An update on the digest project…
We started publishing the Analysis Digest in March and the Scholarship Digest in August. Since then, we have experimented around, expanded the source lists, and revised the codes that make it all work.
In the last couple of months, we’ve been working on overhauling the code architecture. Very pleased that it’s now finally complete! You probably wouldn’t feel much of a difference, but it’s a world of difference for us: the backstage tech we used was cumbersome and inefficient — but no longer! Importantly, we can now more accurately capture and filter out content.
We’ve also made some changes to the Analysis Digest. We’ve added a batch of new sources, bringing the total up to 100. This covers most of the publications that I find useful on China. In addition, we’ve now put the sources into broad categories so that it’s easier for you to jump between different types of sources.
Since the two existing digests are now in good shape, we are starting work on the next one: the Official China Digest. This digest aims to provide lists of primary source official documents coming out of Beijing, including Party and state policy documents, speeches of leaders, meeting readouts, articles in key official publications, etc.
This undertaking is more challenging than the previous digests. It requires mapping out the entire Chinese political system and figuring how to source official material. You can help us by suggesting the categories of material you’d like us to capture, pointing us to sources, and helping us think about how to categorise this information (by type, institution, subject, etc?).
Last but not least, an acknowledgment: a thousand thanks go out to Katharina, my wife, who spent hundreds of hours coding for this project. The digests would simply not have been possible without her enthusiasm, ideas, skills and hard work.
China Analysis Digest is a weekly published list of new China-related analyses.
Date range: October 14-22, 2021
Sources1 scanned: 100
Content: 241 publications from 61 sources
Download raw data (.csv)
Kerry Brown | Engelsberg Ideas | October 20
In his reflection of Liu’s critique of China, Brown highlights the “surface similarities” between the key concerns of Liu and Xi Jinping, namely, moral decay. But the two differed in their prescriptions. Liu wanted political reform and democratisation while for Xi it was (and still is) about consolidating the Party’s power and rebuilding its moral leadership. As China sails deeper into Xi’s new era, the moral critique of Liu, a “representative of a tragic generation of intellectuals in China,” is more and not less relevant to us thinking about China’s future. (1379 words)
Fabio Lanza | Made in China Journal | October 20
Lanza compares two pro-China stances — that of 1960s global Maoism and that of today — and argues that they are not similar in any meaningful way. He explains:
[T]hey developed under very different historical and political contingencies, which they did, but also because they embody radically different (or rather antithetical) political positions. That the pro-China stance is now embraced by intellectuals and activists who have a direct connection to the longer history of the global left…is revelatory of a crisis on the left and the general collapse of its sets of references, more than of any actual similarity between this moment and that of the 1960s.
The implication for today:
the PRC offers an alternative, not to capitalism, but to the form of the neoliberal state: it might be an alternative path we do not want to follow, but it is one we must examine. We can therefore learn with China, and with Chinese people, not because we are both engaged in a search for radical futures (as in the long 1960s), but because we are all experiencing both the commonalities and the localised contingencies of late capitalism.
Lanza is right: China is not the antithesis of the West, but rather a country dealing with many of the same problems of late capitalism confronting western societies. Even if we don’t agree with the direction China is traveling, we can learn from it. (2574 words)
Jude Blanchette | Washington Post | October 15
Blanchette, in reviewing Desmond Shum’s new memoir, Red Roulette, raises two issues. The first is critical role of personal relations in Chinese elite politics, which is much harder for outsiders to understand than formal institutions and rules:
[Shum’s memoir] highlight[s] the limitations of more formalistic analysis of China’s political system. While the hierarchical, Leninist nature of party governance and decision-making remains an important conduit for the exercise of authority, it is in the informal interactions among the political, business and military elite that true power is exercised. In this, Shum’s depiction of how power is wielded brings to mind Milovan Djilas’s 1957 critique of Soviet communism, in which he observed: “Meetings of party forums, conferences of the government and assemblies, serve no purpose but to make declarations and put in an appearance. They are only convened to confirm what has previously been cooked up in intimate kitchens.”
Second, unchecked power and the inevitable privilege that arise from it:
As Xi continues to nudge China’s political system in the direction of dictatorship, the official rhetoric of equality and socialism will become more pronounced as he attempts to reforge the party’s popular legitimacy. Yet, as Djilas observed about the Soviet Union, so long as the Communist Party controls all power and property, “it inevitably creates privileges and parasitic functions.” Xi hopes that his very public denouncements of corruption signal a new model of clean authoritarian governance, but as Shum warns in the book’s final passage: “The reality is that the Party’s main purpose is to serve the interests of the sons and daughters of its revolutionaries. They are the primary beneficiaries; they are the ones sitting at the nexus of economic and political power.”
Earlier in the week, a journalist asked me whether Xi and his mates actually believe in their rhetoric about common prosperity. I pointed to the unfolding campaign against the entertainment sector and the wealth of the leaders’ families, and replied: how can they lead morally when their hypocrisy is so glaringly obvious? (983 words)
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- Politburo meeting: October 18, 2021
- Hong Kong, common prosperity, LinkedIn, WeChat, marriages
- To Firmly Drive Common Prosperity
Reading the China Dream
- Jiang Shigong on Meng Wanzhou
- Wang Huning, “Cultural Expansion and Cultural Sovereignty"
- Gan Yang and Liu Xiaofeng on Re-reading the West
Made in China Journal
China Media Project
Australian Financial Review
- Taking Stock of the New U.S. Trade Policy on China
- Meituan Fined in Latest Move to Rein in Chinese Tech Giants
East Asia Forum
- China’s charm offensive in Bangladesh
- Why France and Germany won’t join China’s ‘Africa Quad’
- AUKUS mixed reception a symptom of strategic fault-lines in Southeast Asia
- Simandou is China’s poisoned chalice
- China steps towards a coal-free future
- The history and future of sustainable soy in China
- Has the spring sprung for China’s crop biodiversity?
Pearls and Irritations
- Nuclear submarine operations in South China Sea endanger coastal countries
- AUKUS is a stab in the back and a big mistake
- Dodging the debt trap: a better way to compete with China in our region
- The cringe comes back: has Australia misunderstood its place in Asia again?
- Commemorations of 1911 Revolution highlight ideological rift between Beijing and Taipei
- A 3D deep dive into the India–China border dispute
- Exposing the Chinese government’s oppression of Xinjiang’s Uyghurs
- The Taiwan triangle
- Stronger deterrence will avoid war over Taiwan
News & Magazines
- What did China test in space, exactly, and why?
- China’s Evergrande is in trouble. But so is China’s top-down political economy.
- Debt ceiling battles may hurt the U.S. dollar
- Where Have China’s ‘Tiger’ Parents Gone?
- China’s Latest Tourist Craze: Bright Pink Convertibles
- Pricy and Unpleasant, ‘Yangsheng’ Drinks Are Flying Off Shelves
- China’s Biggest Influencer Pushes a New Message: Buy Chinese
- After Corona, Can We Get Our Data Back?
- The World of Ding Zhen
- Things Confucius Never Said
- A single tweet is once again putting pressure on the NBA’s China business
- China is both unleashing and restricting market forces to secure its energy supplies
- Foreign brands are getting caught in China’s online gender wars
- Xi Jinping’s vision for China does not involve workers “lying flat”
- China’s GDP data shows the damage to its economy from “black swan” events
- Xi Jinping still refuses to leave China, even for COP26
- Tightfisted consumers are becoming a worry for China’s economy
- One of the world’s most popular iOS apps right now was developed by Chinese police
- China is the engine for global economic growth. What happens if it slows down?
- The last US-owned social media platform in China is closing down
China Digital Times
- Five-year Prison Terms for Hong Kong Students Deepen Fears of Retroactive Use of National Security Law
- Netizen Voices: Ou Jinzhong—Murder Suspect, Good Samaritan, “Outlaw of the Marsh”—Wins Sympathy on Weibo
- Protesters Disrupt Olympic Torch-lighting Ceremony in Greece, Drawing Attention to Chinese Human-rights Abuses
- Taiwan Expands Soft Power through Language Learning Centers, Harvard’s Mandarin Program Decamps to Taipei
- HKU to Remove Pillar of Shame, Erasing Memory of June Fourth Massacre
- Caught in Crossfire, LinkedIn to Cut Back China Presence
- Minitrue: No Independent Comment from Bar Associations on National Lawyers Congress
- Former Journalist Luo Changping Detained for Defaming “Heroes and Martyrs”
- China’s global diplomatic approach is shifting, and Australia would do well to pay attention to it
- Will the Evergrande crisis doom China’s grandiose, big-spending football dreams?
The Wire China
- The Party and Private Business: Lessons from History
- Can COP Kickstart U.S.-China Climate Action?
- Game Over
- China’s Energy Conundrum
- Reinhard Bütikofer on the Increasing Coherence of Europe’s China Policy
- Mr. Deng goes to Tokyo
- Xi wants to reshape the economy, but are property taxes going too far?
- China’s great pirate, Zheng Zhilong, takes on the Dutch
- How China controls Xinjiang: New report sheds light on ‘stability maintenance’ system
- Influencer livestreams suicide on Douyin, prompting questions about baiting crowd and app’s prevention efforts
- China denies report of hypersonic missile test
- Social shopping app Xiaohongshu apologizes after users complain about tourist attractions faked for social media
- Chinese power sector reforms mean more coal now, less coal later
- 2021-22 CBA season tips off looking radically different than recent past
- Justice for Lhamo: Man handed death sentence for live-streamed murder of ex-wife
- Highlights from Shanghai Fashion Week: 2022 Spring/Summer
- Netflix doc ‘Found’: Three teenage girls seek roots in China
- LinkedIn gives up on Chinese social media dream
- Tutoring crackdown: Beijing steps in to broker refunds on behalf of parents
- A history of Taiwan-China economic ties, by Shelley Rigger
- Mainland and HK officials step up visits to the grassroots: Hope for lower-income Hong Kongers?
- Strong civilian presence needed to protect Indonesia's sovereignty in the North Natuna Sea
- AUKUS: A reflection of ASEAN's inability to cope with China's rising assertiveness?
- No concrete vision for future Japan-China relations despite telephone talks between Xi Jinping and Fumio Kishida
- The truth behind the US’s huge trade deficit
- Could China-US trade relations be thawing?
- China will be the US's most difficult opponent
- Can there be a China-style democracy?
- Technology and innovation race: US losing edge to China?
- Why China will continue to experience power cuts
- Tsai Ing-wen's comments on cross-strait relations: Brash or brilliant?
- China's reputation in major countries is at its worst. Can it save itself?
- China's burgeoning e-commerce cyberspace and its ever more complex regulations
- Chabahar Port and Iran’s Strategic Balancing With China and India
- What Do People in Taiwan Think About Their Military?
- The Biden Administration Has Shown Unwavering Support for Taiwan
- Op-Ed in China Draws Backlash for Advocating Women ‘Warm Rural Bachelors’ Beds’
- Can Russia and Mongolia Replace Australia’s Coal Supply to China?
- China’s Shenzhou 13 Mission and Its Long-Term Impact
- China and Central Europe: The View From Warsaw
- AUKUS Is Only Half the Equation
- China’s Overseas Coal Pledge Is Not a Climate Change Gamechanger
- How a Chinese Sailboat Became a Microcosm for Arctic Geopolitics
- Pacific Nations Have an Interest in Challenging China’s Expansive Maritime Claims
- How China Uses Development Finance Strategically in South Asia
- Beijing’s Balancing Act on China-US Relations
- Ahead of Latest Mission, China Renews Space Cooperation Vow
- Changes to China’s Banking Law Could Help – or Hurt – the Planet
- Xi and Tsai’s Dueling Messages on Cross-Strait Relations
- China’s Digital Yuan Is Aimed at Home, Not Washington
- ‘Now You’re in a Situation’: Democrats Pressure Biden on Taiwan
- Why AUKUS Alarms ASEAN
- China’s Orbital Bombardment System Is Big, Bad News—but Not a Breakthrough
- A Dangerous Decade of Chinese Power Is Here
- In U.S.-China Standoff, Is America a Reliable Ally?
- A Chinese-Russian Moon Base? Not So Fast.
- ‘It Was Like Having the Chinese Government in the Room With Us’
- Will Europe Ever Really Confront China?
- Is There a Method Behind China’s Tech Crackdown Madness?
- What If Chinese Leaders Were on LinkedIn? Part 2
Center for Advanced China Research
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
- The Impact of Sino-American Rivalry on Russia’s Relations With China
- How Central Asians Pushed Chinese Firms to Localize
- Will China’s Common Prosperity Upgrade Dual Circulation?
- China’s economy is facing a cyclical and policy-induced downturn
- Policy blitz to curb risks stokes downward pressure on the economy over the third quarter of 2021
- Lithuania’s Taiwan gambit
- Course correction: China’s shifting approach to economic globalization
- The gaps in the new regional security architecture for the Indo-Pacific
- Chasing the ghost of transatlantic cooperation to level the playing field with China: time for action
Australia-China Relations Institute
- Why apps are a game changer for Chinese-language media in Australia
- Perspectives | The PRC’s path to carbon neutrality: Bright future, tortuous road
- Standardizing the future: How can the United States navigate the geopolitics of international technology standards?
Observer Research Foundation
- India’s tank problem and the two-front challenge
- China’s comprehensive crackdown on cryptocurrency
- Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific
- 21st Century mythologies: The rise (and fall?) of Big Tech
- Afghanistan and the region’s future is tied to Hydro-Diplomacy
- China and India postpone peak coal
Australia Strategic Policy Institute
Politico China Direct
Beijing to Britain
Beijing to Canberra and Back
- China’s “crackdowns” on capitalist production, the fetishism of commodities and Xi Jinping’s feedback loop
Eye on China
- War of Words - China-Bhutan Talks - Xi on Democracy & Common Prosperity - US-China Engagement - Evergrande Crisis - Inspecting Financial Institutions - Engaging Europe- China's Hypersonic Missile
- Tsinghua scholar advocates progressive carbon tax in China
- Sinopec's vision under China's carbon peak & neutrality goals
Takshashila PLA Insight
- 13 CC Meeting, Barahoti, Tawang, China's Kashmir Policy; Taiwan; Shenzhou 13; China's Engagement in the Arctic; Hypersonic Weapons
Tracking People's Daily
- Xi's Long March Story - Li Preps for Coming Winter - Liu He on Financial System & Property Sector - FDI into China at $134.7 billion
- Xi on Digital Economy Development - Li on Mass Entrepreneurship - Guo on Monopoly & Unfair Competition in Financial Sector - New Party Chiefs in Yunnan & Guangxi - Wang Yi on Xi's Thought on Diplomacy
- History Resolution at 6th Plenum - Li-Merkel Chat - Zunyi Conference Spirit - Zhong Sheng on AUKUS & Quad - New Party Chiefs for Heilongjiang, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Hunan & Tibet
- Xi on Archeology - Poverty Alleviation Spirit - Xi's Ecological Civilisation Thought > Western Theories - Common Prosperity & Tertiary Distribution
- Xi on China's Democracy - Li on CPTPP + He Wants Foreign Investment in R&D - Academic China Forum - Conference on Policies for Ageing Population
China Law Translate
National People's Congress Observer
Society & Culture
What's on Weibo
- Dutch Vlogger Discovers Her Boyfriend’s Photo on a Chinese TV Drama
- Chinese Musician Song Dongye Canceled (Again) after Complaining about China’s Cancel Culture
- A crowdsourced spreadsheet is the latest tool in Chinese tech worker organizing
- As long as there are people, we can continue to write our own stories
Hong Kong Free Press
- Even with the Nobel Peace Prize, press freedom remains under fierce attack
- Why China’s mass jet incursions mark an ominous new stage in cross-strait tensions
- Colonial Racial Science and Taiwan: How Indigenous Peoples Became Anatomy Data Points. Part II
- Colonial Racial Science and Taiwan: How Indigenous Peoples Became Anatomy Data Points. Part I
- The Politics of Hong Kong Migration in the UK and Taiwan
- LGBTQ+ Groups Celebrate Ruling Against Surgery Requirement For Legal Gender Change
- 开创未来的马克思主义纲领性文献 ——习近平总书记“七一”重要讲话学习体会
- 习近平在中共中央政治局第三十四次集体学习时强调 把握数字经济发展趋势和规律 推动我国数字经济健康发展
- 中共中央政治局召开会议 讨论拟提请十九届六中全会审议的文件 中共中央总书记习近平主持会议
- 发扬严谨求实艰苦奋斗敬业奉献的优良传统 努力建设中国特色中国风格中国气派的考古学
Full source list: China Neican, Reading the China Dream, Made in China Journal, China Heritage, China Media Project, China Leadership Monitor, Tracking People's Daily, China Brief, Project Syndicate, Australian Financial Review, China Story, ChinaFile, War on the Rocks, Lawfare, The Interpreter, East Asia Forum, China Opinion, China Collection, China Dialogue, Pearls and Irritations, The Strategist, Echo Wall, Asialink Insight, Palladium, Inside Story, Foreign Affairs, Monkey Cage, The Atlantic, The Economist, Los Angeles Review of Books, Sixth Tone, Quartz, China Digital Times, The Conversation, National Review, Internationale Politik Quarterly, The Intercept, The Wire China, SupChina, ThinkChina, The Diplomat, Foreign Policy, MacroPolo, Center for Advanced China Research, Pew Research Center, Congressional Research Service, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Center for Security and Emerging Technology, MERICS, Institut Montaigne, European Council on Foreign Relations, National Bureau of Asian Research, Brookings Institution, U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, China Data Lab, Rhodium Group, Asia Society, Australia-China Relations Institute, China Research Group, Center for New American Security, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Chatham House, Lowy Institute, Atlantic Council, Observer Research Foundation, Australia Strategic Policy Institute, Politico China Watcher, Politico China Direct, The India China Newsletter, Beijing Baselines, Beijing to Britain, Beijing to Canberra and Back, World Game, Eye on China, The Upheaval, ChinaTalk, Pekingnology, Takshashila PLA Insight, Beijing Channel, Protocol | China, Chinese Storytellers, Chinarrative, Texas National Security Review, China Law Translate, China Trade Monitor, National People's Congress Observer, What's on Weibo, Chaoyang Trap House, RADII, Paper Republic, Lausan, Hong Kong Free Press, Taiwan Insight, 中国：历史与未来, 爱思想, 《求是》, 中国现代国际关系研究院, 中央党史和文献研究院, 习近平系列重要讲话数据库. ↩