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...

Xi Jinping’s Overlooked Revelation on China’s Maritime Disputes

M. Taylor Fravel
Diplomat
Although unnoticed by foreign analysts, Xi Jinping recently signaled a desire to dial back tensions in the South and East China Seas.

Japan Looking for Ways to Restart Top-Level Meetings with China

Asahi Shimbun
Japan and China have not held high-level meetings since the Japanese government placed the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea under national ownership in September 2012.

China Orders Ban on New Government Buildings

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
The new directive, which bans the construction of government buildings for the next five years, showed clear signs of being a continuation of the anticorruption campaign, describing the ban as “important for building a clean government” and...

Conversation

07.25.13

The Bo Xilai Trial: What’s It Really About?

Jerome A. Cohen, Andrew J. Nathan & more
China has charged disgraced senior politician Bo Xilai with bribery, abuse of power and corruption, paving the way for a potentially divisive trial. But what’s at stake goes beyond the fate of one allegedly corrupt official: Is it really a fight...

China Must Deepen Reforms to Meet Economic Challenges

Reuters
The new leadership has signalled it is prepared to tolerate slower growth to move the economy away from export-led growth and towards one driven by domestic demand, with 7 percent annual expansion seen as the bottom line.  

Why It’s News That China’s President Stood In The Rain With His Pants Rolled Up

Lily Kuo
Quartz
Xi—who has promised to tackle government corruption and lavish spending by officials—is trying to counter an image of elitism in dress, plain speech, and a few gestures of openness rarely seen at the upper rungs of China’s communist party.

A Reformist Chinese Leader? Stop Fooling Yourself

Jeffrey Wasserstrom
Time
Headline after headline - about the intractability of corruption, the death of a watermelon vendor or a petitioner's desperate attempt to draw attention to this plight by detonating an explosive device at a Beijing...

Conversation

07.18.13

Xu Zhiyong Arrested: How Serious Can Beijing Be About Political Reform?

Donald Clarke, Andrew J. Nathan & more
Donald Clarke:When I heard that Xu Zhiyong had just been detained, my first thought was, “Again?” This seems to be something the authorities do every time they get nervous, a kind of political Alka Seltzer to settle an upset constitution. I searched...

Media

07.15.13

A Rite of Passage to Nowhere

Ying Zhu & Frances Hisgen
Tiny Times, a Chinese feature film set in contemporary Shanghai, made headline news on its opening day in late June by knocking the Hollywood blockbuster Man of Steel from its perch atop the domestic box-office and breaking the opening-day record...

Beijing Unveils Fresh Campaign to Promote "Chinese Dream" Abroad

South China Morning Post
The Communist Party's propaganda chief has unveiled a new plan for the broad realisation and promotion of the "Chinese dream" abroad, a campaign championed by party general secretary Xi Jinping...

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...

China Second Quarter GDP to Test Reformers’ Stomach for Slower Growth

Langi Chiang and Koh Gui Qing
Reuters
China's resolve to revamp its economy for the long-term good will be tested this month when a slew of data show growth is grinding towards a 23-year low, with no recovery in sight...

Xi's Call for "Mass Line" Answered by Actions

Xinhua
On June 18, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, said that the "mass line" is the lifeline of the Party and the CPC's upcoming year-long campaign will be a "thorough cleanup" of undesirable work styles...

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.

China’s Jailed Nobel’s Wife Writes Open Letter to Chinese Leader to Protest Brother’s Sentence

Washington Post
In the letter, Liu Xiaobo’s wife Liu Xia said the sentencing was unfair and urged Xi to govern China in a way that respects the rights of individuals and avoids “ruthless suppression based on violence.”  

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. 

Xi Jinping Appears More Maoist Than Reformer So Far

Barbara Demick
Los Angeles Times
During his first months in power, Xi has proven himself more hard-line than his recent predecessors. He has tightened censorship in academia and the media, and spearheaded China’s territorial assertions in the South China and East China...

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. 

Conversation

06.11.13

What’s the Best Way to Advance Human Rights in the U.S.-China Relationship?

Nicholas Bequelin, Sharon Hom & more
Nicholas Bequelin:The best way to advance human rights in the U.S.-China relationship is first and foremost to recognize that the engine of human rights progress in China today is the Chinese citizenry itself. Such progress is neither the product of...

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. 

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...

Ideological Debate: Drawing the Battle Lines

J.M.
Economist
Xi Jinping’s lip service to liberalization and constitutionalism has emboldened advocates of political reform. Party officials have responded by rallying against constitutionalism and warning activists to not adopt Western ideals. 

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...

Obama to Meet China’s Xi in California

Reuters
The June 7 and 8 meeting will likely find the two leaders discussing several hot-button issues such as North Korea’s recent belligerence, cyberattacks, and tension in the South China Sea.

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,...

China Detains Activist for Subversion After Pressuring Leaders On Wealth

Sui-Lee Wee
Reuters
President Xi Jinping’s administration has detained at least 10 activists who have led a campaign for officials to publicly disclose their wealth - the first coordinated crackdown by the new government on activists. 

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...

Conversation

05.10.13

What’s China’s Game in the Middle East?

Rachel Beitarie, Massoud Hayoun & more
Rachel Beitarie:Xi Jinping’s four point proposal for a Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement is interesting not so much for its content, as for its source. While China has maintained the appearance of being involved in Middle East politics for years,...

Hu Shuli: China Has Still Not Compiled A Common Dream

Keiko Yoshioka
Asahi Shimbun
Hu, who has been described as the most dangerous woman in China because of her investigative reporting, gives an interview about the challenges facing new president Xi Jinping in 2013. 

Tale Of China’s Leader In A Taxicab Is Retracted

Chris Buckley
New York Times
The state-run news media, which had initially given credence to the story, abruptly reversed course, and the tale was in shreds. What does it mean when feel-good propaganda cannot be trusted even on its own fanciful terms? 

Challenges Mount For China’s President

Bill Bishop
Deal Book
Whatever honeymoon President Xi Jinping of China may have been having appears to be over. Now the president must grapple with the H7N9 virus, tensions over North Korea, an economic slowdown, corruption, and a host of other issues. 

North Korean Leader Strains Ties With Chinese

Jane Perlez
New York Times
How far the alliance between the powerhouse China and the impoverished North Korea has soured is now debated openly in the Chinese news media. Few call it a serious rift, though a spirited debate is under way within the Chinese government over how...

Now Sharper, Xi Jinping’s ‘China Dream’ Marks Departure From Past

Russel Leigh Moses
Wall Street Journal
A recent editorial elaboartes upon Xi’s ‘Chinese Dream’: “...realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation... [achieving] national prosperity, revitalization of the nation and its people’s happiness.”   

Elite In China Face Austerity Under Xi’s Rule

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
Warning that graft and gluttony threaten to bring down the ruling Communists, Mr. Xi has ordered an end to boozy, taxpayer-financed banquets and the bribery that often takes the form of Louis Vuitton bags. 

Can China Deliver The Chinese Dream(s)?

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
In dedicating his people to pursue something more abstract and individualized, Xi has succeeded in capturing their attention. Now he faces the challenge of meeting their expectations.  

Media

04.02.13

Singing a Note of Caution About New First Lady Peng Liyuan

Xi Jinping, the newly appointed Chinese President, unfolded his presidency with a grand foreign tour to Russia, Tanzania, South Africa, and the Republic of the Congo. While this series of state visits unequivocally underscored China’s diplomatic...

Sinica Podcast

03.29.13

Xi Jinping Goes to Russia

Kaiser Kuo & Jeremy Goldkorn from Sinica Podcast
Xi Jinping’s trip to Moscow earlier this week, his first journey abroad as China’s new Head of State, has raised interesting questions about China’s ambitions in Asia, and coupled with Washington’s “pivot to Asia” is resurrecting the specter of a...

China’s Xi Tells Africa He Seeks Relationship Of Equals

Fumbuka Ng’wanakilala and George...
Reuters
On the first stop on an African tour that will include a B.R.I.C.S. summit of major emerging economies, Xi Jinping told Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete that China’s involvement in Africa would help the continent grow richer. 

China’s First Lady Strikes Glamorous Note

Jane Perlez and Bree Feng
New York Times
At a time when China’s Foreign Ministry is struggling to improve China’s international image, Peng Liyuan, 50, who has dazzled audiences at home and abroad with her bravura soprano voice, comes as a welcome gift. 

Changing Faces

Economist
Xi Jinping’s first foreign visits since his inauguration and new appointments in foreign policy-related positions hint at the direction of the new administration’s foreign policy plans and goals.

Xi Stresses Positive U.S. Ties In Lew Meeting Amid Tensions

Michael Forsythe and Kasia Klimasinska
Bloomberg
Recently appointed U.S. Treasury Secretary discussed exchange rate, intellectual property, cybersecurity, and North Korea in his first meeting with Xi Jinping and the rest of the newly appointed Chinese leadership.

China’s Economy To Rebound This Year

Kenneth Rapoza
Forbes
Former Morgan Stanley Asia guru Stephen Roach is more bullish on Chinese GDP this year than outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao. Jiabao had it at 7.5%.  Roach estimated 8%. 

Does China Have A Foreign Policy?

Zheng Wang
New York Times
A country’s foreign policy should be judged on the basis of its actions as well as its rhetoric. When we conduct a careful examination of Chinese policies and actions, we see that Chinese foreign policy is actually ambivalent, even weak. 

What China’s New President Means For The Entertainment Industry

Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
Although China's annual foreign movie quota was recently increased, there’s much uncertainty surrounding how Xi’s rise to power will impact the entertainment industry. ...

China’s New President Nods To Public Concerns, But Defends Power At Top

Chris Buckley
New York Times
“I think that [Xi] is attracted to the idea of a kind of enlightened dictatorship, or neo-authoritarianism,” says magazine editor Li Weidong. “He rejects fundamental political reform, but he wants a cleaner, more efficient government that...

China’s First Lady Gets In On Charm Offensive

Financial Times
The move to make his wife more visible underscores the sense that Xi is treading a different path from his predecessor. Breaking with Chinese tradition signals his recognition that China must find new ways to make friends. 

China’s Public Expression Philosophy: A Case Of Too Little Theory?

Dr, Rogier Creemers
Free Speech Debate
For the foreseeable future, accepting pluralism, in all its colours and guises, is simply inconceivable in the epistemology of the Communist Party, and so are liberal conceptions of free expression and democracy. 

China’s Richer-Than-Romney Lawmakers Reveal Reform Challenge

Michael Forsythe, Michael Wei and Henry...
Bloomberg
 The growing presence of wealthy people in the legislature coincides with Xi's efforts to address the concern that the Communist Party no longer represents the interests of ordinary Chinese. ...

New Chinese Leader Shores Up Military Support

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Since taking the top party post, Mr. Xi has made a closer relationship with the military with greater speed and sureness than his recent predecessors.  

Conversation

03.06.13

Are Proposed Sanctions on North Korea a Hopeful Sign for U.S.-China Relations?

Orville Schell, Susan Shirk & more
Orville Schell:What may end up being most significant about the new draft resolution in the U.N. Security Council to impose stricter sanctions on North Korea, which China seems willing to sign, may not be what it amounts to in terms of...

After The First 100 Days Of Xi Jinping

Bill Bishop
New York Times
A look at what Xi has done so far and what is on the horizon, including environmental and economic reforms. loosening media restrictions, and Xi’s formally replacing Hu Jintao as president.

China Austerity Drive Becomes A Joke

William Kazer and Olivia Geng
Wall Street Journal
Beijing recently decided to take a more populist approach to its austerity campaign by making it a theme of the entertainment on CCTV’s widely watched Lunar New Year’s Eve gala.