Books

02.07.18

Leftover in China

Roseann Lake
Editor’s note: After we originally posted this video interview about Leftover in China, questions were brought to our attention about the book. We took the video down while we reviewed these concerns, and we determined that the interview is suitable to run on our book video platform.W. W. Norton & Company: Factory Girls meets The Vagina Monologues in this fascinating narrative on China’s single women—and why they could be the source of its economic future.Forty years ago, China enacted the one-child policy, only recently relaxed. Among many other unintended consequences, it resulted in both an enormous gender imbalance—with predictions of over 20 million more men than women of marriage age by 2020—and China’s first generations of only-daughters. Given the resources normally reserved for boys, these girls were pushed to study, excel in college, and succeed in careers, as if they were sons.Now living in an economic powerhouse, enough of these women have decided to postpone marriage, or not marry at all, spawning a label: “leftovers.” Unprecedentedly well-educated and goal-oriented, they struggle to find partners in a society where gender roles have not evolved as vigorously as society itself, and where new professional opportunities have made women less willing to compromise their careers or concede to marriage for the sake of being wed. Further complicating their search for a mate, the vast majority of China’s single men reside in and are tied to the rural areas where they were raised. This makes them geographically, economically, and educationally incompatible with city-dwelling “leftovers,” who also face difficulty in partnering with urban men, given urban men’s general preference for more dutiful, domesticated wives.Part critique of China’s paternalistic ideals, part playful portrait of the romantic travails of China’s trailblazing women and their well-meaning parents who are anxious to see their daughters snuggled into traditional wedlock, Leftover in China focuses on the lives of four individual women against a backdrop of colorful anecdotes, hundreds of interviews, and rigorous historical and demographic research to show how these “leftovers” are the linchpin to China’s future.{chop}

Racing to Match China’s Growing Computer Power, U.S. Outlines Design for Exascale Computer

Robert F. Service
Science
In 1957, the launch of the Sputnik satellite vaulted the Soviet Union to the lead in the space race and galvanized the United States. U.S. supercomputer researchers are today facing their own Sputnik moment—this time with China.

More Than a Dozen Hurt as Van Crashes outside Starbucks in Shanghai

Charlie Campbell
Time
At least 18 people were injured after a minivan rammed into pedestrians near a Starbuck’s coffee shop in downtown Shanghai on Friday morning.

How WeChat Came to Rule China

Shannon Liao
Verge
China’s most popular messaging app, WeChat, has always had a close relationship with the Chinese government. The app has been subsidized by the government since its creation in 2011, and it’s an accepted reality that officials censor and monitor...

Media

02.02.18

Chinese Civil Society in 2018: What’s Ahead?

Wang Yongmei, Anthony Saich & more
The impetus for this event is it’s about a year since the new Foreign NGO Law was implemented in China. There was also another law implemented in 2016, the Charity Law, that governs how domestic NGOs function in China. But there’s a lot more going...

Taiwan Retaliates Against Chinese Airlines, Hampering Lunar New Year Travel

Chris Horton
New York Times
Tens of thousands of Taiwanese working in China are at risk of being unable to return home for the Lunar New Year in mid-February as a result of an escalating battle over airspace in the Taiwan Strait.

Features

01.26.18

A Most Immoral Woman: George E. Morrison's Life in Turn-of-the-Century China

Linda Jaivin
My historical novel “A Most Immoral Woman” tells the story of Morrison’s passionate and unconventional affair with Mae Perkins, an independent and wealthy young American libertine, in 1904. It’s a tale that roams the landscape of a dynasty in...

Books

01.26.18

A Village with My Name

Scott Tong
When journalist Scott Tong moved to Shanghai, his assignment was to start up the first full-time China bureau for Marketplace, the daily business and economics program on public radio stations across the United States. But for Tong, the move became much more—it offered the opportunity to reconnect with members of his extended family who had remained in China after his parents fled the communists six decades prior. By uncovering the stories of his family’s history, Tong discovered a new way to understand the defining moments of modern China and its long, interrupted quest to go global.A Village with My Name offers a unique perspective on the transitions in China through the eyes of regular people who have witnessed such epochal events as the toppling of the Qing monarchy, Japan’s occupation during World War II, exile of political prisoners to forced labor camps, mass death and famine during the Great Leap Forward, market reforms under Deng Xiaoping, and the dawn of the One Child Policy. Tong’s story focuses on five members of his family, who each offer a specific window on a changing country: a rare American-educated girl born in the closing days of the Qing Dynasty, a pioneer exchange student, an abandoned toddler from World War II who later rides the wave of China’s global export boom, a young professional climbing the ladder at a multinational company, and an orphan (the author’s daughter) adopted in the middle of a baby-selling scandal fueled by foreign money. Through their stories, Tong shows us China anew, visiting former prison labor camps on the Tibetan plateau and rural outposts along the Yangtze, exploring the Shanghai of the 1930s, and touring factories across the mainland.With curiosity and sensitivity, Tong explores the moments that have shaped China and its people, offering a compelling and deeply personal take on how China became what it is today. —University of Chicago Press{chop}

‘She’ll Die If She Stays with Us’: a Baby Abandoned in China

Javier C. Hernández and Iris Zhao
New York Times
The 6-month-old girl was found alone at night in a park in southern China, sleeping in a stroller. Next to her, in a lime-green backpack, was a bottle of infant formula, diapers and a two-page note from her parents.

‘Me Too,’ Chinese Women Say. Not so Fast, Say the Censors.

Javier C. Hernández and Zoe Mou
New York Times
They call themselves “silence breakers,” circulate petitions demanding investigations into sexual harassment and share internet memes like clenched fists with painted nails.

Alibaba’s Jack Ma Thinks He Knows How to Save China's ‘Left-Behind Children’ — He’s Asking Other Entrepreneurs to Buy In

Karen Gilchrist
CNBC
The founder and executive chairman of e-commerce behemoth Alibaba said that investing in rural boarding schools could provide a solution for China’s “left-behind children” and ensure a more prosperous future for the next generation.

China’s Propagandists Wanted a Hero. ‘Frost Boy’ Fit the Bill.

Javier C. HernáNdez
New York Times
His frazzled face, rosy cheeks and icy hair lit up the internet. Now Wang Fuman, the 8-year-old Chinese student known as Frost Boy, is taking on a new role: propaganda star.

China Takes Aim at Hip-Hop, Saying ‘Low-Taste Content’ Must Stop

Pei Li, Adam Jourdan
Reuters
China’s censors have a new target in a widespread clamp-down on popular culture: the country’s nascent hip-hop scene, which resonated with Chinese youth last year on hugely popular television show “Rap of China.”

Joshua Wong Sentenced in Hong Kong for Role in Umbrella Movement

Alan Wong
New York Times
Mr. Wong had pleaded guilty to contempt of court for refusing to obey a court order to leave a protest site in the last days of demonstrations, known as the Umbrella Movement, that paralyzed parts of Hong Kong without winning any political...

China's Top Movie Ticketing App Said to Plan $1 Billion IPO

Bloomberg
Maoyan Weying, China’s biggest online movie ticketing platform, is planning a Hong Kong initial public offering that could raise about $1 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said.

China Professor Accused in #MeToo Campaign Is Sacked

BBC
A Chinese university has fired a professor accused of sexual misconduct, after a former student named him in a #MeToo campaign.

Chinese boy with frozen hair reignites poverty debate

BBC
An eight-year-old Chinese pupil, dubbed "Ice Boy" by social media users after images emerged of him arriving at school with swollen hands and frost on his hair and eyebrows, has sparked renewed discussion online about child poverty...

China’s Women Break Silence on Harassment as #MeToo Becomes #WoYeShi

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Beijing’s strict social control mean few have risked speaking out about misogyny but campaigners are beginning to make their voices heard.

A Life-Size Replica of the Titanic Is under Construction in China’s Countryside

Rob Schmitz
NPR
The film moved Su Shaojun, the developer overseeing the project, so much that when he became a developer 15 years later, he proposed building a resort and theme park featuring a replica.

‘The Biggest Taboo’

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
One of China’s most influential artists is forty-eight-year-old Qiu Zhijie. A native of southern China’s Fujian province, Qiu studied art in the eastern city of Hangzhou before moving to Beijing in 1994 to pursue a career as a contemporary artist...

Culture

01.05.18

Reflections on ‘Youth’ and Freedom—A Conversation with Feng Xiaogang and Yan Geling

The movie “Youth” is the first collaboration between Feng Xiaogang, the celebrated Chinese director, and prolific novelist Yan Geling. It is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story about the time both spent in the People’s Liberation Army during...

China's Social Media Giants Want Their Users to Help out with the Crushing Burden of Censorship

Quartz
China’s social media giants are ramping up efforts to get their users to turn in people circulating taboo content, as the Communist Party further tightens its grip on the country’s internet.

China Unveils New Visa Program to Attract 'High-End' Foreigners

NPR
If you are a scientist, entrepreneur or a Nobel Prize laureate, you might have a future as an expatriate in China.

Chinese ‘Generation Zen’ Millennials Choosing Smartphones over Communist Values

Jamie Fullerton
Telegraph
China’s ruling communist party is concerned that swathes of politically apathetic millennials, branded the ‘Zen-generation’, are sauntering through life in a passive and unpatriotic way - raising doubts about their loyalty to the Chinese Communist...

China's Real-Life Magic Realism of 2017, According to Chinese Netizens

Zheping Huang
Quartz
In China, the term is beloved by netizens who use it when surfacing the absurd in political and social phenomena they witness daily.

South Korean Coast Guard Fires 250 Rounds at Chinese Fishing Ships

CNN
South Korea's coast guard said it fired almost 250 rounds of ammunition from a machine gun and other weapons during a confrontation with dozens of Chinese fishing vessels Tuesday...

South Korean Coast Guard Fires 250 Rounds at Chinese Fishing Ships

South Korea's coast guard said it fired almost 250 rounds of ammunition from a machine gun and other weapons during a confrontation with dozens of Chinese fishing vessels Tuesday...

Features

12.20.17

Pickup Artists with Chinese Characteristics

Robert Foyle Hunwick & Wu Hao
“If you don’t teach her a lesson, someone else will,” Fei explained during his two-hour “Sexual Assertiveness” session, concluding a week-long tutorial offered by Puamap, a team of “professional” seduction artists, marketers, and makeover men. One...

Thousands in China Watch as 10 People Sentenced to Death in Sport StadiumThousands in China Watch as 10 People Sentenced to Death in Sport Stadium

Benjamin Haas
Guardian
A court in China has sentenced 10 people to death, mostly for drug-related crimes, in front of thousands of onlookers before taking them away for execution.

China Hails ‘First Antarctica Flight’ for Its Tourists

BBC
BBC
According to Chinese media, the country’s first commercial flight to Antarctica brought 22 lucky tourists to the exotic destination this weekend.

At South Korea-China Summit, South Korean Journalist Beaten Bloody

CNN
The summit was intended to cement improved relations after a frosty period of tension between China and South Korea.

Chinese Rooftop Climber Dies in 62-Storey Fall

BBC
BBC
A well-known Chinese climber has died while performing one of his trademark daredevil skyscraper stunts.

Forced Evictions in China's Capital Spark a Rare Display of Dissent

Joseph Hincks
Time
The protests in Feijia, a village in Beijing’s northeastern Chaoyang district, follow a controversial clean-up campaign that began after an apartment block fire killed 19 people last month, the South China Morning Post reports.

Conversation

12.06.17

Apple in China: WTF?

Samuel Wade, Shaun Rein & more
In November, the non-profit watchdog Freedom House called China “the worst abuser of Internet freedom” of the 65 countries it surveyed. And yet, on December 3, Apple CEO Tim Cook keynoted China’s annual World Internet Conference. “The theme of this...

Apple CEO Backs China’s Vision of an ‘Open’ Internet as Censorship Reaches New Heights

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
Reading headlines from the World Internet Conference in China, the casual reader might have come away a little confused. China was opening its doors to the global Internet, some media outlets optimistically declared, while others said Beijing was...

China's Evicting Mentions of Its "Low-End" Migrants from Cyberspace

Quartz
First Beijing pushed thousands of migrant workers out of the city in the name of safety. Now authorities are carrying out a parallel virtual eviction as well, removing references to China’s “low-end population” from the internet.

Books

11.30.17

Finding Women in the State

Wang Zheng
Finding Women in the State is a provocative hidden history of socialist state feminists maneuvering behind the scenes at the core of the Chinese Communist Party. These women worked to advance gender and class equality in the early People’s Republic and fought to transform sexist norms and practices, all while facing fierce opposition from a male-dominated Chinese Communist Party leadership, from the local level to the central level. Wang Zheng extends this investigation to the cultural realm, showing how feminists within China’s film industry were working to actively create new cinematic heroines, and how they continued a New Culture anti-patriarchy heritage in socialist film production. This book illuminates not only the different visions of revolutionary transformation but also the dense entanglements among those in the top echelon of the Party. Wang discusses the causes for failure of China’s socialist revolution and raises fundamental questions about male dominance in social movements that aim to pursue social justice and equality. This is the first book engendering the People’s Republic of China high politics and has important theoretical and methodological implications for scholars and students working in gender studies as well as China studies. —University of California Press{chop}

A New Generation Looks at the China-Africa Relationship

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Independent filmmakers Jidi Guo and Philip Man join Eric and Cobus to discuss their new documentary about how a new generation is responding to China’s growing influence in Kenya. This is the first documentary produced by the Shanghai-based pair,...

Depth of Field

11.20.17

Fake Girlfriends, Chengdu Rappers, and a Chow Chow Making Bank

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
Lonely dog owners in Beijing and a rented girlfriend in Fujian; the last Oroqen hunters in Heilongjiang and homegrown hip hop in Chengdu; young Chinese in an Indian tech hub and Hong Kong apartments only slightly larger than coffins—these are some...

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...

Sexual Life in Modern China

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, Chinese writers grappled with the traumas of the Mao period, seeking to make sense of their suffering. As in the imperial era, most had been servants of the state, loyalists who might criticize but never seek to...

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...