Sinica Podcast

05.26.17

Chinese Power in the Age of Donald Trump

Jeremy Goldkorn, Kaiser Kuo & more from Sinica Podcast
When Joseph Nye, Jr., first used the phrase “soft power” in his 1990 book Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power, China did not factor much into his calculus of world order: It had relatively little military and economic power, and...

‘Taiwan Says Yes!’: In Historic Decision, Top Court Rules in Favor of Same-Sex Marriage

Washington Post
A Taipei court on Wednesday ruled in favor of allowing same-sex marriage, paving the way for Taiwan to become the first nation in Asia to legalize same-sex unions and cementing its status as a beacon for LGBT rights.

Chinese Student’s Commencement Speech in U.S. Isn’t Going over Well in China

NPR
A Chinese student who praised the “fresh air of free speech” in the U.S. during her commencement address at the University of Maryland is facing an online backlash from classmates and from people in China who say she insulted her own country.

Reports

05.24.17

China’s Social Credit System: A Big-Data Enabled Approach to Market Regulation with Broad Implications for Doing Business in China

Mirjam Meissner
Mirjam Meissner
Mercator Institute for China Studies
Under the catchphrase “Social Credit System,” China is currently implementing a new and highly innovative approach to monitoring, rating, and regulating the behavior of market participants. The Social Credit System will have significant impact on...

Yulin in China to Ban Sale of Dog Meat Ahead of Annual Dog Meat Festival, Say Chinese Animal-Rights Activists

Kylie Knott
South China Morning Post
Chinese officials are set to ban the sale of dog meat at the annual Yulin festival, according to China-based activists.

Conversation

05.09.17

Can China’s Approach to Internet Control Spread around the World?

Anne Henochowicz, Rogier Creemers & more
Earlier this month, citing concerns over “cyber sovereignty,” China’s Internet regulators announced new restrictions on the country’s already tightly controlled Internet—further curbing online news reporting and putting Party-appointed editors in...

Books

05.08.17

The Souls of China

Ian Johnson
From journalist Ian Johnson, a revelatory portrait of religion in China today—its history, the spiritual traditions of its Eastern and Western faiths, and the ways in which it is influencing China’s future.The Souls of China tells the story of one of the world’s great spiritual revivals. Following a century of violent anti-religious campaigns, China is now filled with new temples, churches, and mosques—as well as cults, sects, and politicians trying to harness religion for their own ends. Driving this explosion of faith is uncertainty over what it means to be Chinese and how to live an ethical life in a country that discarded traditional morality a century ago and is searching for new guideposts.Johnson first visited China in 1984. In the 1990s, he helped run a charity to rebuild Daoist temples, and in 2001 he won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the suppression of the Falun Gong spiritual movement. While researching this book, he lived for extended periods with underground church members, rural Daoists, and Buddhist pilgrims. Along the way, he learned esoteric meditation techniques, visited a nonagenarian Confucian sage, and befriended government propagandists as they fashioned a remarkable embrace of traditional values. He has distilled these experiences into a cycle of festivals, births, deaths, detentions, and struggle—a great awakening of faith that is shaping the soul of the world’s newest superpower. —Pantheon{chop}

Caixin Media

05.05.17

Belt and Road: A Symphony in Need of a Strong Conductor

In just a few weeks, the Chinese president will host the Belt and Road summit—Xi Jinping’s landmark program to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure projects across Asia, Africa, and Europe. Reactions to the project have been, understandably...

Books

04.21.17

A New Deal for China’s Workers?

Cynthia Estlund
China’s labor landscape is changing, and it is transforming the global economy in ways that we cannot afford to ignore. Once-silent workers have found their voice, organizing momentous protests, such as the 2010 Honda strikes, and demanding a better deal. China’s leaders have responded not only with repression but with reforms. Are China’s workers on the verge of a breakthrough in industrial relations and labor law reminiscent of the American New Deal?In A New Deal for China’s Workers? Cynthia Estlund views this changing landscape through the comparative lens of America’s twentieth-century experience with industrial unrest. China’s leaders hope to replicate the widely shared prosperity, political legitimacy, and stability that flowed from America’s New Deal, but they are irrevocably opposed to the independent trade unions and mass mobilization that were central to bringing it about. Estlund argues that the specter of an independent labor movement, seen as an existential threat to China’s one-party regime, is both driving and constraining every facet of its response to restless workers.China’s leaders draw on an increasingly sophisticated toolkit in their effort to contain worker activism. The result is a surprising mix of repression and concession, confrontation and cooptation, flaws and functionality, rigidity and pragmatism. If China’s laborers achieve a New Deal, it will be a New Deal with Chinese characteristics, very unlike what workers in the West achieved in the last century. Estlund’s sharp observations and crisp comparative analysis make China’s labor unrest and reform legible to Western readers. —Harvard University Press{chop}

Media

04.19.17

ChinaFile Presents: Ian Johnson on ‘The Souls of China’

Ian Johnson & Ian Buruma
On April 13, ChinaFile and The New York Review of Books co-hosted the launch of author Ian Johnson’s new book The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao at the Asia Society’s New York headquarters. Johnson discussed the book with Ian...

Video

04.19.17

Trafficked into Wedlock

Yan Cong
When Buntha left Cambodia to marry a Chinese man, she did so for money, not for love.Thirty-two years old at the time, and never married, she had few opportunities to earn money for her family in her village in Kampong Cham, Cambodia. The China she...

Conversation

04.14.17

Ivanka: A ChinaFile Conversation

Rebecca E. Karl, Yishu Mao & more
At a time of strained and erratic relations between the U.S. and China, Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter and, more recently, a member of his administration, has emerged as an unlikely but singularly potent emissary, not to just to China’s...

Media

04.12.17

Chinese Blame America for United Airlines

James Palmer from Foreign Policy
The video of David Dao being dragged kicking and screaming off a United Airlines flight by Chicago police set the American Internet aflame Monday. That’s not a surprise: Whether you blame the greed of American airlines or late capitalism, the video...

China’s Aged and Sick Flock to a Hamlet Known for Longevity

Javier Hernandez
New York Times
Once a largely undisturbed hamlet hidden in the karst mountains of Guangxi Province, Bama has in recent years become a magnet for China’s sick and aged.

China and the Legend of Ivanka

Jiayang Fan
New Yorker
That such a vexed figure may serve as the role model for Chinese women who are just beginning to grapple with their identity in a society that has historically been hostile to their empowerment seems like a regression.

Viewpoint

04.06.17

What Do Trump and Xi Share? A Dislike of Muslims

Nury Turkel
During the 1980s, as an idealistic, ambitious Uighur growing up under repressive Chinese conditions in the city of Kashgar, there was one nation to which I pinned my hopes for freedom and democracy. To me, the United States was a symbol of my...

Canada Deports Hundreds to China Each Year with No Treatment Guarantee

Nathan VanderKlippe
Globe and Mail
The Canadian government is deporting hundreds of people to China each year without receiving any assurances that they will not be tortured or otherwise mistreated, statistics provided to The Globe and Mail reveal.

Features

04.03.17

Boxing For Survival in a Chinese Fight Club

Robert Foyle Hunwick
“I was supposed to be fighting some IT guy,” Bo Junhui groaned afterward. Instead, the 18-year-old student was up against someone a year older, ten pounds heavier, and a lot hungrier. Xia Tian has never worked behind a desk; he’d spent the last few...

China Has an Irrational Fear of a “Black Invasion” Bringing Drugs, Crime, and Interracial Marriage

Joanna Chiu
Quartz
A Chinese politician proudly shared with reporters his proposal on how to “solve the problem of the black population in Guangdong.” The province is widely known in China to have many African migrants.

China’s Hottest New Boy Band Is Actually Made up of Five Androgynous Girls

Zheping Huang
Quartz
Acrush is made up of five women mostly in their early twenties, who all have edgy short hairstyles and dress like a bunch of boyish hearthrobs.

Liberating China’s Past

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
With the closing of this month’s National People’s Congress, China’s political season is upon us. It will culminate in the autumn with Xi Jinping’s almost certain reappointment to another five-year term. With Xi rapidly becoming the most important...

China Calls for Explanation After Paris Police Shoot Dead Chinese Man

Ben Blanchard, Simon Carraud and John...
Reuters
French police said on Tuesday they opened an inquiry after a Chinese man was shot dead by police at his Paris home, triggering rioting in the French capital by members of the Chinese community and a sharp reaction from Beijing.

China’s Secret Plan to Crush SpaceX and the US Space Program

Clay Dillow
CNBC
China’s breakneck economic expansion may be flagging, but the country's ambitions in space show no signs of slowing down...

Taiwan Democracy Activist Said To Be Detained in China

Fox News
People close to a Taiwanese pro-democracy activist say he went missing nine days ago during a visit to the Chinese territory of Macau and appears to be in Chinese custody.

In Rare Move, Chinese Think Tank Criticizes Tepid Pace of Reform

Chris Buckley
New York Times
These withering findings on China’s reforms come from a startling place: from within the government itself.

Caixin Media

03.27.17

Expert Doubts Incentives Would Boost China’s Birth Rate

Proposed incentives for couples to have a second baby—including tax breaks and extra maternity leave—won’t lead to a significant spike in China’s birth rate, a renowned demographer said.Liang Zhongtang’s comments come amid growing concerns about the...

Books

03.27.17

Wish Lanterns

Alec Ash
If China will rule the world one day, who will rule China? There are more than 320 million Chinese between the ages of 16 and 30. Children of the one-child policy, born after Mao, with no memory of the Tiananmen Square massacre, they are the first net native generation to come of age in a market-driven, more international China. Their experiences and aspirations were formed in a radically different country from the one that shaped their elders, and their lives will decide the future of their nation and its place in the world.Wish Lanterns offers a deep dive into the life stories of six young Chinese. Dahai is a military child, netizen, and self-styled loser. Xiaoxiao is a hipster from the freezing north. Fred, born on the tropical southern island of Hainan, is the daughter of a Party official, while Lucifer is a would-be international rock star. Snail is a country boy and Internet-gaming addict, and Mia is a fashionista rebel from far west Xinjiang. Following them as they grow up, go to college, and find work and love, all the while navigating the pressure of their parents and society, Wish Lanterns paints a vivid portrait of Chinese youth culture and of a millennial generation whose struggles and dreams reflect the larger issues confronting China today. —Arcade Publishing{chop}

Welcome to Yiwu: China’s Testing Ground for a Multicultural City

Helen Roxburgh
Guardian
Unlike Guangzhou’s African community—who have faced prejudice and hostility—Yiwu’s foreign residents enjoy an ‘unusual freedom of worship,’ with the municipal government even consulting international traders on city business

Depth of Field

03.22.17

Refugees from Myanmar, Migrant Workers, and the Lantern Festival

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
This month, we feature galleries published in February that showcase photographers’ interest in China’s borders and its medical woes, the lives of its minorities and their traditions and customs, and—in the case of Dustin Shum’s work—in a visual...

Airbnb’s Rivals in China Hold Hands in a Nervous New Market

Amie Tsang and Paul Mozur
New York Times
Airbnb sees big promise in China, where travel spending reached nearly $500 billion in 2015 thanks to a new generation of domestic tourists. On Wednesday in Shanghai, Airbnb unveiled a new Chinese name—Aibiying, which means “welcome each other with...

Uber for Bikes: How ‘Dockless’ Cycles Flooded China—and Are Heading Overseas

Nick Van Mead
Guardian
New cycle-share firms in China allow you to simply drop your bike wherever you want. They have caused colourful chaos – and world cities could be next

Alienation 101

Brook Larmer
Economist
There were hopes that the flood of Chinese students into America would bring the countries closer. But a week at the University of Iowa suggested to Brook Larmer that the opposite may have happened

China’s High-Tech Tool to Fight Toilet Paper Bandits

Javier Hernandez
New York Times
The toilet paper thieves of the Temple of Heaven Park were an elusive bunch.

More Than 100 Chinese Cities Now above One Million People

Benjamin Haas
Guardian
Government policy and a shift westward have fed the staggering scale of China’s urban ambitions—119 cities as big as Liverpool, and likely double that by 2025

Stephen FitzGerald: Managing Australian Foreign Policy in a Chinese World

Stephen FitzGerald
The Conversation
This is an edited extract of the 2017 Whitlam Oration, delivered by Stephen FitzGerald, Australia’s first ambassador to the People’s Republic of China (1973-76), at the Whitlam Institute, Western Sydney University, on March 16, 2017.

For a Change, China’s Censors Have No Problem with “Gay Moment” in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”

Echo Huang
Quartz
Unlike other Asian countries, China says it has absolutely no problem with a plotline involving a possibly gay character in Disney’s re-boot of Beauty and the Beast.

Sinica Podcast

03.17.17

Big Daddy Dough: Hip-hop and Macroeconomics in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
By day, Andrew Dougherty is a macroeconomist who manages a China research team for Capital Group, one of the world’s largest actively managed mutual funds. By night, he is Big Daddy Dough, creator of an album of parody hip-hop songs that explain...

Books

03.13.17

The End of the Asian Century

Michael Auslin
Since Marco Polo, the West has waited for the “Asian Century.” Today, the world believes that Century has arrived. Yet from China’s slumping economy to war clouds over the South China Sea and from environmental devastation to demographic crisis, Asia’s future is increasingly uncertain. Historian and geopolitical expert Michael Auslin argues that far from being a cohesive powerhouse, Asia is a fractured region threatened by stagnation and instability. Here, he provides a comprehensive account of the economic, military, political, and demographic risks that bedevil half of our world, arguing that Asia, working with the United States, has a unique opportunity to avert catastrophe—but only if it acts boldly. Bringing together firsthand observations and decades of research, Auslin’s provocative reassessment of Asia’s future will be a must-read for industry and investors, as well as politicians and scholars, for years to come. —Yale University Press{chop}

Lotte Stores Feel Chinese Wrath as South Korea Deploys U.S. Missile System

Javier C. Hernandez, Owen Guo, and...
New York Times
A wave of anti-South Korean sentiment has broken out across China after the South’s embrace of an American missile defense system that China says can be used to spy on its territory.

China Rails against U.S. for Human Rights Violations

Reuters
China lashed out at the United States for its “terrible human rights problems” in a report on Thursday, adding to recent international criticism of Washington on issues ranging from violence inflicted on minorities to U.S. immigration policies.

No Country Comes Even Close to China in Self-Made Female Billionaires

Echo Huang
Quartz
China is home to more self-made female billionaires than any other nation, according to Hurun Report.

Books

03.08.17

The Killing Wind

Tan Hecheng, translated by Stacy Mosher and Guo Jian
Over the course of 66 days in 1967, more than 4,000 “class enemies”—including young children and the elderly—were murdered in Daoxian, a county in China’s Hunan province. The killings spread to surrounding counties, resulting in a combined death toll of more than 9,000. Commonly known as the Daoxian massacre, the killings were one of many acts of so-called mass dictatorship and armed factional conflict that rocked China during the Cultural Revolution. However, in spite of the scope and brutality of the killings, there are few detailed accounts of mass killings in China’s countryside during the Cultural Revolution’s most tumultuous years.Years after the massacre, journalist Tan Hecheng was sent to Daoxian to report on an official investigation into the killings. Tan was prevented from publishing his findings in China, but in 2010, he published the Chinese edition of The Killing Wind in Hong Kong. Tan’s first-hand investigation of the atrocities, accumulated over the course of more than 20 years, blends his research with the recollections of survivors to provide a vivid account exploring how and why the massacre took place and describing its aftermath. Dispelling the heroic aura of class struggle, Tan reveals that most of the Daoxian massacre’s victims were hard-working, peaceful members of the rural middle class blacklisted as landlords or rich peasants. Tan also describes how political pressure and brainwashing turned ordinary people into heartless killing machines.More than a catalog of horrors, The Killing Wind is also a poignant meditation on memory, moral culpability, and the failure of the Chinese government to come to terms with the crimes of the Maoist era. By painting a detailed portrait of this massacre, Tan makes a broader argument about the long-term consequences of the Cultural Revolution, one of the most violent political movements of the twentieth century. A compelling testament to the victims and survivors of the Daoxian massacre, The Killing Wind is a monument to historical truth—one that fills an immense gap in our understanding of the Mao era, the Cultural Revolution, and the status of truth in contemporary China. —Oxford University Press{chop}

I Went to Jail for Handing out Feminist Stickers in China

Li Maizi
Guardian
The backlash is painful, but it coexists with progress as women activists manage—slowly—to bring about a change in attitudes

Shock and Praise for Groundbreaking Sex-Ed Textbook in China

Serenitie Wang and James Griffiths
CNN
A big step forward for a country long criticized for depriving children of necessary sex education, or graphic bordering on pornographic? That’s the question being asked in China over a series of textbooks aimed at children ages 6 to 13.

The Tesla China Numbers That Elon Musk Won’t Tell You

Bertel Schmitt
Forbes
More evidence about Tesla’s Big China Bonanza is coming in

China’s New Civil Code Light on Individual Rights Reforms

Christian Shepherd
Reuters
China’s Communist leaders will this week introduce sweeping new laws that codify social responsibilities for the country’s 1.4 billion citizens while also providing some modest new protections.

Ordinary Citizens Are Hoping to Make a Difference at China’s Biggest Political Meet-Up

Charlie Campbell
Time
China’s “two sessions” kicks off this week, bringing together all of the movers and shakers from the top echelons of government for the nation’s two big annual political shindigs.

Trump Is Not Anti-China, Lenovo CEO Says

Arjun Kharpal
CNBC
U.S. President Donald Trump is “not anti-China” but any move away from globalization by the White House could be a concern to businesses across the world, the chief executive Lenovo told CNBC on Tuesday. 

‘The President Always Gets Something’: Spicer Suggests Trump Gained Concession from China

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Before taking power Trump hinted he might reverse the US’s stance on Taiwan but later back-pedaled, prompting speculation he had capitulated to Beijing

China Considers Baby Bonus for Couples to Have Second Child

Justin Heifetz
CNN
The Chinese government may consider giving families financial incentives to have a second child in a bid to reach higher birth rate targets 

China Seeks Baby Boom to Counter Sluggish Birth Rates

Gabriel Wildau
Financial Times
Chinese authorities are looking at ways to encourage people to have more children, less than 18 months after dropping the country’s contentious one-child policy in a bid to boost birth rates and stave off a demographic decline. ...

‘We the Workers’: On the Front Lines of China’s Record-Level Labor Unrest

James Griffiths
CNN
Zhang Zhiru is one of a shrinking number of Chinese labor activists helping workers in the world’s second largest economy fight for their rights—an ongoing crackdown has seen dozens detained and slapped with heavy prison sentences.

China Orders GPS Tracking of Every Car in Troubled Region

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Security officials in China’s violence-stricken north-west have ordered residents to install GPS tracking devices in their vehicles so authorities are able to keep permanent tabs on their movements 

China’s ‘New Silk Road’ Is Derailed in Sri Lanka by Political Chaos and Violent Protests

Wade Shepard
Forbes
It is now looking as if Sri Lanka’s biggest partner in the Hambantota endeavor, China, is pulling back from what seems to have become an all out fiasco 

Books

02.16.17

Chinese Theology

Chloë Starr
In this groundbreaking and authoritative study, Chloë Starr explores key writings of Chinese Christian intellectuals, from philosophical dialogues of the late imperial era to micro-blogs of pastors in the 21st century. Through a series of close textual readings, she sheds new light on such central issues in Chinese theology as Christian identity and the evolving question of how Christians should relate to society and state.Reading these texts in their socio-political and traditional literary contexts, Starr opens a new conversation about the nature of Chinese theology and the challenge it offers to a broad understanding of how theology is created and contextualized. Concentrating on those theologians who have engaged most actively with their cultural and political milieus, Starr argues throughout her readings, as she examines how Chinese literary traditions and reading patterns have shaped Chinese theology, that text is as important as context. —Yale University Press{chop}

Depth of Field

02.16.17

Riding into the New Year

Yan Cong, Ye Ming & more from Yuanjin Photo
As preparations for the Chinese New Year got underway, Liang Yingfei set up a roadside studio and asked migrants traveling home by motorbike to stop for a quick photograph. While in Cambodia for the Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops, Jia...

Chinese Students in the U.S. Are Using “Inclusion” and “Diversity” to Oppose a Dalai Lama Graduation Speech

Josh Horwitz
Quartz
On Feb. 2, the University of California, San Diego formally announced that the Dalai Lama would make a keynote speech at the June commencement ceremony. The announcement triggered outrage among Chinese students who view the exiled Tibetan spiritual...

China Bird Flu Deaths Surge in What Could Be the Worst Season Ever

Reuters
As many as 79 people died from H7N9 bird flu in China last month, the government said, stoking worries that the spread of the virus this season could be the worst on record.

Fighting on Behalf of China’s Women—From the United States

Luo Siling
New York Times
Among hundreds of thousands of women who took to the streets for the Women’s March on Washington were Lu Pin and more than 20 other Chinese feminists who live in the United States and belong to the Chinese Feminism Collective