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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Chinese in Africa But Were Too Afraid to Ask

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
The Chinese presence in Africa has been so sudden and so all-encompassing that it’s left a lot of people confused. Chinese farmers now compete for space and customers in Lusaka’s open-air markets, Chinese textiles are undercutting Nigerian...

Viewpoint

05.24.16

“It’s Time for Us To Set a New Political Agenda for Hong Kong”

Jonathan Landreth, Susan Jakes & more
Last month, midway through a whirlwind tour of United States universities, Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong took a break for a crab cake and mac-and-cheese lunch at a Manhattan brasserie. Wong, 19, came to international prominence during the...

My Time as a Fake Boyfriend to China's 'Leftover Women'

Sean Lee Baker
Al Jazeera
As Chinese women face stigma for remaining unmarried past their late 20s, the boyfriends for rent business is booming.

China’s Middle Class Vents Over Growing List of Grievances

Te-Ping Chen
Wall Street Journal
A father’s death in custody is the latest incident to fuel urbanites’ sense of unease.

Other

05.23.16

The Abigail Cohen Fellowship in Documentary Photography

In 2014, ChinaFile and the Magnum Foundation founded the Abigail Cohen Fellowship in Documentary Photography to support photographers working to address pressing social issues impacting China and its relations with the world that have not received...

Media

05.19.16

Backward Thinking about Orientalism and Chinese Characters

David Moser
For those of us who teach and research the Chinese language, it is often difficult to describe how the Chinese characters function in conveying meaning and sound, and it’s always a particular challenge to explain how the writing system differs from...

Media

05.18.16

My Uncle Was a Red Guard in the Cultural Revolution—He Isn’t Sorry

Lishui is the nickname for my uncle, a farmer who has lived all his life in the suburbs of Tianjin, a big city in northeastern China. Whenever people talk about Lishui, my mother’s older brother, they always say: “Lishui is a nice guy, honest,...

Books

05.18.16

Queer Marxism in Two Chinas

Petrus Liu
In Queer Marxism in Two Chinas, Petrus Liu rethinks the relationship between Marxism and queer cultures in mainland China and Taiwan. Whereas many scholars assume the emergence of queer cultures in China signals the end of Marxism and demonstrates China’s political and economic evolution, Liu finds the opposite to be true. He challenges the persistence of Cold War formulations of Marxism that position it as intellectually incompatible with queer theory, and shows how queer Marxism offers a nonliberal alternative to Western models of queer emancipation. The work of queer Chinese artists and intellectuals not only provides an alternative to liberal ideologies of inclusion and diversity, but demonstrates how different conceptions of and attitudes toward queerness in China and Taiwan stem from geopolitical tensions. With Queer Marxism in Two Chinas Liu offers a revision to current understandings of what queer theory is, does, and can be. —Duke University Press{chop}

Family of Activist Who Died in Police Custody Files Complaint Alleging Abuse

Mimi Lau
South China Morning Post
Lei Yang was arrested on a charge of soliciting a prostitute in early May; less than an hour later he was dead.

China Breaks Official Silence on Cultural Revolution's 'Decade of Calamity'

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Communist party’s decision not to address the anniversary until 24 hours after it had passed underlined its discomfort.

Real-Estate Lawsuits Surge in China

Esther Fung
Wall Street Journal
Undelivered homes drive some buyers to sue while developers seek refunds on land.

China's Middle-Class Anxieties

Murong Xuecun
New York Times
They get that the cause of their various discontents is the one-party system, but they also appreciate that the system underwrites their comfortable lives.

Media

05.12.16

Chinese Is Not a Backward Language

Even in the age of China’s social media boom, and billion-dollar valuations for Beijing-based IT start-ups, prejudice against the Chinese language is alive and well. One would be forgiven for thinking that by 2016, the 20th century’s widespread...

Undaunted By China's Rulebook, Lesbian Couple Has Twins Via Surrogacy

Anthony Kuhn
NPR
Chinese women Rui Cai and Cleo Wu gave birth to twins last month, following a successful in-vitro fertilization.

China to Relocate Two Million People in Bid to Tackle Poverty

Neil Connor
Telegraph
People from poverty-stricken communities are relocated to more developed urban areas as part of a wide-ranging plan to tackle poverty.

China Faces Its Own Version of Trumpism

Andrew Browne
Wall Street Journal
Appeal of die-hard Maoists to the downtrodden puts Communist Party in a bind.

In Sichuan Province, an Artisan Retreats to China’s Past

Jonah M. Kessel
New York Times
Hanshan, an ethnic Miao, survives by selling the clothing he dyes to the same people he considers too materialistic.

Sinica Podcast

05.09.16

The Cultural Revolution at Fifty

Kaiser Kuo, David Moser & more from Sinica Podcast
Fifty years ago, Mao Zedong launched the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, inaugurating a decade of political turmoil with his calls for young people to “bombard the headquarters.” In this special live edition of our podcast recorded at The...

Caixin Media

05.09.16

Yao Ming’s Biggest Game: Hoops Reform in China

Retired basketball superstar and Shanghai Sharks team owner Yao Ming is finding efforts to reform China’s professional sports environment a lot tougher than a slam dunk.The former Houston Rockets center, who hung up his high tops in 2011, is trying...

Controversy Sparked Online by ‘Red Songs’ at Concert in Beijing

Nectar Gan
South China Morning Post
Music from the turbulent period of the Cultural Revolution was featured prominently at event at the Great Hall of the People.

Conversation

05.05.16

How Should Global Stakeholders Respond to China’s New NGO Management Law?

Sebastian Heilmann , Thomas Kellogg & more
A new law gives broad powers to China’s police in regulating and surveilling the activities of foreign NGOs in China. The law would require foreign groups including foundations, charities, advocacy organizations, and academic exchange programs to...

Books

05.05.16

Alibaba

Duncan Clark
In just a decade and half, Jack Ma, a man from modest beginnings who started out as an English teacher, founded and built Alibaba into one of the world’s largest companies, an e-commerce empire on which hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers depend. Alibaba’s $25 billion IPO in 2014 was the largest global IPO ever. A Rockefeller of his age who is courted by CEOs and Presidents around the world, Jack is an icon for China’s booming private sector and the gatekeeper to hundreds of millions of middle class consumers.Duncan Clark first met Jack in 1999 in the small apartment where Jack founded Alibaba. Granted unprecedented access to a wealth of new material, including exclusive interviews, Clark draws on his own experience as an early adviser to Alibaba and two decades in China chronicling the Internet’s impact on the country to create an authoritative, compelling narrative account of Alibaba’s rise.How did Jack overcome his humble origins and early failures to achieve massive success with Alibaba? How did he outsmart rival entrepreneurs from China and Silicon Valley? Can Alibaba maintain its 80 percent market share? As it forges ahead into finance and entertainment, are there limits to Alibaba’s ambitions? How does the Chinese government view its rise? Will Alibaba expand further overseas, including in the U.S.? Clark tells Alibaba’s tale in the context of China’s momentous economic and social changes, illuminating an unlikely corporate titan as never before. —HarperCollins{chop}

Baidu Should Have Even Higher Standards Than Google, Because It's All China's Citizens Have

Zheping Huang
Quartz
Many believe Baidu's claims that it performs strict due diligence before accepting ads...

Reinventing China's Abortion Police

Lucy Ash
BBC
Family planning officers were trained for new jobs as teachers of parents and grandparents how to develop toddlers' minds by talking, singing and reading to them...

Postcard

05.05.16

If China Builds It, Will the Arab World Come?

Kyle Haddad-Fonda
In May 2016, the Emirates airline inaugurated its new direct service to the Chinese city of Yinchuan. Yinchuan joins Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou as destinations served by Emirates, meaning that a passenger who boards a plane in Dubai is now...

U.S. Diplomat’s Same-Sex Marriage Causes Stir in China

Edward Wong
New York Times
Hanscom Smith, the U.S. Consul General in Shanghai, marrying Eric Lu in San Francisco has generated interest in China.

Race, Culture, and the Politics of Being Black in China

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Being black in China is not easy, but it’s not as bad as many would have you think, according to our two guests this week, who are both black immigrants currently living in Beijing. Sure, people stare a lot and there are often some inappropriate...

Video of Beatings Amid Demolition in China Leads to Official Reprisals

Austin Ramzy
New York Times
Officers wearing law enforcement uniforms brandishing clubs, striking women and children cowering at the foot of a wall.

Depth of Field

04.29.16

April’s Best Chinese Photojournalism

Yan Cong, Ye Ming & more from Yuanjin Photo
Over the past few weeks, the publications Sina, Tencent, Caixin, China Youth Daily, and the publishing duo Sixth Tone/The Paper published photo stories on the intimate, the industrial, the private, and the political. Journalists Yan Cong and Ye Ming...

Ilham Tohti, Uighur Scholar Jailed in China, Is Nominated for Rights Award

Nick Cumming-Bruce
New York Times
He was chosen by the Martin Ennals Foundation for trying to promote dialogue in the troubled Xinjiang region of China.

China Close to Passing Strict Law on Foreign Groups

Edward Wong
New York Times
A new law that would strictly control thousands of foreign nongovernmental organizations in China is on its way.

China Homeowners Live in Legal Limbo

James Areddy and Esther Feng
Wall Street Journal
Wenzhou case underscores uncertainty over land leases in country where government owns all the land.

The Spy Who Loved Me? Chinese Warned Off Dating Foreigners

Vivian Kam, Anna Kook and Georgia...
CNN
A poster widely displayed across Beijing tells the story of a female civil servant who is wooed by a foreign spy posing as a visiting scholar.

China Internet Star Papi Jiang Promises 'Corrections' after Reprimand

BBC
One of China's biggest internet stars Papi Jiang has promised to "correct" herself, following warnings from government officials...

China Prepares To Widen Global Campaign Against Taiwanese Fraudsters

Ralph Jennings
Forbes
On Friday 52 more people on deck to return home to Taiwan from Malaysia had come under the same pressure from Beijing.

Sinica Podcast

04.19.16

Public Opinion with Chinese Characteristics

Kaiser Kuo & Jeremy Goldkorn from Sinica Podcast
The immense popularity of social media has afforded China watchers a terrific window onto public opinion in China. In recent years, a slew of English-language websites have emerged to interpret the various trends and phenomena, discourse, and...

China’s Real Estate Conundrum: The Big Property Bubble vs. Ghost Towns

Duncan Hewitt
International Business Times
China is suffering from a glut of real estate development, the result of a massive boom in construction.

China Bans Rich Kids From TV So They Can’t Embarrass Their Parents or the State

Hannah Beech
Time
Their hedonistic antics of some younger members of China's elite are thought to have no place amid a national austerity drive...

Caixin Media

04.18.16

Chinese Electric Vehicle Manufacturer BYD’s Image Hurt by Scandal Involving Dealer’s Suicide

China’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer, BYD Auto Co., is under intense scrutiny following the death of a Nanjing auto dealer who accused the company of bilking a government subsidy program and a Caixin probe suggesting the charge may have...

Books

04.18.16

China’s Future

David Shambaugh
China’s future arguably is the most consequential question in global affairs. Having enjoyed unprecedented levels of growth, China is at a critical juncture in the development of its economy, society, polity, national security, and international relations. The direction the nation takes at this turning point will determine whether it stalls or continues to develop and prosper.Will China be successful in implementing a new wave of transformational reforms that could last decades and make it the world’s leading superpower? Or will its leaders shy away from the drastic changes required because the regime’s power is at risk? If so, will that lead to prolonged stagnation or even regime collapse? Might China move down a more liberal or even democratic path? Or will China instead emerge as a hard, authoritarian, and aggressive superstate?In this new book, David Shambaugh argues that these potential pathways are all possibilities—but they depend on key decisions yet to be made by China’s leaders, different pressures from within Chinese society, as well as actions taken by other nations. Assessing these scenarios and their implications, he offers a thoughtful and clear study of China’s future for all those seeking to understand the country’s likely trajectory over the coming decade and beyond. —Polity Press{chop}

Media

04.15.16

A ‘Lost’ Daughter Speaks, and All of China Listens

A woman in her mid-40s cradled a scrap of blue cloth checkered with red. “Have you seen this before?” she asked. “Do you recognize this pattern?”I held it up to the light and noticed the cotton edges had frayed and tattered over years. “We already...

Millennials Shake Up China’s Tech Cultures

Li Yuan
Wall Street Journal
Companies find that traditional approaches don’t work for younger employees.

China’s New Security Challenge: Angry Mom-and-Pop Investors

Chuin-Wei Yap
Wall Street Journal
As they watch their nest eggs dwindle, some hit the streets in protest.

British Academic Hilary St John Bower Killed in China

Tris Pan and Kevin Dai
Reuters
A 60-year-old British man who went missing for several weeks in late March, was confirmed to have been killed in China.

Judge in China Rules Gay Couple Cannot Marry

Edward Wong and Vanessa Piao
New York Times
It was ruled on Wednesday, and it was China’s first court case addressing the issue of same-sex unions.

Her Search For Her Mother Touches An Entire Chinese City

NPR
In order to find her birth parents, Jenna Cook met with 50 families who had abandoned a girl in the same street in Wuhan.

Scalped: At China's Creaking Hospitals, Illegal Ticket Touts Defy Crackdown

Adam Jourdan
Reuters
Those tickets will get a patient in front of a doctor in two days, compared with a wait that can be up to a fortnight.

Court to Hear China's First Transgender Labor Discrimination Case

Emily Rauhala
Washington Post
A transgender man who claims he was fired for wearing men’s clothing to work will get his day in court.

China's 'Leftover Women': What It's Really Like Being Unmarried at 30

Yuan Ren
Telegraph
I want to enjoy going to a wedding without hearing "and when will you be getting married?”...

Labor Unrest Grows in China, Even in the Historic Heartlands of Revolution

Hannah Beech
Time
The coal mining regions of Jiangxi, made famous by socialist propaganda, are today riven with labor disputes.

Pork Shortage in China Leads to Soaring Prices, Rush to Import

Lucy Craymer
Wall Street Journal
U.S. pig industry benefits from boost in exports to pork-loving China.

A Portrait of Youth and Camaraderie in China (Video)

Nadine Ajaka
Atlantic
Xiong Di, this short film by Enric Ribes and Oriol Martínez, is a beautiful ode to friendship among young factory workers in China.

‘China’s Worst Policy Mistake’?

Nicholas D. Kristof from New York Review of Books
Perhaps no government policy anywhere in the world affected more people in a more intimate and brutal way than China’s one-child policy. In the West, there’s a tendency to approve of it as a necessary if overzealous effort to curb China’s population...

China to Donald Trump: You’re Hired!

Melinda Liu
Trump appeals to many Chinese youth who are spending more, traveling more, and thinking more independently than their parents ever dreamed of doing.

Video of Attempted Abduction of Woman Causes Outrage in China

Neil Connor
Telegraph
Almost two million people have joined in an online debate, with many voicing anger at the lack of help from others.

China Reverts to ‘Grid Management’ to Monitor Citizens’ Lives

Lucy Hornby
Financial Times
The aim is to reinstate the idea of upholding the party’s leadership.

Depth of Field

04.03.16

Meet ‘Depth of Field’: The Month’s Best Chinese Photojournalism

Yan Cong, Ye Ming & more from Yuanjin Photo
Welcome to ChinaFile’s inaugural “Depth of Field” column. In collaboration with Yuanjin Photo, an independent photo blog published by photographers Yan Cong and Ye Ming on the Chinese social media platform WeChat, we will highlight new and...

No April Fooling Please, We’re Chinese

Austin Ramzy
New York Times
Chinese state news agency Xinhua warned against people using “Fools’ Day” to start or spread rumors online.

Rights Activist Ni Yulan 'Barred from Leaving' China

BBC
Ni Yulan planned to travel this week to the U.S. to accept the International Women of Courage Award, but she was refused a passport.

China to Survey Children Left Behind by Migrant Workers

Emily Feng
New York Times
The move comes after a series of reports on those children, who are often put in the care of older relatives or are sometimes abandoned.

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