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As many feared, the new law in practice seems designed to make life difficult for international organizations. Many foreign NGOs, especially those working in political sensitive areas like legal advocacy or political education, are left in legal Limbo.

Speaker interview with Fan Popo (范坡坡): Filmmaker and LGBT activist

Fan Popo is an independent filmmaker and LGBT activist based in Beijing. He studied screenwriting at the Beijing Film Academy. After his graduation in 2007 he became a leading figure of China's queer cinema scene. His documentaries on LGBT and gender issues have been screened at film festivals around the world.

Fan Popo spoke at a Young China Watchers (YCW) event at MERICS in Berlin in February 2017. 

China's new system of circuit tribunals improves citizens’ access to the justice system. But the regional courts under direct control of the Supreme Court also tighten the Communist Party’s grip over the judiciary.

(via The Diplomat)

Europe’s increasing police and judicial cooperation with China raises difficult questions, especially with regard to extradition. Governments should make sure the cooperation does not undermine international and European legal norms.

The Xi Jinping administration plans to institutionalize its anti-corruption campaign in a new powerful state organ, creating a permanent tool for investigation and prosecution. The reform suggests the introduction of extra-party supervision while it actually expands the CCP’s reach.

Government intervention has so far averted a crisis in China’s booming property market. But local and central efforts to prevent bubbles from building up have created new risks for the economy.

By Jessica Batke*, Julia Breuer and Matthias Stepan


Beijing has made good on its promise to make a greater number of high-level government documents available to the public. Yet the principle of CCP rule will ultimately define the boundaries of transparency.

Anna Wang and Matthias Stepan

China struggles to rein in the accumulation of public sector debt at the provincial and municipal level through new financing vehicles. The promotion of public-private partnerships (PPPs) will not solve the problem as long as many of the “private” partners in such infrastructure funding projects are state-owned enterprises.

Cheap internet-connected devices made in China are becoming a major threat to global IT security. China will have to regulate the “Internet of Things” so that everyday household items cannot be used to launch cyber attacks.

China has made impressive strides to increase the coverage of social policy programs like health insurance and old age pension plans. Yet slower economic growth and China's demographic challenges might make it difficult to continue the success Story.

Lecture by Kevin Rudd

China’s president Xi Jinping follows a grand strategy when he talks about a multipolar world and reform of global governance, according to former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd. In a lecture in Berlin, Rudd described China's efforts to push for change within the United Nations or through the creation of institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure and Development Bank (AIIB). „China is in the business of changing international institutions,“ said Rudd.

Xi Jinping’s programme to reform the Chinese military has been characterized as a high-risk venture by a strongman leader and as a radical break with the past. But this dominant narrative is flawed. Xi has avoided overt confrontations, and the management of the reforms so far is in line with historical precedents.

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.

The Chinese government claims to have made stunning progress in improving the human rights situation in the country through reforming its judicial system. But its new White Paper titled “New Progress in the Judicial Protection of Human Rights in China”, published on 12 September 2016, is a jumble of selective statistics and unsubstantiated Claims.

After an international tribunal rejected China's maritime claims surrounding its outposts in the Spratlys, China could try to use a number of planned offshore power platforms to justify the creation of expansive safety zones for their protection.

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.

Premier Li Keqiang receives scant international attention by China watchers who view Xi Jinping as the strong man at the top. Yet Li and the State Council have a bigger role than meets the eye.

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.

By Orville Schell (via ChinaFile)

By rejecting the ruling of the arbitration tribunal in The Hague China has diminished the chances of resolving its regional maritime disputes in a peaceful manner. This essay was originally published by ChinaFile, the online magazine of Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations.

China is a new player in the global knowledge economy dominated by Western countries and Japan, and to some extent by South Korea and Taiwan. Part two of this series assesses China’s potential to become a transformative force in global innovation.

In “China’s Core Executive”, the first MERICS Paper on China, international China experts examine decision-making structures and processes under Xi Jinping. To mark the publication’s launch, contributors debated their views in a MERICS China Dispute.

The dynamics of Chinese politics have changed considerably under Xi Jinping. In “China’s Core Executive”, the first MERICS Paper on China, international China experts examine decision-making structures and processes in Xi’s China. But before we start to debate leadership in China, Jessica Batke challenges us to check our own frame of reference.

The surge of Chinese FDI in Europe poses a novel challenge to investment regimes and competition policy. Policymakers should take concrete steps to deal with China's aggressive outbound industrial and technology policies and to prevent market distortions by state-controlled investors.