The People in Retreat

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Ai Xiaoming is one of China’s leading documentary filmmakers and political activists. Since 2004, she has made more than two dozen films, many of them long, gritty documentaries that detail citizen activism or uncover whitewashed historical events...

Viewpoint

09.01.16

How to Deal With China’s Human Rights Abuses

Sophie Richardson
When world leaders touch down in early September in the city of Hangzhou for this year’s G20 leaders’ summit, which China will they see? The one of glossy skylines, enviable growth statistics, and perfectly choreographed diplomatic exchanges? Or the...

Excerpts

08.18.16

Why an Elite Chinese Student Decided Not to Join the Communist Party

Alec Ash
“Wish Lanterns” follows the lives of six Chinese born between 1985 and 1990 as they grow up, go to school, and pursue their aspirations. Millennials are a transformational generation in China, heralding key societal and cultural shifts, and they are...

Week of TV Trials in China Signals New Phase in Attack on Rights

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Legal experts and supporters of four defendants denounced the hearings, held on consecutive days in Tianjin, a port city near Beijing, as grotesque show trials.

Chinese Activist Zhai Yasmin Found Guilty of Subversion

BBC
Hundreds are detained since last year as a part of a crackdown on ‘legal activism’.....

Culture

06.29.16

Using Free Sex to Expose Sexual Abuse in China

Jonathan Landreth
Nanfu Wang hoped that a woman called Ye Haiyan (“Hooligan Sparrow”), who had offered free sex on the Internet to draw attention to the plight of poor women selling their bodies to support their children, would lead her to the prostitutes she wanted...

The Heritage of a Great Man

Freeman Dyson from New York Review of Books
Why did communism grow deep roots and survive in China, while it withered and died in Russia? This is one of the central questions of modern history. A plausible answer to the question is that communism in China resonated with the two-thousand-year-...

With Hong Kong Booksellers Silenced, China Now Goes after Exiled Dissidents

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
Dissidents in the U.S. and Germany said relatives in China were detained to investigate the anonymous letter asking Xi to resign.

Chinese Activist in N.Y. Says Beijing Officials 'Abducted' His Parents and Brother

Los Angeles Times
An influential Communist Party critic with more than 220,000 Twitter followers said authorities detained his family in Guangdong.

Excerpts

03.22.16

Beyond ‘Chicken or Beef’ Choices in China Debates

Jeffrey Wasserstrom
Growing up in California with no special interest in China, one of the few things I associated with the big country across the Pacific was mix-and-match meal creation. On airplanes and in school cafeterias, you just had “chicken or beef” choices,...

Features

03.21.16

A Thousand Yes-Men Cannot Equal One Honest Advisor

Several cadre leaders have been punished for breaking the law, and nearly all of them have said: There isn’t enough internal supervision and no one warned me; if there’d been someone there whispering in my ear, I wouldn’t have committed such grave...

Conversation

03.21.16

Cracks in Xi Jinping’s Fortress?

Andrew J. Nathan, Rana Mitter & more
Two remarkable documents emerged from China last week—the essay “A Thousand Yes-Men Cannot Equal One Honest Advisor,” which appeared on the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, and an open letter calling for Xi Jinping’s...

Obama to Veto Bill to Rename Washington Street After Jailed China Dissident

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
Liu Xiaobo, who in 2009 was sentenced to 11 years in jail on charges of inciting state subversion.

Q. and A.: Bei Ling on the Missing Hong Kong Booksellers

Luo Siling
New York Times
The disappearance of five Hong Kong booksellers in recent months has attracted international attention 

Viewpoint

12.30.15

No, Pu Zhiqiang’s Release Is Not A Victory

Hu Yong
Pu Zhiqiang is a well-known Chinese human rights lawyer and outspoken intellectual who has taken on many precedent-setting cases defending freedom and protecting civil liberties. But his outstanding contributions in the judicial realm and his...

The Hard Reality Behind China’s Soft Power

Hannah Beech
Time
Even as China burnishes its image overseas, the Communist Party conducts brutal suppression of civil liberties at home.

Viewpoint

11.30.15

Court in China Adds Last-Minute Charge Against Rights Leader During Sentencing

Yaxue Cao from China Change
On August 8, 2013, Guo Feixiong (real name Yang Maodong) was arrested and then indicted on charges of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.” The heavy sentence came as a shock to everyone following the case. More shockingly, the...

Why 2,500-Year-Old Tale Gives Ma Hope for Chinese Democracy

Adela Lin Chris Anstey
Bloomberg
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou said history gives him hope for political change on the Communist-ruled mainland.

China Insists to U.N. That It’s Combating Torture

NICK CUMMING-BRUCE
New York Times
Senior Chinese officials dismissed allegations of the widespread use of torture.

Thailand Deports 2 Dissidents to China, Rights Groups Say

CHRIS BUCKLEY
New York Times
The groups denounced the act, by the Thai authorities, as a betrayal of the two men’s right to flee feared political persecution and torture.

China Faces Sharp Questioning by U.N. Panel on Torture

NICK CUMMING-BRUCE
New York Times
“China has made further progress in its legal development and human rights protection.”

Rights Lawyers in China Routinely Face Abuse, Report Says

JAVIER C. HERNÁNDEZ
New York Times
Legal activists and those suspected of crimes in China are routinely abused and mistreated at the hands of law enforcement officials.

Media

10.29.15

Ai Weiwei Doesn’t Need Anyone to Give Him Legos

James Palmer
The noted Chinese artist and perennial dissident Ai Weiwei recently announced that Lego, a Denmark-based company, had refused his request to purchase more than a million of the tiny toy bricks for an Australian display of his work “Trace,” a...

Human Rights: What Is China Accused of?

Camila Ruz
BBC
China's human rights record has been criticised for years...

How A 16-Year-Old Found Himself Caught Up in China’s Latest Crackdown

Emily Rauhala
Washington Post
He is not a lawyer, or a dissident. He is a 16-year-old with a bowl-cut fringe.

Rights Group Demands Chinese Supporters of Hong Kong Democracy Be Freed

CLARE BALDWIN
Reuters
Amnesty International called for the release of eight mainland Chinese activists.

China Dissident's Wife Rejects Invite to State Department

MATTHEW PENNINGTON
Associated Press
Relatives of Chinese dissidents met with Secretary of State John Kerry as the Obama administration sought to demonstrate it won't gloss over human rights during this week's state visit of Chinese President Xi...

Daring Sailboat Escape by Chinese Dissidents Ends in Rescue, Detention by Taiwan

Hsia Hsiao-hwa
Radio Free Asia
Chinese dissidents escaped by boat to Taiwan before attempting a journey to Guam.

China Defends Xi Visit to U.N. Forum Despite Activists' Detention

BEN BLANCHARD AND MEGHA RAJAGOPALAN
Reuters
President Xi's attendance at a U.N. women's summit, brushing off concern about its detention of women activists in March...

China Frees Activist Academic Before Xi Trip to United States

SUI-LEE WEE
Reuters
Guo Yushan, founder of a think-tank that did research on business regulations, reform and civil society is released recently.

China: Government Should Account for Activist’s Detention, Death

Human Rights Watch
United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) member states should press China to account for a Chinese activist's detention and death...

‘I Try to Talk Less’: A Conversation with Ai Weiwei and Liao Yiwu

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
In late July, Chinese authorities renewed travel privileges for conceptual artist and political activist Ai Weiwei, ending a five-year prohibition following his arrest in 2011. He promptly flew to Munich and then Berlin, where he has accepted a...

A Blind Lawyer vs. Blind Chinese Power

Evan Osnos from New York Review of Books
In early 2012, Chen Guangcheng, a self-taught lawyer who had been blind since infancy, lived with his wife and two children in the village of Dongshigu, where he’d been raised, on the eastern edge of the North China plain. They were not there by...

Postcard

06.03.15

Beijing Autumn

Ilaria Maria Sala
Then even August ended. China was disappearing from the news, as portentous events elsewhere thrust themselves to the forefront.South Africa had started to come out of the dark age of apartheid. Eastern Europe had begun the march to unshackle itself...

China’s Invisible History: An Interview with Filmmaker and Artist Hu Jie

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Though none of his works have been publicly shown in China, Hu Jie is one of his country’s most noteworthy filmmakers. He is best known for his trilogy of documentaries about Maoist China, which includes Searching for Lin Zhao’s Soul (2004), telling...

Media

04.15.15

Online Support–and Mockery–Await Chinese Feminists After Release

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On April 13, Chinese authorities released on bail five feminist activists detained for over a month without formal charges. Despite tight censorship surrounding their detention, support on Chinese social media and thinly veiled media criticism...

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...

Media

02.23.15

Five Predictions for Chinese Censorship in the Year of the Sheep

Blocked websites, jailed journalists, and nationalist rhetoric have long been features of the Chinese Communist Party’s media control strategy. During the Year of the Horse, which just ended on China’s lunar calendar, President Xi Jinping and his...

China: Inventing a Crime

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
In late January, Chinese authorities announced that they are considering formal charges against Pu Zhiqiang, one of China’s most prominent human rights lawyers, who has been in detention since last May. Pu’s friends fear that even a life sentence is...

China Labor Activists Say Facing Unprecedented Intimidation

Alexandrea Hearney
Reuters
The number of strikes more than doubled in 2014 to 1,378 from 656 the year before, according to China Labor Bulletin, a Hong Kong-based advocacy group. April saw the biggest strike in decades, when about 40,000 employees of Adidas and Nike supplier...

Viewpoint

01.16.15

The Plight of China’s Rights Lawyers

Frances Eve
As the year came to a close, at least seven prominent Chinese human rights lawyers rang in the New Year from a jail cell. Under President Xi Jinping, 2014 was one of the worst years in recent memory for China’s embattled civil society. Bookending...

China Steps up Political Arrests, Prosecutions

Agence France Presse
Agence France-Presse
A total of 2,318 people were arrested or indicted on charges of “endangering state security”, the US-based Dui Hua Foundation said, citing statistics from China’s central prosecution office. 

China in 2014 Through the Eyes of a Human Rights Advocate

Yaxue Cao from China Change
This time last year, volunteers and I were busy writing and translating articles to prepare for the New Citizens Movement trials. Many Chinese voices were speaking out forcefully against these trials: law professors, rights lawyers, liberal...

Culture

12.19.14

‘One Day the People Will Speak Out for Me’

Sheila Melvin
The ongoing exhibition “@Large: Ai Weiwei at Alcatraz” is both revelatory and heart-wrenching, a stunning and sobering work by an artist who understands firsthand the fragility and pricelessness of freedom.Detained without warning or charge for 81...

China Detains Scholar, Bans Books in Crackdown on Moderate Voices

Sui-Lee Wee and Megha Rajagopalan
Reuters
China has detained prominent scholar Guo Yushan, who helped blind dissident Chen Guangcheng flee to the United States two years ago and has banned books by eight writers in a crackdown on dissent.

Viewpoint

10.08.14

‘We Do Not Want to Be Persuaded’

Ilaria Maria Sala
Over the past week, it has been hard to make sense of the threats and ultimatums the Hong Kong protesters have faced. On Sunday, the South China Morning Post splashed on its front page that Hong Kong had “hours to avoid tragedy.” University deans...

‘They Don’t Want Moderate Uighurs’

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
In my series of interviews with Chinese intellectuals, there is an empty chair for Ilham Tohti, the economist and Uighur activist. It’s not that I hadn’t heard of him or hadn’t been in China long enough to have met him before he was arrested earlier...

Beijing’s Rising Smear Power

Murong Xuecun
New York Times
Chinese dissidents are constantly subject to all sorts of harassment, including a vicious online smear campaign.

Viewpoint

09.19.14

“Daddy’s ‘Friends’ Are Actually Plainclothes Cops”

Zeng Jinyan
[Updated March 18, 2015] The essay that follows was written by Zeng Jinyan, whose former partner, Hu Jia, has been prominently involved in activism around environmental issues, AIDS, and human rights in China over the past decade and a half and is a...

China Detains Writer Tie Liu for ‘Provoking Trouble’

BBC
Chinese writer Huang Zerong, also known as Tie Liu, has been detained by police allegedly for writing articles critical of a senior official.

China Activists Fight Gay ‘Conversion Therapy’

John Sudworth
BBC
Gay rights activists in China are preparing for what they say could be a legal milestone in their fight to stop homosexuality being treated as an illness.

Inside a Beijing Interrogation Room

Murong Xuecun
New York Times
In the course of my seven-hour interrogation the officers were never ferocious. In fact, they were polite. In this respect, the Chinese government has evolved to appear friendly, but it is still a dictatorial regime that will never...

Media

07.08.14

Changing the Chinese Embassy’s Address to Liu Xiaobo Plaza Is a Silly Idea

I rarely agree with the Chinese Embassy in Washington, but an amendment making its way through Congress has made me unlikely bedfellows with Beijing’s Washington diplomats.Representative Frank Wolf (R-Va.) has sponsored an amendment to rename the...

‘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.

Congress Votes to Rename Road by Chinese Embassy After Jailed Dissident

Hannah Beech
Time
Beijing is not amused by the “provocative action,” as Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo “has been convicted in accordance with the law.”

Books

06.25.14

Tiananmen Exiles

Rowena Xiaoqing He
In the spring of 1989, millions of citizens across China took to the streets in a nationwide uprising against government corruption and authoritarian rule. What began with widespread hope for political reform ended with the People's Liberation Army firing on unarmed citizens in the capital city of Beijing, and those leaders who survived the crackdown became wanted criminals overnight. Among the witnesses to this unprecedented popular movement was Rowena Xiaoqing He, who would later join former student leaders and other exiles in North America, where she has worked tirelessly for over a decade to keep the memory of the Tiananmen Movement alive. This moving oral history interweaves He's own experiences with the accounts of three student leaders exiled from China. Here, in their own words, they describe their childhoods during Mao's Cultural Revolution, their political activism, the bitter disappointments of 1989, and the profound contradictions and challenges they face as exiles. Variously labeled as heroes, victims, and traitors in the years after Tiananmen, these individuals tell difficult stories of thwarted ideals and disconnection that nonetheless embody the hope for a freer China and a more just world. —Palgrave Macmillan {chop}

Media

06.24.14

The President China Never Had

David Wertime
An activist lawyer heroically risks everything for his beliefs. Although he fails, his brave stand against authoritarianism wins him lasting admiration and changes the fate of his East Asian nation forever. The plot may sound seditious in mainland...