ChinaFile

ChinaFile An online magazine of original and selectively syndicated reporting and commentary on China. http://www.chinafile.com/

ChinaFile is an online magazine publishing, showcasing, and contributing to the best reporting and commentary on China published by Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations. We seek to both meet and expand the appetites of expert and non-expert audiences who want to better understand China and to provide them with a visually stimulating, well-designed platform on which they can encounter voices and topics that tend to be out of the reach of general English-speaking readers. Founded in 2011, ChinaFile places a premium on skillful storytelling, sensitivity to the news, and careful research, our original stories will pick-apart major issues that will be easily understood by a wide range of readers. In the fast-paced world of online news, our team sifts through and presents a highly curated list of stories from both mainstream and more esoteric sources of China reporting. ChinaFile also publishes original reporting, opinion pieces, book reviews, interviews, photo essays, videos and translations of stories originally published in Chinese. The ties between the U.S. and China have increased over the past several decades and the need has never been greater for deepened understanding of current events in the world’s most populous country and it's second largest economy.

05/30/2020

President Trump said he will revoke privileges for HK after China announced a law that will significantly curtail the city’s autonomy. In "Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink," Jeffrey Wasserstrom reflects on the changes he has observed over the years. From the archive: https://bit.ly/2TQKXvn

“The virus didn’t care how many aircraft carriers you had or how many Confucius Institutes you could stick up around the...
05/21/2020
How Will Historians Look Back at the Coronavirus Outbreak?

“The virus didn’t care how many aircraft carriers you had or how many Confucius Institutes you could stick up around the world or what size your economy was.”

Sulmaan Khan contemplates how future historians will evaluate the COVID-19 pandemic: https://bit.ly/3bOrcuF

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 off-ramps can be located in China, at least one ...

As Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen begins her second term, what are the right & the wrong ways for the U.S. to support T...
05/19/2020
What Are the Right and the Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support Taiwan?

As Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen begins her second term, what are the right & the wrong ways for the U.S. to support Taiwan?

Danny Russel, Yu-jie Chen, James Steinberg, Bonnie Glaser, Karl Eikenberry, Ryan Hass, Jerome Cohen, & Larry Diamond discuss: https://bit.ly/2yh2p4H

What are the right and wrong ways for the U.S. to support Taiwan? Traditionally, America’s goals have been to deter the mainland from aggression and coercion, support Taiwan’s democratic system, strengthen economic ties, and help it maintain sufficient international space to help address regiona...

“Whether or not China’s government has a conscious desire to supplant the United States’ influence & leadership within g...
05/13/2020
How Will China Shape Global Governance?

“Whether or not China’s government has a conscious desire to supplant the United States’ influence & leadership within global governance institutions is almost irrelevant. Instead, the question is how & whether these institutions...will respond.”

READ: https://bit.ly/2zCR2EA

How is the Trump administration’s contempt for, and retreat from, multilateral bodies affecting China’s position and weight within them—or indeed its overall strategy for relations with these organizations? Do China’s leaders aspire to supplant the U.S. in steering these organizations? Or do...

“Ever since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, Chinese people have sought to give voice to how they would li...
05/07/2020

“Ever since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, Chinese people have sought to give voice to how they would like their country to be run.”

Ian Johnson on the different strains of contemporary political discourse in China. via The New York Review of Books: https://bit.ly/2Lm3j2R

“The coronavirus epidemic has also revealed cracks in economic ties between Tokyo and Beijing, which are still the balla...
04/30/2020
How Is the Coronavirus Outbreak Affecting China’s Relations with Its Asian Neighbors?

“The coronavirus epidemic has also revealed cracks in economic ties between Tokyo and Beijing, which are still the ballast for their rocky strategic relationship.”

Sheila Smith on the impact of COVID-19 on China-Japan relations: https://bit.ly/3eV8EeW

How has China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic—inside and outside of China—affected perceptions of China among countries in Asia? And how might this shape future policy toward China, or the regional policy landscape more broadly?

“On Feb 1, Singapore closed its borders to all travelers from China, the first country in Southeast Asia to do so. The S...
04/28/2020
How Is the Coronavirus Outbreak Affecting China’s Relations with Its Asian Neighbors?

“On Feb 1, Singapore closed its borders to all travelers from China, the first country in Southeast Asia to do so. The Singaporean govt took pains to avoid offending the Chinese govt with this decision.”

Selina Ho on Singapore’s response to COVID-19: https://bit.ly/3eV8EeW

How has China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic—inside and outside of China—affected perceptions of China among countries in Asia? And how might this shape future policy toward China, or the regional policy landscape more broadly?

“In Australia, only 32 percent trust China to ‘act responsibly in the world.’ But fewer Australians have confidence in T...
04/28/2020
How Is the Coronavirus Outbreak Affecting China’s Relations with Its Asian Neighbors?

“In Australia, only 32 percent trust China to ‘act responsibly in the world.’ But fewer Australians have confidence in Trump than in Xi Jinping.”

Natasha Kassam in this week’s ChinaFile Conversation: https://bit.ly/3eV8EeW

How has China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic—inside and outside of China—affected perceptions of China among countries in Asia? And how might this shape future policy toward China, or the regional policy landscape more broadly?

“After working for two months on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak, Li is mentally and psychologically at a lo...
04/28/2020
‘We’re Hardly Heroic’

“After working for two months on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak, Li is mentally and psychologically at a loss about what to do next. He can’t sleep or eat, he often feels dazed, and sometimes, seemingly out of nowhere, he weeps.”

READ: https://bit.ly/2yKyvpp

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 working for two months on the front lines of the coron...

This ChinaFile Conversation brings together a large group of Asia experts to assess how COVID-19 has impacted views on C...
04/27/2020
How Is the Coronavirus Outbreak Affecting China’s Relations with Its Asian Neighbors?

This ChinaFile Conversation brings together a large group of Asia experts to assess how COVID-19 has impacted views on China among its neighbors.

w/writing on India, Pakistan, Australia, Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Nepal, & Malaysia: https://bit.ly/3eV8EeW

How has China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic—inside and outside of China—affected perceptions of China among countries in Asia? And how might this shape future policy toward China, or the regional policy landscape more broadly?

“The Indian state’s rhetoric has been quite measured, reflecting its need to procure medical supplies from China & its d...
04/27/2020
How Is the Coronavirus Outbreak Affecting China’s Relations with Its Asian Neighbors?

“The Indian state’s rhetoric has been quite measured, reflecting its need to procure medical supplies from China & its desire to keep the relationship stable."

Tanvi Madan on how India is managing ties w/China in the time of COVID-19: https://bit.ly/3eV8EeW

How has China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic—inside and outside of China—affected perceptions of China among countries in Asia? And how might this shape future policy toward China, or the regional policy landscape more broadly?

"During normal times, people aren’t free but they don’t feel it, but now everyone feels their unfreedom."Yuan Ling on wh...
04/20/2020
‘Everyone Is Isolated’: An Interview with Yuan Ling

"During normal times, people aren’t free but they don’t feel it, but now everyone feels their unfreedom."

Yuan Ling on why COVID-19 is "a milestone-type of event that has significance as a topic for writing."

Interview w/Ian Johnson: https://bit.ly/3eyFD8C

Yuan Ling is a border-crosser: between village and city, academia and journalism, mainstream and underground—a writer who is sometimes censored but usually measured (or ambiguous) enough to be published in China.

“I had missed the first British evacuation when my embassy didn’t get me a permit for the checkpoints in time, but I was...
04/16/2020

“I had missed the first British evacuation when my embassy didn’t get me a permit for the checkpoints in time, but I was trying to make the second.”

Lavender Au writes about her journey out of China and into quarantine in the UK. READ: https://bit.ly/2VcnO7A

04/10/2020
The Myth of Chinese Capitalism

Policies such as the “hukou” system have relegated China’s migrant workers to second-class citizens.

In “The Myth of Chinese Capitalism,” Dexter Roberts writes that this large population will likely never be lifted into China’s middle class.

FULL VIDEO: https://bit.ly/3eaSsFS

This week’s ChinaFile Conversation: What Does the Coronavirus Mean for EU-China Relations?A round table featuring: Plame...
04/06/2020
What Does the Coronavirus Mean for EU-China Relations?

This week’s ChinaFile Conversation: What Does the Coronavirus Mean for EU-China Relations?

A round table featuring: Plamen Tonchev, Theresa Fallon, Timothy Garton-Ash, Reinhard Bütikofer, Ivana Karaskova, Martin Hala, Volker Stanzel, Jörg Wuttke, and Lucrezia Poggetti.

READ: https://bit.ly/2RfYhb8

2020 promised to be an especially consequential year for the EU-China relationship, but three highly anticipated summits have been thrown into uncertainty, and diplomacy between Europe and China is now completely consumed by the coronavirus crisis.

Activists from Changsha Funeng, a public interest nonprofit were apprehended on charges of “subversion of state power.” ...
03/23/2020

Activists from Changsha Funeng, a public interest nonprofit were apprehended on charges of “subversion of state power.”

Elaine Lu spoke with one of Changsha Funeng’s founders about the arrests & shrinking civil society in China.

READ: https://bit.ly/39fDSZY

“As Its Coronavirus Outbreak Abates, China Is Trying out a New Look. Is It Working?”In this week’s ChinaFile Conversatio...
03/19/2020
As Its Coronavirus Outbreak Abates, China Is Trying out a New Look. Is It Working?

“As Its Coronavirus Outbreak Abates, China Is Trying out a New Look. Is It Working?”

In this week’s ChinaFile Conversation, experts dissect China’s effort to rebrand itself as COVID-19 spreads internationally.

Featuring Danny Russel, Pamela Crossley, Taisu Zhang, Jorge Guajardo, & Rui Zhong.

As the coronavirus spreads globally, China’s government is working aggressively to change its international image. In the span of just a few weeks, China has gone from the embattled epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic to presenting the country as an experienced, charitable international player s...

‘This Is Not Forensic Genetics Anymore. This Is Surveillance.’ChinaFile’s Jessica Batke spoke with Yves Moreau, a genomi...
03/18/2020

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

ChinaFile’s Jessica Batke spoke with Yves Moreau, a genomics expert about how the technology of a US company is facilitating abuses of genetic information in Xinjiang.

READ: https://bit.ly/3a1YYMS

Photographer Ian Teh captured fields on the Tibetan Plateau in a state somewhere in between nourishing grassland and par...
03/08/2020

Photographer Ian Teh captured fields on the Tibetan Plateau in a state somewhere in between nourishing grassland and parched desert.

SEE MORE: https://bit.ly/2TKjR8o

“We need to disaggregate the protests which I call regime engaging protests from regime threatening protests.”Yao Li on ...
03/08/2020

“We need to disaggregate the protests which I call regime engaging protests from regime threatening protests.”

Yao Li on how to make sense of tight Chinese Communist Party rule in the face of persistent demonstrations across Mainland China.

VIDEO: https://bit.ly/3cwv8BP

Holly Snape describes how the Chinese government is scrambling to channel the work of charities, non profits, and other ...
03/07/2020

Holly Snape describes how the Chinese government is scrambling to channel the work of charities, non profits, and other civil society organizations towards the COVID-19 epidemic response effort.

READ: https://bit.ly/336QSQx

In their quest to document the full scope of advancing desertification, Yang Yong’s team of scientists and surveyors get...
03/07/2020

In their quest to document the full scope of advancing desertification, Yang Yong’s team of scientists and surveyors gets held up in a newly formed desert.

More from photographer Ian Teh: https://bit.ly/2TKjR8o

“The grassland here may look green and healthy, but the pockmarked cracks in the grass are the first signs of desertific...
03/06/2020

“The grassland here may look green and healthy, but the pockmarked cracks in the grass are the first signs of desertification starting,” says environmentalist Yang Yong about the early stages of climate change induced degradation in Tibet.

MORE: https://bit.ly/2TKjR8o

In a 2015 study, the Chinese Academy of Science reported that deserts have expanded on land surrounding the headwaters o...
03/06/2020

In a 2015 study, the Chinese Academy of Science reported that deserts have expanded on land surrounding the headwaters of the Yellow River to 1,060 square miles in the last 30 years.

SEE: https://bit.ly/2TKjR8o

On the Tibetan Plateau, a grassy expanse has given way to sand. Photographer Ian Teh followed Yang Yong, one of China’s ...
03/06/2020

On the Tibetan Plateau, a grassy expanse has given way to sand. Photographer Ian Teh followed Yang Yong, one of China’s foremost environmentalists who is fighting to keep desertification at bay.

SEE: https://bit.ly/2TKjR8o

03/05/2020

In “Playing by the Informal Rules,” Yao Li explains why the growing number of protests across Mainland China does not necessarily signal a challenge to the rule of the Chinese Communist Party.

WATCH FULL VIDEO: https://bit.ly/2vKLnue

03/05/2020
Playing by the Informal Rules

In “Playing by the Informal Rules,” Yao Li explains why the growing number of protests across Mainland China does not necessarily signal a challenge to the rule of the Chinese Communist Party. WATCH FULL VIDEO: https://bit.ly/2vKLnue

Where do you really think you are taking China?" Legal scholar and rights activist Xu Zhiyong's open letter calling on X...
02/27/2020
Dear Chairman Xi, It’s Time for You to Go

Where do you really think you are taking China?" Legal scholar and rights activist Xu Zhiyong's open letter calling on Xi Jinping to step down, appeared on online earlier this month. Here is Geremie Barmé's translation-

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 southern city of Guangzhou.

02/24/2020

President Trump is in India visiting with Prime Minister Modi. In “Fateful Triangle,” Tanvi Madan describes the role China played in U.S.-India relations in the decades following the birth of Indian democracy & the People’s Republic of China.

FULL VIDEO: https://bit.ly/2SVR8yg

02/24/2020
Tanvi Madan—Fateful Triangle

President Trump is in India visiting with Prime Minister Modi. In “Fateful Triangle,” Tanvi Madan describes the role China played in U.S.-India relations in the decades following the birth of Indian democracy & the People’s Republic of China.

FULL VIDEO: https://bit.ly/2SVR8yg

"The doctor in Shiyan messaged me. “I want to tell you the official numbers are fake. They are being pruned,” she wrote....
02/23/2020
Despite Government Assurances, Medical Workers in Hubei Say They Lack Supplies

"The doctor in Shiyan messaged me. “I want to tell you the official numbers are fake. They are being pruned,” she wrote."

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 of the disease were now “generally guaranteed.”...

‘They Feel Like They Can’t Go Home’
02/21/2020
‘They Feel Like They Can’t Go Home’

‘They Feel Like They Can’t Go Home’

In September 2014, while waiting for access to photograph Syrian refugee camps in Jordan, a Chinese photographer who calls himself “Ali” came upon a large group of students from his home country at a local restaurant. He knew that many young Chinese people study in countries like the U.S. and Au...

New from Jessica Batke and Mareike Ohlberg, procurement documents show public security officials in Xinjiang sourcing eq...
02/19/2020
American Company Sold DNA Sequencers to Security Officials in Xinjiang, Documents Show

New from Jessica Batke and Mareike Ohlberg, procurement documents show public security officials in Xinjiang sourcing equipment for a national DNA database from the U.S. company Promega.

In 2015, the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Public Security Bureau announced it planned to purchase equipment from the U.S.-based biotechnology company Promega for the purpose of analyzing DNA and adding it to a national database, according to Chinese government procurement documents.

02/16/2020
ChinaFile Presents: Hong Kong on the Brink?

Latest ChinaFile Presents: A Conversation on Hong Kong (and coronavirus) with Jeff Wasserstrom and The New Yorker's Jiayang Fan.

NEW YORK, February 13, 2020 — Jeffrey Wasserstrom, author of the new book Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink, discusses the tumultuous situation in the Chinese sp...

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