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The Chinese leadership’s campaign against Western lifestyles flies in the face of the growing number of young Chinese who study abroad or engage in youth exchanges with Western countries.

Interview with Zhang Jieping

The online platform “Initium” is one of several media start-ups in Hong Kong that defy tighter censorship and media controls in China. Within a year it has attracted more than two million regular readers although the site quickly got blocked on the mainland. Chief editor Zhang Jieping says there’s a huge appetite for independent journalism. In this new podcast she talks about how to keep up journalistic principles in a restrictive political environment.

After decades of silence between the Vatican and Beijing, Pope Francis has reached out to China’s Communist leaders to negotiate over the status of China’s party-led state church, the ordination of priests and the appointment of bishops. But many Chinese Catholics are rightfully sceptical whether their concerns will be considered.

Interview with Kaiser Kuo (via Young China Watchers)

Kaiser Kuo sees China's powerful Internet companies on a course of collision, not collusion with the central government. In this partner post, the former international communications director of Baidu, co-host of the Sinica podcast and founder of the rock band Tang Dynasty shares his views on the future of the Chinese tech sector and on his mission to build cultural bridges between China and the US.

The restructuring of the Communist Party’s youth organization has been interpreted as motivated by Xi Jinping’s inner-party rivalries. But an overhaul of the organization is in the interest of the entire Party if it wants to reach a new generation.

Interview with Lynette Ong (via Young China Watchers)

The centralization of power and crackdown on dissent under Xi Jinping is weakening, not strengthening the Party, according to Lynette Ong, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. In this interview, which was previously published on the blog of Young China Watchers, she talks about attempts to quell social unrest and about the challenges of land reform and rural-urban Migration.

MERICS research reveals that official Chinese media use events in Europe to discredit Western concepts of democracy while more market-oriented outlets offered a more differentiated assessment.

Interview with Alec Ash (via Young China Watchers)

Chinese millennials have high expectations for the future, but their ambitions often hit a wall of societal and political pressures, according to Alec Ash, the author of the portrait collection "Wish Lanterns." This interview was previously published on the blog of Young China Watchers, a MERICS partner. Young China Watchers is a global network of China-focused young professionals.

In times of slower growth, the Chinese government’s promise to abolish poverty in China by 2020 will be hard to keep. Beijing will have to actively support weak segments of Society.

Declaring the end of China’s one-child policy as a victory for civil liberties is premature. The Chinese government continues to intervene heavily in one of life’s most personal decisions and does not intend to give up control over family planning any time soon.

Interview with Daniel Leese

50 years after the start of the Cultural Revolution Xi Jinping tries to reconnect to China's Maoist heritage. But he won’t allow to mobilise the masses as Mao did, because he is afraid of losing control. Listen to Daniel Leese, professor of Chinese history at Freiburg University, in our MERICS Podcast.

China’s decision to subject foreign NGOs to strict government control has triggered international outrage. But the Overseas NGO Law, while further narrowing the space for political engagement in China, is not primarily an attempt to shut China off from Western influences. Rather, it is part of a strategy to develop a domestic – and domesticated – non-profit sector.

Donald Trump’s rants against China have not hurt his popularity in Chinese social media debates. China’s netizens view the Republican presidential candidate as a pragmatic businessman who could fix relations between the world’s two biggest economic powers. And many would certainly prefer him to Hillary Clinton. 

From book clubs to real estate and e-commerce – Ekkehard Rathgeber’s career in China mirrors the country’s tumultuous development since 1989. The German entrepreneur spoke about his experiences at the MERICS China Lounge.

Worker unrest mirrors China’s falling growth rates. A growing number of labour protests in the private construction and manufacturing sector may cause the government to reconsider its plans for much-needed reforms in the state sector.

Interview with Yuen-ying Chan

Media freedom in China has suffered under president Xi Jinping, and Professor Yuen-ying Chan agrees that these are hard times for Chinese journalists. In our MERICS Podcast, the director of the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at Hongkong University also argues that independent journalism in China still exists.

China's grand plan to become a football superpower are in line with a long list of ambitions to become No. 1 in the world - and its leaders are likely to pursue it with the same Determination.

Is the crack down on one of Hong Kong’s top newspapers a result of China’s stricter media policy or retaliation for a specific article? Or is it meant to boost the paper’s credibility as an independent news source before the impending takeover by Alibaba?

China's top entrepreneurs have stepped up their game to influence the country's political agenda. This year's National People's Congress provides evidence of that.

Like his predecessors, Xi Jinping has coined political terms to display visionary leadership. The evolution of these phrases provides a window into how political concepts are formed within the Party and how they are tested among the Public.

Like many other fragments of information that trickle out of the black box of China’s leadership, the new usage of the term “hexin” could mean several different—opposing—things.