Lying Flat: Profiling the Tangping Attitude

In October 2021 at a forum organised by the US–Asia Institute, China’s Ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, updated his American audience about the situation in his country. China remained isolated from the world after closing its borders in March 2020 following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic: I know that due to COVID-19, […]

The Great Entrenchment: An Unofficial Synopsis of ‘Twentieth Party Congress Spirit’

Act One The Theme: Study Me! Be Loyal and Struggle! In the opening of his 72-page report to the Twentieth National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Xi Jinping (2022b) proclaimed that the theme of the congress would be ‘comprehensively implementing Xi Jinping Thought’. The theme also included ‘carrying forth Great Party-Founding Spirit’ (伟大建党精神), […]

Wulumuqi Road

It was the middle section of a north–south road in the prewar French Concession and was originally named Route Magy (Maiqi Road, 麦琪路) for Alfred Magy, a French officer in World War I. Lined on both sides with dense rows of French plane trees (法国梧桐树), it ran through a neighbourhood of villas, consulates, and Shanghai-modern […]

Biopolitical Binaries (or How Not to Read the Chinese Protests)

On 26 November 2022, prompted by a deadly fire in a highrise apartment block in Ürümqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, protesters took to streets and university campuses across China calling for an end to the country’s restrictive ‘zero Covid’ policy (清零政策) (Davidson and Yu 2022). Unsurprisingly, the libertarian right, anti-maskers, and […]

Praising a Dead Dictator: How US Officials’ Visits to Taiwan Wade into Complex Historical Debates

In August 2022, US Senator Marsha Blackburn travelled to Taiwan in what was the last of three visits by members of the US Congress during that month alone. The trip occurred soon after Nancy Pelosi had visited the island with a bipartisan delegation of other elected US officials in what was the first visit by […]

Everything Is Different, but Nothing Has Changed: 
The Past Decade for China’s Workers

Over the past decade, dramatic economic, social, and technological changes have affected the landscape of workers’ rights in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). But what did these transformations entail for China’s workers? In a recently released report entitled ‘Reimagining Workers’ Rights in China’ (CLB 2022d), we took a worker-centred approach to answering this question […]

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China’s Ratification of the ILO Forced Labour Conventions: A Hollow Gesture?

There was a lukewarm welcome from the international community to China’s announcement in April 2022 that it would ratify the International Labour Organization’s two forced labour conventions: the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29) and the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105). Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Guy Ryder’s statement that […]

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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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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 […]

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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 […]

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