Americans in China

Evan Osnos
This American Life
It used to be that the American expats in China were the big shots. They had the money, the status, the know-how. But that's changed. What's it like to be an American living in China now? And what do they understand about China that we don...

Media

06.23.12

Self-Censorship at the South China Morning Post?

Amy Qin
According to an article published on June 19 in the Asia Sentinel, an internal squabble at the Hong Kong-based English language newspaper the South China Morning Post has led some to raise questions regarding the journalistic ethics of the long-...

The Charms of Qing TV

Jeremiah Jenne
Economist
It's a good time to be a Manchu on television. Costume dramas such as “Palace” and “Bu Bu Jing Xin”, which feature modern-day protagonists flung back in time to the days of the Qing emperors, rank among the most-watched programmes on China’s...

Sinica Podcast

06.22.12

The One-Child Policy

Kaiser Kuo, Alexa Olesen & more from Sinica Podcast
While the African community in Guangzhou has taken to the streets to protest the suspicious death of a foreign national in police custody, the Chinese Internet has proven equally volatile as gruesome photos of a late-stage abortion have circulated...

Why Chinese Soccer Matters

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
Imagine if David Stern, after his retirement as commissioner of the N.B.A., was led off in leg irons for taking bribes. His predecessor goes with him on a ten-year hitch behind bars. And, for good measure, throw in a couple of members of the...

Caixin Media

06.20.12

China’s Food Fright

There’s no denying that the gastronomic horizons of Chinese cuisines sometimes verge on the infinite. But on factors of food quality, there’s little subtlety or nuance for safety standards.In the past five years, the number of public food and drug...

Journalistic Ethics Questioned at SCMP

Asia Sentinel
Asia Sentinel
So why was Li Wangyang’s suicide not news – at first?A decision by the South China Morning Post’s new editor in chief, Wang Xiangwei, to reduce a major breaking story on the suspicious death of Tiananmen dissident Li Wangyang in a Hunan hospital to...

Media

06.18.12

Happiness with Chinese Characteristics

Yiyang Cao, Sun Yunfan & more
On April 2, 2012, the United Nations released the first World Happiness Report on the occasion of its first General Assembly on “Happiness and Wellbeing: Defining a New Economic Paradigm.” It ranked China the 112th happiest country out of 156. As an...

How Chinese Writers Elude Censors

Louisa Lim and Jeffrey Wasserstrom
New York Times
Two months ago at the London Book Fair, where China was this year’s “guest of honor,” Ma Jian, the exiled author of the Tiananmen-era novel “Beijing Coma,” inked a red X across his face in an emotional protest against Chinese censorship. It may be a...

Netizens Agree China's Rape Law Must Be Reformed

David Wertime
How can a little girl be a “prostitute?” Many in China are asking this question after a set of government officials in Lueyang, Shaanxi province, were caught having sex with a minor but found guilty of the lesser crime of “patronizing an underage...

Can China's Rust Belt Reinvent Itself?

Jonathan Kaiman
Foreign Policy
To understand this industrial Chinese city's past, begin with the smoldering crater on the south side of town, an open-pit coal mine as wide as Manhattan and deeper than the height of the Chrysler Building. Known as Haizhou, or "Sea State...

Caixin Media

06.14.12

Uproar over Aborted Fetus Photo

{vertical_photo_right}A Shaanxi Province woman provoked an uproar with an online posting of a photo showing her with her seven-month-old fetus after what she said was a forced abortion.The gruesome photo was reposted across the Internet in China,...

‘In the Current System, I’d Be Corrupt Too’

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Bao Tong is one of China’s best-known political dissidents. In the early to mid 1980s, he was director of the Communist Party’s Office of Political Reform and the policy secretary for Zhao Ziyang, the party’s former general secretary. Just before...

Media

06.11.12

A Great Massacre, a Great Earthquake, and a Great Famine

Hu Yong
The head of the Gansu branch of People’s Daily, Lin Zhibo, provoked the ire of many netizens for remarks he made regarding the Great Famine on his Weibo account. Lin claimed that in many of the villages in Anhui and Henan (the two provinces that...

Media

06.11.12

Did A CCTV Anchor’s Outburst Even Matter?

Hu Yong
Yang Rui, a host on China Central Television's (CCTV) English-language channel, called on the Public Security Bureau via Sina Weibo on May 16 to “clean out foreign trash, wipe out foreign snake heads (human smugglers), root out foreign spies,...

Media

06.08.12

Students Tear Up Books Before Big Exam

He Jianan & Sara Segal-Williams
The gaokao, China’s annual National Higher Education Entrance Examination, is known for being extremely difficult and a stressful rite of passage for Chinese students. Due to the society’s traditional emphasis on education, many Chinese people still...

Sinica Podcast

06.08.12

Morally Adrift?

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
It’s easy to get depressed about China’s apparent drift toward amorality: the kind of pervasive screw-your-neighbor approach to getting ahead (or even just getting by) that seems increasingly common on the mainland. The news is full of horrific...

Media

06.06.12

In the News: Fact vs. Rumor

Amy Qin
China-focused news editors have had numerous causes for celebration in the past few months. The various scandals surrounding the dethronement of Bo Xilai, the dramatic nighttime escape of blind activist Chen Guancheng, and the upcoming Party...

What's Wrong with the Global Times Take on Corruption

Yang Hengjun
China Media Project
The following piece is a response to a May 29, 2012, editorial in the Chinese-language Global Times called “Fighting Corruption is a Crucial Battle for Chinese Society”. The article created a sensation last week on China’s internet, where some...

In Chinese Blogosphere, Consensus on Abortion

A Capella
What does it mean to be a “pro-life” Chinese person? Recently, many Western media have been calling Chen Guangcheng, the Chinese dissident who fled China by seeking protection at U.S. embassy in Beijing, a pro-life activist. Conservative websites...

A National Debate on 'Proper' Corruption

Helen Gao
Atlantic
In the airtight Chinese print media world, where officials wield the power to splash the same headline across many newspaper front pages or to keep a taboo subject out of even obscure one-line advertisements, editorials are usually painless...

What Happened on the Shanghai Stock Exchange?

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
China experienced a bizarre numerological happening this week. The Shanghai Composite Index started yesterday morning at 2346.98, which, when read from right to left, shares an uncanny similarity to yesterday’s highly sensitive anniversary: twenty-...

Debunking the Zhang Ziyi Rumor

Damien Ma
Atlantic
A combination of happenstance and a quick finger with my camera phone recently landed me at the surreal nexus of celebrity tabloid and political crisis in China. The incident also gave me a front-row seat to Chinese social media's rumor-...

Reports

06.05.12

How Censorship in China Allows Government Criticism But Silences Collective Expression

Gary King, Jennifer Pan, Margaret Roberts
Kennett Werner
Harvard University
Contrary to previous understandings, Chinese Internet posts with negative, even vitriolic, criticism of the state, its leaders, and its policies are not more likely to be censored than posts without this content. Instead, this study shows that the...

Media

06.04.12

Food Paradise or Hell: A New Documentary Sparks Debate

Sun Yunfan & Qiaoyi Zhuang
A seven-part documentary on China’s food culture, “A Bite of China” (which translated literally means “China on the Tip of the Tongue”) premiered on the main channel of China Central Television (CCTV-1) on May 14, 2012 and became an instant...

Sina Weibo's User Contract: Let's All Just Calm Down

Charlie Custer
Tech in Asia
At the risk of repeating myself, I think it needs to be said: Sina Weibo’s new user contract and credits system is not a big deal. It’s not even really much of a change.

Sinica Podcast

06.01.12

All-Sinica Federation of Women

Mary Kay Magistad & Leta Hong Fincher from Sinica Podcast
Considering that this was the week Zhang Ziyi found her name dragged through the mud on the Bo Xilai scandal, there couldn’t be a more topical subject for Sinica than the double standards that are often applied to women in China, and the way Chinese...

Media

05.31.12

Godwin’s Law with Chinese Characteristics

Hu Yong
This winter writer-blogger-race car-driver Han Han found himself facing charges of plagiarism from celebrated fraud-buster Fang Zhouzi. Both Han and Fang have huge followings among China’s microbloggers. And their personal disagreement soon...

Media

05.31.12

Zuckerberg’s CCTV Cameo

Bo Wang & Kennett Werner
Chinese social media outlets lit up after sharp-eyed viewers caught Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg making a cameo appearance on Chinese Police, a documentary series produced by China Central Television (CCTV). Just a few second long, the footage shows...

China to Include Fingerprints in ID

China Daily
China will require its citizens to register their fingerprints when applying for ID cards from January 2013 in a bid to curb counterfeit ID cards and ensure faster identification, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

China Confronts the Great Leap Forward

Helen Gao
Atlantic
When Bo Xilai, the now-sacked Chongqing party chief, blanketed the city with a Maoist-style campaign of nationalism and state control, the critics who worried about the dangers of reviving red culture in modern Chinese society included the Communist...

Environment

05.30.12

We’re All Farmers Now

from chinadialogue
At a monthly “friends of farming” dinner held by Green Heartland, an NGO based in Chengdu, west China, Chen Xia quietly reads an ode to the land against light background music. It’s a simple thanksgiving ceremony the hosts conduct before leaving the...

Watching Dissidents Is a Booming Business in China

Charles Hutzler
ABC
Co-workers, neighbors, government office workers, unemployed young toughs and gang members are being used to monitor perceived troublemakers, according to rights groups and people under surveillance.

Weibo Microblog Introduces User Contracts

BBC
China's biggest microblogging service has introduced a code of conduct explicitly restricting the type of messages that can be posted. Weibo—which resembles Twitter—took the action after local authorities criticised "unfounded"...

Hairy Eyeball: China's New Censorship Model

Jacob Weisberg
Slate
State censorship is no longer just a question of dissidents testing the boundaries of what is permissible and regularly running afoul of the authorities—the old, familiar model. It has become a matter of authoritarian innovation as well, with the...

Media

05.29.12

Patriots or Traitors?

Amy Qin
In Chinese, to be patriotic is to ai guo, literally “to love [one’s] country.” But what does it really mean to love your country? Does it mean unconditional support for your country’s government, warts and all? Or is there more room for nuance—can...

Chinese Architect Blasts Demolition Culture

Mure Dickie
Financial Times
The Chinese winner of architecture’s most prestigious award has criticised the wanton demolition that has left many of the nation’s cities fragmented and almost unrecognisable to their citizens. The comments from Wang Shu, who will on Friday receive...

What the Chinese Want

Tom Doctoroff
Wall Street Journal
Apple has taken China by storm. A Starbucks can be found on practically every major street corner in coastal cities and beyond. From Nike to Buick to Siemens, Chinese consumers actively prefer Western brands over their domestic competitors. The rise...

Microblogging in China

Ai Weiwei
ArtAsiaPacific
In the last several years, microblogs and social-media sites have become ubiquitous platforms for the exchange of information and ideas. This unique opportunity for expression has never before existed in China. Platforms such as Weibo have become...

Caixin Media

05.25.12

Policeman Burned for Dealing With the Devil

On March 17, the Chenzhou Public Security Bureau announced Huang Bailian had been removed as head of the police department’s drug squad.Huang offered a simple explanation for his sacking: “This is retaliation.”Three years earlier Huang, who is forty...

Media

05.25.12

Can CCTV Become the Next Al Jazeera?

Amy Qin
In a recent piece published in the Columbia Journalism Review, Sambuddha Mitra Mustafi assesses the early stages of China's multibillion dollar efforts to expand its domestic media empire onto the global stage. Just this year, CCTV launched two...

Rigid Thinking Beggars China's Soft Power

David Bandurski
China Media Project
In recent weeks, China has emitted glints of intensifying anti-Western xenophobia. Last week, following the announcement of a three-month crackdown on foreigners without valid visas, CCTV anchor Yang Rui (杨锐) encouraged police to “clean out the...

Media

05.24.12

TV Show Catches Flak for its Criticism of Contestants Who Have Lived Abroad

Bo Wang
The gameshow Fei Ni Mo Shu (Only You) has a pretty straightforward premise: a contestant steps onto a stage next to the host and introduces him/herself to a panel of twelve bosses of major companies who sit in highly extravagant throne-like chairs...

Media

05.24.12

Under the WeiboScope

Amy Qin
With more than 300 million registered users, the popular microblogging service Sina Weibo—sometimes called the Chinese Twitter—can offer unique insights into the quotidian musings of Chinese netizens. One way to sort through the barrage of...

London: The Triumph of the Chinese Censors

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
When I arrived at the London Book Fair on Monday, April 16, I saw a huge sign outside showing a cute Chinese boy holding an open book with the words underneath him: “China: Market Focus.” The special guest of this year’s fair was the Chinese...

Reports

05.23.12

Amnesty Internation Annual Report—China 

Amnesty International
Amnesty International surveys the landscape of human rights in China during 2011 and finds that China’s economic strength during the global financial crisis increased the country’s leverage in the domain of global human rights—mostly for the worse...

Netizens: 'Power of Weibo,' Not the Law, Saved Wu Ying's LIfe

David Wertime
Ms. Wu, once among the richest women in China, was sentenced to death in January by a provincial court for illegally accumulating over RMB380 million, or about US$60 million, through a combination of loansharking and Ponzi schemes directed at (...

Too Much "Negative" News, Or Too Little?

David Bandurski
China Media Project
Late last week we wrote about the latest hardline editorial in the Beijing Daily, the official “mouthpiece” of the city-level Party leadership in Beijing, an ideological attack on the concept of “freedom of speech” that singled out “certain...

Jerome Cohen on Cheng Guangcheng's Arrival (Audio)

Brian Lehrer
WNYC
Jerome Cohen, China law expert and professor at New York University School of Law, talks about Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, who just arrived to start legal studies at NYU Law school after his dramatic stand-off in Beijing.

In Chongqing, Bo Xilai's Popularity Endures

Keith B. Richbrug
Washington Post
he legacy of Bo Xilai, the ousted regional Communist Party chief, endures in this southwestern Chinese megacity with its four-lane highways, expanding factories and hundreds of thousands of new apartment units. While Bo remains under house arrest in...

New Standards for Chinese Paper Cups

Zheng Xin
China Daily
Most paper cups available on the Chinese market would not meet the new national standard, which comes into effect on June 1, according to industry insiders. The country's first regulation on disposable cups will focus on raw materials,...

Today's Most Viral Image: Donated School Makes Way for Luxury

David Wertime
It’s one tragedy after another. After Mianyang, Sichuan suffered in the horrible earthquake of 2008, millions of RMB were donated to rebuild a local school. Now, that school has suffered not from a quake, but from greed. With over 16,000 re-posts...

State TV Host Responds to Controversy Over 'Foreign Trash' Comments

Josh Chin
WSJ: China Real Time Report
Last week, Chinese state-run TV personality Yang Rui published a message through his verified account on the Twitter-like microblogging service Sina Weibo in which he appeared to throw his support behind a campaign by the Beijing Public Security...

Details of Negotiations Over Chen Case

William Wan
Washington Post
For weeks, U.S. officials have kept secret many of the sensitive details about their negotiations over Chen’s fate. But with the 40-year-old lawyer safely aboard a plane Saturday, senior administration officials described extensively for the first...

Media

05.18.12

Hong Kong Movie Star Now a Motivational Speaker

Bo Wang
Nicholas Tse—the famous young Hong Kong singer, actor, and musician—is known for portraying irresponsible young rebels. People think that's what he's like in real life. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology invited Tse to be a...

Media

05.18.12

Drunken Brit Assaults Chinese Woman in Beijing

Bo Wang
A drunken foreigner was caught sexually assaulting a Chinese woman in Beijing near the Xuanwumen subway station. Pedestrians stopped him and it ended in a fight. This video shows the initial confrontation with the foreigner and then jumps to the...

Caixin Media

05.18.12

Near Three Gorges Dam, the Exodus Continues

Walls inside Zhang Haomin’s home in Zhenxi Township, in Chongqing, started cracking in 2008, around the time the reservoir behind the new Three Gorges Dam neared capacity.“Early on, the cracks were small,” said Zhang, whose home is about three...

Caixin Media

05.18.12

Demography and Destiny

China is facing a demographic reckoning that is approaching a nightmare.For thirty years, the government has been obsessed with keeping population growth down, often resorting to late-term abortions and other brutal measures. The panic now is that...

Media

05.17.12

Villagers Loot Spilled Watermelons From Truck After Car Crash

Qiaoyi Zhuang
Two trucks collided on the Beijing-Hong Kong-Macao Expressway in Yueyang, Hunan Province. While local firemen worked to rescue the drivers stuck in their vehicles, people from a nearby village arrived on the scene to loot watermelons that had fallen...