Beijing Population Tops 21 Million

Xinhua
This includes an estimated increase of 100,000 senior citizens every year until 2020. 

Back in China, Watching My Words

Helen Gao
New York Times
Back in China after many years in the U.S., Yuxin Gao feels alienated and silenced, and many ask why she returned. 

China Dwarfs U.S. in Monetary Stimulus

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
Can China slow credit growth and money supply without causing slumps in real-estate and business?

Media

01.03.14

Coming to Chinese Headlines in 2014

Chinese people have spent another year breathing dirty air, fretting about food safety, poking fun at corrupt officials, and complaining about tightening censorship—but as a discerning consumer of international news, you probably knew that already...

Other

12.26.13

2013 Year in Review

As the year draws to a close, we want to take a moment to look back at some of the stories ChinaFile published in 2013. We hope you’ll find something that interests you to read—or watch—over the holidays.It’s hard to remember a recent year that didn...

Why Eating Chinese Food on Christmas is a Sacred Tradition for American Jews

Marc Tracy
Tablet
The Hebrew year is 5774 and the Chinese year is 4710. That must mean, the joke goes, that against all odds the Jews went without Chinese food for 1,064 years. In fact, Jewish love for Chinese food is neither hallucinated nor arbitrary. It is very...

The End of China’s One-Child Policy? An Interview with Mei Fong

Jeffrey Wasserstrom
Dissent
What exactly did the recent Third Plenum reveal about China’s strategy for dealing with the “One-Child Policy?” Questions for Mei Fong, a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter working on a book about the policy.

Excerpts

11.22.13

Shen Wei’s ‘Chinese Sentiment’

Peter Hessler
When Shen Wei was growing up in Shanghai during the nineteen-eighties and nineties, his mother worked as a fashion designer who specialized in calendars. If a company wanted to publish one, they hired Shen Wei’s mother, and she designed clothes for...

Environment

11.12.13

China’s Urban Dilemma

Isabel Hilton from chinadialogue
After nearly three decades of rapid urbanization, China’s official and unofficial city dwellers outnumber its farmers. More than 400 million people have already moved into cities in the past thirty years, and in 2011 China crossed the threshold of a...

China Story Yearbook 2013: Civilising China

China Story
“China Story Yearbook 2013” contains a rich range of translated material from Chinese sources related to politics, social change, urban transformation, law and order, international relations, the economy, the Internet, major news...

Reports

11.11.13

Reimagining China’s Cities

Isabel Hilton, et. al.
Isabel Hilton
chinadialogue
After nearly three decades of rapid urbanisation, China’s official and unofficial city dwellers outnumber its farmers. China’s urbanisation counts as the biggest and fastest social movement in human history, a movement that has turned Chinese...

In China There’s Not One City Without Stretches of Empty Houses

Anne Stevenson-Yang
Forbes
It is impossible to know with certainty when the property bubble will burst, but burst it will, and anyone visiting China five years from now will be lucky to find prices at 60% of the current values.  

Video

11.05.13

Small Part, Big Screen

Gilles Sabrié
Every morning outside the imposing gate of the Beijing Film Studio, a throng gathers to try to find a way inside. These aren’t fans, exactly. Look at their faces, the practiced way they crane their necks or square their shoulders when the man with...

Infographics

10.23.13

To Save or Not to Save

from Sohu
China is known for saving money, and as the country has become wealthier, the household saving rate has increased. China’s personal saving rate has risen steadily since the mid-90s and now exceeds 50%, much higher than Germany’s 10%—considered high...

China: A Place to Call Home

Simon Rabinovitch
Financial Times
Property prices have almost quintupled in leading Chinese cities over the past decade and they are perhaps the biggest single threat to the country’s economic and social stability.  

It’s the Law: Chengguan in Guangzhou Now Have to be Nice

Barry van Wyk
Danwei
The new regulations state clearly that chengguan may not use profane or threatening language while enforcing their duties, may not damage private property, and may not use any form of violence or intimidation. 

Parents Bribe to Get Students into Top Schools, Despite Campaign Against Corruption

William Wan
Washington Post
Almost everything, from admission to grades to teacher recommendations, is negotiable in Chinese schools if you know the right person or have enough cash, a fact that's worsening rather than mending the vast gap...

Beijing's 20 Most Interesting People

The Beijinger
Beijinger
Even if nothing interesting could be written about 99 percent of Beijing's approximately 20 million people, there would still be 200,000 great stories remaining...

For China, a New Kind of Feminism

Didi Kristen Tatlow
New York Times
Sheryl Sandberg’s brand of self-strengthening feminism has made its way to China, receiving mixed, but generally positive, reactions among various audiences.

How China Lost Its Mojo: One Town’s Story

Wall Street Journal
Low wages and easy access to overseas markets helped transform Yantian in the 90s from a sleepy agricultural hamlet to a manufacturing hub. Now, the number of foreign firms in town has dropped, due to rising labor costs, land shortages and fading...

China’s Plan to Curb Air Pollution Sets Limits on Coal Use and Vehicles

Edward Wong
New York Times
This plan represents the most concrete response yet by the Communist Party and the government to growing criticism over allowing the country’s air, soil and water to degrade to abysmal levels because of corruption and unchecked economic growth.&...

Caixin Media

09.16.13

Chongqing Officials Mired in Web of Sex, Lies and Video

When a sex video involving a Chongqing official went viral on the Internet on November 2012, like millions of others, Tan Linling clicked out of curiosity.To her surprise, Tan recognized the woman in the video as a former colleague and friend named...

Across China, Skyscrapers Brush the Heavens

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
China is home to 60 of the world’s 100 tallest buildings now under construction. But the skyward aspirations of Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, have inspired incredulity tinged with hostility. 

China’s Millionaire Population Grows Less Quickly

Laurie Burkitt
Wall Street Journal
With the world’s second-largest economy in the midst of an extended slowdown, growth in the population of Chinese millionaires has fallen to its slowest pace in five years.

China ‘Dog-lion’: Henan Zoo Mastiff Poses as Africa Cat

Michael Bristow
BBC
An animal described as an African lion at a Chinese zoo was exposed as a fraud—when the creature started barking in front of visitors. 

Caixin Media

08.19.13

Infrequent Flying Snarls Civil Aviation Sector

Getting away for a little surf and sand ought to be easy for Beijingers like Mr. Wang, who recently boarded one of the daily, four-hour flights that link the capital and sub-tropical Hainan Island in China’s far south.But airport delays seriously...

Conversation

08.15.13

What Should China Do to Reverse its Tourism Deficit?

Leah Thompson, Damien Ma & more
Recent news stories and industry studies show that fewer international visitors are choosing China as their destination. January-June arrivals in Beijing are down 15% from the same period in 2012 and more Chinese than ever before are spending their...

Caixin Media

08.12.13

China’s Urban Sludge Dilemma: Sinking in Stink

Promptly at noon on March 17, a heavy truck hauling a dark substance and on a dark mission pulled out of the Gaobeidian Wastewater Treatment Plant in eastern Beijing.A wastewater treatment engineer helped a Caixin reporter identify the unusual load...

Viewpoint

08.09.13

Five Years On

Jonathan Landreth
On August 8, 2008, I was in Beijing reporting on the media aspects of China’s first Olympic Games, and I am still amazed that the four-hour opening ceremony, as designed by film director Zhang Yimou, was seen by sixty-nine percent of China’s...

The Chinese Communist Party Has Embraced the Internet—For Public Polling

Adam Pasick
Atlantic
Beijing has started to glean political intelligence from the same systems they restrict access to.

The Price of ‘Made in China’

Peter Navarro
New York Times
The $34 milllion in steel production and fabriation needed to refurbish North America’s longest suspension bridge, the Verrazano-which connects Brooklyn and Staten Island has been outsourced to China.

Life in a Toxic Country

Edward Wong
New York Times
Before this assignment, I reported from Iraq, where foreign correspondents talked endlessly of the variety of ways in which one could die. I survived those threats, only now to find myself wondering: Is China doing irreparable harm to me and my...

Now Playing: China’s Booming Movie Market

Wei Gu
Wall Street Journal
In China, where pirated movies can be bought for less than $1, people are flocking to theaters, a sign of how Chinese consumers are willing to spend more on entertainment.

Books of the Times—“Five Star Billionaire”

Dwight Garner
New York Times
Shanghai For Strivers: Tash Aw’s new novel captures China’s changes.

China Urbanization Cost Could Top $106 Billion a Year

Reuters
The figure is based on the assumption that 25 million people a year settle in cities, with the government spending the money on making sure they enjoy the same benefits in healthcare, housing and schools that city residents have, the Chinese Academy...

China Orders Ban on New Government Buildings

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
The new directive, which bans the construction of government buildings for the next five years, showed clear signs of being a continuation of the anticorruption campaign, describing the ban as “important for building a clean government” and...

Features

07.24.13

Carried Off

Charlie Custer
In March 2011, Rose Candis had the worst lunch of her life. Sitting at a restaurant in Shaoguan, a small city in South China, the American mother tried hard not to vomit while her traveling companion translated what the man they were eating with had...

New Style in Old Beijing (Video)

Jonah M. Kessel
New York Times
This episode of the ‘Intersection’ video series takes place in Beijing’s Gulou neighborhood, where young Beijingers discuss their and their peers’ fashion styles and inspirations.

Pitfalls Abound in China’s Push From Farm to City

Ian Johnson
New York Times
Li Yongping is directing one of the largest peacetime population transfers in history: the removal of 2.4 million farmers from mountain areas in the central Chinese province of Shaanxi to low-lying towns, many built from scratch on other farmers’...

Media

07.15.13

A Rite of Passage to Nowhere

Ying Zhu & Frances Hisgen
Tiny Times, a Chinese feature film set in contemporary Shanghai, made headline news on its opening day in late June by knocking the Hollywood blockbuster Man of Steel from its perch atop the domestic box-office and breaking the opening-day record...

Literary Guide to China

Rana Mitter
Telegraph
Rana Mitter chooses a collection of stories, novels and pieces by writers who either grew up in China or were China implants intended to give the curious a more textured understanding of China’s history and culture.

‘Chinese Dream’ of a Young Couple in Chengdu [Video]

Linda Yueh
BBC
China’s economy has grown enormously over the past decade and its middle class is now estimated to number 150 million. The BBC’s Linda Yueh has been speaking to one couple from Chengdu on their desire to live the Chinese Dream. 

A Chinese City is Asking Its Companies to Pay Public Sector Salaries Because It Can’t Afford Them

Jake Maxwell Watts
Quartz
Local government debt is now so unwieldy in China that some desperate city governments, such as that of western Ordos, have turned to the private sector for help to pay their employees. 

Conversation

07.03.13

How Would Accepting Gay Culture Change China?

Fei Wang & Steven Jiang
Last week's U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down the core provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act is not only “a stride toward greater equality in the United States, but also a shift that will reverberate far beyond our shores,” wrote...

Media

06.25.13

China’s “Urban Enforcers” Caught in a Vicious Cycle

Last week, another anecdote about chengguan— China’s urban enforcers whose main tasks include enforcing urban beautification ordinances and cracking down on unlicensed street vendors— caught the public’s attention. On June 15, a web user called @岔巴子...

China’s Great Uprooting: Moving 250 Million Into Cities

Ian Johnson
New York Times
The ultimate goal of the government’s modernization plan is to fully integrate 70 percent of the country’s population, or roughly 900 million people, into city living by 2025. Currently, only half that number are.   &...

Sinica Podcast

06.14.13

China in Images and Words

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn are delighted to host Matthew Niederhauser. A photographer focusing on urban development in China, Matthew has been published in various journals including The New Yorker, National Geographic, The...

Environment

06.06.13

Wuxi-Düsseldorf and the Challenge of Green City Partnerships

from chinadialogue
At first glance, it isn’t an obvious pairing. Düsseldorf is the fashion and advertising capital of Germany. Wuxi is a fast-growing industrial city on China’s east coast, with probably more coal plants than catwalks. But a German environmental think-...

Urbanisation: Some Are More Equal Than Others

Economist
Rural migrants living in the handshake buildings are still second-class citizens, most of whom have no access to urban health care or to the city’s high schools. Their homes could be demolished at any time. 

China’s Brutal One-Child Policy

Ma Jian
New York Times
In the countryside, where the need for extra hands to help in the fields and the deeply entrenched patriarchal desire for a male heir have created strong resistance to population control measures, officials has been merciless. 

World’s Tallest Building, Sky City, Will Break Ground Next Month

Design Boom
Developed by the Broad Group, this ambitious 220-story building will be constructed by prefabricated pieces which will be put together on-site. Its completion is estimated to tak seven months.

Instant City

Nicolai Ouroussoff
Harper’s Magazine
In the district of Bao’an in Shenzhen, thousands of laborers live in a makeshift city of prefabricated dormitories beside the hulking, mile-long steel shell of what will soon be the city’s newest airline terminal.  

Ai Wei Wei Films Street Brawl (Video)

Sky News
The dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has filmed a fight in China in which dozens of Han Chinese brawled with Tibetans in a street in Beijing. Witnesses said the scrap was between ethnic Tibetan street vendors and Beijing's native Han...

Excerpts

05.15.13

When You Grow Up

Peter Hessler
Little Lu, Little Zhang, and Little Liu waited for me at the end of the bridge. They were ten, twelve, and fourteen years old, respectively, and they had come from the same village in northern Sichuan Province. They said that they had dropped out of...

Pollution Is Radically Changing Childhood In China’s Cities

Edward Wong
New York Times
Parents are confining sons and daughters to their homes, even if it means keeping them away from friends. Schools are canceling outdoor activities and field trips. Parents with means are choosing schools based on air-filtration systems. 

Books

04.23.13

Original Copies

Bianca Bosker
A 108-meter high Eiffel Tower rises above Champs Elysées Square in Hangzhou. A Chengdu residential complex for 200,000 recreates Dorchester, England. An ersatz Queen’s Guard patrols Shanghai’s Thames Town, where pubs and statues of Winston Churchill abound. Gleaming replicas of the White House dot Chinese cities from Fuyang to Shenzhen. These examples are but a sampling of China’s most popular and startling architectural movement: the construction of monumental themed communities that replicate towns and cities in the West.Original Copies presents the first definitive chronicle of this remarkable phenomenon in which entire townships appear to have been airlifted from their historic and geographic foundations in Europe and the Americas, and spot-welded to Chinese cities. These copycat constructions are not theme parks but thriving communities where Chinese families raise children, cook dinners, and simulate the experiences of a pseudo-Orange County or Oxford.In recounting the untold and evolving story of China’s predilection for replicating the greatest architectural hits of the West, Bianca Bosker explores what this unprecedented experiment in “duplitecture” implies for the social, political, architectural, and commercial landscape of contemporary China. With her lively, authoritative narrative, the author shows us how, in subtle but important ways, these homes and public spaces shape the behavior of their residents, as they reflect the achievements, dreams, and anxieties of those who inhabit them, as well as those of their developers and designers. — University of Hawai‘i Press{chop}{node, 3673, 4}

China Vanke Expanding To U.S. After Customer Emigration

Belinda Cao
Bloomberg
Chinese developers are starting to take advantage of demand for real estate around the world from Chinese nationals as the government imposes property curbs at home.  

Two China Cities Move To Cool Overheated Housing Market

David Barboza
New York Times
In Shanghai and Beijing, stricter laws governing residence status and residence-related taxes in order to offset a real estate bubble that could seriously damage the economy and exacerbate social tensions between the rich and the poor.&...

Excerpts

04.05.13

Living Underground

Ana Fuentes
They are called rats, and they have become a symbol of Beijing’s red-hot real estate market. Because of soaring housing costs, there are at least a million people living underground, only able to afford a rented room in the basements of skyscrapers...