China Channel

The Chinese Doctor Who Beat the Plague

The Chinese Doctor Who Beat the Plague

In October 1910, a mysterious illness appeared in the city of Manzhouli, on the Russian and Chinese border. Meet the doctor who stopped a deadly epidemic from spreading to the rest of Asia and possibly beyond.

The Chinese Playwright Purged after Writing the National Anthem

The Chinese Playwright Purged after Writing the National Anthem

Anthems are tricky things. They are part of state pageantry but are also played ceremonially in public settings, such as sporting events, which are outside the immediate control of the state.

Changing the Guard

Changing the Guard

Coverage of China has always been a reflection of our own expectations and hopes, cast onto the tabula rasa of the high walls which surround the palace.

Reading Hillbilly Elegy in Beijing

Reading Hillbilly Elegy in Beijing

A review essay for the Los Angeles Review of Books on the similarities between the historical experience of the rural white working poor in the United States and a new generation of migrant workers in China's cities.

The Secret Sexual Life of Zhou Enlai and the Limits of Historical Knowledge

The Secret Sexual Life of Zhou Enlai and the Limits of Historical Knowledge

Retroactively outing a historical figure remains problematic, not because of the sex — Zhou Enlai may well have had erotic relations with other men — but because such studies are often methodologically flawed.

Out of Autocracy, Off the Shelves

Out of Autocracy, Off the Shelves

It is an unfortunate axiom of publishing in China that the best way for your book to gain international attention is to have the Chinese government make it unavailable to domestic readers.