Ivan Franceschini is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Australian Centre on China in the World, The Australian National University. He has been working on Chinese labour activism for over a decade and his current research mainly focuses on China's presence in Cambodia.

Hong Kong in Revolt: A Conversation with Au Loong-Yu

For the past year and a half, Hong Kong has been in turmoil, with a new generation of young and politically active citizens mobilising to protest Beijing’s tightening grip over the city. In Hong Kong in Revolt: The Protest Movement and the Future of China (Pluto Books 2020), prominent Hong Kong leftist intellectual Au Loong-Yu […]

Experiences of the Soul: On William Somerset Maugham’s Far Eastern Writings

William Somerset Maugham is probably one of the most commercially successful but least critically appreciated writers of the twentieth century. If today he is remembered mostly for his 1915 masterpiece Of Human Bondage and a few other outstanding novels, back in his time readers looked upon him as the cantor of the decadence of the […]

The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt

A Conversation with Michael G. Vann

In The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt: Empire, Disease, and Modernity in French Colonial Vietnam (Oxford University Press 2018), historian Michael G. Vann tells the darkly humorous story of how the French colonial state unsuccessfully attempted to impose its vision of modernity upon the colonial city of Hanoi, Vietnam, focussing on a long-forgotten episode that took […]

Syllabus: Chinese Labour

This syllabus explores the world of Chinese labour in five modules. The first module attempts a genealogy of labour in China through an excavation of key political concepts that were at the core of the discourse of the Chinese Communist Party in the Maoist years and that still have significant reverberations in the post-reform era. […]

What about Whataboutism?

Viral Loads and Hyperactive Immune Responses in the China Debate

‘If people actually cared about slavery they would be holding demonstrations out the front of their local Chinese Embassy demanding that the Falun Gong and Uyghurs be set free.’ Tweet by an Australian journalist, 15 June 2020   ‘Forget about #StandWithHK. It’s time to stand with #Minneapolis.’ Tweet by a Chinese journalist, 29 May 2020 […]

Scholars and Spies

Experiences from the Soviet Union, Communist Romania, and China

In response to the renewed emphasis of the central government on national security, in November 2015 the authorities of Jilin province, in northeast China, introduced a hotline to report possible spies. The dilemma was how to recognise a spy. Local officials instructed concerned citizens to look out for eight revealing signs (Yang 2015). First, spies […]

Zombies of Capital

On Reading Ling Ma's Severance

Capital is dead labour, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks. The time during which the labourer works, is the time during which the capitalist consumes the labour-power he has purchased of him. Karl Marx, Capital Volume One (1867)   As a true man of […]

Negotiating Inseparability in China: A Conversation with Timothy Grose

Over the past few years Uyghurs in Xinjiang have been the target of unprecedented repression by the Chinese Party-state. However, efforts to assimilate this ethnicity within the Han-dominated ‘Chinese Nation’ (中华民族) long predate the establishment of reeducation camps in 2017. A good example is the case of the ‘Xinjiang Class’ (内地新疆高中班), a programme that funds […]

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The Power of Place: A Conversation with Mark Frazier

Shanghai and Mumbai are leading centres of manufacturing and finance. In The Power of Place: Contentious Politics in Twentieth-Century Shanghai and Bombay (Cambridge University Press 2019), Mark Frazier adopts a comparative historical lens to chronicle the political biographies of these metropolises, reconstructing an impressive series of riots, strikes, and protests that shook the two cities […]

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Disenfranchised: A Conversation with Joel Andreas

Work units (单位) and the ‘cradle-to-grave’ employment model that they represented have not escaped the general rejection of China’s Maoist past. Not only have they become symbols of inefficiency, but they have also been criticised for putting workers in a position of total dependence and therefore subjugation. In Disenfranchised: The Rise and Fall of Industrial […]

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