China veteran and Pulitzer prize winner Ian Johnson discusses his newest book Sparks: China’s Underground Historians and their Battle for the Future with Bao Pu at City Lights Live. First question: who are the underground historians? And how do they survive in China’s system and challenge the state’s efforts to whitewash its history.
The equity market is shunning China, and especially Hong Kong, says business analyst Shaun Rein to the Schwab Network. But it is for the wrong reasons, as the economy is still bad, but slowly recovering, he says. Retail sales are going up, employment is improving and FDI is coming back in 2024, so reasons are enough to take those positive signs into account.
In an in-depth account of his book Sparks: China’s Underground Historians and their Battle for the Future, author Ian Johnson explains how China’s rulers have been changing the country’s history to solidify their position. He quotes extensively the current generation of so-called underground historians, who use new technologies to reinstate their views on their history, for a talk at USC China Institute.
Foreigners have left China in large numbers, but the most important reasons were other than COVID-19, argues intercultural coach and consultant Gabor Holch in his video. Already before the coronacrisis, the exodus was taking place because economic growth was dropping, career opportunities for expats were diminishing and the expat community was already severely hit before the lockdowns, he argues.
During his life, former Prime Minister Li Keqiang was mainly remembered for being side-lined by Xi Jinping. But after his sudden death he might become a problem for his former boss, writes author Ian Johnson at the Council on Foreign Relations, as it might be used as a way for the hidden criticizing of Xi.
Xi Jinping has been building up a new government structure and the just-installed Central Financial Commission will be key in making financial decisions for the central government, says political analyst Victor Shih in the Financial Times. The “de facto watchdog, planner, and decision maker for China’s US$61tn financial sector, weakening the power of state institutions such as the People’s Bank of China and China Securities Regulatory Commission.”
China journalist, senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, and Pulitzer prize winner Ian Johnson discusses his time as a foreign correspondent in China since 1994. He was expelled in 2020 but returned to finish his latest book, Sparks: China’s Underground Historians and their Battle for the Future, in 2023. At the Asia Society for the China Books Review Launch, he is interviewed by his former colleague Dave Barboza.
While fixing the dropping birth rate in China might be challenging, improving the current position of single mothers should be a no-brainer, says author Zhang Lijia in the South China Morning Post. Some provinces have started to deal with the Sishengzi, or “secretly born child”, as a growing number of women do not want to marry, but still want to have a child, she writes.
China veteran Ian Johnson tells how he got expelled from China and what he found when he returned in 2023 to Foreign Affairs—and discovered what had changed over the past three years with COVID-19 hitting the country. He found a country is in stagnation, he tells in a gloomy diagnosis, although he also discovered dissent was not wholly stifled.
Xi Jinping has put much effort into rewriting China’s history. China expert Ian Johnson, author of Sparks: China’s Underground Historians and their Battle for the Future, looks at underground historians, and how they oppose that trend. He discusses his discoveries at NPR. “There are still people who are keeping alive the idea of a more decent, humane China that confronts its problems of the past and thereby lays the groundwork for a better China of tomorrow,” Ian Johnson says.