To Know What’s Wrong With China, Look At Her Construction

Li Chengpeng
Every time I walk down the street and see a new project about to break ground, I know that several billionaires are about to be made. Every time I see a project has been completed, I know that a few unknown “temporary workers” are about to become...

Security Suggests Party Congress Is Nearing

Ananth Krishnan
Hindu
Even as Chinese officials have maintained a steady silence on when the Party Congress — the most important meeting in a decade — will be convened, the government has put in place security measures and issued corruption warnings — the first...

Black Box by the Sea

Economist
This week China’s Communist Party announced the election of the 2,270 delegates who will gather later this year in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People for the 18th National Party Congress. They will be tasked with determining a new roster of top...

Sinica Podcast

08.10.12

The Chairman

Jeremy Goldkorn & Gady Epstein from Sinica Podcast
Ten years after his elevation to General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, Hu Jintao remains almost as much of an enigma now as he was on first taking power. What do we know about the man beyond his reputation as a somewhat robotic...

Reports

08.06.12

Bo Xilai and Reform: What Will Be the Impact of His Removal?

Joseph Fewsmith
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
The unexpected flight of Chongqing’s Public Security head to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu in February started an unexpected sequence of events that led to the removal of Bo Xilai, the princeling head of the Chongqing party committee, and the...

Reports

08.06.12

The Bo Xilai Affair in Central Leadership Politics

Alice L. Miller
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
From a procedural perspective, the removal of Bo Xilai from Chongqing and from the party Politburo resembles the 2006 purge of Shanghai party boss Chen Liangyu and the 1995 takedown of Beijing City party chief Chen Xitong. Bo’s removal in that...

Reports

08.06.12

China’s Top Future Leaders to Watch

Cheng Li
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
The composition of the new Politburo that will take power in late 2012, including generational attributes and individual idiosyncratic characteristics, group dynamics, and the factional balance of power, will have profound implications for China’s...

Bo Xilai: The Unanswered Questions

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
The Chinese Communist Party has always put great emphasis on smooth surfaces, maintaining political “face” through a decorous exterior. Men at the top dye their hair black and every strand must be in place. But sometimes there are cracks in the...

Minxin Pei: What China's Leaders Fear Most

Minxin Pei
Diplomat
The news that Chinese prosecutors have filed formal murder charges against Gu Kailai, the wife of disgraced former Communist Party boss of Chongqing Bo Xilai, has conjured up tantalizing images of a sensational trial at which the dirtiest laundry of...

As China Talks of Change, Fear Rises on the Risks

Michael Wines
New York Times
A heavyweight crowd gathered last October for a banquet in Beijing’s tallest skyscraper. The son of Mao Zedong’s immediate successor was there, as was the daughter of the country’s No. 2 military official for nearly three decades, along with the...

Bo Xilai: Inside the Scandal - A WSJ Documentary (Video)

Josh Chin
Wall Street Journal
The fall of Bo Xilai, once a rising star in Chinese politics, has plunged the country into its biggest crisis since Tiananmen Square. In this documentary, The Wall Street Journal examines how his downfall has altered the debate about China's...

‘Pressure for Change is at the Grassroots

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
The Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng arrived in the United States last month following top-level negotiations between U.S. and Chinese officials. Several weeks earlier, Chen had dramatically escaped from house arrest in his village in...

Ian Johnson Interviews Bao Tong

Ian Johnson
New York Review of Books
I recently met Bao, who is 79 and partly blind, at a McDonald’s in Beijing, after secret police refused me permission to enter his apartment building in the city’s western suburbs.

‘In the Current System, I’d Be Corrupt Too’

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Bao Tong is one of China’s best-known political dissidents. In the early to mid 1980s, he was director of the Communist Party’s Office of Political Reform and the policy secretary for Zhao Ziyang, the party’s former general secretary. Just before...

Reports

05.10.12

Understanding China’s Political System

Susan V. Lawrence, Michael F. Martin
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
China’s Communist Party dominates state and society in China, is committed to maintaining a permanent monopoly on power, and is intolerant of those who question its right to rule. Nonetheless, analysts consider China’s political system to be neither...

Reports

04.30.12

Prospects for Solidarity in the Xi Jinping Leadership

Alice L. Miller
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
It may be true, as is often observed, that if all the world’s economists were laid end to end, they would never reach a conclusion. It is all the more notable, therefore, that an increasing number of observers of China’s economy are skeptical that...

Reports

04.30.12

China’s Top Future Leaders to Watch

Cheng Li
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
The composition of the new Politburo that will take power in late 2012, including generational attributes and individual idiosyncratic characteristics, group dynamics, and the factional balance of power, will have profound implications for China’s...

China’s Falling Star

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
In China, the year is traditionally divided into periods based on the moon’s orbit around the earth and the sun’s path across the sky. This lunisolar calendar is laden with myths and celebrated by rituals that allowed Chinese to mark time and make...

Sinica Podcast

03.09.12

The Mirror of History: China Through the Looking Glass

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Sinica is coming out a bit earlier than usual this week: We were lucky enough to catch Jeffrey Wasserstrom on Monday during a well-timed visit to Beijing, and dragged him into the studio to get his views on the recent elections in Wukan, what is...

Reports

01.06.12

The Road to the 18th Party Congress

Alice L. Miller
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
The recent scheduling of the Chinese Communist Party’s 18th National Congress kicks off the long process of preparations for what will bring about a turnover in leadership generations next year. National party congresses are the most important...

Reports

01.06.12

Preparing for the 18th Party Congress: Procedures and Mechanisms

Cheng Li
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
By now, just about every China observer knows that the Chinese leadership will undergo a major generational change at the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in the fall of 2012. Knowledge of the leadership transition’s actual...

Do China’s Village Protests Help the Regime?

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Over the past two weeks, the Western press has focused on a striking story out of China: a riveting series of protests in Wukan, a fishing village in the country’s prosperous south. The story is depressingly familiar: Corrupt cadres sell off public...

Are China’s Rulers Getting Religion?

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
With worsening inflation, a slowing economy, and growing concerns about possible social unrest, China’s leaders have a lot on their plates these days. And yet when the Communist Party met at its annual plenum earlier this week, the issue given...

China’s ‘Liberation’ of Tibet: Rules of the Game

Robert Barnett from New York Review of Books
Much of the talk about Vice President Joe Biden’s four-day visit to China last week centered on the man who hosted him: Xi Jinping, expected to become the country’s next president in 2012. Biden’s office has said that the principal purposes of his...

Sinica Podcast

04.01.11

Scandal in Baidu and Chongqing

Kaiser Kuo, Gady Epstein & more from Sinica Podcast
A year after our first show memorialized Google’s retreat from the China market, our first anniversary sees Sinica host Kaiser Kuo and his employer on the defensive as Gady Epstein and Bill Bishop grill Kaiser over recent allegations of copyright...

Sinica Podcast

03.11.11

The Exercise of Power

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
In the last week, power and pageantry have engulfed Beijing as China has convened its Twin Congresses: the annual meeting of the country’s two highest decision-making councils. As the Communist Party has seized the opportunity to celebrate its grip...

Finding the Facts About Mao’s Victims

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Yang Jisheng is an editor of Annals of the Yellow Emperor, one of the few reform-oriented political magazines in China. Before that, the seventy-year-old native of Hubei province was a national correspondent with the government-run Xinhua news...

Rumblings of Reform in Beijing?

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Over the past six weeks, China’s thin class of the politically aware has been gripped by a faint hope that maybe, against all odds, some sort of political opening might be in the cards this year. Monday’s conclusion of a key Communist Party meeting...

The Party: Impenetrable, All Powerful

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
In the next few weeks, an event will take place in Beijing on a par with anything dreamed up by a conspiracy theorist. A group of roughly three hundred men and women will meet at an undisclosed time and location to set policies for a sixth of...

Waiting for WikiLeaks: Beijing’s Seven Secrets

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
While people in the U.S. and elsewhere have been reacting to the release by WikiLeaks of classified U.S. documents on the Afghan War, Chinese bloggers have been discussing the event in parallel with another in their own country. On July 21 in...

Sinica Podcast

04.23.10

The Eulogy and the Aftershocks

Jeremy Goldkorn, Gady Epstein & more from Sinica Podcast
Coming twenty-one years after the death of former Party Secretary Hu Yaobang, Premier Wen Jiabao’s surprise eulogy to his former mentor last week was the subject of much discussion among China-watchers worldwide. In today’s episode of Sinica, we...

China: The Fragile Superpower

Christian Caryl from New York Review of Books
Some China watchers believe that China’s dramatically rising prosperity will inevitably make the country more open and democratic. President Barack Obama’s highly-scripted trip this week provided little to support that claim. As The Washington Post...

China at 60: Who Owns the Guns

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
The most striking feature of China’s October 1 celebration of sixty years of Communist rule was the spectacular and tightly choreographed military parade in the center of Beijing. The display of crass militarism—paralleled only by parades in...

China’s Dictators at Work: The Secret Story

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
Prisoner of the State is the secretly recorded memoir of Zhao Ziyang, once holder of China’s two highest Party and state positions and the architect of the economic reforms that have brought the country to the edge of great-power status. The book...

The China We Don’t Know

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
In the late 1990s, Chinese peasants in the village of Da Fo, many of whom between 1959 and 1961 had survived the twentieth century’s greatest famine, felt free enough to install shrines to Guangong, the traditional war god of resistance to...

He Won’t Give In

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
On June 4, 1989, having heard that the Tiananmen demonstrations had been lethally crushed, Kang Zhengguo, a professor of literature at a university in Shaanxi province, pinned a piece of paper to his chest displaying the words “AIM YOUR GUNS HERE.”...

Chinese Shadows

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
In 1920 a young Chinese poet named Guo Moruo published a poem called “The Sky Dog,” which begins:Ya, I am a sky dog!I have swallowed the moon,I have swallowed the sun.I have swallowed all the planets,I have swallowed the entire universe.I am I!After...

Court Favorite

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
At seven feet six inches tall and about three hundred pounds, Yao Ming, the basketball superstar who plays for the Houston Rockets, is, for many Americans, the most famous living Chinese. In 2002 he was the number-one overall pick in the National...

China: The Shame of the Villages

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
1.Published fifteen years ago, Chinese Village, Socialist State, as I wrote at the time, not only contained a more telling account of Chinese rural life than any other I had read; it also produced a new understanding “of the methods by which the...

Reports

01.26.06

Ending Financial Repression in China

James A. Dorn
Cato Institute
Chinese economic liberalization largely stopped at the gates of the financial sector. Investment funds are channeled through state-owned banks to state-owned enterprises (SOEs), there are few investment alternatives, stock markets are dominated by...

Chinese Shadows

Ian Buruma from New York Review of Books
There are many reasons for getting tattooed. But a sense of belonging—to a group, a faith, or a person—is key. As a mark of identification a tattoo is more lasting than a passport. This is not always voluntary. In Japan, criminals used to have the...

The Party Isn’t Over

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
1.Early in the years following China’s post-Mao reforms, a Chinese sociologist told Princeton’s Perry Link, “We’re like a big fish that has been pulled from the water and is flopping wildly to find its way back in. In such a condition the fish never...

The Hong Kong Gesture

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
On September 5, in an astonishing victory for liberty in Hong Kong and an equally unexpected defeat for Beijing and its hand-picked chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa, the Hong Kong government withdrew a proposed new law against subversion and treason...

A Little Leap Forward

Nicholas D. Kristof from New York Review of Books
The Communist dynasty is collapsing in China, and in retrospect one of the first signs was a Chinese-language computer virus that began spreading when I was a reporter in Beijing in the early 1990s. The virus would pop up on your screen and ask a...

China’s New Rulers: What They Want

Andrew J. Nathan & Bruce Gilley from New York Review of Books
Following are the members of the Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee, whose election is expected in November 2002, listed by their rank according to protocol, with their main Party and future state positions. Ages are given as of...

The Jiang Zemin Mystery

Orville Schell from New York Review of Books
Since the Chinese Communist Party leaders will not allow themselves to be criticized in the press or on television, critics have had to find other means to express their political grievances. Historically speaking, one of the most telling ways to...

Democratic Vistas?

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
In August 1980 Deng Xiaoping laid down the Communist Party’s view of democracy. It continues to cripple China and is used both inside the country and by its apologists abroad to avoid the issue of repression. Deng said: Democracy without...

The Mark of Cain

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
1.In Hong Kong’s China Club, fashionable people have lunch beneath pictures of Mao Zedong after a drink in the Long March Bar. Most of the members are refugees from Mao or the children of refugees. In Russia, or Germany, or Cambodia, there is surely...

The Party’s Secrets

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
Not long after Mao Zedong died in 1976, one of the editors of the Party’s People’s Daily said. “Lies in newspapers are like rat droppings in clear soup: disgusting and obvious.” That may have been true of the Party’s newspapers, which Chinese are...

Squaring the Chinese Circle

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
“China,” according to Lucien Pye, “is a civilization pretending to be a state.”1 This is an elegant formulation of an idea which eventually occurs to most people who have studied, read about, or traveled and lived in China. In the late sixteenth...

Literature of the Wounded

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
In Legacies: A Chinese Mosaic, Bette Bao Lord’s memoir of her three years in Peking as the American ambassador’s wife, she recalled that “all Chinese were in pain, and taking their pulse, reading their temperature, charting every change and finding...

The Myth of Mao’s China

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
In China Misperceived Steven Mosher strikes back at the profession, clan, or family of China watchers that cast him out. The official reasons have never been made public, although his university, Stanford, hinted at academic misconduct when it...

The Art of Interpreting Nonexistent Inscriptions Written in Invisible Ink on a Blank Page

Simon Leys from New York Review of Books
1.In any debate, you really know that you have won when you find your opponents beginning to appropriate your ideas, in the sincere belief that they themselves just invented them. This situation can afford a subtle satisfaction; I think the feeling...

After the Massacres

Simon Leys from New York Review of Books
A historian of contemporary China who is considering the events of three years ago, of ten years ago, of twenty years ago, must feel dizzy: each time, it is the same story, the plot is identical—one needs only to change the names of a few characters...

The End of the Chinese Revolution

Roderick MacFarquhar from New York Review of Books
When Deng Xiaoping suppressed the Beijing Spring last month, he thought he was putting down a new Cultural Revolution. Pirated notes from a Party meeting in late April quoted him as telling his colleagues:This is not an ordinary student movement. It...

The Price China Has Paid: An Interview with Liu Binyan

Nathan Gardels from New York Review of Books
Liu Binyan is a sixty-two-year-old writer and journalist who is regarded as the preeminent intellectual advocating reform in China today. During the mid-1950s and again throughout the post-Mao period, he has strongly criticized Communist party...

Passing the Baton in Beijing

Roderick MacFarquhar from New York Review of Books
Succession has become an omnipresent problem not only in China but throughout Asia. Long-lasting regimes under aging rulers are entering their twilight zone in North Korea, Burma, and Indonesia, and face a period of weakness and uncertainty, for the...

How Mao Won

Martin Bernal from New York Review of Books
In response to:Was Chinese Communism Inevitable? from the December 3, 1970 issueTo the Editors:Although pleased by Martin Bernal’s laudatory reference to my piece criticizing Chalmers Johnson’s thesis concerning the reasons for the Communist triumph...

Was Chinese Communism Inevitable?

Martin Bernal from New York Review of Books
It is likely that, even now, many people in America and Britain still hold to the simple formula that people are good and communism is evil. And, just as good cannot support evil, people cannot support communism. Therefore any political movement...

Mao and the Writers

Martin Bernal from New York Review of Books
By the 1930s the intolerable quality of life and the inefficiency, corruption, and conservatism of the Kuomintang had driven nearly every serious creative writer in China to the Left. Most turned toward some form of Marxism, which not only offered...