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.

China's Homegrown Populism to Test Xi Jinping

CNBC
Britain voted to leave Europe, and the United States voted to elect Donald Trump. Now, could China be facing a populist backlash of its own? Some China watchers say a growing populist movement will test the nation's leadership ahead of the 19th...

Twitter China Chief Kathy Chen Departs

Wall Street Journal
Twitter Inc.’s controversial China chief has departed after only eight months, the latest executive to leave amid a global reorganization. A stream of executives has left the company since it announced layoffs in October amid continued losses...

A Good Year for Xi Jinping— But Trouble is Heading His Way

Tom Phillips
Guardian
After domestic victories in 2016, China’s president must deal with a worsening economy and Trump in the White House

China Builds Out the Air as Frustrations Mount Below

Emily Feng
New York Times
An angry mob ransacks a terminal. A frustrated passenger tries to leave the plane while it taxis. China's air travel system isn't working. ...

China’s Film Fever Cools

Wayne Ma and Erich Schwartzel
Wall Street Journal
China’s highflying box office got a reality check in 2016, as cutbacks in discounted tickets led to a sharp decline in cinema-revenue growth

Uncertainty Over New Chinese Law Rattles Foreign Nonprofits

Chris Buckley
New York Times
A new law in China is raising concern among thousands of nongovernmental organizations about their ability to continue their work in the new year

Xinjiang Attack: Four 'Terrorists' and One Bystander Killed, Says China

Reuters
Guardian
Assailants shot dead after driving up to regional Communist party headquarters and setting off bomb, according to official media, in flare-up in Uighur region

Migrant-School Students Face Difficulty Getting Into College, Study Finds

Chen Shaoyuan and Li Rongde
Less than 6% of students in Beijing schools for migrant children entered college. In local public schools, 60% did

China Warmly Welcomes a Giant Rooster With Trumpian Characteristics

Mike Ives
New York Times
Trump's golden quiff has appeared on a 23-foot tall rooster statue outside a shopping mall in the northern Chinese city of Taiyuan...

Postcard from Dandong: Politics and Pity on the Border of China and North Korea

Economist
The border between the two countries shows how drastically they have grown apart

Chinese Middle Class in Uproar Over Alleged Police Brutality

Associated Press
New York Times
Thousands are signing online petitions to protest the dropping of a police brutality case, representing a rare display of white-collar outrage with Beijing

Bike-Sharing Revolution Aims to Put China Back on Two Wheels

Top Phillips
Guardian
From Shanghai to Sichuan, schemes are being rolled out to slash congestion, cut air pollution – and spin a profit

The 10 Largest Investments in China This Year

Eva Xiao
Tech in Asia
In the first half of 2016 alone, investors poured US $37 billion into Chinese startups: Didi Chuxing, Ant Financial, and Meituan-Dianping top the list

Chinese Prosecutors Charge Thousands of School Bullies

Mimi Lau
South China Morning Post
Nationwide crackdown includes three-year jail sentence for 15-year-old who robbed his classmates

To Speak is to Blunder

Yiyun Li
New Yorker
My brain has banished Chinese. I dream in English. I talk to myself in English. It was a crucial decision to be orphaned from my mother tongue

How George Michael’s Wham! Baffled Communist China and Inspired its Youth

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
It was a culture shock to rival the best of them: the coiffured hair and exuberant dancing of British pop stars, and the Communist Party’s dour uniformity

China Replaces Anti-Pollution Charges with Beefed Up ‘Green’ Tax

Wu Gang
China will start collecting environment protection taxes in 2018 to strengthen enforcement that authorities said local governments had interfered with

China Resumes Ties with São Tomé, Which Turned Away from Taiwan

Associated Press
New York Times
Beijing suspended its relationship with São Tomé in 1997 after the African island nation established diplomatic ties with Taiwan

China Reports First Two Human Deaths from Bird Flu This Winter

Reuters
Two people in China's Anhui province have died from H7N9 bird flu, the first fatalities in China among this winter's cases...

Stoking Tensions with China

New York Times
No relationship is more vital to international stability than that between the United States and China, but now there are dangerous new uncertainties

In China’s Tiny Catholic Community, Hopes Rise for Beijing- Vatican Ties

Rob Schmitz
NPR
Beijing and the Vatican seem to want to come to an agreement, though who has the last word in appointing bishops is still a point of contention

The Memes That Took Over China’s Internet in 2016

Echo Huang and Zheping Huang
Quartz
This year's most popular memes reflected a more ruthless and aggressive—but also more fragile—China...

Chinese Propaganda Video Warns of West’s “Devilish Claws”

Chris Buckley
New York Times
The video has been widely promoted online by public security offices that oversee the police, including the Ministry of Public Security

The Trouble With Trumps Dangerous Instincts on China

Jiayang Fan
New Yorker
The President-elect has shown that his instinct is to turn the world’s significant bilateral relationships into frighteningly spectacular reality TV

China’s Millennial Consumers: What Victoria’s Secret Got Wrong, and Nike Got Right

Helen Wang
Forbes
Chinese millennials are conflicted between their national pride and their love for western brands

Students in China Were Made to Take Exams Outdoors in Toxic Smog

Kevin Lui
Time
Widely circulated photos of the students, sitting at desks while blanketed in choking pollution, starkly dramatize the Chinese "airpocalypse"...

Smog Refugees Flee Chinese Cities as ‘Airpocalypse’ Blights Half a Billion

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Thousands head to pollution-free regions as haze descends on the country’s northern industrial heartland

Bring Back Jobs from China? In Shenzhen, They Aren’t That Worried

John Lyons
Wall Street Journal
As Trump presses companies on U.S. manufacturing, the city that became the globalization poster child has learned to adapt to economic shifts

Could Jane Zhang Become China’s First Global Pop Star?

Grace Tsoi
BBC
Zhang's latest single breaks the mould of China's pop industry and could help her become its first global superstar...

Step Inside China’s Hellish, Illicit Steel Factories

Laura Mallonee
Wired
Kevin Frayer's photographs of illegal Chinese steel factories look like postcards from the dawn of the Industrial Revolution ...

China Unveils List of Activities Permitted for Foreign Non-Profits

Josh Chin
Wall Street Journal
Law taking effect Jan. 1 is widely seen as targeted at groups working in areas such as human rights and rule of law

These Three Major China Themes Will Be Pivotal in 2017

Aidan Yao
South China Morning Post
China’s economic growth target, the depreciation of the yuan and a looming change in several senior Communist Party positions will be important factors

Norway and China Restore Ties, 6 Years After Nobel Prize Dispute

Sewell Chan
New York Times
The news accompanied an unannounced visit to Beijing by the Norwegian foreign minister, Borge Brende, who met with Premier Li Keqiang

Thousands of Refugees from Myanmar May Have Fled to China Due to Fighting

Al Jazeera
As many as 15,000 people have fled across Myanmar's border into China in the past month as fighting between the army and armed ethnic groups intensifies, the UN says...

Are China’s Schools Failing?

Adam Minter
Bloomberg
China's much-lauded education system remains riven by inequality, with far-reaching consequences for schools, students and, ultimately, the economy...

“Messy, Mindless, Illogical”: Chinese Moviegoers Review “Great Wall”

Josh Horwitz and Echo Huang
Quartz
One of the most hyped-up film productions of the year is shaping up to be a box office success, and a critical bomb