• (Stringer—AFP/Getty Images)

    Thanks to a County in Utah, Same-Sex Couples Can Get Married—In China

    Zhijun Hu

    When Juying attended her son Yangming’s wedding this summer, she was not in a banquet hall or a church but in her apartment. On Zoom, she watched Yangming—3,000 kilometers away in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou—stand next to his husband-to-be, Zhu, in their living room decorated with balloons for the occasion.Juying was joyous to see her child grow up to wed, but she was also pained. “When I thought about how their marriage would not be recognized in China today,” Juying told me, “I... Read full story>>

  • Nicolas Asfouri—AFP/Getty Images

    Elections? No Thank You. Performance Reviews? Maybe.

    Leaders at All Levels of China’s Government Seek Feedback through Public Opinion Polling

    Jessica Batke

    In recent years, both Chinese state and Communist Party organizations have fielded thousands of public opinion polls, on subjects ranging from hospital services, to rural revitalization, to food safety. Yet, much of the information gleaned from these surveys remains inaccessible to anyone else. And, since the mid-2010s, non-governmental entities, particularly foreign ones, have found it increasingly difficult to conduct their own surveys in China. Read full story>>

  • Jade Gao—AFP/Getty Images

    New Export Controls on Chinese Semiconductors May Prove Self-Defeating

    Sam Bresnick & Nathaniel Sher

    New restrictions are not only likely unnecessary, they may ultimately prove self-defeating. Overly zealous controls that limit older semiconductor equipment sales to China will inflict collateral damage on American, and potentially international, semiconductor firms, and may not significantly damage Chinese firms’ ability to innovate. So rather than enacting blanket bans on existing chipmaking technologies, the United States should focus on pushing the technological frontier forward. Read full story>>

  • ChinaFile Presents: Surveillance State—Inside China’s Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control

    Josh Chin, Liza Lin & more

    Wall Street Journal reporters Josh Chin and Liza Lin discussed their new book with ChinaFile Senior Editor Jessica Batke and Arthur Ross Director of Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations Orville Schell. Surveillance State: Inside China’s Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control explores the political and social control the Chinese Communist Party is building by collecting and harnessing personal data from facial recognition, personal genomes, digital footprints, AI, and other forms... Read full story>>

  • Sam Yeh—AFP/Getty Images

    International Order and Disorder

    A China in the World Podcast

    Paul Haenle & Anja Manuel via Carnegie China

    The international order is shifting. Besides COVID-19 and supply chain disruptions, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to major crises that threaten global stability. While the European Union, the United States, and their allies and partners struggle to preserve peace in Europe, tensions are rising across the globe in the Taiwan Strait. To what degree has the world order shifted in 2022? How might the United States respond to intensifying challenges from Russia and China? How can the United... Read full story>>

  • Chris McGrath—Getty Images

    Hong Kong from the Inside

    Ian Johnson via New York Review of Books

    In November 2019, some one thousand young pro-democracy protesters occupied the campus of Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University, which is located at a crucial junction of two highways and the cross-harbor tunnel. They disrupted traffic for more than a week, trying to pressure the government to investigate police misconduct during large-scale protests earlier in the year. On November 17, they repulsed police efforts to storm the campus. The police threatened to use live ammunition but decided to... Read full story>>

  • Olufemi Lawal

    Forbidden Writer

    An Interview with Author Yan Lianke

    Brian Haman via Mekong Review

    From his humble beginnings as a propaganda writer, Yan Lianke has gone on to become among China’s most controversial writers—one whose work is frequently censored for its focus on the lives of those devastated by Beijing’s policies. “When people are dreamwalking,” he writes in The Day the Sun Died (2015), “they see only the people and things they care about, and it is as if nothing else exists.” Read full story>>

  • Ren Yong—SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

    Could China’s Very Hot Summer Revive Action on Climate Change?

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Ilaria Mazzocco, Lauri Myllyvirta & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    For more than two months, China—along with the rest of the globe—has been struggling with extreme heat and severe droughts. Hundreds of cities are facing temperatures in the 90s and higher, and Beijing last month issued its first nationwide drought warning in nearly a decade. In terms of area spanned, the heatwave has set a global record. As in summers past, the severe heat has led to spikes in energy use which economists warn will likely lead to supply chain snarls. In Sichuan province, many... Read full story>>

Recent Stories

08.08.22

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...

Culture

08.15.22

Hong Kong Type

Wong Yi from Mekong Review
Over the past few years, readers, writers, and publishers in Hong Kong have become interested in the city’s history. New books about colonial figures, societal events, and relics not covered in textbooks have proliferated, dominating independent...

Excerpts

09.06.22

The American-Trained Rocket Scientist Who Shaped China’s Surveillance System

Josh Chin & Liza Lin
The role Qian Xuesen would play in propelling China into a technological and ideological clash with the United States seems almost fated in retrospect. Born in Hangzhou in 1911, the year China’s last dynasty crumbled, Qian had traveled to the United...

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'...

Postcard

07.25.22

Norma in Kaohsiung

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...

Features

08.04.22

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

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...
06.21.22

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

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...

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...