Neican: Common prosperity, AfPak, privacy

1. Common prosperity The Central Financial and Economic Affairs Commission, China’s highest economic decision-making body, held a meeting to discuss “common prosperity” 共同富裕 (the Chinese term is also the literal translation of “common-wealth”, but Commonwealth means something quite different from common-wealth nowadays). You can find Adam’s take on the topic and his translation of the … more

China’s Publishing Industry: Past as a Mirror to the Present


China’s publishing industry modernized and mechanized in the early twentieth century at a time when China was experiencing seismic sociopolitical changes. The new type of publishing and printing transformed traditional scholars into modern intellectuals. It also brought about cutting-edge technologies and the up-to-date mode of labor organization. Indeed, the revolution in publishing and printing was … more

Neican: Celebrity and nationalism, Disaggregating “Chinese influence”, Dissenting intellectuals, Sexual assault

1. Celebrity and Nationalism Every now and then I turn my attention to celebrity news/gossip — sometimes they can be illuminating about popular trends, government attention, and the interaction between the two. After the Kris Wu sexual assault allegations, the next celebrity to experience huge controversy is Zhang Zhehan 张哲瀚. Zhang became popular after starring … more

The Chinese Civil War: the peril of mobilization

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

The Civil War between China’s Communist and Nationalist parties (1946-49) was one of the most important events of the 20th century. Its legacy in Cross-Strait relations still looms large in the geopolitics of East Asia and beyond. But historical memory and research on the Civil War is at risk of being sidelined, with the focus … more

Dairy: the deep historical link between China and Japan

The production of dairy products was an important industry that was transmitted from China to Japan as early as the seventh century. This industry is often overlooked in discussions of historical Sino-Japanese relations. It highlights the need for us to be more aware of the deeper historical connections, including the transfer of material culture, between … more

Beyond Hawke’s Tiananmen Tears

Former prime minister Bob Hawke’s tearful and unilateral offer of asylum to Chinese students after the Tiananmen Square massacre has become a common fixture in Australian media accounts of that event, especially since his death in 2019. Widely praised as an example of Hawke’s exemplary leadership, this popular story not only reinforces Hawke’s own political … more

Neican: May 4th, War talks, Port of Darwin, NZ

1. May Fourth: complex legacy Tuesday marks the 102 anniversary of the May Fourth Movement. On May Fourth 1919, thousands of students gathered in front of Tiananmen to protest the Treaty of Versailles. They were infuriated by the betrayal of the Allies (for granting Japan the German concessions in Shandong), and the weakness of the … more

Neican: Tsinghua, Countering China, Victoria BRI, Wen Jiabao

1. Tsinghua spirit Tsinghua University held celebrations for its 110th anniversary on Sunday. One of the top schools in China, Tsinghua was founded in 1911 amid dynastic collapse, social upheaval, and foreign aggression against China. Today, the Tsinghua spirit, as embodied in the official motto “self-discipline and social commitment” (自強不息、厚德載物) and the famous words “independent … more

Neican: historical nihilism, patriarchy and misogyny, and Chinese-Australians in the public service

1. Party history The CCP’s Party History Learning and Education (党史学习教育) campaign, kicked off in February, is now in full swing. The case of CCP history serves as another poignant reminder of the importance of history in understanding contemporary China. Propagandising and popularising Party history is more about finding a path into the future than … more