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 […]

Counterterrorism or Cultural Genocide?

Theory and Normativity in Knowledge Production About China’s ‘Xinjiang Strategy’

‘Wake up! There is something for us to learn here. What they’re saying applies to us, even if it was not meant for us.’          Friedrich Nietzsche, Anti-Education (1872)   Since 2017, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has embarked on a rapid and intense securitisation of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. This has included mass […]

Gratitude: The Ideology of Sovereignty in Crisis

In the midst of the pandemic, expressions of gratitude are everywhere. The appreciation of frontline workers can be heard from the singing balconies of Northern Italy to the nightly applause across New York City rooftops. Even the wolves of my own state of Colorado seem to be contributing their evening howls (Gruenauer 2020). Meanwhile, mental […]

Covid-19 in China: From ‘Chernobyl Moment’ to Impetus for Nationalism

When Dr Li Wenliang died from Covid-19 on 7 February, the Chinese Internet saw an unprecedented outpouring of grief and anger. The universal mourning for the reprimanded doctor, who had warned his colleagues about a potentially infectious coronavirus in late December and had been silenced by authorities, was also an expression of the public anxiety […]

Trade Union Reform in China: An Assessment

When Xi Jinping formally launched China’s trade union reform initiative in November 2015, it was not exactly headline news (Workers’ Daily 2017). The announcement, couched in typically impenetrable Party-speak, appeared to be just another vaguely-worded commitment to the reform process. However, what China’s trade unions do and, just as importantly, do not do can have […]

The Epidemiology of Sinophobia

Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), numerous reports have described a rise in Sinophobia and anti-Asian racism around the world, with occurrences being reported in Australia (Young 2020), France (BBC 2020), Canada (Miller 2020), and many other countries (Rich 2020). This racism started online. Commentators zoomed in on single incidents—like a video of […]

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Service for Influence? The Chinese Communist Party’s Negotiated Access to Private Enterprises

Among the many praises for the documentary American Factory, the filmmakers’ non-judgmental way of storytelling  is  a  major  point.  Their   determination not to villainise any individual  indeed  conveys a commendable commitment to humanity—in an age of polarisation when people are  used  to pointing  fingers  at others,  this  film is refreshing. This was supposedly also why […]

We Stood on Opposite Sides at a Pro-Hong Kong Rally—and Became Friends

On 29 September, amid global anti-totalitarianism protests (Cheng 2019), pro-Hong Kong activists in Boston called for the disruption of the city’s annual People’s Republic of China (PRC) flag-raising ceremony. Anticipating conflict, the Boston police put up street barricades, separating the crowd into two groups. On the inside were elderly Chinese residents from Boston’s Chinatown and […]

Can Chinese Students Abroad Speak? Asserting Political Agency amid Australian Nationalist Anxiety

Australian nationalist discourse rarely acknowledges the existence of Chinese international students except within ethnicised stereotypes—variously, as ‘cash cows’, ‘CCP spies’, and ‘patriotic students brainwashed from birth’ (Four Corners 2019; Hamilton 2018, 4). Daphne Zhao—a pseudonymous Australian-based Chinese graduate student—offers a welcome break from this increasingly paranoid oversimplification in her recent op-ed in this issue of […]

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