For Your Weekend, August 11, 2022

The most recent episode of the Sinica Podcast, with former U.S. intelligence officer John Culver, was recorded last week before Beijing’s military exercises in the wake of Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. But it’s an invaluable resource on both the historical context of the visit and on the range of possible directions its aftermath could take.

The Substack Ginger River has translated Xinhua’s readout of Xi Jinping’s recent inspection tour of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The translation gives a sense of how Chinese authorities are framing the trip, and the notes provided by the translator(s) help fill in any gaps for a reader not familiar with the CCP jargon related to the region.

Carnegie’s Indian Ocean Initiative recently released an interactive map, “The Strategic Importance of the Indian Ocean.” The map allows you to zoom in on chokepoints, disputed territories, and maritime boundaries, providing background information on key issues in the region.

For Your Weekend, August 5, 2022

Thanks to our colleagues at Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations, we are reading this excellent investigation into the effects Chinese iron mining in Guinea, by Bloomberg’s Sheridan Prasso and featuring the work of our old friend, environmental lawyer Zhang Jingjing, and well summarized in this excellent video. It came out in June, but if we missed it, maybe you did too?

As we continue to follow the aftermath of Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan earlier this week, we recommend checking out the latest installment of the Lawfare Podcast with Julian Ku, Zach Cooper, and Sophia Yan joining Lawfare’s editor Benjamin Wittes, this op-ed by Yu-Jie Chen and this Isaac Chotiner interview with longtime American Taiwan expert, Shelly Rigger.

In happier news, last week, a ChinaFile essay by Shen Lu, “Scallion Dutch Baby: How I Revised My Recipe for Home,” won the Association of Asian American Journalists award for Excellence in Commentary. The essay is in part about cooking, and so to share our celebration of the prize with all of you, we invited Shen to share recipes for two of the dishes that appear in her essay.

For Your Weekend, July 28, 2022

For your weekend, we recommend Ian Johnson’s review of a new English language translation of Wang Xiaobo’s 1992 novella The Golden Age, released this week.

You can read more on Wang, his unique place among contemporary Chinese writers, and his wife, the influential sociologist of sexuality Li Yinhe, in this essay by Johnson for The New York Review of Books.

And for an additional look at Wang’s social and artistic mileu, watch this ChinaFile interview with filmmaker Zhang Yuan which touches on his collaboration with Wang and Li on his film East Palace, West Palace, one of mainland China’s first films about same-sex romance.

Confession and Reconciliation in the Cultural Revolution’s Aftermath

A Conversation with ChinaFile

Last week, frequent ChinaFile contributors Geremie Barmé and Zha Jianying joined editor Susan Jakes on Twitter Spaces to discus Zha’s recent short story for ChinaFile, “The Prize Student.” The story takes place in Nanjing in 1983, as a prominent writer pays a visit to a Middle School teacher he had denounced and persecuted at the start of the Cultural Revolution 17 years earlier. Barmé and Zha discussed the story’s origins, their own experience of the Cultural Revolution, and the vexed question of how it is and can be remembered in China today.

Arrests and Charges Related to Hong Kong's National Security Law

Since May 2021, Lydia Wong, Eric Yan-ho Lai, and Thomas Kellogg, from the Center for Asian Law at Georgetown University, have tracked the implementation of Hong Kong’s National Security Law, tallying up arrests and prosecutions as well as assessing larger trends in the nature of such cases. In addition to hosting the two articles they have written about their findings (“New Data Show Hong Kong’s National Security Arrests Follow a Pattern” and “Arrest Data Show National Security Law Has Dealt a Hard Blow to Free Expression in Hong Kong”), ChinaFile is providing regularly-updated data about these cases on a stand-alone page: “Tracking the Impact of Hong Kong’s National Security Law.” Check back here frequently for information about new arrests or updates to cases working their way through the legal system.

2021 (Most Recent) Official PRC Place Name Data Available for Download

For the last few years, ChinaFile has collected and hosted the list of official names of all the places (political units) in China. This information is openly available on the Chinese government’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) website, but not in an easily downloadable or searchable format. We have compiled these lists in CSV format in the hopes they may be of use to other researchers.

Participation in Xinjiang Surveillance Program Can Lead to Smoother Career Enhancement

Since 2014, authorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region have, as Human Rights Watch phrases it, sent “cadres from government agencies, state-owned enterprises, and public institutions to regularly visit and surveil people.” The program, known as “Visit the People, Benefit the People, Bring Together the Hearts of the People,” is one way the government keeps tabs on Uyghurs and other ethnic minority residents of the region.

A Note on Notes From ChinaFile

As ChinaFile approaches its 10th birthday, we find ourselves occasionally having something on the short side to say. Notes from ChinaFile will provide a dwelling place on our site for recommendations of books or articles, shrewd thoughts we overhear or that you send us, treasures from our archives, short chats with contributors, documents in search of a story, questions, partially formed ideas, clever uses for a scallion, and likely much else that hasn’t yet occurred to us. We’ll keep you posted.