• Aamir Qureshi—AFP/Getty Images

    “There Is No CPEC in Gwadar, Except Security Check Posts”

    China’s Trade Route through Pakistan Promised Investment but Faces Regional Backlash

    Akbar Notezai

    The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is one of the major spokes of Beijing’s multi-trillion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an ambitious attempt to remake global trade and transport infrastructure. CPEC’s terminus is Gwadar, a port city in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, near the Iranian border. The plan for CPEC is to connect Gwadar with Xinjiang, the enormous “Uyghur Autonomous Region,” through a network of highways, railways, and pipelines. CPEC would boost trade between... Read full story>>

  • Wang Zhao—AFP/Getty Images

    “When It All Comes down to It, China Has No Real ‘New Year’”

    Translated and Annotated by Geremie R. Barmé

    Li Chengpeng & Geremie R. Barmé

    I’ve written all of this because friends urged me to offer some reflections on the year gone by and jot down a few thoughts for the upcoming year. But I didn’t want to waste my time looking up data points. Anyway, I don’t see that there was all that much difference between 1949 and 1979, nor for that matter can I detect how 1962 and 2022 were different. Read full story>>

  • (AFP/Getty Images)

    It’s Grim out There: China’s Economy in the Year of the Dragon

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Anne Stevenson-Yang, Zongyuan Zoe Liu & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    Some observers have been predicting an economic collapse in China for decades. Others have long predicted that China would be stuck in a middle-income trap or some other type of economic stagnation. Might some of these predictions come true this time? What does the Year of the Dragon have in store for consumers, companies, and markets? What should we look out for this year to understand both China’s real economy and its financial sector? Read full story>>

  • Wang Zhao—AFP/Getty Images

    What Will Newly Increased Party Control Mean for China’s Universities?

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Sun Peidong, Daniel A. Bell & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    In January, Radio Free Asia reported that the Chinese Communist Party is “taking a direct role in the running of universities across the country” by merging the presidents’ offices with their Party committees. Ideological controls on universities have been tightening for more than a decade. But this latest move may be even more dramatic: Although all universities have Party branches and committees, the Party has never directly controlled administrative offices. How are China’s universities... Read full story>>

  • Mark Ralston—AFP/Getty Images

    New Security Measures Curtailing the Study of China Alarm Educators

    Jordyn Haime

    Late last year, The New York Times reported on a new state-level bill in Florida that was creating unintended consequences for prospective Chinese graduate students. The bill restricts universities from accepting grants from or participating in partnerships with seven “countries of concern,” including China. Now, it is creating confusion among Florida universities unsure where Chinese graduate students fall under the confines of that law. It may have already succeeded in scaring off talented... Read full story>>

  • Kevin Frayer—Getty Images

    “It’s Too Convenient to Say That Xi Jinping Is a Second Mao”

    A Q&A with Chun Han Wong

    Nick Frisch & Chun Han Wong

    The Chinese Communist Party, an organization of over ninety million members, remains opaque to many outsiders, even within China. Wall Street Journal reporter Chun Han Wong spent years in Beijing documenting social, political, and economic changes as General Secretary Xi Jinping consolidated his power over the Party and country. Last year, Wong published Party of One, a portrait of the organization that rules China, and the man who rose to its top. Xi emerges in the book as a prisoner of the... Read full story>>

  • Isaac Lawrence—AFP/Getty Images

    Beijing Is Pouring Resources into Its UN Human Rights Review—All to Prevent Any Real Review from Taking Place

    Sophie Richardson & Rana Siu Inboden

    On January 23, a large delegation of Chinese officials will appear at the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) to try to defend the indefensible. For the first time since 2018, China will undergo a Universal Periodic Review (UPR), in which UN member states evaluate one another’s human rights records. When Xi Jinping took power just over a decade ago, China was already an authoritarian, one-party state, but since then he has tightened control so severely that persecution of dissidents and... Read full story>>

Recent Stories

Viewpoint

01.22.24

Beijing Is Pouring Resources into Its UN Human Rights Review—All to Prevent Any Real Review from Taking Place

Sophie Richardson & Rana Siu Inboden
On January 23, a large delegation of Chinese officials will appear at the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) to try to defend the indefensible. For the first time since 2018, China will undergo a Universal Periodic Review (UPR), in which UN...

Conversation

01.20.24

Managing the Taiwan Election Aftermath

Ryan Hass, Yu-Jie Chen & more
Lai Ching-te is now president-elect of Taiwan, after a hard-fought race in which Beijing made its preference for his opponents clear. Lai is an outspoken advocate for Taiwan’s sovereignty, though he has said he wants to keep the status quo with...

Updates to Our Database of Arrests under the Hong Kong National Security Law

We updated our suite of graphics tracking the impact of Hong Kong’s National Security Law. The law, which went into effect on June 30, 2020, and the allegation of “sedition,” have been used to arrest 286 individuals, charge 156, and convict 68 as of...

Viewpoint

12.20.23

Debating Whether China Is Getting Stronger or Weaker Won’t Make U.S. Policy More Sound

Ali Wyne
Does the United States have more to fear from a powerful China that continues to strengthen or from a powerful China that begins to decline? While the question takes into account the economic, military, and diplomatic strides China has made over the...

Viewpoint

12.20.23

Hong Kong Finds Its Voice at the UN—And Uses It to Cheerlead for Beijing

Anouk Wear
Last May, in a meeting room at the United Nations in Geneva, I sat and listened as a delegate from my hometown of Hong Kong called me a liar. I was there as a representative from the civil society organization Hong Kong Watch, participating in a...

Viewpoint

12.15.23

Does America Have an End Game on China?

Zack Cooper from Foreign Policy
This fall, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan noted that the Biden administration is “often asked about the end state of U.S. competition with China.” He argued that “we do not expect a transformative end state like the one that resulted...

Media

11.01.23

ChinaFile Presents: China Reporting in Exile

Annie Jieping Zhang, Li Yuan & more
ChinaFile and The New York Review of Books co-hosted a panel discussion with Chinese journalists working from abroad. Participants included reporter, editor, and digital media entrepreneur Annie Jieping Zhang, New York Times columnist Li Yuan,...

Features

09.28.23

Holding Sway

Jessica Batke
In most parts of the world, the United Front Work Department is known—if at all—as a secretive Chinese Communist Party organ conducting influence operations abroad. But in Gonghe Village, the local UFWD ponied up nearly one million renminbi in 2022...

Explore the Site

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'...

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}

Notes from ChinaFile

Updates to Our Database of Arrests under the Hong Kong National Security Law

We updated our suite of graphics tracking the impact of Hong Kong’s National Security Law. The law, which went into effect on June 30, 2020, and the allegation of “sedition,” have been used to arrest 286 individuals, charge 156, and convict 68 as of...

For China’s Urban Residents, the Party-State Is Closer than Ever

Jessica Batke & Taisu Zhang
In a recent working paper, scholars Yutian An and Taisu Zhang argue that local urban governments in China emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic with far more muscle and clout than they have ever had before. Unlike in the past several decades, the sub-...