Stories from the New China (and beyond)

Archive for the ‘China’ Category

Murder on the Chinese Communist Party Express

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If what flashed through your mind when you read that title was a British expat and a Chinese high official’s wife…I hope to persuade you by the end of my article to think quite differently.

Written by eastofethan

January 26, 2013 at 12:34 pm

In solidarity with the living and the dead

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Over the last 24 hours several well-meaning friends have sent me the BBC article “China to end organ donations from executed prisoners” (or the Guardian or NYT’s version, etc.) with the single word: “Congratulations!”

Well, I appreciate the sentiment. But following the Chinese medical establishment’s lead, none of these articles mention prisoners of conscience. I want no part in hiding bodies. Nor should David Kilgour and David Matas, the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong, or Edward McMillan-Scott accept any such congratulations until the Chinese Communist Party allows a comprehensive and transparent investigation into the harvesting of political and religious prisoners of conscience– Uighurs, Falun Gong, Tibetans, and House Christians–from 1997 to 2012.

What has occurred–over 65,000 dead by my estimate–is a crime against all humanity. And yet, ironically enough, only the victims’ families have the right to absolve China. No Western entity possesses the moral authority to allow the Party to bury the full history of genocide in exchange for promises of medical reform.

Written by eastofethan

March 24, 2012 at 10:49 am

In Honor of Kim Jong-il’s Death…

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…I’m posting this scathing piece that I worked on with high-level North Korean defector Kim Kwang Jin. Written earlier this year, it’s a serious economic analysis with a very grim prognosis for the future of North Korea. Not for the casual browser.

Written by eastofethan

December 19, 2011 at 11:20 am

Posted in China, Global, Surveillance


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CONGRESSMAN PITTS. “Madam Speaker, an article in last Monday’s Weekly Standard  reveals the systematic execution and harvesting of organs in China’s prisons.

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Written by eastofethan

December 10, 2011 at 11:24 am

The genesis of genocide…

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Photo by Simon Gross/3 Lotus Media


  • Winner of The Browser’s 2011 Leaderboard Competition (i.e. best long-form essay of the year according to the readers)
  • Winner of The New York Times Sidney Award (i.e. David Brooks liked it)

Written by eastofethan

November 27, 2011 at 9:50 am

My review of Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China, by Ezra F. Vogel

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I received permission to extract my review from behind the National Review paywall. Thanks guys, I appreciate that.  Now I’m passing the savings on to you.

Reluctant Dragon – Ethan Gutmann reviews Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China, by Ezra F. Vogel.

Over the past few decades, an increasing number of scholars have come to interpret Western history less as a linear progression and more as a periodic cycle punctuated by crises, of which our current economic disaster is the most recent. Yet even in the realist precincts of social science, some still long for a classic narrative structure, progressive motion, and world-historical heroes.

They have had slim pickings. In the early 1980s, attention fell briefly, unsatisfactorily, on Japan. As Japan’s growth flatlined, and the once-promising Soviet Union dissolved, the hero-meter edged toward China. Given China’s meteoric rise since that time, the needle has had little reason to wander. Employing projections from Chinese trajectories, academia generates serial predictions of China’s dominating the century, while interpretations of recent Chinese history bend slightly to explain and meet those projections. And for those who believe in the current and historical narrative of China’s linear progress, there is no greater patron saint than Deng Xiaoping.

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Written by eastofethan

November 13, 2011 at 10:39 pm

Posted in China, Domestic

China’s Big Brother Internet: Ten essential publications

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Google the keywords “Cisco, Falun Gong, lawsuit and China” and you won’t get far in our memory-hole society. So here are my best picks for journalists and everyone else. Copy, distribute, and quibble if you like. But read to the last entry, because it’s important to accurately reflect history and the collective gathering of evidence.  This investigation has never been a silver bullet, but a slow chain reaction. A long time coming perhaps, but be assured that it has now gone critical.

1)   The Great Firewall of China

1997: Groundbreaking article on the early efforts to censor the Chinese web written by the only journalists to actually make it inside the PSB: Geremie R. Barme and Sang Ye.

In an equipment-crowded office in the Air Force Guesthouse on Beijing’s Third Ring Road sits the man in charge of computer and Net surveillance at the Public Security Bureau.

2)   The Anaconda in the Chandelier

2002: Prescient essay on Chinese (and Western) self-censorship by Perry Link.

Normally the great snake doesn’t move.  It doesn’t have to.  It feels no need to be clear about its prohibitions.  Its constant silent message is “You yourself decide,” after which, more often than not, everyone in its shadow makes his or her large and small adjustments–all quite “naturally.” 

3)   Government Counterstrategies

2002: Critical chapter from the RAND publication You’ve Got Dissent! by Michael S. Chase and James C. Mulvenon which traces the first hacking attacks on North American Falun Gong websites back to China.

The name of the organization, “Information Service Center of XinAn Beijing,” sounded innocuous enough, but the street address told a very different story. The address, #14 East Chang’an Street…in Beijing, is that of the Ministry of Public Security, China’s internal security service…

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Written by eastofethan

May 26, 2011 at 10:31 am