C h r o n o l o g y
The following outline chronology covers some of the key events touched on in this book.
2 0 0 7
January: China fires a missile at its own (obsolete) satellite and obliterates it, causing fears of a military build-up in space.
April: China seeks to contain global concern over contaminated food exports. On 23 April, following the discovery of melamine in animal feed from China, US food regulators are given permission by the Chinese authorities to investigate Chinese suppliers of pet food ingredients.
August: one and a half million Chinese- manufactured toys sold under US-owned brands are recalled in the US after excessive quantities of lead were discovered. In September, there is another recall of toys in the US market.
June: the term ‘collective stroll’ enters the Chinese vocabulary. It describes a slogan-free public protest against a planned chemical factory that would produce paraxylene (often called PX) and emit pollution near a residential zone in Xiamen, Fujian province. Collective strolls are organized online and via mobile phone messages.
17 June: the Chinese media begin to report on the Shanxi brick kiln slave scandal, in which parents of around four hundred children forced to work in inhumane conditions in a brick factory were exposed on the Internet. The factory is soon closed and some officials sacked.
21 October: the Communist Party unveils a new leadership lineup for the next five years; Hu Jintao wins a second term as Party and army chief, while four new men join the Politburo Standing Committee: Shanghai Party chief Xi Jinping, Liaoning province head Li Keqiang, as well as He Guoqiang and Zhou Yongkang.
24 October: China launches its first lunar probe the Chang’e from Xichang space centre in southern Sichuan province.
2 0 0 8
14 March: the largest protests against Chinese rule in Tibet since 1959 escalate into riots with the violence spreading to ‘Tibetan China’, including parts of neighbouring Gansu province and an outlying area of Sichuan province.
March-April: creation of the website www.anti-CNN.com by a young, Beijing- based technology entrepreneur, Rao Jin. The website denounces Western media reports of the uprising in Tibet (in particular those by CNN) and becomes the online face of a rise of populist support amongst young people for the Chinese government. One of the events that boosted support for Anti-CNN occurred during the Olympic Torch Relay in Paris on 7 April, when Tibetan independence protesters tried to grab the Olympic torch from a Chinese paralympic athlete in a wheelchair. The Chinese leadership responds by fuelling a pro-China anti-Western propaganda push and takes over direct management of the upcoming Beijing Olympics.
9 April: Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivers a speech at Peking University in which he defines Australia’s relationship with China as one of a true and frank friendship (that of a zhengyou 诤友) that ‘offers unflinching advice and counsels restraint’. Chinese media discuss the speech – and its use of the word zhengyou – with interest.
12 May: an earthquake measuring 7.9 to 8 on the Richter scale devastates Wenchuan county, Sichuan province. The death toll surpasses 80,000. The disaster prompts a nationwide charitable movement including cash donations and volunteer rescue efforts.
16 July: the first report of the ‘poisoned- milk scandal’ appear in the media when infant formula produced by Sanlu is found to contain melamine, an industrial additive that has the effect of artificially raising a reading of the milk’s level of protein. The deadly chemical is soon found in the products of other major dairy manufacturers. By November, the number of infants and young children affected by drinking contaminated milk reaches some 300,000 and there are more than 50,000 babies sickened and four confirmed dead. The scandal is hushed up by Sanlu executives and government officials and only goes public after the Beijing Olympic Games are over, with the first government acknowledgement of the scandal on 22 September.
8 August: the Opening Ceremony of the XXIXth Olympiad begins in Beijing at 8:08pm. The Beijing Olympics, widely deemed a success, costs US$44 billion.
27 September: a Chinese astronaut takes China’s first space walk
15 September: Lehman Brothers files for bankruptcy, setting off a global financial crisis.
November: China announces a US$586 billion economic stimulus package.
8 December: the pro-democracy dissident Liu Xiaobo is detained for his role in drafting Charter 08. Initially signed by 300 people, the document calls for an end to one-party rule, the introduction of substantive democracy and full human rights for Chinese citizens. On 25 December 2009, Liu is sentenced to eleven years in prison.
2 0 0 9
January: an anonymous Internet user uploads a spoof posting of ‘Ten Legendary Beasts of Baidu’ to the Wikipedia-like Baidu Baike Encyclopaedia. One of the beasts is the Grass Mud Horse (caonima 草泥马), a play on the words cào nǐ mā 肏你妈, literally ‘fuck your mother’. The Grass Mud Horse – a creature with the appearance of an Alpaca – is said to roam the Mahler Gobi Desert (malege bi 妈了个逼 – that is ‘curse your mother’s cunt’) and its existence is supposed to be endangered by ravenous River Crabs (hexie 河蟹), creatures whose name is a pun on the word ‘harmonize’ (hexie 和谐), a term that in Chinese Internet slang means to censor or delete unacceptable online content.
13 January: during a visit to Beijing Zbigniew Brzezinski proposes the creation of a ‘Group of Two’ (G2) to facilitate talks between the US and China on global issues.
8 March: five Chinese vessels perform aggressive maneuvers against a US surveillance ship – the USNS Impeccable – in the South China Sea, marking the start of China’s growing assertion of what it regards as its regional territorial rights.
30 March: China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), which controls media content, issues a list of thirty-one new regulations under the heading ‘Concerning the Tightening of Management Over Internet Audio-visual Content’. Aimed at blocking online spoofs such as Grass Mud Horse, this list is an extension of similar regulations first introduced in 2006. The 2006 regulations coincided with the media publicity surrounding video blogger Hu Ge’s ‘Murder by mantou’, a satirical take on the veteran filmmaker Chen Kaige’s martial arts epic, The Promise. Hu Ge’s video enjoyed even greater publicity when the infuriated Chen threatened legal action.
June: in Chongqing, Party Secretary Bo Xilai launches his ‘Sing Red, Strike Black’ campaign. The campaign gains momentum over the following weeks and months, helping turn Bo into China’s leading political celebrity.
This month, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology mandates that, starting from 1 July 2009, all personal computers sold on the mainland must have content-control software pre-installed, known as the Green Dam Youth Escort. Following a negative reception from Chinese Internet users, on 30 June the mandatory installation of Green Dam is delayed indefinitely.
5 July: ethnic violence in China’s western autonomous region of Xinjiang kills around 200 people and injures 1,700. The government blames the violence on exiled Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer, a charge she denies. Following the riots, the authorities shut down Internet access and longdistance telephony in Xinjiang for over six months.
30 July: China expresses ‘strong dissatisfaction’ over Australia’s granting of a visa to the Uyghur human rights advocate Rebiya Kadeer to attend the Melbourne International Film Festival. This and other issues lead to then Australian ambassador to the People’s Republic Geoff Raby dubbing 2009 the annus horribilis of the Australia-China relationship.
1 October: a grand National Day Parade is held on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The parade includes a vast array of military hardware and around 10,000 soldiers.
18 December: at the 2009 Copenhagen talks on climate change, China’s strident criticism of historical Western behaviour with regard to the environment and assertion of its own interests over those of the globe attract international media attention and spark new tensions in China’s relations with developed nations. Nevertheless, following the summit, US President Obama announces that the US, China and other nations have signed a non-binding treaty setting a mitigation target to limit global warming to no more than two degrees Celsius.
2 0 1 0
8 January: Chongqing’s judiciary sentences the Beijing-based lawyer Li Zhuang to thirty months in gaol for allegedly encouraging his client, Chongqing crime boss Gong Gangmo, to perjure himself. The charges against Li were known to be false, leading other prominent Chinese lawyers to publicize their colleague’s plight.
12 January: Google, claiming that China-based hackers have interfered with the Gmail accounts of dissidents, announces it will no longer censor search results on its mainland-based portal Google.cn and that its China operations may be closed down. Eventually in March, Google closes its offices in Beijing, and re-routes mainland Chinese users to its Hong Kong site.
21-24 January: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s support for Google’s anti-censorship stance leads to an angry rebuttal from the People’s Daily.
30 January: following the US government’s decision to sell Black Hawk helicopters and PAC-3 missiles to Taiwan, China announces suspension of military exchanges with the US along with other retaliatory measures.
19 February: US President Barack Obama meets with the Dalai Lama; China expresses formal disapproval.
March-April: China angers South Korea and worries the international community by its refusal to criticize North Korea’s sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan on 26 March.
29 March: a Shanghai court sentences Australian national and executive of mining giant Rio Tinto, Stern Hu, to ten years in gaol for bribery and the theft of commercial secrets. Three other defendants also received prison sentences.
13 April: hundreds of people are killed when a 7.1 magnitude earthquake strikes China’s north-western Qinghai province with the epicentre near the Tibetan region of Yulshul (Yushu).
May: an ethnic Mongolian herder named Merger is run over and killed on 10 May while trying to stop a convoy of coal trucks from driving through grazing pastures. His death sparks a major riot in Inner Mongolia
1 May – 31 October 2010: with the theme ‘Better City – Better Life’, Shanghai stages Expo 2010, attracting the largest-ever number of participating countries and a record seventy-three million visitors.
8 July: the head of Chongqing’s Bureau of Justice and former Deputy Police Chief, Wen Qiang, accused of having accepted bribes in excess of one hundred million yuan, is executed by lethal injection as part of Chongqing’s ‘Strike Black’ campaign.
29 August: Fang Zhouzi, ‘the science cop’, China’s most famous academic fraud-buster, is attacked and wounded near his home in Beijing. The two assailants had been hired by Xiao Chuanguo, a Professor of Urology at Wuhan’s Huazhong Science and Technology University, whom Fang had exposed as an academic fraud. (In October 2010, Xiao is charged with ‘causing a disturbance’ and sentenced to a gaol term of five and a-half months.)
7 September: a Chinese fishing trawler collides with a Japanese Coast Guard vessel in disputed waters, exacerbating diplomatic tensions between China and Japan. The captain is eventually released by Japan on 24 September and he returns to China in a blaze of publicity.
14 September: the celebrity Taoist priest, Li Yi, a TV personality claiming extraordinary powers, is exposed as a fraud. Media stars among his some 30,000 disciples scramble to dissociate themselves from him.
1 October: twenty-three Communist Party elders publish an open letter online demanding the abolition of the ‘invisible black hand’ of censorship and respect for freedoms granted in the 1982 constitution of China.
8 October: Liu Xiaobo is awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, leading the Chinese government to unleash a media campaign denouncing the award, the Nobel Committee, Liu’s supporters in the West and the country of Norway.
16 October: the twenty-two-year-old drunk driver Li Qiming hits two female university students, killing one and injuring the other. When confronted by security guards, he allegedly yells: ‘Charge me if you dare. My dad is Li Gang!’ The meme ‘My dad is Li Gang!’ goes viral on the Internet. On 30 January 2011, Li is sentenced to six years in gaol.
20 October: a traffic accident turns into a homicide when twenty-oneyear- old driver and music student Yao Jiaxin purposely kills a woman he had just injured in an accident to prevent her from reporting his licence plate number to the police. Yao is later sentenced to death and executed on 7 June 2011.
9 December: a private group, with tacit official support, establishes the Confucius Peace Prize in retaliation for Liu Xiaobo being awarded the Nobel laureate. The first Confucius Peace Prize is awarded to Lien Chan, former Vice-president of the Republic of China on Taiwan. (In March 2005, Lien, as Chairman of the Nationalist Party in Taiwan, visits the mainland as part of the so-called Pan-Blue visits, which are hailed at the time as the highest level of exchange between the Communists and the Nationalists since 1945.) Lien’s office declines the prize, however, noting that he has never heard of the award.
10 December: Liu Xiaobo receives the Nobel Peace Prize in absentia. The award ceremony in Oslo is boycotted by China and eighteen other countries: Afghanistan, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sudan, Tunisia, Ukraine, Venezuela and Vietnam. Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, and other members of his family are prevented from travelling to Oslo to accept the prize on his behalf. Liu Xia is placed under house arrest in October after informing her husband of his award.
2 0 1 1
January: Ma Ying-jeou, President of the Republic of China in Taiwan, hails the coming of a new golden age. He proposes that the Taiwan-based government espouse ‘Cultural China, Political Survival’ (wenhua Zhonghua, zhengzhi pian’an 文化中华，政治偏安).
11 January: a 9.5-metre bronze statue of Confucius is installed outside the National Museum of China on Tiananmen Square. A People’s Daily poll released a week later indicates that sixty-two percent of some 820,000 respondents disapprove of the statue. (On 21 April the statue is removed without notice or explanation.)
13 February: China overtakes Japan as the world’s second-largest economy.
17 February: online dissidents (apparently based outside China), inspired by the Arab Spring, call for weekly prodemocracy ‘Jasmine’ rallies in China. The Chinese government responds with an immediate and harsh crackdown on rights activists and lawyers that continues for several months. No demonstrations take place.
25 February: China’s Railways Minister, Liu Zhijun, is dismissed on corruption charges.
5 March: Beijing announces an annual budget for ‘stability maintenance’ of 624.4 billion yuan, generating heated debate on the Chinese Internet.
14 March: the Twelfth Five-year Plan is approved by the National People’s Congress. The plan, covering the period 2011-2015, explicitly aims at addressing rising inequality and creating an environment for more sustainable growth, as well as encouraging the growth of the country’s domestic consumer market.
3 April: prominent artist and provocateur Ai Weiwei is intercepted by police at Beijing Capital Airport as he is about to board a plane for Hong Kong. He is detained without charge for nearly three months. On his release, he is forbidden from travelling and accused of tax evasion.
4 May: the Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, officially launches Ai Weiwei’s outdoor installation, ‘Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads’, at Central Park’s Grand Army Plaza. Ai, still under detention in China, is represented in New York by several cultural figures from New York who read quotations from his interviews and blog posts.
30 June: Henry Kissinger, visiting Chongqing to meet with executives from some 500 US companies based there, takes part in one of Bo Xilai’s ‘Sing Red’ mass rallies. He heaps praise on the achievements of Chongqing.
During July: Bo Xilai, Party Secretary of Chongqing and Wang Yang, Party Secretary of Guangdong, present opposing views about the best way forward for China. Whereas Bo calls for ‘the realisation of common prosperity’, Wang claims that economic growth is more important, stating that ‘division of the cake is not a priority right now. The priority is to make the cake bigger.’ Their differences are publicized in the print media and online as ‘the cake debate’.
16 July: US President Obama meets with the Dalai Lama again, eliciting strong disapproval from the Chinese government. Photos circulate online of the Dalai Lama leaving the White House through the back door, walking past rubbish bins.
23 July: the collision of two high-speed trains in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province becomes the most talked-about topic in China via micro-blogging. Complaints and criticism of the government’s handling of the tragedy, which resulted in thirty-five deaths, circulate freely for several days before censors shut it down.
27 July: China and South Korea hold their first ‘strategic defence dialogue’. China pledges to deepen bilateral military exchanges and cooperation.
10 August: China launches its first aircraft carrier on a test voyage. The ship is a refitted former Soviet carrier, the Varyag, which China purchased from the Ukraine in 1998.
14 August: in what is described as a ‘white collar demonstration’, tens of thousands of protesters join a march against the building of a chemical plant in Dalian in Liaoning province. The plant had been designed to produce paraxylene or PX.
10 October: anniversary of the centenary of the Wuchang Uprising and the Xinhai Revolution that saw the end of dynastic rule. Chinese President Hu Jintao uses the term ‘revival’ (fuxing 复兴) twenty-three times in his commemorative speech, made the previous evening in the Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square.
21 October: a two-year-old girl named Yueyue dies in a hospital in Foshan, Guangdong province, after being run over by two vans and ignored by eighteen passers-by. The entire incident, caught on a surveillance camera, goes viral on the Chinese Internet and incites a vigorous debate on the state of Chinese morality.
17 November: US President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard formally announce an enhancement of US-Australia defence cooperation through the accommodation and rotation of US marines in Darwin and the greater use of RAAF bases in the Northern Territory for US aircraft.
19 November: At the sixth meeting of the ASEAN-led East Asia Summit in Bali, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao meets with seventeen Asian leaders to discuss the South China Sea and broader related questions of maritime security.
December: A local protest against corrupt officials who had seized and illegally sold land in Wukan, Guangdong province, grows into one of the country’s largest mass incidents. Following the death on 10 December of a leader of the outcry, Xue Jinbo, in police custody the protest escalates. The provincial government intervenes and allows village leaders to represent themselves in local government.
2 0 1 2
3-4 February: Premier Wen Jiabao visits Guangdong province, re-enacting Deng Xiaoping’s famous Tour of the South of February 1992. He reprises and endorses Deng’s 1992 pronouncements on the need for continued reform.
6 February: Wang Lijun, former police chief of Chongqing, seeks refuge in the US Consulate in Chengdu, Sichuan province. It is not granted, and Wang emerges from the Consulate only to be whisked off into what is officially called ‘vacation-style therapy’. This series of events marks the beginning of the end of Bo Xilai.
26 February: The World Bank presents China with a report, entitled China 2030, on the state of the Chinese economy. It offers a stark choice: transition to a freer commercial system or face economic decline. Some leftists and neo-Maoists denounce the report as the work of spies and traitors.
5 March: on the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Lei Feng, a legendary PLA soldier devoted to selfless service to the people, a propaganda campaign is launched to encourage people to ‘learn from Lei Feng’. The campaign is met with scorn and derision on the Chinese Internet.
15 March: Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai is dismissed from all official positions and put under official investigation. On 10 April, it is announced that Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, is under investigation for the death of an English business associate, Neil Heywood.
3 April: to mark the year since his detention at Beijing Capital Airport, Ai Weiwei installs webcams in his compound in a mocking gesture of self-surveillance. His broadcasts on weiweicam.com are banned by the authorities within days.
6 April: the neo-Maoist website Utopia is shut down for ‘maintenance’ after the site’s sister bookshop is visited by the authorities. In the subsequent weeks, Utopia contributors circulate messages of support for Bo Xilai on microblogs. In early May, an open letter purporting to be from Utopia is sent to the media and websites outside of China. The letter calls the Bo and Wang affairs the ‘most significant case of political injustice since Opening and Reform began [in 1978]’.
22 April: the blind lawyer-activist Chen Guangcheng escapes house arrest in Shandong and seeks refuge in the US Embassy in Beijing. On 2 May, Chen leaves the US Embassy to undergo medical treatment amid great controversy. On 19 May, Chen, his wife, and their two children leave Beijing, arriving the same day in New York City.
May: the Guide to Surviving in China (Zhongguo jiusheng shouce 中国救生手 册), a Chinese-language iPhone app devoted to food safety issues and alerts, is released.
To commemorate the seventieth anniversary of Mao Zedong’s landmark 1942 ‘Yan’an Talks on Literature and Art’, the Ministry of Culture announces a month of celebrations.
Mao’s ‘Yan’an Talks’ still inform China’s official cultural policy. A leading state publishing house produces a version of the text written out by some of the country’s most prominent authors.
12 May: the seven-part TV series A Bite of China (Shejianshangde Zhongguo 舌 尖上的中国) on the country’s culinary traditions is released by CCTV to rapturous national acclaim.
15 May: when meeting with Chinese leaders in Beijing, the Australian Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, is told that there is considerable official displeasure about US-Australia defence cooperation. It is decried as a Cold War-era strategic move. Carr is also told that Chinese-Australians who were originally citizens of the People’s Republic are treated as Chinese citizens when accused of breaking the law.
17 May: veteran Party members address a letter to President Hu Jintao calling for the dismissal of the Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang, who they claim is a supporter of Bo Xilai.
24 May: in response to widespread commentary and disgust with high-level corruption, including officials smuggling large sums of money out of the country (often followed by their children), the Communist Party’s Central Disciplinary Inspection Commission announces that it will institute provincial ‘flight-prevention co-ordinating mechanisms’ and boost ‘passport management’.
29 May: the chief executive of the online security firm Kaspersky Lab, Eugene Kaspersky, warns that the US and Australia face increasing cyber-threats from China, warning that most cyber-attacks ‘come from China and most criminal malware is written in Chinese’.
16 June: China’s first female astronaut, Liu Yang, is launched into orbit aboard the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft. On the Chinese Internet, she is compared to another Chinese woman, Feng Jianmei, who was forced to abort her seven-month old fetus in early June after she failed to pay a 40,000 yuan fine; widely reproduced photos of her lying next to the dead fetus cause outrage.
29 June: Bloomberg publishes a report on the complex skein of financial dealings, business connections and properties of relatives of Vice-president Xi Jinping.
1 July: the new Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Leung Chun-ying (C.Y. Leung), makes his inaugural speech in Standard Chinese, and not Cantonese, the majority language of the former British crown colony. The Chinese President Hu Jintao is in an audience assembled also to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of ‘the handover’ of Hong Kong to Chinese control on 30 June 1997.
P e o p l e a n d P e r s o n a l i t i e s
The following is a list of people who feature in the pages of this book, listed alphabetically.
Ai Weiwei 艾未未 (b.1957): internationally acclaimed artist and outspoken political activist whose disappearance in March 2011 led to an international uproar. Although subsequently released he was accused of various crimes and kept under continuing house surveillance. In June 2012, he was released from bail conditions although prevented from travelling overseas as a range of nebulous charges against him remained pending. He continued to criticise the authorities.
Ross Babbage (b.1949): strategic policy analyst promoting greater Australian military defence preparedness in the Asia Pacific.
Bo Xilai 薄熙来 (b.1949): former Communist Party Secretary of Chongqing and advocate of economic redistribution in the ‘cake debate’. Author of the ‘Sing Red, Strike Black’ campaign Bo was stripped of his posts in March 2012 and put under investigation on suspicion of breaking Party discipline and state law; his wife Gu Kailai was detained over the death of an English businessman, Neil Heywood.
Cai Fang 蔡昉 (b.1956): economic demographer and scholar-analyst of demographic transition who has forecast an end to surplus labour in China.
Charles Chao 曹国伟 (b.1965): CEO of Sina, who together with the CEO of Baidu sang ‘red songs’ at a commemorative event for the ninetieth anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing in 2011.
Chen Guangbiao 陈光标 (b.1969): President of Jiangsu Huangpu Recycling Resources Company best known for his philanthropic activities, including donations to low income families in Taiwan; Chen’s charitable activities have been questioned, with some Internet commentators alleging fraud.
Chen Guangcheng 陈光诚 (b.1979): blind civil rights activist who escaped from house arrest in Linyi, Shandong province to the US Embassy in Beijing. In late May 2012, Chen was allowed to leave China to study law in New York.
Dalai Lama (b.1935): spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, secular head of the Tibetan political administration in exile and a figure regarded by the Chinese party-state as a dangerous ‘splittist’ whose activities threaten the territorial integrity of the People’s Republic.
Deng Xiaoping 邓小平 (1904-1997): past General-Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and the main author of China’s policy of an ‘open door’ to the outside world and economic reform.
Fang Binxing 方滨兴 (b.1960): computer programmer and professor who developed the Great Firewall of China.
Fang Zhouzi 方舟子 (b.1967): the pseudonym of Fang Shimin, a writer frequently called the ‘science cop’ for his exposure of academic fraud, known in 2011 for a high profile dispute with the Shanghai-based writer Han Han.
Gao Zhisheng 高智晟 (b.1966): human rights lawyer under police surveillance for defending members of religious groups. An open critic of the Communist Party, imprisoned in Xinjiang.
Gu Kailai 谷开来 (b.1958, aka Bo-Gu Horus Kailai): successful attorney and wife of Bo Xilai. In early 2012, Gu was put under investigation in relation to the suspicious death of the English businessman Neil Heywood in Chongqing.
Guo Meimei 郭美美/郭美玲 (b.1991): a twenty-year-old woman who gained celebrity by flaunting extreme wealth online while claiming to work for the Red Cross Society of China.
Han Han 韩寒 (b.1982): celebrity blogger, best-selling author and race car driver named person of the year by several Chinese media organizations.
He Guangping 何广平 (b.1954): Deputy Director of the Public Security Bureau of Guangdong province.
Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (b.1960): Editor of The Global Times, a tabloid under the People’s Daily that aggressively supports the prevailing Party line.
Hu Jintao 胡锦涛 (b.1942): Communist Youth League leader who as President of the People’s Republic of China and General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (2003-2012) articulated policies related to ‘scientific development’ and the ‘harmonious society’.
Hu Muying 胡木英 (b.1941): leader of the Children of Yan’an Fellowship, descendants of the founding Party leadership and critics of contemporary conditions under reform.
Huang Qifan 黄奇帆 (b.1952): Mayor and Deputy Party Secretary of Chongqing and former Director of Shanghai’s Economic Committee.
Jiang Zemin 江泽民 (b.1926): past President of China and former General Secretary of the Party; previously Party Secretary and Mayor of Shanghai.
Steve Jobs (1955–2011): founder and CEO of Apple, whose death was mourned in China and whose achievements were celebrated by Chinese business people and government officials, including Wen Jiabao.
Rebiya Kadeer (b.1948): businesswoman turned human rights advocate. The figurehead of the Uyghur self-determination movement abroad, she is regarded by the Chinese government as a leading ‘splittist’.
Kawamura Takashi 河村たかし (b.1948): Mayor of Nagasaki who, in February 2012, made statements denying the extent of the Nanjing Massacre to a visiting Chinese delegation leading to a suspension of exchanges between Nagasaki and Nanjing.
Henry Kissinger (b.1923): American business consultant, political scientist, former US Secretary of State and policy analyst who negotiated the 1970s rapprochement between the US and China.
Li Gang 李刚 (b.1963): Deputy Police Chief of Baoding, Hebei province whose son Li Qiming 李启铭 (b.1988) flagrantly shouted his name after hitting two girls while driving a car.
Li Keqiang 李克强 (b.1955): member of the Communist Youth League and Politburo member and presumed successor to Wen Jiabao as China’s Premier.
Robin Li 李彦宏 (b.1968): CEO of Baidu who together with the CEO of Sina sang ‘red songs’ at a commemorative event for the ninetieth anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing in 2011.
Li Yi 李一 (b.1969): contemporary Taoist priest and a Vice-president of the National Taoist Association who popularized a Taoist retreat in Chongqing province.
Li Zhuang 李庄 (b.1961): lawyer gaoled for defending individuals charged in Chongqing’s ‘Strike Black’ crime crackdown.
Lien Chan 連戰 (b.1936): former Vice-president of Taiwan and past Chairman of the Nationalist Party and recipient of the Confucius Peace Prize.
Liu Xiaobo 刘晓波 (b.1955): academic, writer, human rights activist and winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize gaoled and sentenced in 2009 for ‘subverting state power’. His wife Liu Xia 刘霞, who has not been accused of any crime, is kept in a state of illegal home detention.
Liu Zhijun 刘志军 (b.1953): former Minister of Railways sacked for corruption associated with the construction of China’s high-speed rail system.
Liu Zhiqin 刘志勤: Chief of Zurich Bank in Beijing who first proposed the Confucius Peace Prize.
Ma Ying-jeou 馬英九 (b.1950): President of the Republic of China (Taiwan), and the Chairman of the Nationalist Party, elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012 with the stated aim of improving relations with the mainland. In early 2011, when marking the centennial year of the 1911 Xinhai Revolution that led to the establishment of the Republic of China he proposed that the Taiwanbased Nationalist government espouse ‘Cultural China, Political Survival’.
Mao Zedong 毛泽东 (1893-1976): founding member and Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, first leader of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Mao initiated many policies including those that led to the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. His contribution to the nation is officially deemed to have been seventy percent positive and thirty percent negative.
George E. Morrison 莫理循 (1862- 1920): Australian-born correspondent in Beijing for The Times of London and advisor to the early Republican government. For many years in the Republican period Wangfujing in Beijing was known as ‘Morrison Street’. An annual George E. Morrison Lecture on China is held at The Australian National University, Canberra.
Ni Yulan 倪玉兰 (b.1961): Beijing civil rights lawyer under government surveillance for defending individuals and families subject to housing eviction. Sentenced to gaol again in May 2012.
Barack Obama (b.1961): Forty-fourth President of the United States whose administration was said to have performed an ‘Asian pivot’ in late 2011 by refocusing US military attention to the Pacific and East Asia.
Evan Osnos (b.1976): staff writer and blogger of the American literary magazine The New Yorker working in China.
Pan Shiyi 潘石屹 (b.1963): real-estate magnate who initiated a successful microblog campaign to press the Chinese government to release air quality data.
Ran Yunfei 冉云飞 (b.1965): blogger, democracy activist and signatory to Charter 08 living in Chengdu, Sichuan province under house surveillance.
Kevin Rudd 陆可文 (b.1957): former Australian Prime Minister and also former Foreign Minister. He delivered the ‘Zhengyou Speech’ at Peking University in April 2008.
Wang Lijun 王立军 (b.1955): former Chongqing chief of public security whose visit to the US consulate in Chendgu in February 2012 prompted an official investigation into the Chongqing leadership and contributed to the fall of the city’s Party Secretary Bo Xilai in March 2012.
Wang Yang 汪洋 (b.1955): Communist Party Secretary of Guangdong province and proponent of continuing economic liberalization; provided the guiding metaphor for the ‘cake debate’.
Wen Jiabao 温家宝 (b.1942): Premier of China and periodic advocate of political reform. Set to retire from office in 2013.
Wen Qiang 文强 (1956-2010): former head of the Chongqing Bureau of Justice, executed for bribery.
Hugh White (b.1953): policy analyst whose work has focused on constructive engagement between Australia, China and the US.
Wu Hao 伍皓 (b.1970): Deputy Director of the Propaganda Bureau of Yunnan province who put into practice openness in government communication.
Wu Weishan 吴为山 (b.1962): artist and sculptor of the controversial Confucius statue placed outside the National Museum of China on the eastern flank of Tiananmen Square.
Xi Jinping 习近平 (b.1953): Vice-president of the People’s Republic of China and Politburo member presumed to succeed Hu Jintao as President of the People’s Republic and General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party during the 2012- 2013 power transition.
Xu Jilin 许纪霖 (b.1557): a leading intellectual historian who has written about the dangers of China’s aggressive ‘statism’.
Yangjuan Quanyang 羊圈圈羊 (b.1992): Internet username of 杨咪, woman student Weibo user who broke the news of the Wenzhou train crash in July 2011.
Yao Jiaxin 药家鑫 (1989-2011): student at the Xi’an Conservatory of Music in Shaanxi province who drove into a pedestrian and then stabbed her to death when he saw she had survived; Yao was executed in June 2011.
Yu Dan 于丹 (b.1965): Beijing-based university professor whose books popularizing classical philosophy turned her into a celebrity author.
Yueyue 小悦悦 (2009-2011): two-year old girl run over by a van in a Foshan market in Guangdong province. Ignored by numerous passers-by she died some days later, prompting national debate.
Zhou Yongkang 周永康 (b.1942): Politburo Standing Committee member and head of the Central Political and Legislative Committee associated with draconian ‘stability maintenance’ policies.
C o n t r i b u t o r s
Geremie R. Barmé is an historian, cultural critic, filmmaker, translator and web-journal editor. He works on Chinese cultural and intellectual history from the early modern period (1600s) to the present. From 2006 to 2011, he held an Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship and, in 2010, he became the Founding Director of the Australian Centre on China in the World (CIW) at The Australian National University. He is the editor of the e-journal China Heritage Quarterly. His most recent book is The Forbidden City (London: Profile Books and Harvard University Press, 2008, reprinted 2012), and he edited Australia and China: A Joint Report on the Bilateral Relationship, a collaborative project in English and Chinese by the Australian Centre on China in the World and The China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, Beijing, published jointly in February 2012.
Carolyn Cartier is an urban geographer and research designer working in social theory and comparative urban change. Her work focuses on the local conditions of urban development and the different ways that people, be they artists, the elderly or government officials, express their concerns about rapid transformations in urban life. She studied geography at the University of California, Berkeley and moved to Australia in 2009. Professor of Human Geography and China Studies in the China Research Centre at the University of Technology, Sydney, she is currently leading a project to understand how China combines multiple territories to form large cities, as well as working on a book about alternative art in the politics of Hong Kong’s urban redevelopment. She is an Adjunct Director of the Australian Centre on China in the World.
Gloria Davies is a literary scholar, historian and translator. Her research covers a range of areas: Chinese intellectual and literary history from the 1890s to the present; comparative literature and critical theory; and studies of cultural flows in the digital age. Based at Monash University, she is an Adjunct Director of the Australian Centre on China in the World. Her book on contemporary Chinese thought, Worrying about China (Harvard University Press, 2007, reprinted 2009), is currently being translated into Chinese. Her most recent book is on China’s most famous modern writer titled Lu Xun’s Revolution (Harvard University Press, forthcoming 2013). She is currently completing a new book on the language of digital dissent in China. Her recent essays on Chinese ideas of the human and digital dissent appear in the journals boundary 2 (2009, 2011) and Social Text (2011).
Jeremy Goldkorn is a publisher, blogger and entrepreneur based in Beijing. Since 2003, he has published Danwei (now at danwei.com), a daily record of events and news in the Chinese media and Internet. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Goldkorn has lived in Beijing since 1995, arriving there after having ridden a bicycle from Islamabad to Kathmandu via Xinjiang and Tibet. He has worked as an editor and publisher with several English and Chinese magazines, and in advertising. He now runs Danwei as a research firm and website full time. Danwei is an affiliate of the Australian Centre on China in the World.
Jane Golley is an economist focused on a range of Chinese transition and development issues. She began her career in the Asia Section of the Australian Commonwealth Treasury before undertaking her MPhil and DPhil in Economics at the University of Oxford. She returned to ANU’s School of Economics in 2003, moved to the Crawford School of Economics and Government in 2008, and joined the Australian Centre on China in the World in 2011. She is presently working on various aspects of China’s demographic change and economic performance, including rural-urban demographic transitions in economic growth and the economic implications of rising gender imbalances. She is currently the President of the Chinese Economic Society Australia (CESA).
Mark Harrison is a Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Tasmania. From 2002 to 2008, he was a research fellow at the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster in London, UK. He is the author of Legitimacy, Meaning and Knowledge in the Making of Taiwanese Identity (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) and co-editor of The Margins of Becoming: Culture and Identity in Taiwan (Wiesbaden: Harrassovitz, 2007) and author of a number of recent chapters and articles on Taiwan and China. He is currently the recipient of a University of Tasmania three-year Rising Star award for his project ‘China’s Futures’.
Benjamin Penny is Deputy Director of the Australian Centre on China in the World and Chair of the ANU China Institute. He studied at the universities of Sydney, Cambridge, Peking and at ANU. He was the first Executive Officer of the Herbert and Valmae Freilich Foundation, and held research fellowships at the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research and the Division of Pacific and Asian History at ANU. His research interests include religious and spiritual movements in modern and contemporary China, Falun Gong and the qigong boom, Medieval Religious Taoism and the history of the religions of the Australian Chinese. He is co-editor of East Asian History. His most recent publication is The Religion of Falun Gong (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012).
Brendan Taylor is Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University. He is a specialist on Korean Peninsula security issues, great power strategic relations in the Asia-Pacific, economic sanctions, and Asian security architecture. His publications have featured in such leading international journals as International Affairs, Survival, Asian Security, Review of International Studies and the Australian Journal of International Affairs. He is the author of Sanctions as Grand Strategy, which was recently published in the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Adelphi series, as well as American Sanctions in the Asia Pacific (London: Routledge, 2010). He is also the editor of Australia as an Asia-Pacific Regional Power (Routledge, 2007).
Luigi Tomba is a political scientist with the Australian Centre on China in the World. His work over the last two decades has focused mainly on social change, class formation and grassroots governance in urban China. His current research projects on neighbourhood politics, urban citizenship and the politics of land conversion focus on the southern region of Guangdong. He holds research grants from both the Australian Research Council and the German Research Foundation. Since 2005, he has been the co-editor of The China Journal, the leading international academic journal on contemporary Chinese affairs, now published with the University of Chicago Press, and the support of the Australian Centre on China in the World.
Susan Trevaskes is an Australian Research Council QEII Research Fellow at Griffith University, Australia. She is also an Adjunct Director with the Australian Centre on China in the World and is the Centre’s Justice research stream leader. Her research examines political and social issues relating to criminal justice and she has published in both the areas of crime and punishment in China today. Her books include Courts and Criminal Justice in Contemporary China (Lexington Press, 2007), Policing Serious Crime in China (Routledge, 2010) and The Death Penalty in Contemporary China (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).