• Ore Huiying

    A Border Town’s Second Gamble

    The First Stop in Laos on the New Railway from China, Boten Prepares for New Connections

    Ore Huiying & Wan Man

    Maxine greets us from her small apartment, decorated with flowers and a poster of herself. “If you ask me whether I feel like this is Laos or China, I feel like I’m living in China. There are so many Chinese people here,” she says as she brushes her long hair. Maxine, whose real name is Tong Tha, moved from Bangkok to the Laotian town of Boten a few years ago. She works at the Eccellente Cabaret in Boten, dancing with dozens of other transgender Thai performers who sing in Thai, Lao, and... Read full story>>

  • Kevin Frayer—Getty Images

    How Can the U.S. Maintain Global Leadership in Science and Technology?

    A ChinaFile Conversation

    Susan Shirk, Helen Toner & more via ChinaFile Conversation

    Among the central issues the incoming U.S. presidential administration will face as it formulates policy toward China is the interconnectedness between the two countries in the spheres of science and technology. U.S. concerns over national security, trade practices, intellectual property, espionage, transparency, and human rights all have contributed to calls for everything from a reassessment of the value of a global scientific commons to outright “decoupling” of scientific research and... Read full story>>

  • (Courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio)

    State of Surveillance

    Government Documents Reveal New Evidence on China’s Efforts to Monitor Its People

    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 remains partial at best, its efficacy uncertain. Yet, despite its limitations, surveillance in China differs dramatically in both execution and scale from its practice in other parts of the world. These are among the key findings of ChinaFile’s analysis... Read full story>>

Recent Stories

The Korean Peninsula after the U.S. Elections

Paul Haenle, Alexander Gabuev & more from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
The result of the upcoming U.S. presidential election will directly impact how the United States, China, and Russia approach issues on the Korean Peninsula. How would a second Trump or first Biden administration deal with North Korea? How do...

Conversation

10.16.20

A New Normal for U.S. China Policy?

Teng Biao, Isabel Hilton & more
After four years of Trump’s trade wars, withdrawal from international bodies, and xenophobic immigration policies, the United States has hit an apex of isolationism. Even if a new government steps in, however, it’s not altogether clear the U.S...

Viewpoint

09.10.20

In Defense of Diplomacy with China

James Green
Critics of the last four decades of China policy have incorrectly and simplistically labeled diplomacy a failure because the People’s Republic did not become a liberal democracy. That was never the goal or an achievable objective of U.S. policy. The...

Conversation

08.27.20

The Future of China Studies in the U.S.

Sheena Greitens, Rebecca E. Karl & more
As an extraordinarily fraught school year begins, the study of China on U.S. campuses (or their new virtual equivalents), as well as China’s role in university life more broadly, has recently become a subject of scrutiny and debate. What is the...

Viewpoint

08.27.20

When China Reporters Can’t Report from China

Matt DeButts
Shortly after midnight on March 18, a phone call awoke Steven Lee Myers in his Beijing apartment. The call was followed by a flurry of messages: WhatsApp, text, email. Friends and colleagues were asking him questions: What is going on? What does...

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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