Summary of “America’s Elite Universities Are Censoring Themselves on China”

Several people I interviewed for this story mentioned an oft-cited 2002 New York Review of Books article by Perry Link, a noted China scholar at the University of California, Riverside, who hasn’t been able to enter mainland China since 1995.
There’s a much larger volume of research and discussion about China to be self-censored and a much larger loss-to research, to cultural capital, and to a school’s bottom line-if a university’s access to China is restricted.
The second trend is that China has grown more repressive on issues of freedom of speech, both domestically and globally.
In 2016, Xi Jinping said China must “Build colleges into strongholds that adhere to Party leadership,” and that higher education “Must adhere to correct political orientation.” According to the Australian China expert John Fitzgerald, Beijing has “Begun to export the style of internationalist academic policing it routinely practices at home.” In recent years, as Millward put it in a December 2017 blog post on Medium, “The sensitive subjects have become more sensitive.” This is a “Disorienting” change, said Jeffrey Wasserstrom, a historian of modern China at the University of California, Irvine.
The third and arguably most important reason is that American universities are increasingly financially dependent on China.
“With Chinese studies, there is growing interest and no new money.” So some universities have turned to China’s Confucius Institutes for funding and programming.
Since the organization’s founding in 2004, it has established more than 100 Confucius Institutes in the United States, the most in the world, and, according to the organization, it currently has 29 in the United Kingdom, which hosts the second largest number perhaps because of Beijing’s desire to shape perceptions of China in the world’s two leading English-language-speaking countries.
“We avoid sensitive things like Taiwan and Falun Gong,” said Yin Xiuli, the director of the Confucius Institute at New Jersey City University, referring to the outspoken spiritual group banned in China.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why I Always Eat Pizza Hut in Beijing”

She’s liked the sweet-and-sour tang of Pizza Hut’s Hawaiian pizza – studded with chunks of pineapple and ham, slicked with grease, its pan crust the ideal level of chewiness to rip through with her teeth – ever since she tried it in the U.S. Over the years, eating pizza together in Beijing became a tradition, ritualizing my emigrant family’s brief return to our home country with an offering of the perfect emblem of America: a universally beloved dish that illustrates the vast excess and choice and availability that together define American consumption.
Five minutes observing the customers at a Pizza Hut was a textbook in the growing wealth gap that separates the pizza-ful in China from the pizza-less – people like my uncle, who had lived out his youth in the countryside during the Cultural Revolution, and had never eaten pizza before my mother gave him a slice of Laolao’s just last year.
For a brief moment, I fantasized about what it would be like to live in China as an actual Chinese person unbound to family obligations and the jittery unease of being a foreigner – to roam the nearby campuses on my own, to join fellow youths on the outdoor volleyball courts, to idle away hours in a restaurant like Pizza Hut with a group of laughing friends, not my mother.
A reasonable person might ask, “Why would you travel 6,000 miles to China and eat pizza?” It is only with a small amount of shame that I admit that for the longest time my favorite food to eat in China was pizza.
Even global brands like Yum China’s Pizza Hut and KFC, the original titans of fast food in China, have faced stagnating growth in the face of changing tastes and homegrown competition.
A semblance of an entire international tour from the comfort of a Pizza Hut in some random Beijing neighborhood – but where was the chain’s namesake? Where was the fucking pizza?
“Do you like the Pizza Hut pizza?” I asked my grandmother in Mandarin.
I interrupted her before she got too deep into the diatribe: “So you eat the pizza because you like it – not just for our sake, because I didn’t like Chinese food when I was younger?” I eat Chinese dishes now, after all; in that sense, maybe the pizza ritual had become pointless.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Who needs democracy when you have data?”

“No government has a more ambitious and far-­reaching plan to harness the power of data to change the way it governs than the Chinese government,” says Martin Chorzempa of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, DC. Even some foreign observers, watching from afar, may be tempted to wonder if such data-driven governance offers a viable alternative to the increasingly dysfunctional­looking electoral model.
“Several petitioners told us they have been stopped at train platforms.” The bloggers, activists, and lawyers are also being systematically silenced or imprisoned, as if data can give the government the same information without any of the fiddly problems of freedom.
The government plan, which covers both people and businesses, lists among its goals the “Construction of sincerity in government affairs, commercial sincerity, and judicial credibility.” To date, it’s a work in progress, though various pilots preview how it might work in 2020, when it is supposed to be fully implemented.
What information is available is deeply flawed; systematic falsification of data on everything from GDP growth to hydropower use pervades Chinese government statistics.
The Chinese government rarely releases performance data that outsiders might use to evaluate these systems.
Their accuracy remains in question: in particular, how well can facial-recognition software trained on Han Chinese faces recognize members of Eurasian minority groups? Moreover, even if the data collection is accurate, how will the government use such information to direct or thwart future behavior? Police algorithms that predict who is likely to become a criminal are not open to public scrutiny, nor are statistics that would show whether crime or terrorism has grown or diminished.
“It’s not the technology that created the policies, but technology greatly expands the kinds of data that the Chinese government can collect on individuals,” says Richard McGregor, a senior fellow at the Lowy Institute and the author of The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers.
The Xinjiang government employed a private company to design the predictive algorithms that assess various data streams.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What Will Happen When China Dominates the Web”

Chinese President Xi Jinping has outlined his plans to turn China into a “Cyber-superpower.” Already, more people in China have access to the Internet than in any other country, but Xi has grander plans.
Through domestic regulations, technological innovation, and foreign policy, China aims to build an “Impregnable” cyberdefense system, give itself a. greater voice in Internet governance, foster more world-class companies, and lead the globe in advanced technologies.
Foreign companies worry that an expansive interpretation of the requirements for inspections of equipment and storing data within China will raise costs and could allow the Chinese government to steal their intellectual property.
MADE IN CHINA. Chinese policymakers believe that to be truly secure, China must achieve technological self-sufficiency.
More students graduate with science and engineering degrees in China than anywhere else in the world, and in 2018, China overtook the United States in terms of the total number of scientific publications.
In 2015, China issued guidelines that aim to get Chinese firms to produce 70 percent of the microchips used by Chinese industry by 2025.
The government has subsidized domestic and foreign companies that move their operations to China and encouraged domestic consumers to buy from only Chinese suppliers.
At an artificial intelligence summit last year, Eric Schmidt, the former chair of Google, said of the Chinese, “By 2020, they will have caught up. By 2025, they will be better than us. And by 2030, they will dominate the industries of AI.” China is racing to harness artificial intelligence for military uses, including autonomous drone swarms, software that can defend itself against cyberattacks, and programs that mine social media to predict political movements.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Beijing struggles to defuse anger over China’s P2P lending crisis”

Instead of demanding that the government bail out the hundreds of collapsed P2P companies, those who made it to the protest area were forced onto buses and carted away to Jiujingzhuang, a holding center for petitioners on the outskirts of Beijing, according to two P2P investors.
The size of China’s P2P industry is far bigger than in the rest of the world combined, with outstanding loans of 1.49 trillion yuan, according to data tracker p2p001.com, run by the Shenzhen Qiancheng Internet Finance Research Institute.
P2P, in which platforms gather funds from retail investors and loan the money to small corporate and individual borrowers, promising high returns, started flourishing nearly unregulated in China in 2011.
Since June, 243 online lending platforms have gone bust, according to wdzj.com, another P2P industry data provider.
Investors tried to pull funds from P2P companies, causing liquidity problems for many smaller operators, Wang said, although larger ones are faring better.
On Sunday, state media outlet Xinhua reported that the government has proposed 10 measures to reduce risk in the P2P sector, including a strict ban on new P2P companies and online finance platforms, and a blacklist under China’s social credit rating system for those who don’t repay their loans.
More than 100 companies listed in China’s domestic stock markets are involved in P2P operations, and 32 of those own more than 30 percent of a P2P company, according to a July research report by CITIC Securities.
Tang Ning, founder and chief executive officer of CreditEase, the majority owner of P2P lending platform Yirendai, told Reuters that he was concerned that the “Industry-wide panic” would escalate.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Ravenous for Meat, China Faces a Climate Quandary”

As the Chinese appetite for meat expands, the booming nation is faced with a quandary: How to satisfy the surging demand for meat without undermining the country’s commitment to curbing greenhouse gas emissions and combating global warming – goals that have been expressly incorporated into national economic, social development, and long-term planning under the Xi Jinping administration.
Experts at the advocacy group WildAid say that average annual meat consumption in China is on track to increase by another 60 pounds by 2030.
“One could argue that Chinese just want to enjoy the kind of life Westerners have for years. In the end, per capita meat consumption in China is still half that of the United States,” said Pan Genxing, director of the Institute of Resources, Environment, and Ecosystem of Agriculture at Nanjing Agricultural University.
One thing is for sure: how China will deal with soaring demand for meat is of paramount importance to both the nation and the rest of the world.
“These calculations do not include land-use change,” Richard Waite, an associate at the World Resources Institute’s Food Program, told me by telephone from Washington, “But since meat production – especially beef production – takes up a significant amount of land, growing demand for meat in China would make for more forests converted to agriculture or pasture and also increase pressure on forests elsewhere.”
The Chinese have also been importing meat from Australia, Brazil, Uruguay, Russia, and other countries, making China the world’s single largest market for meat.
For a country where older generations “Still vividly remember not even being able to afford meat a few decades ago,” he said, “Meals featuring high amounts of meat are seen as a very good thing.”
Now, Haft said, China needs to mount a similar effort to reduce meat consumption.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘No Cambodia left’: how Chinese money is changing Sihanoukville”

“Everything has changed in Sihanoukville in just two years,” says Dy, who is learning Chinese to try to integrate better with the city’s new community.
“Before it was really quiet here, but not any more with all the Chinese construction. I am worried that it’s very destructive to the environment, all this building and what will happen when all the construction is finished and thousands more people come? There will be no Cambodia left in Sihanoukville.”
The majority of the 100-plus factories in the zone are run by Chinese companies, and a further 200 mainly Chinese companies – producing consumer goods and garments – will be part of its ongoing expansion.
Hemming clothes outside his sewing shop in the shadow of a new Chinese casino, Seng Lim Huon says Chinese investment is widening the divide between rich and poor.
Chinese residents and visitors buy from Chinese businesses and visit Chinese restaurants and hotels, ensuring the trickle-down effect is minimal.
I think the Chinese government and the Chinese embassy accepts there is rising anti-China rhetoric in Cambodia.
“Chinese products are very expensive, it is not good for us, and the Chinese buy only Chinese goods so we are very separate,” says Srey Mach, 43, shredding morning glory outside her shop while the sound of construction thunders all around.
The speed at which money is pouring in has also left local authorities in Sihanoukville with little time and resources to create regulation to manage either the dark underbelly of the Chinese casinos – sophisticated financial crime and money laundering – or the growing local discontentment.

The orginal article.

Summary of “After making his owner rich, this border collie gets to live in a $500,000 pet mansion in Beijing”

An abandoned warehouse once stood where Sylar’s new mansion sprawls.
“Before I had Sylar, I had nothing to live for,” said owner Zhou Tianxiao, 31, scratching his dog’s ears.
Five decades after Chairman Mao’s Red Guards were known to kill pet dogs – a “Bourgeois” accessory the communist leader sought to quash during his purge of Western values – China’s youths are increasingly lavishing money on animals.
Theories abound as to why affluent Chinese seem so devoted to their pets; poorer folks in urban centers tend to be priced out, because licensing dogs can cost hundreds of dollars.
One command sent the dog between Zhou’s legs, a paw on each foot, so they could stroll together.
The spotlight on Sylar encouraged Zhou to open a dog food and toy store on Taobao, the Chinese e-commerce giant that allows users to peddle goods online.
The body art alone didn’t feel adequate, so Zhou wondered: What does a dog really want?
They opened Sylar’s mansion to the public in May. Dogs can take a “Medicinal bath” in the spa for 175 yuan or a “Soothing oil” massage for 400.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Beijing’s Big Brother Tech Needs African Faces – Foreign Policy”

In 2015, the Chinese government launched its Made in China 2025 plan to dominate cutting-edge technological industries.
The CloudWalk deal is built on the back of a long-standing relationship between former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s regime, seen by China as an ideological ally, and Beijing.
For him, “The question is what the Chinese company will do with our identities. It sounds like a spy game.” He also says that he “Know[s] for a fact” that “The Zimbabwe government will use this tech to try and control people’s freedom.”
Zimbabwe is not the only African country that seeks to emulate China’s model.
China is not the only country to sell surveillance technology to potentially abusive governments.
The Zimbabwe deal is not unique-in 2016, Beijing donated $14 million worth of similar equipment to Ecuador, for example, which the Ecuadorian government claims has helped cut crime rates by 24 percent.
“The entire surveillance infrastructure is no small feat: the systems and multilayered and numerous. To achieve the kind of surveillance state the Chinese government has, one also needs to implement, for example, a national identification card system and a real name registration system,” Wang noted.
“Unfortunately, people do not have any way of holding the government accountable as there are no laws in place or any regulatory body tasked with the protection of people’s privacy or data protection.” Zimbabwe’s 2002 Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act doesn’t cover biometric data or cross-border flows of data, and, as Hove notes, “The government has rarely ever acted in the people’s interests.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Letter from Shenzhen”

In another village, I use my phone to note down a mysterious, recurring banner I see for “农村淘宝, cun.
Free-floating, these places are libertarian islands in the city, where village mayors can still sell their land to developers in an act of self-eradication, ridding the skyline of themselves and their diminutive buildings forever.
Guangzhou’s neighbor, Shenzhen, is also full of urban villages.
As I stand in the Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab with my friend and collaborator Maya, we listen to the SZ OIL’s founder, David Li, tell us the history of Shenzhen.
Even in one of the poorest provinces in China, QR codes will follow you from towns to villages.
David points to Taobao villages, 淘宝村, as an example of how far tech companies in China are willing to go to expand their user base.
Taobao villages are a concerted effort by Alibaba to bring e-commerce into the countryside, where Taobao provides the infrastructure and training for villagers to sell their goods online.
At the heart of it always hums the question, just how cultural is the construction of technology? As many scholars such as Joe Karaganis, Jinying Li, and Lucy Montgomery have asked, how can piracy help expand media and technological access in China? Why is creative reuse and the lack of intellectual property protections in Shenzhen seen as knock-off culture by many in the US, when the actual conditions are more like open-source? How does the vibrant economy in southern China challenge Western notions of authorship and copyright? Is technology less universal than we think?

The orginal article.