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China Analysis Digest #39

New China-related analyses

Hi folks,

As we mentioned on Monday, Neican will start publishing a mix of free and paid content from December 1. The digest will stay free up to that point, and then it will go behind a paywall.

You can support our work through a paid subscription. For subscription options, please visit our new website.

From this week, we are adding an extensive list of Chinese language publications to the digest. In the past, we've listed publications from a handful of Chinese sources. But the list was very limited. Now, no longer.

The Chinese sources we scan cover world affairs, politics and policy, economics, history, law, society and culture, and philosophy.

Here is the new structure of the Analysis Digest:

I. Recommended Reading

II. English Sources

III. Chinese Sources

Let me know if you have any feedback or suggestions.



China Analysis Digest #39

  • Date range: November 17-25, 2021
  • Sources scanned: 107
  • Publications: 201 (English), 85 (Chinese)

I. Recommended Reading

The long game: China's grand strategy to displace American order
Todd Hall | International Affairs | November 1

Hall offers an incisive review of Rush Doshi’s influential new book. The issue with Doshi’s methodology, Hall argues, rests with taking certain propositions proclaimed by the CCP at face value and failing to supply empirical evidence to ground others raised. A more fundamental worry is that Doshi’s account “renders any state that seeks to fortify itself against US interference or intervention—which Doshi so convincingly demonstrates has been a key PRC fear—or to build institutions without US participation as a challenger to the international order more broadly. It replicates the very ‘zero-sum’ view he attributes to Beijing.”

Who’s afraid of China’s nukes?
Van Jackson | Duck of Minerva | November 22

“The interest of the national security crowd is in examining symptoms, not deeper causes. They can’t stomach the wider frame on current events...they can’t stand the possibility that America’s choices undesirably affect the behaviour of its rivals.” Jackson uses the case of China’s nuclear buildup to highlight the above, arguing that Beijing is essentially responding to US posture and moves. This begs the question: will Beijing slow down or speed up in response to US moves to counter China’s nuclear weapons?

The Sixth Plenum and the Rise of Traditional Chinese Culture in Socialist Ideology
Zhuoran Li | The Diplomat | November 19

Li looks at the nexus between traditional culture and ideology under Xi: “By placing Chinese culture at the center of Chinese socialism, the CCP attempts to combine socialist principles with the traditional Chinese political system to synthesise a new foundation of political stability and effective governance.” He points out that the CCP uses traditional culture and conservative values to counter western liberalism and individualism, which it sees as causes for social ills. But since China’s society is diversifying, enforcing rigid moral rules will lead to alienation and disaffection.

Cancel Culture Isn’t the Real Threat to Academic Freedom
Yangyang Cheng | The Atlantic | November 23

Cheng reminds us that the biggest threat to academic freedom is not the Cancel Culture or Beijing, it is the existing power relations:  "An ivory tower above and beyond the messy planes of politics is an illusion. The academy is not an abstraction. It has a history and depends on a set of material conditions to function. It’s not merely a meeting of minds but also a congregation of bodies, in a world where some bodies are valued more than others. Like any other institution, the academy is embedded in the power relations of a society, and relations of power, if not actively contested, are always reproduced. Regarding racist speech and critiques of racist speech as equal in a “marketplace of ideas” is not being neutral; it is perpetuating racism. Too often, discussions on “campus free speech” are distracted by superficial optics and overlook the underlying power dynamic. The privileged cry victim when their privilege is being challenged. The disenfranchised resort to aggressive tactics in a desperate attempt to be heard and are cast as the bully."

II. English Sources

China Watching

China Neican

China Heritage

China Media Project

China Brief

Opinion Pages

Project Syndicate

New York Times

Wall Street Journal

Australian Financial Review

Sydney Morning Herald


War on the Rocks


The Interpreter

East Asia Forum

Pearls and Irritations

The Strategist

Asialink Insight

News & Magazines


Foreign Affairs

The Economist

Sixth Tone


China Digital Times

The Conversation

The Wire China



The Diplomat

Foreign Policy

Think Tanks

Center for Advanced China Research

Center for Strategic and International Studies


China Data Lab

Atlantic Council

Observer Research Foundation


Politico China Watcher

Politico China Direct

Beijing to Canberra and Back


Eye on China



Tracking People's Daily


Supreme People's Court Monitor

Society & Culture

What's on Weibo

Chaoyang Trap House


Greater China

Hong Kong Free Press

Taiwan Insight

III. Chinese Sources

World Affairs

Chinese Diplomacy

Great Power Relations

International Relations Theory

Politics & Policy

Chinese Politics

Comparative Politics

Public Policy & Governance



Public Sector Economics

Financial Economics


Development Economics


Modern Chinese History

Ancient Chinese History



Constitutional & Administrative Law

Criminal law


Society & Culture



Chinese Philosophy

Marxist philosophy

Edited by Adam Ni | code by Katharina Ni | Recommended Reading by Adam Ni, Yun Jiang, Brian Wong and Anastasiia Rudkovska