Conversation

07.24.14

Alibaba: How Big a Deal Is It?

David Wolf & Duncan Clark
When Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba goes public some time after Labor Day it is expected be one the largest initial public offerings in history. This week, a story in The New York Times shed light on ties between Alibaba and the sons and grandsons...

Beijing Has Top-Secret View of China’s Employment

ALEX FRANGOS
Wall Street Journal
China’s government knows something investors don’t—well, a lot of things actually. But that is especially true when it comes to the country’s labor market.

Books

07.23.14

The New Emperors

Kerry Brown
How does one become the leader of the world's newest superpower? And who holds the real power in the Chinese system? China has become the powerhouse of the world economy and home to one in five of the world's population, yet we know almost nothing of the people who lead it. In The New Emperors, the noted China expert Kerry Brown journeys deep into the heart of the Communist Party. China's system might have its roots in peasant rebellion but it is now firmly under the control of a power-conscious Beijing elite, almost half of whose members are related directly to former senior Party leaders. Brown reveals the intrigue, scandal, and murder surrounding the internal battle raging between two China's: one founded by Mao on Communist principles, and a modern China in which 'to get rich is glorious.' At the center of it all sits the latest Party Secretary, Xi Jinping—the son of a revolutionary, with links both to big business and to the People's Liberation Army. His rise to power is symbolic of the new dragons leading the world's next superpower. —I.B. Tauris {chop}

Market Reforms, Fight against Corruption Go Hand in Hand, Expert Says

Zhou Dongxu
Peking University’s Li Chengyan argues the party is taking a two-pronged approach to reform, and institutional changes at local level will help make anti-graft campaign’s gains permanent.

Note to Cadres: Hands Off the Black Audi and Chauffeur

CHRIS BUCKLEY
New York Times
Can you take away that ultimate perk of the respectable cadre—the black car with intimidatingly tinted windows, an equally intimidating medley of official insignia, passes and a faithful driver? We’re about to find out.

China’s Campaign Against Corruption Is Huge. Will It Do Any Good?

Hannah Beech
Time
President Xi has netted more “tigers,” or top-level officials, than his predecessor Hu Jintao did during his entire decade in power.

China Requires 30% of State Cars Use Alternative Energy

Alexandra Ho
Bloomberg
China is mandating that electric cars make up at least 30 percent of government vehicle purchases by 2016, the latest measure to fight pollution and cut energy use after exempting the autos from a purchase tax.

Infographics

07.03.14

Spoils of the ‘Tiger’ Hunt

David M. Barreda & Yan Cong
The Chinese Communist Party announced the expulsion from its ranks of Xu Caihou, who before his retirement in 2012 was one of the highest ranking officers in the People’s Liberation Army. He also became the highest-ranking member of the Chinese...

‘There Are No Rules in China’

Alexa Olesen
Foreign Policy
When dissident author Murong Xuecun returns home, he says he will tell Beijing authorities they can come and get him.

Top China Military Official General Xu Caihou Accused

BBC
One of China's most senior military officials has been accused of accepting bribes and expelled from the Communist Party, state media report.

China's Clampdown on ‘Evil Cults’

Murong Xuecun
New York Times
The government’s anti-religion campaign is not borne of concern for public security stemming from a horrific murder. This is a concerted effort to bring independent churches and their followers into line.

As China’s Leader Fights Graft, His Relatives Shed Assets

Michael Forsythe
New York Times
As President Xi Jinping prepares to tackle what may be the biggest cases of official corruption in more than six decades of Communist Party rule, new evidence suggests that he has been pushing his own family to sell hundreds of millions of dollars...

China Arrests Rights Lawyer Who Fought Labor Camps

Gillian Wong
ABC
The dramatic turnaround of Pu Zhiqiang highlights the thin line that activist lawyers often find themselves having to walk if they seek to drum up public support for causes that embarrass the ruling Communist Party: success can come at great...

The Tanks and the People

Liao Yiwu from New York Review of Books
Twenty-five years ago, before the Tiananmen massacre, my father told me: “Son, be good and stay at home, never provoke the Communist Party.”My father knew what he was talking about. His courage had been broken, by countless political campaigns...

Features

05.27.14

China’s Experiment with Deliberative Democracy

Rebecca Liao
Chinese pro-democracy protests begun in the late spring of 1989 led to the brutal military suppression on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square 25 years ago this June 4. Around the world, discussions of the events of that spring have been well underway for...

Books

05.22.14

Age of Ambition

Evan Osnos
From abroad, we often see China as a caricature: a nation of pragmatic plutocrats and ruthlessly dedicated students destined to rule the global economy—or an addled Goliath, riddled with corruption and on the edge of stagnation. What we don’t see is how both powerful and ordinary people are remaking their lives as their country dramatically changes.As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos was on the ground in China for years, witness to profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval. In Age of Ambition, he describes the greatest collision taking place in that country: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party’s struggle to retain control. He asks probing questions: Why does a government with more success lifting people from poverty than any civilization in history choose to put strict restraints on freedom of expression? Why do millions of young Chinese professionals—fluent in English and devoted to Western pop culture—consider themselves “angry youth,” dedicated to resisting the West’s influence? How are Chinese from all strata finding meaning after two decades of the relentless pursuit of wealth?Writing with great narrative verve and a keen sense of irony, Osnos follows the moving stories of everyday people and reveals life in the new China to be a battleground between aspiration and authoritarianism, in which only one can prevail. —Farrar, Straus, and Giroux {chop}

Don’t Call Me Dude, Boss or Bro. It’s Comrade to You

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
A new notice demands greater “naming discipline” from party members and officials, warning that using “vulgar” terms of address in the workplace was “wrecking inner-party democracy.” 

Young Party Members ‘Top Earners’

Li Jing
South China Morning Post
 Survey of China's 'post-80s' generation finds high pay tied to official status inside the Chinese Communist Party.

China Could Become the World’s Largest Christian Country

Joshua Keating
Slate
China likely already has more Protestants—an estimated 58 million—than South Africa or Brazil, major centers of evangelical revival,  and 67 million Christians in all—larger than the total population of France. More people go to...

Viewpoint

04.20.14

The Specter of June Fourth

Perry Link
If yesterday was typical, about 1,400 children in Africa died of malaria. It is a preventable, treatable disease, and the young victims lost their lives through no faults of their own. Why it is that human beings accept a fact like this as an...

The Mystery Shrouding China’s Communist Party Suicides

Russell Leigh Moses
Wall Street Journal
At least 54 Chinese officials died of “unnatural causes” in 2013, and that more than 40 percent of those deaths were suicides.

Can Forbidden Rules Teach Officials How to Behave?

Wang Wenwen
Global Times
A Sichuan newspaper listed "ten forbidden behaviors" for officials—such as don't talk to the public with hands behind your back and don't ask others to carry the suitcase for you. 

Media

04.11.14

Is Jesus Really Hotter Than Mao on China’s Social Media?

It’s easier to talk about Jesus than Chinese President and Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping on Weibo, China’s massive Twitter-like social media platform.The atheist Chinese Communist Party, known for its sometimes heavy-handed policies...

Infographics

03.20.14

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

Isaac Stone Fish & David M. Barreda from EG365
The greatest unsolved mystery in China right now is not the disappearance of Malaysian airliner MH370 but the fate of Zhou Yongkang, the feared former head of China’s security apparatus. From 2007 to 2012 a member of China’s top political body, the...

Media

02.06.14

Beijing’s State Secrets Law—Still Broad, Still Opaque

Beijing may be whittling back its widely reviled state secrets laws—but given their opacity, it’s hard to say for sure. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang signed a regulation, announced February 2, that would prohibit Chinese government organs from “using...

China, the Death Star of Emerging Markets

William Pesek
Bloomberg
On any list of banking accidents waiting to happen, China is assured a place at the very top. But could a crash there take the entire global economy down with it?

Xi Jinping’s Inner Circle: The Shaanxi Gang

Cheng Li
Brookings Institution
This analysis is an excerpt of a paper examining the members of Xi Jinping's inner circle. It specifically looks at the “Shaanxi Gang,” national leaders tied to Shaanxi province whose ascent to leadership paralleled Xi’s own.

Secrecy for Sale: Inside the Global Offshore Money Maze

Marina Walker Guevara, Gerard Ryle,...
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
The data illustrates the outsized dependency of China's economy on tiny islands thousands of miles away. 

Media

01.17.14

You’ve Got Mail: Chinese Communist Party Received Almost Two Million Complaints in 2013

In 2013, China’s Communist Party disciplinary organs received an eye-popping 1.95 million citizen complaints about officials. This is a 49.2 percent jump from 2012, according to a January 13 report from state-run website China News Online—but...

Viewpoint

01.14.14

Xi, Mao, and China’s Search for a Usable Past

Paul Gewirtz
Since its founding, the United States has had understandable pride in its great achievements, but also has had to reckon with its complex moral history—beginning but hardly ending with the fact that our original Constitution accepted the evil of...

Conversation

01.06.14

Will Xi Jinping Bring a Positive New Day to China?

Paul Mooney, Andrew J. Nathan & more
Chinese President Xi Jinping, just over a year in office, recently made a rare appearance in public in a Beijing restaurant, buying a cheap lunch and paying for it himself. Shortly thereafter, President Xi delivered a brief televised New Year...

Other

12.23.13

[Transcript] One Year Later, China’s New Leaders

J. Stapleton Roy, Susan Shirk & more
Nearly a year to the day after seven new leaders ascended to their posts on the Standing Committee of China’s Politburo, the Asia Society held a public conversation with The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos; Dr. Susan Shirk of the University of California,...

Dreams of a Different China

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Last November, China’s newly installed leader, Xi Jinping, asked his fellow Chinese to help realize a “Chinese dream” of national rejuvenation. In the months since then, his talk has been seen as a marker in the new leadership’s thinking, especially...

Media

11.14.13

Westerners Aren’t the Only Ones Flummoxed by China’s Reform Plans

After the Third Plenum, a high-level meeting to discuss China’s future, ended on November 12, Beijing released a major document likely to affect many of its 1.3 billion citizens’ lives for years. Western media responded to the 5,000-plus character...

Features

11.08.13

Document 9: A ChinaFile Translation

This weekend, China’s leaders gather in Beijing for meetings widely expected to determine the shape of China’s economy, as well as the nation’s progress, over the next decade. What exactly the outcome of this Third Plenum of the Eighteenth Party...

Viewpoint

11.08.13

China, One Year Later

J. Stapleton Roy, Susan Shirk & more
In November 2012, seven men were appointed to the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s supreme governing body. At the time, economic headwinds, nationalist protests, and the Bo Xilai scandal presented huge challenges for the regime. Would the...

Viewpoint

11.07.13

Deciphering Xi Jinping’s Dream

Ouyang Bin & Roderick MacFarquhar
On November 9, the Chinese Communist Party will host its Third Plenary Session of the Eighteenth Central Committee. This conference will be a key to deciphering the ruling philosophy of the new Chinese leadership, who will run the country for the...

Viewpoint

11.01.13

What the Heck is China’s ‘Third Plenum’ and Why Should You Care?

Barry Naughton
China’s economy is already two-thirds the size of the economy of the U.S., and it’s been growing five times as fast. But now, China’s economy is beginning to slow and is facing a raft of difficult problems.  If China’s leaders don’t address...

Conversation

10.25.13

Can State-Run Capitalism Absorb the Shocks of ‘Creative Destruction’?

Barry Naughton, Shai Oster & more
Following are ChinaFile Conversation participants’ reactions to “China: Superpower or Superbust?” in the November-December issue of The National Interest in which author Ian Bremmer says that China’s state-capitalism is ill-equipped to absorb the...

Features

10.25.13

Bo Xilai May Have Gotten Off Easy

Ouyang Bin, Zhang Mengqi & more
On October 25, the Shandong High People’s Court rejected the appeal of Bo Xilai, the former Party Secretary of Chongqing who on September 22 was convicted of bribe-taking, embezzlement, and abuse of power and sentenced to life in prison.At the end...

Old Dreams for a New China

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Ever since China’s new leader, Xi Jinping, first uttered the phrase “China Dream” last year, people in China and abroad have been scrambling to decipher its meaning. Many nations have “dreams”; in Canada, the country’s most prominent popular...

Conversation

10.07.13

Why Is Xi Jinping Promoting Self-Criticism?

Stephen C. Angle & Taisu Zhang
Critics both within and without China have suggested that Xi Jinping’s promotion of self-criticism by Communist Party cadres has at least two motives: it promotes the appearance of concern with lax discipline while avoiding deeper reform, and it...

Sinica Podcast

09.13.13

Petroleum and Purges

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
The Beijing rumor-mill is back on overdrive. With the trial of Bo Xilai only barely concluded and the country now openly speculating on the length of the disgraced politician’s likely sentence, factional battles targeting Bo’s remaining supporters...

Communist Party Members May Be Ineligible for U.S. Green Card

U.S. and China Visa Law Blog
The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act still makes ineligible for permanent residence any person who “is or has been a member of or affiliated with” the Chinese Communist Party (C.C.P.). There are certain exceptions and waivers, however...

Viewpoint

09.04.13

The Confessions of a Reactionary

Teng Biao
This article first appeared in Life and Death in China (a multi-volume anthology of fifty-plus witness accounts of Chinese government persecution and thirty-plus essays by experts in human rights in China). When I wrote it [on the evening of June 3...

Sinica Podcast

08.30.13

The Trial of the Century

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
The spectacular trial of Bo Xilai seized the media’s attention last week as the fallen politburo member—still widely admired in Chongqing and Dalian and heavily connected among the Party elite—defended himself with unexpected vigor against charges...

China Takes Aim at Western Ideas

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Communist Party cadres have filled meeting halls around China to hear a somber, secretive warning issued by senior leaders. Power could escape their grip, they have been told, unless the party eradicates seven subversive currents coursing through...

Conversation

08.21.13

Is Xi Jinping Redder Than Bo Xilai Or Vice Versa?

Michael Anti & Shai Oster
Michael Anti:Competing for Redness: The Scarlet Bo vs the Vermilion Xi?Bo Xilai, the fallen Chinese princeling famous for leading a “Red Songs” communist campaign in southwest China's megacity Chongqing, is on trial today, live-Twittered from...

Where Is China’s Gorbachev?

Matt Schiavenza
Atlantic
Why China hasn't had—and isn't likely to have—a political reformer in the mold of the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

From Maoist Criminal to Popular Hero?

Pin Ho
New York Times
China will begin one of the most sensational trials in its modern political history, when Bo Xilai, the former rising star in the Politburo and Communist Party boss in the megacity of Chongqing, faces corruption charges.

Conversation

08.07.13

What Will Come out of the Communist Party’s Polling the People Online?

David Wertime, Duncan Clark & more
David Wertime:Simon Denyer’s recent article (“In China, Communist Party Takes Unprecedented Step: It Is Listening,” The Washington Post, August 2, 2013) provides a valuable look at some of the ways that Chinese authority mines domestic micro-...

Chinese Judges Disciplined for Cavorting With Prostitutes

Jane Perlez
New York Times
 Two judges and an official of the Shanghai high court have been expelled from the Communist Party and dismissed from their jobs after being seen on video apparently consorting with prostitutes in glitzy nightclubs.

Opposing Editorials Reflect Ideological Rift in Communist Party

Cary Huang
South China Morning Post
The People’s Daily and Study Times, ran editorials expressing their opposing views on the issue of constitutionalism: limiting the government’s power by a higher system of laws that protects citizens’...

Success Brings Scrutiny to Chinese Mystic

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Wang Lin, an exponent of the ancient Chinese practice of qigong, claims he has used his powers to cure cancer and has performed other mysterious feats, like conjuring snakes out of thin air. But none of his abilities were enough to ward off the fury...

Conversation

07.09.13

What Is the “Chinese Dream” Really All About?

Stein Ringen, Jeremy Goldkorn & more
Stein Ringen:I’m coming to the view that the ‘Chinese Dream’ is a signal from the leadership of great import that has much to say about the nature of the Chinese state. It is striking, in my opinion, how effectively and rapidly the system swung into...

Excerpts

07.02.13

Rejuvenation (复兴)

Orville Schell & John Delury
If any of the makers of modern China who agonized over their country’s enfeebled state and dreamed of better times during the past century and a half could have visited Beijing’s Pangu Plaza today, they would hardly believe their eyes. Pangu’s...

How China Made the Tiananmen Square Massacre Irrelevant

Matt Schiavenza
Atlantic
Though recognized and observed by groups and nations all over the world, in China itself, the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre will pass without any public acknowledgement.  

China Warns Officials Against ‘Dangerous’ Western Values

Chris Buckley
New York Times
The Chinese Communist Party has warned officials to combat “dangerous” Western values and other perceived ideological threats, in a directive that analysts said on Monday reflected the determination of China’s leader to preserve top-down political...

Chen Guangcheng in New York

Jerome A. Cohen & Ira Belkin from New York Review of Books
Following are excerpts from a recent conversation among Chen Guangcheng, the blind legal activist who was recently permitted to leave China and is currently a distinguished visitor at New York University School of Law; Jerome A. Cohen, Professor of...

Viewpoint

04.26.13

Sino-American Relations: Amour or Les Miserables?

Winston Lord
Winston Lord, former United States Ambassador to China, tells us he recently hacked into the temples of government, pecking at his first-generation iPad with just one finger—a clear sign that...