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How Chinese propaganda films became watchable

ChinaJan 22nd 2022 editionArt and partyHow Chinese propaganda films became watchablePatriotic blockbusters are so entertaining people willingly buy ticketsIN 2021, THE year after China overtook America to become the world’s largest film market, “The Battle at Lake Changjin” became the highest-grossing film in Chinese history, and the second-highest...

A film in Shanghai dialect is a surprise hit in China

ChinaJan 22nd 2022 editionSpeaking in tonguesA film in Shanghai dialect is a surprise hit in ChinaLocal languages are generally discouragedTHERE ARE several reasons why “Aiqing Shenhua”, a new film released on Christmas Eve in Chinese cinemas, has surprised movie buffs. One is that the movie, whose English title is “B for Busy”, is a tender portrayal...

The Communist Party revisits its egalitarian roots

ChinaJan 22nd 2022 editionChaguanThe Communist Party revisits its egalitarian rootsXi Jinping offers the stressed-out middle classes a dose of populismCHINESE NATIONALISTS and fans of liberal democracy do not often agree. Still, early this century, both groups sounded convinced of the subversive power of affluent Chinese buying American coffee. In 2007...

America and China are one military accident away from disaster

ChinaJan 15th 2022 editionChaguanAmerica and China are one military accident away from disasterLessons from a Chinese jet’s fatal collision with a US spy plane, 21 years agoIN AN AGE of superpower rivalry and distrust, it is odd to talk of good fortune smiling on America’s relations with China. But in one important domain, the rivals have shared a long...

Xi Jinping’s job is safe but China’s leadership is being shaken up

ChinaJan 15th 2022 editionAll change, bar oneXi Jinping’s job is safe but China’s leadership is being shaken upA five-yearly churn is affecting decisions on everything from the economy to covid-19ELITE CHINESE politics take place in a fog of obscurity. But one forecast is commonly accepted: Xi Jinping will still be China’s ruler next year and beyond....

China and America prepare for a human-rights showdown at the UN

ChinaJan 8th 2022 editionGeneva discordsChina and America prepare for a human-rights showdown at the UNIt is not clear which side will winLAST YEAR the Human Rights Council in Geneva passed resolutions condemning abuses in Afghanistan, Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Sudan and Syria. But as in every other year since its creation in 2006, the United...

China’s online nationalists turn paranoia into clickbait

ChinaJan 8th 2022 editionChaguanChina’s online nationalists turn paranoia into clickbaitThey see hostile foreign forces at every turnAN ANXIOUS WORLD has long worried that rising nationalism might one day lead ordinary Chinese—especially the young—to outbursts of uncontrollable rage. If recent months are any guide, outsiders missed a more insidious...

China crushes Hong Kong’s independent news outlets

ChinaShowing who’s bossChina crushes Hong Kong’s independent news outletsThe world loses an important way to understand Hong Kong and ChinaLIFE AS AN independent journalist in Hong Kong, long hard, is becoming impossible. On December 29th Stand News, the territory’s leading pro-democracy news outlet, was forced to shut after hundreds of police raided...

Even in secret, China’s leaders speak in code

ChinaJan 1st 2022 editionXi’s secret speechesEven in secret, China’s leaders speak in codeChinese bureaucrats have to learn to read between the linesIN NOVEMBER 2022 Xi Jinping will have served for ten years as China’s leader. In the coming months, state media will be filled with fawning tributes to his decade in power. Yet they will give little inkling...

A cluster of covid-19 cases in China prompts a citywide lockdown

ChinaThe price of zeroA cluster of covid-19 cases in China prompts a citywide lockdownMeasures in Xi’an are China’s toughest on such a scale since early in the pandemicFOR MUCH of the pandemic, the lives of most people in China have remained relatively normal except for hassles caused by tough border controls. For the 13m residents of the western city...

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