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...

At the Movies in China, Some Propaganda With Your Popcorn

Amy Qin
New York Times
Chinese cinemas have been ordered to play one of four government-issued videos before every movie screening.

Liu Xiaobo Vigil: Doctors Tell Chinese Nobel Laureate’s Family to Prepare for His Death

Mimi Lau
South China Morning Post
Family and friends of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo are keeping vigil after doctors warned that the dissident’s condition had worsened.

Books

07.06.17

China’s Asian Dream

Tom Miller
“China,” Napoleon once remarked, “is a sleeping lion. Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will shake the world.” In 2014, President Xi Jinping triumphantly declared that the lion had awoken. Under his leadership, China is pursuing a dream to restore its historical position as the dominant power in Asia.From the Mekong River Basin to the Central Asian steppe, China is flexing its economic muscles for strategic ends. By setting up new regional financial institutions, Beijing is challenging the post-World War II order established under the watchful eye of Washington. And by funding and building roads, railways, ports, and power lines—a New Silk Road across Eurasia and through the South China Sea and Indian Ocean—China aims to draw its neighbors ever tighter into its embrace.Combining a geopolitical overview with on-the-ground reportage from a dozen countries, China’s Asian Dream offers a fresh perspective on one of the most important questions of our time: what does China’s rise mean for the future of Asia. —Zed Books{chop}

China Says It Has Invited Foreign Physicians to Treat Imprisoned Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo

Time
The judicial bureau for the northeastern city of Shenyang said Wednesday in an online statement that Liu’s family members made a request for foreign experts and Liu’s medical team agreed. Liu, China’s best-known political prisoner, is being treated...

Chinese Ways of Empire, Then and Now

Yi-Zheng Lian
New York Times
In 30 more years, Hong Kong will fully revert to the mainland. Much could happen between now and 2047, and the tea leaves are already out there waiting to be read: There are many old — even ancient — historical precedents showing how the Chinese...

China’s Richest Man Builds World’s Biggest Indoor Ski Resort, Giving Harbin Year-Long Winter

Zheng Yangpeng
South China Morning Post
Harbin Wanda City, the $6 billion resort development built by China’s wealthiest tycoon Wang Jianlin, opened for business on Friday, the conglomerate’s sixth theme park as it pushes further into the country’s leisure and entertainment industry to...

Depth of Field

06.29.17

Love, Robots, and Fireworks

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
Included in this Depth of Field column are stories of love, community, remembrance, and the future, told through the discerning eyes of some of China’s best photojournalists. Among them, the lives of African migrants in Guangzhou, seven years inside...

Tycoon’s Claims Reverberate in China Despite Censorship and Thin Evidence

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Since taking office, President Xi Jinping has cultivated an aura of austere probity and stern control. But now a garrulous billionaire living in a lavish apartment in Manhattan, taunting the authorities beyond the easy grasp of Chinese security...

Liu Xiaobo: China Tells U.S. not to Interfere Over Jailed Dissident

BBC
BBC
Beijing has hit back at Washington for "irresponsible remarks" after the US criticised its treatment of Chinese Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo...

Liu Xiaobo, Jailed Chinese Nobel Laureate, Is Moved from Prison for Cancer Treatment

Austin Ramzy
New York Times
Liu Xiaobo, the jailed Chinese dissident who received the Nobel Peace Prize for his writings promoting democracy, has been moved from prison to be treated for late-stage cancer, two of his lawyers said on Monday.

China’s Mistress-Dispellers

New Yorker
How the economic boom and deep gender inequality have created a new industry.

China Charges Labor Activist for ‘Picking Quarrels’

Chun Han Wang
Wall Street Journal
A Chinese activist who for years has documented worker unrest faced charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” on Friday, in a trial seen as a bellwether of Beijing’s approach to containing labor tensions.

Sinica Podcast

06.23.17

Islamophobia in China, Explained

Kaiser Kuo, Alice Y. Su & more from Sinica Podcast
Islamophobia isn’t a phenomenon limited to Trump’s America or the Europe of Brexit and Marine Le Pen. It has taken root in China, too—in a form that bears a striking resemblance to what we’ve seen in recent years in the West. The Chinese Party-state...

China's Government Tightens Its Grip On Golf, Shuts Down Courses

Rob Schmitz
NPR
By 2004, many of China's hundreds of golf courses were found to be built on valuable farmland through corrupt land deals...

Novels from China’s Moral Abyss

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Modern China was built on the nearly thirty ruthless years of Mao’s rule. The country’s elite—the “literati” of educated small landowners who held the empire together at the local level—was brutally eliminated. Almost everyone’s personal life was...

The Dark Side of China’s National Renewal

Jamil Anderlini
Financial Times
The race-based ideas of the country’s leaders have unwelcome historical echoes.

China’s Dog Meat Festival Opens Despite Rumours of a Ban

Agence France-Presse
A notorious Chinese dog meat festival opened on Wednesday with butchers hacking slabs of canines and cooks frying the flesh despite rumours that the authorities would impose a ban this year.

China Shames Jaywalkers Through Facial Recognition

AFP
Agence France-Presse
Chinese cities are cracking down on jaywalkers by installing facial recognition kits at intersections to identify and shame them by posting their photo on public screens.

China Propels Rise of Electric Ultra-High-Performance Cars

New York Times
Want an insanely fast ride with zero emissions? Startup NIO has the car: An electric two-seater with muscular European lines and a top speed of 195 miles per hour (313 kilometers per hour). The catch: The EP9 costs nearly $1.5 million. NIO, a...

China, Where the Pressure to Marry Is Strong, and the Advice Flows Online

Karoline Kan
New York Times
Although women in their 20s are greatly outnumbered by men in the same age group in China, a product in part of the since-abandoned one-child family policy and a cultural preference for sons, they face enormous pressure to marry. Those who do not...

‘Lazy’ Chinese Driver Turns Shop into an Instant Drive-Through

Tracy Hu
South China Morning Post
A man drove his car into a convenience store in eastern China to save time from having to park his vehicle, according to Chinese media. Surveillance footage from the store in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province, showed a grey car being driven through the...

Chinese Man Caught with 500 Imprisoned Cats Destined for Restaurants

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
Many of the cats were found in cages in the back of a small truck, some near death and mewing faintly in the heat. The man had used sparrows and caged birds to lure both stray cats and domestic ones in the city of Jiujiang in southern...

Sinica Podcast

06.12.17

How Does Investigative Reporting Happen in China?

Kaiser Kuo & Li Xin from Sinica Podcast
Li Xin is the Managing Director of Caixin Global, the English-language arm of China’s most authoritative financial news source, Caixin. For over 10 years, she has worked closely with the Editor-in-Chief of Caixin, Hu Shuli, whose famously fearless...

China Accuses 2 More Provinces Of Faking Data

Financial Times
China’s anti-corruption watchdog has highlighted fake economic data in the Northern provinces of Inner Mongolia and Jilin, in the country’s grain heartland.

China Drive to Relocate Millions of Rural Poor Runs into Trouble

Tom Hancock
Financial Times
Villagers return home after struggling with lack of jobs in urban apartments

Hundreds Protest in Shanghai over Ban on Selling Converted Flats

Daniel Ren, Sandy Li
South China Morning Post
Rare demonstration came after city authorities barred owners from selling apartments converted from office or commercial space.

Online Gossip Clampdown in China Leads to Netizen Outcry

Yuan Yang, Yingzhi Yang
Financial Times
Chinese netizens have decried a government campaign to shut down many of the nation's top celebrity gossip outlets as Beijing escalates its control over online content...

Godfather of Beijing’s Indie Music Scene Dissects China’s Experimental Soundscape

Malcolm Surer
China’s alternative-punk music scene has evolved from a genre that represented the rebelliousness of a niche group of well-off educated urbanites to one that’s international, hip, and popular. Chinese bands now play to sold-out gigs not only in old...

China’s Astounding Religious Revival

Roderick MacFarquhar from New York Review of Books
If there were just one Chinese in the world, he could be the lonely sage contemplating life and nature whom we come across on the misty mountains of Chinese scrolls. If there were two Chinese in the world, a man and a woman, lo, the family system is...

Viewpoint

06.05.17

China Has a New Domestic Violence Law. So Why Are Victims Still Often Unsafe?

Su Lin Han
In rural Hunan province, about two hours from the city of Changsha, a young woman named Zhang Meili married a violent man. According to local police, Zhang had trouble coping with her husband’s strong sexual appetite and he became jealous and...

Books

06.01.17

Welfare, Work, and Poverty

Qin Gao
Welfare, Work, and Poverty provides the first systematic and comprehensive evaluation of the impacts and effectiveness of China’s primary social assistance program—the “dibao,” or “Minimum Livelihood Guarantee”—since its inception in 1993. The dibao serves the dual function of providing a basic safety net for the poor and maintaining social and political stability. Despite currently being the world’s largest welfare program in terms of population coverage, evidence on the dibao’s performance has been lacking. This book offers important new empirical evidence and draws policy lessons that are timely and useful for both China and beyond. Specifically, author Qin Gao addresses the following questions:How effective has the dibao been in targeting the poor and alleviating poverty?Have dibao recipients been dependent on welfare or able to move from welfare to work?How has the dibao affected recipients’ consumption patterns and subjective well-being?Do they use dibao subsidies to meet survival needs (such as food, clothing, and shelter) or to invest in human capital (such as health and education)?Are they distressed by the stigma associated with receiving dibao, or do they become more optimistic about the future and enjoy greater life satisfaction because of dibao support?And finally, what policy lessons can we learn from the existing evidence in order to strengthen and improve the dibao in the future?Answers to these questions not only help us gain an in-depth understanding of the dibao’s performance, but also add the Chinese case to the growing international literature on comparative welfare studies. Welfare, Work, and Poverty is essential reading for political scientists, economists, sociologists, public policy researchers, and social workers interested in learning about and understanding contemporary China. —Oxford University Press{chop}Related Reading:“Welfare, Work, and Poverty: How Effective is Social Assistance in China?,” by Qin Gao, China Policy Institute: Analysis