China Policy Institute Blog

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 …

Li Yan reprieved – a step forward for victims of domestic violence in China?

Written by Jackie Sheehan. It is welcome news that Li Yan, despite being sentenced to death for a second time at her retrial in Sichuan last week for killing her abusive husband, has had the sentence suspended for two years, meaning that it will almost certainly be commuted to life imprisonment. However, as the Beijing …

China’s New Urban Poverty

Written by Dorothy J. Solinger. Beginning in the second half of the 1990s, poverty emerged in Chinese cities as a novelty under the rule of the Communist Party. Prior to that time, pockets of penury were concentrated either in rural areas, where some 200 millions were still said to be in dire straits at the start …

The Future of Civil Society under Xi Jinping

Written by Jessica C. Teets. When the film Under the Dome (穹顶之下), a documentary concerning air pollution, was released online on 28 February 2015, it was viewed 150 million times over a few days.  Although it illustrated the Chinese government&#

Inequality in China and the impact on women’s rights

Written by Eileen Otis. In 1995, China hosted the Fourth World Conference on Women, which produced the Beijing Platform for Action, a document outlining concrete measures to achieve gender equality worldwide. Last week, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon declared “Women are not just victims; they are agents of progress and change,” at the 59th meeting …

China’s market in stolen babies dates back decades

Written by Jackie Sheehan. The figures in a recent BBC report on the abduction and selling of babies and children in China are shocking – even if it is happening in the world’s most populous country and has a seriously overstretched police force. The US State Department, which monitors what countries are doing to stop …

Escalating Land Protests in Yunnan

Written by Samantha Hoffman. On 14 October, ‘construction workers’ wearing auxiliary police uniforms and carrying riot shields entered Fuyou village, Jinning County, Yunnan province, to confront villagers in a dispute over land the local government seized to build the Jincheng Trans-Asia Industrial Logistics Centre. The incident turned violent, leaving two villagers and six construction workers …