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ChinaTalk

Conversations exploring China's tech scene, economy and politics. Guests include a wide range of policy analysts, business professionals, journalists, and academics. Hosted by Jordan Schneider and published on Lawfare. Please consider supporting me via Patreon and check out the newsletter on Substack

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The best episodes ranked using user listens.

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From Beijing to Cairo: Peter Hessler on What Makes a Real Revolution

This week on ChinaEconTalk, Jordan speaks with veteran journalist Peter Hessler. Peter spent seven years in China as a correspondent for The New Yorker, followed by five years in Egypt. In this episode, Peter discusses his long and prolific career reporting on the society, politics, and culture of these two dynamic nations; he also considers the similarities and differences in the ways the Chinese and Egyptian people make sense of their respective places in the world based on their rich historical and cultural legacies. In addition, Peter reflects on the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, and contrasts it with the 2013 mass protests and eventual coup d'état in Cairo. Check out the ChinaEconTalk newsletter here, and please leave us a review on iTunes! Get bonus content on Patreon See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

1hr 18mins

7 Jun 2019

Rank #1

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Chasing the dragon: Fentanyl, China, and the opioid crisis

Puzzled by rising drug deaths at raves in the United States, author and investigative journalist Ben Westhoff set out to find answers. A Google search for “Buy fentanyl in China” took him down a rabbit hole that led to a face-to-face meeting with the CEO of a company selling fentanyl on Skype “all day long” and a drug lab in Shanghai. Ben tells Jordan the remarkable story. 5:06: The digital rabbit hole 9:20: Want to make fentanyl? Just Google it. 13:57: Between Heisenberg and Pfizer 22:17: How suppliers dodge U.S. Customs Get bonus content on Patreon See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

52mins

23 Oct 2019

Rank #2

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Little Red Book, Big Red Ideas: Part 1 of A Global History of Maoism

This week, in part 1 of a special two-part edition of ChinaEconTalk, Jordan interviews Professor Julia Lovell, author of the recently published book on Mao’s international legacy entitled Maoism: A Global History. In this episode, Lovell introduces the core tenets of Maoist thought and its complex impact on both the Chinese Communist Party and other, offshoot devotees around the world. She outlines the key events in Mao’s life, the events that helped shaped his ideology, his idea of “violent, tumultuous world revolution,” and the friction during the Cold War that eventually culminated in the Sino-Soviet split. Sign up here for the ChinaEconTalk newsletter.  Learn more about CLI here and use the promo code 'jordan' for $100 off any program. Quotes to listen for in this episode: 15:10: “Maoism, although it has this singular name, it doesn’t actually correspond to a single, unitary phenomenon...it’s a set of ideas and practices that is living and breathing that has been translated and mistranslated across different decades and across many different regions. And above all, it’s a set of often very contradictory ideas. And this is no coincidence because Mao himself was a great admirer of the idea of contradiction. He saw contradictions as possessing a kind of primal energy. He saw them as something that drove history on. So when there were contradictions in his own ideas or when he perceived them around him, he tended to embrace them. Inconsistency didn’t bother him.” 43:48: “The intellectual, political nub of it is that Mao feels that after Stalin’s death, Khrushchev is losing the Soviet Union, losing their revolutionary bite. They’re making nice with the United States and they’re turning their backs on the idea of a violent, tumultuous world revolution.” 46:03: “Throughout his career and particularly toward the end of his life, he consistently saw himself as a rebel, as an outlier, as someone who made trouble. You see this very strongly in the Cultural Revolution, but you also see this in the way he tries and often succeeds to provoke the Soviets.” Get bonus content on Patreon See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

1hr 1min

17 Jul 2019

Rank #3

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Sinocism's Bill Bishop on the Politics of Coronavirus

Bill Bishop, author of the Sinocism newsletter, comes on the show to discuss the new low in US-China relations. We start off talking about what China's response to coronavirus has taught us about the CCP and then go into the deeper forces behind why the Chinese government has started to blame America for creating the virus. We also touch on China-Taiwan relations, the role Sinocim plays in agenda-setting, as well as binge-able Chinese tv. Please consider donating to my show's Patreon. TV shows discussed: Da Jiang Da He: ENG SUB | Like A Flowing River - EP 01 [Wang Kai, Yang Shuo,Dong Zi Jian] The Longest Day in Chang An: 【ENG SUB】《长安十二时辰》第1集(易烊千玺 / 雷佳音 / 周一围)| 加入Caravan中文剧场会员,抢先独享全季内容! Xiao Huan Xi: 小歡喜 01 | A Little Reunion 01(黃磊、海清、陶虹等主演) Story of Yanxi Palace 延禧攻略 01 | Story of Yanxi Palace 01(秦岚、聂远、佘诗曼、吴谨言等主演) Get bonus content on Patreon See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

43mins

25 Mar 2020

Rank #4

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Online discourse and censorship in China

Jane Li, a Chongqing native and a technology reporter for Quartz, talks through some of the differences between Twitter and its Chinese equivalent, Weibo. She also discusses the website Douban, the lively and open discussion among its young users, and the threat that looming censorship poses to it. In addition, she provides details on why some Chinese internet users have turned their backs on Huawei in the wake of an extended jail term served by one of its employees.  4:10: Twitter vs. Weibo — what’s the difference? 6:52: The “China Twitter” maelstrom  11:06: Online discourse regarding the Hong Kong protests 14:23: What is “251” and how does it relate to Huawei? 20:04: The Douban online ecosystem Get bonus content on Patreon See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

38mins

11 Dec 2019

Rank #5

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AI Basic Research in China and the US

Who's spending big? Does it matter? Zach Arnold and Ashwin Acharya join the show to discuss their reports on Chinese public sector AI R&D spending and strengthening America's AI workforce. Do note this episode was recorded in late February.  Exit music Tricky Tricky by NINEONE / CREAM D / Yoken_Official / YYKBZ / WR/OC Patreon here.  Get bonus content on Patreon See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

30mins

22 May 2020

Rank #6

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An Alternative Vision of U.S.-China Relations with Jake Sullivan

Jake Sullivan served in the Obama administration as National Security Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden and Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. State Department. He currently teaches at Yale Law School. In this episode, Sullivan discusses his perspectives on the current U.S.-China relationship, his experiences working in the Obama administration and on the campaign trail with Hillary Clinton campaign, and the ways our relationships with other governments around the world are changing under Trump.  What to listen for on this week's ChinaEconTalk: 5:05: Reflections on the Obama years 19:03: A case for internationalism 27:46: Doing more to achieve less with China 45:20: The direction of U.S. foreign policy Get bonus content on Patreon See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

51mins

9 Oct 2019

Rank #7

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Outraged by the outbreak: Citizen journalism and coronavirus censorship

Tony Lin is a producer at Quartz for the web series Because China and an avid observer of Chinese online communities, such as Weibo. After the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, Tony noticed commentary being widely shared that, in other times, would have been censored immediately.  In this episode, Jordan and Tony create a timeline of the coronavirus, analyze the strikingly candid nature of online discussion in the early days of the outbreak, and explore broader themes of censorship and the role of media in Chinese society. If you’d like to support ChinaEconTalk, please consider donating to Jordan’s Patreon here.  You can also subscribe to his newsletter at chinaecontalk.substack.com. Get bonus content on Patreon See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

32mins

5 Feb 2020

Rank #8

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How China Can Take Over Tech

Douglas Fuller is an associate professor in the Department of Asian and International Studies at the City University of Hong Kong and the author of Paper Tiger, Hidden Dragons: Firms and the Political Economy of China’s Technological Development. In his book, Fuller explores a question that has hounded heads of state around the world for decades: How can a developing country get ahead in the tech sector? Drawing on the results of 499 interviews from experts over the course of 15 years, Fuller discusses China’s answer to this question in the context of its attempts to dominate the global semiconductor industry. Fuller and Jordan also touch on the transformative impact of the trade war and the concept of technology transfer and their implications for the immediate future of the Chinese tech sector.  Jordan’s newsletter is now available for sign-ups: chinaecontalk.substack.com. In the past few weeks, he’s translated articles on topics like the troubled future of VPNs in China, the role of “operations” in Chinese internet companies, and the rise of a cheese tea Starbucks slayer. What to listen for in this week’s ChinaEconTalk: 27:38: Chinese tech companies are often portrayed as monolithic, but in reality, the financial decisions that brought companies like ZTE and Huawei to the international stage are significantly different: “[Huawei CEO and founder] Ren Zhengfei — there was a method to his madness. He decided to forgo what were these rational incentive structures to just embrace state procurement and instead took a very high risk strategy of very early on looking abroad for contracts, for markets because he really wanted to hone Huawei’s capabilities by competing against the best… In contrast, a firm like ZTE was more than happy to be much more reliant on the Chinese marketplace when it went abroad. It sort of very much followed this [path of taking] China Development Bank subsidized loans to sell equipment in African countries where the leading foreign firms were not interested because the price points were so low.” 41:16: What should U.S. policy look like in regards to Chinese tech policy? In considering this question, Fuller notes: “Investment binges [by China] have wrecked certain markets… Now the United States is extrapolating forward. What if they do this in memory chips or other semiconductor products? Those two areas are of high concern, particularly when thinking about, ‘Well, are these natural outcomes, or not?’ And I would say the investment binges and the levels of subsidization of a lot of industrial investment in China, this obviously didn’t just happen because the market dictated it.” Get bonus content on Patreon See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

56mins

4 Sep 2019

Rank #9

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U.S. Foreign Policy in Asia

Mira Rapp-Hooper, senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, provides an overview of the history of U.S. foreign policy from Washington’s farewell address to the modern day. She also discusses the implications of a rising China for the future of U.S. alliances. 3:20: The costs of going it alone  10:41: Cold War “Great Power” competition 36:32: The Taiwan Strait crisis 41:47: Trump and the future of U.S. alliances Get bonus content on Patreon See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

52mins

2 Oct 2019

Rank #10

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Forging an Innovation Base Alliance

America has allies with solid tech. But can the US leverage these relationships to help preserve its technological edge over China? In this conversation, building off a recent CNAS report, Dan Kliman, Kristine Lee and Joshua Hitt dive deep into international defense innovation, Japan-China relations, and China's international tech ambitions.  Please consider donating to my Patreon and absolutely subscribe to my newsletter. I just published a two-part series on China's health QR codes and have a great piece on US-China relations coming out next week. Get bonus content on Patreon See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

40mins

30 Apr 2020

Rank #11

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How Chinese Governance Fundamentals Impact Health Care and National Security

How has the distinct nature of local-central relations in the Chinese system impacted its response to coronavirus? To discuss, we have on Ryan Manuel, managing director of Official China, a consultancy that goes deep into CCP regulations and policy. Ryan previously taught at KHU and ANU as well as worked for the Australian government. Our wide-ranging conversation filled with dashes of dark Aussie humor starts with COVID-19 and SARS and then broadens out into how the history of rural healthcare in China explains dynamics that impeded the initial Chinese response. Next, we focus on how Hu Jintao created a model of managing local central relations that Xi studied and took to the next level by scrapping collective responsibility and working through Party as opposed to government channels. Also, we're on the Lawfare Network now! Thanks to everyone at SupChina who has contributed to this show over the past years. SUBSCRIBE TO MY NEWSLETTER! Patreon here. Get bonus content on Patreon See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

1hr 27mins

13 Mar 2020

Rank #12

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Reinterpreting Beijing and its history

Jeremiah Jenne, history teacher, writer, and the man behind Beijing by Foot, is in the guest seat this week. He speaks with Jordan about the changes — both tangible and intangible — that Beijing has undergone in the last few decades. They chat about how Chinese history is reinterpreted through the lenses of different regimes, the ways in which this new history is presented to the world, and Beijing’s modernizing cityscape and the varied reactions it is met with. 10:57: Out with the old, in with the new 15:17: What to make of the Qing dynasty, with help from the CCP  27:40: An age of censorship 29:37: History is different in Beijing and Taipei Use promo code ChinaEconTalk for 20% off at https://www.outlier-linguistics.com/ Get bonus content on Patreon See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

49mins

13 Nov 2019

Rank #13

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Health QR Codes and the rise of a 'Digital Leviathan'

Dan Grover joins the show to discuss his recent piece on how Chinese tech firms have handled coronavirus, I read from a recent ChinaTalk newsletter on how some mainland commentators fear that QR Health Codes will create a 'digital leviathan,' and Ravish Bhatia of the Use Case podcast shares his coronastory from India. Please consider donating to ChinaTalk's patreon.  Get bonus content on Patreon See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

42mins

15 May 2020

Rank #14

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China tech policy and competition, with Paul Triolo

Paul Triolo, practice head of geotechnology at the Eurasia Group, sat down with Jordan to address some of the questions at the center of the U.S.-China tech relationship: the future of 5G research and innovation, persecutions of researchers and scientists from China based in the U.S., security concerns surrounding Huawei and Chinese-funded communications infrastructure, and more.  6:38: Current blind spots in Chinese tech policy 18:30: What does a “good” tech policy look like? 32:09: Is change possible under Xi Jinping? 42:16: What makes Huawei competitive? The Eurasia Group has no clients in the People's Republic of China. Get bonus content on Patreon See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

58mins

20 Nov 2019

Rank #15

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A walk down Chang’an Avenue, with Jonathan Chatwin

Can one street tell China’s story? Jonathan Chatwin, author of Long Peace Street: A Walk in Modern China, takes listeners on a tour of Chang’an Avenue, a major artery for traffic in central Beijing, which was also the scene of several critical moments in China’s modern history. Jordan and Jonathan discuss the symbolism of national buildings and monuments along it, and the role of the street as a place of protest and a part of China’s revolutionary history.  11:05: Baobaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery   20:22: The Beijing Museum 32:26: The Forbidden City 44:51: Chang’an Avenue, the sterile highway Get bonus content on Patreon See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

1hr 9mins

27 Nov 2019

Rank #16

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The Future of U.S.-China Economic Relations: The Case for Change

This week, ChinaEconTalk launches its “Future of U.S.-China Economic Relations” miniseries with an interview featuring Melanie Hart, a senior fellow and the director of China Policy at the Center for American Progress. At the Center, Melanie specializes in U.S.-China foreign policy and explores new opportunities for bilateral cooperation on topics such as energy, climate change, and cross-border investment. In this episode, she discusses the central arguments in two of her recent articles, "Mapping China's global governance ambitions" and "Limit, leverage, and compete: A new strategy on China,” and lays out her vision for what progressive U.S. policy making in response to new political trends in China might look like. Check out the ChinaEconTalk newsletter here, and please leave us a review on iTunes! Get bonus content on Patreon See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

55mins

22 May 2019

Rank #17

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The Future of U.S.-China Relations: Is ‘Collective Pressure' the Answer?

This week, in the second installment of the series “The Future of U.S.-China Relations” on ChinaEconTalk, Jordan speaks with Professor Hal Brands of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and Zack Cooper, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. In addition to offering some prescriptions for relieving some of the tension points in the U.S.-China relationship more generally, the pair discuss the major takeaways from their co-published paper in the Texas National Security Review, “After Responsible Stakeholder, What? Debating America’s China Policy.” Get bonus content on Patreon See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

53mins

14 Jun 2019

Rank #18

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Reform and Opening with Soviet Characteristics: Russian Perspectives on China’s Rise

This week on ChinaEconTalk, Jordan interviews Chris Miller, associate professor of international history at Tufts University and a specialist on Russian politics, economics, and foreign policy. Drawing on some of his recent publications, Miller discusses topics ranging from Sino-Soviet collaboration and competition to their respective economic and political reform programs in the 1970s and 80s. Miller concludes by exploring the significance of the collapse of the USSR in terms of the impression it made on Chinese officials, including Xi Jinping, and what this may suggest about the future of Chinese politics and the ongoing Sino-Russian relationship. As Xi himself is reported to have said during a closed-door meeting in 2012: “Why did the Soviet Union disintegrate? Why did the Soviet Communist Party collapse? … Finally, all it took was one quiet word from Gorbachev to declare the dissolution of the Soviet Communist Party, and a great party was gone. In the end nobody was a real man, nobody came out to resist.” What to listen for on this week’s ChinaEconTalk:  34:17: On the Soviet origins of Deng’s Reform and Opening strategy: “There was a period of learning [by China] from the Soviet Union in the 1950s right after the revolution...Deng picked that back up to a certain extent in the late 1970s...the goal was to give space to private enterprises in the countryside and to give space to farmers to operate without central Party control...Deng saw this and said, ‘I wonder if we can try something like this at home in China, and we can use Lenin to justify it.’” 52:15: “The CCP interpretation, which is also the interpretation of many in Russia today, is that it’s plausible to have had a strong man reform the economy but keep the party and the state as they were, and in my research that just seems extraordinarily implausible…in some ways the Xi Jinping view is the ‘have your cake and eat it too’ version, and the reality is the history doesn’t support that counterfactual.” Get bonus content on Patreon See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

1hr 4mins

15 Aug 2019

Rank #19