Viewpoint

04.22.19

The Messy Truth About Social Credit

Shazeda Ahmed from Logic
Almost every day, I receive an email from Google Alerts about a new article on China’s “social credit system.” It is rare that I encounter an article that does not contain several factual errors and gross mischaracterizations. The social credit...

Viewpoint

04.19.19

‘I Have Revised My Idea of What a Uighur Heroine Should Be’

Zubayra Shamseden
The Chinese government would have you believe a good Uighur woman is one who knows how to apply false eyelashes and cook dumplings. She is neither too modest nor too forward. She is “good at singing and dancing.” Since leaving China, I have spent a...

Viewpoint

03.28.19

Finding a Voice

Lü Pin from Logic
When I started writing this article, Feminist Voices had been deleted for six months and ten days. Yes, I have been keeping track of the time: ten days, fifteen days, thirty days, sixty days, three months, six months. . . The first week after it...

Culture

03.12.19

‘I Can’t Sleep: Homage to a Uyghur Homeland’

Lisa Ross & Muyi Xiao
In the 2000s, New York-based artist Lisa Ross traveled to the city of Turpan in China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and photographed local people on the beds that they keep in their fields. The portraits in that series are currently on exhibit...

Viewpoint

03.08.19

Here’s How the Trade War Is Affecting Hollywood

Ying Zhu
In February 2017, the United States and China began renegotiating the five-year film pact that had limited the annual number of foreign film exports to China to 34 and the share of revenue payable to foreign-rights holders to 25 percent of gross box...

‘It’s Hopeless But You Persist’: An Interview with Jiang Xue

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
The forty-five-year-old investigative journalist Jiang Xue is one of the most influential members of a group of journalists who came of age in the early 2000s, taking advantage of new—if temporary—freedoms created by the Internet to investigate...

‘Reeducating’ Xinjiang’s Muslims

James A. Millward from New York Review of Books
In a courtroom in Zharkent, Kazakhstan, in July 2018, a former kindergarten principal named Sayragul Sauytbay calmly described what Chinese officials continue to deny: a vast new gulag of “de-extremification training centers” has been created for...

Conversation

01.11.19

With China on the Moon

Yangyang Cheng, Geremie R. Barmé & more
On January 2, China made history by successfully landing a vehicle on the far side of the moon. What does that milestone mean for China, the United States, and the future of space exploration?

Features

01.08.19

Where Did the One Million Figure for Detentions in Xinjiang’s Camps Come From?

Jessica Batke
As journalists and scholars have reported in recent months on the campaign of religious and cultural repression and incarceration taking place in the Chinese region of Xinjiang, a central question has emerged: How many people has China’s government...

Viewpoint

12.28.18

‘Now We Don’t Talk Anymore’

Joanne Smith Finley
In an old Silk Road oasis town on China’s western border, these days a thirsty traveller can knock back a cold beer in a local mosque. The former place of worship is now a bar for tourists. And it is with the customers’ views in mind—and, perhaps,...

Viewpoint

12.21.18

A Look Back at China in 2018

Kyle Hutzler
In 2018, the outlook for China regarding its politics, economy, and relationship with the United States darkened considerably. The removal of presidential term limits and Xi Jinping’s interactions with the Trump administration prompted rare...

Viewpoint

11.30.18

Cut out of the Operating Room

Christopher Magoon
In June 2015, doctors told 69-year-old Shuai Shuiqing she had stomach cancer and would need surgery. She left her home in the city of Chongzhou in Sichuan province and traveled 20 miles to visit Chengdu’s Huaxi Hospital, which is ranked second best...

The Uighurs and China’s Long History of Trouble with Islam

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Last month, I spent several days at the Forbidden City, the gargantuan palace in the middle of Beijing where China’s emperors ruled the land for nearly five hundred years. I was there to attend a conference on religion and power in imperial China,...

Conversation

11.20.18

Has the World Lost Sight of Tibet?

Gerald Roche, Lhadon Tethong & more
Since the incarceration of roughly a million Uighurs in the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang over the last year, the situation in Tibet has gotten relatively less coverage in Western media. What is the current situation for human rights,...

Depth of Field

11.16.18

Where Do Bicycles Go When They Die?

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
In this issue of Depth of Field: the dying art of tomb burials; bike graveyards; and a son’s 20,000 photos of his mother.

In Search of the True Dao

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Last year I got a call from Abbess Yin, an old friend who runs a Daoist nunnery near Nanjing. I’ve always known her as supernaturally placid and oblique, but this time she was nervous and direct: a group of Germans were coming to spend a week...

Media

11.06.18

ChinaFile Presents: The Situation in Xinjiang

ChinaFile and the U.S.-Asia Law Institute of NYU School of Law co-hosted a discussion with historian Rian Thum and journalists Gulchehra Hoja of Radio Free Asia and James Palmer of Foreign Policy on the human rights crisis in the far-western region...

Postcard

10.24.18

China’s Government Has Ordered a Million Citizens to Occupy Uighur Homes. Here’s What They Think They’re Doing.

Darren Byler
The village children spotted the outsiders quickly. They heard their attempted greetings in the local language, saw the gleaming Chinese flags and round face of Mao Zedong pinned to their chests, and knew just how to respond. “I love China,” the...

Viewpoint

10.05.18

Banning Chinese Students is Not in the U.S. National Interest

Chang Chiu & Thomas Kellogg
President Donald Trump has made no secret of his desire to radically revamp America’s immigration policies. Indeed, his family separation policies, which sparked nationwide protests and public revulsion after they were rolled out in May 2018, were...

Books

09.30.18

Haunted by Chaos

Sulmaan Wasif Khan
Harvard University Press: Before the Chinese Communist Party came to power, China lay broken and fragmented. Today, it is a force on the global stage, and yet its leaders have continued to be haunted by the past. Drawing on an array of sources, Sulmaan Wasif Khan chronicles the grand strategies that have sought not only to protect China from aggression but also to ensure it would never again experience the powerlessness of the late Qing and Republican eras.{node, 49171}The dramatic variations in China’s modern history have obscured the commonality of purpose that binds the country’s leaders. Analyzing the calculus behind their decision making, Khan explores how they wove diplomatic, military, and economic power together to keep a fragile country safe in a world they saw as hostile. Dangerous and shrewd, Mao Zedong made China whole and succeeded in keeping it so, while the caustic, impatient Deng Xiaoping dragged China into the modern world. Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao served as cautious custodians of the Deng legacy, but the powerful and deeply insecure Xi Jinping has shown an assertiveness that has raised both fear and hope across the globe.For all their considerable costs, China’s grand strategies have been largely successful. But the country faces great challenges today. Its population is aging, its government is undermined by corruption, its neighbors are arming out of concern over its growing power, and environmental degradation threatens catastrophe. A question Haunted by Chaos raises is whether China’s time-tested approach can respond to the looming threats of the 21st century.{chop}

Conversation

09.25.18

Should the Vatican Compromise with China?

Pamela Kyle Crossley, Francesco Sisci & more
Amidst a crackdown on Christianity in China, on September 22 the Vatican and Beijing provisionally reached a major agreement: Pope Francis will recognize seven excommunicated bishops Beijing appointed, in exchange for more influence on who Beijing...

Video

09.07.18

From Pimp to Politician

Guo Rongfei from Arrow Factory Video
Walking through Kabukichō, a densely packed red-light district in Tokyo, one sometime spots 58-year-old Li Xiaomu, eager to point tourists to a good time. Born in the city of Changsha, Hunan province, Li moved to Tokyo in 1988 to study fashion...

Features

08.23.18

What Satellite Images Can Show Us about ‘Re-education’ Camps in Xinjiang

Jessica Batke
Claims that “re-education” camps are merely vocational training centers seem even less credible after one looks at the work of Shawn Zhang. A law student focusing on jurisprudence at the University of British Columbia in Canada, in May Zhang began...

Viewpoint

08.23.18

It’s Too Easy to Wind up in a Chinese Psychiatric Hospital, and Far Too Hard to Get Out

Jerome A. Cohen & Chi Yin
Every day in China, hundreds of people are involuntarily confined in mental health facilities, some through their involvement in criminal cases, many more via the government’s civil commitment processes. Whether, how, and how long to detain the...

Infographics

08.15.18

Visualizing China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign

“Catching Tigers and Flies” is ChinaFile’s interactive tool for tracking and, we hope, better understanding the massive campaign against corruption that Xi Jinping launched shortly after he came to power in late 2012. It is designed to give users a sense of the scope and character of the anti-corruption campaign by graphically rendering information about more than 2,000 of its targets whose cases have been publicly announced in official Chinese sources.

China Has an Online Lending Crisis and People Are Furious about It

Matt Rivers and Jethro Mullen
CNN
The outcry shines a light on a murky corner of China's financial industry that authorities allowed to grow rapidly with little oversight. Promises of double-digit returns attracted people looking for more lucrative places to put their money...

Walmart and JD.Com Invest $500 Million in a Chinese Online Delivery Company

Saheli Roy Choudhury
CNBC
Dada-JD Daojia was formed from the merger of JD Daojia, which is JD.com's online-to-offline business, and Dada Nexus, a large crowd-sourcing delivery platform in China with operations in more than 400 major cities...

Where China’s Top Leaders Go in Summer and in Secret: A Brief History of Beidaihe

Choi Chi-yuk
South China Morning Post
When state radio reported on Wednesday that Premier Li Keqiang met United Nations General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa in Beidaihe, it was the clearest confirmation that the annual summer gathering of China’s most influential...

Books

08.08.18

Poisonous Pandas

Matthew Kohrman, Gan Quan, Liu Wennan, Robert N. Proctor
Stanford University Press: A favorite icon for cigarette manufacturers across China since the mid-20th century has been the panda, with factories from Shanghai to Sichuan using cuddly cliché to market tobacco products. The proliferation of panda-branded cigarettes coincides with profound, yet poorly appreciated, shifts in the worldwide tobacco trade. Over the last 50 years, transnational tobacco companies and their allies have fueled a tripling of the world’s annual consumption of cigarettes. At the forefront is the China National Tobacco Corporation, now producing 40 percent of cigarettes sold globally. What’s enabled the manufacturing of cigarettes in China to flourish since the time of Mao and to prosper even amidst public health condemnation of smoking?In Poisonous Pandas, an interdisciplinary group of scholars comes together to tell that story. They offer novel portraits of people within the Chinese polity―government leaders, scientists, tax officials, artists, museum curators, and soldiers―who have experimentally revamped the country’s pre-Communist cigarette supply chain and fitfully expanded its political, economic, and cultural influence. These portraits cut against the grain of what contemporary tobacco-control experts typically study, opening a vital new window on tobacco―the single largest cause of preventable death worldwide today.{chop}Related Reading:“In China, Industry Push-Back Stubs out Anti-Smoking Gains,” Christian Shepherd, Reuters, May 31, 2018“China’s Ministry in Charge of Tobacco Control Had Ties to the Tobacco Industry. Not Anymore,” Sidney Leng, South China Morning Post, March 15, 2018“The End of China’s ‘Ashtray Diplomacy’,” Heather Timmons and Quartz, The Atlantic, December 30, 2013“The Political Mapping of China’s Tobacco Industry and Anti-Smoking Campaign,” Cheng Li, Brookings, May 30, 2012Author’s Recommendations:Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor, Rob Nixon (Harvard University Press, 2013)Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable?, Judith Butler (Verso; Reprint edition 2010)Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, Giorgio Agamben, Translated by Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford University Press, 1998)

Video

08.08.18

The Window

Zhou Na
I have spent three years collecting accounts and examining how survivors and families have coped since that traumatic event. I document the lingering pain, to resist public forgetting and indifference. Hundreds of photographs bear witness to the...

China Tightens Grip on Foreign University Ventures

Emily Feng
Financial Times
The directive, which took effect last year but whose existence is being revealed for the first time by the Financial Times, mandates foreign education institutions to include a clause that supports the establishment of a party organisation in any...

A Demonstration of Power: China Derails Protests before They Even Begin

Nathan VanderKlippe
Globe and Mail
It was after midnight and the slow train from Chengdu was nearing the end of its 30-hour journey when Ms. Yang decided to make a run for it. She was headed to Beijing to join a protest, but it was becoming clear that the authorities were closing in...

China Stamps Hint at Relaxation of Two-Child Policy with Large Piglet Family

Foreign Staff
Telegraph
Commentators noted that the scrapping of the decades-old one child policy in 2015, in favour of a two-child policy, was preceded by the release of a stamp for 2016, the Year of the Monkey, featuring two baby monkeys.

Conversation

08.07.18

We’re a Long Way from 2008

Kate Merkel-Hess, Maura Cunningham & more
On August 8, 2008, China’s then Chairman Hu Jintao told a group of world leaders visiting Beijing to attend the Olympics that “the historic moment we have long awaited is arriving.” Indeed, awarding the Games to China in 2001 sparked a fierce debate...

Chinese Audiences Will Not See Disney’s New Movie Starring Notorious Outlaw Winnie the Pooh

Marissa Martinelli
Slate
Christopher Robin, which is already in theaters in the U.S., is the second Disney movie to be rejected in China this year, following A Wrinkle in Time. Another source told THR that Christopher Robin was not...

‘We’re a People Destroyed’: Why Uighur Muslims across China Are Living in Fear

Gene A. Bunin
Guardian
Gene A Bunin has spent the past 18 months talking to Uighur restaurant workers all over China. These conversations reveal how this Muslim minority feel the daily threat of arrest, detention and ‘re-education’

Australia’s China Reset

John Garnaut
It’s no secret that Professor Francis Fukuyama got it wrong in his classic “End of History” treatise, published in the dying days of the Cold War. More interesting is why he got it wrong. His conclusion that the Western model of...

Ai Weiwei Responds To Chinese Authorities Destroying His Beijing Studio

Shannon Von Sant
NPR
In Beijing, the AFP reports that authorities have slated the neighborhood surrounding Ai's studio for redevelopment. According to the AP, Beijing has destroyed "large swaths of the suburbs over the past year in a building safety campaign...

China Millennials’ Love of Credit Cards Raises Debt Fears

Tom Hancock and Wang Xueqiao
Financial Times
Mr Wang is part of a generation of young consumers who have rejected the thrifty habits of their elders and become used to spending with borrowed money. Outstanding consumer loans — used for vehicle purchases, holidays, household renovations and...

Worries Grow in Singapore Over China’s Calls to Help ‘Motherland’

Amy Qin
New York Times
Growing up in Singapore, Chan Kian Kuan always took pride in his Teochew heritage — the dialect, the cultural traditions and the famous steamed fish. But after visiting his ancestral village in Teochew, in Guangdong Province, China, and seeing the...

Viewpoint

08.02.18

Remaking China’s Civil Society in the Xi Jinping Era

Shawn Shieh
Given his past animosity towards civil society, Xi’s actions have been seen by some as moving China towards a new form of totalitarianism and a closing of the space for civil society. I would argue instead that we should see Xi’s ascendancy,...

Chinese Spiritual Leader Is Accused of Harassing Female Followers

Javier Hernandez
New York Times
In a 95-page document that circulated widely on social media this week, two male monks accused the Venerable Xuecheng, the abbot of Longquan Monastery in Beijing and a powerful religious official, of sending explicit messages and making unwanted...

China’s Introverts Find a Kindred Spirit: A Stick Figure From Finland

Mike Ives and Zoe Mou
New York Times
The “Finnish Nightmares” comic series documents the social challenges faced by Matti, a mild-mannered stick figure who abhors small talk. The series has been trending on Chinese social media, and it even spawned a new word for social awkwardness in...

As China’s Woes Mount, Xi Jinping Faces Rare Rebuke at Home

Chris Buckley
New York Times
China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, seemed indomitable when lawmakers abolished a term limit on his power early this year. But months later, China has been struck by economic headwinds, a vaccine scandal and trade battles with Washington, emboldening...

Whistleblower Reveals Google’s Plans for Censored Search in China

James Vincent
Verge
According to internal documents provided to The Intercept by a whistleblower, Google has been developing a censored version of its search engine under the codename “Dragonfly” since the beginning of 2017. The search engine is being built as an...

Chinese Surveillance Expands to Muslims Making Mecca Pilgrimage

Eva Dou
Wall Street Journal
The state-run China Islamic Association published photos of Chinese Muslims at the Beijing airport departing for Mecca in Saudi Arabia in recent days wearing customized “smart cards” on blue lanyards around their necks. The devices, which include a...

China’s Plan to Win Friends and Influence Includes Ski Slopes and Spas

Alexandra Stevenson and Cao Li
New York Times
In Thailand, a theater rigged with hydraulic seats will give moviegoers the sensation of flight. In Australia, an indoor ski slope is going up near the beaches of the Gold Coast. In the Czech Republic, a spa with Chinese medicine is under...

Kazakh Trial Throws Spotlight on China’s Internment Centres

Emily Feng
Financial Times
The trial of a Chinese citizen who fled to Kazakhstan has offered rare insight into China’s secretive internment system, with Beijing’s security campaign in the western region of Xinjiang increasingly putting neighbouring countries in central Asia...

China Set to Leapfrog US in the AI Race

Tristan Greene
It’s only been a year since TNW reported China’s announcement it was shifting its national strategy to claim the artificial intelligence crown. In that time China has advanced its agenda to a startling degree, at least according to the experts.

Facebook’s Return to China Thrown into Doubt

BBC
The company, like all major US tech platforms, has been blocked in the country since 2009. Facebook said on Wednesday it had secured a licence to set up an “innovation hub to support Chinese developers, innovators and start-ups”. But 24 hours later...

Chinese Internet Users Employ the Blockchain to Share a Censored News Article

Shannon Liao
Verge
Chinese netizens have turned to blockchain to share a censored news story about faulty vaccines given to small babies. Their efforts to repost an investigative piece about a large vaccine maker were largely thwarted by Internet monitors, but by...

Lone Suspect Wounded in Blast near U.S. Embassy in China

Se Young Lee, Tom Daly
Reuters
The explosion happened on the street outside the southeast corner of the embassy compound. Beijing police said the suspect, a 26-year-old man from China’s Inner Mongolia region, had injured his hand and been taken to the hospital. Police did not...

Big Investors Are Placing Bets on China’s Facial Recognition Start-Ups

Jamie Condliffe
New York Times
In the past week, Chinese facial recognition companies, according to a pair of reports, were close to raising as much as $1.6 billion.

One in Five Arrests Take Place in ‘Police State’ Xinjiang

Lily Kuo
Guardian
Analysing publicly available government data, the advocacy group Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), found 21% of all arrests in China in 2017 were in Xinjiang

Viewpoint

07.13.18

‘Liu Knew His Responsibility in History’

Ian Johnson
He was risking not the immediate arrival of soldiers, but the inevitable and life-threatening imprisonment that befalls all people who challenge state power in China today. This was not an active decision to die, but a willingness to do so. The...

China’s Human Rights Record, Aggressive Military Expansion Damage Its Soft Power Rating

Liu Zhen
South China Morning Post
China’s soft power has been weakened by its hard line on foreign policy and human rights, according to an annual survey released on Thursday.

Uighur Children Fall Victim to China Anti-Terror Drive

Emily Feng
Financial Times
On a quiet street in the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar, a house lies empty, padlocked from the outside, the family who lived there gone.