• Yuyang Liu for ChinaFile

    Could Same-Sex Marriage Advocacy in China Be Poised for a Breakthrough?

    Darius Longarino

    Last fall, as China’s lawmakers neared finalizing the country’s first-ever Civil Code, they opened to public comment its draft chapters on marriage and other areas of law. A newly formed coalition of LGBTQ organizations advocating for gay marriage called Ai Cheng Jia (“Love Makes Family”) saw an opportunity. They could use the official comments process—which typically only receives anywhere from a few dozen to a few thousand submissions—to flood policymakers with calls for marriage equality. Read full story>>

  • EU Council/Handout/Anadolu Agency—Getty Images

    Europe and China’s ‘Virtual Summit’

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Noah Barkin, Dan Baer & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    Meeting via video conference on Monday, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, held a summit with European Council President Charles Michel, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Slimmed down in format thanks to the COVID pandemic and strained in spirit as a result of a host of growing frictions, the digital conclave was a far cry from what was envisioned for the meeting just months ago. What were the meeting’s most significant outcomes and what do they portend... Read full story>>

  • Dennis Brack—Getty Images

    In Defense of Diplomacy with China

    James Green

    Critics of the last four decades of China policy have incorrectly and simplistically labeled diplomacy a failure because the People’s Republic did not become a liberal democracy. That was never the goal or an achievable objective of U.S. policy. The goal was to shape Chinese policy to align more with U.S. objectives: a more open society, reduced overseas disruptive behavior, increasingly transparent business operations. Read full story>>

  • Melissa Sue Gerrits—Getty Images

    The Future of China Studies in the U.S.

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Sheena Greitens, Rebecca E. Karl & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    As an extraordinarily fraught school year begins, the study of China on U.S. campuses (or their new virtual equivalents), as well as China’s role in university life more broadly, has recently become a subject of scrutiny and debate. What is the future of China studies in the United States given this changing environment? How are recent politics in China and in China’s relations with the U.S. likely to alter the mechanics and substance of China studies in the United States? What kinds of changes... Read full story>>

  • Fred Dufour—Getty Images

    When China Reporters Can’t Report from China

    Matt DeButts

    Shortly after midnight on March 18, a phone call awoke Steven Lee Myers in his Beijing apartment. The call was followed by a flurry of messages: WhatsApp, text, email. Friends and colleagues were asking him questions: What is going on? What does this mean? What are we going to do? Myers had been appointed The New York Times’ Beijing bureau chief just three months prior. Now, dazed and half-asleep, he was learning that the Chinese government would require American journalists with soon-to-expire... Read full story>>

  • Sam Wasson—Getty Images

    How To Teach China This Fall

    Dimitar D. Gueorguiev, Xiaobo Lü & more

    The coming academic year presents unique challenges for university instructors teaching content related to China. The shift to online education, the souring of U.S.-China relations, and new national security legislation coming from Beijing have brought new sensitivities and new risks to our classrooms. Read full story>>

  • Go Nakamura—Getty Images

    Reciprocity in U.S. Relations with China Should Be a Tool, Not the Whole Strategy

    Lucas Tcheyan & Sam Bresnick

    Since the outset of the U.S.-China trade war, critics have castigated the Trump administration for its capricious approach to relations with Beijing. They have found fault in particular with Donald Trump’s flip-flopping on sanctioning ZTE, banning U.S. companies from selling to Huawei and then reversing course, and refusing to censure China for its abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong in order to preserve trade negotiations. Read full story>>

Recent Stories

06.13.20

Is Hong Kong about to Get Its Own Foreign NGO Law in the Name of ‘National Security’?

Thomas Kellogg & Alison Sile Chen
On May 28, China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) issued a much-anticipated Decision on preservation of national security in Hong Kong. The key paragraph in the short document authorized the NPC’s Standing Committee to “draft laws related to...

Conversation

06.03.20

Has COVID-19 Changed How China’s Leaders Approach National Security?

Rorry Daniels, M. Taylor Fravel & more
While the world is reeling from the cascading shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, China has continued a comparatively aggressive course in its foreign policy and security posture. Not only has it continued military and paramilitary activities in the...

Viewpoint

04.03.20

‘We’re Hardly Heroic’

Tracy Wen Liu
Dr. Li, a heart specialist at Wuhan No. 4 Hospital, spent the third week of March preparing for the reopening of the hospital’s general clinics, which closed on January 22, when No. 4 became a key facility for treating COVID-19 patients. After...

Conversation

03.19.20

As Its Coronavirus Outbreak Abates, China Is Trying out a New Look. Is It Working?

Daniel R. Russel, Pamela Kyle Crossley & more
As the coronavirus spreads globally, China’s government is working aggressively to change its international image. In the span of just a few weeks, China has gone from the embattled epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic to presenting the country as...

Viewpoint

02.26.20

Dear Chairman Xi, It’s Time for You to Go

Xu Zhiyong & Geremie R. Barmé
In this open letter, the author urges Xi Jinping to step down. Xu Zhiyong went into hiding in late 2019. The following open letter, which was released on 4 February 4, 2020, was written while he was on the run. On February 15, Xu was detained in the...

Photography & Video

Depth of Field

12.31.19

‘Nowhere to Dock’

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
In 2019, Depth of Field showcased stories covering a range of topics: Shi Yangkun’s nostaglic exploration of China’s last collective villages, Zhu Lingyu’s careful and artisitic portrayal of survivors of sexual violence, and cities seen through the...

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

04.09.20

The Myth of Chinese Capitalism

Dexter Roberts
St. Martin’s Press: Dexter Roberts explores the reality behind today’s financially-ascendant China and pulls the curtain back on how the Chinese manufacturing machine is actually powered. He focuses on two places: the village of Binghuacun in Guizhou province, one of China’s poorest regions that sends the highest proportion of its youth away; and Dongguan, China’s most infamous factory town located in Guangdong, home to both the largest number of migrant workers and the country’s biggest manufacturing base.Within these two towns and the people that move between them, Roberts focuses on the story of the Mo family, former farmers-turned-migrant-workers who are struggling to make a living in a fast-changing country that relegates half of its people to second-class status via household registration, land tenure policies, and inequality in education and health care systems.Roberts brings to life the problems migrant workers face today as they attempt to overcome a divisive system that poses a serious challenge to the country’s future development.

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

09.01.17

The Costs of International Advocacy

Human Rights Watch
Even as it engages with U.N. human rights institutions, China has worked consistently and often aggressively to silence criticism of its human rights record before U.N. bodies and has taken actions aimed at weakening some of the central mechanisms...

Reports

05.24.17

China’s Social Credit System: A Big-Data Enabled Approach to Market Regulation with Broad Implications for Doing Business in China

Mirjam Meissner
Mirjam Meissner
Mercator Institute for China Studies
Under the catchphrase “Social Credit System,” China is currently implementing a new and highly innovative approach to monitoring, rating, and regulating the behavior of market participants. The Social Credit System will have significant impact on...

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