• Hector Retamal—AFP/Getty Images

    Nevertheless, Chinese Civil Society Persisted

    Alison Sile Chen

    In an autocracy, atomized individuals, without power or influence, seem to have only two options: willingly serve as “social livestock,” or accept their fate and lie flat. But in a society as large as China’s, with 1.4 billion people, can that really be all there is? In the China presented by the media, the “official” China, yes, that’s all there is. But the strict censorship dictates hide a complex array of feelings and behaviors. Even today, there remains “civil society,” a network formed by... Read full story>>

  • Anniguli—YouTube

    In What Purport to be Lifestyle Videos, Uyghur Influencers Promote Beijing’s Narrative on Their Homeland

    An Analysis of Some 500 Uyghur Vlogs Suggests They Are Created as Government Propaganda

    Rune Steenberg & Seher

    For the past few years, Uyghur and other young members of ethnic minority groups from Xinjiang have been creating videos like Anniguli’s in which they appear to display details of their personal lives while simultaneously evincing support for the policies of the CCP. These videos are a type of state propaganda, but for those producing them they also serve as a form of self-promotion, an income stream, and a pathway to political safety. Read full story>>

  • Wang Zhao—AFP/Getty Images

    The Strategic Importance of the Indo-Pacific

    A China in the World Podcast

    Paul Haenle & Darshana M. Baruah via Carnegie China

    Spanning from East Africa to the West Coast of the United States, the Indo-Pacific is a complex region encompassing two oceans and countless islands and maritime powers. In this episode of the China in the World podcast, Paul Haenle speaks with Darshana Baruah about her research on maritime security in Asia as well as recent developments in the Indo-Pacific. The interview covers Baruah’s key takeaways from the Shangri-La Dialogue, shifting geopolitical dynamics in the Indian Ocean and the... Read full story>>

  • Hector Retamal—AFP/Getty Images

    The Major Questions About China’s Foreign NGO Law Are Now Settled

    And so Farewell from The China NGO Project

    Five years after its first post, The China NGO Project is closing up shop. When we began in 2017, we hoped to help international nonprofits working in China make sense of the new legal regime they found themselves under after the passage of China’s Foreign NGO Law. We faced many of the same challenges as the community as a whole: a lack of detailed official information, difficulty finding candid interlocutors, and a seemingly unresolvable tension between open information sharing and the... Read full story>>

  • For Your Weekend, August 5, 2022

    Thanks to our colleagues at Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations, we are reading this excellent investigation into the effects Chinese iron mining in Guinea, by Bloomberg’s Sheridan Prasso and featuring the work of our old friend, environmental lawyer Zhang Jingjing, and well summarized in this excellent video. It came out in June, but if we missed it, maybe you did too? As we continue to follow the aftermath of Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan earlier this week, we recommend checking... Read full story>>

  • Annabelle Chih—Getty Images

    Pelosi in Taiwan

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Brian Hioe, Lev Nachman & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    On the evening of August 2, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, landed in Taipei to begin an official visit. The trip, the first by a U.S. official of comparable rank in 25 years, came amid debate about how Beijing would likely respond and what it would mean for Taiwan’s future, its relationship with Beijing, and the U.S. role in both. Read full story>>

  • National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying)

    Norma in Kaohsiung

    Amid the Pandemic, a New Landscape for Opera in Taiwan . . . and in Beijing

    Anatol Klass

    On a warm evening this past January, a crowd gathered outside the Weiwuying Opera House in Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second largest city, more than an hour before the night’s performance was scheduled to begin. As they waited to enter the theater, people explored an opera-themed bazaar set up underneath the towering canopies stretched between the wings of the sprawling performing arts center to resemble local banyan trees. As buskers performed Italian arias, vendors dished out creations based on the... Read full story>>

  • ‘China’s Surveillance State Is Growing: These Documents Reveal How.’

    Video Investigation from The New York Times Draws on ChinaFile Research

    The Visual Investigations team at The New York Times reported and produced this video, using some 100,000 procurement documents provided by ChinaFile. Research shared with the Times built off of Jessica Batke and Mareike Ohlberg’s ChinaFile article, “State of Surveillance: Government Documents Reveal New Evidence on China’s Efforts to Monitor Its People.” Read full story>>

Recent Stories

Conversation

07.26.22

Can a New U.S. Law Prevent Uyghur Forced Labor?

John Foote, Darren Byler & more
Last month, the U.S. began enforcement of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. Signed into law late last year, the UFLPA bans imports of goods made in Xinjiang unless the importer can offer “clear and convincing evidence” that no forced labor was...

Conversation

06.16.22

China’s Record Urban Youth Unemployment

Qin Chen, Alison Sile Chen & more
China has recorded its highest level of unemployment among urban youth since the country began tracking it in 2018. In March, 16 percent of Chinese city-dwellers aged 16 to 24 were unemployed, compared to 13.6 percent a year earlier. In May, that...

Features

05.24.22

Public Security Minister’s Speech Describes Xi Jinping’s Direction of Mass Detentions in Xinjiang

Adrian Zenz
An internal Chinese government document provides new support for the extraordinary scale of internment during what was likely its peak in 2018 and 2019. The document, a transcript of an internal June 15, 2018 speech by Minister of Public Security...

Features

06.03.22

The Prize Student

Zha Jianying
This short story, written in 2000 by Zha Jianying, is ChinaFile’s second foray into original fiction.

The New York Review of Books China Archive

from New York Review of Books
Welcome to the New York Review of Books China Archive, a collaborative project of ChinaFile.org and The New York Review of Books. In the archive you will find a compilation of full-length essays and book reviews on China dating from the Review'...

Viewpoint

07.21.22

From My Anguished Heart—A Letter to My Daughter

Xu Zhangrun & Geremie R. Barmé
In early July 2020, Xu Zhangrun was detained for supposedly having “solicited prostitutes” during a trip with friends to Sichuan in late 2019. He was being persecuted for his unsparing critiques of Xi Jinping, starting in July 2018. The following...

Features

01.31.22

A Vast Network of ‘New Era Civilization Practice Centers’ Is Beijing’s Latest Bid to Reclaim Hearts and Minds

Jessica Batke
New Era Civilization Practice Centers are designed to deliver a mix of social services and political indoctrination, to draw China’s citizens ever nearer to the Party by giving them tangible reminders of the Party’s largesse and molding them into...

Viewpoint

02.01.22

Verdicts from China’s Courts Used to Be Accessible Online. Now They’re Disappearing.

Luo Jiajun & Thomas Kellogg
Judicial transparency in China has taken a significant step backward in recent months. Beginning at least a year ago, China’s Supreme People’s Court has considerably scaled back the number of cases available on its China Judgments Online web portal...

Photography & Video

Photo Gallery

07.24.19

‘I Love HK but Hate It at the Same Time’

Todd R. Darling
A central issue many of the Hong Kong people in my portraits are wrestling with is how to define an identity and being challenged in that pursuit by cultural, social, or political pressures. There is a lot of frustration and anger over the recent...

Books

Books

03.12.20

China and Intervention at the UN Security Council

Courtney J. Fung
Oxford University Press: What explains China’s response to intervention at the UN Security Council? China and Intervention at the UN Security Council argues that status is an overlooked determinant in understanding its decisions, even in the apex cases that are shadowed by a public discourse calling for foreign-imposed regime change in Sudan, Libya, and Syria. It posits that China reconciles its status dilemma as it weighs decisions to intervene, seeking recognition from both its intervention peer groups of great powers and developing states. Understanding the impact and scope of conditions of status answers why China has taken certain positions regarding intervention and how these positions were justified. Foreign policy behavior that complies with status, and related social factors like self-image and identity, means that China can select policy options bearing material costs. China and Intervention at the UN Security Council draws on an extensive collection of data, including over two hundred interviews with UN officials and Chinese foreign policy elites, participant observation at UN Headquarters, and a dataset of Chinese-language analysis regarding foreign-imposed regime change and intervention. The book concludes with new perspectives on the malleability of China’s core interests, insights about the application of status for cooperation, and the implications of the status dilemma for rising powers.{chop}

Books

03.24.20

Vernacular Industrialism in China

Eugenia Lean
Columbia University Press: In early 20th-century China, Chen Diexian (1879-1940) was a maverick entrepreneur—at once a prolific man of letters, captain of industry, magazine editor, and cosmetics magnate. He tinkered with chemistry in his private studio, used local cuttlefish to source magnesium carbonate, and published manufacturing tips in how-to columns. In a rapidly changing society, Chen copied foreign technologies and translated manufacturing processes from abroad to produce adaptations of global commodities that bested foreign brands. Engaging in the worlds of journalism, industry, and commerce, he drew on literati practices associated with late-imperial elites but deployed them in novel ways within a culture of educated tinkering that generated industrial innovation.Through the lens of Chen’s career, Eugenia Lean explores how unlikely individuals devised unconventional, homegrown approaches to industry and science in early 20th-century China. She contends that Chen’s activities exemplify “vernacular industrialism,” the pursuit of industry and science outside of conventional venues, often involving ad hoc forms of knowledge and material work. Lean shows how vernacular industrialists accessed worldwide circuits of law and science and experimented with local and global processes of manufacturing to navigate, innovate, and compete in global capitalism. In doing so, they presaged the approach that has helped fuel China’s economic ascent in the 21st century. Rather than conventional narratives that depict China as belatedly borrowing from Western technology, Vernacular Industrialism in China offers a new understanding of industrialization, going beyond material factors to show the central role of culture and knowledge production in technological and industrial change.{chop}

Reports

Reports

01.12.21

Precarious Progress

Darius Longarino
Darius Longarino
OutRight Action International
Whether state decisionmakers in the coming years and decades will pursue policies to protect the equal rights for LGBT people will come down to a mix of ideology, pragmatism, and public pressure. LGBT advocates are striving to turn that calculus in...

Reports

02.01.21

Hong Kong’s National Security Law

Lydia Wong and Thomas Kellogg
Lydia Wong & Thomas Kellogg
The Center for Asian Law at Georgetown University
The National Security Law (NSL) constitutes one of the greatest threats to human rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong since the 1997 handover. This report analyzes the key elements of the NSL, and attempts to gauge the new law’s impact on human...