Essentials on China: the best articles I’ve read in the past 24 months

Whether you’re visiting China for the first time, or just want a peek inside this fascinating world that is so often misunderstood, here is my recommended reading list on the Middle Kingdom.

Not all articles are published within the past twenty-four months; some are older in age. But they do a respectable job of conveying how things are today. Things change so damn fast in this country that I tried my best to curate the list based on what feels relevant.

I’m fully aware that feels is a subjective and, at best, vacuous term. At the very least, this list will give you a sense of what’s floating through my mind, and how I’m thinking about the world here.

A bit about me: I’m Taiwanese-Canadian and have been living in Beijing for the past seven years. I have a career in the tech industry and am currently running my own e-sports startup, CardBoard Live. What keeps me in China is its hectic pace, exposure to international elements, and great people.

[Warning: this list is long. And because I absolutely love long-read articles, there are 3,000-5,000 word monsters in here. Reader beware—or reader enjoy—depending on your persuasion.]

Alright, here we go.

 

—Society—

Modern China is So Crazy it Needs a New Literary Genre: On Living Through the “Ultra-unreal,” and Writing About It [Lithub]

In Beijing, 20 Million People Pretend to Live [Beijing Cream]

When the Weather Change [Elephant Room]

China’s Health Care Crisis: Lines Before Dawn, Violence and ‘No Trust’ [NY Times]

Chinese Grads Return Home With Degrees and Disillusionment [Sixth Tone]

A Fifth of China’s Homes Are Empty. That’s 50 Million Apartments [Bloomberg]

Is China’s gaokao the world’s toughest school exam? [The Guardian]

Chabuduo! Close enough… [Aeon]

Reading Howl in China [Aeon]

Hollywood’s Greatest Wall [The Ringer]

 

—The Chinese migrant experience—

Children of the Yuan Percent: Everyone Hates China’s Rich Kids [Bloomberg]

‘Is this what the west is really like?’ How it felt to leave China for Britain [The Guardian]

Chinatown’s Ghost Scam [The New Yorker]

American Pie: how sharing a Hawaiian pizza from Pizza Hut became a Beijing family tradition [Eater]

The City That Had Too Much Money [Bloomberg]

Learning To Speak Lingerie [The New Yorker]

 

—Politics—

How China’s Rulers Control Society: Opportunity, Nationalism, Fear [NY Times]

Inside China’s audacious global propaganda campaign [The Guardian]

Could Trump’s blundering lead to war between China and Japan? [The Guardian]

Liu Xiaobo’s death holds a message for China [The Economist]

Is China the World’s New Colonial Power? [NY Times]

Why do people in China give so little to charity? [The Economist]

Trump, Taiwan and China: The Controversy, Explained [NY Times]

 

—Tech and Innovation—

Mindsets for Thinking about Innovation In — and Competition from — China [a16z]

The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies [Bloomberg]

Letter from Shenzhen [Logic]

How China rips off the iPhone and reinvents Android [The Verge]

America Is Losing Its Edge for Startups [Citylab]

Kai-fu Lee: Why American Companies Struggle in China [Pandaily]

China’s Artificial-Intelligence Boom [The Atlantic]

An Undervalued Blockchain Market In China Is Good News For You [Hacker Noon on Medium]

 

—Profiles—

Yan Lianke’s Forbidden Satires of China [The New Yorker]

Shenzhen’s Homegrown Cyborg [Vice]

Bill Bishop: The Invisible China Hand [Pando.com]

 

—Truth is stranger than fiction: the dark & the absurd—

Millennials in China Are Using Nudes to Secure Loans [Vice]

Why China has banned videos of people whispering [The Guardian]

China’s Mistress-Dispellers: how the economic boom and deep gender inequality have created a new industry [The New Yorker]

Pickup Artists with Chinese Characteristics [ChinaFile]

The Weird and Disturbing World of Chinese Livestreamers [The Daily Beast]

 

—Have limited time? Start with these five reads.–

  1. Modern China is So Crazy it Needs a New Literary Genre: On Living Through the “Ultra-unreal,” and Writing About It [Lithub]
  2. Children of the Yuan Percent: Everyone Hates China’s Rich Kids [Bloomberg]
  3. How China’s Rulers Control Society: Opportunity, Nationalism, Fear [NY Times]
  4. Letter from Shenzhen [Logic]
  5. Yan Lianke’s Forbidden Satires of China [The New Yorker]

 

Happy reading!

 

Best,

James

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: