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 […]

Revolution and State Formation as Oasis Storytelling in Xinjiang

No one can say that the world is ignoring Xinjiang. In October, at the American Association of Christian Counselors, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo likened China’s treatment of over a million Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region to George Orwell’s 1984 (Reuters 2019). This was at the same time that the Trump White […]

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 […]

Hong Kong in Turmoil

Born and bred in Hong Kong, I normally pay a visit a couple of times every year to see relations and friends. The last visit, during July 2019, was to a city in turmoil. Many Hongkongers had been taking to the streets weekend after weekend, and then daily, for well over a month. It was […]

Governing Hong Kong like Any Other Chinese City

On 21 July, Hong Kong had a hair-raising night. In Central, where the city’s business district is located, riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets into crowds of protesters gathered for the anti-extradition bill march organised by the Civil Human Rights Front, a coalition of pro-democracy activists. At around 11pm at the Yuen Long […]

Painting in Grey and Permeating Gaps: Changing the Space for Chinese NGOs

‘Speak this clearly: the development goal for Chinese society is a Marxist social community; it is not a Western civil society of state-society opposition.’ This comes from a recent article originally published on the public WeChat account of a central academy (CPPCC Daily 2019). The academy is charged with training people from the ‘democratic parties’, […]

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