Currents of Thought 思潮

Recent Discussions of the One-Child Policy

Official attention to ‘family planning’ and population control can be traced back to 1955 when the government published its ‘Instructions on the issue of population control’ (关于控制人口问题的指示). The document states that ‘In the interests of the nation, families and future generations, the Party is in favor of taking appropriate measures for birth control’ (为了国家、家庭和新生代的利益,我们党是赞成适当地节制生育的). But … more

Considering the Third Plenum

Anticipation and the ‘383 Scheme’ Though the official opening date of the Third Plenary Session of the Eighteenth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China was not officially announced till the end of October, rumours about and expectations of the meeting and possible reforms that would be announced started much earlier. On 6 October, … more

China’s Luxury Fever and Curbing Official Ostentation

In 2012, China became the world’s largest consumer of luxury goods, overtaking Japan and the US. More striking is the rate of growth in this domain: consumption of luxury goods increased by a factor of sixty between 2000 and 2010. Compared to Europe and the US, Chinese consumers of luxury goods are younger and the … more

How Fares Chinese Academia? – Questioning the ‘University Spirit’ 大学精神

One of the abiding mythologies of contemporary China relates to the unique qualities of what is dubbed the ‘University Spirit’ 大学精神. Supposedly a modern refraction of the ancient traditions of learning, reading, scholarship and public service, the University Spirit is somehow inculcated in generations of Chinese youth to create an ethos of public engagement, good … more

Me Talk Pretty One Day: The Ethics of Public Debate

In an article dated 7 November 2012 on 1510, the independent online news website and journal that we feature in the Key Articles of Thinking China on this site, a blogger by the name of ‘Duyuan Jushi’ 独园居士 (literally, ‘the lay Buddhist of the Solitary Garden’) assembled essays by three prominent women writers and social … more

Mo Yan’s 莫言 Nobel Win in Three Registers

When, on 11 October, the Swedish Academy announced that the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature would go to Mo Yan 莫言, the reaction in the Chinese media was intense. After decades of waiting and years of stinging disappointment, Mainland China at long last had a Nobel Prize it could talk about in the open. The … more

‘Are You Happy?’ – Chinese Reflections on a State of Mind

Over the week-long 1 October National Day holiday, China Central Television (CCTV 央视) broadcast a series called ‘Happiness Survey’ 幸福调查 in which journalists carried out vox popinterviews in which they asked people whether they where happy, and what happiness meant for them. In the process they collected a range of candid and eccentric responses. The … more

‘Consensus’ ( on Patriotism and Japan 共识网, literally ‘Consensus Net’, is a news and commentary portal that aggregates content from a wide range of other sites, and also features original contributions from commentators and public intellectuals. The website is connected to Leaders 领导者, a bimonthly Hong Kong-based magazine founded in 2004 and devoted to ‘influencing the most influential decision makers’. … more

Ye Shiwen 叶诗文 and Olympic Politics

The astonishing performance of Ye Shiwen 叶诗文 (dubbed the ‘Mandarin Mermaid’ by the British press) in the Women’s 400m Individual Medley at the London Olympics drew doping allegations from some quarters, including some fairly high-placed sports officials. John Leonard, an American and the director of the World Swimming Coaches Association, all but accused Ye of … more

New Sinology 后汉学/後漢學

New Sinology is an academic approach and an intellectual disposition that is advocated by the Australian Centre on China in the World (CIW) founded in 2010. It encourages a multifaceted understanding of China and the Sinophone world, one grounded in an ability to appreciate the living past in China’s present. First propounded by Geremie R. … more