• Thomas Lohnes—Getty Images

    What Does the Coronavirus Mean for EU-China Relations?

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Plamen Tonchev, Theresa Fallon & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    2020 promised to be an especially consequential year for the EU-China relationship, but three highly anticipated summits have been thrown into uncertainty, and diplomacy between Europe and China is now completely consumed by the coronavirus crisis. Read full story>>

  • Yuan Zheng—FeatureChina via AP

    ‘We’re Hardly Heroic’

    Wuhan Medical Workers Look Back in Anger

    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 working for two months on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak, Li is mentally and psychologically at a loss about what to do next. He can’t sleep or eat, he often feels dazed, and sometimes, seemingly out of nowhere, he weeps. Read full story>>

  • Spencer Platt—Getty Images

    Is U.S.-China Cooperation on COVID-19 Still Possible?

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Julian B. Gewirtz, Deborah Seligsohn & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    Over the past two weeks, as the outbreak of the virus known has COVID-19 has accelerated its deadly spread around the world, an already collapsing U.S.-China relationship appears to be entering a period of free fall. This is happening at a moment when the U.S. desperately needs China’s help stemming the tide of infection and when other countries might benefit from the world’s leading powers acting in coordination to fight the pandemic and the global economic disaster following in its wake. That... Read full story>>

  • Drew Angerer—Getty Images

    Xi Jinping May Welcome Trump’s Racism

    Dan Baer

    The coronavirus pandemic has ushered in a new low-point for the already strained relationship between the U.S. and China—and it could get worse in the months ahead as the toll rises and there is more urgency to assign blame. At the White House press conference on Thursday, President Trump repeated his criticism of China for having kept the virus secret after it was first discovered in Hubei province, and argued that if it hadn’t done so the virus could have been contained there. Meanwhile,... Read full story>>

  • Kevin Frayer—Getty Images

    Stuck in Central China on Coronavirus Lockdown

    Lavender Au via New York Review of Books

    Before Shiyan, a city in Hubei province, went into quarantine, the sum of 30 yuan (about $4) could buy two cabbages, enough spring onions for two soups, a large white radish, two lettuces, a potato, and 10 eggs. Not any more. Wanting to record the hiked prices, I took two photos of price cards in my local district’s largest supermarket. Immediately, a shop assistant approached. “You can’t do that,” she said. “Please delete them.” Even after I agreed, she stood peering over my shoulder to see my... Read full story>>

  • Feng Li—Getty Images

    ‘I Feel Like I Am Committing Crimes’

    A Q&A with Legal Rights Advocate Yang Zhanqing

    Elaine Lu

    On July 22 last year, three activists from the public interest NGO Changsha Funeng were detained and later formally arrested for “subversion of state power.” Cheng Yuan, Liu Dazhi, and Wu Gejianxiong, known as the “Changsha Three,” have been detained for about seven months. Established in 2016, Changsha Funeng mainly focused on disability rights and also the rights of disadvantaged groups. To understand more about the arrests, public interest work in China, and the challenges activists face... Read full story>>

  • Anthony Kwan—Getty Images

    ‘My Epitaph Only Needs One Phrase: He Spoke up Once for People.’

    A Letter Written as Though by Li Wenliang, Translated by Dave Yin

    Dave Yin

    Translator’s IntroductionOn February 7, the day Li Wenliang died from coronavirus, a piece of farewell prose written in the first person emerged online. Li was a Chinese doctor whose efforts as early as December 30 to warn colleagues of the outbreak of respiratory illness in Wuhan were shut down by local police. The letter was penned in simple, almost conversational Chinese and bore no names. But to Chinese Internet users, well versed in allusions and already too familiar with China’s silencing... Read full story>>

  • Robert King—Getty Images

    ‘This Is Not Forensic Genetics Anymore. This Is Surveillance.’

    A Q&A with Yves Moreau on DNA Profiling in Xinjiang and Corporate Ethics

    Jessica Batke

    Yves Moreau, a professor specializing in human clinical genomics, had been emailing with Promega since 2016, warning its communications department first about how Promega’s products might be used in a proposed DNA databasing project in Kuwait, and later alerting the company to his concerns about Xinjiang. My interview with Moreau became a wide-ranging conversation about genetic privacy, the true meaning of “free, informed” consent, inconsistent ethics standards for trans-national businesses,... Read full story>>

  • (Getty Images)

    China Alters Civil Society Rules, Allowing More Groups to Respond to Coronavirus

    Holly Snape

    As the COVID-19 epidemic continues in China, so do the efforts of civil society organizations and concerned citizens to mitigate the harm. In the official approach to managing their involvement, there have been clumsy force-of-habit measures from the state, controversies over how donations are collected and deployed, and punishments for cadres-cum-charity leaders. Early government attempts to monopolize the collection and deployment of donated money and materials have caused critical... Read full story>>

Recent Stories

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...

A Radical Realist View of Tibetan Buddhism at the Rubin

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
For many, Buddhism is “a religion of peace” and its adaptation for political purposes, even to inspire violence, feels flat-out wrong. That makes the exhibition at the Rubin Museum of Art, “Faith and Empire: Art and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism,” an...

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...

Conversation

02.26.20

How Will Coronavirus Impact China in the Long Term?

Arthur R. Kroeber, Lindsey Ford & more
As numbers of new infections begin to diminish, the People’s Republic of China is beginning to claim victory in its battle with the coronavirus. But with over 700 million people—10 percent of the world’s population—now living under lockdown, the...

Features

02.19.20

American Company Sold DNA Analysis Equipment to Security Officials in Xinjiang, Documents Show

Jessica Batke & Mareike Ohlberg
In 2015, the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Public Security Bureau announced it planned to purchase equipment from the U.S.-based biotechnology company Promega for the purpose of analyzing DNA and adding it to a national database,...

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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