“Neijuan (the Chinese term for stasis or an inward evolution) now permeates all aspects of life in Xi’s China, leaving the country more isolated and stagnant than during any extended period since Deng launched the reform era in the late 1970s.” After leaving China in 2020, I returned e

We’re building out a tour this September, October, and November to talk about my new book  Sparks: China’s Underground Historians and Their Battle for the Future. I’ll start out on the launch date, Sept. 26, at McNally Jackson in New York City, followed the next day with a talk at

Coming 26 September 2023: Sparks: China’s Underground Historians and their Battle for the Future–my first book in six years, a chronicle of Chinese people inside China today who are challenging the Communist Party on its most sensitive topic, its control of history.  Summary From the ba

Some forthcoming talks are helping me think through a new book, which I want to start writing in 2023 once Sparks: China’s Underground Historians and their Battle for the Future is out in September 2023 (more on that in a post coming soon). One of the talks is at the Asia Society on March 1 [&

How I got to know Wang Yi, the jailed pastor of Pray for Early Rain Covenant Church. This article in Christianity Today (简体字 / 正體字)is an introduction I wrote to a collection of his theological writings, Faithful Disobedience: Writings on Church and State from a Chinese House Church Mov

How did Xi Jinping botch his country’s exit from its zero-Covid policy? And does this herald a new era of protests in China. I answer these and other questions in this Foreign Affairs essay.

In this piece for the Council on Foreign Relations, I give my quick take on the recently concluded party congress, questioning whether Xi is really as powerful as people make him out to be, or if his omnipresence is a sign of looming weakness. 

It’s an honor to be on “The President’s Inbox,” one of the snappiest podcasts (most are about 30 minutes long) on offer. And I don’t say that because my supervisor at CFR, Jim Lindsay, is the host! It is really a great summary of key issues in the news and Jim keeps it

One of my favorite parts of working for the Council on Foreign Relations is writing “In Briefs,” which are Q&A-style explainers of a current event. They’re aimed at anyone from high school students facing a term paper to people who’ve been in the field for a long time but

In this essay for The New York Review of Books, I explore the sensitive issue of who will succeed Xi Jinping. As a jumping-off point, I review two new books on succession in China and the Soviet Union. The upshot is we could be in for a long wait for a successor, with decay setting in. […]

In the current (Aug. 18) issue of The New York Review of Books I have an essay on four impressive new books about Hong Kong by Ho-fung Hung, Louisa Lim, Karen Cheung and Mark Clifford. These books give real insider accounts by people who were either born there, raised there, or simply lived most of

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