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.
President Xi Jinping has touched down in the US for talks with US President Joe Biden in an effort to get the relations on track between both countries. China’s economy needs US investments, says Shanghai-based business analyst Shaun Rein at CNBC, but US firms fear Biden might announce more restrictions on trade with China. While the economy is doing bad, China is still the world’s largest retail market and the US cannot afford to stay away, he adds.
History called the communist party to save China, that is the way history is used by the party, says author Ian Johnson in a speech about his newly published book Sparks: China’s Underground Historians and their Battle for the Future in WorldOregon. But the official history doesn’t remain unchallenged. “Ian Johnson explores how some of China’s best-known writers, filmmakers, and artists have overcome crackdowns and censorship to forge a nationwide movement that challenges the Communist Party on its most hallowed ground: its control of history,” says the website.
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 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.
Leading economist Arthur Kroeber discusses China’s economic state and looks at the gloomy predictions from other economists. We do not have enough post-COVID-19 data to draw firm conclusions, he argues, and goes on to take down three schools of gloom in current economic thinking about China’s future, at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies.
Former China correspondent and author Ian Johnson was forced to leave the country in 2020 and revisited China earlier in 2023 for Foreign Affairs. He found a country in stagnation, that was used to double-digit growth, but lost its economic glamor, the former power base of the Communist Party. Strict government regulations changed China he knew. Also, information on his latest book Sparks: China’s Underground Historians and their Battle for the Future.