Video

11.05.13

Small Part, Big Screen

Gilles Sabrié
Every morning outside the imposing gate of the Beijing Film Studio, a throng gathers to try to find a way inside. These aren’t fans, exactly. Look at their faces, the practiced way they crane their necks or square their shoulders when the man with...

Viewpoint

11.01.13

What the Heck is China’s ‘Third Plenum’ and Why Should You Care?

Barry Naughton
China’s economy is already two-thirds the size of the economy of the U.S., and it’s been growing five times as fast. But now, China’s economy is beginning to slow and is facing a raft of difficult problems.  If China’s leaders don’t address...

Books

10.28.13

In Line Behind a Billion People

Damien Ma, William Adams
Nearly everything you know about China is wrong! Yes, within a decade, China will have the world’s largest economy. But that is the least important thing to know about China. In this enlightening book, two of the world’s leading China experts turn the conventional wisdom on its head, showing why China’s economic growth will constrain rather than empower it. Pioneering political analyst Damien Ma and global economist Bill Adams reveal why, having thirty-five years of ferocious economic growth, China’s future will be shaped by the same fundamental reality that has shaped it for millennia: scarcity.{node, 4231}Ma and Adams drill deep into Chinese society, illuminating all the scarcities that will limit its power and progress. Beyond scarcities of natural resources and public goods, they illuminate China’s persistent poverties of individual freedoms, cultural appeal, and ideological legitimacy—and the corrosive loss of values and beliefs amongst a growing middle class shackled by a parochial and inflexible political system. Everyone knows “the 21st century is China’s to lose”—but, as with so many things that “everyone knows,” that’s just wrong. Ma and Adams get beyond cheerleading and fearmongering to tell the complex truth about China today. This is a truth you need to hear—whether you’re an investor, business decision-maker, policymaker, or citizen. —Pearson{chop}

Excerpts

10.28.13

Stark Choices for China’s Leaders

Damien Ma & William Adams
One Beijing morning in early November 2012, seven men in dark suits strode onto the stage of the Great Hall of the People. China’s newly elected Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Chairman Xi Jinping stood at the center of the ensemble, flanked on each...

Can China Keep Growing at 8% Annually?

Simon Montlake
Forbes
China’s economy grew by 7.8% in the third quarter, its fastest pace since the end of 2012. For most world leaders heading into a party conclave, this would be triumphant news, but now the debate is over how far Xi can and should go to...

Conversation

10.25.13

Can State-Run Capitalism Absorb the Shocks of ‘Creative Destruction’?

Barry Naughton, Shai Oster & more
Following are ChinaFile Conversation participants’ reactions to “China: Superpower or Superbust?” in the November-December issue of The National Interest in which author Ian Bremmer says that China’s state-capitalism is ill-equipped to absorb the...

Sinica Podcast

10.24.13

Innovation in China

Kaiser Kuo & Jeremy Goldkorn from Sinica Podcast
In China, innovation has become one of those political buzzwords which—like harmony—seems to mean anything and everything to the Central Propaganda Department. So much so that we find it difficult to walk down the streets in Beijing now without...

Infographics

10.23.13

To Save or Not to Save

from Sohu
China is known for saving money, and as the country has become wealthier, the household saving rate has increased. China’s personal saving rate has risen steadily since the mid-90s and now exceeds 50%, much higher than Germany’s 10%—considered high...

China: A Place to Call Home

Simon Rabinovitch
Financial Times
Property prices have almost quintupled in leading Chinese cities over the past decade and they are perhaps the biggest single threat to the country’s economic and social stability.  

China Urges Economic Policy Implementation to Spur Rebound

Bloomberg
China’s central government called for “unrelenting” implementation of its economic policies and reform measures to consolidate the nation’s recovery from a two-quarter slowdown and improve the quality of growth. 

The Labor Shortage That Could End China’s Economic Boom

Damien Ma and William Adams
Foreign Affairs
Based on its track record, the purely economic dimensions of an economic transition don’t seem more daunting than the other feats the C.C.P. has pulled off. Instead, it’s the social and political dimensions of the demographic hangover that seem most...

China Reports a Modest Acceleration of Growth

Chris Buckley
New York Times
The third-quarter data are likely to give policy makers in Beijing more confidence that, for now, they can maintain adequate growth without resorting to major stimulus initiatives, several economists said. 

Media

10.22.13

China’s Silly War on Starbucks Lattes

There are worse things in the world than an overpriced latte. That’s the message that thousands of Chinese web users are sending China Central Television (CCTV), a state-owned media behemoth that ran an October 20 segment accusing the Seattle-based...

Seeing Its Own Money at Risk, China Rails at U.S.

Mark Landler
New York Times
China has become shrill in its criticism of the fiscal train wreck in the United States, arguing that the answer to a potential government default is to begin creating a “de-Americanized world.” 

Conversation

10.16.13

Uncomfortable Bedfellows: How Much Does China Need America Now?

Bill Bishop, David Schlesinger & more
Bill Bishop:The D.C. dysfunction puts China in a difficult place. Any financial markets turmoil that occurs because of a failure of Congress to do its job could harm China’s economy, and especially its exports. The accumulation of massive foreign-...

China Inflation at Seven-Month High, Limits Room for Easing Despite Export Tumble

Kevin Yao and Xiaoyi Shao
Reuters
China's annual consumer inflation rate rose to a seven-month high of 3.1 percent in September as poor weather drove up food prices, limiting the scope for the central bank to maneuver to support the economy even as exports...

U.S. Fiscal Failure Warrants a De-Americanized World

Liu Chang
Xinhua
A recent op-ed piece published on Xinhua challenges America’s placement at the center of global matters, suggesting reforms in the world’s international economic and political organizations so that it may avoid America’s negative influences.

The Vitamin C Cartel (Video)

New America
A Chinese cartel has come to control 100% of the Vitamin C that is contained in foods found in American supermarkets, an unprecedented circumstance which will have political and economic ramifications in the near future. 

China to United States: Don’t Default, For Our Sake

Dan Kedmey
Time
One day after Republican House Speaker John Boehner promised to “stand and fight” over the budget, Chinese officials pleaded with America’s deadlocked Congressmen to stand down, because otherwise China, the U.S.’s biggest creditor, will be...

Reports

10.10.13

Congressional-Executive Commission on China: 2013 Annual Report

United States Congress
The Commission notes China’s lack of progress in guaranteeing Chinese citizens’ freedom of expression, assembly, and religion; restraining the power of the Chinese Communist Party; and establishing the rule of law under the new leadership of...

China Data Proves Doubters Wrong

Richard Silk
WSJ: China Real Time Report
Not long ago analysts were pondering whether China could meet its 7.5% growth target for the year. Now, after a series of happy surprises on the economic front, the question is how far third quarter growth will exceed that goal. 

Obama’s Absence Leaves China as Dominant Force at Asia-Pacific Meeting

Jane Perlez and Joe Cochrane
New York Times
Secretary of State John Kerry replaced President Obama at the opening of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, leaving China’s president, Xi Jinping, as the dominant leader at a economic gathering.

China’s Economy, Back on Track

Henry M. Paulson
New York Times
This vast array of specific reforms can’t be achieved at a stroke, and certainly not at a single party gathering. But the decisions likely to be taken in November will set China’s economy in a positive—and lasting—new direction.

Media

10.07.13

Just How Free Is Shanghai’s New Free Trade Zone?

This article is adapted, with updates, from the September 20 article “China’s New Free Trade Zone: Silver Bullet or Stopgap Measure?“Two weeks after taking office in March 2013, China’s Premier Li Keqiang announced that Shanghai, the country’s...

Big Reform Plans for China’s Newest Trade Zone Set High Expectations

Pete Sweeney
Reuters
China has formally announced detailed plans for a new free-trade zone in Shanghai, touted as the country’s biggest potential economic reform since Deng Xiaoping used a similar zone in Shenzhen to pry open a closed economy ...

Infographics

10.01.13

Markups, Kickbacks, and Sellouts: What’s Wrong with China’s Medical System

from Sohu
As the United States haltingly moves to implement the Affordable Care Act, China claims it has already achieved universal rural health care, with more than 800 million rural residents enrolled in a medical plan. Yet according to recent reports the...

Reports

10.01.13

China’s Absorptive State

Kirsten Bound, Tom Saunders, James Wilsdon, Jonathan Adams
Nesta
A great deal of speculation surrounds China’s prospects in science and innovation, as with other aspects of China’s development and heightened visibility on the global stage. The same pitfalls—of hype, generalization, and only partial awareness of...

Caixin Media

09.30.13

Reform of State-Owned Enterprise Requires Adopting Modern Governance

Corruption involving the country’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) has hogged the headlines. So far, senior executives at China National Petroleum Corp. have been sacked, former railways officials have been hauled to court and, most recently, news...

China’s Maritime Disuptes

Council on Foreign Relations
Six countries lay overlapping claims to the East and South China Seas, an area that is rich in hydrocarbons and natural gas and through which trillions of dollars of global trade flow. This infographic lays out all of the dispute’s actors,...

China Opens World’s Highest Airport

Associated Press
China has begun flight operations at the world’s highest civilian airport in a bid to boost tourism and tighten political control over the country’s restive west. 

How China Lost Its Mojo: One Town’s Story

Wall Street Journal
Low wages and easy access to overseas markets helped transform Yantian in the 90s from a sleepy agricultural hamlet to a manufacturing hub. Now, the number of foreign firms in town has dropped, due to rising labor costs, land shortages and fading...

Caixin Media

09.23.13

Measuring the Wealth Gap

Recent findings by China Society of Economic Reform (CSER) have offered a rare glimpse into growing income inequality in the country.The study shows that in 2011 unidentified “gray income,” or the difference between CSER-surveyed income and that of...

Infographics

09.19.13

The Mooncake Economy

from Sohu
Across the country, Chinese are observing the annual harvest festival by giving and receiving mooncakes, pastries whose round shape is meant to evoke the full moon of the autumnal equinox. In recent years, bemoaning the debasement of this tradition...

China Locks Foreign Investors Out of Another Bad-Debt Cleanup

Stephen Aldred
Reuters
Foreign investors that specialise in buying up distressed debt are queuing outside the industry's door, but bankers say China's reluctance to pay the price of a privately funded clean-up means that door probably won't open. ...

Viewpoint

09.13.13

The Urgency of Partnership

Paula S. Harrell
While the media keeps its eye on the ongoing Diaoyu/Senkaku islands dispute, heating up yet again this week after Chinese naval ships and aircraft were spotted circling the area, a parallel, possibly game-changing development in China-Japan...

China Trade Rebounds in Further Sign Economy Stablizing

Bloomberg
China’s exports increased more than estimated in August and inflation stayed below a government target, helping Premier Li Keqiang sustain a rebound in the world’s second-largest economy from a two-quarter slowdown. 

Milestone for Yuan Marks Rise of China

Wall Street Journal
China for the first time joined the ranks of the most-traded international currencies, underscoring the rise of the world’s second-largest economy and the growth of the global foreign-exchange market.  

China Says Military Strike Against Syria Would Hurt Global Economy

Don Lee
Los Angeles Times
Vice Minister of Finance Zhu Guangyao said estimates from the International Monetary Fund indicate that a military strike would lead to a $10 jump in the price of a barrel of oil, which in turn would cut global economic growth by 0...

Caixin Media

09.10.13

Sober Day Dawns for China’s Baijiu Distillers

Distillers of China’s most popular spirits, baijiu, are sobering up to a business slowdown and tight financing after a decade of outstanding growth.Sales are off and company market values have fallen over the past year, prompting some investors to...

Media

09.06.13

Follow the Money: Who Benefits from China’s One-Child Policy?

When debating China’s one-child policy, China’s domestic media and observers overseas mostly focus on its impact on the population structure or incidences of inhumanity involved in the implementation of the policy (such as forced abortion). Almost...

Caixin Media

09.04.13

China’s Shale Gas Development Goals Just Pipe Dreams

China wants to reap the benefits of a shale gas revolution similar to the one in the United States, but there are many obstacles to this happening, experts say.In the first half of 2013, fifty-six shale gas wells were in the exploratory phase in the...

China’s Coal Supply Will Soon Weigh 40 Percent More Than Earth’s Population

Gwynn Guilford
Atlantic
The country's excessive past investments in coal have produced a surplus, and today, lowered prices mean mining barons are struggling to pay off loans. ...

Across China, Skyscrapers Brush the Heavens

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
China is home to 60 of the world’s 100 tallest buildings now under construction. But the skyward aspirations of Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, have inspired incredulity tinged with hostility. 

Books

09.03.13

China Across the Divide

Rosemary Foot (Editor)
Understanding China’s world role has become one of the crucial intellectual challenges of the 21st century. This book explores this topic through the adoption of three conceptual approaches that help to uncover some of the key complex and simultaneous interactions between the global and domestic forces that determine China’s external behavior. A central assumption of this study is that it is unhelpful to treat the global and domestic levels as separate categories of analysis and that the study of China can be enriched by a recognition of the interpenetrated nature of the domestic and international spheres.The first section of the book concentrates on the role of ideas. It examines Chinese conceptions, at both the elite and mass levels, of the country’s status and role in global politics, and how these conceptions can influence and frame policies. The second section provides evidence of Chinese societal involvement in transnational processes that are simultaneously transforming China as well as other parts of the world, often in unintended ways. The third section assesses the impact of globalization on China in issue areas that are central to global order, and outlines the domestic responses—from resistance to embrace—that it generates. This study adopts a multidisciplinary approach involving scholars in international relations, history, social anthropology, and area studies. It offers a sophisticated understanding of Chinese thought and behavior and illustrates the impact that China’s re-emergence is having on 21st century global order.  —Oxford University Press {chop}

Why China’s Farms Are Failing

Tom Philpott
Atlantic
In the process of emerging as the globe’s manufacturing center, China has severely damaged its land and water resources, compromising its ability to increase food production for a wealthier population that’s demanding ever-more meat. 

Reports

08.27.13

China National Human Development Report 2013

United Nations
China had more urban than rural residents for the first time in 2011. The urbanization rate reached 52.6 percent in 2012, a major milestone with significant implications. In the midst of this urban transformation, China’s leaders have increasingly...

China’s Millionaire Population Grows Less Quickly

Laurie Burkitt
Wall Street Journal
With the world’s second-largest economy in the midst of an extended slowdown, growth in the population of Chinese millionaires has fallen to its slowest pace in five years.

From Outsiders to Innkeepers in China’s Sleepy Countryside

Mike Ives
New York Times
More hotel rooms are being built in China than anywhere else in the world, and a small number of foreign entrepreneurs in rural China are operating boutique hotels in restored properties that have historic charm.

China: Foreign Tourism Falls, and Smog May Be One Reason

Associated Press
Smog was among factors cited in new report showing China, one of the world’s most popular destinations for international travelers, has experienced a significant decline in the number of tourists this year.

Conversation

08.15.13

What Should China Do to Reverse its Tourism Deficit?

Leah Thompson, Damien Ma & more
Recent news stories and industry studies show that fewer international visitors are choosing China as their destination. January-June arrivals in Beijing are down 15% from the same period in 2012 and more Chinese than ever before are spending their...

Media

08.14.13

Don’t Dream Big—Four Vignettes on Social Mobility in Modern China

The New York Times recently ran an article that detailed the struggles of three young college women from low-income backgrounds, raising questions about whether education remains the “great equalizer” in America. How does the picture look in China,...

How China Added $1 Trillion to its Economy by Fudging Data

Tim Fernholz
Quartz
China’s economy could be $1 trillion smaller than it says. A professor at Peking University lays out the case in a new working paper that finds some very strange patterns in China’s official statistics. A professor at...

Too Much, Too Fast: China Sees Backlash From Massive Growth

Jim Zarroli
NPR
At a time when much of the world is mired in economic torpor, China still enjoys enviable growth rates. Yet there’s no question that its economy is growing more slowly these days. 

Infographics

08.12.13

Is China’s Massive Infrastructure Spending Wise or Wasteful?

China leads the world in infrastructure investment. The new roads, new railroads, new skyscrapers, even whole new cities that seem to spring into existence every day leave little doubt that investment has been ambitious. But has it been wise? This...

Pollution Economics

Dirk Forrister and Paul Bledsoe
New York Times
With more than a million people dying prematurely each year from breathing its dirty air, the Communist country is experimenting with a capitalist approach: create incentives so that the market will force reductions in emissions.

How a Beige Book Could Shed Some Light on China’s Shadow Economy

Dan Kedmey
Time
As China grows, the National Bureau of Statistics’ data remain arcane. In efforts to attain accuracy, The Beige Book curates a report based on their online and in-person surveys of more than 2,000 businesses and banks...

Eyeing China, Philippines Gains U.S. Ship in Military Upgrade

Manuel Mogato
Reuters
The Philippines took possession of a former U.S. Coast Guard ship on Tuesday, part of its biggest military upgrade in decades, as a stronger economy allows it to raise spending to counter China’s growing assertiveness in disputed waters.

Caixin Media

08.05.13

County in Shaanxi in a Deep Hole as Mining Bubble Pops

A financial crisis triggered by falling coal prices is brewing in Shenmu County, in the northwestern province of Shaanxi.Construction projects have been halted, universal health care has run into payment problems and many private bankers have...

Books

08.05.13

China Threat?

Lionel Vairon
From the long-term threat of nuclear war between the U.S. and China, to the disappearance of the African elephant due to Chinese demand for ivory, each week brings a new round of critique and denunciation of the risks China poses to the stability of the entire planet. While critics raise a certain number of fundamental questions that bear asking about this nascent superpower, the answers put forth are usually based on ideological or economic considerations. Lionel Vairon systematically challenges these views in this first English language edition of China Threat?With an incisive review of China’s economic strategy, deployment of resources, national defence, political reform, ethnicity and religion, terrorism, and developments in human rights, Vairon amply demonstrates that China poses no threat to the world. On the contrary, China Threat? shows that China’s peaceful rise should be a matter of positive news across the globe.  —CN Times Books {chop}

“‘Homeless for a Month’: U.S. Interns in China Learn to Reset Expectations

Rob Schmitz
Marketplace
Rowland Madson traveled 10,000 miles around the planet so that he could greet visitors at the front gate of a Chinese amusement park. His job was to wear a candy cane striped suit and collect entrance tickets from Chinese tourists.