369 episodes

A weekly discussion of current affairs in China with journalists, writers, academics, policy makers, business people and anyone with something compelling to say about the country that's reshaping the world.
A SupChina production, hosted by Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn.

Sinica Podcast SupChina

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    • 4.7 • 3 Ratings

A weekly discussion of current affairs in China with journalists, writers, academics, policy makers, business people and anyone with something compelling to say about the country that's reshaping the world.
A SupChina production, hosted by Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn.

    China in the Global South, with Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden

    China in the Global South, with Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden

    This week on Sinica, we kick off the new network show, the China-Global South Podcast, with a conversation with the show's hosts and co-founders of the China-Global South Project (formerly the China Africa Project), Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden. Kaiser chats with them about where the show is going, and common misconceptions about China's role in the Global South.

    1:45 – Reasons for launching the new China-Global South Podcast

    13:50 – What Washington’s framing of China’s activity in the Global South gets wrong

    19:24 – Explaining the lack of China expertise in Africa and the Global North

    25:27 – The unresolved history of Western colonialism in Africa

    28:44 – How Chinese statecraft navigates Africa’s colonial legacy

    36:00 – The infantilization of African agency

    45:03 – The limited development options of African stakeholders

    47:33 – China’s environmental impact on the Global South

    57:13 – How small states can effectively navigate great power politics

    A transcript of the podcast is available at TheChinaProject.com.

    Recommendations:

    Eric: Following Gyude Moore, Senior Policy Fellow at the Center for Global Development: @gyude_moore; Hannah Ryder; CEO of Development Reimagined: @hmryder; Ovigue Eguegu; Policy Analyst at Development Reimagined: @ovigweeguegu; and Christian-Geraud Neema; and Francophone Editor at the China-Global South Project: @christiangeraud

    Cobus: The Specter of Global China: Politics, Labor, and Foreign Investment in Africa by Ching Kwan Lee

    Kaiser: Chinese traditional bow maker AF Archery; The Way of Archery by Gao Ying, translated by Jie Tian and Justin Ma




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    • 1 hr 12 min
    Surveillance State: Authors Josh Chin and Liza Lin on their new book on China's tech-enhanced social controls

    Surveillance State: Authors Josh Chin and Liza Lin on their new book on China's tech-enhanced social controls

    This week on Sinica, Wall Street Journal reporters Josh Chin and Liza Lin join the program to discuss their new book Surveillance State: Inside China's Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control. From Urumqi to Uganda and from Hangzhou to the Bronx, the book explores every facet of technological surveillance from the technocratic mindset that birthed it to its spread, with Beijing's help, to many countries of the developing world. But it also examines the role that U.S. tech companies played in giving rise to it.

    6:05 – The story of Tahir Hamut: a Uyghur poet living under Xinjiang’s surveillance state 

    12:50 – Will the Xinjiang model for surveillance be expanded to other parts of China?

     16:37 – Is China actively pushing other countries to adopt its surveillance state practices?

     23:26 – The case of Hangzhou: the benefits of the “smart city” model 

     27:17 – Is there a fundamental difference between the concept of “privacy” in China and the West?

     30:55 – How Xu Bing’s film uses surveillance footage

    35:39 – What accounts for Chinese society’s changing views on privacy?

    40:12 – China’s tendency to apply an “engineering” mindset to fixing social problems

    47:57 – Assessing US companies’ role in enabling Chinese surveillance 

    52:27 – Devising a policy that effectively bans hardware used for Xinjiang surveillance

    1:01:03 – China’s new laws on digital data protection

    1:05:05 – What the social credit system’s popular narrative gets wrong

     1:10:40 – An example of Chinese propaganda fabricating the surveillance system’s success 

     1:14:29 – The future of privacy protection in China and the West

    A full transcript of this podcast is available at TheChinaProject.com.

    Recommendations:

    Liza: The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy

    Josh: The Backstreets: A Novel from Xinjiang by Perhat Tursun (translated by Darren Byler), a short novel about life for Uyghurs in modern China; The Wok: Recipes and Techniques: by Kenji Lopez

    Kaiser: After the Ivory Tower Falls: How College Broke the American Dream and Blew Up Our Politics and How to Fix It by Will Bunch

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    • 1 hr 26 min
    Yuen Yuen Ang on Xi Jinping, the Party bureaucracy, and authoritarian resilience

    Yuen Yuen Ang on Xi Jinping, the Party bureaucracy, and authoritarian resilience

    This week on Sinica, Kaiser welcomes back University of Michigan political scientist Yuen Yuen Ang, who discusses a recent piece in the Journal of Democracy titled "How Resilient is the CCP?" The essay examines how China's bureaucracy remains surprisingly competent and even relatively autonomous despite Xi Jinping's highly personalistic style of rule.

    3:51 – Summarizing debates on Chinese governance in the current China watcher field 

    8:43 – Defining the concept of institutionalization and contextualizing it to China

    13:39 – Explaining Xi’s bureaucratic objectives: maintaining competence but limiting autonomy

    18:57 – Remaining areas of autonomy for China’s state bureaucracy

    22:11 – Key areas where Xi weakened bureaucracy

    26:08 – Institutionalization prior to the Xi era 

    29:00 – Main sources of resilience and threat under Xi’s new model for authoritarianism 

    31:45 – Fundamental difference between Mao and Xi

    34:52 – The revival of state bureaucracy and technocrats after Mao’s death

    40:13 – How do we understand the tension between expertise and ideology in Xi’s governance agenda?  

    46:15 – Historical roots of technocracy in the Chinese government

    49:09 – The CCP’s technocratic bureaucracy as an integral source of resilience

    A complete transcript of this podcast is available on TheChinaProject.com.

    Recommendations: 

    Yuen Yuen: Chinese drama series Zǒuxiàng gònghé 走向共和 (Towards the Republic); and Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire by David Remnick

    Kaiser: Children of Earth and Sky, A Brightness Long Ago, and All the Seas of the World — a historical fantasy novel trilogy by Guy Gavriel Kay 

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    • 1 hr 13 min
    Avoiding the China Trap, with Jessica Chen Weiss

    Avoiding the China Trap, with Jessica Chen Weiss

    This week on Sinica, Kaiser welcomes back the Cornell political scientist Jessica Chen Weiss, who is back in Ithaca after a year spent as a CFR International Affairs Fellow working in the State Department's Office of Policy Planning. She talks about an important essay published in the latest edition of Foreign Affairs, titled "The China Trap: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Perilous Logic of Zero-Sum Competition,” which calls on the U.S. to formulate an affirmative vision for the relationship with China instead of pursuing an ad-hoc policy predicated simply on countering what China does.

    7:17 – Moving away from the current zero-sum framing of U.S.-China competition and adopting an “affirmative vision”

    12:29 – Shortcomings of the U.S. response to China’s strategy in the developing world

    15:11 – How competition with China framing has adverse consequences for domestic American politics  

    18:37 – Can the U.S. benefit from adopting certain aspects of the Chinese approach? 

    20:49 – The steps needed to return to normalized U.S.-China diplomacy

    25:00 – How can the US properly calibrate its China threat assessment? 

    34:05 – The relationship between China’s domestic challenges and its foreign policy

    A transcript of this podcast is available at TheChinaProject.com.

    Recommendations:

    Jessica: Stephen Walt and Dani Rodrik’s essay on a establishing a new global order in Foreign Affairs [forthcoming]; and After Engagement: Dilemmas in U.S.-China Security Relations by Jacques deLisle and Avery Goldstein

    Kaiser: The Lord of the Rings trilogy audiobooks narrated by Andy Serkis

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    • 45 min
    Is China's bubble finally about to pop? A conversation with Bloomberg Chief Economist Tom Orlik

    Is China's bubble finally about to pop? A conversation with Bloomberg Chief Economist Tom Orlik

    This week on the Sinica Podcast, Kaiser and Jeremy welcome back Tom Orlik, Bloomberg's chief economist and author of the book China: The Bubble that Never Pops. Ahead of the release of the new, updated edition of his book, we ask him about all that has changed in the two-and-a-half years since the publication of the first edition — and whether the real estate crisis, the Common Prosperity agenda, China's fraying foreign relations, or the COVID lockdowns are finally going to bring about the crash long predicted by the "China bears."

    4:40 – Tom offers a succinct summary of the chief arguments in the first edition of China: The Bubble that Never Pops

    8:05 – Is China looking quite as clever as it was four months ago?

    11:08 – The Chinese economy’s great COVID shutdown stress test

    13:53 – China’s stimulus response

    20:22 – The future of the Common Prosperity agenda

    25:49 – China’s push for tech self-sufficiency

    33:00 – China’s present real estate crisis

    38:15 – Xi Jinping’s priorities: triage for the ailing Chinese economy

    44:00 – How bad will the damage be from China’s 2022 lockdowns?

    A complete transcript of this podcast is available at TheChinaProject.com.

    Recommendations:

    Jeremy: The Parker series,: crime fiction by Richard Stark, pen name of Donald E. Westlake

    Tom: Surveillance State by Josh Chin and Liza Lin; and Coalitions of the Weak by Victor Shih

    Kaiser: The TV drama from Hulu, The Bear




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    • 55 min
    China's space program, with NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao

    China's space program, with NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao

    This week on Sinica, Kaiser and Jeremy welcome Leroy Chiao, a NASA astronaut who flew three shuttle missions and served as commander of the International Space Station for over six months. Leroy is also very knowledgeable about China's space program and was the first American astronaut to visit the Astronaut Center of China outside of Beijing. He discusses the abortive history of Sino-American space collaboration, attitudes toward China's space program in the U.S., and China's impressive accomplishments and its grand ambitions for space.

    4:27 – How Leroy became an astronaut

    9:09 – The effects of long-term weightlessness

    15:10 – Leroy’s access to the Astronaut Center of China

    18:16 – The peak years of Sino-U.S. collaboration in space exploration

    23:11 – The Wolf Amendment and the end of Sino-American space collaboration

    26:36 – Leroy on the most impressive accomplishments of the Chinese space program

    37:53 – U.S.-China competition as a driver of advances in space technologies

    48:04 – Sino-Russian space cooperation?

    49:12 – The weaponization of outer space

    52: 58 – Recommendations

    A complete transcript of this podcast is available on SupChina.com.

    Recommendations:

    Jeremy:  Nuremberg Diary by G.M. Gilbert.

    Leroy: Old Henry, a micro-Western film

    Kaiser: Putin by Philip Short; and a preview of a forthcoming paper about the Cyberspace Administration of China, CAC, written by Jamie Horsley

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    • 1 hr

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