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.

Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: A.I., Shame and Lots of Cameras

Paul Mozur
New York Times
In the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, a police officer wearing facial recognition glasses spotted a heroin smuggler at a train station.

Qin Yongmin: Prominent Chinese Dissident Jailed for 13 Years

BBC
BBC
One of China’s highest-profile democracy campaigners has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for “subversion of state power”.

How Britain Went to War With China Over Opium

Austin Ramzy
New York Times
In 1840, Britain went to war with China over questions of trade, diplomacy, national dignity and, most importantly, drug trafficking. While British officials tried to play down the illicit origins of the conflict, opponents gave it a name that made...

China Issues U.S. Travel Warning Amid Trade Tensions

Reuters
Reuters
China’s embassy in Washington has issued a security advisory to Chinese nationals traveling to the United States, the latest such warning as trade tensions escalate between the two countries.

An American Lean-In Guru in China

John Corrigan
Wall Street Journal
Joy Chen got a glimpse of the limelight as a Los Angeles deputy mayor two decades ago, but it was nothing like the fame she has found in China urging women to forget what they’ve been taught about matrimony.

Meituan Wants to Be the Grubhub of China (and the Yelp, and the Groupon, and the Kayak)

Liza Lin
Wall Street Journal
China’s burgeoning middle class, which increasingly is going online for everything from ordering lunch to booking hotel rooms, is fueling expectations that an 8-year-old startup with an innovative smartphone app will go public at a lofty $60 billion...

John Oliver, Having Mocked Chinese Censorship, Is Censored in China

Tiffany May
New York Times
In a 20-minute segment about China that aired Sunday on the satirical news show “Last Week Tonight,” the host John Oliver brought up President Xi Jinping’s resemblance to Winnie the Pooh.

Books

06.20.18

The Third Revolution

Elizabeth C. Economy
Oxford University Press: In The Third Revolution, eminent China scholar Elizabeth C. Economy provides an incisive look at the transformative changes underway in China today. Chinese leader Xi Jinping has unleashed a powerful set of political and economic reforms: the centralization of power under Xi, himself; the expansion of the Communist Party’s role in Chinese political, social, and economic life; and the construction of a virtual wall of regulations to control more closely the exchange of ideas and capital between China and the outside world. Beyond its borders, Beijing has recast itself as a great power, seeking to reclaim its past glory and to create a system of international norms that better serves its more ambitious geostrategic objectives. In so doing, the Chinese leadership is reversing the trends toward greater political and economic opening, as well as the low-profile foreign policy, that had been put in motion by Deng Xiaoping’s “Second Revolution” 30 years earlier.Through a wide-ranging exploration of Xi Jinping’s top political, economic, and foreign policy priorities—fighting corruption, managing the Internet, reforming the state-owned enterprise sector, improving the country’s innovation capacity, enhancing air quality, and elevating China’s presence on the global stage—Economy identifies the tensions, shortcomings, and successes of Xi’s reform efforts over the course of his first five years in office. She also assesses their implications for the rest of the world, and provides recommendations for how the United States and others should navigate their relationship with this vast nation in the coming years.{chop}

China’s Social Credit System Spreads to More Daily Transactions

Jack Karsten and Darrell M. West
Brookings Institution
In May, enforcement of China’s social credit system spread to the travel industry, restricting millions of Chinese citizens with low social credit scores from purchasing plane and train tickets.

‘Ruling Through Ritual’: An Interview with Guo Yuhua

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Guo Yuhua is one of China’s best-known sociologists and most incisive government critics. A professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, she has devoted her career to researching human suffering in Chinese society, especially that of peasants, the...

China’s Political Meritocracy versus Western Democracy

Daniel Bell
Economist
Chinese meritocrats support democratic values but not elections, says Daniel Bell of Shandong University.

For Survivors of a 9-Hour Chinese Exam, a Door Opens to America

Tiffany May
New York Times
Every June, millions of high school seniors in China sit down for a grueling university entrance exam, knowing they may not get into a top school or any school at all. If their results are disappointing, finding another route to university can take...

A World in Transition

Paul Haenle & William J. Burns from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
As the world is in the midst of considerable uncertainty and transition, Ambassador William J. Burns points to the emergence of rising powers like China and India, challenges to regional order in the Middle East, and revolutions in new technologies...

The Fantastic Truth About China

Alec Ash from New York Review of Books
In 1902, Liang Qichao, a reformist intellectual of the late Qing dynasty, wrote a futuristic story called “A Chronicle of the Future of New China.” In the unfinished manuscript, he depicts Shanghai hosting the World Fair in 1962 (“Confucius year...

Conversation

06.04.18

How Should the World Respond to Intensifying Repression in Xinjiang?

Rian Thum, Rachel Harris & more
Deliberate, systematic human rights abuses are happening in China’s northwest. Reporting and research published in recent weeks shows that the Chinese government is targeting the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region’s roughly 11 million Muslims for “re...

Viewpoint

05.30.18

Who’s Really Responsible for Digital Privacy in China?

Shazeda Ahmed & Bertram Lang
While the United States is reeling from the revelation that political consultancy Cambridge Analytica harvested data from over 87 million Facebook accounts, China’s biggest tech companies and regulators are confronting a wave of of their own...

In China’s Booming Tech Scene, Women Battle Sexism and Conservative Values

Cate Cadell, Adam Jourdan
Reuters
Ms Li has a day job in the marketing department of one of China’s biggest tech firms.

As Chinese ‘Crepe’ Catches On Abroad, a Fight to Preserve Its Soul

Mike Ives and Tiffany May
New York Times
When is a pancake not a pancake?

Killing Spurs Didi, China’s Ride-Hailing Giant, to Revamp Its Service

Elsie Chen and Mengxue Ou
New York Times
Didi Chuxing, China’s wildly popular ride-sharing service, said on Wednesday that it would overhaul its app and its safety and security practices, after reports that a passenger had been raped and killed by her driver.

China: Security Guards Assault Women Attending LGBT Event

Lily Kuo
Guardian
Women wearing rainbow badges were blocked from entering Beijing’s 798 arts district by guards who punched them and then knocked them to the ground.

My Family Had Never Seen a Kenyan: The Chinese Making a New Life in Africa

Rajeev Gupta
BBC
“We fell in love but it was very difficult at first,” Xu Jing explains from the courtyard of the Fairmont Hotel in Nairobi.

10 Years After Tragic Quake, China Calls for ‘Thanksgiving’

Tiffany May
New York Times
The looming anniversary of a deadly Sichuan earthquake has been named “Thanksgiving Day” by local government officials, drawing scorn from Chinese internet users who feel the government should be honoring the dead instead.

After-Shocks of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
The province of Sichuan is a microcosm of China. Its east is flat, prosperous, and densely settled by ethnic Chinese. Its mountainous west is populated by poorer minorities, but possesses resources that help make the east rich.In Sichuan, the...

Video

05.07.18

Ou Chen’s Good Run

Guo Rongfei from Arrow Factory Video
The number of Chinese racers has risen dramatically—a phenomenon that Chinese media call a “marathon fever.” Obed Tiony, a Kenyan studying at Shanghai University, works as an agent for some 300 runners from Kenya and its neighbor Ethiopia. Tiony’s...

No Regrets: Xi Says Marxism Still 'Totally Correct' for China

CNBC
The decision of China's ruling Communist Party to stick with the political theories of Karl Marx remains "totally correct", President Xi Jinping said ahead of the 200th anniversary of the German philosopher's birth...

Liu Xia, in Call from China, Tells of the Agony of Endless Captivity

Chris Buckley and Melissa Eddy
New York Times
“They keep forcing me to do the impossible,” Liu Xia says at end.

Chinese Nobel Laureate's Widow 'Ready to Die' in House Arrest

Lily Kuo
Guardian
Liu Xia, the widow of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, has said she is ready to die in protest at being held under house arrest in China for more than seven years.

Reports

05.03.18

Policy Analysis on China’s Civil Society Organizations First Quarter of 2018

China Europe Association for Civil Rights
Civil society organizations in China faced increasingly grim circumstances in the first quarter of 2018. Whether looking at the direct impact of the Law on the Management of Foreign Non-Governmental Organizations’ Activities or the Charity Law,...

Peppa Pig, Subversive Symbol of the Counterculture, in China Video Site Ban

Benjamin Haas
Guardian
The latest subversive symbol in China is a small pink cartoon pig: Peppa Pig to be precise.

The AI Arms Race: China and US Compete to Dominate Big Data

Louise Lucas and Richard Waters
Financial Times
Algorithms trained on mountains of Chinese data may soon be making decisions that deeply affect the lives of people in the US.

The Rise of Populism and Implications for China

Paul Haenle & Thomas Carothers from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
The rise of populism in Europe and the United States has had a pronounced impact on domestic politics and foreign policy, as seen in Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. In China, leaders are unsettled by the nationalist and anti-globalization...

China Guards Its Historical Heroes with New Law

Chun Han Wong
Wall Street Journal
As President Xi Jinping entrenches Communist Party rule, new law mandates ‘all of society’ honor its heroes and martyrs.

China Stabbings: Seven Students Killed in Shaanxi

BBC
At least seven students have been stabbed to death and 12 injured in a knife attack outside a school in northern China.

China-Based Online Education Companies Just Launched an Aggressive Hiring Spree in Search of U.S. Teachers

Connie Loizos
TechCrunch
Teachers have long supplemented their incomes by tutoring. And there’s perhaps never been a better, or easier, time to do it than right now. The reason: China-based online education companies are in an apparent race with each other to hire U.S...

How Africa Benefits from China’s Rapidly Aging Population

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
China’s rapidly aging population presents a huge challenge for the country as it needs to find new ways to pay for rising healthcare and social welfare benefits. And that’s where Africa may be able to help. Home to one of the youngest populations on...

A Documentary Reveals the Dangerous Fickleness of Online Fame in China

Christina Larson
Slate
In The People’s Republic of Desire, Hao Wu films the lonely shadows where the lines between online and offline dissolve.

Books

04.24.18

Sold People

Johanna S. Ransmeier
Harvard University Press: A robust trade in human lives thrived throughout North China during the late Qing and Republican periods. Whether to acquire servants, slaves, concubines, or children―or dispose of unwanted household members―families at all levels of society addressed various domestic needs by participating in this market. Sold People brings into focus the complicit dynamic of human trafficking, including the social and legal networks that sustained it. Johanna Ransmeier reveals the extent to which the structure of the Chinese family not only influenced but encouraged the buying and selling of men, women, and children.For centuries, human trafficking had an ambiguous status in Chinese society. Prohibited in principle during the Qing period, it was nevertheless widely accepted as part of family life, despite the frequent involvement of criminals. In 1910, Qing reformers, hoping to usher China into the community of modern nations, officially abolished the trade. But police and other judicial officials found the new law extremely difficult to enforce. Industrialization, urbanization, and the development of modern transportation systems created a breeding ground for continued commerce in people. The Republican government that came to power after the 1911 revolution similarly struggled to root out the entrenched practice.Ransmeier draws from untapped archival sources to recreate the lived experience of human trafficking in turn-of-the-century North China. Not always a measure of last resort reserved for times of extreme hardship, the sale of people was a commonplace transaction that built and restructured families as often as it broke them apart.{chop}

A Glimpse of Life along China’s Border with North Korea

Laura Mallonee
Wired
When Elijah Hurwitz checked into the Hilton Garden Inn in Dandong, China, he knew his room would have an extraordinary view: The hotel sits near the banks of the Yalu River overlooking North Korea. Out the window, a caravan of trucks with North...

Conversation

04.18.18

A Ban on Gay Content, Stopped in Its Tracks

Siodhbhra Parkin, Steven Jiang & more
On April 13, China’s major microblogging platform Sina Weibo announced that, in order to create “a sunny and harmonious” environment, it would remove videos and comics “with pornographic implications, promoting bloody violence, or related to...

Conversation

04.11.18

China’s Communist Party Takes (Even More) Control of the Media

Stanley Rosen, Chris Fenton & more
China’s Communist Party made moves last month to solidify and formalize its (already substantial) control over the country’s media. China’s main state-run broadcasters are to be consolidated into a massive new “Voice of China” under the management...