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    Is Beijing Changing Tack on Big Tech?

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Rui Ma, Ruihan Huang & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    In recent weeks, news has emerged that China may be slowing its Big Tech regulations. On Tuesday, the CPPCC held a special meeting on the digital economy, with Vice Premier Liu He highlighting the need “to support the platform economy.” This followed similar statements in March, calling for regulators to adopt a “standardized, transparent, and predictable” model. And last month came a Politburo meeting in which leaders vowed support for the Internet economy. With China’s economy reeling amid... Read full story>>

  • Hector Retamal—AFP/Getty Images

    Shanghai’s Lockdown

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Kenton Thibaut, Guobin Yang & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    In late March, China started its largest lockdown in more than two years, with most of Shanghai’s 26 million residents confined to their homes in an effort to battle the rapid spread of Omicron. As of mid-April, 45 cities across the country were under some kind of lockdown. Though China’s overall vaccination rate is around 88 percent, just 80 percent of those over 60 had been fully vaccinated as of early April. It is clear the hard lockdowns have come with costs. In megacities like Shanghai,... Read full story>>

  • Olivier Matthys—AFP/Getty Images

    Europe’s China Policy Has Taken a Sharp Turn. Where Will It Go Next?

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Rogier Creemers, Una Aleksandra Bērziņa-Čerenkova & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    In their first such meeting in nearly two years, representatives of the European Union and Chinese government met on April 1 for a virtual summit. The conversations took place against the backdrop of not only unprecedented unity among the members of the 27-nation bloc in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but also a renewed closeness with the U.S. Both factors, on top of several years of cooling relations between Europe and China aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic and Beijing’s policies... Read full story>>

  • Noel Celis—AFP/Getty Images

    Closing the U.S. to Chinese Biotech Would Do Far More Harm Than Good

    Scott Moore & Abigail Coplin

    Biotechnology intrinsically blurs boundaries between science and commerce, market and state, the global and the national, and even personal privacy and collective interest. Progress depends more heavily in biotech than in other high-tech industries on knowledge networks and transnational collaboration, especially those that connect the United States and China. Read full story>>

  • Sébastien Thibault for Foreign Policy

    What Does Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine Mean for China-Russia Relations?

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Yun Sun, Philipp Ivanov & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    As Russia piles up casualties in Ukraine while its economy collapses at home, the democratic world appears—at least for now—more united than ever. Russian firms are scrambling to adjust to the country’s status as an international pariah, while big brands are withdrawing rapidly. But it is unclear just where China stands. Beijing is ardently proclaiming its neutrality, even as the U.S. claims it responded positively to requests for military aid and Chinese media promotes conspiracy theories... Read full story>>

  • Alex B. Huckle—Getty Images

    The Uncompromising Ai Weiwei

    Orville Schell via New York Review of Books

    As I read 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows, I felt as if I’d finally come upon the chronicle of modern China for which I’d been waiting since I first began studying this elusive country six decades ago. What makes this memoir so absorbing is that it traces China’s tumultuous recent history through the eyes of its most renowned 20th-century poet, Ai Qing, and his son, Ai Weiwei, now equally renowned in the global art world. It guides us from Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist era in the 1930s, through... Read full story>>

  • Anthony Kwan—Getty Images

    Arrest Data Show National Security Law Has Dealt a Hard Blow to Free Expression in Hong Kong

    Eric Yan-ho Lai & Thomas Kellogg

    On December 29, 2021, two hundred national security police officers raided a newspaper headquarters and arrested several individuals at various locations across Hong Kong. The exceptional number of police officers involved suggested those arrested were violent criminals, requiring extra force to apprehend. But the individuals in question were not international drug smugglers or terrorists. Rather, they were journalists and board members of Stand News, one of the city’s leading news websites... Read full story>>

  • Wang Jixian—YouTube

    Wang Jixian: A Voice from The Other China, but in Odessa

    Geremie R. Barmé

    “Hello, everyone. This is Jixian in Odessa. Just checking in to let you know that I’m okay; I’m still alive.” This is the way that Wang Jixian, a 37-year-old software engineer originally from Beijing, starts most of his daily vlog updates posted from Odessa, the third-largest city in Ukraine and a famous seaport located on the Black Sea. Wang started uploading short videos as the army of the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine. Read full story>>

Recent Stories



A Vast Network of ‘New Era Civilization Practice Centers’ Is Beijing’s Latest Bid to Reclaim Hearts and Minds

Jessica Batke
New Era Civilization Practice Centers are designed to deliver a mix of social services and political indoctrination, to draw China’s citizens ever nearer to the Party by giving them tangible reminders of the Party’s largesse and molding them into...



Remembering Jonathan Spence

Pamela Kyle Crossley, Sherman Cochran & more
A few weeks after Jonathan Spence, the celebrated historian of China, died at Christmas, ChinaFile began collecting reminiscences from his classmates, doctoral students, and colleagues spanning the five decades of his extraordinary career as a...



Verdicts from China’s Courts Used to Be Accessible Online. Now They’re Disappearing.

Luo Jiajun & Thomas Kellogg
Judicial transparency in China has taken a significant step backward in recent months. Beginning at least a year ago, China’s Supreme People’s Court has considerably scaled back the number of cases available on its China Judgments Online web portal...

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'...



Keeping the Flies Out

Anne Stevenson-Yang from Mekong Review
The first time I rode a public bus in China, in 1985, a young woman came up to me and ran her hand up and down my arm to feel the body hair. Foreigners were like rare animals then: precious, strange, probably dangerous. Surveillance was constant and...



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...



Pretty Lady Cadres

Jing Wang
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...



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...

Photography & Video

Photo Gallery


‘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...




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}



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}




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...



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...