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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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.

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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07.21.22

From My Anguished Heart—A Letter to My Daughter

Xu Zhangrun & Geremie R. Barmé
In early July 2020, Xu Zhangrun was detained for supposedly having “solicited prostitutes” during a trip with friends to Sichuan in late 2019. He was being persecuted for his unsparing critiques of Xi Jinping, starting in July 2018. The following...

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04.08.22

Closing the U.S. to Chinese Biotech Would Do Far More Harm Than Good

Scott Moore & Abigail Coplin
Biotechnology intrinsically blurs boundaries between science and commerce, market and state, the global and the national, and even personal privacy and collective interest. Progress depends more heavily in biotech than in other high-tech industries...

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03.21.22

‘I’ve Forgotten How to Kneel in Front of You!’

Geremie R. Barmé
It started with a simple message to his parents. Russian forces were invading Ukraine and, in case something happened to him, Wang Jixian, a computer programmer based in Odessa, decided he had better record a few words addressed to his parents on...

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03.12.22

Wang Jixian: A Voice from The Other China, but in Odessa

Geremie R. Barmé
“Hello, everyone. This is Jixian in Odessa. Just checking in to let you know that I’m okay; I’m still alive.” This is the way that Wang Jixian, a 37-year-old software engineer originally from Beijing, starts most of his daily vlog updates posted...

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02.28.22

In Xinjiang’s Tech Incubators, Innovation Is Inseparable from Repression

Jessica Batke
Innovation and its benefits to society in Xinjiang have come to encompass both the use of big data to enhance cross-border trade and the use of big data to monitor people inside their own homes. Official documents promoting innovation in Xinjiang...

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02.03.22

Keeping the Flies Out

Anne Stevenson-Yang from Mekong Review
The first time I rode a public bus in China, in 1985, a young woman came up to me and ran her hand up and down my arm to feel the body hair. Foreigners were like rare animals then: precious, strange, probably dangerous. Surveillance was constant and...

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02.01.22

Verdicts from China’s Courts Used to Be Accessible Online. Now They’re Disappearing.

Luo Jiajun & Thomas Kellogg
Judicial transparency in China has taken a significant step backward in recent months. Beginning at least a year ago, China’s Supreme People’s Court has considerably scaled back the number of cases available on its China Judgments Online web portal...

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09.23.21

‘China’s Search for a Modern Identity Has Entered a New and Perilous Phase’

Roger Garside
In 1980, writing the last paragraph of the last chapter of Coming Alive: China After Mao, I declared that China was moving “from totalitarian tyranny to a system more humane, part of a struggle by this nation to free itself from a straitjacket woven...

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09.09.21

A Farewell to My Students

Xu Zhangrun & Geremie R. Barmé
Xu Zhangrun addresses this letter to the students and young scholars who participated in “The Three Talents Salon” which Xu founded in 2003, a biannual symposium devoted to fostering “three talents” or skills in the participants: in-depth reading,...

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09.02.21

How Much Does Beijing Control the Ethnic Makeup of Tibet?

Andrew M. Fischer
The idea of swamping, which the Dalai Lama himself elaborated in 2008, holds that China’s government has been seeking to solve its problems in Tibet and other “ethnic minority” areas such as Xinjiang by turning local indigenous ethnic groups (such...

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07.20.21

Making Sense of Support for Donald Trump in China

He Weifang
As the dust finally settled on the U.S. presidential election that shook the world, Biden was sworn in as president, and Trump, who tried everything to cling to a second term, slunk out of the capital city of Washington, D.C. in disgrace. Looking...

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07.10.21

Why China Is Going After Its Tech Giants

Charles Mok
Just days after its lucrative listing on the New York Stock Exchange, China ride-hailing giant Didi Global was hit with another round of sanctions by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). On July 4, the country’s Internet regulator ordered...

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05.18.21

A Letter to My Editors and to China’s Censors

Xu Zhangrun & Geremie R. Barmé
Xu Zhangrun, perhaps China’s most famous dissident legal scholar, released a letter addressed not only to China’s censors but also to the editors and publishers with whom he had worked for decades. That essay, translated below, is Letter Eight in...

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05.14.21

Ahead of Its Centennial, the Chinese Communist Party Frets Over Unsanctioned Takes on Its History

Hans van de Ven
On July 1, the Chinese Communist Party will commemorate its founding in Shanghai one hundred years ago. Unsurprisingly, Beijing is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that nothing untoward takes place in the run-up to the great day. On April 9, the...

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04.27.21

The Right Way to Bring Chinese STEM Talent Back to the U.S.

Evan Burke
The Trump administration deployed a raft of restrictions on international students and workers, many of which directly targeted or disproportionally impacted Chinese STEM talent. While some measures had a basis in legitimate concerns like illicit...

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04.23.21

‘I Stand the Law’s Good Servant, but the People’s First’

Margaret Ng
Former legislator and prominent lawyer Margaret Ng was given a suspended sentence of 12 months. In her sentencing statement, which she read out in open court, Ng recounted her career in law and politics, interweaving her own story with the decades-...

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04.01.21

Will Protests against China Push Beijing to Intervene in Myanmar?

Abby Seiff
Angry with the results of the November election, which saw a landslide win for the ruling National League for Democracy party, Myanmar’s military claimed electoral fraud. On February 1, they seized power from the civilian government, rounding up...

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03.25.21

Abandoning Criticism of China’s Government Isn’t the Right Way to End Anti-Asian Racism in the U.S.

Ho-fung Hung
The recent surge of anti-Asian violence across the U.S., culminating in the tragedy of the Atlanta shooting, reminds us that the mainstream (mis)representation of Asian Americans as a model minority never spares us from racist hatred and the...

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01.22.21

In Xinjiang, Rare Protests Came Amid Lockdown

Tracy Wen Liu
Six months after China rolled out its first coronavirus lockdown in Wuhan in late January 2020, Urumqi was placed under quarantine. The first lockdown specifically targeting the capital of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, rather than the...

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12.09.20

How the CCP Took over the Most Sacred of Uighur Rituals

Timothy Grose
The rooster hadn’t even stopped his crowing when the police arrived at my Uighur host’s courtyard in rural Turpan one early spring morning in 2008. Although they spoke calmly, almost apologetically, the uniformed Uighur officers demanded that the...

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09.17.20

Could Same-Sex Marriage Advocacy in China Be Poised for a Breakthrough?

Darius Longarino
Last fall, as China’s lawmakers neared finalizing the country’s first-ever Civil Code, they opened to public comment its draft chapters on marriage and other areas of law. A newly formed coalition of LGBTQ organizations advocating for gay marriage...

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09.10.20

In Defense of Diplomacy with China

James Green
Critics of the last four decades of China policy have incorrectly and simplistically labeled diplomacy a failure because the People’s Republic did not become a liberal democracy. That was never the goal or an achievable objective of U.S. policy. The...

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08.27.20

When China Reporters Can’t Report from China

Matt DeButts
Shortly after midnight on March 18, a phone call awoke Steven Lee Myers in his Beijing apartment. The call was followed by a flurry of messages: WhatsApp, text, email. Friends and colleagues were asking him questions: What is going on? What does...

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08.20.20

How To Teach China This Fall

Dimitar D. Gueorguiev, Xiaobo Lü & more
The coming academic year presents unique challenges for university instructors teaching content related to China. The shift to online education, the souring of U.S.-China relations, and new national security legislation coming from Beijing have...

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08.04.20

Reciprocity in U.S. Relations with China Should Be a Tool, Not the Whole Strategy

Lucas Tcheyan & Sam Bresnick
Since the outset of the U.S.-China trade war, critics have castigated the Trump administration for its capricious approach to relations with Beijing. They have found fault in particular with Donald Trump’s flip-flopping on sanctioning ZTE, banning U...

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07.30.20

For Wuhan’s COVID Mourners, Little Has Been Laid to Rest

Tracy Wen Liu
In a conversation on Weibo, Yang, 50, told me about the loss of her 24-year-old daughter, Yuxi, her only child, to COVID-19. She was grieving, of course, but she was also seeking justice for what she viewed as an avoidable death. She showed me a...

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07.27.20

Pandemic Responses Suffer from Common Ailments

William C. Summers
As the world continues to reel from the COVID-19 pandemic, the onslaught of new developments, disrupted routines, and fast-evolving medical research and advice trap us in a kind of eternal present. Each day feels unprecedented. But, at least since...

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07.02.20

It’s True That Democracy in China Is in Retreat, But Don’t Give up on It Now

Li Fan
China’s popularity in the world is plummeting, and antagonism between China and the United States is growing. Many blame China for allowing a series of new viruses to emerge, for failing to stop COVID-19 when it first appeared, and for not sharing...

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06.10.20

For Me, the Breakdown in U.S.-China Relations Is Personal

Judy Polumbaum
In my childhood, they were the Red Chinese. In my husband’s upbringing, we were the American imperialists. U.S.-China reconciliation after ping-pong diplomacy enabled us to meet and marry 40 years ago. Those of us with a foot in each world find the...

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05.21.20

A New U.S. ‘Consensus’ on China May Not Be as Solid as It Appears

Ali Wyne
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought ties between Washington and Beijing to their lowest level since the countries normalized relations in 1979, with many observers warning that they have entered into either “a new Cold War” or at least “a new type of...

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05.21.20

How Will Historians Look Back at the Coronavirus Outbreak?

Sulmaan Khan
Imagine that a historian decides to reflect on the pandemic, asking quite simply, “How did it come to this?” There would be many ways of telling that story. But one way would be to chart a series of off-ramps on the road to disaster. Some of these...

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04.03.20

‘We’re Hardly Heroic’

Tracy Wen Liu
Dr. Li, a heart specialist at Wuhan No. 4 Hospital, spent the third week of March preparing for the reopening of the hospital’s general clinics, which closed on January 22, when No. 4 became a key facility for treating COVID-19 patients. After...

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03.20.20

Xi Jinping May Welcome Trump’s Racism

Dan Baer
The coronavirus pandemic has ushered in a new low-point for the already strained relationship between the U.S. and China—and it could get worse in the months ahead as the toll rises and there is more urgency to assign blame. At the White House press...

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03.18.20

‘This Is Not Forensic Genetics Anymore. This Is Surveillance.’

Jessica Batke
Yves Moreau, a professor specializing in human clinical genomics, had been emailing with Promega since 2016, warning its communications department first about how Promega’s products might be used in a proposed DNA databasing project in Kuwait, and...

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02.26.20

Dear Chairman Xi, It’s Time for You to Go

Xu Zhiyong & Geremie R. Barmé
In this open letter, the author urges Xi Jinping to step down. Xu Zhiyong went into hiding in late 2019. The following open letter, which was released on 4 February 4, 2020, was written while he was on the run. On February 15, Xu was detained in the...

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02.22.20

Despite Government Assurances, Medical Workers in Hubei Say They Lack Supplies

Tracy Wen Liu
Amid quickly changing news about the trajectory of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, on February 20, the Chinese government body overseeing the response to the epidemic announced that medical supplies adequate to combating the spread...

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02.10.20

Viral Alarm: When Fury Overcomes Fear

Xu Zhangrun & Geremie R. Barmé
Overnight, the country found itself in the grip of a devastating crisis; fear was stalking the land. The authorities proved themselves to be at a loss and the cost of their behavior was soon visited upon the common people. Before long, the...

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01.29.20

How Much Could a New Virus Damage Beijing’s Legitimacy?

Taisu Zhang
A month into the coronavirus epidemic that has swept across China, the details of the Chinese government’s political and administrative response remain highly ambiguous. What has been unmistakable, however, is the volume and intensity of social...

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01.14.20

Why Aren’t More Countries Confronting China over Xinjiang?

Matt Schiavenza
China has justified its repressive actions in Xinjiang as a response to a series of terror attacks attributed to Uighurs. But the measures Chinese authorities have employed have attracted international condemnation. In July, the United Nations...

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12.11.19

Is Violence in Hong Kong’s Protests Turning off Moderates?

Andy Buschmann
As protests in Hong Kong have become more violent, have the demographics of the protesters changed? The level of violence employed by protesters as well as the police force has escalated to new heights ever since July 21, when alleged triad members...