Foreign media too often focus on China’s crackdown on religion, but former foreign correspondent Ian Johnson, author of Sparks: China’s Underground Historians and their Battle for the Future, sees an opposite trend as China’s government started to support traditional faiths, in an effort to gain new legitimacy, he writes in the Council on Foreign Relations. Read More →

Journalist and author Ian Johnson discusses his latest book, Sparks: China’s Underground Historians and their Battle for the Future, at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, on why and how he came to write his book. Questions are asked by Orville Schell is the Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society in New York and Glenn Tiffert a distinguished research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a historian of modern China.Read More →

Inequality has been one of China’s central problems, writes author and journalist Zhang Lijia in the South China Morning Post. There is no shortage of efforts to fix it, she argues, and while China has dealt with poverty successfully, getting to common prosperity, as it is called, seems much harder to achieve.Read More →

Book reviews of Sparks: China’s Underground Historians and their Battle for the Future by China veteran and Pulitzer prize winner Ian Johnson start to come in, rightfully, like this overview in Public Discourse by Robert Carle. “In Sparks, Ian Johnson tells the stories of people such as Lin Zhao and Hu Jie—Chinese journalists and filmmakers who explore the darkest episodes of Chinese communism, often at great risk to themselves.”Read More →

China’s aging population is leaving the labor force while dropping consumer confidence discourages youngsters from marrying or having children. Business analyst Shaun Rein tells Reuters the country is heading for a demographic disaster, and raising the pension age is one inevitable measure the government should take.Read More →

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.Read More →

Author Ian Johnson recently published Sparks: China’s Underground Historians and their Battle for the Future, and discusses the dominance of women as underground historians with Jeffrey Wasserstrom at the Los Angeles World Affairs Council. Women are relative outsiders in China’s power structures which puts them in a good position to document the country’s history, he says.Read More →