Published Articles

“China’s Forgotten Liberal Hero” The Atlantic, April 16, 2014

Hu Yaobang, whose death 25 years ago triggered the Tiananmen Square crisis, served China in an era of unprecedented openness.

“The ‘Most Powerful Man in China’ Is About to Be Purged” The Atlantic, April 3, 2014

And it’s about politics, not corruption.

“China’s Uighur Terror Attack” The Daily Beast, March 4, 2014

Masked attackers stabbed over 160 people at a train station over the weekend in Kunming—and Beijing is blaming the violence on Uighurs from its restive Xinjiang province.

“China’s Weibo Losing Users” The Daily Beast, January 25, 2014.

China’s version of Twitter has been bleeding users this year, thanks to a government crackdown and the rise of new social technologies.

“Dr. V, Sports Journalism, and Why Sensitivity Matters.” The Atlantic, January 22, 2014.

What Grantland could have learned from a past decision at Vanity Fair before publishing its controversial story about Essay Anne Vanderbilt

“China’s Brand-New, Centuries Old Shangri-La” The Atlantic, January 14, 2014. 

A fire has destroyed two-thirds of the Tibetan town.

“Legalizing Marijuana Does Not Mean the U.S. Is Losing Ground to China” The Atlantic, January 5, 2014

High incarceration, not marijuana use, poses a great threat to American competitiveness.

“A Jittery China Faces 2014″ The Atlantic, December 31, 2013.

Crises face the country as it celebrates the new year. But the economic miracle shows no signs of ending.

“Xi Jinping Eats Some Dumplings at a Restaurant” The Atlantic, December 30, 2013.

… and China swoons. Why the president’s casual lunch resonates so much in the country.

“The American Who Gave His Life to Chairman Mao” The Atlantic, December 26, 2013.

On the dictator’s 120th birthday, Sidney Rittenberg—whose life story entwines with the turbulent history of the People’s Republic—describes his interactions with the man who still dominates China 37 years after his death.

“How Should the U.S. Respond to China’s Bullying of American Journalists?” The Atlantic, December 19, 2013.

Pursuing reciprocal measures against the Chinese media is logical, fair, and justified. Here’s why it’s a terrible idea.

“How a Tiny Island Chain Explains the China-Japan Dispute” The Atlantic, December 4, 2013.

Beijing’s imposition of an air defense identification zone is only one part of the struggle over the future of Northeast Asia.

“My Thanksgiving at a KFC in China” The Atlantic, November 27, 2013.

Alone, in a strange country, the fast food franchise saved the day.

“The Rent in Shanghai Is Too Damn High: an Infographic” The Atlantic, November 25, 2013.

What price comparisons between two different cities tell us about the Chinese economy.

“The Banality of Televised Anti-Chinese Racism” The Atlantic, November 22, 2013.

Recent incidents on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and on Holland’s Got Talent reveal the persistence of casual bigotry—intended or not—toward China and Chinese people.

“China’s Latest Video Game Craze” The Atlantic, December 2013 edition.

“In Praise of Gary Locke, the Best Ever American Ambassador to the P.R.C.” The Atlantic, November 20, 2013.

As the former Commerce Secretary prepares to return to the United States, his service in China should serve as a blueprint for managing Sino-American relations.

“What’s at Stake in Bloomberg’s China Coverage” The Atlantic, November 20, 2013.

The company’s alleged refusal to offend the Chinese Communist Party reveals the limitations of “journalistic access.”

“A Chinese President Consolidates His Power” The Atlantic, November 19, 2013.

China’s Third Plenum meeting, which led to a raft of policy reforms, may ultimately be remembered for Xi Jinping’s emergence as the country’s most important leader in decades.

“Stunning ‘Pop-Up’ Photographs That Showcase China’s Ethnic Diversity” The Atlantic, November 14, 2013

The photographer Colette Fu has created 3-D images of people, costumes, and landscapes that define minority life in Yunnan Province.

“China’s Intensifying Suppression of Foreign Journalism” The Atlantic, November 12, 2013

By refusing to grant visas to foreign correspondents and by pressuring publications to spike critical stories, Beijing has made it increasingly difficult for reporters to operate in the country.

“China Only Has One Time Zone—and That’s a Problem” The Atlantic, November 5, 2013

The Communist Party’s decision to use Beijing time across the country, done to enhance “national unity,” has backfired in Xinjiang.

“‘Unsavory Elements': On Foreign Lives in Contemporary China” The Atlantic, November 5, 2013

A new collection of stories, edited by the photographer and author Tom Carter, showcase the breadth and depth of the expatriate experience in the country.

“Why Keanu Reeves Puts Up With Chinese Censorship” The Atlantic, November 1, 2013

Actors and authors are justified in accepting Chinese government cuts of their work.

“Why the Tiananmen Square Crash Is So Unnerving” The Atlantic, October 28, 2013

China’s largest public urban space is more than just the site of the famous student protests 24 years ago. It’s also the symbol of the country—and the country’s power.

“How Humiliation Drove Modern Chinese History” The Atlantic, October 25, 2013

The British destruction of Beijing’s Summer Palace in the 19th Century encapsulates how the emotion played a major role in forming modern China.

“How Xiaomi’s Hip, Inexpensive Smartphones Have Conquered China” The Atlantic, October 24, 2013

But can they succeed overseas?

“The Geographic Distribution of China’s Last Names, in Maps” The Atlantic, October 22, 2013

Despite its massive population, China’s list of common last names is very small. Here’s where people with these names are concentrated.

“How North Korean Propaganda Artists Imagine Beijing” The Atlantic, October 18, 2013

Relying on rough sketches and pure imagination, the painters produced a fascinating depiction of the Chinese capital.

“Why China Is Relieved the Debt Ceiling Crisis Is Over” The Atlantic, October 17, 2013

Beijing needs U.S. Treasury bills just as much as Washington needs Chinese credit.

“China’s 10-Year Government Shutdown” The Atlantic, October 15, 2013

For those thinking that the Chinese aren’t susceptible to a similar problem, consider the Cultural Revolution.

“The Map That Puts China’s Incredible Internet Demographics in Context” The Atlantic, October 11, 2013

More people in the country go online than in all of Africa—but the percentage of the population who uses the Internet is still small.

“What a 71-Year-Old Article by Madame Chiang Kai-Shek Tells Us About China Today” The Atlantic, October 11, 2013

Writing in The Atlantic seven decades ago, the former Chinese First Lady warned against income inequality—a force that continues to threaten the country’s stability today.

“The Curious Phenomenon of Chinese Housing Blocking Roads” The Atlantic, October 10, 2013

The country’s forced relocations cause town planners to get creative.

“Want to Understand How China Is Doing? Don’t Look at GDP” The Atlantic, October 4, 2013

Why the classic benchmark statistic is unsuitable to describing the world’s second-largest economy.

“Enough With the Word Netizen” The Atlantic, September 25, 2013

Once useful as a way to describe China’s internet users, the term is now meaningless, inaccurate, and misleading.

“What Bo Xilai’s Rise and Fall Says About China” The Atlantic, September 23, 2013

A sensational political scandal comes to an end with the politician’s life sentence. But this may not be the last we hear of him.

“The Peculiar History of Foot Binding in China” The Atlantic, September 16, 2013

How ten centuries of Chinese women submitted to the painful practice—and how it finally went out of fashion.

“Mapping China’s Income Inequality” The Atlantic, September 13, 2013

The economic gap between coastal and inland parts of the country is just as important—if not more so—than the urban/rural divide.

“The Logic Behind Apple’s Strategy in China” The Atlantic, September 12, 2013

Critics say that the company’s un-cheap “cheap” iPhone was still too expensive. Here’s why they’re missing the point.

“How Life Got Good Again for the Pittsburgh Pirates” The Atlantic, September 11, 2013

Thanks to savvy investing and a few years’ worth of accumulated confidence, the Bucs earned an 82nd victory this week and ensured their first winning season in two decades.

“Why Is Starbucks So Expensive in China?” The Atlantic, September 6, 2013

And why do people go there anyway? The culture and economics of drinking lattes in China

“How Washington and Beijing Learned to Live With Each Other” The Atlantic, September 4, 2013

A 1958 Atlantic article argued that the United States could not have relations with Communist China. How did that change?

“Why China Will Oppose Any Strike on Syria” The Atlantic, August 29, 2013

It isn’t because Beijing likes chemical weapons or Assad.

“Bo Xilai’s Raunchy, Entertaining Trial Was Still Fundamentally Unjust” The Atlantic, August 27, 2013

Amid the theatrics, the trial of the disgraced politician failed to examine the full extent of his career.

“JP Morgan in China: Why ‘Business as Usual’ Is a Growing Problem” The Atlantic, August 22, 2013

The SEC’s investigation of the financial company for bribery underscores how entrenched favoritism is in hiring — and why this is an issue that shouldn’t be ignored.

“Bo Xilai Will Be Found Guilty—But His Trial Is Still Making Beijing Nervous” The Atlantic, August 20, 2013

The disgraced politician’s day in court brings an unusual dash of celebrity to the staid world of Chinese criminal justice.

“The Massacre in Cairo Isn’t Egypt’s Tiananmen Square” The Atlantic, August 16, 2013

Despite similarities between the two, the historical context between Egypt in 2013 and China in 1989 are vastly different—and that’s what ultimately matters.

“Where Is China’s Gorbachev?” The Atlantic, August 14, 2013

Why the country hasn’t had—and isn’t likely to have—a political reformer in the mold of the former Soviet leader.

“The Enduring Gullibility of Chinese State Media” The Atlantic, August 8, 2013

Xinhua’s translation of an Andy Borowitz column alleging Jeff Bezos accidentally bought The Washington Post on Amazon is merely the latest failure to detect satire.

“Alex Rodriguez: Baseball’s Latest, Greatest Drug Scapegoat” The Atlantic, August 7, 2013

Alex Rodriguez is unpopular and unsympathetic. But that doesn’t mean his suspension from Major League Baseball will be fair.

“How the Rise and Fall of a Snake Conjurer Explains Today’s China” The Atlantic, August 1, 2013

Wang Lin prospered nicely from promoting superstition—but political problems, not religion, forced him to flee the country.

“WeChat—Not Weibo—Is the Chinese Social Network to Watch” The Atlantic, July 30, 2013

Tencent’s text messaging service has aggressively targeted international markets. Will it work?

“Bo Xilai Has Been Indicted. Now What?” The Atlantic, July 25, 2013

The disgraced politician now faces trial for bribery, corruption, and abuse of power. What his downfall tells us about the current state of Chinese politics.

Why Earthquakes in China Are So Damaging” The Atlantic, July 25, 2013

In the aftermath of another major tremor, lax enforcement of building codes remains a serious problem in the country.

“Why This Seemingly Innocuous Photo of Xi Jinping Is So Important” The Atlantic, July 23, 2013

A simple act of rolling his pants up—and holding his own umbrella—shows a president eager to show a common touch.

“Meet the ‘Chengguan': China’s Violent, Hated Local Cops” The Atlantic, July 22, 2013

The recent death of a Hunan watermelon vendor has brought attention to China’s much-maligned municipal police.

Why Xi Jinping’s Anti-Corruption Campaign Is Hollow, Unserious, and Ultimately Doomed” The Atlantic, July 18, 2013

China’s crackdown on Xu Zhiyong highlights the government’s inability to tackle a festering problem—and its enduring fear of grass-roots movements.

“Social Media Hasn’t Weakened Censorship in China” The Atlantic, July 16, 2013

Despite a free-wheeling micro-blogging scene, traditional media sources still operate under heavy government constraints.

“China’s Big (and Growing) Problem With its Elderly Population” The Atlantic, July 10, 2013

A much-ridiculed new law allowing old people to sue their children for neglecting them highlights a social problem that isn’t going to go away.

“The Rise and Fall of China’s Great Railway Boss” The Atlantic, July 9, 2013

The death sentence of Liu Zhijun, who spearheaded the country’s high-speed rail boom, signals the end of an era marked by boundless ambition.

“35 People Dead in China Mass Murder: What Happened” The Atlantic, July 3, 2013

Why the attack took place—and why Beijing is trying to blame it wrongly on foreigners and terrorists.

“Is Gay Marriage Coming to China?” The Atlantic, June 27, 2013

Not anytime soon. But, as in the United States, recognition of homosexual rights has made tremendous progress in recent years.

“What if Edward Snowden Were Chinese?” The Atlantic, June 25, 2013

The U.S. is angry that China didn’t cooperate with the NSA leaker—but how would Washington think of him if the shoe were on the other foot?

“What Hong Kong’s Remarkable Statement About Edward Snowden Says About the Territory” The Atlantic, June 23, 2013.

By defying the United States over the extradition of its most famous exile, a normally-placid Hong Kong reveals an assertiveness that may one day be problematic for China.

“Edward Snowden: China’s Useful Idiot?” The Atlantic, June 17, 2013

The NSA leaker wanted to expose American surveillance and state secrecy. But by fleeing to Hong Kong, he’s unintentionally helped a country whose record on both is far worse.

“Chen Guangcheng Likely Has Nothing to Do With NYU’s Shanghai Campus” The Atlantic, June 13, 2013

But the university’s aggressive expansion in China and elsewhere raises important questions.

“Bud Selig’s Misguided, Last-Minute Push Against Steroids in Baseball” The Atlantic, June 13, 2013

Major League Baseball’s soon-to-retire commissioner may have seriously damaged his own legacy by escalating the BioGenesis scandal.

“What Chinese People Think of the U.S.” The Atlantic, June 10, 2013

Younger, better educated, wealthier, and urban Chinese people tend to view the U.S. more favorably than the rest of the population.

“Edward Snowden Shouldn’t Have Gone to Hong Kong” The Atlantic, June 10, 2013

While the territory does have free speech and political dissent, it’s still very much a part of China.

“A Friendly User’s Guide to the U.S.-China Summit” The Atlantic, June 8, 2013

Answers to your questions about President Obama’s meeting with Xi Jinping.

“What Slowdown? Surveys Reveal an Optimistic, Forward-Leaning China” The Atlantic, June 5, 2013

Amid environmental and economic worries, Chinese people remain remarkably positive about their country’s future.

“How China Made the Tiananmen Square Massacre Irrelevant” The Atlantic, June 4, 2013

24 years after the government crackdown on pro-democracy protesters seemed to signal its doom, the Chinese Communist Party survives. But can it put off political reforms forever?

“Urbanization Is Making China Wealthy—but Is It Sustainable?” The Atlantic, May 24, 2013

Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s refusal to endorse a massive plan promoting city growth reveals a dilemma at the heart of the country’s economic future.

“Chinese Media: Don’t Go to Mars” The Atlantic, May 22, 2013

Why the state-run media opposes the planned mission to the Red Planet.

“Why Can China Handle Social Unrest” The Atlantic, May 21, 2013

Recent protests in Kunming reveal an increasing consciousness of environmental rights in the country. But do they threaten the Communist Party’s grip on power?

“City in Ruins: The Legacy of Sichuan’s Big Quake” The Atlantic, May 14, 2013

Five years later, China has preserved the semi-destroyed city of Beichuan as a memorial to the victims. But the controversy over collapsed school buildings hasn’t gone away.

“What Is China’s Plan for the Middle East?” The Atlantic, May 10, 2013

Xi Jinping’s recent visit with Israeli and Palestinian leaders says as much about the United States as it does about China.

“China’s and India’s Dangerous Game” The Atlantic, May 7, 2013

A recent border incursion highlights the risks of further conflict between the two.

“Salman Rushdie on Chinese Censorship” The Atlantic, May 2, 2013

An interview with the award-winning author about freedom of expression, the People’s Republic, and how literature can thrive under repressive governments.

“The Limits of Stephen Schwarzman’s Scholarship Diplomacy” The Atlantic, April 26, 2013

A billionaire private equity investor wants to create a Rhodes Scholarship for the 21st century—in China. But will it meet its goals?

“What’s Behind the Sino-American Human Rights Spat?” The Atlantic, April 25, 2013

The two countries bicker about each other’s human rights record—and that’s a good thing.

“In China, Even Earthquakes Are Political” The Atlantic, April 23, 2013

How will the government react to Saturday’s disaster?

“For Chinese Students in the U.S., a Haunting Death” The Atlantic, April 19, 2013

Lu Lingzi’s tragic passing shakes a community.

“Should China Worry About a GDP Slowdown?” The Atlantic, April 17, 2013

Growth in China seems to be slowing. Will political instability rise?

“Interview: Will the Bo Xilai Case Change China?” The Atlantic, April 16, 2013

How the death of an expatriate businessman at a Chongqing hotel caused a political earthquake in the country.

“When Margaret Thatcher Came to China” The Atlantic, April 9, 2013

What happened when the Iron Lady attempted to preserve British rule over Hong Kong.

“Why You Haven’t Heard of Any Chinese Brands” The Atlantic, April 8, 2013

… and why that may be about to change

“Can China Stop North Korea?” The Atlantic, April 3, 2013

Why Beijing has less leverage over its troublesome neighbor than you think.

“Dead Swine-Gate: Anatomy of a Chinese Scandal” The Atlantic, April 2, 2013

Why 20,000 pig corpses turned up in a Chinese river, and what it says about the country as a whole.

“Who Won the Iraq War? China” The Atlantic, March 22, 2013

But the spoils of victory aren’t going to last.

“Ai Weiwei, China’s Useful Dissident” The Atlantic, March 18, 2013

He’s never been more famous. And that’s just fine with Beijing.

“Was a Hu Jintao a Failure?” The Atlantic, March 13, 2013

The Chinese president’s obsession with stability may prove costly for his country.

“How China Will Shape Global Diplomacy” The Atlantic, March 11, 2013

Will a powerful Beijing recognize the need to work together with other countries? Don’t bet on it. An interview with Kishore Mahbubani.

“China, Its Hackers, and the American Media” The Atlantic, February 20, 2013

What the Chinese hacking story tells us about the Sino-American relationship.

“China’s ‘Trial of the Century’ Will Be a Dud—and That’s the Point” The Atlantic, February 7, 2013

What Bo Xilai’s upcoming trial says about the evolution of China’s legal system.

“China to Tibetans: Stay Put” The Atlantic, January 31, 2013

A leading expert on Tibet discusses China’s recent crackdown on passports for Tibetans

“China Wouldn’t Mind a Unified Korea—Just Not Yet” The Atlantic, January 25, 2013

How far will China to go to protect an increasingly belligerent North Korea?

“In China, Can Pollution Spur Media Tranparency” The Atlantic, January 17, 2013

Reporters in the People’s Republic covered Beijing’s recent pollution crisis with unusual openness. Will it last?

“Can China’s and Japan’s New Leadership Keeps the Peace” The Atlantic, January 14, 2013

The recent struggle over islands in the East China Sea marks a foreign-policy test for Xi Jinping and Shinzo Abe.

“What Romney Doesn’t Understand”The Morningside Post. September 21, 2012.

 Mitt Romney thinks he knows how to fix the economy. But he doesn’t understand why it’s broken.

“Why Sheherezad Jaafari is Not Right for Columbia”The Huffington Post. June 19, 2012

 SIPA’s decision to admit Sheherezad Jaafari, an advisor to Syrian president Bashar Assad, is inappropriate in the context of Assad’s crackdown on dissidents.

“Columbia and Elitism”The Morningside Post. April 26, 2012

The value of obtaining a degree at SIPA, or Columbia in general, is partially the university’s reputation for elitism, selectivity, and exclusion.

“Where Next for U.S-China Relations?”The Morningside Post. February 22, 2012

The planned government transition in China and the specter of a regime change in the US won’t make much of a difference in short-term Sino-American relations.

“Deng Xiaoping’s Southern Tour”The Morningside Post. February 8, 2012Deng

Xiaoping’s Southern Tour, little known outside China, consolidated the country’s economic gains and spearheaded its rise.

“Write Like a Columbia Grad Student in 20 Easy Steps”The Morningside Post. December 13, 2011.

Obfuscate, procrastinate, complain, and only after all that actually write the damn thing.

“Taiwan For Sale?” Asia Society: Asia Blog. November 11, 2011.

The status-quo in Taiwan isn’t going to change anytime soon.

“In China, Staying a Step Ahead of the Censors”. Asia Society: Asia Blog. October 27, 2011

Writers within China have relied upon increasingly clever tactics to evade the country’s brutal censorship regime.

“The Meaning of Occupy Wall Street” The Huffington Post. October 12, 2011

Occupy Wall Street isn’t just about unemployment, student loan debt, or poverty. It’s about the lost hope of a generation.

Does a New Biography Tell the Whole Story on Deng Xiaoping?“. Asia Society: Asia Blog. October 3, 2011

Does Harvard professor Ezra Vogel’s monumental new biography of Deng Xiaoping gloss over his subject’s faults?

“Matt Schiavenza’s Kunming: Optimus Prime China” ChinaTravel.Net. April 20, 2009.

Why little Kunming has a big hold on this foreigner.