China Policy Institute Blog

Identities of Migrant worker: From Nongmin Gong (农民工) to Xin Shimin (新市民)

Written by Wei Wang. People’s identity is very much reflected on and constructed by how they are named by others. Internal migrant workers in China have experienced huge differences in terms of how they have been perceived and named during the last thirty years. During this time, economic development and rapid urbanisation in China has …

The Avalanche of the 500,000: Why China is Exporting Students

Written by Guido Santevecchi. Beanstalk International Bilingual School (BIBS) is an unconventional international school in Beijing. Scattered in the garden in front of the building, one can see lines of tables covered by tents, providing shade from the daylight (being suntanned is not in keeping with Chinese culture). What is peculiar about these lines of tables …

“I have an accent”: British Chinese Young People on Learning and Speaking Chinese

Written by Ada Mau. Going to ‘Chinese school’ at the weekend is an experience shared by many young people of Chinese heritage growing up in the US, UK, Australia and other Western countries. Many children start attending these community-based schools from a young age in order to learn Chinese language(s) and sometimes cultural activities such as …

The Symbolic Power of Chinese “Internet Buzzwords”

Written by Elaine Yuan. Like other social spaces in contemporary China, the Chinese Internet, with more than 600 million users, is always energetic and eventful. One of the few ways to keep pace with the bustling online scenes is by tracking “Internet buzzwords”– words or phrases that emerge from significant social events and incidents by …

China’s Language Policies

Written by Li Wei. Since 2006, China’s State Language Commission, an administrative department under the Ministry of Education, has been compiling an annual Green Paper on the so-called ‘language life’ in China. These Green Papers are published under the title Language Situation in China, and the English translation of the key parts of the reports …

Does Chinese Innovation Need Yu?

Written by William H.A. Johnson. Jack Ma, the colourful founder of the Chinese internet juggernaut, Alibaba, has often talked about the failure of the Chinese system to properly encourage innovation. In a recent speech he broke the problem down into the two Mandarin words that generally describe the educational process for children in China: jiaoyu. Jiao …

Can judicial reforms reduce the incidence of torture in China?

Written by Jackie Sheehan. Former CIA agent Bob Baer famously identified the different purposes of America’s “extraordinary rendition” programme of torture out-sourcing, explaining that “If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear – never to …

The tale behind the bean: The modern history of an ancient crop

Written by Ines Prodöhl. Evidence that soy had some significance in the Chinese diet dates back some three thousand years. Besides using soybeans for food, indigenous people in Asia had known a variety of applications for the crop, such as for fertilizer, animal feed, lubricant and lighting. For centuries, however, this knowledge remained in Asia. The …

China’s traditional diet hits modern marketing and food technology

Written by Barry M. Popkin. In the early 1980s when the Chinese first thought of creating dietary guidelines, the average Chinese individual consumed 1 gram of sugar per day. Sweet pastries and such were not to be found in China, nor were sugary beverages, convenience stores or, for that matter, any stores other than very …

Minority Dance, Minority Dancers

Written by Emily Wilcox. Most Americans would be hard-pressed to distinguish a waltz from a tango or a salsa from a jitterbug. However, in the People’s Republic of China, average citizens can easily identify and distinguish between Uyghur dance, Mongol dance, Tibetan dance, Korean dance, Dai dance, and so on. I know, because recently while …