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Unfortunate or Convenient? Contextualising China’s Covid-19 Border Restrictions

The continuation of China’s Covid-19 border restrictions into 2021 has attracted an increasing amount of international commentary. Like with Taiwan, New Zealand or Australia, which also largely closed their borders for the past year and a half, there is an understandable focus on the steep human costs of these measures that have separated families and […]

Xi Jinping’s Third Road: A Response

I rarely disagree with my friend and colleague, the always insightful Ling Li, but I cannot go along with her most recent analysis of Party leadership and the succession issue (Li 2021). She suggests that Xi Jinping may reactivate the office of Chairman of the Party Central Committee at the twentieth Party Congress in 2022. […]

The Third Road: Where Will Xi Jinping Go in 2022?

Earlier this year, two veteran analysts of Chinese politics, Richard McGregor and Jude Blanchette (2021), published a comprehensive report, laying out four possible scenarios for the next leadership succession in China’s new era. In two of these scenarios, Xi Jinping is out of the picture as the result of either a coup or ‘unexpected death […]

The Chinese Trade Union to the Rescue: A Real Solution to Platform Workers’ Woes?

During a conversation we had a few years ago, an international trade unionist shared with me an anecdote from a recent encounter with a Chinese trade union. A delegation of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) had travelled overseas and met with his organisation as part of semi-regular exchanges. This was at a time […]

Of Rose-Coloured Glasses, Old and New

Qualcuno era comunista perché vedeva la Russia come una promessa la Cina come una poesia, il comunismo come il paradiso terrestre. — Giorgio Gaber   On 18 September 2021, the Qiao Collective co-organised an all-day conference on the topic of ‘China and the Left: A Socialist Forum’ (The People’s Forum 2021). The speakers, who participated […]

Primo Levi, Camp Power, and Terror Capitalism: A Conversation with Darren Byler

What does Italian writer and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi have to tell us about life in reeducation camps in Xinjiang today? What role does labour play in these facilities? What is terror capitalism and how does it relate to other frontiers of global capitalism? Can there be such a thing as ‘benign’ surveillance? These and […]

The War on the Uyghurs: A Conversation with Sean R. Roberts

Sean Roberts, an associate professor of international affairs and anthropology at George Washington University, is the author of The War on the Uyghurs: China’s Campaign against Xinjiang Muslims (Manchester University Press and Princeton University Press, 2020), the first book-length treatment of the Chinese state’s campaign against the Uyghur population of Xinjiang. The text situates the […]

The Final Sheathing of La Cuarta Espada

Abimael Guzmán liked to present himself as a studious man who dedicated himself, body and soul, to learning and teaching Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, a doctrine that he held aloft as insurmountable truth. In this sense, he was more of a prophet, or messiah, than a scientist. He was someone who felt that he was called, due to […]

Industrial Things in a Post-Industrial Society

The Life and Afterlife of a Chinese Glass-Forming Machine

This essay considers the emergence of post-industrial China through an examination of the ‘social’ and ‘antisocial’ lives of an industrial glass-forming machine. By reviewing the process through which glass-forming technology developed in China, the closure of industrial glass manufacturing in Shanghai, and the adoption of an abandoned glass-forming machine by the Shanghai Museum of Glass, the essay reflects on the ways in which one formerly industrial district has begun to negotiate its multiple and sometimes conflicting identities.

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