Sinica Podcast

07.12.13

Ripples from the Egyptian Revolution

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
In Egypt in 2011, what was by all accounts a free and fair democratic election resulted in the victory of Mohammed Morsi, a controversial figure whose brief rule ended last week after being overthrown by the Egyptian military. With Western media...

China’s Blackout of U.S. Media Can No Longer Be Ignored

Jim Sciutto
Washington Post
Web censorship is not just an inconvenience but also a reminder that many leading U.S. media and technology companies are excluded, or largely excluded, from one of the world’s largest markets and this country’s largest trading partner. ...

Censoring the News Before It Happens

Perry Link
New York Review of Books
Chinese censors number in the hundreds-of-thousands. Their duties are to not only block stories they disapprove of, but to alter and obscure details in published stories, and promote stories that cast the Party in a good light.

China Likely to Lift Foreign Game Console Ban

George Chen
South China Morning Post
China is expected to soon end a 13-year ban on the sale of gaming consoles with only one key condition: foreign firms like Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft must make their products in Shanghai’s new free trade zone. 

China Box Office Up 36% to $1.79 Billion in First Half of 2013

Patrick Brzeski and Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
Buoyed by a surge in ticket sales for homegrown domestic films, China’s box office continued its rapid expansion in the first half of 2013, according to figures released by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television...

Media

07.10.13

Old Photo of Tiananmen Square Has Netizens Asking “What’s Wrong With This Picture?”

A rare old color photo of Tiananmen Square was posted on Weibo, China’s Twitter, and it was commented on hundreds of times as Internet users mused about the past and present of China’s most recognizable landmark.Here are the three things that stand...

Media

07.10.13

Australian PM’s Online Musings Have Chinese Wondering: Where Is Xi’s Microblog Account?

On July 9, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd posted on a social media site about a phone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The twist? The message was written in Chinese on the immensely popular Chinese microblogging platform Sina...

Censoring the News Before It Happens

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
Every day in China, hundreds of messages are sent from government offices to website editors around the country that say things like, “Report on the new provincial budget tomorrow, but do not feature it on the front page, make no comparisons to...

For Chinese Families, a Journey Cut Short, and With It Their Dreams

Vivian Yee
New York Times
On their way to Bible camp in America, two Chinese teenagers from Zhejiang Province flew through South Korea and into San Francisco International Airport, where their plane skidded and burst into flames. Both died, the only fatalities in the crash...

Ex-Rail Minister in China Gets a Suspended Death Sentence

Christopher Buckley
New York Times
A Beijing Beijing sentenced former Chinese minister of railways Li Zhijun to a suspended death sentence after finding him guilty of taking bribes and abusing his powers, state-run media reported.

Media

07.02.13

American History, Through Chinese Eyes

White male privilege, genocide against Native Americans, slavery and subsequent racial oppression, exploitation of immigrants and laborers, repression of women and homosexuals, and environmental destruction—teaching American cultural history through...

Mixed Signals On China’s Policies in Tibet

Voice of America
Worshipping the Dalai Lama remains illegal in Tibetan areas of China, despite earlier reports of changes in China's policies in Lhasa and in some parts of neighboring Qinghai province.  ...

China Sex Film Mistakenly Shown on Big Screen in Jilin

BBC
A film banned as pornography in China was accidentally shown on a large LED screen in a public square in Jilin province, Chinese media report. A technician had been watching the film on his computer without realising it was connected to the...

China Online Petition Website Crashes on First Day

Xiaoqing Pi
WSJ: China Real Time Report
For centuries, China has offered its people a chance to come to Beijing to petition the emperor directly to address grievances. But starting Monday, Chinese officials offered a new way for those not inclined to make the trip: petition...

Media

06.28.13

A Character Battle Between China’s Government and its Internet Users

The horse is out of the barn. Now that China’s social Web has given every citizen the ability to publish for a wide audience—a privilege once reserved for the government—state publications and Web users there continue to wrangle over who best grasps...

Media

06.27.13

Jackie Chan—The Young Master Comes of Age

Jaime Wolf
Once in a while, if you’re lucky, and paying the right kind of attention, events align to give you a clear view of the future. In 1995, I was in Los Angeles staying with a friend who produced independent films and had the trade magazines Variety and...

China Hopes to Score a Slam Dunk With 3-D NBA Film 'Amazing'

Julie Makinen
Los Angeles Times
The $10-million film, "Amazing," features New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, Lakers center Dwight Howard and former Chicago Bulls forward Scottie Pippen in supporting roles and had its world premiere at the Shanghai International...

China Must End Silence on Injustice, Warns Film Director Jia Zhangke

Tania Branigan
Guardian
A leading Chinese director has warned the country faces a rising tide of violence unless it tackles its social problems, as he discussed his graphic new film. Jia Zhangke's film, A Touch of Sin has been described as '...

Media

06.25.13

China’s “Urban Enforcers” Caught in a Vicious Cycle

Last week, another anecdote about chengguan— China’s urban enforcers whose main tasks include enforcing urban beautification ordinances and cracking down on unlicensed street vendors— caught the public’s attention. On June 15, a web user called @岔巴子...

Conversation

06.25.13

How Badly Have Snowden’s Leaks Hurt U.S.-China Relations?

Matt Schiavenza
Matt Schiavenza:In the understatement of the day, the United States is unhappy with the recent developments of the Edward Snowden situation. Just three days ago, Washington was in negotiations with Hong Kong to file a warrant for Snowden's...

The 'Long March' to Tinseltown

Liu Wei
China Daily
After working with Hollywood companies at a basic level for many years, it is only a matter of time before Chinese capital takes a share in the major six Hollywood studios. The next Kung Fu Panda will be the brainchild of both american and Chinese...

Conversation

06.18.13

What’s Right or Wrong with This Chinese Stance on Edward Snowden?

Shai Oster & Steve Dickinson
For today’s ChinaFile Conversation we asked contributors to react to the following excerpt from an op-ed published on Monday June 17 in the Global Times about Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old American contract intelligence analyst who last...

Chinese State Media Warns Against Extradition of Edward Snowden

Heather Saul
Independent
 Chinese newspaper, The Global Times published an article calling for China to “safeguard its interests”, describing extraditing Snowden back to the US as a “betrayal of Snowden’s trust.” The editorial published...

Media

06.17.13

Do Quotas in China’s College Admissions System Reinforce Existing Inequalities?

Earlier this month, millions of Chinese students took the exam for which they had been preparing their entire lives—the National Higher Education Entrance Examination, known colloquially as the gaokao. For some, the process was more arduous than for...

Media

06.12.13

In Box Office Hit, American Dream Is Still Alive—In a Maturing China

Over the last two weeks, the movie American Dreams in China (中国合伙人) has been the number one box office hit in China, selling over 400 million tickets to date. The movie is a gritty and at times tongue-in-cheek comedy that tells the true story of...

Media

06.11.13

Chinese Web Users React to U.S. National Security Agency Surveillance Program

The online reactions to the PRISM incident, in which the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has been revealed to conduct a far-ranging surveillance program affecting many both in the U.S. and abroad, have been as fascinating as the event itself...

How China Views Obama-Xi Meeting in California

Charlie Campbell
Time
Comments about Xi’s arrival in the Golden State barely made waves on China’s Twitter-like social-media service Sina Weibo. The bulk of Friday’s traffic focused on the annual university-entrance exams that are currently under way. 

Media

06.07.13

Can Animation Cure What Ails the Chinese Movie Industry?

“Gold rush.” “1920s Hollywood.” “Faster than a speeding bullet.” These are a few ways that film professionals have described China’s booming movie industry. China’s film market, the second-largest in the world, grossed roughly U.S.$2.7 billion in...

Phonemica: A Quest to Save China’s Languages

Wendy Qian
Atlantic
Phonemica, or xiangyinyuan, is an innovative project that documents China’s myriad dialects and languages, many of which are slowly disappearing due to state-sponsorship of Mandarin as the national language.  

Viewpoint

06.05.13

A Re-Opening to China?

Paul Gewirtz
Five months into his second term, President Obama is about to undertake the most important diplomatic initiative of his presidency: an effort to reshape the relationship with China. With little fanfare thus far but considerable boldness on both...

Conversation

06.04.13

How Would Facing Its Past Change China’s Future?

David Wertime, Isabel Hilton & more
David Wertime:The memory of the 1989 massacre of protesters at Tiananmen Square remains neither alive nor dead, neither reckoned nor obliterated. Instead, it hangs spectre-like in the background, a muted but latently powerful symbol of resistance...

Media

06.04.13

On Eve of Tiananmen Anniversary, China’s Prominent Weiborati Speak Out

“Don’t worry about forgetfulness—at least the Sina censors remember,” tweeted Jia Zhangke, a film director.Like 2013, 1989 was the year of the Snake on the Chinese calendar. It was also a year that Chinese authorities prefer not to remember. On the...

Media

06.03.13

Online Outrage After Chinese City Proposes Fine on Single Mothers

Women giving birth out of wedlock in China have to contend with family pressure, social stigma, and financial hardship. Now, some of them may have to pay a hefty fine as well.Wuhan, a city of more than 10 million people in Central China, posted a...

Reports

06.01.13

Defending an Open, Global, Secure, and Resilient Internet

John D. Negroponte, Samuel J. Palmisano, Adam Segal
Council on Foreign Relations
The Task Force recognizes that there are both considerable opportunities and perilous challenges in cyberspace. This report identifies guiding principles and makes policy recommendations to mobilize a coalition of old friends and rising cyber powers...

In China, Second Thoughts About ‘Dishonest Americans’ Column

Didi Kristen Tatlow
New York Times
The column, launched in March, has provoked a backlash among ordinary Chinese at this targeting of the morals of another nation in the party’s flagship media.  

Media

05.29.13

The Graffiti Seen ‘Round the World

It’s tourist season the world over: let the shenanigans begin. After a young Chinese tourist’s defacement of an ancient Egyptian temple was photographed and shared online, the harsh backlash has gone viral in China’s blogosphere. Tea Leaf Nation...

Media

05.28.13

Trending on Weibo: #AIDSPatientsCanBeTeachers#

In the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, carriers of the AIDS virus are now allowed to teach schoolchildren. The recently-announced change in regulations marks a step forward for AIDS activists, with the hashtag #AIDSPatientsCanBeTeachers# now...

Why Is China’s Internet Turning to Obama To Solve a Decades-Old Poisoning Mystery?

Alex Pasternack
Motherboard
On May 3rd, an anonymous Chinese expat posted on the White House website a petition demanding justice for the woman who many believe is responsible for Zhu Ling’s poisoning. In six days it has collected over 140,000 signatures. 

Media

05.17.13

Chinese Anxiety—In Debate About Overwork, a Glimpse of Shifting Expectations

Almost half of all Chinese report feeling “more anxiety” now than they did five years ago. What, exactly, is driving these concerns, or increasing reports of these concerns? Avid followers of China-related news might immediately think of censorship...

Chinese Restaurants in America

G.H. Danton
China Story
In his 1925 account of Chinese restaurants in America, G.H. Danton introduces the reader to the cuisine, clientele and commercial considerations of the industry which had ‘supplanted the Chinese laundryman in typifying for America where China is’...

Presumption of Guilt Stirs More Questions (Op-Ed)

Global Times
The public has quickly jumped to assume the guilt of both Sun and related officials. In all likelihood, if there had been solid evidence the perpetrator would not have gone unpunished.  

China’s Baidu to Pay $370 Million for Internet Video Business

Neil Gough
Deal Book
Acquiring the video business from P.P.S. will increase Baidu’s position in China’s fractious market for online entertainment and help iQiyi compete better against Youku Tudou. 

Chinese Suggestions for Improving Internet Disappear

Adam Minter
Bloomberg
Few things irritate Chinese netizens as much as how their government acts on the Internet: blocking access to many foreign websites, censoring content and comments on Chinese websites and directing paid commentators to promote the...

Conversation

05.14.13

Why Can’t China Make Its Food Safe?—Or Can It?

Alex Wang, John C. Balzano & more
The month my wife and I moved to Beijing in 2004, I saw a bag of oatmeal at our local grocery store prominently labeled: “NOT POLLUTED!” How funny that this would be a selling point, we thought.But 7 years later as we prepared to return to the US,...

Viewpoint

05.13.13

Maoism: The Most Severe Threat to China

Ouyang Bin
Ma Licheng (马立诚) is a former Senior Editorials Editor at People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s most important mouthpiece, and the author of eleven books. In 2003, when Japan’s then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visits to the Yasukuni Shrine...

Media

05.10.13

Unrest in Beijing Over Mysterious Death of Young Woman

A rare protest in Beijing involving hundreds of people was documented by photos posted on China’s social media (scroll down to see a sample photo). The cause of the protest was the death of a twenty-two-year-old migrant worker, who fell several...

Alibaba Buys Stake In Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter

Michael J. De La Merced
Deal Book
Alibaba and Sina also agreed to cooperate in improving ways to marry social networking with e-commerce, as microblogging services like Sina’s continue to grow in popularity.

Books

05.09.13

Lao She in London

Anne Witchard
Lao She remains revered as one of China’s great modern writers. His life and work have been the subject of volumes of critique, analysis and study. However, the four years the young aspiring writer spent in London between 1924 and 1929 have largely been overlooked. Dr. Anne Witchard, a specialist in the modernist milieu of London between the wars, reveals Lao She’s encounter with British high modernism and literature from Dickens to Conrad to Joyce. Lao She arrived from his native Peking to the whirl of London’s West End scene—Bloomsburyites, Vorticists, avant-gardists of every stripe, Ezra Pound and the cabaret at the Cave of The Golden Calf. Immersed in the West End 1920s world of risqué flappers, the tabloid sensation of England’s “most infamous Chinaman Brilliant Chang” and Anna May Wong’s scandalous film Piccadilly, simultaneously Lao She spent time in the notorious and much sensationalised East End Chinatown of Limehouse. Out of his experiences came his great novel of London Chinese life and tribulations—Mr. Ma and Son: Two Chinese in London. However, as Witchard reveals, Lao She’s London years affected his writing and ultimately the course of Chinese modernism in far more profound ways. —Hong Kong University Press

28,000 Rivers Disappeared In China

Angel Hsu and William Miao
Atlantic
Official explanations from the Chinese government have attributed the significant reduction to statistical discrepancies, water and soil loss, and climate change, but Netizens aren’t satisfied with these answers.

Media

05.09.13

Truth in Chinese Cinema?

Jonathan Landreth
In 1997, as James Cameron’s Titanic sank box office records around the world—including in China—Sally Berger, assistant film curator at the Museum of Modern Art, worked to bring New York moviegoers a raft of Chinese movies they’d never heard of.The...

Culture

05.09.13

“I Just Want to Write”

Whether or not I deserved the Nobel Prize, I already received it, and now it’s time to get back to my writing desk and produce a good work. I hear that the 2013 list of Nobel Prize nominees has been finalized. I hope that once the new laureate is...

China Seeks Soft Power Influence In U.S. Through C.C.T.V.

David Folkenflik
NPR
“This fixation on soft power arises from their deep and abiding insecurity and sense of not being respected and of being hectored and bullied by the world over the last century and a half.”

Media

05.07.13

Rat Meat Masquerading as Lamb—Yet Another Food Safety Scandal

Rat meat + gelatin + red food coloring + nitrates = lamb. Have you tried it yet?“This is what a ‘complete’ sheep looks like,” reads a caption under the photoshopped image of a sheep with Jerry, the mouse from Tom and Jerry, as its head. The image...

Conversation

05.07.13

Why Is a 1995 Poisoning Case the Top Topic on Chinese Social Media?

Rachel Lu, Andrew J. Nathan & more
With a population base of 1.3 billion people, China has no shortage of strange and gruesome crimes, but the attempted murder of Zhu Ling by thallium poisoning in 1995 is burning up China’s social media long after the trails have gone cold. Zhu, a...

Reports

05.03.13

The PEN Report: Creativity and Constraint in Today’s China

Sarah Hoffman and Larry Siems
PEN International
The report which follows measures the conditions for freedom of expression through literature, linguistic rights, Internet freedom and legal obligations. This is an approach anchored both in the breadth of history and in today’s realities, one that...

Media

05.01.13

The Wall Street Journal: Covering China Past and Present

The Wall Street Journal was one of the first American publications to set up a bureau in Beijing. Since its establishment, scores of the Journal’s correspondents have traveled in and out of the country to cover China’s economic and political...

Media

05.01.13

The Long Battle Over “White Pollution”

In the past weeks, Chinese citizens have learned that the styrofoam boxes from which they eat their lunches will soon be legal. On February 16, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s highest economic policy-making body,...

Watch Imprint On Quake Official’s Wrist Goes Viral

Laura Zhou
South China Morning Post
A picture showing an official's wrist, with what appears to be the imprint of a watch, has gone viral with many Netizens wondering whether the timepiece was removed in light of scandals involving corrupt officials caught wearing expensive...

After Quake, Chinese Donors Seek Out Private Charities

Edward Wong
New York Times
The Red Cross Society of China, a state-run organization that is one of the country’s largest charities, has yet to recover from a 2011 scandal that struck a serious blow to China’s nascent notions of philanthropy. 

Other

04.30.13

Events

A listing of upcoming ChinaFile events. Each of the events will be live-streamed here.