China Criticizes U.S. For Questioning Xinjiang Clash

Associated Press
In the wake of Tuesday’s violence, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell called for a thorough and transparent investigation and expressed concern over discrimination against Uighurs and the practice of Islam.  

China’s Sufis: The Shrines Behind the Dunes

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Lisa Ross’s luminous photographs are not our usual images of Xinjiang. One of China’s most turbulent areas, the huge autonomous region in the country’s northwest was brought under permanent Chinese control only in the mid-twentieth century...

The Vatican And The Other China

Didi Kristen Tatlow
International Herald Tribune
Ma Ying-Jeou was present at the Vatican during Pope Francis’ inauguration, affording the Taiwanese president a rare opportunity to mix with other world leaders. 

Half A Century Of Harvesting Souls In China

Debra Bruno
WSJ: China Real Time Report
Mark O'Neill writes about the life of his Presbyterian missionary grandfather, Frederick, who first moved to Manchuria in search of souls to save in 1897 and ended up staying for 45 years. ...

National People’s Congress Kicks Off With A Kaleidoscope Of Diversity

Zhang Qian and Yao Chun
People’s Daily Online
Photos of the various ethnic minorities represented at the 2013 National People's Congress, showcasing the government’s inclusiveness and the country’s diversity...

Going Undercover, The Evangelists Taking Jesus To Tibet

Jonathan Kaiman
Guardian
 Missionaries see Tibet as a formidable yet crucial undertaking, a last spiritual frontier. Today’s evangelists work undercover as students, teachers, doctors, and business owners in order covertly proselytize. 

Dancing in Empty Beijing

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
The Lunar New Year began last week as it always does, with a new moon. The empty sky seemed to empty Beijing of up to half its residents—authorities estimate that an incredible nine million people left the city, which usually has a population of...

In China, Shock and Acceptance of Pope’s Resignation

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
In China, where official relations with the Vatican are a “never ending crisis,” as the Vatican Insider put it recently, the news of the resignation of Pope Benedict has been slow to spread. The Chinese state doesn’t recognize the Pope as the leader...

China to Tibetans: Stay Put

Robert Barnett
Atlantic
The Chinese Communist Party's repression of its Tibetan minority now extends, apparently, to travel. Few Tibetans have been issued passports since last spring. Beijing has yet to comment officially about this issue, but its approach to Tibet...

China Appoints New Tibet Governor, Hardline Policies to Remain

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
China named Losang Gyaltsen Tibet’s new governor, signalling the government won’t ease control of the Himalayan region.

Books

01.24.13

Shangri-La

Michael Yamashita
The legendary Chamagudao, the Tea Horse Road, winds through dizzying mountain passes, across famed rivers like the Mekong and the Yangtze, and past monasteries and meadows in a circuitous route from Sichuan and Yunnan provinces in western China to the Tibetan capital city of Lhasa. Actually a network of roads, trails, and highways, rather than one distinct route, the Chamagudao once stretched for almost 1400 miles (2350 km)—a conduit along which the historic trade between the mighty Chinese empire and the nomadic Tibetans linked remote villages and ethnic groups. The Chinese military needed strong horses for their wars against Mongol invaders from the north, and the fiercely religious Tibetans desired tea for sacred rituals and sustenance. Once tea was introduced into Tibet around the 10th century, demand for it grew. Tea soon became a staple for Tibetans, especially when combined with their other staple, yak butter. But with Tibet’s extreme temperatures and altitudes, tea cultivation on a large scale was impossible. This set the stage for the tea-horse trade, which, by the 11th century, flourished along the Chamagudao, continuing until the 1950s. But getting these prized commodities to their growing markets was no easy feat. To transport the tea over the mountains meant many months of hard and dangerous travel for the hundreds of porters.Today, as Chinese culture merges with and even absorbs Tibetan traditions, the Tea Horse Road is a relic of a vastly different time. The Chinese are rapidly paving dirt roads to make highways for cars and trucks. Soon there will be little evidence of this once vital trade route. Though horses are no longer a military imperative for the Chinese army, Tibet has a new commodity that is in much demand in China. A homely caterpillar infected by a parasitic fungus has replaced the horse trade in Tibet. The yartsa gombu is prized for its medicinal qualities. Now Tibetans nomads drive Land Cruisers and motorcycles instead of horses, thanks to the profits they make collecting and selling the miracle mushroom worth more than gold. So trade continues, even though relics of the tea-horse trade are becoming harder to find. Following the Chamagudao, this book is a rare intimate look into the changing world of Tibet—both ancient and modern, sacred and commonplace, the rarefied and the gritty—before the legends and mysteries of the Tea Horse road disappear into the Tibetan mist. —White Star {chop}

When Tibet Loved China

Isaac Stone Fish
Foreign Policy
Rare Cultural Revolution Era photos from the Land of Snows.

China Seeks Peaceful End to Dispute as Japan Pledges Calm

Michael Wei, Stephen Tan and Isabel...
Bloomberg
China wants to settle territorial issues peacefully and criticized U.S. Secretary of State Clinton for comments made after she met Japan’s Foreign Minister.

Yiwu's Purveyors of Christmas Tat Give China a Dose of Ho-Ho-Ho

Leo Lewis
Times & Sunday Times
China’s Christmas lights used to be only in Shanghai and Beijing, but now brisk sales are going to small provincial city shops. 

Beijing's Doomsday Problem

Ian Johnson
New York Review of Books
Over the past 10 days, China's been riveted by accounts of what authorities call a doomsday cult: the church of Almighty God. ...

Beijing’s Doomsday Problem

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Over the past ten days, China has been riveted by accounts of what authorities say are its very own doomsday cult: the church of Almighty God, which has prophesized that the world will end today. Authorities have said the group staged illegal...

China Cracking Down on Doomsday Group

John Hannon
Los Angeles Times
China arrests 100-plus members of a Christian group predicting Dec. 21 apocalypse.

Tibet Is Burning

Xu Zhiyong
New York Times
Over the last three years, close to 100 Tibetan monks and laypeople have set themselves on fire; 30 people did so between Nov. 4 and Dec. 3. The Chinese government is seeking to halt this wave of self-immolations by detaining...

China Reportedly Strips Shanghai Bishop of His Title

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
A Roman Catholic bishop who stunned congregants and Communist Party officials last July when he renounced his government position during his consecration has been stripped of his religious title, according to two Catholic Web sites that cited...

China Crackdown Fuels Tibet Immolations Group

AFP
Agence France-Presse
A crackdown in China's Tibetan areas has fuelled dozens of self-immolations in protest at Beijijng rule, says the International Campaign for Tibet...

Will China's New Leaders Change Tibet policy?

Martin Patience
BBC
Xi Zhongxun, father of China's new president, Xi Jinping, was a former leader known for a more conciliatory approach to Tibetans...

In China, Self-Immolations Continue as Party Congress Opens

Barbara Demick
Los Angeles Times
As China launched its 18th Communist Party congress on Thursday, a record number of Tibetans immolated themselves in a stark illustration of the internal tensions facing the country's new leadership.Over a 48...

U.S. Rights Official Faults China on Tibetan Suppression

Nick Cumming-Bruce
New York Times
Navi Pillay says she's disturbed by reports of detentions, disappearances and the excessive use of force...

Seven Tibetan Self-Immolations Hit China in One Week

AFP
Agence France-Presse
Two Tibetans set themselves on fire protesting Beijing's hardline rule, a rights group said...

Features

09.18.12

A Mosque of Their Own

Kathleen McLaughlin
The women of Sangpo know well they are the guardians of a 300-year-old custom that sets them apart in Islam and they are increasingly mindful that economic development could be that tradition’s undoing.Sangpo, a dusty hamlet about two hours from the...

Video

09.18.12

Last Call to Prayer

Kathleen McLaughlin & Sharron Lovell
China’s Hui Muslims are unique in many respects. The country’s second-largest ethnic minority share linguistic and cultural ties with the majority in China that have allowed them to practice their religion with less interference and fewer...

Excerpts

09.17.12

The North Peak

Ian Johnson
The “voluntary” insurance at the entrance had cost just two yuan, about thirty-five cents, but I had been fleeced all the way from Beijing and somehow this was the final straw. Why did everything have to be so crass and commercialized? I whined to...

Jesus vs. Mao? An Interview with Yuan Zhiming

Ian Johnson
New York Review of Books
In the intellectual ferment leading up to the 1989 Tiananmen protests, a much-watched series on Chinese television called River Elegy became closely identified with the hopes of China’s reformers. The six-part series, which used...

Jesus vs. Mao?

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
In the intellectual ferment leading up to the 1989 Tiananmen protests, a much-watched series on Chinese television called River Elegy became closely identified with the hopes of China’s reformers. The six-part series, which used the Yellow River as...

Does China's Next Leader Have a Soft Spot for Tibet

Benjamin Kang Lim and Frank Jack Daniel
Reuters
Few people know what Xi, whose ascent to the leadership is likely to be approved at a Communist Party congress later this year, thinks of Tibet or the Dalai Lama. But his late father, Xi Zhongxun, a liberal-minded former vice premier, had a...

Out of School

08.30.12

Refresher Course: The Silk Road

Valerie Hansen
The “Silk Road” was a stretch of shifting, unmarked paths across massive expanses of deserts and mountains—not a real road at any point or time. Archeologists have found few ancient Silk Road bridges, gates, or paving stones like those along Rome’s...

News from the Dalai Lama

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 in mid-June.But it can be put back in. I am hopeful...

A Catholic Wedding in Beijing (video)

Joshua Frank
New York Times
In China, people are flocking to the city’s oldest Catholic church for a sense of community, entertainment, or a wedding ceremony, even if they are not Catholic.

Yu Jie on His New Biography of Liu Xiaobo

Ian Johnson
New York Review of Books
Yu Jie is one of China’s most prominent essayists and critics, with more than thirty books to his name. His latest work is a biography of his friend, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, that was published in Chinese in Hong Kong a few weeks ago...

China’s ‘Fault Lines’

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Yu Jie is one of China’s most prominent essayists and critics, with more than thirty books to his name. His latest work is a biography of his friend, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, that was published in Chinese in Hong Kong a few weeks ago...

Ordination of Bishops Increases Tensions Between China and Vatican

Ian Johnson
New York Times
In a sign of rising tensions between the Vatican and China, authorities in recent days have ordained one Catholic bishop without Rome’s consent and detained another after he made a dramatic break with the country’s Communist-run religious hierarchy.

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...

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...

In Chinese Blogosphere, Consensus on Abortion

A Capella
What does it mean to be a “pro-life” Chinese person? Recently, many Western media have been calling Chen Guangcheng, the Chinese dissident who fled China by seeking protection at U.S. embassy in Beijing, a pro-life activist. Conservative websites...

Finding Zen and Book Contracts in Beijing

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
It’s a Sunday afternoon and Beijing’s biggest bookstore is preparing for a major event: the launch of a new book by a bestselling American author, who will be on hand for the occasion. Six-foot banners on the sidewalk out front announce the talk,...

Notes from a Chinese Cave: Qigong’s Quiet Return

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Lift up your head Calm your eyes Look far away, as far as you can Look beyond the walls What do you see?The Jinhua caves are located in a wooded, hilly area about 200 miles southwest of Shanghai. The most famous cave, Double Dragon Cave, is entered...

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...

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...

Talking About Tibet: An Open Dialogue Between Chinese Citizens and the Dalai Lama

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
Following is an English translation of an Internet dialogue between the Dalai Lama and Chinese citizens that took place on May 21. The exchange was organized by Wang Lixiong, a Chinese intellectual known for his writing on Tibet and for theorizing...

‘A Hell on Earth’

Pico Iyer from New York Review of Books
“The situation inside Tibet is almost like a military occupation,” I heard the Dalai Lama tell an interviewer last November, when I spent a week traveling with him across Japan. “Everywhere. Everywhere, fear, terror. I cannot remain indifferent.”...

Reports

03.17.09

The Tibetan Policy Act of 2002: Background and Implementation

Kerry Dumbaugh
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
U.S. policy on Tibet is governed by the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 (TPA), enacted as part of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of FY2003 (P.L. 107-228). In addition to establishing a number of U.S. principles with respect to human rights,...

Reports

06.30.08

Tibet: Problems, Prospects, and U.S. Policy

Kerry Dumbaugh
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
On March 10, 2008, a series of demonstrations began in Lhasa and other Tibetan regions of China to mark the 49th anniversary of an unsuccessful Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. The demonstrations appeared to begin peacefully with small...

Reports

06.01.08

Tibet Autonomous Region: Access Denied

Amnesty International
This report, written in the aftermath of the widespread Tibetan unrest in Tibet and Tibetan regions of China in the spring of 2008, addresses the Chinese government with immediate demands. In cracking down on unrest, the Chinese government sealed...

Reports

05.14.08

China’s Protestants

Carol Lee Hamrin
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
The number of religious believers in China continues to grow almost exponentially, far outpacing population growth. Of the officially tolerated faiths, Christianity has grown at the fastest pace. As of 2005, Christians were approaching 5 percent of...

Reports

12.17.01

China’s Relations with Central Asian States and Problems with Terrorism

Dewardric L. McNeal
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
Over a number of years, the United States has been actively engaged in efforts to improve human rights conditions in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). However, some analysts suggest that the events of September 11, 2001, may make it more...

The Muslims of Tibet

Ian Buruma from New York Review of Books
Jamyang Norbu, writes in response to Ian Buruma’s article “Tibet Disenchanted” and Buruma replies.

On the Road

Pico Iyer from New York Review of Books
Books that “follow in the steps of” a well-known traveler are more and more ubiquitous these days, but many of them are slightly suspect. Following in the footsteps of some distinguished predecessor can look a little like a gesture of defeat,...

Room at the Top

Pico Iyer from New York Review of Books
The last time I was in the Himalayas, I met a young, highly Westernized Tibetan who, misled perhaps by my Indian features (born in England, I’ve never lived in the subcontinent), started talking to me about the strange ways of the exotic foreigners...

Lost Horizons

Pico Iyer from New York Review of Books
Tibet has always cast a dangerously strong spell upon visitors from abroad. When the first major European expedition marched on Lhasa in 1904, led by Colonel Younghusband at the behest of his old friend Lord Curzon, it ended up slaughtering in just...

Peking’s Choice

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
The recent sentence to six years in prison of one of Tibet’s supreme monks shows Peking’s determination to dominate all events in the region and bring to an end a period of intense confusion within the Chinese Communist Party. For a brief time the...

The Other China

Jonathan D. Spence from New York Review of Books
On the same late fall day in 1991, two stories about China appeared in the Western press. One announced that thirty-five drug dealers had just been executed in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming, probably by a single police bullet fired into...