Evan Osnos
  • Magazine Writing
  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 9.04.2015
    Why is China Parading Missiles on TV?
    Even by the standards of military parades, Chinese leaders needed something big. They had chosen a name for a national celebration, on Thursday, that necessitated an extravaganza: “The Commemoration of the Seventieth Anniversary of Victory of the Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and World Anti-Fascist War.” Beijing quantified the arrangements precisely: twelve thousand troops; five hundred weapons’ systems; two hundred aircraft; thirty heads of state or government; a red carpet on Tiananmen Square that was a hundred and twenty-one steps long, one step for each of the years since the first shot was fired in the wars with Japan. Nothing was left to chance: among the extraordinary preparations, the authorities dispatched specially trained monkeys to remove nests that could house birds that might get in the way of the airplanes.
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 8.31.2015
    The Fearful and the Frustrated
    On July 23rd, Donald Trump’s red-white-and-navy-blue Boeing 757 touched down in Laredo, Texas, where the temperature was climbing to a hundred and four degrees. In 1976, the Times introduced Trump, then a little-known builder, to readers as a “publicity shy” wunderkind who “looks ever so much like Robert Redford,” and quoted an admiring observation from the architect Der Scutt: “That Donald, he could sell sand to the Arabs.” Over the years, Trump honed a performer’s ear for the needs of his audience. He starred in “The Apprentice” for fourteen seasons, cultivating a lordly persona and a squint that combined Clint Eastwood on the high plains and Derek Zoolander on the runway. Once he emerged as the early front-runner for the Republican Presidential nomination, this summer, his airport comings and goings posed a delicate staging issue: a rogue wind off the tarmac could render his comb-over fully erect in front of the campaign paparazzi. So, in Laredo, Trump débuted a protective innovation: a baseball hat adorned with a campaign slogan that he recycled from Ronald Reagan’s 1980 run for the White House—“Make America Great Again!” The headwear, which had the rigid façade and the braided rope of a cruise-ship giveaway, added an expeditionary element to the day’s outfit, of blazer, pale slacks, golf shoes—well suited for a mission that he was describing as one of great personal risk. “I may never see you again, but we’re going to do it,” he told Fox News on the eve of the Texas visit.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 8.28.2015
    The Trump Doctrine: "We Want Deal"
    On Tuesday, in Dubuque, Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republican Presidential nomination, took a break from his frequent warnings about the threat posed by criminals from Mexico to reflect on his experience with another part of the world. “Negotiating with Japan, negotiating with China, when these people walk into the room, they don’t say, ‘Oh, hello, how’s the weather, so beautiful outside, isn’t it lovely?’” Trump told the crowd. He adopted a broken-English accent. “They say, ‘We want deal.’”
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 8.04.2015
    Joe Biden's Respect Calculation
    For observers of Joe Biden—and anyone who wonders whether he will challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Presidential nomination—there was a small, telling moment in April, 2014, during a routine interview with “CBS This Morning.” Vice-President Biden and President Barack Obama were side by side when the reporter, Major Garrett, asked about the 2016 race. Biden gave the ritual denials (“If I decide to run, this is the first guy I’d talk to, but that decision hasn’t been made”) before Obama lavished praise upon him as “a great partner in everything I do.” Then Obama began to talk about someone else: “I suspect that there may be other potential candidates for 2016 who have been great friends and allies. We’ve got an extraordinary Secretary of State who did great service for us, for me and Joe.” Biden looked away, then back to the President, with a strained smile. It was no endorsement of Hillary Clinton. It was nothing—unless you want to know how Joe Biden makes decisions.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: News Desk
    Published: 7.23.2015
    Ai Weiwei’s Freedom by Fiat
    Nearly four years after he was barred from leaving China, the artist Ai Weiwei this week abruptly regained the right to travel. He broke the news via an Instagram selfie. “Today, I picked up my passport,” said the caption, beneath a photo of him and his new travel document. He had reason to rejoice, of course, and yet, in the image, he wears a flat, uneasy expression—a fitting reflection of a moment that opens an uncertain new chapter.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 7.15.2015
    The Real Risk Behind China’s Stock-Market Drama
    On April 21st, People’s Daily, the newspaper that the Chinese Communist Party calls its “throat and tongue,” published an online commentary exhorting the masses to place their trust, and savings, in the stock market. Even though share prices had soared by more than eighty per cent in less than four months, this was “merely the start of a bull market,” since blue-chip stocks remained “undervalued,” the author, Wang Ruoyu, explained. Like a CNBC stock picker, Wang mocked fears of a bubble—“What’s a bubble? Tulips and Bitcoins are bubbles”—and assured readers that continued gains would enjoy the full “support from China’s grand development strategy and economic reforms.” The commentary was quickly shared across the Web, accompanied, in some cases, by a cartoon of a bull ramming a giant arrow toward the sky.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 6.24.2015
    How to Save the U.S.-China Relationship
    The name conjures an image of such stately dullness that it would drive an adman to despair: the Seventh Round of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. But Chinese and American officials now meeting at the State Department, for two days of talks that began on Tuesday, have the task of preventing the world’s most important relationship from drifting to what both sides increasingly acknowledge is a dangerous level of distrust.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: News Desk
    Published: 6.01.2015
    "We Bidens," An American Family
    At lunchtime on a spring day last year, Joe Biden was at his desk in the West Wing. When the door opened, the Vice-President stood up and stretched. He appeared to be in mid-thought. It was a busy week—I was there to talk to him about Iraq, Ukraine, and other dramas—but when I asked what he’d been thinking about at his desk, he beamed. “A First Communion, man!” It was coming up that weekend, in Delaware, and Biden was heading home to his vast, inseparable family. He said, “I look around at my sister, and a lot of my peers, and younger peers with children who are getting out of college, and they’re scattered all over the universe. I’ve really been lucky. My oldest son, Beau, is attorney general, so he lives a mile and a quarter from my home. My other son, Hunter, lives literally a mile and a quarter from the residence here.” His daughter Ashley went to college at Tulane, and, for a while, he feared that she would settle “down in Looziana,” he said, drawing out the vowels. “Fortunately, she married a Philly boy.” He said, “Every Sunday, when we’re home, we have dinner, you know. It’s been that way for twenty-five years.”
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 5.07.2015
    Daddy Issues: Corruption in New York and Shanghai
    A father’s pride shines through, even in a federal criminal complaint. According to the F.B.I., on November 27, 2012, Adam Skelos, the son of Dean Skelos, the majority leader of the New York Senate, sent his father a copy of his plush new consulting contract: more than two hundred thousand dollars to help AbTech Industries, an environmental firm, obtain state contracts for treating storm water. Adam’s scientific expertise was limited; he told an associate that he “literally knew nothing about water or, you know, any of that stuff.” The elder Skelos, a Long Island Republican, had helped arrange the job—the political equivalent of buying jerseys for the team to insure his son a spot on the roster—but the father replied to his son’s news as if he were the star player: “Mazel Tov,” he wrote.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: News Desk
    Published: 4.15.2015
    Hillary Clinton, Shareworthy?
    In the corporate-food world these days, everyone wants to achieve “the Chipotle effect,” the profit that accrues to a brand that manages to be neither McDonalds nor Applebee’s—not junk food, exactly, and not a punch line. The same appears to be true of Presidential candidates. Less than twenty-four hours after Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy on Twitter—“Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion”—she was in line at a Chipotle outside of Toledo (chicken burrito bowl, yes on guac). Her staff is spending a lot of time emphasizing that the campaign is not simply about Clinton, so it let the Chipotle story filter out by telling donors and advisors, knowing full well where that would lead. By nightfall, the Times was in possession of security-camera footage of the former First Lady paying for her burrito, unrecognized in her shades, and performing the ritual carrying of her tray. Chipotle started trending on Twitter.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 4.14.2015
    American Vice: Bob Menendez's Global Reach
    At work and at play, Senator Robert Menendez, of New Jersey, is a man of the world. Departing the confines of Union City, where he grew up and where he first entered politics, Menendez rose to become the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, travelling frequently, receiving foreign dignitaries, and moving easily between English and Spanish. In the view of federal prosecutors, his capacious appetite for life beyond New Jersey has carried him past too many boundaries.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: News Desk
    Published: 4.06.2015
    What Did China's First Daughter Find in America?
    On a sunny morning last May, a member of Harvard's graduating class received her diploma and prepared to depart from campus as quietly as she had arrived. Xi Mingze--the only child of Xi Jinping, the President of China, and his wife, the celebrity soprano Peng Liyuan--crossed the podium at Adams House, the dorm that housed Franklin Roosevelt and Henry Kissinger. She had studied psychology and English and lived under an assumed name, her identity known only to a limited number of faculty and close friends--"less than ten," according to Kenji Minemura, a correspondent for the Asahi Shimbun, who attended the commencement and wrote about Xi's experience in America.
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 4.06.2015
    Born Red
    In anticipation of New Year’s Eve, 2014, Xi Jinping, the President of China and the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, permitted a camera crew to come into his office and record a message to the people. As a teen-ager, Xi had been sent to work on a farm; he was so delicate that other laborers rated him a six on a ten-point scale, “not even as high as the women,” he said later, with some embarrassment. Now, at sixty-one, Xi was five feet eleven, taller than any Chinese leader in nearly four decades, with a rich baritone and a confident heft. When he received a guest, he stood still, long arms slack, hair pomaded, a portrait of take-it-or-leave-it composure that induced his visitor to cross the room in pursuit of a handshake.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 3.13.2015
    Who Will Control Tibetan Reincarnation?
    In Beijing this week, delegates to the National People's Congress took a moment away from debating annual targets for consumer price inflation (3 per cent), unemployment (4.5 per cent), and cuts to carbon intensity (3.1 per cent), to reiterate their policy position on the migration of the soul. Not any soul, to be precise: the soul of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan leader in exile, and those of other high-ranking Tibetan Buddhist lamas.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 2.06.2015
    Cristina Kirchner's Misadventure in China
    During a visit to China this week, Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner paused from her effort to attract Chinese investment to her country, in order to set what may be a new record in racially offensive efficiency: she managed to insult a fifth of humanity in less than a hundred and forty characters. Noting that hundreds of Chinese visitors had shown up to see her at an event in Beijing, she tweeted, “Más de 1.000 asistentes al evento… ¿Serán todos de ‘La Cámpola’ y vinieron sólo por el aloz y el petlóleo?” In other words, she replaced R’s with L’s in “el arroz y el petróleo”—rice and petroleum—and asked, “They came just for rice and oil?” as if speaking with a cartoonish Chinese accent.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 2.28.2015
    Is Corruption Souring China on Gold Medals?
    Earlier this week, China’s national sports agency announced a decision that is decidedly out of character: the nation will no longer obsess over the pursuit of medals. The spirit of “gold-medal supremacy,” it said on Monday, “undermines the image of sport and is contrary to its value. We must resolutely oppose this and effectively eliminate it.”
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 1.08.2015
    Unforgivable: The Governor and the Teenager
    Bob McDonnell, the disgraced ex-governor of Virginia, appealed for the mercy of the court, and he received it. A former Presidential prospect with a career in state politics, McDonnell, along with his wife, Maureen, was convicted in September of trading the powers of his office for loans, shopping sprees, golf trips, a Rolex, and use of a Ferrari and a country home—a pattern that unfolded in the course of eleven months, netting his family a range of pleasures worth a hundred and seventy-seven thousand dollars, until federal prosecutors took notice.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: News Desk
    Published: 12.18.2014
    After Sony
    With hackers threatening violence at movie theatres, Sony Pictures Entertainment this week cancelled the release of “The Interview,” a buddy comedy about journalists who assassinate the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The news inspired an eclectic coalition of the offended. Newt Gingrich declared, “With the Sony collapse, America has lost its first cyberwar.” Rob Lowe compared the moment to the appeasement of Hitler. “Hollywood has done Neville Chamberlain proud today,” Lowe wrote. The Post, ever alert to instances of Left Coast turpitude, mourned the movie: “KIM JONG WON: Sony Kills Movie.”
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 12.14.2014
    In the Land of the Possible
    On July 17, 2013, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee met to consider the nomination of Samantha Power to be America’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. She was an unusual choice. Although she had been a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and served on the National Security Council as the senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights, she had never been a diplomat. At forty-two, she would be the youngest-ever American Ambassador to the U.N.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 11.05.2014
    The Dawn of the Age of McConnell
    Last week, just days before the election that would elevate the Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell to Majority Leader of the Senate, his campaign glimpsed potential disaster. In a Fox News interview, McConnell mentioned arithmetic, noting that repealing Obamacare would require sixty votes in the Senate and Presidential approval. That was a grave political blunder, because it led some conservatives to suspect that he did not intend to dedicate the Senate’s time to a fruitless symbolic pageant of protest. The Senate Conservatives Fund, which backs Tea Party candidates, declared, “Mitch McConnell Surrenders on Obamacare Repeal.”
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  • The New Yorker Blog: News Desk
    Published: 10.29.2014
    Video: Ai Weiwei, Speaking from Beijing
    Earlier this year, we invited Ai Weiwei, the Chinese artist and activist, to be a guest at The New Yorker Festival. Ai is barred from leaving China, but he agreed to to do a live video chat, with a New York audience, from his studio in Beijing. He lives in a kind of legal purgatory. In the spring of 2011, after years of criticizing the Chinese government for corruption and abuse of power, Ai was detained. He was held for eighty-one days and later fined for tax evasion, which he and his supporters consider an act of political retribution. Since his release, the government has withheld his passport. He is not charged with a crime, nor is he under investigation, as far as he knows.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 10.22.2014
    The Money Midterms: A Scandal in Slow Motion
    In 1971, after studying law at Harvard, Fred Wertheimer became the chief lobbyist for Common Cause, a non-profit that aimed to limit the corrosive influence of money in politics. He was thirty-two years old. “Watergate comes along the next year, we pass Presidential public financing, we almost pass it for congressional races, and I say to myself, ‘This is pretty easy,’ ” Wertheimer told me recently.
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 10.13.2014
    Embrace the Irony
    Last spring, Lawrence Lessig, a fifty-three-year-old Harvard legal theorist who opposes the influence of money in politics, launched a counterintuitive experiment: the Mayday PAC, a political-action committee that would spend millions of dollars in an attempt to elect congressional candidates who are intent on passing campaign-finance reform—and to defeat those who are not. It was a super PAC designed to drive its own species into extinction. Lessig adopted the motto “Embrace the irony.”
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  • The New Yorker Blog: News Desk
    Published: 10.09.2014
    Off Prompter: Joe Biden Explained
    In anticipation of a visit by Vice-President Joe Biden to Tokyo last December, Asahi Shimbun, the Japanese paper, prepared its readers. “He may be having the time of his life, but many around him fear he might get carried away and say something outrageous,” an editorial explained. “Biden is known to have made slips of the tongue, but that apparently is also what makes him affable and interesting.”
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 10.13.2014
    The Party and the People
    When Hong Kong returned to Chinese control, in 1997, after a century and a half under British rule, the Communist Party rejoiced at recovering the jewel of the Crown Colonies, a tiny archipelago of two hundred and thirty-six islands and rocks, with more Rolls-Royces per capita than anywhere else in the world and a film industry that had produced more movies each year than Hollywood. But the people of Hong Kong feared that the Party would unwind the idiosyncratic combination of English and Cantonese culture that made the city so distinctive—with its independent barristers in wigs and its Triad bosses in Versace, all documented by a scandal-loving free press and set on a subtropical mountainscape that’s equal parts Manhattan and Hawaii.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Photo Booth
    Published: 09.27.2014
    Ian Teh's Changed Chinese Landscapes
    When the British-Malaysian photographer Ian Teh first worked in China, more than a decade ago, he rendered it as a nation of people in Technicolor. He gravitated to the overcrowded, humid corners of a country on the make—the traders’ bars, the workers’ dorms, the truckers’ lounges arrayed across the industrial heartland of China’s north. The opening picture in “Undercurrents,” his first book, peered out of the windshield of a jeep bumping along the Sino-Russian-North Korean border, a dazzling pink plastic flower mounted on the dashboard and visible in the foreground. Where there was no color, he found it—in the fluorescent bulb of a street-food stall and the red glow of a massage parlor, even in the mounds of coal that became, in his capable hands, a spectrum of blacks.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 09.02.2014
    China's Hong Kong Mistake
    In the summer of 1996, the Chinese Communist Party erected a giant digital clock, fifty feet tall and thirty feet long, beside Tiananmen Square, which counted down the seconds until, as it said in large characters across the top, “The Chinese Government Regains Sovereignty Over Hong Kong.” After a century and a half under British colonial rule, Hong Kong’s restoration, in 1997, was a hugely symbolic moment for China’s national identity, an end to a history of invasion in which, as the Chinese put it, their land was “cut up like a melon” by foreign powers.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 08.29.2014
    Deliberating Bodies: Sexism and Congress
    When Barbara Mikulski was elected to the United States Senate in 1986, her presence doubled its female membership. As recently as the seventies, the Senate had a five-year stretch with no women. Mikulski discovered that the dress code still required women to wear skirts or dresses, so she asserted the right to wear slacks. “It was a small step for Barbara Mikulski, but a giant step for womankind,” she told me.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 08.12.2014
    Breaking Up: Maliki and Biden
    When Vice-President Joe Biden places phone calls to people he knows, he occasionally skips the White House operator, dials direct, and catches them unprepared. On formal calls with foreign leaders, he sticks to the protocol, but tries to work in some patter—grandkids, food, weather. Last month, USA Today tabulated White House phone records and found that Biden had placed more calls to Iraq—sixty-four of them, to be exact—than to any other country. (The President, by contrast, had called Iraq four times.)
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 07.29.2014
    Why Politicians Plagiarize So Often
    When the Times informed Montana Senator John Walsh last week that one of his graduate-school papers contained unattributed passages by other writers, Walsh tried out three responses. First, he told the Times that he did not do “anything intentional.” The next day, Walsh, a Democrat who spent thirty-three years in the military, suggested that his plagiarism was connected to post-traumatic stress disorder from service in Iraq. The public was unmoved by that explanation, and, on Friday, Walsh said that P.T.S.D. did not have “any impact” on the case. Instead, he urged voters to look ahead. “I made a mistake here and I’m going to move on,” he told the local CBS station.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Cultural Comment
    Published: 07.28.2014
    Talking to China's "Web Junkies"
    When Arthur Kleinman, the Harvard anthropologist and psychiatrist, studied Chinese patients in the nineteen-sixties, he found that people who had been raised to suppress and endure had trouble acknowledging individual distress. He told me, “It was unthinkable that they would use psychological terminology to refer to themselves, no matter how well you got to know them.” A half-century later, however, as China reckons with profound economic and social change, it has embraced the vocabulary of psychology with the passion of the convert.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 06.04.2014
    Tiananmen at Twenty-five: "Victory Over Memory"
    The “History of the Chinese Communist Party, Volume 1,” the first entry in the Party’s official autobiography, appeared in 2002. Its authors had the luxury of hewing to a narrative of birth, growth, and triumph, covering the years between 1921 and the revolution, in 1949. After that, history gets dicier.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 05.21.2014
    “The Big Bang Theory” and Our Future with China
    The announcement, on Tuesday, that the United States has charged five members of the Chinese military with economic espionage—for hacking the computers of American companies—is an acknowledgment that its diplomatic relationship with China is moving toward confrontation. After trying to negotiate, embarrass, or threaten China’s military hackers into retreat, U.S. prosecutors have adopted what Jack Goldsmith, at Harvard, calls a “calculated escalation of pressure.” It is symbolism in service of setting a precedent. Though there is little chance the five suspects will ever set foot in a U.S. courtroom, their photographs and handles—KandyGoo, UglyGorilla—under the heading “Wanted by the FBI,” are now emblems of diplomatic deterioration. (Within hours, the accused had become objects of admiring fascination in China.)
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  • The New Yorker Blog: News Desk
    Published: 04.28.2014
    Why Obama Is Betting on Asia
    In 1960, at the height of the Cold War, Dwight Eisenhower touched down in Manila, becoming the first sitting U.S. President to visit the Philippines. Before that, the country had hosted only a future President, William Howard Taft, who was stationed in the Philippines at the turn of the twentieth century as head of the colonial government. Taft is well remembered there for two unfortunate moments: he called Filipinos our “little brown brothers,” and he was photographed astride a hapless water buffalo. It was “a fitting image for what turned out to be the beginning of, for Filipinos, a long, often burdensome relationship with the U.S.,” as the Philippine Daily Inquirer put it.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 04.16.2014
    Kill Bill: When Politicians Shoot Laws
    In 1984, Ronald Reagan’s reëlection campaign broadcast an advertisement that became known as “Morning in America.” It was a soaring montage about a country that it described as “prouder and stronger and better” than ever. Written and narrated by Reagan’s adman Hal Riney, it featured a bride on her wedding day, a family in a new home, and the purple light of dawn breaking over the U.S. Capitol. The stagecraft, as much as any other factor, would enshrine Reagan’s particular brand of American optimism—gauzy, encompassing, non-specific—and it would inspire candidates ever since to attempt to conjure that energy again.
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 04.07.2014
    Chemical Valley
    The coal industry, the politicians, and the big spill.
    On the morning of Thursday, January 9, 2014, the people of Charleston, West Virginia, awoke to a strange tang in the air off the Elk River. It smelled like licorice. The occasional odor is part of life in Charleston, the state capital, which lies in an industrial area that takes flinty pride in the nickname Chemical Valley. In the nineteenth century, natural brine springs made the region one of America’s largest producers of salt. The saltworks gave rise to an industry that manufactured gunpowder, antifreeze, Agent Orange, and other “chemical magic,” as The Saturday Evening Post put it, in 1943. The image endured. Today, the Chemical Valley Roller Girls compete in Roller Derby events with a logo of a woman in fishnet stockings and a gas mask. After decades of slow decline, the local industry has revived in recent years, owing to the boom in cheap natural gas, which has made America one of the world’s most inexpensive places to make chemicals.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: News Desk
    Published: 04.02.2014
    China's Fifteen-Billion-Dollar Purge
    Imagine that Barack Obama, within a year of assuming the Presidency, quietly detained Dick Cheney—or Al Gore, if you prefer (partisan differences are not the point)—and seized his assets. From there, picture the new President moving outward, first detaining Lynne Cheney and the Cheneys’ daughters, then the daughters’ spouses, and then their drivers and secretaries and bodyguards, a broad range of senior executives from Cheney’s Halliburton days, and, finally, hundreds of businesspeople and officials who owed their careers to the powerful political family. This is, in effect, what we’re seeing in China today, and the question is what kind of political culture the purge will leave behind.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 03.21.2014
    China's Portraits of Grief
    On the sidewalks of Beijing this week, you pass by walls of grief. The newsstands have been replete with stories of the anguished relatives of the passengers on Malaysia Air Flight 370. Nearly two weeks since the plane disappeared, with two-hundred and thirty-nine people on board—two-thirds of them Chinese—the families of the missing are holed up in the Lido Hotel, on the east side of the capital. Until recently, the Lido was best known among the Chinese as an early outpost of consumer capitalism: in the first years after the People’s Republic opened itself to the world, the hotel’s name signified the possibility of finding a newspaper or an elusive computer cable. This week, the Lido has been synonymous with the special agony visited on a segment of Chinese society that is only beginning to acclimate to the risks of a life that carries its people farther and farther from home.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 03.11.2014
    A New China in "House of Cards"
    When the history of America’s onscreen visions of China is written, from Charlie Chan to “House of Cards,” it may be that a turning point came with a film that had almost nothing to do with China at all. Instead, it was one about the Middle East.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: News Desk
    Published: 03.03.2014
    After 3/1: The Dangers of China's Ethnic Divide
    Violence as savage and public as the massacre that took place at a Chinese train station on Saturday shocks the chemistry of a country in a way that years of more remote, simmering conflict do not. Acts of such spectacular violence exert unpredictable forces on the public and on the leaders who are charged with protecting it, transforming judgments of when and how to use force and decisions about what can be sacrificed in the name of security, as well as the definitions of citizenship, patriotism, and innocence. Rarely do they leave anyone better off than they were before.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 02.14.2014
    Too Much History: Can the U.S. and China Look Forward?
    History was interrupted on the morning of April 1, 2001, when an American EP-3E reconnaissance plane, carrying a crew of twenty-four, was flying over international waters about seventy miles off the Chinese coast. A Chinese jet approached; it collided with the American plane’s propeller and crashed to the sea. The Chinese pilot was killed. The damaged American plane dropped eight thousand feet in thirty seconds before its pilot regained control and made an emergency landing on the tropical Chinese island of Hainan. The crewmembers made a brief, unsuccessful effort to disable the intelligence equipment before the EP-3E was boarded and they were placed under arrest.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 01.31.2014
    Which Is More Corrupt: Virginia or Sichuan?
    As a transplant to the D.C. area from Beijing, I felt nostalgic as I read about the indictment of my new neighbors, the former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen. On January 21st, a federal grand jury charged the couple with accepting more than a hundred and forty thousand dollars in loans, vacations, and gifts from a friend and political patron named Jonnie R. Williams, Sr. He was seeking their help in touting his dietary supplement—a “wonder product” derived from tobacco.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: News Desk
    Published: 01.24.2014
    Why China Needs to Rethink the Way It Treats the Foreign Press
    An unusual collaborative investigation by journalists in the United States, Britain, Germany, Hong Kong, and elsewhere has refocussed attention on one of the Chinese government’s most neuralgic issues: the private wealth of top leaders and their families. The non-profit International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based in Washington, worked with more than fifty news organizations to analyze documents in a cache of two and a half million leaked files. The conclusion: “China has become a leading market for offshore havens that peddle secrecy, tax shelters and streamlined international deal making.”
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 01.17.2014
    The Trial of the Chinese Dream
    In the summer of 2009, the Chinese edition of Esquire ran a soft, glittery feature called “Chinese Dream.” It asked sixty high-profile people of one kind or another—actors, editors, public intellectuals—to explain their hopes for the future. One of them, wearing a high-fashion French-cuff shirt and a skinny tie (and bearing the self-conscious expression of a normal person who has been gussied up for a magazine shoot), was a local legislator and lawyer in his mid-thirties named Xu Zhiyong.
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 01.13.2014
    Confucius Comes Home
    Move over, Mao
    In my fifth year in Beijing, I moved into a one-story brick house beside the Confucius Temple, a seven-hundred-year-old shrine to China’s most important philosopher. The temple, which shared a wall with my kitchen, was silent. It had gnarled cypress trees and a wooden pavilion that loomed above my roof like a conscience. In the mornings, I took a cup of coffee outside and listened to the wakeup sounds next door: the brush of a broom across the flagstones, the squeak of a faucet, the hectoring of the magpies overhead.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: News Desk
    Published: 01.06.2014
    House of Cheney, Interrupted
    “Serious health issues have recently arisen in our family, and under the circumstances I have decided to discontinue my campaign.” With that message, on Monday morning, Liz Cheney ended her short, gruelling effort to dislodge Senator Mike Enzi, of Wyoming, and extend her clan’s political fortunes. Cheney, a mother of five, did not expand on those health issues, but her supporters said they concerned her kids, not her father, Dick, who had a heart transplant last year. In her statement, the younger Cheney made clear that she was giving up in order to reload, not retreat: “As a mother and a patriot, I know that the work of defending freedom and protecting liberty must continue for each generation.”
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Culture Desk
    Published: 01.06.2014
    Out Loud: Not So Far Away Anymore
    Between 2008 and 2013, Evan Osnos was The New Yorker’s China correspondent, reporting on everything from the country’s increasing demand for psychoanalysis to a Profile of the artist Ai Weiwei. Since the fall, he’s been reporting for the magazine from Washington, D.C., but he hasn’t left China completely behind. In the current issue of the magazine, Osnos reports on the revival of Confucianism in the country, after many years when it was in disfavor with the Communist Party. Here he discusses Confucianism, reporting from China, and his new Washington, D.C., beat with the editor of The New Yorker’s Web site, Nicholas Thompson.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 12.18.2013
    Next Year in China: Ten Stories to Watch
    For the past three years, I lived in the middle of Beijing’s fortune-telling district. Business is booming for the soothsayers beside the Lama Temple, as Chinese customers, facing a time of extraordinary uncertainty, seek otherworldly counsel. (In the spring, one of the purveyors, Mr. Guo, analyzed my birth date, time, and other mystical factors, and then looked up approvingly. “Good news,” he announced. “In the near future, you will begin to make considerable income on the side!”)
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 12.16.2013
    Strong Vanilla
    The relentless rise of Kirsten Gillibrand
    Kirsten Gillibrand, the junior senator from New York, needs to pick up her five-year-old son, Henry, from his after-school program by 6 p.m. For every minute she is late, the school charges ten dollars. At 5 p.m. on November 12th, a Tuesday, Gillibrand still had two votes to cast and a meeting with Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader. Her husband, Jonathan, a financial consultant, works in New York City during the week, and, on short notice, she couldn’t find a sitter who was available before six-thirty. She ducked out of the Capitol and returned shortly afterward with Henry. She sat down with him in Reid’s office, where he busied himself with chicken fingers, chocolate milk, and a game of tic-tac-toe.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: News Desk
    Published: 12.06.2013
    The Meaning of China's Crackdown on the Foreign Press
    The Chinese government is threatening to expel nearly two dozen foreign correspondents, working for the Times and Bloomberg News, in retaliation for investigations that exposed the private wealth of Chinese leaders. It is the Chinese government’s most dramatic attempt to insulate itself from scrutiny in the thirty-five years since China began opening to the world. We won’t know if it’s prepared to follow through on the threat for another week or two, when correspondents’ annual visas begin to expire. So far, it has declined to renew them.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 11.19.2013
    What Will It Cost to Cover China?
    The Chinese Communist Party generated hopeful headlines this month by acknowledging that it faces a time of reckoning: to prevent economic peril and rising unrest, the Party promised to overhaul the economy, to allow more parents to have two children instead of only one, and to end the arbitrary “reëducation through labor” system, among other changes. This is an attempt at political inoculation—the Party is betting that giving its people a heavier dose of autonomy will raise their immunity against the full infection of democracy. In case there was any confusion about the goal, the Party reiterated its determination to fortify its control of the country and to ward off the influx of values and information that it finds threatening.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: News Desk
    Published: 10.31.2013
    Tiananmen Mystery: Can China Hold an Open Terror Trial?
    A deadly crash of an S.U.V. beside Tiananmen Square this week was a mystery from the moment it happened. The car, apparently carrying several people, veered off of Beijing’s main thoroughfare, the Avenue of Eternal Peace, on a busy Monday afternoon. It headed down a sidewalk full of tourists and pedestrians, and then collided with the marble Jinshui Bridge. The car burst into flames. Five people died, including the car’s occupants, and forty were injured. The site—at the gate of the Forbidden City, a few hundred yards from where Chinese leaders were meeting—is so central to Beijing political authority that it seemed to be an event calibrated for maximum attention.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 10.23.2013
    China's Plutocrats With Opinions
    Wang Gongquan, who was charged in Beijing on Sunday with “assembling a crowd to disrupt order,” hardly fits the profile of a classic Chinese political activist. He doesn’t lead a threadbare life on the margins of an increasingly prosperous society. He doesn’t scrape by on a mixture of tiny grants, consulting fees, and the sale of obscure essays. On the contrary, Wang, who is fifty-two, is a plutocrat, one of China’s most famous venture capitalists.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: News Desk
    Published: 10.01.2013
    Welcome to the United States: The Shutdown Edition
    I started working as a reporter in Washington on October 1, 2013, the day the government stopped working. That was an accident; when I picked the day from the calendar, months ago, a G.O.P. congressman was not describing members of his party as “lemmings with suicide vests,” and the Senate Majority Leader had yet to inquire after the mental health of what he now calls the “banana Republicans.”
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Currency
    Published: 08.18.2013
    How to Get Hired in China: The JPMorgan Case
    The Times reported this weekend that the anti-bribery unit of the S.E.C. is investigating whether JPMorgan hired the children of high-ranking Chinese officials in order to help win deals. Of all the allegations of bribery lodged in recent years against foreign businesses in China—the U.S. probe of casino boss Sheldon Adelson, the Chinese detention of executives at GlaxoSmithKline—the latest is likely to produce dyspepsia in corporate suites in Beijing and Shanghai, where bright, fresh-faced hires are sometimes known less by their credentials than by their parentage.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 05.02.2013
    Reading "Gatsby" in Beijing
    The ad copy for the colorful men’s dress shirts sold by the Chinese fashion label Masa Maso invites the shopper to recall the lesson of the “The Amazing Gai-Ci-Bi”—or, as it’s known in the West, “The Great Gatsby.” “Don’t forget,” the ads warn, “that as soon as the protagonist, Gatsby, obtained fame and fortune, he went out and bought beautiful, brightly colored shirts that transformed his image in Daisy’s eyes. It’s true: put on a flower-print shirt, and it will show you the door to a whole new world!”
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 03.08.2013
    Will the Middle Class Shake China?
    In 2002, the Chinese Communist Party faced a political puzzle: After half a century of denouncing bourgeois middle-class values, how could the political élite embrace the rising ranks of entrepreneurs, intellectuals, and technocrats that the country increasingly relied upon to drive its economic rebirth?
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 01.31.2013
    On Slow Journalism
    I once asked my friend Paul Salopek for some thoughts on a writing project. He was a logical source of expertise, having won a couple of Pulitzers for his work around the world, though in this case my interest was more specific to his skills. I was going to spend a few weeks on foot, walking through rural Sichuan Province, and Paul was something of an expert on hoofing it, having walked two hundred and thirty days down the Sierra Madre, and having traipsed large swathes of Africa, Afghanistan, and the Amazon, among other places.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 12.11.2012
    The "Just Sisters" Defense: China's Sex-Scandal Surge
    Faced with a sex scandal of breathtaking tackiness, a Chinese police district could be forgiven for feeling perhaps a flicker of relief last week when someone in the office stumbled on what must have felt like good news under the circumstances—a detail that, at last, would not add to the humiliation heaped upon the brave men and women in blue in the county of Usu.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 11.23.2012
    Black Friday in Red China
    The Chinese answer to Black Friday came on a Monday this month. Singles Day, as it’s known, traces its roots to lovelorn college students in the nineteen-nineties who wanted a Valentine’s Day for the unattached, an excuse to swap gifts and treat each other to dinner. This year’s Singles Day, on November 11th—11/11—generated an orgy of consumption on a level the world has rarely seen.
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  • The New Yorker Blog: Daily Comment
    Published: 10.26.2012
    Brother Wristwatch and Grandpa Wen: Chinese Kleptocracy
    Two days after Americans go to the polls, China will embark with great fanfare on its own leadership transition, anointing a new generation of men—and they almost certainly will all be men—to run the country for the next ten years. A team of seven, the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party, will intone their official priorities for the new term: economic rebalancing, technological innovation, and territorial integrity, among other things. There is one issue that they will not emphasize, but it is more essential to their Party’s survival than any other: combatting corruption.
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 10.22.2012
    Boss Rail
    The disaster that exposed the underside of the boom.
    On the morning of July 23, 2011, passengers hurried across Beijing South Station at the final call to board bullet train D301, heading south on the world’s largest, fastest, and newest high-speed railway, the Harmony Express. It was bound for Fuzhou, fourteen hundred miles away. Beijing South Station is shaped like a flying saucer, its silvery vaulted ceiling illuminated by skylights.
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 08.06.2012
    The Burmese Spring
    A brutal regime’s shift toward democracy surprised nearly everyone. How did it happen?
    They have relaxed media censorship, legalized the right to unionize, and allowed members of the main opposition party to compete for office; they have also distanced themselves from Burma’s longtime patron, China. Burma’s opening has so far defied the narrative logic we’ve come to associate with political transformation. The world has witnessed more than a hundred attempts to end authoritarianism in the past twenty-five years, but the top-down, bloodless variety is rare.
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 05.14.2012
    The Love Business
    With the country’s new freedoms, choosing a mate has become ever more complicated.
    ABSTRACT: LETTER FROM CHINA about Jiayuan (Beautiful Destiny), China’s largest online dating service. Of all the upheavals in Chinese life in the past three decades, there is perhaps none more intimate than the opportunity to choose one’s mate. For years, village matchmakers and parents, factory bosses and Communist cadres efficiently paired off young people with minimum participation from the bride and groom.
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 04.09.2012
    The God of Gamblers
    Why Las Vegas is moving to Macau.
    In the late summer of 2007, a fifty-year-old former barber named Siu Yun Ping began making regular visits from his village, in Hong Kong, to the city of Macau, the only Chinese territory where it is legal to gamble in a casino. Macau sits on a horn of rocky coastline, where the Pearl River washes into the South China Sea.It’s about a third the size of Manhattan, covering a tropical peninsula and a pair of islands that look, on a map, like crumbs flaking off the mainland.
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 07.04.2011
    The Han Dynasty
    How far can a youth-culture idol tweak China’s establishment?
    ABSTRACT: LETTER FROM CHINA about novelist, essayist, blogger, and race-car driver Han Han. In the global canon of teen-angst literature, Han’s debut novel, “Triple Door” was tame, but in China it was unprecedented: a scathingly realistic satire of education and authority, written by a nobody.“Triple Door,” published in 2000, went on to sell more than two million copies, putting it among China’s best-selling novels of the past two decades.
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  • Condé Nast Traveler
    Published: 05.2011
    City of Dreams
    The Chinese zeitgeist novel of the year—the book that everyone is talking about but nobody dares to publish on the mainland—is Shengshi: Zhongguo, 2013, a send-up of Beijing in the very near future. Known in English as The Fat Years, the book describes a flamboyantly prosperous city strutting its newfound diplomatic, financial, and creative muscle. But what sets the novel's depiction of Beijing apart from the usual go-go portrayal and turned the book into a sensation is that it captures the question on the lips of Chinese elites these days: What is the price of national success?
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 04.18.2011
    The Grand Tour
    Europe on fifteen hundred yuan a day.
    For several millennia, ordinary people in China were discouraged from venturing beyond the Middle Kingdom, but before the recent New Year’s holiday—the Year of the Rabbit began on February 3rd—local newspapers were dense with international travel ads. It felt as if everyone was getting away, and I decided to join them.When the Chinese travel industry polls the public on its dream destinations, no place ranks higher than Europe.
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 03.28.2011
    Aftershocks
    A nation bears the unbearable.
    The afternoon of Friday, March 11th, was cool and partly cloudy on the northeast coast of Japan’s main island, a serene stretch once known as the nation’s “back roads.” At 2:46 P.M., as schools were beginning to let out, the ground began to shake. It was violent even by Japan’s standards—the thundering went on for five minutes—and before long Japanese television was warning of a wave charging west across the Pacific Ocean at the speed of a jet.
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 01.10.2011
    Meet Dr. Freud
    Does psychoanalysis have a future in an authoritarian state?
    ABSTRACT: LETTER FROM CHINA about increasing demand for psychoanalysis among the Chinese. Writer tells about Elise Snyder, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Yale who, in 2001, began recruiting American analysts to provide analysis to Chinese patients over the Web via Skype. The concept of discussing private troubles and emotions with a stranger runs counter to some powerful Chinese beliefs. For most of Chinese history, mental illness carried a stigma of weakness.
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 10.11.2010
    Boom Doctor
    Can the Chinese miracle continue without reform?
    ABSTRACT: DEPT. OF ECONOMICS about economist Justin Yifu Lin and the development of the Chinese economy. Lin is the first Chinese citizen—or citizen of any developing country—to serve as the chief economist of the World Bank. He is a gentler presence as chief economist than some of his predecessors, including Joseph Stiglitz and Larry Summers.
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 10.04.2010
    The Next Incarnation
    As the Dalai Lama turns seventy-five, what is Tibet’s future?
    ABSTRACT: A REPORTER AT LARGE about the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual and political leader of Tibet, settled in Dharamsala, India, half a century ago, after rejecting China’s claims to his homeland and trekking over the mountains. Today, Dharamsala is the capital for more than a hundred and fifty thousand Tibetans in exile worldwide.
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 05.24.2010
    It's Not Beautiful
    An artist takes on the system.
    The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei lives and works on the northeast edge of Beijing, in a studio complex that he designed for himself, a hive of eccentric creativity that one friend calls “a cross between a monastery and a crime family.” Airy buildings of brick and concrete surround a courtyard planted with grass and bamboo. Ai and his wife, Lu Qing, also an artist, inhabit one side of the yard, and several dozen assistants occupy the other.
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 03.08.2010
    The Daley Show
    Dynastic rule in Obama’s political birthplace.
    ABSTRACT: LETTER FROM CHICAGO about Mayor Richard M. Daley. A Daley has ruled Chicago for forty-two of the past fifty-five years. The dynasty endures in part because many voters remember what the city was like without them: in the thirteen years between Richard J. Daley (the Old Man) and his son Richard M. Daley, Chicago churned through five mayors. In the city that Martin Luther King, Jr., once called the Birmingham of the North, Daley has presided during two decades in which race has receded, if not into the background, then into the din of city politics.
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 12.21.2009
    Green Giant
    Beijing’s crash program for clean energy.
    On March 3, 1986, four of China’s top weapons scientists—each a veteran of the missile and space programs—sent a private letter to Deng Xiaoping, the leader of the country. Their letter was a warning: Decades of relentless focus on militarization had crippled the country’s civilian scientific establishment; China must join the world’s xin jishu geming, the “new technological revolution,” they said, or it would be left behind. They called for an élite project devoted to technology ranging from biotech to space research. Deng agreed, and scribbled on the letter, “Action must be taken on this now.”
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 11.23.2009
    Reds
    The creation of a wine-loving class.
    ABSTRACT: LETTER FROM CHINA about wine in China. Donald St. Pierre, Sr., founded A.S.C. Fine Wines in Beijing in 1996, in partnership with his son, Donald St. Pierre, Jr. In 1989, four years after St. Pierre arrived in China, Jim Mann, the former Beijing bureau chief for the L.A. Times, pronounced him “probably the single best-known businessman working in China.” Over the years, the St. Pierres had sold, or considered selling, baby products, gas masks, photocopiers, golf gloves, scrap metal, lingerie, and Chinese and Russian ammunition.
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 07.20.2009
    The Forbidden Zone
    How far can a provocative editor go?
    On May 12, 2008, Hu Shuli, the founding editor of the biweekly magazine Caijing, was hosting a ceremony for scholarship recipients at a hotel in the mountains west of Beijing. When a text message informed her that a powerful earthquake had struck the province of Sichuan, she leaned over to the man next to her, a veteran editor named Qian Gang, who had covered previous quakes, and asked him for a rough prediction of the damage.
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 05.11.2009
    The Long Shot
    Can China’s archly political auteur please the censors and himself—and still find a mass audience?
    ABSTRACT: A REPORTER AT LARGE about Chinese director Jia Zhangke. Describes Jia doing a fashion shoot for the Chinese edition of Esquire. Forty-eight hours earlier, Jia had been under palm trees at a gala hosted by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association where he received awards for Best Foreign-Language Film and for Best Cinematography for “Still Life,” his drama about the social and physical demolition wrought by China’s Three Gorges Dam.
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 03.30.2009
    Wastepaper Queen
    She’s China’s Horatio Alger hero. Will her fortune survive?
    ABSTRACT: LETTER FROM CHINA about billionaire Cheung Yan. At the age of fifty-two, Cheung Yan is known throughout China as the Queen of Trash. She earned her nickname by conquering an obscure niche: she buys mountains of filthy American wastepaper, hauls it to China at cheap rates, then pulps and reforms it into paperboard for boxes bearing goods marked “Made in China.” One of her factories is the largest paper mill in the world.
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 02.09.2009
    The Promised Land
    Guangzhou’s Canaan market and the rise of an African merchant class.
    ABSTRACT: LETTER FROM CHINA about Guangzhou’s Canaan market and the rise of an African merchant class. Joseph Nwaosu, a Nigerian exporter (the writer has changed his name), has yet to acclimate to the winter damp of Guangzhou, on China’s southern coast. Merchants from Nigeria, Mali, Ghana, and other African countries are arriving in Guangzhou in large numbers. Since the Canaan Export Clothes Trading Center opened, six years ago, similar markets, filled with African buyers and Chinese sellers, have arisen along the same block.
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 07.28.2008
    Angry Youth
    The new generation’s neocon nationalists.
    On the morning of April 15th, a short video entitled “2008 China Stand Up!” appeared on Sina, a Chinese Web site. The video’s origin was a mystery: unlike the usual YouTube-style clips, it had no host, no narrator, and no signature except the initials “CTGZ.” It was a homespun documentary, and it opened with a Technicolor portrait of Chairman Mao, sunbeams radiating from his head. Out of silence came an orchestral piece, thundering with drums, as a black screen flashed, in both Chinese and English, one of Mao’s mantras: “Imperialism will never abandon its intention to destroy us.”
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 04.28.2008
    Crazy English
    The national scramble to learn a new language before the Olympics.
    Accompanied by his photographer and his personal assistant, Li Yang stepped into a Beijing classroom and shouted, “Hello, everyone!” The students applauded. Li, the founder, head teacher, and editor-in-chief of Li Yang Crazy English, wore a dove-gray turtleneck and a black car coat. His hair was set off by a faint silver streak. It was January, and Day Five of China’s first official English-language intensive-training camp for volunteers to the 2008 Summer Olympics, and Li was making the rounds.
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  • The New Yorker
    Published: 02.04.2008
    The Boxing Rebellion
    In the sport that Mao banned, China’s hopes rest on one man.
    On a cold night in November, Zou Shiming, the captain of China’s national boxing team, arrived early for a banquet in his honor at a Chinese restaurant in a mall in Chicago, where the amateur world championships were being held. Zou is twenty-six, stands just under five feet five inches tall, and looks boyish enough to be a teen-ager, but wrinkles form beside his eyes when he smiles. The speck of a scar by his left eye is not from boxing but from a girl who once bullied him in school.
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