China is losing its critical African “friends” when it needs them the most

With rising tension between Beijing and the West, China needs friends now more than ever. But repeated racially-motivated discrimination against Africans in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou are undermining decades of China’s efforts to build a reservoir of diplomatic goodwill across Africa.  Spike in attacks on Africans in Guangzhou Anxiety and anger are rising … more

China steps up the long march to 5G

Despite much of the country still being under coronavirus restrictions, China has doubled down on its’ national roll-out of fifth-generation (5G) wireless connectivity, with central government direction to ‘forcefully advance 5G network construction’.  With economies around the world hobbled by the pandemic, China’s state-led drive to deploy 5G is stoking fears that next-generation telecommunications and … more

The Australia-China trade war: Vale the ‘grand bargain’?

For several decades, a ‘grand bargain’ has underpinned Australia-China ties. Recognising economic opportunities exist alongside diplomatic friction points, both sides sought to maintain a separation between the political and economic domains of the relationship. But with the recent outbreak of a COVID-19 dispute, which has led to a bilateral trade war over barley and beef, … more

Neican: 17 May 2020

China Neican is a weekly column of the China Story blog that brings you concise, timely, and policy-focused analysis. Neican 内参 or “internal reference” are limited circulation reports only for the eyes of high-ranking officials in China, dealing with topics deemed too sensitive for public consumption. But rest assured, everyone is welcome to read what we write. … more

Australia’s top China journalist expelled By Beijing

The doyen of Australian journalists covering China, the New York Times’ correspondent Chris Buckley — a doctor of philosophy from the Australian National University — has just been booted out of the People’s Republic. Married with a student daughter, he returned early this week to Sydney. Tragically, the New York Times’ most distinguished China correspondent … more

Before coronavirus, China was falsely blamed for spreading smallpox. Racism played a role then, too

Spitting. Name-calling. Physical assaults. The outbreak of COVID-19 has coincided with a dramatic escalation in racially motivated incidents towards people of Asian descent around the world. US President Donald Trump has fuelled these attacks with his strident criticisms of China’s handling of the pandemic, unsubstantiated claims the virus originated in a lab in Wuhan and … more

Epidemic in a Tibetan city: a reflection

Cities are sites of aspirations, illusions, and nightmares for Tibetans. During the COVID-19 epidemic, urban centres have become nightmarish spaces of fear and anxiety for many Tibetans. The city of Zö, on the northeast Tibetan Plateau, illustrates how lockdowns have affected Tibetans and how they have reacted to new government restrictions. Online information and control, as … more

Securing China’s food supply post-COVID-19: ‘Self-reliance’ returns to the northeast provinces

Foreign food exporters have long benefitted from a perception among Chinese consumers that some domestic foodstuffs do not meet sufficient safety and quality standards. But in the wake of COVID-19, better securing the domestic supply chains of China’s critical resources – including food – has now become a top priority for Beijing. One region in … more

Neican: 10 May 2020

China Neican is a weekly column of the China Story blog that brings you concise, timely, and policy-focused analysis. Neican 内参 or “internal reference” are limited circulation reports only for the eyes of high-ranking officials in China, dealing with topics deemed too sensitive for public consumption. But rest assured, everyone is welcome to read what we … more

Governing the epidemic: neighbourhood committees in Shanghai

Neighbourhood committees have played a vital role in governing local life in China since the establishment of the People’s Republic. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they have demonstrated flexibility in implementing political directives and policies from above. However, the grassroots management structure of neighbourhood committees is struggling to adapt to the increasing complexities that characterise a … more