South Africa

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
Pretoria’s apparent refusal to grant Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama a visa to attend a summit of Nobel peace laureates has sparked outrage in South Africa. Critics allege the government is bowing to China, undermining South African...

Penn State Latest School to Drop China’s Confucius Institute

Douglas Belkin
Wall Street Journal
The action signals increasing discontent on university campuses over the institutes' hiring practices and refusal to acknowledge unflattering chapters of Chinese history...

Reports: 50 Were Killed in China Clash

Callum MacLeod
USA Today
The latest violent clash in China's troubled Xinjiang region, described by authorities as a terrorist attack, was far more deadly than first reported, according to state media accounts...

Chinese Court Sentences Uighur Scholar to Life in Separatism Case

Edward Wong
New York Times
A university professor who has come to symbolize peaceful resistance by ethnic Uighurs to Chinese policies was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of separatism in the western region of Xinjiang.

Dalai Lama: Chinese President Xi Jinping is ‘More Open Minded’

Vibhuti Agarwal
Wall Street Journal
India's support of the Dalai Lama, who fled to India after a Chinese crackdown in the Himalayan region in 1959, has been a source of friction between the two countries...

Uighur Scholar Ilham Tohti Goes on Trial in China on Separatist Charges

Edward Wong
New York Times
A conviction of Ilham Tohti for separatism could result in the death penalty, but in his case life imprisonment is likely to be the maximum punishment because of the specific charges.

Tibet in Sichuan

Miguel Cano
Diplomat
Traveling the Tibetan plateau in Sichuan Province with indepdendent journalist Miguel Cano.

'Capture' of Chinese national fighting with ISIS gives China jitters

Jaime FlorCruz
CNN
It's not clear how many Chinese nationals may be fighting with the ISIS. Wu Sike, until recently China's special envoy to the Middle East, earlier stated that there could be about 100 of them...

Iraqis Identify Prisoner as Chinese Islamist Fighter

Edward Wong
New York Times
Chinese officials have in the past expressed concerns about citizens’ venturing abroad to join ISIS or other jihadist groups in the Middle East, or of their being influenced by such groups to carry out attacks within China.

Fabled Uighur Princess Coming to Chinese Television as a Cartoon

Edward Wong
New York Times
Animators in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen are creating a 104-episode cartoon series loosely based on a historical Qing Dynasty imperial consort, a Uighur woman who is shrouded in myth.

China Says 8 Executed in Western Region; Charges Stem From Separatist Attacks

Chris Buckley`
New York Times
The executions were the latest in a succession of displays of might and resolve by the Chinese government, which is trying to extinguish increasingly violent discontent among Uighurs in Xinjiang.

China Arrests 1,000 Members of Banned Religious Cult 'Eastern Lightning'

Katie Hunt
CNN
State news agency Xinhua said that the group, which Beijing regards as a dangerous doomsday cult, cheated people, illegally collected money and "violated the law under the guise of religion."...

China Said to Deploy Drones After Unrest in Xinjiang

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
Three days after an eruption of violence in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang this summer left nearly 100 people dead, the region’s “antiterrorist command” asked the country’s biggest space and defense contractor for help.

Pope Francis Reaches Out to China As He Begins Asia Trip

William Wan
Washington Post
Pope Francis extended his best wishes to Xi and the Chinese people on his way to South Korea through Chinese airspace, the first time China allowed that since 1989.

China Imposes Intrusive Rules on Uighurs in Xinjiang

Barbara Demick
Los Angeles Times
Black-clad, helmet-wearing paramilitary forces were seen in several locations in recent days, stopping Uighur men to check their IDs and scroll through the playlists of their phones.

China Says Violent Xinjiang Uprising Left Almost 100 Dead

James T. Areddy
Wall Street Journal
Chinese police gunned down 59 people and arrested 215 during a violent uprising last week in the Xinjiang region, in a statement that shed fresh light on what dissident groups had earlier described as a major clash in the area.

China Says Violent Xinjiang Uprising Left Almost 100 Dead

James T. Areddy
Wall Street Journal
Chinese police gunned down 59 people and arrested 215 during a violent uprising last week in the Xinjiang region, the government said Sunday, in a statement that shed fresh light on what dissident groups had earlier described as a major clash in the...

State-Appointed Muslim Leader Killed in China

James T. Areddy
Wall Street Journal
Deatils on the death of Jume Tahir, who was killed early on the morning of June 30, are unclear one day later and sentiments among Chinese Muslims are mixed. This is not the first time an imam has been murdered in China.  

22 Attackers Shot Dead in Xinjiang Violence as Extremists Wielding Axes Targeted Civilians

South China Morning Post
Attack on government office and police station follows series of violent incidents in restive province.

China Removes Crosses From Two More Churches in Crackdown

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
In another sign of the authorities’ efforts to contain one of China’s fastest-growing religions, a government demolition campaign against public symbols of the Christian faith has toppled crosses at two more churches in the coastal province of...