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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

08.04.15

Beijing’s Winter Doldrums

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On July 31, the International Olympic Committee awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics to Beijing, the arid northern capital of a country with little tradition of winter sports. Beijing will be the first city in history to host both the winter games and...

Media

07.28.15

Clickbait Nationalism

On July 16, the lower house of the Japanese Parliament passed a set of new security legislation that would grant Japan limited power to engage in foreign conflicts for the first time since its defeat in World War II. Despite domestic public...

Media

07.23.15

Why Taylor Swift’s 1989 Merchandise Is Not Going to Get Her Banned in China

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On July 20, one of China’s largest e-commerce websites, JD.com, announced that it is partnering with popular American singer Taylor Swift to become the first authorized retailer of her merchandise in China. That news likely wouldn’t have turned...

Media

07.21.15

China: The Best and the Worst Place to Be a Muslim Woman

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
A woman’s solitary voice, earthy and low, rises above the seated worshipers. More than 100 women stand, bow, and touch their foreheads to the floor as a female imam leads evening prayers at a women-only mosque during the first week of Islam’s holy...

Media

07.02.15

Who Would China Vote for in 2016?

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
As 2016 draws nearer, a cascade of mostly Republican presidential hopefuls have announced their entry into the U.S. presidential race. Until a successor to current President Barack Obama is selected in November 2016, Americans can count on an...

Media

06.26.15

‘Why Do Chinese Lack Creativity?’

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On June 19, the University of Washington and elite Tsinghua University in Beijing announced a new, richly funded cooperative program to be based in Seattle and focused on a topic that has become a sore point in China: innovation. Republican...

Media

06.26.15

A Chinese Feminist, Made in America

Nancy Tang
In August 2010, two weeks after turning 18, I traveled about 6,700 miles from Beijing, China to attend Amherst, a liberal-arts college in Massachusetts in the northeastern United States. I packed a copy of Harvard economist N. Gregory Mankiw’s...

Media

06.17.15

American Students in China: It’s Not as Authoritarian as We Thought

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
For some American students about to embark on a study abroad trip to China, the U.S. media reports of Chinese Internet censorship, jailing of dissidents, and draconian population control laws may dominate their perception of the country. But after...

Media

06.09.15

Chinese Censorship of Western Books Is Now Normal. Where’s the Outrage?

Alexa Olesen
In September 2014, I was commissioned by the New York-based free speech advocacy group PEN American Center to investigate how Western authors were navigating the multibillion-dollar Chinese publishing world and its massive, but opaque, censorship...

Media

06.05.15

Hong Kong’s Long-Standing Unity on Tiananmen Is Unraveling

June 4, a day that changed mainland China forever, has become a cross that the city of Hong Kong bears. Each year, thousands of the city’s residents gather on an often steamy night and share anxious memories of 1989, when tanks rolled by bloodied...

Media

06.02.15

Chinese Netizens to Fiorina: You’re Right, We Don’t Innovate

David Wertime
Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and a declared Republican candidate for U.S. president, evidently has strong opinions about the capacities of Chinese people. “Yeah, the Chinese can take a test,” Fiorina told an Iowa-based video blog...

Media

05.29.15

Is the Shanghai Stock Market Bubble Finally Bursting?

David Wertime
A customer strolls into a bookstore, goes the popular Chinese joke, and tells the salesperson: “I’m looking for a book with no killers, but much bloodshed; with no love, but great regret; with no spies, but constant paranoia. Can you make a...