Blog Archives

Remembering Cultural Revolution unfortunately focuses on intellectuals – Ian Johnson

Journalist Ian Johnson interviews history professor Jeremy Brown in the New York Times on the 50-year remembrance of the Cultural Revolution. Brown dislikes the remembrance, as it focuses on the – limited – suffering of the intellectuals, while there is no interest in what happened at the country side, and a way more important event, the Four Cleanups.

Financial reform, Xi´s battleground – Arthur Kroeber

Journalist Ian Johnson interviews economist Arthur Kroeber, author of China’s Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know® on – among other subjects – China´s financial reforms and what has been derailing them in the New York Times. “The desire to control things has won out over the desire to reform and liberalize.”

Why a charity law makes sense – Rupert Hoogewerf

After seven years of deliberations, China is ready to adopt its first charity law. The sector has been marred by scandals, and the new law can introduce some oversight, says Rupert Hoogewerf, founder of the Hurun Rich List to Reuters.

Ian Johnson interviews HK bookseller Bao Pu on his colleagues and business

Disappearing Hong Kong publishers have put them on the international agenda. Journalist Ian Johnson got the opportunity to interview HK publisher Bao Pu on his critical books about China and his kidnapped colleagues for the New York Review of Books.

The slow but sure growth of more independent courts – Ian Johnson

Despite recent crackdowns on feminists and human rights activists, China´s judicial systems is slowly but surely moving into a more independent force in China´s bureaucracy, says Judge Jiang Huiling of the Supreme Court in an interview with journalist Ian Johnson for the New York Times. Courts get more autonomy, be it limited.

The bright side of the pollution – Ian Johnson

Beijing underwent for the first time a code red for pollution: officially the worst air quality ever. But the air had been worse before, even a week earlier. Beijing-based journalist Ian Johnson sees a silver lining on the code red: the people and the politicians start to see things have to change, he writes in the New York Review of Books. And that is good new for the Paris talks.

China Dream symbol splits an artisan family – Ian Johnson

President Xi Jinping´s “China Dream” comes along with a slick propaganda campaign. But the center piece of the campaign, a clay figurine of a chubby peasant girl in a red smock, has split the artisan Tianjin family who made the image, discovered journalist Ian Johnson for the New York Times.

Is Xi really making a difference? – Ian Johnson

Compared to his predecessor Hu Jintao, China seems on the move under president Xi Jinping. But is he really. Journalist Ian Johnson wonders in the New York Review of Books after three years of Xi rule whether under the cosmetic moves, so much is changing.

Jindong Cai discusses Beethoven in China – Ian Johnson

Jindong Cai is a professor at Stanford University and an orchestra conductor with a long reputation in China. Journalist Ian Johnson discusses the special position Beethoven has in China, for the New York Times.

What makes China tick? – Ian Johnson

Chinese are looking for new meanings in their life, says journalist Ian Johnson. They are looking for religious values, both condoned by the government or illegal, but also shop around for other spiritual values. And mostly the government supports that search, as long as there are no foreign links.