• Hakim S. Hayat—AFP via Getty Images

    Three Questions for China’s Neighbors

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Richard J. Heydarian, Nirupama Rao & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    “China was, is, and will always be a good neighbor,” China’s leader Xi Jinping told ASEAN representatives in a November 2021 virtual meeting, after a series of conflicts over Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea had raised tensions. But China’s neighbors aren’t always so sure, in an era of growing Chinese assertiveness under Xi’s leadership. China remains the top trading partner throughout much of Asia, but many individual Asian states seek to counterbalance China’s influence... Read full story>>

  • Patrick Wack

    Vanishing Point

    Patrick Wack’s Photographs of Xinjiang

    Patrick Wack

    The French photographer Patrick Wack first traveled to Xinjiang in 2016. The pictures he made during those visits to Xinjiang between 2016 and 2019 document both the changes wrought by the government campaign of cultural and political repression of the region’s primarily Muslim ethnic minorities, and Wack’s own “brutal” realization that working in Xinjiang wouldn’t be the escape from China’s politics he had craved. Read full story>>

  • (AFP—Getty Images)

    Chinese Medicine in the Covid Wards

    Ian Johnson via New York Review of Books

    In mid-February 2020, during the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, Liu Lihong, a slight man with a wispy beard, made his way into Hankou Hospital No. 8 in Wuhan. Dressed in an all-white infectious disease suit, the only equipment he carried was a small box of acupuncture needles. Read full story>>

  • Isaac Lawrence—AFP/Getty Images

    Hong Kong’s National Security Law Made Amnesty International’s Departure All But Inevitable

    William Nee

    The human rights violations being committed now under the National Security Law only demonstrate China’s decision to drift further away from compliance with international human rights law. Rather, the NSL’s claim to global jurisdiction signals an increased willingness to engage in counterattacks against critics and to undermine the international human rights system. Amnesty’s departure from Hong Kong will have fall-out far beyond the mere absence of the group on the ground. In the fragile,... Read full story>>

  • (AFP/Getty Images)

    When Will China Get off Coal?

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Lauri Myllyvirta, Alex Wang & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    As China looks to meet its energy demands, there has been a rush for coal, with prices hitting record highs in October. Despite pledges by Beijing to pull back from fossil fuels, the power crisis has exposed shortfalls in the country’s ability to meet its manufacturing needs. Can China ever hope to meet its energy needs without relying on dangerous fossil fuels? What are the implications for the global effort to combat climate change? Read full story>>

  • Noel Celis—AFP/Getty Images

    The CCP’s Culture of Fear

    Perry Link via New York Review of Books

    One way to measure China’s urge to transform itself is to note how often the word new has been used by Chinese leaders. In 1902, the concept of the “new citizen” took hold in Liang Qichao’s New Citizen Journal. 20 years later, the May Fourth Movement came to be known as the New Culture Movement. In 1934, Chiang Kai-shek launched his New Life Movement. The Communist takeover in 1949 was the advent of New China, and the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s touted a “new socialist man.” After Mao... Read full story>>

  • Greg Baker—AFP/Getty Images

    Tightening Up

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Xibai Xu, Jude Blanchette & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    In what many observers have termed a “regulatory crackdown,” a wave of new legal restrictions and bans on business, technology, and entertainment has broken across China over the past several months, with what appears to be escalating velocity and force. Their rapid enactment has led many analysts—including those connected to the Chinese state—to view them as part of a single campaign. What is the best way to understand the connections among these new strictures? How do they relate to Xi... Read full story>>

Recent Stories

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'...

Features

05.03.21

New Data Show Hong Kong’s National Security Arrests Follow a Pattern

Lydia Wong & Thomas Kellogg
In the nine months since the Hong Kong National Security Law was passed, more than 90 people have been arrested under the new legislation. Though they have been charged with various breaches of national security ranging from inciting secession to...

Features

10.30.20

State of Surveillance

Jessica Batke & Mareike Ohlberg
Across China, in its most crowded cities and tiniest hamlets, government officials are on an unprecedented surveillance shopping spree. The coordination of the resulting millions of cameras and other snooping technology spread across the country...

Features

12.21.20

Pretty Lady Cadres

Shen Lu
In early February, at the beginning of the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 virus in China, Wang Fang, a local Communist Party secretary, was working around the clock. As an official responsible for 19,000 residents of a neighborhood in the city of...

Features

12.20.20

Message Control

Jessica Batke & Mareike Ohlberg
Li Wenliang’s death had only been announced a few hours earlier, but Warming High-Tech was already on the case. The company had been monitoring online mentions of the COVID-whistleblower’s name in the several days since police had detained and...

Viewpoint

09.09.21

A Farewell to My Students

Xu Zhangrun & Geremie R. Barmé
Xu Zhangrun addresses this letter to the students and young scholars who participated in “The Three Talents Salon” which Xu founded in 2003, a biannual symposium devoted to fostering “three talents” or skills in the participants: in-depth reading,...

Features

10.15.21

ChinaFile Presents: In the Camps—China’s High-Tech Penal Colony

Darren Byler, Susan Jakes & more
Darren Byler joined ChinaFile’s Susan Jakes and Jessica Batke to discuss his new book, In the Camps: China’s High-Tech Penal Colony. Evidence has mounted in recent years that China’s government has incarcerated more than one million Uyghurs and...

Excerpts

10.06.21

The Man Behind Xi Jinping’s Foreign Policy

Peter Martin
The daunting task of keeping up with Xi Jinping’s foreign policy ambitions fell to Wang Yi. Born in Beijing in 1953, the same year as Xi, Wang also spent a good chunk of his adolescence as a “sent down” youth during the Cultural Revolution, when he...

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

10.24.19

Rebranding China

Xiaoyu Pu
Stanford University Press: China is intensely conscious of its status, both at home and abroad. This concern is often interpreted as an undivided desire for higher standing as a global leader. Yet, Chinese political elites heatedly debate the nation’s role as it becomes an increasingly important player in international affairs. At times, China positions itself not as a nascent global power but as a fragile developing country. Contradictory posturing makes decoding China’s foreign policy a challenge, generating anxiety and uncertainty in many parts of the world. Using the metaphor of “rebranding” to understand China’s varying displays of status, Xiaoyu Pu analyzes a rising China’s challenges and dilemmas on the global stage.As competing pressures mount across domestic, regional, and international audiences, China must pivot between different representational tactics. Rebranding China demystifies how the state represents its global position by analyzing recent military transformations, regional diplomacy, and international financial negotiations. Drawing on a sweeping body of research, including original Chinese sources and interdisciplinary ideas from sociology, psychology, and international relations, this book puts forward a framework for interpreting China’s foreign policy.{chop}

Books

02.05.20

The Scientist and the Spy

Mara Hvistendahl
Penguin Random House: A riveting true story of industrial espionage in which a Chinese-born scientist is pursued by the U.S. government for trying to steal trade secrets, by a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction.In September 2011, sheriff’s deputies in Iowa encountered three ethnic Chinese men near a field where a farmer was growing corn seed under contract with Monsanto. What began as a simple trespassing inquiry mushroomed into a two-year FBI operation in which investigators bugged the men’s rental cars, used a warrant intended for foreign terrorists and spies, and flew surveillance planes over corn country—all in the name of protecting trade secrets of corporate giants Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer. Hvistendahl gives a gripping account of this unusually far-reaching investigation, which pitted a veteran FBI special agent against Florida resident Robert Mo, who after his academic career foundered took a questionable job with the Chinese agricultural company DBN and became a pawn in a global rivalry.Industrial espionage by Chinese companies lies beneath the United States’ recent trade war with China, and it is one of the top counterintelligence targets of the FBI. But a decade of efforts to stem the problem have been largely ineffective. Through previously unreleased FBI files and her reporting from across the United States and China, Hvistendahl describes a long history of shoddy counterintelligence on China, much of it tinged with racism, and questions the role that corporate influence plays in trade secrets theft cases brought by the U.S. government.{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...