• Kevin Frayer—Getty Images

    How Should the U.S. Respond to China’s Military-Civil Fusion Strategy?

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Elsa Kania, Tai Ming Cheung & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    During Donald Trump’s presidency, the term “military-civil fusion” (MCF) came to feature prominently in U.S. officials’ characterizations of their concerns about China. While efforts to integrate China’s civilian and defense economies have been a goal of China’s leaders for decades, Xi Jinping has elevated MCF as a priority and has expanded, intensified, and accelerated the effort across multiple domains, including to concentrate on more integrated development of emerging technologies. This... Read full story>>

  • Wang Zhao—AFP/Getty Images

    A Letter to My Editors and to China’s Censors

    An Excerpt from ‘Ten Letters from a Plague Year,’ by Xu Zhangrun, Translated and Annotated by Geremie R. Barmé

    Xu Zhangrun & Geremie R. Barmé

    Xu Zhangrun, perhaps China’s most famous dissident legal scholar, released a letter addressed not only to China’s censors but also to the editors and publishers with whom he had worked for decades. That essay, translated below, is Letter Eight in his ‘Ten Letters from a Year of Plague,’ a collection that, read as a whole, is an account of the persecution he has suffered since he published a fierce point-by-point appraisal of the Xi Jinping era and warned of the calamities that lay ahead. The... Read full story>>

  • Nicolas Asfouri—AFP/Getty Images

    Ahead of Its Centennial, the Chinese Communist Party Frets Over Unsanctioned Takes on Its History

    Hans van de Ven

    On July 1, the Chinese Communist Party will commemorate its founding in Shanghai one hundred years ago. Unsurprisingly, Beijing is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that nothing untoward takes place in the run-up to the great day. On April 9, the Reporting Center for Illegal and Unhealthy Information, a division of the Cyberspace Administration, which oversees and regulates China’s Internet, announced that it had launched a new facility on its portal to fight “historical nihilism.” Chinese... Read full story>>

  • Lintao Zhang—Getty Images

    What Should China Do about Its Aging Population?

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Wang Feng, Karen Thornber & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    Though it has yet to be released, China’s latest ten-year census is certain to confirm what demographers have warned of for years: A labor crisis looms as the fertility rate remains low and the country ages at a dangerous speed. Five years after the country reversed its one-child policy to allow—and encourage—couples to to have two children, there is little to suggest it has had the intended effect. While the fertility rate increased slightly the year after the new policy went into effect, it... Read full story>>

  • Anthony Kwan—Getty Images

    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 terrorism, their primary crime appears to be peaceful criticism of the government. A closer look at the arrests under the NSL or conducted by the newly-created National Security Department of the Hong Kong Police paints a clearer picture of how... Read full story>>

  • Anthony Kwan—Getty Images

    ‘I Stand the Law’s Good Servant, but the People’s First’

    Former Legislator Margaret Ng’s Statement at Her Sentencing Hearing for Unlawful Assembly in Hong Kong

    Margaret Ng

    Former legislator and prominent lawyer Margaret Ng was given a suspended sentence of 12 months. In her sentencing statement, which she read out in open court, Ng recounted her career in law and politics, interweaving her own story with the decades-long fight for democracy and the rule of law in Hong Kong. As Ng noted, she had been part of an abortive effort more than two decades earlier to reform the very law—the colonial-era Public Order Ordinance—that the Hong Kong government used to... Read full story>>

  • Ethan Mille—Getty Images

    The Right Way to Bring Chinese STEM Talent Back to the U.S.

    Evan Burke

    The Trump administration deployed a raft of restrictions on international students and workers, many of which directly targeted or disproportionally impacted Chinese STEM talent. While some measures had a basis in legitimate concerns like illicit technology transfer, they were often far broader than necessary, contributing to a more difficult environment for Chinese nationals in the U.S. and unduly harming U.S. companies and universities that rely on Chinese talent. To preserve American... Read full story>>

  • (Bloomberg/Contributor/Getty Images)

    ‘Because There Were Cameras, I Didn’t Ask Any Questions’

    Chinese Government Documents Provide New Details on a Small Xinjiang Town’s Extensive System of Surveillance

    Darren Byler

    Sometime in the summer of 2019, Vera Zhou, a young college student from the University of Washington, forgot to pretend that she was from the non-Muslim majority group in China, the Han. At a checkpoint at the mall, she put her ID on the scanner and looked into the camera. Immediately, an alarm sounded and the guards manning the equipment pulled her aside. That was when she remembered that when she ventured outside the jurisdiction of her police precinct she should pretend that she had... Read full story>>

Recent Stories

How Has the U.S.-China Relationship Changed under Biden?

Paul Haenle & Kate Magill from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
As President Biden wraps up his first 100 days in office, there remain significant questions surrounding the future of U.S.-China ties. How has the bilateral relationship changed? Will the Biden administration maintain the Trump administration’s...

China-Russia Relations at the Dawn of the Biden Era

Paul Haenle, Andrew S. Weiss & more from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
While U.S.-China and U.S.-Russia relations have steadily deteriorated, China-Russia cooperation has continued to strengthen. Although both nations have found a common adversary in the United States, any divergence of Russian or Chinese interests...

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...

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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