Good and Bad Muslims in Xinjiang

A huge network of internment camps for those displaying the slightest sign of ‘extremism’, where, according to some ex-detainees, Muslims are encouraged to renounce their religion. Closure and demolition of mosques, with intense surveillance of those still functioning. Severe restrictions on the observance of ritual fasting, enough to dissuade all but the most devoted to […]

The 996.ICU Movement in China: Changing Employment Relations and Labour Agency in the Tech Industry

Since its launch on 26 March 2019, the online protest 996.ICU has attracted enormous attention, giving voice to the growing resentment against long working hours in China’s tech industry and eliciting widespread sympathy. The 996.ICU project was initiated by an anonymous user on GitHub, a Microsoft-owned code-sharing online community with more than 20 million users. […]

Orwell in the Chinese Classroom

This is the translation of a blog post published on 1 May 2019 by an anonymous Chinese student. For obvious reasons, we were unable to confirm the identity of the writer, but the account resonates with other testimonies from students at Peking University that appeared in the public record or which we have heard personally, […]

The Legacy of May Fourth in China, a Century Later

This essay is part of a joint series presented by Jacobin and the Made in China Journal, which aims to elaborate a series of coherent critiques of contemporary China from a leftist perspective.   In March, graduate students at Peking University (Beida) were given a survey on ‘the conditions of the development of university students’ […]

Hooligan Sparrow: A Conversation with Wang Nanfu

After her return to China in June 2013, Wang Nanfu, a postgraduate from New York University, trained her camera on Ye Haiyan, an activist for sex workers (see Tiantian Zheng’s essay in this issue). In Hainan province, she filmed Ye’s protests against the sexual assault of several primary school girls by their principal, and the […]

Illiberal China: A Conversation with Daniel Vukovich

Over the past decade, Western depictions of China have either held up the country’s political culture as a model or demonised it as a danger to liberal societies. But how do mainland politics and discourses challenge ‘our’ own, chiefly liberal and anti-‘statist’ political frameworks? To what extent is China paradoxically intertwined with a liberal economism? […]

Once Upon a Time in China: Lu Zhixiang’s Sketches of Shanghai’s Society in the 1930s

Cartoon master Lu Zhixiang’s artistic production offers notable glimpses into timeless aspects of Shanghai’s metropolitan modernisation in the 1930s, providing particular insight into the plight of the underclasses. In this essay, Martina Caschera argues that Lu’s work is not only particularly representative of the ideal approach to artistic creation strongly upheld by leftist intellectuals in that epoch, but can also be useful as we reflect on the social dynamics of present-day China.

A Road to Forgetting: Friendship and Memory in China’s Belt and Road Initiative

A new Sino-Kazakh coproduction recounts the time that celebrated Chinese musician Xian Xinghai spent in Kazakhstan in the early 1940s, focussing on the friendship between the artist and a local composer named Bakhitzhan Baykadamov. While the movie intends to celebrate the renewed friendship between China and the former Soviet republic under the auspices of Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative, it also serves a darker purpose: to obfuscate the reality of the mass detention of ethnic Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz in ‘reeducation camps’ in Xinjiang.

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