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Tea Leaf Nation

Tea Leaf Nation is a channel on ForeignPolicy.com that decodes Chinese media—mainstream, social, local, special interest—to illuminate the country from within.

Last Updated: February 10, 2016

Media

09.28.15

What’s China’s Mood Under Xi? New Data Gives a Glimpse

David Wertime
China, under the presidency of Xi Jinping, has invited a number of breathless pronouncements about the state of the country. Chinese media regularly conjure the “Chinese Dream,” one of Xi’s favored phrases, which means whatever readers want it to...

Media

09.24.15

Mapping the World’s Winners and Losers from China Trade

The story of China’s trade over the past half-decade or more has stayed relatively consistent: countries exporting commodities to China have seen enormous inflows of money as the country has consumed huge quantities of raw materials, while developed...

Media

09.23.15

‘God’s United Front’ and the Battle Over China’s Crosses

This article first appear in Chinese on September 2 in Hong Kong-based outlet The Initium Media. Foreign Policy translates with permission, with edits for brevity and clarity.On the evening of August 16, nearly one hundred pastors, ministers, and...

Media

09.10.15

Chinese Web Users Grieve for Syrian Toddler—and Blame America

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
A photo of Syrian three-year-old Aylan Kurdi lying dead on a Turkish beach, who drowned as his family attempted to flee their war-torn homeland by crossing the Mediterranean Sea to find refuge in Greece, has stunned viewers across Europe and the...

Media

09.03.15

Chinese Web Users Aren’t Blaming Detained Journalist for Market Panic

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
China’s stock markets have been in free-fall for some time. Now, so is a financial journalist who had the temerity to write about them. On August 31, Chinese journalist Wang Xiaolu confessed on state-run China Central Television (CCTV) to writing a...

Media

08.31.15

Netanyahu, Shanghai, and the Communist Party’s Forbidden History

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On August 26, the Israeli Embassy in China posted a one-minute video to its official account on Weibo, China’s huge microblogging platform, thanking the coastal Chinese city of Shanghai for its role sheltering roughly 20,000 Jews fleeing persecution...

Media

08.27.15

Chinese Media Jumps on Tragic Virginia Shooting

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On the morning of August 26, a reporter and a cameraman for a local Virginia television station were fatally shot during a live television interview. The alleged gunman, now dead, apparently shot himself before being apprehended by police.The...

Media

08.26.15

Mapping Fallout From ‘Black Monday’: Who Was Hardest Hit?

David Wertime
August 24, which some have already dubbed “Black Monday,” was not a kind day to global equity markets. The rout began with a massive sell-off in China, where the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index plunged 8.49 percent in just one day. Those losses...

Features

08.20.15

Is China About to Plunge the World Into Recession?

David Wertime
On Aug. 18, China’s stock market plummeted by a vertigo-inducing 6.2 percent in one day of trading, part of a months-long decline that’s erased over $3 trillion worth of market value from the country’s equity markets. That followed last week’s...

Media

08.17.15

4 Questions Chinese Want Answered After Deadly Tianjin Blast

David Wertime
Around 11:30 p.m., Beijing time, on Wednesday, at least two fearsome blasts in quick succession rocked the large northeastern Chinese port city of Tianjin. Originating at or near a hazardous materials warehouse near the city’s downtown, the...

Media

08.13.15

Sorry China, the Internet You’re Looking for Does Not Exist

David Wertime
The long arm of China’s massive internal security apparatus just reached further into the heart of the country’s web. On August 4, China’s Ministry of Public Security announced that it would embed law enforcement officers at major Internet companies...

Media

08.05.15

Beijing’s Ban on Smoking Is Actually (Sort of) Working

They rarely trash hotel rooms or boast about drugs, but Chinese rock stars could at least be counted on to smoke. Now even that’s starting to change in the face of a smoking ban in China’s capital that shows little sign of burning out, almost two...