Caixin Media

08.31.12

Tall Order in Ordos

A desert city infamously littered with new but vacant apartment buildings and idle construction sites is getting no relief in the parched climate for local government budgets.Ordos, where local leaders have been trying for years to build a thriving...

Big Trouble in China: Festival Director Li Speaks Out About Beijing Independent Film Fest Shut Down

Kevin B. Lee
Indiewire
Last Saturday China’s independent film community faced their latest setback when the Beijing Independent Film Festival was forced to cancel its public screenings upon pressure from local authorities.  This was the third consecutive...

Freedom Rock? Not In China

Mark Mcdonald
New York Times
Two members of the Russian punk collective Pussy Riot are on the run and have fled the country, the band said in a Twitter message on Sunday. Three other Pussy Rioters were sentenced to two years in prison this month for performing a “punk prayer”...

China Gets Creative as the Cultural Revolution Grows

Malcolm Moore
Telegraph
Costing a total of 50bn yuan (£5bn), this mammoth entertainment, retail and office hub, named the Han Street Cultural Centre, may be the most ambitious single project of its kind in the world. And it is being built not in Shanghai, Beijing or Hong...

Hong Kong $2.8 Billion Arts Hub to Fill Cultural Void

Frederik Balfour
Bloomberg
Lars Nittve will never forget the first time he visited a museum alone. “There was this enormous sculpture of a woman and you walked into her between her legs,” he recalls. “It was like a museum within a museum there. For a 13-year-old boy, that was...

The Souls of Chinese Cities

Christina Larson
Foreign Policy
Traveling through modern Chinese cities at times feels a blur, the view from a bus or taxi window seemingly untethered from any past or even particularities of place. In one sense, everything everywhere looks the same; it's easy to feel a...

Beijing Forever

Michael Meyer
Foreign Policy
Beijing, as most Chinese know it, was a neglected relic after the Japanese occupation of World War II and the Chinese Civil War. In 1949, when the victorious communists moved the capital back there from Nanjing, it was a bankrupt town of 1.4 million...

Polymath’s Paradise: Artist and Cultural Promoter Ou Ning Confronts China’s Out-of-Control Urbanization

Madeleine O’Dea
Blouin Artinfo
When I ask Ou Ning how he would answer that perennial dinner party question, "What do you do?,"  he laughs. It’s not easy for one of China’s true polymaths, but he gives it a try. “I’m a cultural worker,” he offers modestly,...

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...

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...

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...

Crisis Management Falters as Beijing Mayor Resigns

Russel Leigh Moses
WSJ: China Real Time Report
If this past weekend’s deluge in Beijing shows us anything, it’s that nothing and no one in this city is waterproof.

Floods in Beijing

The Economist
Economist
For a capital city unusual, and perhaps unique, in being situated neither on a coastline nor along the banks of a big river, Beijing has been under water a lot of late. Violent summer rainstorms flooded the city in June of last year, overwhelming...

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.

Heaviest Rains in 60 Years Kill 37 in Beijing

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
The Chinese capital's heaviest rainstorm in six decades killed at least 37 people, flooded streets and stranded 80,000 people at the main airport, state media and the government said on Sunday...

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...

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.

Nationalist and Liberal Spar in Beijing Park (With Ai Weiwei Cameo)

David Pilling
Financial Times
In China, as is doubtless the case elsewhere, the distinction between online and offline is blurring. That presents the Communist party with a potentially dangerous problem. Online comment can serve a useful official function, allowing people to...

Africans in Southern China

Sandra
On June 19, I saw the oft-retweeted images on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter, which showed black people in Guangzhou city protesting together. My first reaction: This image was from three years ago. Only after an online search did I realize the image...

Rat World (Photographs)

Sim Chi Yin
Foreign Policy
Picture Beijing, and a skyline of fancy steel architecture and clouds of smog likely come to mind. But the most fitting metaphor for the city's growing pains may lie beneath its streets: In the past two decades, underground storage basements,...

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...

Has China’s Young Jedi Knight Just Joined the Dark Side?

Xiaoying Zhou
Has China’s most famous blogger finally been brought to heel? Han Han, writer, car racer, and China’s youth opinion leader, recently sealed a deal with massive Chinese Internet company Tencent and founded an e-journal, “One.”

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...

Northern Girls: Interview With Author Sheng Keyi

Allison Carroll Goldman
Danwei
Qian Xiaohong is a young woman from a village in Hunan who went to the boomtown of Shenzhen in the 1990s in search of work. She is bold and optimistic, if sometimes a little naïve, and has short black hair with just a hint of curl. She has the round...

HK Honey

Virgile Simon Bertrand
Nowness
High above one of the world's busiest and most congested city streets, urban apiarist Michael Leung runs his crusade for conscious local food, documented in Virgile Simon Bertrand’s inspiring photographs. Leung founded HK Honey as a way of...

Books

06.12.12

Eating Bitterness

Michelle Dammon Loyalka
Every year over 200 million peasants flock to China’s urban centers, providing a profusion of cheap labor that helps fuel the country’s staggering economic growth. Award-winning journalist Michelle Dammon Loyalka follows the trials and triumphs of eight such migrants—including a vegetable vendor, an itinerant knife sharpener, a free-spirited recycler, and a cash-strapped mother—offering an inside look at the pain, self-sacrifice, and uncertainty underlying China’s dramatic national transformation. At the heart of the book lies each person’s ability to “eat bitterness”—a term that roughly means to endure hardships, overcome difficulties, and forge ahead. These stories illustrate why China continues to advance, even as the rest of the world remains embroiled in financial turmoil. At the same time, Eating Bitterness demonstrates how dealing with the issues facing this class of people constitutes China’s most pressing domestic challenge. —University of California Press{chop}

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

06.07.12

An Absent Presence

Sun Yunfan
In Chan Koonchung’s dystopian science fiction novel The Fat Years, set in China in 2013, the whole month of Feburary 2011 has disappeared from people’s memory. In reality, the month that is closest to being spirited away is the month of June 1989...

Fallows on Bad Air and Soft Power

James Fallows
Atlantic
This is another fascinating installment in the exercise of Chinese "soft power." For my Big Theory on the nature of Chinese soft power, see this essay and this book. For a few previous installments in the Soft-Power Watch, see this, this,...

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...

Neil Heywood Death Investigation Reopened

Associated Press
Guardian
A prominent American forensic scientist said that Chinese police asked him to analyse an unidentified blood sample, in a possible link to a spiralling political scandal surrounding the death of a British man. Henry Lee said police did not directly...

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...

Media

05.11.12

Ferrari Stunt Scars 600-Year-Old Monument

Netizens are outraged after a 60-second stunt by car manufacturer Ferrari leaves a 600 year-old historical site marred with skid marks.From Youku

Sinica Podcast

12.06.11

The Soul of Beijing

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Today, we’re pleased to share a special live edition of Sinica recorded last Saturday at Capital M in Beijing. Held to a standing-room only crowd, we talked all about our ongoing love-hate relationship with Beijing, and asked what on earth is...

Reports

03.11.11

Environmental and Social Impact Assessment: Urumqi District Heating Project

World Bank
The city of Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in westernmost China, is experiencing rapid urbanization and economic growth, which poses challenges to Urumqi Municipal Government in providing adequate and efficient public...

Reports

10.01.10

Market Transformation for Urban Energy Efficiency in China

He Jianan
Global Environmental Institute
The acute energy shortage faced by many Chinese cities has dragged down local productivity and living standards. Cities are motivated to actively seek solutions to minimize the gap between energy demand and supply. This project aims to lay out...

Sinica Podcast

09.10.10

Showdown in Shenzhen

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
On September 6, Shenzhen celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of its founding as a special economic zone (SEZ). And while the city feted itself at the highest levels of power, its celebrations were marred by an unexpected development: in a speech...

Sinica Podcast

07.12.10

Ich Bin Ein Beijinger

Kaiser Kuo from Sinica Podcast
Sad as it is to admit, the rare solar eclipse that incited such mayhem on Easter Island earlier this week has thrown our own Beijing community into a tizzy. Or perhaps the culprit is the stultifying heatwave which has descended on our city, turning...

Reports

01.01.10

“Where Darkness Knows No Limits”: Incarceration, Ill-Treatment, and Forced Labor as Drug Rehabilitation in China

Sara Segal-Williams
Human Rights Watch
Based on research in Yunnan and Guangxi provinces, this report documents how China's June 2008 Anti-Drug Law compounds the health risks of suspected illicit drug users by allowing government officials and security forces to incarcerate them for...

The Empire of Sister Ping

Richard Bernstein from New York Review of Books
The headquarters of what was once the global people-smuggling operation of Cheng Chui Ping, aka Sister Ping, who is serving thirty-five years at a federal prison for women in Danbury, Connecticut, is now the Yung Sun seafood restaurant at 47 East...

The Death and Life of a Great Chinese City

Richard Bernstein from New York Review of Books
Judging from the evidence of Michael Meyer’s portrait of life in a narrow backstreet of Beijing as China prepared for the Olympic Games, old Beijing has been vanishing for a very long time. “Peking you simply would not be able to recognize except by...

AsiaWorld

Ian Buruma from New York Review of Books
To stand somewhere in the center of an East Asian metropolis, Seoul, say, or Guangzhou, is to face an odd cultural conundrum. Little of what you see, apart from the writing on billboards, can be described as traditionally Asian. There are the faux-...

China: The Anaconda in the Chandelier

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
In China’s Mao years you could be detained and persecuted for talking with your neighbor about your cat. The Chinese word for “cat” (mao, high level tone) is a near homonym for the name of the Great Leader (mao, rising tone), and a tip to the police...

China’s Dirty Clean-Up

Sophia Woodman from New York Review of Books
Every year, millions of China’s poorest and most vulnerable people are arrested on the streets of the nation’s cities merely because the way they look or speak identifies them clearly as “outsiders,” not native to the city in question, or because...

China - New York ... or Singapore?

New York Times
It is better not to be in Shanghai during a heat wave. I was there during the first week in September when a heat wave struck, the hottest September day in 48 years: 87 degrees at night and as humid as a steam bath. Schools closed, as did many...