An Overture from China Has Yet to Win Hollywood

Michael Cieply
New York Times
In September, China’s Dalian Wanda Group chairman and president said he would invest $10 billion in the U.S. To judge from the deal-making pace, it may take a while.

Crime With Chinese Characteristics

Ilaria Maria Sala
Wall Street Journal
A review of “The Civil Servant’s Notebook,” the first book by popular novelist Wang Xiaofang to be translated into English. 

Apple and China: A Match Made in Heaven?

Zachary Keck
Diplomat
China has long played a major role in Apple’s success after it moved much of its manufacturing from the U.S. to China and other Asian nations in the 1990’s.

China’s ‘Lamborghini’ Coefficient

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
According to China's first official Gini coefficient figures in a decade, China today is more equal than in 2003. ...

In China, Discontent Among the Communist Party Faithful

Edward Wong
New York Times
Some Chinese say that they are starting to realize that a secure life is dependent on the defense of certain principles, perhaps most crucially freedom of expression.

Tell-All on the Internet Fells Chinese Official

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
China's top guardian of Communist literature is said to have provided a woman with a fellowship at his research institute in exchange for $1,600. The sex and jewelry came later...

The Drums of War: China and Japan Square Up

The Economist
Economist
Watch Chinese TV these days and you might conclude that the outbreak of war with Japan over what it calls the Senkaku and China the Diaoyu islands is imminent.

In China, Can Pollution Spur Media Transparency?

Matt Schiavenza
Atlantic
 The Chinese press often puts the best spin on Beijing's pollution problem, questioning the accuracy of air-quality measurements and dismissing concerns as "fog." ...

Culture

01.17.13

An Alternative Top Ten

Shelly Kraicer
Most accounts of the last year in Chinese cinema are dominated by films that were made for the ever-expanding domestic box office, and the local film industry’s struggle for screen time in competition with Hollywood imports. On the one hand, we...

Media

01.16.13

Their Horizons Widening, China’s Web Users Look Abroad — And Want More

Last week, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt urged North Korean leaders to embrace the Internet. Only a small proportion of that country’s 24 million people can access the World Wide Web, and the majority of the 1.5 million mobile phones there...

China Pledges to Curb Auto Emissions, Reduce Air Pollution

David Pierson
Los Angeles Times
The Ministry of Environmental Protection pledged to cut vehicle emissions, the source of about a quarter of China's air pollution, but didn't explain implementation plans. ...

China Allows Media to Report on Air Pollution Crisis

Edward Wong
New York Times
The wide coverage of Beijing’s brown, soupy air, which has been rated “hazardous” or worse by monitors since last week, was the most open in recent memory.

China's Press Freedom Goes South

Annie Zhang
Foreign Policy
Censorship is commonplace, but is usually more subtle, with directives described over the phone rather than by email (where it leaves a trail).

Exposing the ‘Hazardous’ Pollution of Beijing

Jennifer Duggan
Al Jazeera
Cityscapes are part of a daily collection of photos of seven cities, four in China and three in the United States published on the website China Air Daily.

Apple CEO: China Will Be Biggest Market

Joe McDonald
Associated Press
Apple has said sales in China more than doubled in 2010 and 2011 though growth has slowed in the past year.

China Firm Buys Naming Rights to Landmark Hollywood Theater

Richard Verrier
Los Angeles Times
Chinese TV maker TCL paid $5 million to rename Grauman's Chinese Theatre...

(Editorial) Why Southern Weekly Said “No”

QIan Gang
China Media Project
The road to freedom of expression as guaranteed in Article 35 of China’s Constitution will be a long one.

China's Twitter Goes Hollywood

Melinda Liu
Daily Beast
A weibo message from Brad Pitt set off a buzz this week,  and he’s not the only overseas star invading the microblog.

Sinica Podcast

01.11.13

The Southern Drama

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Mere months after China’s handling of the Eighteenth Party Congress suggested the country would undergo a peaceful leadership transition, the issue of freedom of the press surged to attention this week after a censored editorial in Southern Weekly (...

A Retailer Discovers China’s New ‘It‘ Girl: Grandpa

Laurie Burkitt and Josh Chin
Wall Street Journal
Retired Farmer Becomes Fashion Sensation; He's 5-8, Thin and Looks Great in Crimson...

Media

01.09.13

Why is a Mediocre, Low-Budget Comedy Taking China’s Box Office by Storm?

December 2012 saw hot competition in Chinese cinema. It began with Life of Pi, which was directed by Ang Li, an Oscar-winning director, followed by 1942, a historical movie by director Feng Xiaogang, and The Last Supper, by up-and-coming director Lu...

A Bowl of Hot Porridge: A Song for Southern Weekend

David Bandurski
China Media Project
The Beijing News published a loving tribute, yes, to porridge. In particular, to the porridge of the south. But it is really a song of love and support for Southern Weekly. 

China Censorship Protest "Living in Truth" (Opinion)

Christian Science Monitor Editorial...
Christian Science Monitor
Protests erupt following a strike by journalists at a Chinese newspaper whose editorial on free speech was censored. Unlike most other protests in China, this one is about living in the truth.

Solzhenitsyn, Yao Chen, and Chinese Reform

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
When a Chinese ingénue, beloved for comedy, doe-eyed looks, and middle-class charm, tweets Solzhenitsyn's words, we may be seeing a new relationship between technology, politics, and Chinese prosperity. ...

Media

01.08.13

Online and Off, Social Media Users Go to War for Freedom of Press in China

When Mr. Tuo Zhen, the propaganda chief of Guangdong province, rewrote and replaced the New Year’s editorial of the Southern Weekend newspaper without the consent of its editors, he probably did not think it would make much of a splash. Indeed, Mr...

Inside the Southern Weekly Incident

David Bandurski
China Media Project
A Hong Kong University media scholar's review of the strife that led to a strike at one of China's most influential newspapers...

Censorship Protest a Test for Reform-minded China

Jaime Florcruz
CNN
For two days, journalists at the Southern Weekly offices and hundreds of their supporters called for free speech.

The Old Fears of China’s New Leaders

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
I felt a shudder of déjà vu watching the mounting protests inside China this week of the Communist Party for censoring an editorial in Southern Weekend, a well-known liberal newspaper in the southern city of Guangzhou. It is all too similar to the...

Southern Weekend Editorial Staff Goes on Strike (Updated)

Scott Greene
China Digital Times
An internal standoff has escalated into a full-blown crisis at Southern Weekly, where Guangdong's propaganda chief meddled in the publication's "New Year's Greeting." ...

Media

01.07.13

“Help Me Pay This Bill”: A Short But Incisive Send-Up of Chinese Corruption

It is a social media classic, a send-up of the corruption and profligacy that so often enrage Web users in China. A very short story variously titled “I Did Not Eat For Free” and “Help Me Pay This Bill” has been making the rounds for months on Sina...

Supporters Back Strike and Newspaper in China

Edward Wong
New York Times
Hundreds gathered outside the headquarters of a newspaper office in southern China to support journalists who had declared a strike to protest censorship by officials.

Chinese Censors Lift the Veil on Bloggers

Adam Minter
Bloomberg
Can China’s raucous, muckraking Internet culture survive if microbloggers are forced to disclose their identities. 

Google Concedes Defeat in Chinese Censorship Battle

Josh Halliday
Guardian
U.S. company quietly drops warning message that Chinese users saw when searching for politically sensitive phrases

Books

01.04.13

The Rise and Fall of the House of Bo

John Garnaut
When news of the murder trial of prominent Communist Party leader Bo Xilai’s wife reached public attention, it was apparent that, as with many events in the secretive upper echelons of Chinese politics, there was more to the story. Now, during the biggest leadership transition in decades, as the Bo family’s long-time rival Xi Jinping assumes the presidency, China’s rulers are finding it increasingly difficult to keep their poisonous internal divisions behind closed doors.

 Bo Xilai’s breathtaking fall from grace is an extraordinary tale of excess, murder, defection, political purges and ideological clashes going back to Mao himself. China watcher John Garnaut examines how Bo’s stellar rise through the ranks troubled his more reformist peers, as he revived anti-“capitalist roader” sentiment, even while his family and associates enjoyed the more open economy’s opportunities.Amid fears his imminent elevation to the powerful Standing Committee was leading China towards another destructive Cultural Revolution, have his opponents seized their chance to destroy Bo and what he stood for? The trigger was his wife Gu Kailai’s apparently paranoid murder of an English family friend, which exposed the corruption and brutality of Bo’s outwardly successful administration of the massive city of Chongqing. It also led to the one of the highest-level attempted defections in Communist China’s history when Bo’s right-hand man, police chief Wang Lijun, tried to escape the ruins of his sponsor’s reputation.
 
Garnaut explains how this incredible glimpse into the very personal power struggles within the CCP exposes the myth of the unified one-party state. With China approaching super-power status, today’s leadership shuffle may set the tone for international relations for decades. Here, Garnaut reveals a particularly Chinese spin on the old adage that the personal is political.
 —Penguin

Caixin Media

01.04.13

Twisted Tongues

China’s cultural progress in the year 2012 can be summed up with eight words: weibo (microblog), diaosi (commoners), yuanfangti (a Yuanfang-like inquiry), shejian (tip of the tongue), yangsheng (keeping fit), shisanchai (thirteen hairpins, from a...

Media

01.03.13

How a Run-Down Government Building Became the Hottest Item on China’s Social Web

It is perhaps a sign of the times in China that an image of nothing more than a ramshackle county government building could echo so widely. Since its posting on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter, hours before New Year’s Eve, the image (see below) has been...

China Insists Reporter Was Not Forced to Leave

VOA
Voice of America
China is still considering the visa application of a New York Times journalist who the paper says was forced to leave.

Times Reporter in China is Forced to Leave over Visa Issue

The New York Times
New York Times
A correspondent who applied for press accreditation in September left because authorities did not act by Dec. 31.

China Expels Journalist after Wen Revelations

John Garnaut
Sydney Morning Herald
An New York Times reporter was expelled from China in apparent retaliation for a report about the Chinese Premier's wealth. ...

China's Central Bank, Aircraft Carrier Style

Dinny McMahon and Carlos Tejada
Wall Street Journal
The People’s Bank of China will issue gold and silver coins celebrating the nation's first aircraft carrier. ...

Sinica Podcast

12.28.12

Return of the China Blog

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
All of you Sinica old-timers might remember a show we ran two years ago on the death of the China blog, in which Jeremy, Kaiser, and Will Moss mused about whether the combined forces of Twitter, Facebook, and Bill Bishop would manage to drive a...

Rule of Law: A Ring to Bind China's Internet (Analysis)

David Bandurski
China Media Project
China’s new propaganda chief, Liu Qibao, has laid out an agenda for increased political controls on the Internet.

China Tightens Up Censorship of Internet Sites

David Pierson
Los Angeles Times
For years, China’s net nannies overlooked virtual private networks used to jump the Great Firewall. But in recent weeks, even these tools have begun to falter, frustrating tech-savvy Chinese and foreign businesspeople who now struggle to access...

Media

12.24.12

The Most Popular Chinese Web Searches of 2012

What did China search for in 2012? It wasn’t the hotly disputed Diaoyu Islands or the widely-watched London Olympics.On Baidu.com, China’s homegrown search engine commanding about eighty-three percent of the Chinese search market, the most popular...

Report Links Former Police Chief to Murder

Edward Wong
New York Times
A Chinese newspaper reports a former Chongqing police chief played a direct role in organizing the murder of a U.K. citizen. 

The Top 10 Chinese Internet Memes of 2012

Josh Chin
Wall Street Journal
2012 saw social media supercharg one of contemporary China’s finest forms of cultural and political expression: the Internet meme.

Focus Media Makes Deal in Biggest China Leveraged Buyout

Ye Xie and Victoria Stilwell
Bloomberg
Focus joins a growing number of Chinese stocks withdrawing from US exchanges after corporate governance concerns depressed their valuations.

Shifted by Officials

Zhang Zihan
Global Times
A mysteriouys and heavily guarded suburban Beijing courtyard isn't open to public, only to the petitioners corralled there...

Poeple's Daily: Be Good Online, Please

David Bandukski
China Media Project
People’s Daily cautions that the Internet is as much a tool of rumor and misinformation as a platform for information sharing. 

Media

12.17.12

Media Effort to Emphasize Newtown Tragedy Backfires in Blogosphere

Tragedy can strike anywhere. Mere hours before the horrific shooting at an American school in Newtown, Connecticut that left twenty-eight people dead, including twenty children, a horrific school attack also happened in China. At an elementary...

CCTV Airs “V for Vendetta”

Anne Henochowicz
China Digital Times
When CCTV aired, uncut V for Vendetta about an anti-totalitarian masked crusader, viewers couldn’t believe their eyes.

Media

12.12.12

The “Chinese Dream” Means One Thing to its Leaders, and Another to its People

Since China unveiled the new Politburo Standing Committee at the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, the country’s Web users have been paying close attention to the new elite group of leaders who will set the country’s agenda for...

Are China's Censors Loosening Their Grip on Weibo?

Malcolm Moore
Telegraph
Two hundred million Sina Weibo users found Tuesday they could search for Chinese leaders and were free to critiique.

In China, New Leadership and New Style

Bill Bishop
New York Times
Xi Jinping is hitching himself to Deng Xiaoping’s legacy and style and is serious about reinvigorating reforms.

China Among World's Worst Jailers of Journalists

Voice of America
The Committee to Protect Journalists says nearly two-thirds of China's 32 jailed journalists are ethnic Tibetans and Uighurs...

Media

12.09.12

New Leaders’ Common Touch Gives Netizens “Great Hope”

Glad-handing with the locals. Kissing babies. Eating fast food. These are tried and true ways that American politicians seek to advertise their common touch; but when China’s new leaders employ these methods, it is greeted as a pleasant surprise,...

Detained China Nobel Wife Speaks Out

Isolda Morillo and Alexa Olesen
Associated Press
Liu Xia trembled uncontrollably and cried as she described how her confinement under house arrest has been absurd.

Media

12.04.12

“Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” Hits the Road

Jonathan Landreth
Debut filmmaker Alison Klayman has been on a global tour with her documentary—Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry—a film about one of China’s most provocative artists and activists, which this week, was named one of fifteen films put on a short list to be...

S.E.C. Probe Puts China Listings in Doubt

Kathey Chu, Michael Rapoport and Ben...
Wall Street Journal
The watchdog's look at Chinese affiliates of five U.S. major accounting firms deals a blow to China firms eyeing U.S. captial. ...

Top 10 Myths About China in 2012

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
This year may prove to be a pivot point, when the myths that China and the world had adopted about the politics and economics of the People’s Republic began to erode.