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Chinese Asianism Yesterday and Today

A Conversation with Craig Smith

Craig Smith’s new book, Chinese Asianism (Harvard University Asia Center, 2021), examines Chinese intellectual discussions of East Asian solidarity, analysing them in connection with Chinese nationalism and Sino-Japanese relations. Beginning with texts written after the first Sino-Japanese War of 1894 and concluding with Wang Jingwei’s failed government in World War II, Smith engages with a […]

The Effable Worker

Notes on Italy's New Working-Class Literature

Locked in a shelter for the homeless on a weekend along with a few dozen vagrants, a young George Orwell was feeling the pangs of boredom. He had nothing to read, nothing to do, and could not even look outside since the windows were too high. He tried to listen to the general conversation, but […]

Lest We Forget: The Missing Chinese Activists of 2021

Back in December 2019, we published a series of portraits of labour and feminist activists who disappeared into China’s legal system in what was a particularly brutal year for activism in China. At that time, a wave of arrests had just engulfed dozens of activists across several sectors and cities, and several of them were […]

Foreigner in China: Economic Transition and the Chinese State’s Vision of Immigration and Race

China’s recently proposed immigration reforms highlight the country’s need for foreign talent in its transition to a knowledge-intensive economy. The state’s vision, however, seems to be coloured by issues of race. Examining the representations of foreigners of different ethnicities and backgrounds on Chinese Central Television, this essay argues that while the state may be relaxing permanent residency restrictions, it favours white foreigners because of the racialised assumptions about the high levels of education and expertise that supposedly come with their whiteness.

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The End of an Era? Two Decades of Shenzhen Urban Villages

Discussions of ‘urban villages’ tend to refer to this term as if it had had a universal and fixed meaning. In this way, the phrase comes to implicitly refer to the present moment, telescoping our understanding of rural and urban relations to the present. By looking back at the experience of Shenzhen over the past decades, this essay restores urban villages to their historicity and unpacks the unacknowledged moral judgments that often underlie our understanding of these places.

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Is the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank a Responsible Investor?

When the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was first announced by China in 2013, a flurry of speculation erupted around which countries would join and how closely the new institution would follow the path trodden by traditional multilateral development banks such as the World Bank. Human rights advocates and environmentalists were particularly concerned that the […]

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Who Are Our Friends? 
Maoist Cultural Diplomacy and the Origins of the People’s Republic of China’s Global Turn

At the thirtieth Politburo Central Committee Collective Study Session on 31 May 2021, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary and paramount leader of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Xi Jinping, delivered a speech to Party officials. In the face of international condemnation of the Party’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang and its suppression of […]

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Chinese Feminism Under (Self-)Censorship: Practice and Knowledge Production

This collection of six essays is developed from a webinar titled ‘(Self-)Censorship, Social Activism, and Chinese Feminist Scholarship’, which was held on 10 July 2020. Chinese feminism today faces increasing pressure for (self-)censorship at both domestic and international levels, on issues of social activism, the politics of identity, and the politics of representation. The webinar […]

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Sexuality, Feminism, Censorship

My own awakening began with the awakening of my awareness of sexual rights. The instinctive demands of sexuality drove my desire for individual rights. The most powerful motivation behind wanting to know about and understand rights was my desire to be able to have sex with dignity—to be respected during and after sex. I went […]

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Under the Water: Cambodian Artist Sreymao Sao on the Lived Experience of Hydropower Dams

In this article, we continue to explore how art can ‘unflatten’ our understanding of mega-infrastructure like the Lower Sesan 2 Dam (see Milne and Mahanty’s essay in this issue). We focus on the remarkable work of Cambodian artist Sreymao Sao, who explores the lived experiences of communities displaced by the Lower Sesan 2 Dam—some 5,000 […]

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