Sinica Podcast

Sinica Podcast

supchina.com
A weekly discussion of current affairs in China.
David Rank, top U.S. diplomat, on why he resigned to protest Trump
Jun 22
David Rank became the leading diplomat for one of America’s most important embassies during the transition when Iowa governor Terry Branstad formally succeeded former Montana senator Max Baucus as U.S. ambassador to China on May 24, 2017. He soon found…
Islamophobia in China, explained by Alice Su and Ma Tianjie
Jun 15
Islamophobia isn’t a phenomenon limited to Trump’s America or the Europe of Brexit and Marine Le Pen. It has taken root in China, too — in a form that bears a striking resemblance to what we’ve seen in recent years in the West. The Chinese Party-state now…
How does investigative reporting happen in China? A conversation with Li Xin of Caixin
Jun 8
Li Xin 李昕 is the managing director of Caixin Global, the English-language arm of China’s most authoritative financial news source, Caixin. For over 10 years, she has worked closely with the editor-in-chief of Caixin, Hu Shuli 胡舒立, whose famously fearless…
Kai-Fu Lee on artificial intelligence in China
Jun 1
Kai-Fu Lee 李开复 is one of the most prominent figures in Chinese technology. He founded China’s noted early-stage venture capital firm Sinovation Ventures after launching and heading up Google’s China operations during their years of growth from 2005 to…
Reporting on Trump as a member of Chinese media
May 25
ChiaChieh Tang 唐家婕, who also goes by Jane, is a Taiwanese reporter who works as the U.S. bureau chief for Sina News (新浪新闻 xīnlàng xīnwén) in Washington, D.C. She is one of a few members of the mainland Chinese media who regularly attend the White House’s…
Joseph Nye, Jr.: Chinese power in the age of Donald Trump
May 18
When Joseph Nye, Jr., first used the phrase soft power in 1990 in his book Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power, China did not factor much into his calculus of world order: It had relatively little military and economic power, and none of…
The negotiator: Charlene Barshefsky
May 11
Charlene Barshefsky was a name you couldn’t avoid if you were in Beijing in the late 1990s. As the United States trade representative from 1997 to 2001, she led the American team that negotiated China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). On…
Bill Bishop on what it takes to be a good China-watcher
May 4
China-watching isn’t what it used to be. Not too long ago, the field of international China studies was dominated by a few male Westerners with an encyclopedic knowledge of China, but with surprisingly little experience living in the country and speaking…
How can we amplify women’s voices on China?
Apr 27
From business to literature to politics, there is a huge pool of female expertise on China. But you wouldn’t know it if you examined the names of people who are quoted in the media and invited to China-themed panel discussions: They are mostly men. This…
What actually happened at Mar-a-Lago?
Apr 20
As a career U.S. foreign service officer and the acting assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs at the U.S. State Department, Susan Thornton has had a hand in the China policy of three successive American administrations. She was…
Virginia Kamsky: A life of business in China
Apr 13
Virginia A. Kamsky, also known as Ginny, is one of the leading foreign businesspeople in China and a legend of the U.S.-China commercial relationship. She first went to China in 1978 with what was then the Chase Manhattan Bank, before the country began…
Nationalism in Russia and China
Apr 6
Is nationalism really rising in China? How does it differ from patriotism? What is “Eurasianism” and how does Russia use that concept? How much of China’s nationalism is rooted in the “century of humiliation” that the country suffered at the hands of…
China’s push into Eastern Europe: A conversation with Martin Hála
Mar 30
A new Chinese initiative called “16+1” takes its name from sixteen countries of Central and Eastern Europe plus China. It held a summit in November 2016 attended by Premier Li Keqiang and prime ministers or deputy prime ministers from the other member…
Trump and Xi Jinping: What lies ahead?
Mar 23
Earlier this month, Kaiser recorded a discussion in front of a live audience at the 1990 Institute in San Francisco with three luminaries of the China-watching scene: Yasheng Huang, MIT Sloan Professor of Chinese Economy and Business, John Pomfret, author…
Chris Buckley: The China journalist’s China journalist
Mar 16
Chris Buckley is a highly regarded and very resourceful correspondent for The New York Times, who is based in Beijing. He has worked as a researcher and journalist in China since 1998, including a stint at Reuters, and is one of the few working China…
Big Daddy Dough: Hip-hop and macroeconomics in China
Mar 9
By day, Andrew Dougherty is a macroeconomist who manages a China research team for Capital Group, one of the world’s largest actively managed mutual funds. By night, he is Big Daddy Dough, creator of an album of parody hip-hop songs that explain various…
Jane Perlez: Chinese foreign relations in a new age of uncertainty
Mar 2
Jane Perlez has been a reporter at The New York Times since 1981. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for coverage of the war against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She has reported on wars, diplomacy, and foreign policy from Somalia…
Rhino horn and organized crime, from Africa to China and Vietnam
Feb 23
John Grobler is a Namibian investigative reporter who has devoted more than two years of his life to examining the complex webs of organized crime that funnel rhino horn from Africa to East Asia. Shi Yi 石毅, a Chinese environmental reporter, worked with…
Africa-China journalism
Feb 16
In November 2016, Sinica co-host Jeremy Goldkorn attended a conference in his native South Africa called the Africa-China Journalists Forum. The forum was convened to discuss the often-polarized media coverage of China’s involvement in Africa, and to…
Susan Shirk: The fragile superpower and trepidation over Trump
Feb 9
A top diplomat during the Clinton administration, author of the influential book China: Fragile Superpower: How China’s Internal Politics Could Derail Its Peaceful Rise, research professor and chair of the 21st Century China Center at the School of Global…
John Zhu retells the Three Kingdoms
Feb 2
In the last three years, John Zhu has embarked on a mission to build a bridge between Chinese and Western cultures by retelling one of China’s great classics in accessible audio episodes. He has released over 100 chapters of the Romance of the Three…
Sidney Rittenberg on solitary confinement and more
Jan 26
Sidney Rittenberg is a labor activist from Charleston, South Carolina, who went to China as a translator for the U.S. Army in 1945 and stayed until 1980. In this episode, Sidney talks about the conditions he endured during his two periods of solitary…
Sidney Rittenberg: An interview with a revolutionary
Jan 19
Sidney Rittenberg was a labor activist in the American South before going to China as a translator for the U.S. Army in 1945. He stayed there until 1980, joining the Communist Party and going to the revolutionary base at Yan’an, where he got to know Mao…
Ken Liu on Chinese science fiction
Jan 12
Ken Liu is a science-fiction writer, translator, computer programmer, and lawyer. He has written two novels and more than 100 short stories. His short story “The Paper Menagerie” is the first work of fiction, of any length, to win all three of the Hugo,…
Talking ’bout my generation: Alec Ash and Chinese millennials
Jan 5
Alec Ash, a young British writer who lives in Beijing, has covered “left-behind” children in Chinese villages, the “toughest high-school exam in the world” and internet live streaming, among many other subjects. He is the author of Wish Lanterns, which…
Ian Johnson on the Vatican and China
Dec 29, 2016
Ian Johnson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has lived in Beijing and Taiwan for more than half of the past 30 years, writing for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books and other publications. Ian has written…
The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: Part Two
Dec 22, 2016
John Pomfret first went to China as a student in 1980 and covered the Tiananmen demonstrations in 1989 for the Associated Press. He was expelled for his efforts, but returned to Beijing a decade later to head up the Washington Post’s Beijing bureau. For…
The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: a conversation with John Pomfret on his new book
Dec 15, 2016
John Pomfret was 14 years old when Henry Kissinger began interacting with China in secret. He took his fascination to Stanford University’s East Asian Studies program, where he was among a select group of exchange students invited to spend a year at…
Beijing meets banjo: Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn
Dec 8, 2016
Wu Fei is a classically trained composer and performer of the guzheng, or traditional Chinese 21-string zither. Abigail Washburn is a Grammy Award–winning American banjo player and fluent speaker of Chinese. They’ve been friends for a decade and are now…
Edward Wong on the state of journalism in China
Dec 1, 2016
Edward Wong became a reporter for The New York Times in 1999. He covered the Iraq war from Baghdad from 2003 to 2007, and then moved to Beijing in 2008. He has written about a wide range of subjects in China for the Times, and became its Beijing bureau…
Books, podcasts and the history of science in China with Carla Nappi
Nov 22, 2016
In addition to teaching history at the University of British Columbia, Carla Nappi hosts the New Books in East Asian Studies and New Books in Science, Technology and Society podcasts. She is also the author of The Monkey and the Inkpot, a book about the…
The delights of cooking Chinese food: A conversation with chef and author Fuchsia Dunlop
Nov 17, 2016
In this episode of the Sinica Podcast, Kaiser and Jeremy talk to Fuchsia about her time at the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine, how she chooses recipes for her books and the gamut of flavors of Chinese cuisine. “You both want to challenge people and…
What does Trump’s victory mean for U.S.-China relations?
Nov 10, 2016
The U.S. election is over, and Donald Trump’s pundit-defying victory over Hillary Clinton has stunned and surprised people all over the world. In China — where activity on Weibo and WeChat indicated strong support for Trump among netizens both in China…
John Holden on four decades of change in China
Nov 10, 2016
John Holden has one word of advice for people trying to understand China: humility. “Anybody who tries to come to grips with China, a country with a very rich civilization, a long history… You just have to be humble in recognizing that there are things…
Love and journalism in wartime China: An interview with Bill Lascher
Nov 3, 2016
When journalist Bill Lascher received an old typewriter from his grandmother and was told it belonged to “my cousin the war correspondent,” he set off on a search to learn more about the life of Melville (“Mel”) Jacoby, who reported from the front lines…
Why China bears are wrong: An interview with Andy Rothman
Oct 27, 2016
Andy Rothman has interpreted the Chinese economy for people who have serious and practical decisions to make since his early career heading up macroeconomic research at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. He is now an investment strategist for Matthews Asia,…
Rachel Stern on China’s legal system
Oct 20, 2016
China’s legal system is much derided and poorly understood, but its development has, in many ways, been one of the defining features of the reform and opening-up era. Rachel Stern, a professor of law and political science at the University of California,…
Lines of fracture in Chinese public opinion: A conversation with Ma Tianjie
Oct 13, 2016
On this week’s episode, our guest Ma Tianjie, editor of the bilingual environmental website China Dialogue and the blogger behind Chublic Opinion, untangles the complexities and contradictions of online discussions in China. Tianjie shares insights into…
Mei Fong on the one-child policy and China’s demographics
Oct 6, 2016
The first day of 2016 marked the official end of China’s one-child policy, one of the most controversial and draconian approaches to population management in human history. The rules have not been abolished but modified, allowing all married Chinese…
An American’s 7 months in a Chinese jail
Sep 29, 2016
In 2009, Michael Manning was working in Beijing for a state-owned news broadcaster by day, but he spent his nights selling bags of hashish. His position with CCTV was easy and brought him into contact with Chinese celebrities, while his other trade…
Fan Yang on fakes, pirates and shanzhai culture
Sep 22, 2016
Fakes, knockoffs, pirate goods, counterfeits: China is notorious as the global manufacturing center of all things ersatz. But in the first decade after the People’s Republic joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, a particular kind of knockoff began…
Frank H. Wu on Chinese-Americans and China
Sep 15, 2016
What is the Chinese-American identity? How has the rise of China affected American attitudes toward ethnically Chinese people in the United States and elsewhere? How do the 3.8 million Chinese-Americans impact U.S.-China relations, and what role could or…
Andrew Ng on artificial intelligence and startup culture
Sep 8, 2016
What is the state of the art of artificial intelligence (AI) in China and the United States? How does language recognition differ for Chinese and English? And what’s up with self-driving cars? To answer these and many other questions, Kaiser and Jeremy…
Filmmaker Daniel Whelan on Yiwu, a city at the core of cheap Chinese goods
Aug 31, 2016
Renowned as a trading town during the Qing dynasty, the eastern city of Yiwu again became famous for its markets after China’s economic reforms kicked in during the 1980s. Since then, the metropolis of 1.2 million people has transformed into a hub of the…
Art of the Cultural Revolution: Paul Clark on creativity amid destruction
Aug 25, 2016
This year marked the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, a chaotic decade of Chinese history made infamous in the West through books such as Wild Swans and Life and Death in Shanghai, which describe in horrific detail the…
It’s all connected: Silk Roads old and new
Aug 18, 2016
Jim Millward is one of the world’s leading scholars on Xinjiang and Central Asia, and the author of many books and articles, including Beyond the Pass: Economy, Ethnicity, and Empire in Qing Central Asia, 1759-1864, and The Silk Road: A Very Short…
Cheng Li on the future of Chinese politics
Aug 11, 2016
This episode of Sinica is a wide-ranging conversation with Cheng Li (李成), one of the most prominent international scholars of elite Chinese politics and its relation to grassroots changes and generational shifts. He discusses the historical rise and fall…
Clay Shirky on tech and the internet in China
Aug 4, 2016
In this episode of Sinica, Clay Shirky, the author of Here Comes Everybody who has written about the internet and its effects on society since the 1990s, joins Kaiser and Jeremy to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of China’s tech industry and the…
Calming the waters of the South China Sea and beyond
Jul 28, 2016
This episode, Jeremy and Kaiser head to the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, to speak with Professor Lyle Goldstein, the author of Meeting China Halfway: How to Defuse the Emerging US-China Rivalry. Lyle discusses how the United States…
Whose century is it, anyway?
Jul 21, 2016
This live recording of Sinica at the Little Park restaurant in New York City on July 13 features the journalists Mary Kay Magistad and Gady Epstein discussing the increasingly complex “frenemyship” of China and the United States. They also talk about the…
The Kaiser Kuo exit interview
Jul 14, 2016
This week, Kaiser sits in the guest chair and tells us about his 20-plus years of living in China. He recounts being the front man for the heavy metal band Tang Dynasty and the group’s tour stops in China’s backwater towns, shares his feelings on moving…
China seen through a Shanghai street
Jul 7, 2016
Rob Schmitz, China correspondent for American Public Media’s Marketplace, has been living in the nation on and off since 1995. He is the author of Street of Eternal Happiness: Big City Dreams Along a Shanghai Road, a book about the people living and…
Why do so many Chinese people admire Donald Trump?
Jun 30, 2016
Jiayang Fan is a staff writer for The New Yorker who moved from Chongqing to North America when she was seven years old. Despite her inability to drink alcohol because of an acetaldehyde dehydrogenase deficiency common to many East Asians, she covered the…
Patrolling China’s cyberspace
Jun 23, 2016
Adam Segal is the Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies and director of the Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations. His latest book, The Hacked World Order, provides an in-depth exploration of the issues…
Arthur Kroeber vs. The Conventional Wisdom
Jun 22, 2016
In this episode of Sinica, we present an in-depth interview with Arthur Kroeber, founding partner and head of research for Gavekal Dragonomics, an independent global economic research firm, and the editor-in-chief of its journal, China Economic Quarterly.…
50 years of work on U.S.-China relations
Jun 15, 2016
In this week’s episode of Sinica, we are proud to announce that we’re joining forces with SupChina. We’re also delighted that our first episode with our new partner is a conversation with President Stephen Orlins and Vice President Jan Berris of the…
Live: The Cultural Revolution at 50
May 15, 2016
Fifty years ago, Mao Zedong launched the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, inaugurating a decade of political turmoil with his calls for young people to “bombard the headquarters.” In this special live edition of our podcast recorded at The Bookworm…
Public opinion with Chinese characteristics
Apr 20, 2016
The immense popularity of social media has afforded China watchers a terrific window onto public opinion in China. In recent years, a slew of English-language websites have emerged to interpret the various trends, phenomena, discourse and debates on the…
Neo-Maoists: Everything old is new again
Mar 19, 2016
Members of the Politburo are rarely praised for their dancing skills, but consider Xi Jinping’s almost flawless execution of a political two-step: first casting himself as the voice of liberal moderation in the face of Bo Xilai’s mass propaganda, and then…
Allegiance
Feb 20, 2016
Kaiser and Jeremy recorded today’s show from New York, where they waylaid Holly Chang, founder of Project Pengyou and now the Acting Executive Director of the Committee of 100, for a discussion on spying, stealing and Broadway. Yes, you read that right.…
Sauced: American cooking in China
Feb 6, 2016
Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are joined this week by Howie Southworth and Greg Matza, creators of the independent video series Sauced in Translation, a reality show that journeys into the wilder parts of China in search of local Chinese specialities that…
The China meltdown
Jan 25, 2016
With equity markets in free fall, housing prices skipping downwards, foreign reserves plummeting and industrial production on a road trip back to the last decade, it’s no surprise that permabears like Gordon Chang are stocking up on popcorn to bask in…
Air pollution and climate change
Jan 8, 2016
This week on the Sinica Podcast, Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are joined by Deborah Seligsohn, former science counselor for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and currently a doctoral candidate at the University of California, San Diego, where she studies…
While we’re here: China stories from a writers’ colony
Dec 21, 2015
When Ernest Hemingway somewhat presciently referred to Paris as a “moveable feast” (“wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you”), he captured the feelings of many long-term China expats rather concisely. So why exactly does everyone…
Out of Africa: The swifts of Beijing
Dec 20, 2015
Amazing research now suggests that Beijing’s swifts, the tiny creatures most residents pass by without noticing, are some of the most well-travelled birds on the planet, averaging an astonishing 124,000 miles of flight in their life, barely landing for…
Live at the Bookworm, part two: What’s ahead for China?
Nov 15, 2015
This is the second part of our episode of Sinica recorded during a special live event at the Bookworm Literary Festival. In this show David Moser and Kaiser Kuo were joined by China-newcomer Jeremy Goldkorn, fresh off the plane from Nashville to field…
Live at the Bookworm, part one: How has Beijing changed over the years?
Nov 14, 2015
Our episode of Sinica this week was captured during a special live event at the Bookworm Literary Festival, where David Moser and Kaiser Kuo were joined by China-newcomer Jeremy Goldkorn, fresh off the plane from Nashville. During the show we talked about…
Fokke Obbema on China’s rising power and the nation’s relations with the West
Oct 27, 2015
The West has spent decades pleading with China to become a responsible stakeholder in the global community, but what happens now that China is starting to take a more proactive role internationally? In today’s show, Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are…
Edmund Backhouse in the long view of history
Oct 4, 2015
Edmund Backhouse, the 20th-century Sinologist, long-time Beijing resident, and occasional con artist, is perhaps best known for his incendiary memoirs, which not only distorted Western understanding of Chinese history for more than 50 years, but also…
Rogier Creemers on cyber Leninism and the political culture of the Chinese internet
Apr 8, 2015
Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are delighted to be joined in Popup Towers by Rogier Creemers, post-doctoral fellow at Oxford, author of the fantastic China Copyright and Media blog and one of the most informed academics working on Chinese internet governance.…
Comfort women and the struggle for reparations
Apr 7, 2015
This week on Sinica, we are delighted to be joined by Lucy Hornby, China correspondent for the Financial Times, and author of this phenomenal piece on China’s last surviving Chinese comfort women and their longstanding — and often futile — attempts to…
Under the Dome
Mar 9, 2015
Chai Jing’s “Under the Dome,” a breakout documentary on China’s catastrophic air pollution problem, finally hit insurmountable political opposition last Friday after seven days in which the video racked up over 200 million views. The eventual clampdown…
LGBT China
Sep 20, 2014
Jeremy Goldkorn and David Moser are joined by Fan Popo for a discussion of the way life works for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in China. For those who have not heard of him, Fan is an accomplished film-maker and social…
The Islamic State and China
Sep 10, 2014
With the recent capture of a Chinese ISIS soldier (in September of 2014) triggering speculation about the involvement of Chinese citizens in the Iraqi civil war, Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn are joined in our studio by Edward Wong from The New York…
Bo Xilai: The trial of the century
Aug 31, 2013
The spectacular trial of Bo Xilai seized the media’s attention last week as the fallen politburo member — still widely admired in Chongqing and Dalian and heavily connected among the Party elite — defended himself with unexpected vigor against charges of…
The one-child policy, plus the African community in Guangzhou
Jun 23, 2012
While the African community in Guangzhou has taken to the streets to protest the suspicious death of a foreign national in police custody, the Chinese internet has proven equally volatile as gruesome photos of a late-stage abortion have circulated online…
The extremes of Chinese media, plus Chinese internet humor
Nov 4, 2011
It seems to be the consensus among long-time China watchers that the Chinese media has become more radicalized over the last five years, with both online and traditional channels now feeding the public conflicting stories of both reflexive scorn for the…
Zhao Liang and the South-North Water Diversion Project
Aug 27, 2011
China makes an about-face on Libya, we discuss a recent controversy in Beijing’s arts community over independent filmmaker Zhao Liang. We also get an on-the-ground update on the state of China’s South-North Water Diversion Project: a little-publicized…