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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

05.20.15

China Liked TPP—Until U.S. Officials Opened Their Mouths

After a brief but frightening setback for proponents, U.S. congressional leaders looked set on May 13 to pass legislation for an eventual up-or-down (“fast-track”) vote on what would be one of the world’s largest trade accords, the U.S.-led Trans-...

Media

05.11.15

Interactive Map: Follow the Roads, Railways, and Pipelines on China’s New Silk Road

Reid Standish & Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
Foreign Policy has put together an interactive guide tracking Beijing’s victories and obstacles along the new Silk Road. The list of participating countries is still not finalized, but with China forking out billions in trade deals and preferential...

Media

05.06.15

Online Reaction to Baltimore Protests Reveals Much About Chinese Tension with African Immigrants

Viola Rothschild
Several days ago, a Chinese friend and I were discussing the protests in Baltimore that erupted in response to the death of resident Freddie Gray in connection with his April 12 arrest by city police officers, who have since been charged with crimes...

Media

04.30.15

Will China Ban Katy Perry?

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On April 28, American pop singer Katy Perry gave her first-ever concert in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, the self-governing island which mainland China considers to be its sovereign territory. Tense relations between Taiwan and mainland China mean...

Media

04.28.15

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Chinese Fugitives

Alexa Olesen
Meet China’s 100 international most-wanted: a history professor, a driving instructor, and a government propaganda office cashier. Chinese graft-busters want you to know that one of them might be your neighbor.On April 22, China’s dreaded Central...

Media

04.21.15

This Chart Explains Everything You Need to Know About Chinese Internet Censorship

David Wertime
What goes through a Chinese web user’s head the moment before he or she hits the “publish” button? Pundits, scholars, and everyday netizens have spent years trying to parse the (ever-shifting) rules of the Chinese Internet. Although Chinese...

Media

04.15.15

Online Support–and Mockery–Await Chinese Feminists After Release

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On April 13, Chinese authorities released on bail five feminist activists detained for over a month without formal charges. Despite tight censorship surrounding their detention, support on Chinese social media and thinly veiled media criticism...

Media

04.13.15

The Chinese Internet Hates Hillary Clinton Even More than Republicans Do

Isaac Stone Fish
On the afternoon of April 12, Hillary Clinton announced her long-expected decision to run for president in 2016. Within hours, Chinese news sites shared the announcement on Weibo, China’s most popular micro-blogging platform, provoking thousands of...

Media

04.02.15

‘Obama Is Sitting Alone at a Bar Drinking a Consolation Beer’

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
Danish and Chinese netizens have just shared in a collective guffaw at America’s expense. The online lampoonery came after Denmark announced on March 28 its intent to join the Asian Investment Infrastructure Bank (AIIB), a China-led initiative...

Media

03.26.15

Brother, Can You Spare a Renminbi?

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
Who deserves to be poor in modern China? One man in China’s southern Zhejiang province certainly seemed sympathetic: Each day, he pushed himself along the street on a homemade wooden skateboard, his apparently paralyzed legs tucked under his body,...

Media

03.25.15

Was Lee Kuan Yew an Inspiration or a Race Traitor? Chinese Can’t Agree

Rachel Lu
When Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of Singapore, passed away at the ripe age of 91 on March 23, the elderly statesman was as controversial in death as in life—and nowhere was the debate more vigorous than in China. While state media was full of...

Media

03.20.15

China Has Its Own Anti-Vaxxers—Blame the Internet

Alexa Olesen
While health officials in the United States and parts of Europe wrestle with a growing anti-vaccination, or “anti-vaxxer” movement, China is dealing with a less organized but similarly serious fear of immunizations. Social media reveals traces of...