Caixin Media

08.02.12

Landlords of the Rings Push Urban Rents Higher

A twenty-six-year-old woman who moved to Beijing from a distant town for work could be a poster child for urban China’s latest housing market phenomenon: skyrocketing rents.The woman, surnamed Fang, said goodbye to Liaoning province three years ago...

The Horrible Truth About Beijing’s New Homeless

Jimmy
The recent devastating floodwaters that hit China’s capital ten days ago may have receded, but thousands of residents who dwell in Beijing’s basement tenements–many migrant workers with few other options in the expensive capital–have been left...

Environment

08.01.12

Protests Show Chinese Kids’ Fears

from chinadialogue
The decision to cancel the metal refinery project in Shifang last month after protesters clashed with the police has been widely reported in the Chinese and global media. This is not the first time a project has been shelved due to public...

China, the Olympics and the Swimmer

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
The People’s Daily, the flagship of China’s state-run media empire, tried, in all honesty, to make sense of the opening ceremony at the London Olympics—an event, the paper noted, that cost not only a fraction of the opening ceremony four years ago...

Reports

07.31.12

Torture in the Name of Treatment

Human Rights Watch
More than 350,000 people identified as drug users are held in compulsory drug "treatment" centers in China and Southeast Asia. Detainees are held without due process for periods of months or years and may be subjected to physical and...

Books

07.31.12

Sound Kapital

Matthew Niederhauser
China exists today in a liminal realm, caught between the socialist idealism of old and a calamitous drive for wealth spurned by recent free market reforms. This seemingly unbridgeable gap tears at the country’s social fabric while provoking younger generations to greater artistic heights. The unique sound emerging from Beijing’s underground delves deeply into this void, aggressively questioning the moral and social basis of China’s fragile modernity even as it subsists upon it.A formidable new wave of Chinese musicians is taking the city by storm. Revolving around four venues spread across Beijing, a burgeoning group of performers are working outside government-controlled media channels, and in the process, capturing the attention of the international music community. They now constitute a fresh, independent voice in a country renowned for creative conformity and saccharine Cantonese pop. In Sound Kapital, photographer Matthew Niederhauser captures the energy of the personalities and performers at D-22, Yugong Yishan, 2 Kolegas, and Mao Livehouse. These revolutionary Beijing nightclubs remain at the core of the city’s creative explosion by hosting an eclectic mix of punk, experimental, rock, and folk performances.Included with the book are concert posters and illustrations that encapsulate the underground scene in Beijing, as well as a CD sampler of the new music being produced. There is no doubt that these musicians will continue to break ground within Beijing’s nascent artistic landscape, helping to push the boundaries of an already expanding realm of independent thought and musical expression in China.—powerHouse Books

China's Bridget Joneses

Sarah Keenlyside
Telegraph
In case you hadn’t noticed, Chinese women have become quite a force to be reckoned with in recent years. According to Forbes magazine, 11 of the 20 richest self-made women in the world are Chinese, and now 19 per cent of Chinese women in...

The People’s Republic of Rumor

Richard Bernstein from New York Review of Books
A group of people the other day were at the large shopping mall at a place called Shuangjing, just inside Beijing’s Third Ring Road, looking at their cell phones and comparing notes. “Don’t go to Sina Weibo—it’s too famous,” one person advised,...

Chinese Olympians Subjected to Routine Doping

John Garnaut
Sydney Morning Herald
Chinese Olympians were subjected to a state-sponsored doping regime which was modelled on eastern Europe, says a retired Chinese Olympic doctor.Steroids and human growth hormones were officially treated as part of ''scientific training...

Olympic Uniforms, Congressional Fashion Statements, and the WTO

Donald Clarke
Chinese Law Prof Blog
Many bloggers have already written about the posturing of certain of our elected representatives on the issue of China-made clothing for US Olympic athletes, using various permutations of the word “idiot” (e.g., Daniel Drezner, “idiocies...

Sinica Podcast

07.27.12

A Torrential Rainstorm

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, attention turns to the torrential flooding which plagued Beijing earlier this week and claimed the lives of at least seventy-seven residents in the Chinese capital. As tempers flare and city officials resign, questions mount...

Media

07.27.12

Could CCTV's Naming of Flood Victims Signal a Turn Toward Transparency?

Amy Qin
In the face of mounting criticism from online commentators and state media, Beijing city officials have finally raised the official death toll of the devastating floodwaters that hit the city last weekend from thirty-six to seventy-seven. The...

Chinese Maker of Olympic Uniforms Baffled by Backlash

David Pierson
Los Angeles Times
If Horatio Alger had spoken Mandarin he would have loved the rags-to-riches tale of garment maker Li Guilian. Chinese President Hu Jintao and fellow Politburo members are loyal customers of her firm,...

Caixin Media

07.26.12

Mass Medal Preparedness

China’s Olympic training system demands its athletes give their all—and not expect much in return.It’s a structured, planned, and government-funded system specifically designed to churn out winners.While other countries around the world build...

Caixin Media

07.26.12

Buried Under Water

Ding Zhijian, a 34-year-old editor at a children’s literature publishing company, was on his way home after meeting a colleague when a horrific rainstorm hit Beijing.Earlier that day, his wife had asked Ding not to leave the house. It was the...

The Chinese Political System is Not a Meritocracy (Opinion)

Sam Crane
Useless Tree
Daniel A. Bell has a piece today in the CSM, arguing that the PRC political system is, basically, a meritocracy that holds lessons that might correct the flaws of US democracy.  Bell is a philosopher and he tends to...

Media

07.24.12

Propaganda Chief Leaves a Legacy of Control

Amy Qin
Monday’s top story was the torrential rains and flooding that thrashed Beijing over the weekend and left at least thirty-seven people dead. Only one non-flood related news item made the cut for the front page of the Beijing Daily, the local Party-...

Environment

07.24.12

Guangzhou’s Rubbish Charge Struggle

from chinadialogue
Like many of China’s rapidly growing cities, Guangzhou is under siege from landfill. The southern city produces about 18,000 tons of household waste every day, 14,000 tons of which needs to be disposed of after sorting and recycling. That is as much...

The Plight of a Young Chinese Volunteer

Xu Zhiyong
Seeing Red in China
Around noon on May 4th, 2012, Song Ze received a phone call in which the caller said someone who had been put in a “black jail” [an illegal prison used mostly to detain petitioners, disempowered citizens who went to Beijing to file a complaint about...

Chinese Students Living in Fear in the USA

Laura Desinsa Jackson
Danwei
While there are certainly plenty of Chinese students overseas who are spoiled brats, often called ‘second generation rich’ and ‘second generation officials’ (fu erdai and guan erdai) who live off the fruits of their parents’ corruption or enterprise...

Fashion Magazines Laden With Ads Thriving

CHRISTINE HAUGHNEY and JONATHAN...
New York Times
While fashion labels are spending more on magazine advertising in the United States, they’re pouring even more money into magazines across mainland China.

Reports of Forced Abortions Fuel Push to End Chinese Law

Edward Wong
New York Times
Recent reports of women being coerced into late-term abortions by local officials have thrust China’s population control policy into the spotlight and ignited an outcry among policy advisers and scholars who are seeking to...

Violence Against Doctors on the Rise

Unattributed
Economist
AFTER a growing number of attacks on medical staff in China, doctors and nurses are finding hospitals increasingly unsafe. According to figures from the Ministry of Health, more than 17,000 “incidents” aimed at hospitals and their staff occurred in...

Inside the Documentary "Ai Weiwei, Never Sorry"

Larry Rother
New York Times
IN the summer of 2006, having just graduated from Brown University with a degree in history and a yearning for travel, Alison Klayman headed to China. She arrived there speaking no Chinese, with only one contact and a vague notion of learning a new...

Sinica Podcast

07.20.12

Attack of the Piranhas

Jeremy Goldkorn, William Moss & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Chinese economic growth is on the rocks, ASEAN tensions are breaking through the facade of East-Asian political unity, a major Chinese telecom company is implicated in an international trade scandal, and man-eating fish have...

Rock and Roll in China: An Insider’s Journey

Jason Chow
Wall Street Journal
The jaded Western music establishment can learn a thing or two from China, Jonathan Campbell says. The 37-year-old, who spent four years in Beijing as a band promoter, documents the relatively brief history of Chinese rock in his book “Red Rock: The...

A Liberal Arts Education, Made in China

Eric Abrahamsen
New York Times
No one, it seems, is pleased with China’s educational system. Chinese nationalists fret that students are graduating without the critical and creative skills necessary to compete globally. Foreign observers worry that heavy political indoctrination...

China's New Dictionary: Agricultural Cooperative Is Out, Hair Gel Is In

Johnny Erling
Time
When saying goodbye, people in China often say "Bye Bye." But until this July there was no Chinese way of writing that. There is now: Beijing's guardians of the language have deemed "Bai Bai" the correct written form, and it...

Long Wait Leads to Standoff With Officials

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
Thousands of people threw water bottles and blocked traffic at a popular nature preserve in northeastern China on Sunday after word spread that the arrival of top Communist Party leaders was causing an hours-long wait to visit a scenic lake. It was...

A Catholic Wedding in Beijing (video)

Joshua Frank
New York Times
In China, people are flocking to the city’s oldest Catholic church for a sense of community, entertainment, or a wedding ceremony, even if they are not Catholic.

Caixin Media

07.19.12

Vineyards Pop Corks on Chinese Wine Investors

Wine-tasting party conversations among investors in China are increasingly sounding like sour grapes.Some well-heeled wine investors have been anxiously debating whether a price bubble for investment-grade wine is getting ready to burst. Others...

Caixin Media

07.19.12

More than Medals for China’s Olympic Stars

China’s best athletes have not only broken records but they’ve hauled in increasingly sizeable cash bonuses from central and local governments for their champion, medal-winning performances at Olympic events.Between 1984, when China re-entered the...

Attitudes Toward Homosexuality

Unattributed
Economist
ZHEN AI used a conventional method to uncover the truth about her husband’s “business trips”. She logged on to his computer. But what Ms Zhen, who was three months pregnant at the time, found was beyond her imaginings. She saw photos of her husband...

China Cracks Down on Money-Smuggling Ring

Lingling Wei
Wall Street Journal
A Chinese court in Chongqing convicted 18 people on Tuesday of running a nearly $10 billion money-smuggling ring, according to an attorney involved, giving Chinese officials one of their biggest victories yet in their efforts to stop the illegal...

China's Unsafe Drinking Water

Gong Jing
Hurtling beneath the ground, there are sturdy new subways coursing through every major urban center of China like an electric current of modernity. The country's rapid urbanization in a matter of mere decades has produced engineering marvels...

Two Arrests in China Unnerve Art World

Andrew Jacobs and Clare Pennington
New York Times
The frothy contemporary-art scene here has lost some of its ebullience in the three and a half months since a German art handler and a Chinese associate were detained on charges that they undervalued imported art to avoid customs duties.

Time for China to Abandon Its Population Control Policy

Yanzhong Huang
Council on Foreign Relations
Last week, the government of the Philippines announced plans to allocate nearly $12 million towards contraceptive supplies for community clinics. Yesterday, the London Summit on Family Planning brought together government leaders, representatives...

Out of School

07.15.12

France’s Baccalauréat Sparks Debate on Chinese Education

Bi Cheng
What does one gain by working?Are all beliefs contrary to reason?Comment on an excerpt of Spinoza’s Theologico-Political Treatise Do we have a duty to seek the truth?Would we be freer without the state?Explicate an excerpt of Émile by Jean-...

Pursuing Preservation Without Disney-ficiation

Debra Bruno
Atlantic
One of China’s last intact walled cities is undergoing something of an identity crisis. Pingyao, in China’s Shanxi province, has endured for 2,700 years, escaping the destruction of the Cultural Revolution because the city was too poor and too...

The Uncertain Future of Beijing's Migrant Schools

Josh Rudolph
China Digital Times
As the gap between China’s urban and rural economies continues to expand, the largest rural-urban migration in world history persists. When those from the countryside arrive in the city, the current hukou system blocks their access to the social...

Beijing's Olympic Ruins

Mark Byrnes
Atlantic
While being awarded the 2008 Summer Olympics allowed Beijing to construct new architectural icons and receive international accolades, its current reality is a collection of unused sports facilities with few if any plans for reuse.

Environment

07.10.12

Restoring Eco-balance

from chinadialogue
In the late 1970s, China was swept by a wave of economic growth, and with it a wholesale attack on nature. Grain was planted on grasslands and profits extracted from rivers. Land was reclaimed from lakes and seas and forests were felled for arable...

My First Trip

07.09.12

Busman’s Holiday

Arthur Waldron
The train from the old Kowloon station rumbled as it passed the Chinese border fence on its way to Canton and came to a lurching halt. It was a late summer day in 1981; I was thirty-two years old and now, as I reflected with deep satisfaction, no...

Qingdao Toilet Paper Abuse Triggers Morals Debate

Li Meng
Xinhua
An eastern Chinese city's efforts to build user-friendly toilets have ended with huge losses of free toilet paper, provoking reflections on the misuse of public amenities in China. As most Chinese public lavatories do not provide paper or...

Caixin Media

07.06.12

Land of Vanishing Lakes

The last lakes in Hubei province are shrinking so fast that no one knows whether new government regulations—the latest leg of a sixteen-year-old environmental scramble—can reverse the disappearing act.The province has been losing its once-bountiful...

Peter Hessler on His Surprising First Trip to China

Jeffrey Wasserstrom
Asia Blog
I first went to China in 1994, after finishing two years of graduate school at Oxford. I had studied English language and literature, which I enjoyed, but I realized that I wanted to do something different with my career. I knew that I wanted to...

Media

07.05.12

Powerless Media=Powerless Citizens, Says China Youth Daily Editorial

Amy Qin
Tapping into widespread public frustration with corruption among government officials, advocates of press freedom in China seem to have found an effective tool with which to ally citizens to the journalistic cause. In a July 3 editorial published in...

China Hires Tens of Thousands of North Korean Guest Workers

Barbara Demick
Los Angeles Times
China is quietly inviting tens of thousands of North Korean guest workers into the country in a deal that will provide a cash infusion to help prop up a teetering regime with little more to export than the drudgery of a desperately poor population.

China Needs To Ease One-Child Policy, State Researchers Say

Zheng Lifei
Bloomberg
Chinese government researchers called on the nation to ease its one-child policy as soon as possible to cope with an aging population and labor shortage. One option is allowing all people to have a second child, three researchers including Yu Dong...

On Chinese Liquor Brand Is the Life of the Party

MARK MCDONALD
New York Times
Government and Communist Party officials in China have been pounding down so much Moutai grain alcohol — the good stuff, the expensive stuff, not the everyday rotgut — that Prime Minister Wen Jiabao recently proposed slashing the state budget for it...

Media

07.03.12

Project Harmony: The Chorus behind China’s Voice

Amy Qin
With a population of more than 1.3 billion people, can there really be such thing as a single “voice of China”? According to the Chinese government, the answer is, without question, yes. Not only does there exist a “China's voice” or a “Chinese...

China’s Looming Pension Crisis Spooks Workers

Lillian Lin
WSJ: China Real Time Report
China faces a pension crisis as its population ages, and that prospect is starting to alarm Chinese workers who are already struggling to pay for education, healthcare and housing. By the time those people who joined the workforce in the 1980s...

Culture

07.02.12

Novelist Chan Koonchung on China’s ‘Lack of Trust’

Ilaria Maria Sala
“I started to think about this book in 2008, the year of the Beijing Olympics,” says Chan Koonchung of his dystopian novel Shengshi: Zhongguo 2013 (The Fat Years). “2008 was the beginning of a new chapter for China, which is when I realized I had a...

Hong Kong Journalists Warn of Self-Censorship

Te-Ping Chen
WSJ: China Real Time Report
As the 15th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to mainland China on July 1 approaches, local journalists say that press freedoms have eroded in recent years and self-censorship is on the rise. According to a survey by the Hong Kong Journalist’s...

Teaching Tiananmen

Jeremy Brown and Benedicte Melanie Olsen
Perspectives on History
With more than two decades of hindsight, it has become clear that 1989 marked a key turning point in world history. It is now possible to analyze the momentous events of 1989 in a historical fashion, and also to teach history classes about them. In...

China’s Turn Against Law

Carl F. Minzner
Social Science Research Network
Chinese authorities are reconsidering legal reforms they enacted in the 1980s and 1990s. These reforms had emphasized law, litigation, and courts as institutions for resolving civil grievances between citizens and administrative grievances against...

Media

06.30.12

Bloomberg Unearths Xi Jinping’s Family Fortune

Amy Qin
A recent Bloomberg report detailing the millionaire assets of the extended family of Xi Jinping, China’s presumptive next leader, has drawn praise from the community of China media observers for its thorough investigative work and fact-...

Bo Xilai: Inside the Scandal - A WSJ Documentary (Video)

Josh Chin
Wall Street Journal
The fall of Bo Xilai, once a rising star in Chinese politics, has plunged the country into its biggest crisis since Tiananmen Square. In this documentary, The Wall Street Journal examines how his downfall has altered the debate about China's...

Got a Dream and an Idea, Go to China

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
America is not the only great power struggling with how to handle the future of foreigners in its midst. As the Supreme Court indicated in its mixed decision Monday on Arizona’s immigration-enforcement law, the question of how we regard those who...

Reports

06.27.12

Beyond Foxconn: Deplorable Working Conditions Characterize Apple’s Entire Supply Chain

China Labor Watch
On June 14th, 2012 a Foxconn worker jumped to his death from his apartment building in Chengdu, marking the 18th reported worker suicide at Foxconn factories in China in just over two years. Many additional suicides may have gone unreported. But...