China Lifts Travel Ban on Feminist Activist

Emily Feng
Financial Times
A Chinese feminist activist who was banned from leaving mainland China for a decade has been given back her travel documents and allowed to travel. Wu Rongrong will fly to Hong Kong on Sunday, where she will begin a post-graduate degree in law.

China's Path out of Poverty Can Never Be Repeated at Scale by a Country Again

Zheping Huang, Tripti Lahiri
Quartz
Since China began its market reforms in the late 1970s, it has lifted more than 800 million people out of poverty, slashing the rate from nearly 90% in 1981 to under 2%, as measured by the World Bank’s latest spending benchmark.

Books

09.20.17

China’s Great Migration

Bradley Gardner
China’s rise over the past several decades has lifted more than half of its population out of poverty and reshaped the global economy. What has caused this dramatic transformation? In China’s Great Migration: How the Poor Built a Prosperous Nation, author Bradley Gardner looks at one of the most important but least discussed forces pushing China’s economic development: the migration of more than 260 million people from their birthplaces to China’s most economically vibrant cities. By combining an analysis of China’s political economy with current scholarship on the role of migration in economic development, China’s Great Migration shows how the largest economic migration in the history of the world has led to a bottom-up transformation of China.Gardner draws from his experience as a researcher and journalist working in China to investigate why people chose to migrate and the social and political consequences of their decisions. In the aftermath of China’s Cultural Revolution, the collapse of totalitarian government control allowed millions of people to skirt migration restrictions and move to China’s growing cities, where they offered a massive pool of labor that propelled industrial development, foreign investment, and urbanization. Struggling to respond to the demands of these migrants, the Chinese government loosened its grip on the economy, strengthening property rights and allowing migrants to employ themselves and each other, spurring the Chinese economic miracle.More than simply a narrative of economic progress, China’s Great Migration tells the human story of China’s transformation, featuring interviews with the men and women whose way of life has been remade. In its pages, readers will learn about the rebirth of a country and millions of lives changed, hear what migration can tell us about the future of China, and discover what China’s development can teach the rest of the world about the role of market liberalization and economic migration in fighting poverty and creating prosperity. —Independent Institute{chop}

Viewpoint

09.15.17

The Unprecedented Reach of China’s Surveillance State

Stanley Lubman
The Chinese Party-state is building a social credit system for collecting information about all of its citizens by police, courts, and other institutions. This enables the government to reach into society to a degree unprecedented in history...

G.M. Chief, in China, Challenges Planned Bans of Gasoline Cars

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
Speaking in Shanghai on Friday, Mary Barra, the chief executive of General Motors said her company was making a big push to develop electric cars but that consumers, not government dictates, should decide how cars are powered.

World's Oldest Captive Panda Basi Dies in China

BBC
BBC
At 37, Basi had outlived all her panda peers, reaching the equivalent of more than a hundred in human years.

China 'Feminist Five' Activist Handed 10-Year Travel Ban

Yuan Yang and Emily Feng
Financial Times
One of China’s “Feminist Five” group of women who were arrested for campaigning against sexual harassment has been barred from leaving the country for a decade, in the latest example of Beijing’s ever-tightening grip on civil society.

The Chinese Female Gamers Putting Male Players in the Shade

Danny Vinceny
BBC
In the world’s newest superpower, professional video gaming is a booming industry set to be worth billions. Female players struggle to earn as much as their male competitors – but that's not stopping one talented team of young women...

Features

09.08.17

A Drag Queen for the Dearly Departed

Ian Johnson & Tomoko Kikuchi
In the good old days, about three thousand years ago, people really knew how to mourn the dead. That was back in the Zhou dynasty, when there was no laughing in the dead person’s house, no sighing while eating, and no singing while walking down a...

High Cost of China's Push for Unesco Heritage Sites

Ben Bland
Financial Times
China is ranked second only to Italy in terms of number of world heritage sites. But it's come at a cost...

Conversation

09.06.17

China’s Communist Party Is About to Meet. Here’s What You Should Know.

Matthias Stepan, Victor Shih & more
The Chinese Communist Party will hold its 19th Party Congress on October 18, marking the end of the first term of General Secretary Xi Jinping. In a leadership reshuffle, Xi is expected to promote allies to the Party’s key decision-making body, the...

Pregnant Chinese Woman 'Commits Suicide' after Family Refuse to Allow Her to Have a Caesarean Section

Laurie Chen
South China Morning Post
A heavily pregnant woman is reported to have committed suicide after her family repeatedly refused to let her have a caesarean section.

China’s Top Bike-Sharing Groups Battle for London

Yuan Yang, Yingzhi Yang
Financial Times
China’s top bike-sharing companies are taking their rivalry to London after local supplier Ofo revealed plans to roll out a smart bike service this week in the UK to compete with rival Mobike.

China Subverting UN Efforts to Protect Human Rights, Says Pressure Group

South China Morning Post
A human rights group said in a report on Tuesday that China has tried to intimidate, blacklist and suppress the voices of rights advocates who operate within the UN system, calling on Beijing to stop such pressure and urging UN agencies to resist.

More Women Are in Hong Kong’s Prisons Than Anywhere Else. They Should Be Protected, Not Criminalized

Yenni Kwok
Guardian
Hong Kong and Macau, two cities associated with wealth and riches, hold a dubious distinction in the justice system: they put women behind bars at a shockingly high proportion. Women comprise 20.8% of Hong Kong’s prison population, while in...

Young People in China Have Started a Fashion Movement Built around Nationalism and Racial Purity

Kevin Carrico
Quartz
The Han Clothing Movement, a youth-based grassroots nationalist movement built around China’s majority Han ethnic group, has emerged over the past 15 years in urban China. It imagines the numerically and culturally dominant Han—nearly 92% of China’s...

What’s Yours Is Mine in China but Is Sharing at a Peak?

John Sudworth
BBC
Ok, so car sharing makes perfect sense. And we get bike sharing, too. But ball sharing?

Green Gold: How China Quietly Grew into a Cannabis Superpower

Stephen Chen
South China Morning Post
Every year in April, Jiang Xingquan sets aside part of his farm in northern China to grow cannabis. The size of the plot varies with market demand but over the last few years it has been about 600 hectares.

Sinica Podcast

08.30.17

U.S.-China Relations After Six Months of Trump

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Has the last half year of turbulent U.S.-China relations and Chinese politics passed you by? Confused you? Perhaps you’d like a clear recap in plain English? If yes, then this is the podcast episode for you.

In China You Now Have to Provide Your Real Identity If You Want to Comment Online

Nikhil Sonnad
Quartz
The Chinese government under president Xi Jinping is continuing to make life on the internet difficult for its potential detractors. Yesterday (Aug. 25), the country’s highest internet regulator released new rules that govern who...

Viewpoint

08.28.17

China Is Risking the Lives of Political Prisoners by Denying Them Medical Care

Frances Eve
Dissident activist Chen Xi entered Xingyi Prison in Guangxi in January 2012 to serve a 10-year sentence. The previous month, he had been convicted of “inciting subversion of state power” for writing articles about human rights and democracy. This...

‘China Quarterly’ Publisher Restores Articles Following Backlash from Scholars

Leslie Cook
NPR
The British publisher of an academic journal has reversed a decision to take down hundreds of articles from its Chinese website. In a statement released Monday, Cambridge University Press said it’s reposting the more than 300 articles to The China...

China, Like U.S., Struggles to Revive Industrial Heartland

Michael Schuman
New York Times
The hulking, brown–brick industrial plants lining the roads were once the backbone of this gritty city. Today, they are outdated and unwanted, and the region is one of the Chinese economy’s most troubled. 

China to Rev up Bullet Train Revolution with World's Fastest Service on Shanghai-Beijing Line

Sarah Zheng
South China Morning Post
China will soon start official operation of the world’s fastest train service, knocking an hour off the 1,318km journey between Beijing and Shanghai.

Chinese Activist Jiang Tianyong's Subversion Trial Dismissed as Sham

Tom Phillips
Guardian
China’s Communist party–controlled media claimed Jiang — whose past clients include activists such as the exiled dissident lawyer Chen Guangcheng — had confessed to the crime of ”inciting subversion of state power”. 

Ford in Talks to Launch Fully Electric Cars in China

Peter Campbell
Financial Times
Ford is in talks to launch fully electric cars for the Chinese market as the US carmaker plays catch up to international rivals in the race to develop battery vehicles.  

China's Crackdown on North Korea over U.N. Sanctions Starts to Pinch

Jane Perlez
New York Times
Trucks packed with seafood were backed up, bumper to bumper, at the Chinese border with North Korea. Protesters carried red banners demanding compensation. And Chinese businessmen who have been making big money from North Korean crabs,...

The Lonely Struggle of Lee Ching-yu

Richard Bernstein from New York Review of Books
On March 19, a human rights activist from Taiwan named Lee Ming-che disappeared in mainland China, and his wife back in Taipei, Lee Ching-yu, became a member of one of the least desirable clubs in the world: the spouses of people who for political...

Books

08.15.17

Outsourced Children

Leslie Wang
It’s no secret that tens of thousands of Chinese children have been adopted by American parents and that Western aid organizations have invested in helping orphans in China. But why have Chinese authorities allowed this exchange, and what does it reveal about processes of globalization?Countries that allow their vulnerable children to be cared for by outsiders are typically viewed as weaker global players. However, Leslie K. Wang argues that China has turned this notion on its head by outsourcing the care of its unwanted children to attract foreign resources and secure closer ties with Western nations. She demonstrates the two main ways that this “outsourced intimacy” operates as an ongoing transnational exchange: first, through the exportation of mostly healthy girls into Western homes via adoption, and second, through the subsequent importation of first-world actors, resources, and practices into orphanages to care for the mostly special needs youth left behind.Outsourced Children reveals the different care standards offered in Chinese state-run orphanages that were aided by Western humanitarian organizations. Wang explains how such transnational partnerships place marginalized children squarely at the intersection of public and private spheres, state and civil society, and local and global agendas. While Western societies view childhood as an innocent time, unaffected by politics, this book explores how children both symbolize and influence national futures. —Stanford University Press{chop}

Facebook Tests Way Into China Via Secret Photo—Sharing App

Yuan Yang
Financial Times
A photo—sharing app has appeared on Apple’s App Store in China that looks exactly like Facebook’s Moments app, and analysts say it may be a way for the US tech group to finally break into its most coveted market.

Eye-Catching China Activist Super Vulgar Butcher ‘Admits Wrongdoing’

Reuters
A human rights activist best known as “Super Vulgar Butcher” who rose to prominence by harnessing social media to mobilize public support admitted in a closed-door trial that his actions “violated the law”, a Chinese court said on Monday.

Gaps in Records Cloak China’s North Korean ‘Slave Laborers’ in Mystery

South China Morning Post
It is an open secret that a significant number of North Korean laborers work in China and Russia in border cities, especially in Siberia. But owing to minimal record-keeping, little is known about the workers’ presence or activities

China’s Pretty Boys Find a New Gig: Propaganda Films

New York Times
Commissioned by the government to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, China’s latest propaganda film was meant to be a patriotic tale about the young soldiers who served their country in its earliest...

Patriotic Action Film Set to Break China Blockbuster Record

Tom Hancock
Financial Times
A patriotic Chinese action film whose tagline is “whoever offends China will be hunted down wherever they are” is poised to become the country’s highest grossing film to date.

Viewpoint

08.03.17

China’s ‘New Achievements’ in Legal Reform Exist More in Policy than in Practice

Stanley Lubman
It is no coincidence that two days after Liu Xiaobo’s death, Xinhua published an article praising China’s “new achievements in judicial protection of human rights.” The judicial reforms the article mentions have not yet been fully implemented and...

Depth of Field

08.03.17

Inspirational Vandalism, Theme Parks, and the Man Who Swam to Hong Kong

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
This month, five photo galleries explore different aspects of public and private space in contemporary China. Wu Yue meets a couple who swam to Hong Kong from Guangzhou during the Cultural Revolution and still find solace in the waters of Hong Kong’...

Apple’s Decision to Remove VPN Apps from the App Store in China Explained by Tim Cook

Andrew Griffin
Independent
Tim Cook has responded to criticisms that Apple is quietly removing apps from the App Store for the Chinese government.

China Chatbot Goes Rogue: ‘Do You Love the Communist Party?’ ‘No’

Louise Lucas, Nicolle Liu, and Yingzhi...
Financial Times
Two chatbots with decidedly non-socialist characteristics were pulled from one of China’s most popular messaging apps after serving up unpatriotic answers about topics including the South China Sea and the Communist party.

Joining Apple, Amazon’s China Cloud Service Bows to Censors

Paul Mozur
New York Times
Days after Apple yanked anti-censorship tools off its app store in China, another major American technology company is moving to implement the country’s tough restrictions on online content.

China Targets Muslim Uighurs Studying Abroad

Emily Feng
Financial Times
China has launched a campaign to repatriate and interrogate Uighurs studying overseas, the latest draconian measure against the Muslim minority.

Viewpoint

07.31.17

Ping Pong Fury

Ma Tianjie from Chublic Opinion
The match was scheduled for 7:40 p.m. on June 23. Thousands of viewers were eagerly anticipating Chinese Ping Pong superstar Ma Long to face off against his Japanese challenger Yuya Oshima at the China Open, held in the southwestern city of Chengdu...

Chinese Blogger Sorry after Essay Slamming Beijingers’ ‘Fake’ Lives Goes Viral and Is Censored

Eva Li
South China Morning Post
Widely-read blog criticized by state media after it lists complaints about soaring property prices, crowded subways and lack of human warmth in the capital

Apple ‘Pulls 60 VPNs from China App Store’

BBC
The BBC understands that as many as 60 VPNs were pulled over the weekend. Apple said it was legally required to remove them because they did not comply with new regulations. It refused to confirm the exact number of apps withdrawn, but did not deny...

Video

07.27.17

Where The Streets Had My Name

Ge Yulu
If you’re not dead yet and you were never very famous, can you still get a street named after you in Beijing? You can if you’re 27-year-old artist Ge Yulu. Open Google Maps, enter his name, and there you will find a 1,476-foot-long street that...

Environment

07.25.17

China Enters the Garden of Eden

from chinadialogue
Built on the site of an abandoned clay pit, the Eden Project has never been short of grand vision.Its iconic biomes house the world’s largest captive rainforest and have become a landmark of the local Cornish countryside. Since opening 16 years ago...

Why Ponzi Schemes Are Thriving in China Despite Crackdowns

Frank Tang
South China Morning Post
The financial naivety of the public and a collective desire for unfeasibly high returns have helped fuel the proliferation of fraudulent investment schemes in China, according to an academic.

Chinese High School Pupils Make a Film Tackling LGBT Issues

Eva Li
South China Morning Post
A group of high school students in Beijing has made a film about the life of a transgender boy in a bid to raise public awareness of the issue, local media reported. The 75-minute production, titled Flee, tells the story of Zhang Wangan, a...

American Student Arrested in China Has Been Freed

Associated Press
Chinese authorities have dropped charges against Guthrie McLean, an American college student who was arrested and detained in the Asian nation a week ago after reportedly injuring a taxi driver who was roughing up his mother in a fare dispute, a U.S...

Sinica Podcast

07.19.17

Guo Wengui: The Extraordinary Tale of a Chinese Billionaire Turned Dissident

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more
The life and times of Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui reads much like an epic play, so it is fitting that we have included with this podcast a dramatis personæ to explain the many characters in Guo’s story. Scroll to the bottom, below the...

‘Making China Great Again’: Beijing-Run Media Crows as U.S. Stumbles

Sophia Yan
CNBC
A Communist Party mouthpiece is crowing that malfunctioning U.S. leadership is making China “great again” on the eve of highly anticipated bilateral trade talks between the two countries.

Despite Ban, Rhino Horn Flooding Black Markets across China

Laurel Neme
National Geographic
The country is pledged to end the trade in elephant ivory this year, but will it take steps to help save rhinos?

Is New Transformers a Sign of China’s Hollywood Fatigue?

Sherry Fei Ju and Charles Clover
Financial Times
Like a high-flying space robot shot out of the sky, the Transformers film franchise has crash-landed in China—singeing a promising Hollywood business model in the process.

Liu Xiaobo: The Man Who Stayed

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
In 1898, some of China’s most brilliant minds allied themselves with the Emperor Guangxu, a young ruler who was trying to assert himself by forcing through reforms to open up China’s political, economic, and educational systems. But opponents...

Viewpoint

07.13.17

The Chinese Think Liu Xiaobo Was Asking For It

James Palmer from Foreign Policy
Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and Chinese dissident writer, is dying of liver cancer. He’s been in prison since 2009, his “crime” being the publication of a charter calling for political reform. But he’s not a hero to his countrymen. Most...

The Passion of Liu Xiaobo

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
In the late 1960s Mao Zedong, China’s Great Helmsman, encouraged children and adolescents to confront their teachers and parents, root out “cow ghosts and snake spirits,” and otherwise “make revolution.” In practice, this meant closing China’s...

Guo Wengui Told Niece and Other Executives to Fraudulently Obtain Loans, Court Hears

Jun Mai
South China Morning Post
The niece of exiled tycoon Guo Wengui was one of three executives he instructed to use fake documents to obtain loans for his Henan real estate firm, a court in central China heard on Wednesday.

KFC—Yes That KFC—Is Selling Its Own Smartphones in China

Cheang Ming
CNBC
Kentucky Fried Chicken celebrated its 30th anniversary of operations in China by unveiling a limited edition smartphone it had collaborated on with Chinese smartphone maker Huawei.

Diplomats Fear Beijing Is Stalling on Allowing Liu Xiaobo out of China

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Diplomats in Beijing say time is running out for the ailing Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo to go overseas for treatment and fear China’s top leaders are deliberately stalling the process until it is no longer safe for medics to move him.

Chinese Umbrella-Sharing Firm Remains Upbeat Despite Losing Most of Its 300,000 Brollies

He Huifeng
South China Morning Post
Just weeks after making 300,000 brollies available to the public via a rental scheme, Sharing E Umbrella announced that most of them had gone missing, news website The Paper reported on Thursday.

Caixin Media

07.07.17

Court Rules Hospital Violated Gay Man’s Liberty

A gay man in Henan province has been awarded 5,000 yuan (U.S.$735) in compensation from a local psychiatric hospital where he was locked up for 19 days and forced to take pills and injections as therapy for his homosexuality. In its decision on June...