‘I Have No Future’: China’s Rebel Influencer Is Still Paying a Price

In November 2022, Li Ying was a painter and art school graduate in Milan, living in a state of sadness, fear and despair. China’s strict pandemic policies had kept him from seeing his parents for three years, and he was unsure where his country was heading. In China, after enduring endless Covid tests, quarantines and lockdowns, people staged the most widespread protests the country had seen in decades, many holding roughly letter-size paper to demonstrate defiance against censorship and tyranny, in what has been called the White Paper movement. Then…

Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen Criticized for Comments on Reporter’s Chinese Nationality

Gov. Jim Pillen of Nebraska is facing criticism after he dismissed a news article about environmental concerns at his hog farms, saying that the reporter who wrote it was from “Communist China.” The reporter, Yanqi Xu, 27, revealed her findings in an article published Sep. 7 by The Flatwater Free Press that detailed nitrate levels “far above” the legal drinking water limit at more than a dozen farms owned by Mr. Pillen, a Republican. While the farms had brought prosperity to Platte Center, a village about 60 miles northwest of…

China Releases Australian Journalist Cheng Lei

Cheng Lei, an Australian journalist who was held in Beijing for more than three years, has returned to Australia, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Wednesday. Mr. Albanese said Ms. Cheng had been reunited with her two young children in Melbourne. “Her return brings an end to a very difficult few years for Cheng and her family,” Mr. Albanese said at a news conference on Wednesday. Ms. Cheng, who worked for China’s global television network, was detained in Beijing in August 2020 and formally arrested later on suspicion of sharing…

Book Review: ‘Sparks,’ by Ian Johnson

SPARKS: China’s Underground Historians and Their Battle for the Future, by Ian Johnson By now, it is almost clichéd to compare political misrule to the dystopia that Orwell conjured through the story of the low-ranking functionary Winston Smith in “1984,” but so many aspects of the novel have come true in today’s China — from mass surveillance to fury-inciting demagogy to President Xi Jinping’s declaration that the Communist Party’s rule is “the conclusion of history” — that it may appear to preclude, as it ultimately did for Smith, the possibility…

A Chinese Journalist Gave #MeToo Victims a Voice. Now She’s on Trial.

After two years in detention, a Chinese journalist who spoke up against sexual harassment stood trial on subversion charges on Friday along with a labor rights activist, the latest example of Beijing’s intensified crackdown on civil society. Huang Xueqin, an independent journalist who was once a prominent voice in China’s #MeToo movement, and her friend Wang Jianbing, the activist, were taken away by the police in September 2021 and later charged with inciting subversion of state power. Their trial was held at the Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court in southern China.…

China Detains Taiwan-Based Publisher in National Security Investigation

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A Taiwan-based publisher who disappeared while in China has been detained for suspected violations of security laws, Chinese authorities confirmed on Wednesday, fanning concerns in Taiwan that Beijing is sending a warning to the island’s vibrant publishing sector. The publisher, Li Yanhe, widely known by his pen name, Fu Cha, is a Chinese citizen who has been living in Taiwan since 2009. His company, Gusa Publishing, is well known in Taiwan for books that cast a critical eye on China’s ruling Communist Party. Mr. Li had returned…

China Regroups to Snuff Out a Wave of Covid Protests

After China experienced its boldest and most widespread protests in decades, defying Xi Jinping, a Communist Party leader who prizes his reputation for ironclad authority, his security apparatus is scrambling to reassert control. Public security personnel and vehicles have blanketed potential protest sites. Police officers are searching some residents’ phones for prohibited apps. Officials are going to the homes of would-be protesters to warn them against illegal activities and are taking some away for questioning. Censors are scrubbing protest symbols and slogans from social media. On Monday, the demonstrations were…

At a China Covid Protest, a Mix of Giddy Elation and Anxiety

BEIJING — The crowd was hard to make out at first, a dark mass huddled along the Beijing riverbank after sunset. They stood quietly, almost nervously, dozens of people bundled in thick coats beside yellowed willow trees. At their center was a small altar, strewn with candles and flowers, for the 10 people who died in a fire in western China last week. Two hours later, that crowd had swelled into the hundreds, a mass of people marching and chanting for freedom, rule of law, an end to the three…

Putin’s War on Information Is Far From Over

The info war has also reached Asia, Africa and South America, where Russia has mobilized diplomats and state-controlled media like the global RT network to press its case. The goal isn’t necessarily to win support, but to keep unaligned countries on the sidelines. While some countries, most notably China, have taken Russia’s side, others, like India, have avoided antagonizing Russia so as not to lose Russian military or energy contracts. Many others have done so simply because they know and care little about Ukraine. Russia’s line to them is that…

Musk’s Ties to China Could Create Headaches for Twitter

SAN FRANCISCO — When Elon Musk opened a Tesla factory in Shanghai in 2019, the Chinese government welcomed him with billions of dollars’ worth of cheap land, loans, tax breaks and subsidies. “I really think China is the future,” Mr. Musk cheered. Tesla’s road since then has been lucrative, with a quarter of the company’s revenue in 2021 coming from China, but not without problems. The firm faced a consumer and regulatory revolt in China last year over manufacturing flaws. With his deal to take over Twitter, Mr. Musk’s ties…