Chinese Society 'Very Fragile,' Warns Dissident Artist Ai Weiwei

Mick Krever
CNN
Suffocated by censorship, Chinese society is "very fragile," warned dissident artist Ai Weiwei on Thursday...

For the First Time Ever, China’s Communist Party Is Openly Questioning Its Legitimacy

Zheping Huang
Quartz
China’s Communist Party invited political figures and academics to attend a meeting in Beijing. 

Caixin Media

09.08.15

Amnesty As a Stepping Stone to Rule of Law

A recent amnesty declaration affecting convicted criminals deemed no threat to society was a poignant reminder of China’s tradition of prudent punishment, support for human rights, and progress toward of rule of law.The recent decision by the...

South Africa’s Inexplicable Love Affair with China

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
While the recent economic turmoil in China is prompting a number of African countries to reconsider their growing economic dependence on the People’s Republic of China, not so in South Africa. Both the government and the ruling African National...

Media

09.03.15

Who Is Xi Jinping? Introducing the Asia Society Podcast

Eric Fish from Asia Blog
Three years after Xi Jinping took control of China’s Communist Party and assumed the country’s leadership, he has emerged as one of the world’s most powerful people. But his tenure has also raised uncomfortable questions. Is he a reformer bent on...

For China, a Plunge and a Reckoning

Orville Schell
Wall Street Journal
Anyone trying to design an event to bring Xi Jinping’s China back to Earth couldn’t have engineered something much more elegant than the turmoil in China’s financial markets and the resulting global aftershocks. The upheaval is traumatic for China’s...

Reports

08.18.15

The Politburo’s Predicament

Freedom House
Drawing on an analysis of hundreds of official documents, censorship directives, and human rights reports, as well as some 30 expert interviews, the study finds that the overall degree of repression has increased under the new leadership. Of 17...

China: The Superpower of Mr. Xi

Roderick MacFarquhar from New York Review of Books
In the almost one-hundred-year existence of the Chinese Communist Party (C.C.P.), its current general secretary, Xi Jinping, is only the second leader clearly chosen by his peers. The first was Mao Zedong. Both men beat out the competition, and thus...

China’s Un-separation of Powers

Christopher K. Johnson and Scott Kennedy
Foreign Affairs
U.S. industry has figured out how to pull the levers of power in China but also points to a substantial change in how China is governed. In the past, there was at least some separation between party and government roles, but it seems that the line...

Confucius Says, Xi Does

Economist
Since he came to power in 2012, Mr Xi has sought to elevate Confucius—whom Mao vilified—as the grand progenitor of Chinese culture.

China Probes Senior Xinjiang Security Official For Graft

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
A deputy regional security chief and former head of the prison system, Xie Hui, in Xinjiang has been put under investigation for suspected corruption.

Conversation

07.21.15

Is China’s Reform Era Over and, If So, What’s Next?

Carl Minzner, Jeremy L. Wallace & more
Fordham Law School professor and regular ChinaFile contributor Carl Minzner says we've arrived at “China After the Reform Era,” a development that’s “not entirely bad” but also has a “dark side.” Minzner’s conclusions, excerpted below, come...

Understanding Xi Jinping’s ‘Key Minority’

Lu Yiyi
Wall Street Journal
Xi’s renewed attention to the performance of county leaders shows that he is relying on local officials to play a pivotal role in implementing his program.

One-Time Aide to China’s Ex-President Accused of Corruption

CNN
Party investigators accuse Ling Jihua, 58, once aide to former President Hu Jintao, of accepting bribes and illegally obtaining party and state secrets.

Features

06.16.15

Does Xi Jinping Represent a Return to the Mao Era?

Andrew G. Walder, Roderick MacFarquhar & more
Following is an edited transcript of a live event hosted at Asia Society New York on May 21, 2015, “ChinaFile Presents: Does Xi Jinping Represent a Return to the Politics of the Mao Era?” The evening convened the scholars Roderick MacFarquhar and...

Breaking Beijing?

Lynette H. Ong
Foreign Affairs
The government's harsh crackdown could crack the regime...

Caixin Media

05.05.15

A Byronic Hero for China’s Supremo

A little known vignette about Xi Jinping’s fondness for Song Jiang, a fictional hero in the 14th century classic novel The Water Margin, gives a peek into the private thoughts of China’s most powerful man. For someone born with a red spoon in his...

Q. and A.: Francis Fukuyama on China's Political Development

New York Times
Stanford historian argues an effective political system has to balance state capacity against rule of law and democracy.

Why Do the Chinese Hack? Fear

Enrique Oti
War on the Rocks
To ensure its survival, the Chinese Communist Party has decided that it must control the Internet. 

Viewpoint

04.10.15

Bury Zhao Ziyang, and Praise Him

Julian B. Gewirtz
Zhao Ziyang, the premier and general secretary of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the 1980s, died on January 17, 2005. At a tightly controlled ceremony designed to avoid the kind of instability that the deaths of other controversial...

Books

04.09.15

Revolutionary Cycles in Chinese Cinema, 1951-1979

Zhuoyi Wang
A comprehensive history of how the conflicts and balances of power in the Maoist revolutionary campaigns from 1951 to 1979 complicated and diversified the meanings of films, this book offers a discursive study of the development of early PRC cinema. Wang closely investigates how film artists, Communist Party authorities, cultural bureaucrats, critics, and audiences negotiated, competed, and struggled with each other for the power to decide how to use films and how their extensively different, agonistic, and antagonistic power strategies created an ever-changing discursive network of meaning in cinema. —Palgrave Macmillan{chop}

Born Red

New Yorker
How Xi Jinping, an unremarkable provincial administrator, became China’s most authoritarian leader since Mao.

Xi Jinping Forever

Willy Lam
Foreign Policy
Is China’s increasingly powerful president angling to break tradition and extend his rule indefinitely?

Viewpoint

04.01.15

China’s Government Is Serious About Fundamentally Reshaping Itself

Rebecca Liao
Respected China scholar David Shambaugh recently set off a firestorm among other China specialists when he predicted the collapse of China’s ruling Communist Party in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal. Beneath many of the arguments in his defense...

The Devil, or Mr Wang

Economist
China’s second most powerful leader is admired and feared. 

Is the Chinese Dragon Losing its Puff?

Peter Hartcher
Sydney Morning Herald

Q. and A.: David Shambaugh on the Risks to Chinese Communist Rule

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Shambaugh’s recent essay argued that the “endgame of Chinese communist rule has now begun.”

Shambaugh China Essay in Shambles

China Daily
Shambaugh's deep flaw is that he looked at China with a bias, completely ignoring the positive aspects...

Chinese Debate Potential Collapse of Communist Party

Joanna Chiu
Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Debate sparked by an essay by David Shambaugh, professor of international affairs at George Washington University.

Conversation

03.11.15

Is China Really Cracking Up?

Suisheng Zhao, Arthur R. Kroeber & more
On March 7, The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece by David Shambaugh arguing that “the endgame of Chinese communist rule has now begun...and it has progressed further than many think.” Shambaugh laid out a variety of signs he believes...

Conversation

02.12.15

Is Mao Still Dead?

Rebecca E. Karl, Michael Schoenhals & more
It has long been standard operating procedure for China’s leaders to pay tribute to Mao. Even as the People’s Republic he wrought has embraced capitalist behavior with ever more heated ardor, the party he founded has remained firmly in power and his...

Features

01.28.15

‘I Don’t Know Where Some Cadres Get Their Magical Powers’

Earlier this month, at the close of the Chinese Communist Party’s 5th Plenum, the official People’s Daily noted on its website that as this important agenda-setting meeting came to a close it was worth paying attention to the recent publication of a...

South Africa: China’s BFF in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
South Africa is emerging as one of China’s most important international partners as the relationship deepens across all levels. Economically, South Africa is the source of more Chinese investment than any other country on the continent. However,...

Reports

01.01.15

The Politburo’s Predicament

Sarah Cook
Freedom House
Drawing on an analysis of hundreds of official documents, censorship directives, and human rights reports, as well as some 30 expert interviews, the study finds that the overall degree of repression has increased under the new leadership. Of 17...

Viewpoint

12.16.14

Why Marx Still Matters: The Ideological Drivers of Chinese Politics

Rogier Creemers
In days of greater political brouhaha, “to go and see Marx” used to be a slang expression among Chinese Communists, to refer to death. More recently, a considerable number of commentators have pronounced the expiry of Marxism itself. China’s reform...

Viewpoint

12.11.14

Here Is Xi’s China: Get Used To It

Arthur R. Kroeber from China Economic Quarterly
The prevailing mood among China-watchers in 2014 was one of anxiety and skepticism. The year began in the shadow of Chinese assertiveness in the East and South China Seas. Economic concerns quickly took over: by February the property market seemed...

Media

12.08.14

Happy Friday, Zhou Yongkang

Alexa Olesen
Eight minutes after midnight on Friday, the axe fell on Zhou Yongkang: a terse news release from state-run Xinhua news agency said that China’s former security czar Zhou had been expelled from the Chinese Communist Party, his case handed over to...

Infographics

12.05.14

China’s Fallen Mighty [Graphic]

David M. Barreda, Youyou Zhou & more
Over the past thirty-eight years, twelve of China’s top leaders have been purged. This infographic and the bios of these leaders explain how and why these mighty men fell. Download the high-resolution graphic.

Features

12.05.14

China’s Fallen Mighty [Updated]

Ouyang Bin, Zhang Mengqi & more
Political infighting and purges have been hallmarks of the Chinese Communist Party since its earliest days but came to a peak during Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, damaging the country and paralyzing the Party itself. When Mao died in 1976, it...

‘China Strikes Back’: An Exchange

Perry Link & Orville Schell from New York Review of Books
Letters in response to: “China Strikes Back!” from the October 23, 2014 issue of The New York Review of Books.To the Editors:In “China Strikes Back” [NYR, October 23], Orville Schell sounds a much-needed wake-up call about China’s recent attitude...

Ten Fun and Fascinating Facts About Xi Jinping

Elizabeth Economy
Council on Foreign Relations
While I can’t do justice to all the material presented in Xi Jinping: The Goverance of China, here are some things I learned from reading through Xi’s musings and the musings of others about him.

Books

11.05.14

China 1945

Richard Bernstein
A riveting account of the watershed moment in America’s dealings with China that forever altered the course of East-West relations.As 1945 opened, America was on surprisingly congenial terms with China’s Communist rebels—their soldiers treated their American counterparts as heroes, rescuing airmen shot down over enemy territory. Chinese leaders talked of a future in which American money and technology would help lift China out of poverty. Mao Zedong himself held friendly meetings with U.S. emissaries, vowing to them his intention of establishing an American-style democracy in China.By year’s end, however, cordiality had been replaced by chilly hostility and distrust. Chinese Communist soldiers were setting ambushes for American marines in north China; Communist newspapers were portraying the United States as an implacable imperialist enemy; civil war in China was erupting. The pattern was set for a quarter century of almost total Sino-American mistrust, with the devastating wars in Korea and Vietnam among the consequences.Richard Bernstein here tells the incredible story of that year’s sea change, brilliantly analyzing its many components, from ferocious infighting among U.S. diplomats, military leaders, and opinion makers to the complex relations between Mao and his patron, Stalin.On the American side, we meet experienced “China hands” John Paton Davies and John Stewart Service, whose efforts at negotiation made them prey to accusations of Communist sympathy; FDR’s special ambassador Patrick J. Hurley, a decorated general and self-proclaimed cowboy; and Time journalist, Henry Luce, whose editorials helped turn the tide of American public opinion. On the Chinese side, Bernstein reveals the ascendant Mao and his intractable counterpart, Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek; and the indispensable Zhou Enlai.A tour de force of narrative history, China 1945 examines the first episode in which American power and good intentions came face-to-face with a powerful Asian revolutionary movement, and challenges familiar assumptions about the origins of modern Sino-American relations. —Knopf {chop}

Media

10.29.14

Foot Spas, Steamed Buns, and Midday Drinking

It may not be Monty Python’s famous “Ministry of Silly Walks,” but it’s close.The Office of Forbidding Midday Alcohol Consumption, a local government initiative in China’s southern Henan province which seeks to reduce alcohol consumption at...

China’s Assault on Corruption Enters Executive Suite

Lingling Wei and Bob Davis
Wall Street Journal
Communist Party leaders plan to slash the compensation of the top executives at China's largest state-owned companies over the next few months to make sure only those truly committed to the party run them...

China Began Push Against Hong Kong Elections in ’50s

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
Beginning in the 1950s, the colonial governors who ran Hong Kong repeatedly sought to introduce popular elections but abandoned those efforts in the face of pressure by Communist Party leaders in Beijing.

Conversation

10.17.14

Rule of Law—Why Now?

Ira Belkin, Donald Clarke & more
In a recent essay, “How China’s Leaders Will Rule on the Law,” Carl Minzner looks at the question of why China’s leaders have announced they will emphasize rule of law at the upcoming Chinese Communist Party plenum slated to take place in Beijing...

Media

10.15.14

Jiang Zemin Unplugged

Given the leadership styles of Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping, who have been China’s supreme leaders over the past twelve years, it is an almost shocking experience to look back at these two videos (the first of which circulated last week on social media...

Viewpoint

10.15.14

How China’s Leaders Will Rule on the Law

Carl Minzner
Last week, as the world watched the student demonstrations in Hong Kong, China’s Politburo announced the dates for the Communist Party’s annual plenary session would be from October 20-23. As in previous years, top leaders will gather in Beijing to...

Full Text of the Chinese Communist Party’s Message to Hong Kong

Nikhil Sonnad
Quartz
"Cherish Positive Growth: Defend Hong Kong’s Prosperity and Stability," People’s Daily, October 1, 2014, translated by Quartz...

Reports

10.01.14

Avoiding the Blind Alley: China’s Economic Overhaul and Its Global Implications

Daniel H. Rosen
Daniel H. Rosen
Asia Society
President Xi Jinping announced a sweeping overhaul for China’s economy in November 2013, with pledges to make market forces decisive, treat homegrown and foreign investors with the same laws and regulations, and change the mission statement of the...

Culture

09.23.14

Contact Lenses

Vera Tollmann
Will we all become “Chinese?” International New York Times correspondent Didi Kirsten Tatlow ironically asked recently. The question plays both on our fears over China’s economic power and on reflections on the NSA files released by Edward Snowden...

Media

09.12.14

A New Definition of Chinese Patriotism

Rachel Lu
China’s ruling Communist Party has a message for Chinese citizens: You are for us, or you are against us.That’s the takeaway from a widely discussed September 10 opinion piece in pro-party tabloid Global Times, in which Chen Xiankui, a professor at...

Books

09.02.14

Cities and Stability

Jeremy L. Wallace
China's management of urbanization is an under-appreciated factor in the regime's longevity. The Chinese Communist Party fears "Latin Americanization"—the emergence of highly unequal megacities with their attendant slums and social unrest. Such cities threaten the survival of nondemocratic regimes. To combat the threat, many regimes, including China's, favor cities in policymaking. Cities and Stability shows this "urban bias" to be a Faustian Bargain: cities may be stabilized for a time, but the massive in-migration from the countryside that results can generate the conditions for political upheaval. Through its hukou system of internal migration restrictions, China has avoided this dilemma, simultaneously aiding urbanites and keeping farmers in the countryside. The system helped prevent social upheaval even during the Great Recession, when tens of millions of laid-off migrant workers dispersed from coastal cities. Jeremy Wallace's powerful account forces us to rethink the relationship between cities and political stability throughout the developing world. —Oxford University Press {chop}

The War of Words in China

ANDREW JACOBS
New York Times
These are challenging days for foreigners in China, who in the past year or so have increasingly found themselves caught up in a war of words that paint Westerners as conscripts in the army of “hostile foreign forces” seeking to thwart China’s rise.

Sinica Podcast

08.02.14

The Rule of Law in China

Jeremy Goldkorn, David Moser & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Jeremy and David are joined by Donald Clarke, a professor at George Washington University where he specializes in Chinese law, for a discussion of what is happening with the Zhou Yongkang corruption scandal, as well as ongoing...

China Harasses U.S. Tech Companies

The New York Times Editorial Board
New York Times
China has opened what appear to be politically motivated antitrust investigations into American technology companies like Microsoft and Qualcomm. Foreign companies operating in the Communist country could be in for more intense harassment than ever...

Caixin Media

07.31.14

Ex-Politburo Members Accused of ‘Serious Discipline Violations’ Always Face Courts

After much speculation, the axe has finally fallen on Zhou Yongkang, the former public security chief and member of the Politburo Standing Committee, indicating the Communist Party’s campaign against corruption will grant no exceptions to the...

Media

07.30.14

Paper Tiger

Isaac Stone Fish & Rachel Lu
For 10 months, the fate of Zhou Yongkang existed in a space of plausible deniability. Respected Western media outlets had reported that the 71-year-old Zhou, a retired official who served as China's much-feared domestic security czar from 2007...

Media

07.30.14

Say It Ain’t So, Zhou

It was an exchange perfectly tailored for modern Chinese politics: alternately unscripted and cagey, chummy but laced with a hint of menace. At a Beijing press conference following a Chinese Communist Party meeting in early March, a reporter for...

China Puts Ex-Security Chief Zhou Yongkang Under Investigation

JEREMY PAGE, BRIAN SPEGELE and JAMES T...
Wall Street Journal
China launched a formal investigation into one of the Communist Party’s most senior figures, lifting a cloak of immunity that has shielded the country’s highest ranks for at least 25 years, in President Xi Jinping’s boldest move yet to solidify his...