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Made in China Journal: Volume 7, Issue 1, 2022 »

Publication date: August 2022
Cultural theorist Svetlana Boym famously distinguished two types of nostalgia: a restorative one that ‘manifests itself in total reconstructions of monuments of the past’; and a reflective one that ‘lingers on ruins, the patina of time and history, in the dreams of another place and another time’. But nostalgia is not necessarily only backward-looking. Rather, it can represent a feeling of longing for a future yet to be lost or even realised. For the historian Roxanne Panchasi, nostalgia may originate in the ways in which people anticipate and plan their lives around an expected future. This anticipated future, Panchasi intimates in her 2009 book Future Tense, ‘can tell us a great deal about the cultural preoccupations and political perspectives of the present doing the anticipating’. In these and other ways, nostalgia can actualise in cultural expression and performance within communities of nostalgia and as immersive environments that shine a light on past trauma to move closer to reconciliation. Contributors to this issue of the Made in China Journal explore the workings of nostalgia in people’s memories and spaces in China from a variety of perspectives to uncover how and why admirers of the Maoist and post-socialist eras express their longings for pasts real, imagined, and somewhere in between.
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East Asia Forum Quarterly: Volume 14, Number 2, 2022 »

Publication date: June 2022
Once, the internet and world wide web promised a world of seamless connectivity for anyone with access to a digital device. As connectivity costs fell, the workplace became mobile, and digitalisation transformed industrial sectors, the laissez-faire agenda of digital developmentalists appeared to align with and promote democratic ideals. That was then. Today, even as cloud computing and digital transformation agendas have become mainstream, it is clear the threat of digital fragmentation must be actively addressed. As different rules around privacy, cybersecurity and digital sovereignty emerge to thwart interoperability, fragmentation is impacting both governance and infrastructure. Digital borders in China, cross-border data restrictions in Europe and America’s disavowal of Chinese telecom equipment make for increasing disconnection. The articles in this EAFQ examine where commonalities are possible in the digital economy, and where we may expect more clashes than cross-cutting frameworks.
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Contradiction »

Edited by: Linda Jaivin, Esther Sunkyung Klein, Sharon Strange
Publication date: May 2022
In the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the many facets of crisis—the theme of last year’s China Story Yearbook—fractured into pictures of contradiction throughout Chinese society and the Chinese sphere of influence. Contradiction: the ancient Chinese word for the concept holds within it the image of an unstoppable spear meeting an impenetrable shield. It describes a wide range of phenomena that English might express with words like conflict, clash, paradox, incongruity, disagreement, rebuttal, opposition, and negation. This year’s Yearbook presents stories of action and reaction, of motion and resistance. The theme of contradiction plays out in different ways across the different realms of society, culture, environment, labour, politics, and international relations. Great powers do not necessarily succeed in dominating smaller ones. The seemingly irresistible forces of authoritarianism, patriarchy, and technological control come up against energised and surprisingly resilient means of resistance or cooptation. Efforts by various authorities to establish monolithic narrative control over the past and present meet a powerful insistence on telling the story from an opposite angle. The China Story Yearbook: Contradiction offers an accessible take on this complex and contradictory moment in the history of China and of the world.
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East Asia Forum Quarterly: Volume 14, Number 1, 2022 »

Publication date: March 2022
Economic cooperation in East Asia has progressed in its own distinct way, and the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in 2019 is a huge achievement of strategic significance that pushes back against threats to the multilateral system. RCEP is the world’s largest regional pact in terms of GDP, trade volume, foreign direct investment and population. This issue of East Asia Forum Quarterly looks at RCEP going forward, the ways Asia’s largest economies are embracing the deal, the supply chain and manufacturing trends that are emerging and the RCEP framework for dealing with issues beyond those already negotiated.
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International Review of Environmental History: Volume 8, Issue 1, 2022 »

Edited by: James Beattie, Brett Bennett
Publication date: March 2022
This timely special issue of the International Review of Environmental History focuses on animals and epidemics in modern East Asia. The global pandemic of Covid-19 has forced us to think more deeply about the interrelations between animals, both human and non-human, and epidemics. Moreover, the intense attention on East Asia in this context demands that we study the region in the thematic matrix of health, environment, animals, sociocultural traditions, and geopolitics. This collection comprises two parts. The first part consists of three research articles and an extensive commentary. The articles examine, respectively, rabies and rabid dogs in early twentieth-century China, venomous snakes and tropical medicine in colonial Taiwan, and epidemics and animal rights movements in contemporary China. The second part includes three reflective essays on topics of immediate relevance: animals and health campaigns in Mao-era China; insects, particularly silkworms, in vaccine research; and the dominant but flawed scientific paradigm of emerging zoonotic epidemics. The essays are followed by a broad commentary that provides a global and comparative perspective.
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Made in China Journal: Volume 6, Issue 3, 2021 »

Edited by: Ivan Franceschini, Nicholas Loubere, Shui-yin Sharon Yam
Publication date: 2022
In 2019 and 2020, Hongkongers witnessed—and, in many cases, participated in—one of largest and most exacting grassroots movements in the city’s history. Triggered by a proposed Extradition Bill and fuelled by a decades-long struggle for democracy and political freedom, the decentralised protest quickly seeped into the city’s everyday life. While some of the protestors confronted the police in black blocs, others participated in strikes, sit-ins, and economic boycotts. To suppress the movement, the Hong Kong police deployed an alarming use of force and violence. To put an end to the movement once and for all, in June 2020 the Chinese and Hong Kong government abruptly implemented the National Security Law (NSL), effectively rendering any expressions of dissent seditious and illegal. Since then, prominent pro-democracy activists and politicians have either gone into exile or have been imprisoned under the NSL; books penned by activists have been removed from the shelves of public libraries; key historical events and political concepts have been censored from textbooks; and around 60 advocacy groups and independent media outlets were forced to disband. Given the chilling effect of the NSL, many Hongkongers have chosen to emigrate. Amid this ongoing crackdown, this issue of the Made in China Journal takes stock of the aftermath of the protest movement and reflects on the sociopolitical changes that are taking place in Hong Kong’s political and civil society in the post-NSL era.
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Xinjiang Year Zero »

Publication date: January 2022
Since 2017, the Chinese authorities have detained hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities in ‘reeducation camps’ in China’s northwestern Xinjiang autonomous region. While the official reason for this mass detention was to prevent terrorism, the campaign has since become a wholesale attempt to remould the ways of life of these peoples—an experiment in social engineering aimed at erasing their cultures and traditions in order to transform them into ‘civilised’ citizens as construed by the Chinese state. Through a collection of essays penned by scholars who have conducted extensive research in the region, this volume sets itself three goals: first, to document the reality of the emerging surveillance state and coercive assimilation unfolding in Xinjiang in recent years and continuing today; second, to describe the workings and analyse the causes of these policies, highlighting how these developments insert themselves not only in domestic Chinese trends, but also in broader global dynamics; and, third, to propose action, to heed the progressive Left’s call since Marx to change the world and not just analyse it. ‘Xinjiang Year Zero provides an analysis of the processes of dispossession being experienced by Uyghurs and other indigenous peoples of China’s Uyghur region that is sorely needed today. Most politicians and their followers today, whether on the left or the right, view what is happening to the peoples of this region through a twentieth-century lens steeped in dichotomies that are obsolete in describing the nature of states today—those of capitalism vs socialism and democracy vs totalitarianism. The contributors to this volume explore what is happening in Xinjiang in the context of the twenty-first century’s racialised and populist-fuelled state power, global capitalist exploitation, and ubiquitous surveillance technology. At the same time, they invite the reader to reflect on how the processes of dispossession in the Uyghur region during the twenty-first century are repeating the colonial practices of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that have shaped our current global system of inequality and oppression. The result offers an analysis of what is happening in Xinjiang that emphasises its interconnectedness to what is happening around us everywhere in the world. If you believe that the repression in this region is a fabrication to ‘manufacture consent’ for a cold war between the “West” and China, you need to read this book. Afterwards, you will understand that if you want to stop a return to the twentieth-century geopolitical conflicts embodied in the idea of a cold war, you must establish solidarity with the Indigenous peoples of China’s northwest and call for the end to the global processes fuelling their dispossession both inside China and outside.’ — Sean R. Roberts, Director of International Development Studies, The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, and author of The War on the Uyghurs ‘Xinjiang Year Zero provides a highly readable and utterly necessary account of what is happening in Xinjiang and why. By showing how the mass detentions of Uyghurs and other Xinjiang Muslims are linked to both global capitalism and histories of settler colonialism, the edited book offers new ways of understanding the situation and thus working toward change. A must-read not only for those interested in contemporary China, but also for anyone who cares about digital surveillance and dispossession around the globe.’ — Emily T. Yeh, University of Colorado Boulder, author of Taming Tibet: Landscape Transformation and the Gift of Chinese Development ‘The crisis in Xinjiang has engendered its own crisis of interpretation and action at a time of growing geopolitical rivalry: how to condemn the atrocities without supporting hawkish voices, particularly among US politicians, who seek to Cold War-ise the US relationship with “Communist China”? How to critique China for colonialism, racism, assimilationism, extra-legal internment, and coerced labour when many Western nations are built on a history of those same things? Xinjiang Year Zero not only provides non-specialists a thorough, readable, up-to-date account of events in Xinjiang. This much-needed book also offers a broader framing of the crisis, drawing comparisons to settler colonialism elsewhere and revealing direct connections to global capitalism and to the rise of technological surveillance everywhere.’ — James A. Millward, Georgetown University, author of Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinjiang
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A Genealogy of Bamboo Diplomacy »

The Politics of Thai Détente with Russia and China

Authored by: Jittipat Poonkham
Publication date: January 2022
In 1975, M.R. Kurkrit Pramoj met Mao Zedong, marking the eventual establishment of diplomatic relations and a discursive rupture with the previous narrative of Communist powers as an existential threat. This book critically interrogates the birth of bamboo (bending with the wind) diplomacy and the politics of Thai détente with Russia and China in the long 1970s (1968–80). By 1968, Thailand was encountering discursive anxiety amid the prospect of American retrenchment from the Indo-Pacific region. As such, Thailand developed a new discourse of détente to make sense of the rapidly changing world politics and replace the hegemonic discourse of anticommunism. By doing so, it created a political struggle between the old and new discourses. Jittipat Poonkham also argues that bamboo diplomacy – previously seen as a classic and continual ‘tradition’ of Thai-style diplomacy – had its origins in Thai détente and has become the metanarrative of Thai diplomacy since then. Based on a genealogical approach and multi‑archival research, this book examines three key episodes of Thai détente: Thanat Khoman (1968–71), M.R. Kukrit Pramoj (1975–76), and General Kriangsak Chomanan (1977–80). This transformation was represented in numerous diplomatic/discursive practices, such as ping‑pong diplomacy, petro‑diplomacy, trade and cultural diplomacy, and normal visits.
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East Asia Forum Quarterly: Volume 13, Number 4, 2021 »

Publication date: December 2021
Surrounded by great powers, South Korea has weathered the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic in its own unique way. Aspirations for greater autonomy and self-reliance are also driving significant changes to Seoul’s political and security postures amid intensifying regional tensions, and serve as a backdrop as South Koreans elect their next president in early 2022. This East Asia Forum Quarterly examines how South Korea is confronting the big challenges of our time, including public health, green energy, political polarisation, minority rights, denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula and the global rise of K-pop.
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Made in China Journal: Volume 6, Issue 2, 2021 »

Publication date: December 2021
Since its announcement in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has become the main lens through which both observers and stakeholders trace China’s global footprint. Whether cheered on as a new engine of economic development in a fraught and increasingly unequal world or frowned on as a masterplan through which the Chinese authorities are attempting to establish global hegemony, the infrastructure component of the BRI has become such an important frame in discussions of Global China that less tangible aspects that are not in its purview tend to be lost or overlooked. One of these neglected dimensions is China’s long history of international engagement aimed at building economic, political, social, and cultural ties in both the Global North and the Global South. Frequently, we tend to forget how the international presence of Chinese actors we are currently observing did not just happen overnight, but was built on decades of experience of China’s interaction with the rest of the world. In the belief that examining these historical precedents can help us shed light on both the continuities and the discontinuities in the practices of today and that only by digging into the dirt of history can we excavate the roots of the dynamics we are witnessing, this issue is dedicated to the ‘archaeologies of the BRI’.
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