Features

03.01.24

“There Is No CPEC in Gwadar, Except Security Check Posts”

Akbar Notezai
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is one of the major spokes of Beijing’s multi-trillion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an ambitious attempt to remake global trade and transport infrastructure. CPEC’s terminus is Gwadar, a port...

Viewpoint

02.21.24

“When It All Comes down to It, China Has No Real ‘New Year’”

Li Chengpeng & Geremie R. Barmé
I’ve written all of this because friends urged me to offer some reflections on the year gone by and jot down a few thoughts for the upcoming year. But I didn’t want to waste my time looking up data points. Anyway, I don’t see that there was all that...

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02.02.24

New Security Measures Curtailing the Study of China Alarm Educators

Jordyn Haime
Late last year, The New York Times reported on a new state-level bill in Florida that was creating unintended consequences for prospective Chinese graduate students. The bill restricts universities from accepting grants from or participating in...

“It’s Too Convenient to Say That Xi Jinping Is a Second Mao”

Nick Frisch & Chun Han Wong
The Chinese Communist Party, an organization of over ninety million members, remains opaque to many outsiders, even within China. Wall Street Journal reporter Chun Han Wong spent years in Beijing documenting social, political, and economic changes...

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01.22.24

Beijing Is Pouring Resources into Its UN Human Rights Review—All to Prevent Any Real Review from Taking Place

Sophie Richardson & Rana Siu Inboden
On January 23, a large delegation of Chinese officials will appear at the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) to try to defend the indefensible. For the first time since 2018, China will undergo a Universal Periodic Review (UPR), in which UN...

Updates to Our Database of Arrests under the Hong Kong National Security Law

We updated our suite of graphics tracking the impact of Hong Kong’s National Security Law. The law, which went into effect on June 30, 2020, and the allegation of “sedition,” have been used to arrest 286 individuals, charge 156, and convict 68 as of...

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12.20.23

Hong Kong Finds Its Voice at the UN—And Uses It to Cheerlead for Beijing

Anouk Wear
Last May, in a meeting room at the United Nations in Geneva, I sat and listened as a delegate from my hometown of Hong Kong called me a liar. I was there as a representative from the civil society organization Hong Kong Watch, participating in a...

Viewpoint

12.20.23

Debating Whether China Is Getting Stronger or Weaker Won’t Make U.S. Policy More Sound

Ali Wyne
Does the United States have more to fear from a powerful China that continues to strengthen or from a powerful China that begins to decline? While the question takes into account the economic, military, and diplomatic strides China has made over the...

Viewpoint

12.15.23

Does America Have an End Game on China?

Zack Cooper from Foreign Policy
This fall, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan noted that the Biden administration is “often asked about the end state of U.S. competition with China.” He argued that “we do not expect a transformative end state like the one that resulted...

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12.12.23

No One Is Talking About the Plight of Uyghurs with Disabilities in Detention. The World Owes Them More.

Rayhan Asat
In 2016, Chinese authorities began rounding up Uyghur intellectuals. Among those detained was Ababekri Muhtar, the founder of Misranim, a popular social media site used by Uyghurs to debate with and learn from each other. Muhtar relies on a...

Viewpoint

12.07.23

China’s Vision for World Order

Johanna M. Costigan
In October, in front of leaders from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, Xi Jinping stood triumphant in a celebratory keynote address celebrating the tenth birthday of his Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The speech,...

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11.07.23

China-Saudi RMB Settlement Will Insulate the Oil Trade from U.S. Sanctions

Christopher Vassallo
In recent years, Beijing has made efforts to facilitate the settlement of China-Saudi oil trade in renminbi (RMB) rather than in U.S. dollars, a move that would steel China’s trade from financial sanctions and disrupt the global market for oil.

Media

11.01.23

ChinaFile Presents: China Reporting in Exile

Annie Jieping Zhang, Li Yuan & more
ChinaFile and The New York Review of Books co-hosted a panel discussion with Chinese journalists working from abroad. Participants included reporter, editor, and digital media entrepreneur Annie Jieping Zhang, New York Times columnist Li Yuan,...

What’s Behind China’s Laws to Protect Privacy?

Samm Sacks & Mark Jia
In his article “Authoritarian Privacy” for the University of Chicago Law Review, Mark Jia writes: “Privacy laws are traditionally associated with democracy. Yet autocracies increasingly have them.” In this ChinaFile Q&A, Jia and Samm Sacks...

The Global Times Translated My Op-Ed. Here’s What They Changed.

Dan Murphy
On May 25, 2023, The New York Times published my guest essay “Like It or Not, America Needs Chinese Scientists,” on American higher education’s engagement with China in the STEM fields. The article was subsequently translated by the Chinese State-...

Features

09.28.23

Holding Sway

Jessica Batke
In most parts of the world, the United Front Work Department is known—if at all—as a secretive Chinese Communist Party organ conducting influence operations abroad. But in Gonghe Village, the local UFWD ponied up nearly one million renminbi in 2022...

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09.06.23

Three Years in, Hong Kong’s National Security Law Has Entrenched a New Status Quo

Thomas Kellogg & Charlotte Yeung
On March 20, 2023, a Hong Kong court sentenced three people to prison for sedition. Police had arrested them in January, during and after a raid on a book fair in Mong Kok, for the purported crime of selling self-published books about the city’s...

What’s Behind the Youth Unemployment Statistics Beijing Just Decided to Stop Publishing?

Jessica Batke & Eli Friedman
This week, China’s National Bureau of Statistics announced it would cease collecting data on youth unemployment. The news came after nearly a decade of poor job prospects for Chinese people ages 16-24, often reported on by international media as...

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07.24.23

Xi Jinping’s Three Balancing Acts

Neil Thomas from Foreign Policy
Xi Jinping has ruled China for over a decade, but the way he rules it is changing. Xi faces domestic and international environments that are markedly worse than when he took office in 2012. The economy is struggling, confidence is faltering, debt is...

Features

07.10.23

For Beijing, Putting People Back to Work May Prove a Tough Job

Eva Xiao
In a small Chinese town where unemployment has run high during the COVID-19 pandemic, the local government has embraced a surprising remedy to joblessness: public toilets. Fugong Village, in Guangdong province, usually sees nearly half of its small...

‘What Kind of Wish Is This?’

Angeli Datt
The writer Hao Qun, who publishes under the pen name Murong Xuecun, has spent the past two decades exploring Chinese society through his literature. After studying at Beijing’s prestigious China University of Politics and Law, he worked in the...

The U.S. May Be Overstating China’s Technological Prowess

Johanna M. Costigan & Jeffrey Ding
China’s technological prowess is frequently invoked by U.S. policymakers hoping to get votes, attention, or enough bipartisan support to pass a bill. Competition with China was a central motivating factor in federal legislation like the CHIPS and...

Covering Tiananmen

Mike Chinoy
The Tiananmen Square crisis in 1989 was a turning point for China. Weeks of student-led demonstrations turned into the largest protest for political reform in the history of the People’s Republic. The bloody military crackdown that crushed the...

Viewpoint

05.22.23

‘They Are Men Who Acted out of Conscience’

from Bu Mingbai Podcast
Last month, a Chinese court sentenced the civil rights activists and lawyers Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi to fourteen and twelve years in prison for “subverting state power,” a charge arising from an informal gathering of fellow activists the two had...

Official PRC Place Names

These datasets list the 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...

‘Beijing’s Global Media Offensive’

Abby Seiff & Joshua Kurlantzick
Over the past several years, there has been an active debate about Chinese influence overseas. Amidst allegations that Beijing has influenced foreign elections and politicians, state newswire Xinhua has expanded into one of the largest news agencies...

Features

05.12.23

Investing in Tourism in Xinjiang, Beijing Seeks New Ways to Control the Region’s Culture

Eva Xiao
In a county where authorities ran multiple internment camps in China’s northwest Xinjiang region, the local government has commissioned a new set of buildings for a very different demographic: tourists. These sites and services, which were...

Updates to Our Database of Arrests Related to the Hong Kong National Security Law

We updated our suite of graphics tracking the impact of Hong Kong’s National Security Law. It now includes information on the 248 individuals arrested between July 2020, when the law went into effect, and March 31, 2023. Information on these...

For China’s Urban Residents, the Party-State Is Closer than Ever

Jessica Batke & Taisu Zhang
In a recent working paper, scholars Yutian An and Taisu Zhang argue that local urban governments in China emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic with far more muscle and clout than they have ever had before. Unlike in the past several decades, the sub-...

‘A Stone Is Most Precious Where It Belongs’

Jessica Batke & Gulchehra Hoja
Gulchehra Hoja is a longtime broadcaster with Radio Free Asia’s (RFA) Uyghur Service. She grew up in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and was a successful TV personality and journalist with Chinese state media there. She...

‘It Is Especially Scary to See Students’

Jue Jiang
As in many other aspects of public life in China under Xi Jinping, the space for independent inquiry and discussion within the academy has shrunk significantly in recent years. The Xi administration has released a slew of guidelines and communiques...

The Future of China’s Climate Policy

Kate Logan & Li Shuo
With China accounting for more than a quarter of annual global greenhouse gas emissions, the future pathway of China’s emissions will play a central role in determining the extent to which the world can meet the Paris Agreement’s climate change...

Document 9, 10 Years Later

Jessica Batke
Ten years ago, in April 2013, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) promulgated a critical directive: its “Communiqué on the Current State of the Ideological Sphere.” The document, issued by the CCP’s General Office and not intended for public...

Viewpoint

02.27.23

How Much Does U.S.-China Tension Threaten Decarbonization?

Scott Moore
A striking contradiction has emerged between Beijing’s growing geopolitical isolation on one hand, and its apparent continued commitment to tackling global climate change on the other. The big question, for China and for the world, is whether...

Viewpoint

02.24.23

Touting ‘Ethnic Fusion,’ China’s New Top Official for Minority Affairs Envisions a Country Free of Cultural Difference

Aaron Glasserman
Pan’s election to the Central Committee suggests that the Xi administration’s hard turn toward assimilationism will likely continue and perhaps intensify. Pan is the second Han official in a row to head the Ethnic Affairs Commission, which for...

‘I Wonder How the Protesters Felt When They Heard Their Own Voices’

Yangyang Cheng
On Sunday, February 5, after a polar vortex brought the coldest weekend in decades to the region, scores of people gathered in the heart of Boston to commemorate the third anniversary of the passing of Dr. Li Wenliang, the young Chinese...

Straying off Course

John Delury & Susan Jakes
On the evening of Friday February 3, about one day after news broke that a large balloon from China was surveilling the skies over Montana, ChinaFile’s Susan Jakes spoke with historian John Delury, whose recently published book, Agents of Subversion...

National Security Law-Related Arrests in Hong Kong: An Update

We’ve just updated our suite of graphics tracking the impact of Hong Kong’s National Security Law. It now includes information on the 227 individuals arrested between July 2020, when the law went into effect, and the end of 2022. Information on...

Viewpoint

01.31.23

Where Does Xi Jinping Go from Here?

Neil Thomas
Popular narratives about Chinese leader Xi Jinping are in flux. Just a few months ago, he was widely seen as an unassailable force. But unusually widespread protests in late November, followed by a complete reversal of his zero-COVID policy, have...

Viewpoint

01.26.23

What Impact Would a U.S. Debt Default Have on China?

Arthur R. Kroeber
The big political drama in Washington in the next few months will be the fight over the federal debt ceiling. The worst-case scenario is that Congress refuses to raise the ceiling and the U.S. Treasury defaults on its debt. Since U.S. treasury debt...

For Your Weekend, January 6, 2023

A park bench in New York’s Central Park memorializes Li Wenliang, the Wuhan-based ophthalmologist who, just over three years ago, began issuing warnings about the dangerous pneumonia-like illness spreading in his city, that would soon come to be...

The Class of ’77

Susan Jakes
In August 1971, Jaime FlorCruz arrived in Beijing for a short trip to learn about Maoist China. Just days later, the Filipino college student learned he had been put on a blacklist by then President Ferdinand Marcos. Facing certain arrest and likely...

Planting the Flag in Mosques and Monasteries

Jessica Batke
Over the last few years, the Chinese Communist Party has physically remade places of religious worship in western China to its liking. This includes not only the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, but also other areas with mosques or Tibetan...

Viewpoint

12.12.22

In China’s Diaspora, Visions of a Different Homeland

Yangyang Cheng
At the beginning, there were songs. It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving. In the storied New England town, over a hundred of us had gathered for the candlelight vigil. After a fire claimed at least ten lives in a locked-down building in Urumchi, and...

Media

11.07.22

ChinaFile Presents: Nury Turkel, No Escape

Nury Turkel & Jessica Batke
In his recent book, No Escape: The True Story of China’s Genocide of the Uyghurs, attorney and activist Nury Turkel tells his personal story—his birth in a re-education camp in China, his journey to the United States, and his career working to end...

China’s Next Act

Susan Jakes & Scott Moore
While discussions of U.S.-China relations tend to revolve around trade and national security, more focus ought to be given to issues of environmental sustainability, including health, and to emerging technology, argues the University of Pennsylvania...

For Your Weekend, November 4, 2022

Asian Labour Review published a translated first-hand account of one of the many workers who fled a Foxconn factory in Henan this week due to COVID cases and the threat of lockdown. The worker recounts the sudden chaos of leaving, the kindness of...

Viewpoint

11.01.22

In Tibet, Officials’ Pursuit of Zero-COVID Sent Tens of Thousands into Mass ‘Isolation’ Facilities

Robert Barnett
The general attitude in Lhasa since early September has been marked by concern and discontent. Its focus has been primarily on the mass transfer by city officials of thousands of citizens to isolation camps, and on the ways in which officials have...

For Your Weekend, October 28, 2022

For those interested in the nuts and bolts of Party priorities and self-representation, the Substack Ginger River has provided a line-by-line review of changes in the Party constitution following the recent Party Congress. It has also collected a...

How to Become a Better Firefighter in Gansu? Read ‘1984,’ ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People,’ and ‘The Complete Book of Jewish Wisdom’

Jeffrey Sequeira
On April 23, 2022, the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) marked World Book Day with a meeting in Beijing to “study and implement the important instructions of Party General Secretary Xi Jinping and...

For Your Weekend, October 7, 2022

An article from Emily Feng at NPR, “A public payphone in China began ringing and ringing. Who was calling?,” manages to be both inspiring and deflating. The story it tells brings together themes of environmental justice, public protest, art as a...

Viewpoint

10.03.22

Thanks to a County in Utah, Same-Sex Couples Can Get Married—In China

Zhijun Hu
When Juying attended her son Yangming’s wedding this summer, she was not in a banquet hall or a church but in her apartment. On Zoom, she watched Yangming—3,000 kilometers away in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou—stand next to his husband-to-be...

Features

09.29.22

Elections? No Thank You. Performance Reviews? Maybe.

Jessica Batke
In recent years, both Chinese state and Communist Party organizations have fielded thousands of public opinion polls, on subjects ranging from hospital services, to rural revitalization, to food safety. Yet, much of the information gleaned from...

Viewpoint

09.16.22

New Export Controls on Chinese Semiconductors May Prove Self-Defeating

Sam Bresnick & Nathaniel Sher
New restrictions are not only likely unnecessary, they may ultimately prove self-defeating. Overly zealous controls that limit older semiconductor equipment sales to China will inflict collateral damage on American, and potentially international,...

Media

09.15.22

ChinaFile Presents: Surveillance State—Inside China’s Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control

Josh Chin, Liza Lin & more
Wall Street Journal reporters Josh Chin and Liza Lin discussed their new book with ChinaFile Senior Editor Jessica Batke and Arthur Ross Director of Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations Orville Schell. Surveillance State: Inside China’s...

Culture

09.12.22

Forbidden Writer

Brian Haman from Mekong Review
From his humble beginnings as a propaganda writer, Yan Lianke has gone on to become among China’s most controversial writers—one whose work is frequently censored for its focus on the lives of those devastated by Beijing’s policies. “When people are...

For Your Weekend, September 9, 2022

Sixth Tone recently published a striking photo series featuring people in the city of Xi’an who have taken up residence in a half-finished apartment complex. In a story repeated throughout China right now, the developer ceased building due to...

Online Posts Purport to Show Severe Lockdown Conditions in Xinjiang

Jessica Batke
Videos, voice messages, and WeChat posts purporting to show residents in the Ghulja (Yining), Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture, area of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region crying out for food or medical attention have appeared online in recent...

For Your Weekend, September 1, 2022

As we go into the last weekend of the summer, and a holiday weekend for those in the U.S., we recommend this New Yorker essay in which Han Zhang discusses the censorship of feminists and reporting on incidents of gender-based violence.

For Your Weekend, August 25, 2022

This weekend, we recommend this superb exploration of Chinese documentary film winning awards at fake documentary film festivals, from our friends at China Media Project.In this short interview, climate expert (and our Asia Society colleague) Thom...