‘We the Workers’: On the Front Lines of China’s Record-Level Labor Unrest

James Griffiths
CNN
Zhang Zhiru is one of a shrinking number of Chinese labor activists helping workers in the world’s second largest economy fight for their rights—an ongoing crackdown has seen dozens detained and slapped with heavy prison sentences.

China Orders GPS Tracking of Every Car in Troubled Region

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Security officials in China’s violence-stricken north-west have ordered residents to install GPS tracking devices in their vehicles so authorities are able to keep permanent tabs on their movements 

China’s ‘New Silk Road’ Is Derailed in Sri Lanka by Political Chaos and Violent Protests

Wade Shepard
Forbes
It is now looking as if Sri Lanka’s biggest partner in the Hambantota endeavor, China, is pulling back from what seems to have become an all out fiasco 

Books

02.16.17

Chinese Theology

Chloë Starr
In this groundbreaking and authoritative study, Chloë Starr explores key writings of Chinese Christian intellectuals, from philosophical dialogues of the late imperial era to micro-blogs of pastors in the 21st century. Through a series of close textual readings, she sheds new light on such central issues in Chinese theology as Christian identity and the evolving question of how Christians should relate to society and state.Reading these texts in their socio-political and traditional literary contexts, Starr opens a new conversation about the nature of Chinese theology and the challenge it offers to a broad understanding of how theology is created and contextualized. Concentrating on those theologians who have engaged most actively with their cultural and political milieus, Starr argues throughout her readings, as she examines how Chinese literary traditions and reading patterns have shaped Chinese theology, that text is as important as context. —Yale University Press{chop}

Depth of Field

02.16.17

Riding into the New Year

Yan Cong, Ye Ming & more from Yuanjin Photo
As preparations for the Chinese New Year got underway, Liang Yingfei set up a roadside studio and asked migrants traveling home by motorbike to stop for a quick photograph. While in Cambodia for the Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops, Jia...

Chinese Students in the U.S. Are Using “Inclusion” and “Diversity” to Oppose a Dalai Lama Graduation Speech

Josh Horwitz
Quartz
On Feb. 2, the University of California, San Diego formally announced that the Dalai Lama would make a keynote speech at the June commencement ceremony. The announcement triggered outrage among Chinese students who view the exiled Tibetan spiritual...

China Bird Flu Deaths Surge in What Could Be the Worst Season Ever

Reuters
As many as 79 people died from H7N9 bird flu in China last month, the government said, stoking worries that the spread of the virus this season could be the worst on record.

Fighting on Behalf of China’s Women—From the United States

Luo Siling
New York Times
Among hundreds of thousands of women who took to the streets for the Women’s March on Washington were Lu Pin and more than 20 other Chinese feminists who live in the United States and belong to the Chinese Feminism Collective

China’s Top Football Team Vows to Phase out Foreign Players

Ben Bland
Financial Times
Fans worry beautiful game could lose luster if Guangzhou Evergrande makes good on pledge

Media

02.14.17

Surprise Findings: China’s Youth Are Getting Less Nationalistic, Not More

Anyone who’s spent any length of time following Western press coverage of China is familiar with the notion that China’s leaders are obligated to look tough in order to appease a rising nationalism. Much has been written about the online activities...

China’s Transgender Oprah

Economist
As an army colonel who became a woman, she exemplifies a society in flux

Surprise Findings: China’s Youth Are Getting Less Nationalistic, Not More

Matt Schrader
Foreign Policy
Harvard and Peking University researchers just upended conventional wisdom.

Books

02.07.17

Shanghai Faithful

Jennifer Lin
Within the next decade, China could be home to more Christians than any other country in the world. Through the 150-year saga of a single family, this book vividly dramatizes the remarkable religious evolution of the world’s most populous nation. Shanghai Faithful is both a touching family memoir and a chronicle of the astonishing spread of Christianity in China. Five generations of the Lin family—buffeted by history’s crosscurrents and personal strife—bring to life an epoch that is still unfolding.A compelling cast—a poor fisherman, a doctor who treated opium addicts, an Ivy League-educated priest, and the charismatic preacher Watchman Nee—sets the book in motion. Veteran journalist Jennifer Lin takes readers from remote nineteenth-century mission outposts to the thriving house churches and cathedrals of today’s China. The Lin family—and the book’s central figure, the Reverend Lin Pu-chi—offer witness to China’s tumultuous past, up to and beyond the betrayals and madness of the Cultural Revolution, when the family’s resolute faith led to years of suffering. Forgiveness and redemption bring the story full circle. With its sweep of history and the intimacy of long-hidden family stories, Shanghai Faithful offers a fresh look at Christianity in China—past, present, and future. —Rowman & Littlefield{chop}

China Judge Blasts Trump as “Enemy of Rule of Law”

News.com.au
A top Chinese judge has branded President Donald Trump a bully and “enemy of the rule of law” for attacking the US judiciary as China revels in the upheaval gripping the world’s leading democracy. 

Why China Doesn’t Need the U.S. for Trade

Winter Nie
Forbes
Unfortunately for Trump, it’s not the 1980s anymore.

China Courts Ivanka, Jared Kushner to Smooth Ties With Trump

Jennifer Jacobs, Peter Martin
Bloomberg
For China, Trump’s family may be the best hope for stable U.S. relations.

How Trump Could Put U.S.-China Relations on the Right Track

Washington Post
Called “U.S. Policy Toward China: Recommendations for a New Administration,” the bipartisan report, produced by an 18-member panel.

Using Stealth, and Drones, to Document a Fading Hong Kong

Mike Ives
New York Times
If history was any guide, the explorers said, the building the drone was filming—a 1952 theater with unusual roof supports—would eventually be demolished because it is not on Hong Kong’s list of declared monuments.

Conversation

02.05.17

Is The White House Beginning to Resemble Zhongnanhai?

Melissa Chan & Yifu Dong
Since Donald Trump was sworn into office on January 20, he has lied repeatedly about the size of the crowd at his inauguration, embraced xenophobic policies, and declareda “running war with the media.” The White House has frozen out the...

Features

02.04.17

Why’s Beijing So Worried About Western Values Infecting China’s Youth?

Eric Fish
In early December, Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered the country’s universities to “adhere to the correct political orientation.” Speaking at a conference on ideology and politics in China’s colleges, he stressed that schools must uphold the...

China Labor Unrest Spreads to ‘New Economy’

Hudson Lockett
Financial Times
Retail and logistics sectors hit by strikes and protests once focused on industry

The Life of a Football Coach in China

Matt Stanger
Guardian
After impressing in Taiwan and the Philippines, Matt Ward moved to Shanghai Shenxin, where he gained ‘all the experience you need to deal with anything’

There Are Echoes of China in Today’s America

Maura Cunningham
Time
We are troubled by how often lately we experience a strange sort of China-related déjà vu when following events in the U.S.

Sinica Podcast

01.31.17

Talking ’Bout My Generation: Chinese Millennials

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Alec Ash, a young British writer who lives in Beijing, has covered “left-behind” children in Chinese villages, the “toughest high-school exam in the world,” and Internet live-streaming, among many other subjects. He is the author of Wish Lanterns,...

For Couriers, China’s E-Commerce Boom Can Be a Tough Road

Ryan McMorrow
New York Times
The Chinese e-commerce industry has been built on the backs of couriers—called kuaidi, or express delivery, in China. They number 1.2 million, and online retailers like Alibaba use them to zip packages to customers by scooter or three-wheeled...

Billionaire Is Reported Seized from Hong Kong Hotel and Taken into China

Michael Forsythe
New York Times
A Chinese-born billionaire who has forged financial ties with some of the country’s most powerful families was taken by the Chinese police from his apartment at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong late last week and spirited across the border

China Says ‘Reasonable Concerns’ Must Be Factored into Trump Travel Bans

South China Morning Post
China is building diplomatic role in Middle East, and has close ties with Iran and Sudan, two of Trump’s seven proscribed countries

U.N. Social Media Posts Removed in China After Backlash

William Ide
Voice of America
A massive backlash on social media in China has apparently led the United Nations to take down two Lunar New Year posts on refugees and poverty from their Chinese Weibo social media site.

Media

01.28.17

China’s Feminists Go to Washington

Kim Wall
Zhang Ling was dressed like a revolutionary from the Spanish Civil War. With a long braid emerging from a scarlet beret and clad in trousers a color she described as “communist red,” Zhang had driven her Honda from her home in upstate New York the...

China Likely to Stick to a Two-Child Policy

Wall Street Journal
Government plan cites demographic challenges, with country’s population seen peaking at 1.45 billion in 2030

A Chinese Nuclear Site, Hidden in a Mountain, Is Reborn as a Tourist Draw

Amy Qin
New York Times
Fifteen years ago, the local government announced that inside the hollowed-out mountain lay the remnants of what was once one of China’s most ambitious military infrastructure projects: the top-secret 816 nuclear plant.

Books

01.23.17

China as an Innovation Nation

Edited by Yu Zhou, William Lazonick, and Yifei Sun
This volume assesses China’s transition to innovation-nation status in terms of social conditions, industry characteristics, and economic impacts over the past three decades, also providing insights into future developments.Defining innovation as the process that generates a higher quality, lower cost product than was previously available, the introductory chapter conceptualizes the theory of an innovation nation and the lessons from Japan and the United States. It outlines the key governance, employment, and investment institutions that China must build for such transition to occur, and examines China’s challenges and strategies to innovate in the era of global production systems. Two succeeding chapters explain the evolving roles of the Chinese state in innovation, and the new landscape of venture capital finance. The remaining chapters provide studies of major industries, which contain analyses of the evolving roles of investment by government agencies and business interests in the process. Included in these studies are traditional industries such as mechanical engineering, railroads, and automobiles; rapidly evolving and internationally highly integrated industries such as information-and-communication-technology (ICT); and newly emerging sectors such as wind and solar energy.Written by leading academics in the field, studies in this volume reveal Chinese innovation as diverse across industries and enterprises and fluid over time. In each sector, we observe continued co-evolution of state policy, market demand, and technology development. The strategies and structures of individual companies and industrial ecosystems are changing rapidly. The sum total of the studies is a great step forward in our understanding of the industrial foundations of China’s attempt to become an innovation nation. —Oxford University Press{chop}

Trump Has the Power to Fight China on Human Rights. Will He Use It?

Benjamin Haas
Guardian
President inherits law originally aimed at Russia that allows him to sanction any official involved in violations—and China activists have put forward a list

More Babies in China Worth Celebrating—but Mind the Data

Nathaniel Taplin
Wall Street Journal
Official data shows women had the most children since 2000 in 2016

China’s Growing Obesity Problem

Benjamin Shobert
Forbes
A recent study published shows that China can now lay claim to having a greater percentage of obese men and women than in the United States.

China Swings back at Golf, Shutting down 111 Courses

Normaan Merchant
Associated Press
China has launched a renewed crackdown on golf, closing 111 courses in an effort to conserve water and land, and telling members of the ruling Communist Party to stay off the links.

Viewpoint

01.23.17

The Chairmen, Trump and Mao

Geremie R. Barmé
The January 13, 1967 issue of TIME magazine featured Mao Zedong on its cover with the headline “China in Chaos.” Fifty years later, TIME made U.S. President-elect Donald Trump its Man of The Year. With a groundswell of mass support, both men...

In China, Pollution Fears Are Both Literal and Metaphorical

Jeffrey Wasserstrom and Benjamin Van...
NPR
Last month, as China encountered some of its worst pollution yet, artists in Chengdu did something bold: They put smog-filtering cotton masks over the faces of statues representing ordinary urbanites that dot a centrally located shopping street.

Film Review: ‘Plastic China’

Dennis Harvey
Variety
Life in one Chinese town is entirely dedicated to recycling of First World waste in Jiu-liang Wang’s documentary.

Depth of Field

01.17.17

House Calls on the Tibetan Plateau, Children of Divorce, Celebrity Secrets

Yan Cong, Ye Ming & more from Yuanjin Photo
In the final galleries of 2016, the publishing juggernaut Tencent again shows its leadership in the documentary photography space, but iFeng’s choice to publish a personal photo gallery by Zhou Xin is also worth a good look, especially since...

Zhou Youguang, Architect of a Bridge between Languages, Dies At 111

Colin Dwyer
NPR
Zhou Youguang, the inventor of a system to convert Chinese characters into words with the Roman alphabet, died Saturday at the age of 111.

Rich Chinese, Inspired by ‘Downton,’ Fuel Demand for Butlers

Chris Buckley and Karoline Kan
New York Times
Inspired in part by the Downton Abbey television drama, the country’s once raw and raucous tycoons are fueling demand for the services of homegrown butlers trained in the ways of a British manor.

Sinica Podcast

01.13.17

Can the Vatican and China Get Along?

Jeremy Goldkorn, Kaiser Kuo & more from Sinica Podcast
Ian Johnson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has lived in Beijing and Taiwan for more than half of the past 30 years, writing for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and other publications. He has...

Hong Kong Human Rights Situation ‘Worst Since Handover to China’

Benjamin Haas
Guardian
Amnesty International report says rule of law, freedom of speech, and trust in government all deteriorated in 2016

China, Fanning Patriotism, Adds Six Years to War with Japan in History Books

Javier Hernandez
New York Times
For generations, the “Eight-Year War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression” has been ingrained in the minds of Chinese schoolchildren. Now the war is getting a new name, and an extended time frame.

How China’s Pink Economy Is Leading the Country’s Battle for LGBT Rights

Charlie Campbell
Fortune
China’s burgeoning LGBT community—estimated at some 70 million people—is a free-spending sector that few businesses can afford to ignore.

The Humble Ballpoint Pen Has Become a New Symbol of China’s Innovation Economy

Josh Horwitz
Quartz
China has grown by leaps and bounds during its quest for greater domestic innovation, but one of its most recent accomplishments is in an area that’s considerably more basic: ballpoint pens.

2016 China-Africa Year in Review

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
After years of relatively trouble-free development, 2016 marked a turning point in the China-Africa relationship, amid turbulent changes in the global economic and political order. China increased its deployment of combat troops to the continent,...

‘Is This What the West Is Really Like?’ How It Felt to Leave China for Britain

Xiaolu Guo
Guardian
Desperate to find somewhere she could live and work as she wished, Xiaolu Guo moved from Beijing to London in 2002.

How to Ride an Escalator: China Says You’re Doing It Wrong

Josh Chin
Wall Street Journal
Experts have recently warned that the practice is a danger to public safety

China’s Elite Bodyguards Are Struggling to Find Enough Rich People to Protect

Charlie Campbell
Time
Training bodyguards has been big business in China for years. Now, however, a slowing economy and an anti-corruption drive are putting the brakes on the private security industry

Viewpoint

01.06.17

No, Hong Kong’s Democracy Movement Is Not Anti-Mainland

Sebastian Veg
In a November 29 essay, “The Anti-Mainland Bigotry of Hong Kong’s Democracy Movement,” published in Foreign Policy, Taisu Zhang tries to make the case that Beijing’s hardline attitude toward Hong Kong is traceable to what he calls the “bigotry of...

How ‘Bambi’ Got Its Look From 1,000-Year-Old Chinese Art

Daniel McDermon
New York Times
The Chinese-American artist Tyrus Wong, who died last week at 106, was an incredibly accomplished painter, illustrator, calligrapher and Hollywood studio artist. But as Margalit Fox wrote in her obituary for Mr. Wong, “because of the marginalization...

China Vows to Curb Record Spending on Football Transfers

Tom Hancock
Financial Times
China’s top sports administrator has vowed to cap spending by football clubs, accusing them of burning money and paying excessive wages to foreign players.

Books

01.04.17

The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China

Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom
This lavishly illustrated volume explores the history of China during a period of dramatic shifts and surprising transformations, from the founding of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) through to the present day.The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China promises to be essential reading for anyone who wants to understand this rising superpower on the verge of what promises to be the “Chinese century,” introducing readers to important but often overlooked events in China’s past, such as the bloody Taiping Civil War (1850-1864), which had a death toll far higher than the roughly contemporaneous American Civil War. It also helps readers see more familiar landmarks in Chinese history in new ways, such as the Opium War (1839-1842), the Boxer Uprising of 1900, the rise to power of the Chinese Communist Party in 1949, and the Tiananmen protests and Beijing Massacre of 1989.This is one of the first major efforts—and in many ways the most ambitious to date—to come to terms with the broad sweep of modern Chinese history, taking readers from the origins of modern China right up through the dramatic events of the last few years (the Beijing Games, the financial crisis, and China’s rise to global economic pre-eminence) which have so fundamentally altered Western views of China and China’s place in the world. —Oxford University Press{chop}

More Chinese Are Sending Younger Children to Schools in U.S.

Miriam Jordan
Wall Street Journal
When Ken Yan’s parents were contemplating his future, they decided the best option for the 11-year-old was to send him 7,000 miles away from his home in China to Southern California. Ken didn’t speak English, and he would need to live with a host...

President Xi’s Great Chinese Soccer Dream

Chris Buckley
New York Times
The 48 soccer fields of the vast Evergrande Football School in south China seem barely enough for its 2,800 students. Against a backdrop of school spires that seem modeled on Hogwarts, the young athletes swarm onto the fields nearly every day,...

Uncertainty Over New Chinese Law Rattles Foreign Nonprofits

Chris Buckley
New York Times
The hotline rings, but nobody answers. China’s Ministry of Public Security opened the line last month to answer questions about the new law regulating foreign nonprofit organizations, which takes effect on Sunday. But this week and last, calls went...

A Human Rights Activist, A Secret Prison and A Tale from Xi Jinping’s New China

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Peter Dahlin spent 23 days in a ‘black prison’ in Beijing, where he says he was deprived of sleep and questioned with a ‘communication enhancement’ machine.

China: Limited Victory for Man in Transgender Dismissal Case

BBC
A transgender man has won his case for unfair dismissal at a court in China.