Donald Trump Tells UCLA Trio to Thank Xi Jinping for Releasing Them from China

South China Morning Post
US President Donald Trump has exhorted three suspended UCLA basketball players to thank Chinese President Xi Jinping for their freedom following a shoplifting incident while they were in China.

Donald Trump Tells UCLA Trio to Thank Xi Jinping for Releasing Them from China

South China Morning Post
U.S. President Donald Trump has exhorted three suspended UCLA basketball players to thank Chinese President Xi Jinping for their freedom following a shoplifting incident while they were in China.

“Have You Considered Your Parents’ Happiness?”

Human Rights Watch
The psychiatrist told my mom: ‘Homosexuality is just like all the other mental diseases, like depression, anxiety, or bipolar. It can be cured…. Trust me, leave him here, he is in good hands.’

Books

11.15.17

The Book of Swindles

Zhang Yingyu, Edited and Translated by Christopher Rea and Bruce Rusk
This is an age of deception. Con men ply the roadways. Bogus alchemists pretend to turn one piece of silver into three. Devious nuns entice young women into adultery. Sorcerers use charmed talismans for mind control and murder. A pair of dubious monks extorts money from a powerful official and then spends it on whoring. A rich student tries to bribe the chief examiner, only to hand his money to an imposter. A eunuch kidnaps boys and consumes their “essence” in an attempt to regrow his penis. These are just a few of the entertaining and surprising tales to be found in this 17th-century work, said to be the earliest Chinese collection of swindle stories.The Book of Swindles, compiled by an obscure writer from southern China, presents a fascinating tableau of criminal ingenuity. The flourishing economy of the late Ming period created overnight fortunes for merchants—and gave rise to a host of smooth operators, charlatans, forgers, and imposters seeking to siphon off some of the new wealth. The Book of Swindles, which was ostensibly written as a manual for self-protection in this shifting and unstable world, also offers an expert guide to the art of deception. Each story comes with commentary by the author, Zhang Yingyu, who expounds a moral lesson while also speaking as a connoisseur of the swindle. This volume, which contains annotated translations of just over half of the 80-odd stories in Zhang’s original collection, provides a wealth of detail on social life during the late Ming period and offers words of warning for a world in peril. —Columbia University Press{chop}

UCLA Players Depart China After Trump Asked for Xi's Help

Steve Holland, John Ruwitch
Reuters
Three UCLA basketball players detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting were headed back to the United States on Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump said he had sought the help of Chinese President Xi Jinping in the case.

The Diplomatic Dishes China Picked to Keep Donald Trump Happy at a State Banquet

South China Morning Post
Safety-first menu for big set piece dinner shows Beijing was taking no risks when hosting a man who is not known for his adventurous palate

Excerpts

11.06.17

The Past Is a Foreign Country

Xiaolu Guo
On Wednesday, November 8, the Chinese-British writer Guo Xiaolu joined the Asia Society’s Isaac Stone Fish in a conversation about the difficulty of existing in both the Western and Chinese worlds.In this excerpt from Guo’s recently published memoir...

Other

10.31.17

Down from the Mountains (Reader-Friendly Version)

Max Duncan
At 14 years old, Wang Ying doesn’t want to be a mother. She scowls darkly as her younger brother and sister squabble in the corner while she does the housework. But she grudgingly cleans up after them and cooks them a potato stew, which they eat...

Video

10.31.17

Down From the Mountains

Max Duncan
At 14 years old, Wang Ying doesn’t want to be a mother. She scowls darkly as her younger brother and sister squabble in the corner while she does the housework. But she grudgingly cleans up after them and cooks them a potato stew, which they eat...

Conversation

10.27.17

What’s the Takeaway from the 19th Party Congress?

Jessica Batke, Peter Mattis & more
The day after the Party Congress ended on October 24, Xi Jinping strode across the stage of the massive Great Hall of the People with the six newly announced members of the 19th Politburo Standing Committee, the body that rules China. What might...

An Inconvenient Truth? China Omits Key Figures That May Have Highlighted Its Demographic Time Bomb from Official Statistics

Sidney Leng
South China Morning Post
A key data series on China’s fertility rate has been axed from the country’s latest statistical yearbook, depriving the public of crucial figures to judge the effectiveness of the country’s two-child policy.

Features

10.26.17

A Brooklyn Gospel Choir Goes to China

Jocelyn Ford & Yuyang Liu
Pastor Frank Haye was quietly nervous as he paced the lawn around the temporary stage at one of China’s biggest rock festivals.It was the last day of concerts by rock, electronic, and metal bands, and in a few hours, his Brooklyn gospel choir would...

A Chinese Exhibit Comparing Africans to Animals Shows the Problematic Racial Attitudes in China

Zahra Baitie
Quartz
As a black woman in China, I’ve been relatively fortunate. My negative experiences have mostly consisted of being photographed and gawked at by Chinese people. While many of my fellow Africans have had much more traumatic experiences, my experience...

China Enshrines ‘Xi Jinping Thought.’ What Does That Mean?

New York Times
Restoring China to greatness is a central message of “Xi Jinping Thought,” and a goal that has already guided policies to build up the military.

China's Skewed Sex Ratio Makes President Xi's Job a Lot Harder

Quartz
As odd as it sounds, China’s economic policy is being held hostage by its heavily skewed sex ratio.

The Human Cost of China’s Economic Reforms

Robin Brant
BBC
Mr Yu is worried that millions of workers the Chinese government plans to lay off from failing state owned companies will be “abandoned” like he says he was 15 years ago.

Viewpoint

10.17.17

Stein Ringen: ‘The Truth About China’

Stein Ringen
Democracies have found it difficult to deal with the great dictatorships. So now with China. The first difficulty is to recognize just what we are up against, and to avoid wishful thinking.In his first five years, Xi Jinping has reshaped the Chinese...

Conversation

10.16.17

What to Watch at China’s Party Congress

Ho-fung Hung, Taisu Zhang & more
The Chinese Communist Party’s 19th Party Congress, a hugely important political meeting usually held once every five years, will begin on October 18 in Beijing. Like many events involving China’s ruling party, the most important decisions and...

New Documentary Portrays Nuanced View of Africans’ Experience Living in China

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
When filmmakers Zhang Yong, Hodan Abdi, and Fu Dong set out to make a new documentary on the African migrant experience in China, they were determined to ensure that their own voices and experiences came through in the story. Until now, most if not...

Waiting Game for North Korean Workers in China as Shutdown Deadline Looms

Stuart Lau Choi Chi-yuk
South China Morning Post
On a quiet street in the embassy district of Beijing, a neon-lit national flag forms an impressive backdrop to an almost empty North Korean restaurant as young waitresses sent from Pyongyang stand around waiting for customers.

This Week, Half of China's Population Is on the Move

Echo Huang
Quartz
Close to 700 million people in China are expected to travel during the country’s National Day holidays, known as the Golden Week, which kicked off on Sunday (Oct. 1).

China Accused of Flooding Europe with Cheap E-Bikes

Ivana Kottasová
CNN
Imports of Chinese e-bikes to Europe have increased from almost zero in 2010 to an estimated 800,000 in 2017, according to the European Bicycle Manufacturers Association. The industry group has had enough: It filed a complaint with the European...

Sinica Podcast

09.30.17

‘China in Drag: Travels with a Cross-Dresser’

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Michael Bristow, the Asia Pacific editor for the BBC World Service, has written a book called China in Drag: Travels with a Cross-Dresser, in which he recounts his time in China—his travels, his reporting, and his myriad experiences—through the...

‘My Parents Say Hurry up and Find a Girl’: China's Millions of Lonely ‘Leftover Men’

Wanning Sun
Guardian
When Liu returned to his childhood village to celebrate Chinese New Year, his parents had arranged a familiar and depressing task for him: a series of speed dates. Over a week back in rural Jiangxi province, he met half a dozen potential wives in...

China's Cricket Catchers Cashing in on Insects That Can Float Like a Butterfly and Sting Like a Bee

Mandy Zuo
South China Morning Post
An annual cricket craze is sweeping a rural area of east China as demand for the leaping insects soars among “trainers” who use them for fighting and gambling, online media reported.

Ice Hockey Makes Push to Help China Get Its Skates On

Christian Shepherd, Pei Li
Reuters
The corralling of such resources behind the latest attempt by a major league to tap into the country’s huge market reflects how keen Beijing is to develop interest in the NHL and how much effort will be needed to make China an ice hockey country.

Hockey Gets Warm and Confused Welcome by the Chinese

Xinyu Yang, Qianyao Tang
The matchup between the Los Angeles Kings and the Vancouver Canucks in Shanghai -- the second leg of the NHL's first preseason games in China -- witnessed a much stronger welcome from a city bracing for the 2022 Winter Olympics...

Media

09.23.17

The German Edition of the Falun Gong-Affiliated ‘Epoch Times’ Aligns with the Far Right

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On the eve of the German election Sunday, it’s no surprise that Russian state-funded media outlets are attacking German Chancellor Angela Merkel, sensationalizing migrant violence, and providing conciliatory coverage of far-right groups. Russia,...

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}Related Reading:“Outsourced Children: Orphanage Care and Adoption in Globalizing China,” Catherine Ceniza Choy, H-Net Reviews, February 2017

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.