Environment

09.18.13

Are the U.S. and China Finally Getting Serious about Climate Change?

Junjie Zhang
At the recent G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping announced that they would seek to eliminate potent greenhouse gases (GHGs) through the 1987 Montreal Protocol, the landmark treaty that successfully phased...

Is Syria Distracting the U.S. From Its Asian-Pacific Strategy?

Wall Street Journal
As the U.S. threatens military action against Syria, Washington’s focus on Asian-Pacific security seems to be wavering. Deborah Kan speaks with columnist Andy Browne about the changing dynamics of the Sino-U.S. relationship. 

Insecurity Drives China’s Syria Policy

Kendrick Kuo
Diplomat
At home, the Party sees parallels between Gaddafi and Morsi and its own regime. Any legitimization of the West’s role in their demises is inherently a legitimization of future interference in China with the aim of undermining the Party. ...

U.S. Giving China a Free Pass on Syria

Josh Gerstein
Politico
As American officials bitterly denounce Russia for blocking the United Nations from endorsing action over Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons, another global power that has taken a similar stand seems to be getting a free pass from the U.S:...

Head of Xinhua Says Western Media Pushing Revolution in China

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
Western media organizations are trying to demonize China and promote revolution and national disintegration as they hate seeing the country prosper, the head of China’s official Xinhua news agency said in comments published on...

Reports

09.04.13

How to Make China More Honest

Derek Scissors
The Heritage Foundation
Official Chinese economic statistics, from unemployment to arable land, are controlled by the Communist Party and therefore cannot be trusted. The prevailing American and global view of China as a rising, if presently troubled, economic superpower...

Books

09.03.13

China Across the Divide

Rosemary Foot (Editor)
Understanding China’s world role has become one of the crucial intellectual challenges of the 21st century. This book explores this topic through the adoption of three conceptual approaches that help to uncover some of the key complex and simultaneous interactions between the global and domestic forces that determine China’s external behavior. A central assumption of this study is that it is unhelpful to treat the global and domestic levels as separate categories of analysis and that the study of China can be enriched by a recognition of the interpenetrated nature of the domestic and international spheres.The first section of the book concentrates on the role of ideas. It examines Chinese conceptions, at both the elite and mass levels, of the country’s status and role in global politics, and how these conceptions can influence and frame policies. The second section provides evidence of Chinese societal involvement in transnational processes that are simultaneously transforming China as well as other parts of the world, often in unintended ways. The third section assesses the impact of globalization on China in issue areas that are central to global order, and outlines the domestic responses—from resistance to embrace—that it generates. This study adopts a multidisciplinary approach involving scholars in international relations, history, social anthropology, and area studies. It offers a sophisticated understanding of Chinese thought and behavior and illustrates the impact that China’s re-emergence is having on 21st century global order.  —Oxford University Press {chop}

Cyber-Disconnect at Joint U.S.-China Press Conference

Anna Murline
Christian Science Monitor
Defense Secretary Hagel called a new U.S.-China cyberaffairs working group a ‘venue for addressing issues of mutual concern.’ His Chinese counterpart, General Chang Wanquan, denied there was a problem. 

Books

08.05.13

China Threat?

Lionel Vairon
From the long-term threat of nuclear war between the U.S. and China, to the disappearance of the African elephant due to Chinese demand for ivory, each week brings a new round of critique and denunciation of the risks China poses to the stability of the entire planet. While critics raise a certain number of fundamental questions that bear asking about this nascent superpower, the answers put forth are usually based on ideological or economic considerations. Lionel Vairon systematically challenges these views in this first English language edition of China Threat?With an incisive review of China’s economic strategy, deployment of resources, national defence, political reform, ethnicity and religion, terrorism, and developments in human rights, Vairon amply demonstrates that China poses no threat to the world. On the contrary, China Threat? shows that China’s peaceful rise should be a matter of positive news across the globe.  —CN Times Books {chop}

Books

07.31.13

Pacific Crossing

Elizabeth Sinn
During the nineteenth century, tens of thousands of Chinese men and women crossed the Pacific to work, trade, and settle in California. Drawn by the gold rush, they brought with them skills and goods and a view of the world that, though still Chinese, was transformed by their long journeys back and forth. They in turn transformed Hong Kong, their main point of embarkation, from a struggling, infant colony into a prosperous, international port and the cultural center of a far-ranging Chinese diaspora.Making use of extensive research in archives around the world, Pacific Crossing charts the rise of Chinese Gold Mountain firms engaged in all kinds of trans-Pacific trade, especially the lucrative export of prepared opium and other luxury goods. Challenging the traditional view that this migration was primarily a “coolie trade,” Elizabeth Sinn uncovers leadership and agency among the many Chinese who made the crossing. In presenting Hong Kong as an “in-between place” of repeated journeys and continuous movement, Sinn also offers a fresh view of the British colony and a new paradigm for migration studies.   —Hong Kong University Press {chop}

Conversation

07.30.13

Is Business in China Getting Riskier, Or Are Multinationals Taking More Risks?

Arthur R. Kroeber, David Schlesinger & more
Arthur Kroeber:The environment for foreign companies in China has been getting steadily tougher since 2006, when the nation came to the end of a five-year schedule of market-opening measures it pledged as the price of admission to the World Trade...

Features

07.24.13

Carried Off

Charlie Custer
In March 2011, Rose Candis had the worst lunch of her life. Sitting at a restaurant in Shaoguan, a small city in South China, the American mother tried hard not to vomit while her traveling companion translated what the man they were eating with had...

China Will Surpass U.S. As Leading Superpower

Greg Myre
NPR
Data from a Pew Research Center survey showed that in 23 of the 39 countries surveyed majorities or pluralities said China has or will overtake America. In China two-thirds believe their country already has or eventually will supplant...

Media

07.17.13

A Minority in the Middle Kingdom: My Experience Being Black in China

In the 1996 China edition of the Lonely Planet guidebook, a text box aside comment from a street interview provided some interesting conversation fodder: “…there is no racism in China because there are no black people,” a Chinese woman was reported...

Viewpoint

07.16.13

CFIUS and the U.S. Senate’s Anti-China Bug

Samuel Kleiner
Last week, senators from both parties finally came together for a common objective: stopping the $4.7 billion sale of America’s largest pork producer to China. Their reason? The sale of Smithfield Farms to a Chinese company, Shuanghui, could pose a...

After Epic Escape From China, Exile Is Mired in Partisan U.S.

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
Mr. Chen’s political savvy has not translated well in the complex and fiercely partisan terrain he has encountered since his arrival in the United States and he has lost the favor of some of his supporters during his time here. 

Viewpoint

07.10.13

How the Snowden Affair Might End Up Helping U.S.-China Relations

Orville Schell & John Delury
The reason why both Americans and Chinese have become so nostalgic for the great Nixon/Kissinger-Mao Zedong/Zhou Enlai breakthrough in 1972 is because that was the last time that Sino-U.S. relations experienced a dramatic breakthrough. Now, most...

Books

07.09.13

Legal Orientalism

Teemu Ruskola
Since the Cold War ended, China has become a global symbol of disregard for human rights, while the United States has positioned itself as the world’s chief exporter of the rule of law. How did lawlessness become an axiom about Chineseness rather than a fact needing to be verified empirically, and how did the United States assume the mantle of law’s universal appeal? In a series of wide-ranging inquiries, Teemu Ruskola investigates the history of “legal Orientalism,” a set of globally circulating narratives about what law is and who has it. For example, why is China said not to have a history of corporate law, as a way of explaining its “failure” to develop capitalism on its own? Ruskola shows how a European tradition of philosophical prejudices about Chinese law developed into a distinctively American ideology of empire, influential to this day.The first Sino–U.S. treaty in 1844 authorized the extraterritorial application of American law in a putatively lawless China. A kind of legal imperialism, this practice long predated U.S. territorial colonialism after the Spanish–American War in 1898, and found its fullest expression in an American district court’s jurisdiction over the “District of China.” With urgent contemporary implications, legal Orientalism lives on in the enduring damage wrought on the U.S. Constitution by late-nineteenth-century anti-Chinese immigration laws, and in the self-Orientalizing reforms of Chinese law today. In the global politics of trade and human rights, legal Orientalism continues to shape modern subjectivities, institutions, and geopolitics in powerful and unacknowledged ways.     —Harvard University Press

Don’t Let Cyber Security Overshadow Key China-U.S. Dialogue

Yang Qingchuan
China Daily
To complete the unprecedented task of forging new-type relationship between the world’s largest developing nation and&...

Reports

07.09.13

Prospects for U.S.-China Trade in Meat Products and Associated Investment Opportunities

Dermot Hayes
Paulson Institute
The rapid growth rate in per capita disposable income in China, coupled with a continued migration of hundreds of millions of new consumers to urban areas, has created challenges for the Chinese crop and livestock sectors. Faced with an increase in...

Media

07.02.13

American History, Through Chinese Eyes

White male privilege, genocide against Native Americans, slavery and subsequent racial oppression, exploitation of immigrants and laborers, repression of women and homosexuals, and environmental destruction—teaching American cultural history through...

U.S. to Press China on Cyber Theft: Lew

Poornima Gupta
Reuters
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said he will keep up pressure on China over cyber security, especially stealing of intellectual property and trade secrets, which he sees as separate from other Internet-related issues between the two...

Kerry Says Snowden Affair Will Not Upset China Relations

Michael R. Gordon
New York Times
The White House last week described the development as a “serious setback” to American-Chinese relations, while Mr. Kerry himself warned that it would have “consequences” for ties with Beijing. But following a meeting with his Chinese...

U.S. Is a ‘Hacker Empire,’ Says Chinese Military Analyst

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
International Herald Tribune
For more than an hour Wednesday morning, a Chinese military analyst excoriated the United States over what state-run media here calls “Prismgate. He accused U.S. companies of using the fruits of the surveillance to make economic profit, and...

China and U.S. War Over Snowden, but No Lasting Damage Seen

Sui-Lee Wee
Reuters
"China does not want this to affect the overall situation, the central government has always maintained a relatively calm and restrained attitude because Sino-U.S. relations are important," said Zhao Kejing, a professor of international...

China Brushes Aside U.S. Warnings on Snowden

Jane Perlez
New York Times
In Beijing, people with knowledge of how China handled Mr. Snowden’s exit from Hong Kong were claiming a tactical victory for China, saying that the government had acted in China’s best interests, and in the long-term interests of its relationship...

The Chimerica Dream

Pepe Escobar
TomDispatch
Whatever the confusions and difficulties the Chinese leadership faces, Beijing seems to understand the realities behind Washington’s strategic intentions. One wonders whether the reverse applies.

Snowden is Reportedly Considering to Iceland

WSJ: China Real Time Report
Icelandic journalist Kristinn Hrafnsson confirmed with the Wall Street Journal that he received a message from Mr. Snowden on June 12 asking to notify the Icelandic government that the former government contractor is interested in seeking asylum in...

Let Hong Kong Decide Snowden’s Fate

Global Times
The Hong Kong SAR government might as well be more candid in dealing with this incident, without excessive consideration of Sino-American relations. Things will go much easier if Hong Kong plays a leading role in resolving this incident, rather than...

Conversation

06.18.13

What’s Right or Wrong with This Chinese Stance on Edward Snowden?

Shai Oster & Steve Dickinson
For today’s ChinaFile Conversation we asked contributors to react to the following excerpt from an op-ed published on Monday June 17 in the Global Times about Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old American contract intelligence analyst who last...

Books

06.12.13

Cool War

Noah Feldman
The Cold War seemingly ended in a decisive victory for the West. But now, Noah Feldman argues, we are entering an era of renewed global struggle: the era of Cool War. Just as the Cold War matched the planet’s reigning superpowers in a contest for geopolitical supremacy, so this new age will pit the United States against a rising China in a contest for dominance, alliances, and resources. Already visible in Asia, the conflict will extend to the Middle East (U.S.-backed Israel versus Chinese-backed Iran), Africa, and beyond.   Yet this Cool War differs fundamentally from the zero-sum showdowns of the past: The world’s major power and its leading challenger are economically interdependent to an unprecedented degree. Exports to the U.S. account for nearly a quarter of Chinese trade, while the Chinese government holds 8 percent of America’s outstanding debt. This positive-sum interdependence has profound implications for nations, corporations, and international institutions. It makes what looked to be a classic contest between two great powers into something much more complex, contradictory, and badly in need of the shrewd and carefully reasoned analysis that Feldman provides.  The U.S. and China may be divided by political culture and belief, but they are also bound together by mutual self-interest. Cool War makes the case for competitive cooperation as the only way forward that can preserve the peace and make winners out of both sides.   —Random House

NSA surveillance: The US is behaving like China

Ai Weiwei
Guardian
Officials always think what they do is necessary, and firmly believe they do what is best for the state and the people. But the lesson that people should learn from history is the need to limit state power, says Ai Weiwei. 

U.S. and China Pledge New Model of Cooperation

Jackie Calmes and Steven Lee Myers
New York Times
The two presidents appeared eager to redefine the relationship in a way that would allow their countries to overcome their economic, political and diplomatic differences, rather than letting new — or old — crises derail progress. 

At the U.S.-China Summit, Friendship Isn’t What Matters

Gordon G. Chang
Daily Beast
As the interactions between American and Chinese officials have increased dramatically, ties between the two nations have only become more strained. That’s one indication that Chinese leaders are not influenced by personal relations. &...

How China Views Obama-Xi Meeting in California

Charlie Campbell
Time
Comments about Xi’s arrival in the Golden State barely made waves on China’s Twitter-like social-media service Sina Weibo. The bulk of Friday’s traffic focused on the annual university-entrance exams that are currently under way. 

Both Sides Worried on Maintaining Relations (Video)

Bloomberg
Chinese leaders, during private meetings with U.S. officials, have moved past their previous denial of cyber-espionage, and are acknowledging a problem, CBS says, citing unnamed officials. 

Most View China as a Friend

Tal Kopan
Politico
According to a Gallup poll on Thursday, 55 percent of respondents thought China was either an ally or friendly nation. A total of 40 percent viewed China unfavorably.

Cui Tiankai, China’s Envoy to the U.S., Aims to Allay Tensions

Jane Perlez
New York Times
Cui Tiankai, the country’s ambassador in Washington, is its chief behind-the-scenes facilitator for the meeting that will bring together Mr. Xi and President Obama at Sunnylands starting June 7. 

Defending an Open, Global, Secure, and Resilient Internet (Video)

Council on Foreign Relations
The C.F.R.-sponsored Independent Task Force report finds that as more people and services become interconnected and dependent on the Internet, societies are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks. 

Getting China to Talk About Cyberespionage

Washington Post
There’s plenty of nasty stuff in cyberspace that both countries probably can’t control, but Mr. Xi could agree to a sustained and deeper engagement on the topic, perhaps with an accelerated pace of bilateral working groups. 

Xi’s Not Ready

Michael Auslin
Foreign Policy
The U.S. needs to free itself from the idea that finding the soft spot in a foreign leader antagonistic towards it improves bilateral relationships. Summits like this one should be reserved for friends and allies. 

U.S.-China Meeting’s Aim

Mark Landler and Jackie Calmes
New York Times
The two day meeting is an enormous bet on the power of personal diplomacy, in a setting carefully chosen to nurture a high-level friendship. 

Obama Meets Xi: A Chance to Make History

NPR
This weekend's gathering is more informal than other meetings. The leaders of the world's two biggest economies have a rare chance to get to know one another on top of the official business about trades, security and global power. ...

Conversation

06.06.13

What Would the Best U.S.-China Joint Statement Say?

Winston Lord, Orville Schell & more
As we approach the June 7-8 meeting in California of U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping we are holding a small contest. We have asked ChinaFile Conversation regulars and a few guests to envision their ideal Sunnylands...

How to Play Well With China

Ian Bremer and Jon Huntsman Jr.
New York Times
There is no way to rebalance the global economy, slow climate change, manage the trouble kicked up by rogue states and keep the peace in Asia unless Washington and Beijing work together in as many areas as possible. 

Hagel, in Remarks Directed at China, Speaks of Cyberattack Threat

Jane Perlez
New York Times
Mr. Hagel emphasized the need for more talks between the American and Chinese militaries to build trust and reduce the risk of miscalculation at a time of mounting rivalry. 

Viewpoint

06.05.13

A Re-Opening to China?

Paul Gewirtz
Five months into his second term, President Obama is about to undertake the most important diplomatic initiative of his presidency: an effort to reshape the relationship with China. With little fanfare thus far but considerable boldness on both...

The U.S., China, and Cyber Security (Podcast)

Matthew McKnight
New Yorker
Evan Osnos and others discuss the U.S.-China relationship before an upcoming Obama-Xi meeting, covering the topics of cyber security and the two countries’ mutual “strategic distrust.” 

Reports

06.03.13

Obama’s Meeting with China’s Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping

Dean Cheng, Derek Scissors
The Heritage Foundation
President Obama and the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping, will meet June 7–8 in California. The meeting has been characterized as a way for the two to establish a personal relationship and build trust. This would all be...

Wariness Over a Deal Intended to Deliver More Pork to China

Stephanie Strom
New York Times
Smithfield Foods, one of the biggest and oldest pork producers in the U.S., agreed to sell itself to Shuanghui International, one of China’s largest meat processors. The two emphasized that the deal aimed to increase the supply of...

Conversation

05.29.13

What Should Obama and Xi Accomplish at Their California Summit?

Susan Shirk, Orville Schell & more
Susan Shirk:It’s an excellent idea for President Obama and President Xi to spend two days of quality time together at a private retreat in Southern California. Past meetings between Chinese and American presidents have been too short, formal and...

Books

05.28.13

Stumbling Giant

Timothy Beardson
While dozens of recent books and articles have predicted the near-certainty of China’s rise to global supremacy, this book boldly counters such widely-held assumptions. Timothy Beardson brings to light the daunting array of challenges that today confront China, as well as the inadequacy of the policy responses. Threats to China come on many fronts, Beardson shows, and by their number and sheer weight these problems will thwart any ambition to become the world’s “Number One Power.”Drawing on extensive research and experience living and working in Asia over the last 35 years, the author spells out China’s situation: an inexorable demographic future of a shrinking labor force, relentless aging, extreme gender disparity, and even a falling population. Also, the nation faces social instability, a devastated environment, a predominantly low-tech economy with inadequate innovation, the absence of an effective welfare safety net, an ossified governance structure, and radical Islam lurking at the borders. Beardson’s nuanced, first-hand look at China acknowledges its historic achievements while tempering predictions of its imminent hegemony with a no-nonsense dose of reality. —Yale University Press

Wang Tells Donilon China Must Coordinate Its Policies With U.S.

Bloomberg
China and the U.S. should “strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination, and jointly promote world economic recovery and growth,” Wang told Donilon today, according to a statement on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s website. 

Why Americans Should Worry About China’s Food Safety Problems

Stanley Lubman
Wall Street Journal
Chinese food product imports to the U.S. are continuing to rise, but inspections in both China and the U.S. aren’t keeping pace, posing a growing danger to consumers.  

The Trust Deficit

He Yafei
Foreign Policy
Can China and the United States work together to play a leadership role in global governance to meet such urgent global challenges as nonproliferation and climate change? An analysis on how Beijing views Obama’s ‘Asia Pivot’. 

What Is China’s Plan on the Middle East?

Matt Schiavenza
Atlantic
Xi Jinping’s meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in May 2013 have as much to with  Israel and Palestine as it does with the United States whose diplomacy with these countries is not looking effective in...

Conversation

05.21.13

U.S.-China Economic Relations—What Will the Next Decade Bring?

Orville Schell & Patrick Chovanec
On Monday, within hours of the announcement that Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet U.S. President Barack Obama on a visit to California on June 7-8, Tung Chee-hwa, the former Chief Executive and President of the Executive Council of Hong Kong,...

Books

05.15.13

China Dreams

William A. Callahan
After celebrating their country’s three decades of fantastic economic success, many Chinese now are asking, “What comes next?” How can China convert its growing economic power into political and cultural influence around the globe? William A. Callahan's China Dreams gives voice to China’s many different futures by exploring the grand aspirations and deep anxieties of a broad group of public intellectuals. Stepping outside the narrow politics of officials vs. dissidents, Callahan examines what a third group—“citizen intellectuals”—think about China’s future. China Dreams eavesdrops on fascinating conversations between officials, scholars, soldiers, bloggers, novelists, filmmakers and artists to see how they describe China’s different political, strategic, economic, social and cultural futures. Callahan also examines how the P.R.C.’s new generation of twenty- and thirty-somethings is creatively questioning “The China Model” of economic development. The personal stories of these citizen intellectuals illustrate China’s zeitgeist and a complicated mix of hopes and fears about “The Chinese Century,” providing a clearer sense of how the PRC’s dramatic economic and cultural transitions will affect the rest of the world. China Dreams explores the transnational connections between American and Chinese people, providing a new approach to Sino-American relations. While many assume that 21st century global politics will be a battle of Confucian China vs. the democratic west, Callahan weaves Chinese and American ideals together to describe a new “Chimerican dream.”  —Oxford University Press

China Likely To Challenge U.S. Supremacy In East Asia

Martin Fackler
New York Times
Despite growing military might, China’s economic interdependence with the United States and the rest of Asia would probably prevent a full-blown military or even Cold War-style conflict.

Sinica Podcast

05.10.13

Humor in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Feel that your jokes have been falling flat lately? Enough that you’ve even started wondering whether China is a grand experiment in irony and deadpan humor? This week on Sinica, hosts Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn are delighted to invite guests...