Media

01.16.13

Their Horizons Widening, China’s Web Users Look Abroad — And Want More

Last week, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt urged North Korean leaders to embrace the Internet. Only a small proportion of that country’s 24 million people can access the World Wide Web, and the majority of the 1.5 million mobile phones there...

Analysis: New China Leaders Must

Nick Edwards
Reuters
Xiang Songzuo, the Agricultural Bank of China's chief economist says “stabilizing growth is a pre-condition for delivering on reform.”...

Viewpoint

01.13.13

Is Xi Jinping a Reformer? It’s Much Too Early to Tell

Rachel Beitarie & Jeffrey Wasserstrom
Last weekend, Nicholas Kristof wrote in the pages of The New York Times that he feels moderately confident China will experience resurgent economic reform and probably political reform as well under the leadership of recently installed Communist...

Caixin Media

01.13.13

Police to Stop Camps This Year, Politburo Member Says

The notorious system that lets police send detainees to labor camps without trial will be halted this year, said Meng Jianzhu, secretary of the Central Politics and Law Commission, at a conference on January 7.Meng said the Communist Party’s Central...

Caixin Media

01.13.13

Shutter Labor Camp System for Good, Legal Experts Urge

Legal experts have called on the government to follow through with hints at abolishing the country’s notorious system of labor camps.On January 7, Politburo member Meng Jianzhu said at a top conference that the system would “cease to be used.” His...

China's Twitter Goes Hollywood

Melinda Liu
Daily Beast
A weibo message from Brad Pitt set off a buzz this week,  and he’s not the only overseas star invading the microblog.

Infographics

01.10.13

What Does China Think?

Are Chinese citizens happy with the direction their country is taking? Do they believe in a market economy? Do they believe that hard work brings success? Each year, the American think tank Pew Research Center asks questions like these to...

Media

01.09.13

Why is a Mediocre, Low-Budget Comedy Taking China’s Box Office by Storm?

December 2012 saw hot competition in Chinese cinema. It began with Life of Pi, which was directed by Ang Li, an Oscar-winning director, followed by 1942, a historical movie by director Feng Xiaogang, and The Last Supper, by up-and-coming director Lu...

Media

01.08.13

Online and Off, Social Media Users Go to War for Freedom of Press in China

When Mr. Tuo Zhen, the propaganda chief of Guangdong province, rewrote and replaced the New Year’s editorial of the Southern Weekend newspaper without the consent of its editors, he probably did not think it would make much of a splash. Indeed, Mr...

Media

01.07.13

“Help Me Pay This Bill”: A Short But Incisive Send-Up of Chinese Corruption

It is a social media classic, a send-up of the corruption and profligacy that so often enrage Web users in China. A very short story variously titled “I Did Not Eat For Free” and “Help Me Pay This Bill” has been making the rounds for months on Sina...

Caixin Media

01.04.13

Twisted Tongues

China’s cultural progress in the year 2012 can be summed up with eight words: weibo (microblog), diaosi (commoners), yuanfangti (a Yuanfang-like inquiry), shejian (tip of the tongue), yangsheng (keeping fit), shisanchai (thirteen hairpins, from a...

Media

01.03.13

How a Run-Down Government Building Became the Hottest Item on China’s Social Web

It is perhaps a sign of the times in China that an image of nothing more than a ramshackle county government building could echo so widely. Since its posting on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter, hours before New Year’s Eve, the image (see below) has been...

Environment

01.02.13

China’s New “Middle Class” Environmental Protests

from chinadialogue
China’s urban residents (or the new “middle class”) protest on the streets only very rarely. Discontent is expressed almost exclusively online, via angry typing. But this has changed over the last five years—protests have come offline and on to the...

My First Trip

12.31.12

After Ping Pong, Before Kissinger

Robert Keatley
My first trip to China apparently began in Montreal.It was April 1971, and the American ping-pong team had just been invited to China, opening the public part of the complex diplomacy that eventually brought Richard Nixon to Beijing and direct...

Caixin Media

12.28.12

Desperate Cash Infusions Driving Blood Trade

The tumor was growing, and the family of cancer patient Xia Jianqing was growing desperate.Doctors at a military hospital in Beijing had warned Xia’s family that he would die without the blood needed for a lifesaving operation. But the hospital had...

Caixin Media

12.28.12

Uncertain Future for Architectural Treasures

Nestled between mountains and a winding river in a scenic corner of Shanxi province is Zhongyang County, the home of an exquisite Confucian temple built during the Ming dynasty.The colorful wooden temple graced this idyllic valley for hundreds of...

Buy, Sell, Adopt: Child Trafficking in China

Mark McDonald
New York Times
In the past two and a half years, according to government statistics, some 54,000 children have been rescued from traffickers.

China's Anti-Corruption Tool Kit: No Flowers, Expensive Booze or 'Empty Talk'

Hannah Beech
Time
China's new leadership has made combating the country’s endemic corruption one of its publicly stated missions...

Media

12.24.12

The Most Popular Chinese Web Searches of 2012

What did China search for in 2012? It wasn’t the hotly disputed Diaoyu Islands or the widely-watched London Olympics.On Baidu.com, China’s homegrown search engine commanding about eighty-three percent of the Chinese search market, the most popular...

Food For Thought

The Economist
Economist
Food companies play an ambivalent part in the fight against flab. China's packaged food sales are 3-4 times their 2002 level. ...

Beijing’s Doomsday Problem

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Over the past ten days, China has been riveted by accounts of what authorities say are its very own doomsday cult: the church of Almighty God, which has prophesized that the world will end today. Authorities have said the group staged illegal...

The New Chinese Gang of Seven

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
In traditional Chinese religion, a fashi, or ritual master, will recite a set of phrases to turn an ordinary space into a sacred area where the gods can descend to receive prayers and rejuvenate the community. The ceremony can last days, with breaks...

The Top 10 Chinese Internet Memes of 2012

Josh Chin
Wall Street Journal
2012 saw social media supercharg one of contemporary China’s finest forms of cultural and political expression: the Internet meme.

Infographics

12.19.12

A Comparison of China’s and America’s Richest People

CNPolitics, a Chinese-language news website, recently released this infographic examining the differences between China and America’s wealthiest individuals as reported by Forbes Magazine. As the site notes, China’s relatively recent economic rise...

Features

12.18.12

College Graduates Compete for Jobs Sweeping Streets

from Tablet
Tong Peng spent six months discovering his bachelor’s degree was “worthless” before deciding to apply for a job as a street sweeper.He graduated from college in Harbin in June, 2012, not expecting to find it so tough to find work with a college...

Books

12.17.12

Socialism Vanquished, Socialism Challenged

Nina Bandelj, Dorothy Solinger (editors)
Socialism Vanquished, Socialism Challenged examines the twenty-year aftermath of the 1989 assaults on established, state-sponsored socialism in the former Soviet bloc and in China. Editors Nina Bandelj and Dorothy J. Solinger bring together prominent experts on Eastern Europe and China to examine the respective trajectories of political, economic, and social transformations that unfolded in these two areas, while also comparing the changes that ensued within the two regions. The volume features paired comparisons, with one chapter on the countries from the former Soviet bloc and one on China for each of the following themes: the reinstitutionalization of politics, the recasting of state-society relations, the reform of economic systems, changes in economic behavior, and transformations of social institutions. Despite differences in the specific substantive focus and disciplinary grounding among individual chapters, all chapters share a concern with the fate of the state in postsocialism. They elaborate on topics such as the transformations of the old socialist state and its nature, activities and roles; civil society before and after 1989; the ways in which the state has, or has not, acted to encourage new forms of economic behavior; and the state's responsibility for societal trends, whether in family formation, in protest or in inequality. Taking a unique approach to understand twentieth-century socialism on a global scale, Socialism Vanquished, Socialism Challenged uncovers insights about political models and economic patterns that have emerged in the grand project of the transition from socialism. —Oxford University Press

Media

12.17.12

Media Effort to Emphasize Newtown Tragedy Backfires in Blogosphere

Tragedy can strike anywhere. Mere hours before the horrific shooting at an American school in Newtown, Connecticut that left twenty-eight people dead, including twenty children, a horrific school attack also happened in China. At an elementary...

China Watches Newtown: Guns and American Credibility

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
Authoritarian states ward off calls for political freedoms arguing that U.S.-style democracy is no guarantee of good policy.

Caixin Media

12.16.12

Mobile Phones Souring Africa’s Image of China

Every day, about a dozen mobile phone wholesalers field orders and manufacturer offers from offices inside a nondescript, five-story building on Luthuli Avenue in downtown Nairobi.The building doesn’t look like a hub for global commerce, nor does it...

Sinica Podcast

12.14.12

China 3.0

Kaiser Kuo & Jeremy Goldkorn from Sinica Podcast
Today on Sinica, join us for a discussion on economics, politics, and geopolitics with Mark Leonard from the European Council on Foreign Relations. Our specific focus is China 3.0, the council’s recent compendium of essays on contemporary Chinese...

Rectification of Names, 鸿海 Division

James Fallows
Atlantic
Now you might be thinking: Oh, no! Another Chinese company whose name I have to remember and that I have to care about. Calm down. As people who operate in China know, and as one "by the way" clause in the story points out, Hon Hai...

Media

12.12.12

The “Chinese Dream” Means One Thing to its Leaders, and Another to its People

Since China unveiled the new Politburo Standing Committee at the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, the country’s Web users have been paying close attention to the new elite group of leaders who will set the country’s agenda for...

In the People’s Liberation Army

Mo Yan
New York Review of Books
Mo Yan, recent recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, describes an experience in the People's Liberation Army in the 1970s. This text is excerpted from his part fiction, part memoir Change...

China Reportedly Strips Shanghai Bishop of His Title

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
A Roman Catholic bishop who stunned congregants and Communist Party officials last July when he renounced his government position during his consecration has been stripped of his religious title, according to two Catholic Web sites that cited...

The “Just Sisters” Defense: China’s Sex-Scandal Surge

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
Faced with a sex scandal of breathtaking tackiness, a Chinese police district could be forgiven for feeling perhaps a flicker of relief last week when someone in the office stumbled on what must have felt like good news under the circumstances—a...

Culture

12.11.12

Sheng Keyi on Mo Yan: “Literature Supersedes Politics and Everything Else”

In a recent conversation at the Asia Society, novelist Sheng Keyi said she felt the critism of Mo Yan’s Nobel Prize was unjustified. The controversy, she said, arises from Mo Yan’s politics rather than his literature, “and I think to critique him on...

Culture

12.11.12

Yu Jie: Awarding Mo Yan the Nobel Prize Was a “Huge Mistake”

Ouyang Bin
Mo Yan accepted his Nobel Prize for Literature in Stockholm on December 10.The 57-year-old novelist often writes stories based on memories of his village childhood, and his work and his political views have triggered wide debate. In...

Out of School

12.11.12

What Mo Yan’s Detractors Get Wrong

Charles Laughlin
When Chinese novelist Mo Yan accepted the Nobel Prize in Literature earlier this week, the relationship between literature and politics attracted much attention. The award is often given to writers who forcefully oppose political repression. When...

Keep Smiling! – You’re Being Watched

Børge Bakken
China Story
Frequent media reports of overwhelming popular support for mass surveillance are propagandistic in tone and content. However, is there nonetheless some truth in the ‘happy Chinese panopticon’? An international comparative survey on privacy and...

Chinese Survey Shows a Higher Jobless Rate

Tom Orlick
Wall Street Journal
A new survey shows that the real unemployment rate in China is double the official level, and layoffs rose sharply among migrant workers in the past year, underlining a challenge for China's new leaders to maintain growth. The survey...

Media

12.09.12

New Leaders’ Common Touch Gives Netizens “Great Hope”

Glad-handing with the locals. Kissing babies. Eating fast food. These are tried and true ways that American politicians seek to advertise their common touch; but when China’s new leaders employ these methods, it is greeted as a pleasant surprise,...

Sinica Podcast

12.07.12

Time to Leave China?

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
It wasn’t very long ago that the Chinese blogosphere became engrossed with two near-simultaneous and very public posts by well-known expats marking their decisions to leave China for greener pastures. While grumbling about this country is nothing...

Detained China Nobel Wife Speaks Out

Isolda Morillo and Alexa Olesen
Associated Press
Liu Xia trembled uncontrollably and cried as she described how her confinement under house arrest has been absurd.

Does This Writer Deserve the Prize?

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
On October 11 Peter Englund, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy in Stockholm, announced that the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2012 will go to the fifty-seven-year-old Chinese writer Guan Moye, better known as Mo Yan, a pen name that means “...

My First Trip

12.03.12

A China Frontier: Once the Border of Borders

Orville Schell
In 1961, when I first arrived in Hong Kong as an aspiring young China scholar, there was something deeply seductive about the way this small British enclave of capitalism clung like a barnacle to the enormity of China’s socialist revolution. Because...

Caixin Media

12.03.12

When Hope Dies

A nationwide uproar paralleled the investigation that led to the identification of five street children who suffocated in a large rubbish bin in the city of Bijie, Guizhou province.Officials learned the victims were the sons of three brothers. The...

Caixin Media

12.03.12

Toxic Effects and Environmental Nondisclosure

High-profile talk emphasizing environmental action at the Communist Party’s 18th national congress attracted a lot of attention. News from the November proceedings spurred industry demands for more information and pushed stock prices higher for...

China Bans Rowdy Game Show After Mother's Rant about Turning her Daughter into 'Sexy Goddess' of China

The Associated Press
Associated Press
China suspended a broadcaster after an unaired segment of a TV game show leaked online showing a shouting match with a woman who calls her daughter the next Lady Gaga.

Environment

11.28.12

Russia’s Siberian Dams Power “Electric Boilers” in Beijing

from chinadialogue
The underdeveloped, sparsely populated Eastern Siberia region that shares a 4,000-kilometer border with China has vast resources to offer its heavily populated and fast-developing neighbor. Hydroelectricity is key among them.A major new...

How Ordinary Chinese Are Talking And Fighting Back

Frank Langfitt
NPR
Roughly 400 million Chinese use Weibo, China's Twitter, and often do so to expose corruption...

Caixin Media

11.26.12

When Tradition is Flattened by Policy

A “tomb-flattening policy” in Henan province has sparked intense controversy, with millions of tombs reportedly destroyed by local authorities in a quest to turn graveyards into farmland.The policy can be seen as a historical extension of land-...

Caixin Media

11.23.12

Asset Transparency Urged to Fight Government Graft

Calls for government officials to disclose personal and family assets are growing louder in China, mainly in reaction to the rising number of corruption cases affecting officialdom.And some officials are listening. A local Communist Party official...

China: Worse Than You Ever Imagined

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Last summer I took a trip to Xinyang, a rural area of wheat fields and tea plantations in central China’s Henan province. I met a pastor, a former political prisoner, and together we made a day trip to Rooster Mountain, a onetime summer retreat for...

Women in China Leadership Fewer Than Under Mao

Michael Forsythe and Penny Peng
Bloomberg
The chart of the day shows the falling percentage of women in the ruling Communist Party’s Central Committee, a group of about 200 members that includes all seven men on the nation’s top decision-making body, the Politburo Standing...

Corruption in China's Orphanages

Patti Waldmeir
Financial Times
One of my children is from an orphanage where the director, a government official, has created a nice little business in orphan homecomings, which include a lavish meal, hugs from the caregivers, and a shower of gifts for the returning child. The...

Media

11.19.12

A Conservative Commentator Calls Out Chinese Liberals, and Liberals Shout Back

Speech on the Chinese Internet, it seems, is beginning to thaw once more following the country’s leadership transition. After months of speculation, new Chinese leader Xi Jinping was announced on November 16 at the close of the 18th Party Congress,...

China, Are You Ready for Some American Football?

Jonathan Landreth
New York Times
The NFL is hoping that American football’s flash could someday give basketball and soccer a run for their money in China.

Recording the Untold Stories of China’s Great Famine

Louisa Lim
NPR
A young man trudges doggedly around his village, notebook in hand, fringe flopping over his glasses. He goes from door to door, calling on the elderly.The young man has one main question: Who died in our village during the Great Famine?This is the...

Books

11.09.12

Strong Society, Smart State

James Reilly
The rise and influence of public opinion on Chinese foreign policy reveals a remarkable evolution in authoritarian responses to social turmoil. James Reilly shows how Chinese leaders have responded to popular demands for political participation with a sophisticated strategy of tolerance, responsiveness, persuasion, and repression—a successful approach that helps explain how and why the Communist Party continues to rule China.Through a detailed examination of China's relations with Japan from 1980 to 2010, Reilly reveals the populist origins of a wave of anti-Japanese public mobilization that swept across China in the early 2000s. Popular protests, sensationalist media content, and emotional public opinion combined to impede diplomatic negotiations, interrupt economic cooperation, spur belligerent rhetoric, and reshape public debates. Facing a mounting domestic and diplomatic crisis, Chinese leaders responded with a remarkable reversal, curtailing protests and cooling public anger toward Japan. Far from being a fragile state overwhelmed by popular nationalism, market forces, or information technology, China has emerged as a robust and flexible regime that has adapted to its new environment with remarkable speed and effectiveness. Reilly's study of public opinion's influence on foreign policy extends beyond democratic states. It reveals how persuasion and responsiveness sustain Communist Party rule in China and develops a method for examining similar dynamics in different authoritarian regimes. He draws upon public opinion surveys, interviews with Chinese activists, quantitative media analysis, and internal government documents to support his findings, joining theories in international relations, social movements, and public opinion.  — Columbia University Press

In China, Paranoia Around Twitter Hackings

Paul Mozur
Wall Street Journal
Activists, journalists and a political cartoonist had their Twitter accounts hacked the opening day of China’s 18th Party Congress.