Poor Attitudes towards the Poor: Conceptions of Poverty among the Rich and Powerful in China

In primary school, nearly every Chinese child reads Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Little Match Girl’, a short story that is supposed to foster empathy for the poor. Chinese children also read Dostoevsky’s Poor Folk, a novel that explains that poor people are noble, kind, and compassionate, always willing to help others despite their tremendous difficulties […]

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. […]

Anti-poverty Policies and Discourses of Blame in China

Under Xi Jinping, the Chinese authorities have promised to eradicate rural poverty in the country by 2020. Since it was first announced, this goal has entered the popular imagination, becoming a major engine of policy innovation. A new report prepared by a special group within the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on the occasion of its 2019 session offers an assessment of progress in poverty reduction, providing up-to-date targets and candidly discussing contradictions within the poverty alleviation strategy

Against Atrophy: Party Organisations in Private Firms

Since 2015, the Chinese Communist Party has stepped up its presence within the day-to-day activities of foreign companies operating in China. At the same time, Chinese private firms were facing a similar situation. In this essay, Jude Blanchette argues that the campaign to enlarge the reach of the Party into private companies cannot be separated from its much wider campaign to increase the Party’s governance over all institutions under its purview, in an attempt to arrest the organisational atrophy that accompanied the post-Mao economic reforms initiated in the late 1970s.

Hidden Rules and the ‘Heartache’ of Chinese Government Officials

The rate of suicides among Chinese officials has been growing in recent years. According to media reports, these officials decide to end their lives because they suffer from psychomedical conditions, including excessive pressure, anxiety, and depression. Still, medical causes might not be enough to explain such a disturbing phenomenon. In this essay, Jie Yang argues that Chinese bureaucratic culture, particularly the workings of ‘hidden rules’, as well as complex power struggles and gender norms, play a fundamental role in causing these deaths.

Chinese Investors in Germany: A Threat to Jobs and Labour Standards?

While the German economy is generally quite open to FDI, Chinese investors in the country have been facing widespread mistrust, a feeling reinforced by concerns related to transfers of know-how and the relocation of jobs to ‘low-cost’ China. In order to gather empirical evidence about the actual impact of Chinese investment in Germany and confront prejudice, Wolfgang Mueller carried out a survey on 42 of about 70 Chinese-invested companies in the country with more than 150 employees, covering the manufacturing, logistics, and service sectors.

Strategic Considerations of Chinese Investors in Europe

Chinese investors have adopted practices similar to their European counterparts: they grasp opportunities to enter new markets and internationalise their brand names, production facilities, staff, and operations in order to make more profits in new places. The globalisation and opening of world markets over the past decades has brought a new level of competition, which […]

My Rights Have Been Left behind in Papua New Guinea: The Predicament of Chinese Overseas Workers

Increasing numbers of Chinese companies are sending employees abroad as part of China’s global push. Still, Chinese workers abroad often find themselves vulnerable. By tracking the case of one employee in a Chinese enterprise in Papua New Guinea, this essay reveals the plight of China’s relatively powerless overseas workers, an image that stands in stark contrast to the widespread depiction of an increasingly assertive and powerful Chinese global presence.

Outsourcing Coercion and Social Control

To carry out coercion and social control, the Chinese government often resorts to non-state actors, including ‘thugs-for-hire’, profit-seeking brokers, and even commercial enterprises. This piece examines the circumstances under which the authorities use these means and the reasons behind their choices, arguing that this is mostly related to the need of reducing the cost of repression and evading responsibility.

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