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Sinica is a weekly podcast, about current affairs in China, hosted by Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn with a variety of guests drawn from Beijing's resident and transient community of journalists, China scholars and industry experts.

Sinica is a weekly podcast, about current affairs in China, hosted by Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn with a variety of guests drawn from Beijing's resident and transient community of journalists, China scholars and industry experts.
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Beijing, China


Sinica is a weekly podcast, about current affairs in China, hosted by Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn with a variety of guests drawn from Beijing's resident and transient community of journalists, China scholars and industry experts.




Kai-Fu Lee on artificial intelligence in China

Kai-Fu Lee 李开复 is one of the most prominent figures in Chinese technology. He founded China’s noted early-stage venture capital firm Sinovation Ventures after launching and heading up Google’s China operations during their years of growth from 2005 to 2009. Born in Taiwan and educated at Columbia and Carnegie Mellon, Kai-Fu had an early career in Silicon Valley, including a stint as principal research scientist at Apple. Microsoft brought him to Beijing in 1998 to set up a research...


Reporting on Trump as a member of Chinese media

ChiaChieh Tang 唐家婕, who also goes by Jane, is a Taiwanese reporter who works as the U.S. bureau chief for Sina News (新浪新闻 xīnlàng xīnwén) in Washington, D.C. She is one of a few members of the mainland Chinese media who regularly attend the White House’s daily press briefings. In this podcast, Jeremy and Kaiser ask about her experiences attending the infamous Sean Spicer press sessions, being a Taiwanese person working for a mainland media company, and her observations of Chinese...


Joseph Nye, Jr.: Chinese power in the age of Donald Trump

When Joseph Nye, Jr., first used the phrase soft power in 1990 in his book Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power, China did not factor much into his calculus of world order: It had relatively little military and economic power, and none of the softer “persuasive” or “attractive” abilities that Nye saw as key features of the global domination of the United States. Today, we live in a different world, and though China is achieving remarkable military might and economic...


The negotiator: Charlene Barshefsky

Charlene Barshefsky was a name you couldn’t avoid if you were in Beijing in the late 1990s. As the United States trade representative from 1997 to 2001, she led the American team that negotiated China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). On December 11, 2001, Ambassador Barshefsky’s efforts paid off, and, as a new member of the body that sets global rules for trade, China began the deep integration into the world economy that we take for granted today. Kaiser and Jeremy...


Bill Bishop on what it takes to be a good China-watcher

China-watching isn’t what it used to be. Not too long ago, the field of international China studies was dominated by a few male Westerners with an encyclopedic knowledge of China, but with surprisingly little experience living in the country and speaking Chinese. Today, China-watching is different: The old “China hands” are still around and remain authoritative, but an increased number of younger travelers in a much more open China, people with specialized academic backgrounds and advanced...


How can we amplify women’s voices on China?

From business to literature to politics, there is a huge pool of female expertise on China. But you wouldn’t know it if you examined the names of people who are quoted in the media and invited to China-themed panel discussions: They are mostly men. This is a problem that two Beijing-based journalists aim to solve. Joanna Chiu of AFP and Lucy Hornby of the Financial Times created and maintain an open, user-contributed list called “Female Experts on Hong Kong, Macau, Mainland China and...


What actually happened at Mar-a-Lago?

As a career U.S. foreign service officer and the acting assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs at the U.S. State Department, Susan Thornton has had a hand in the China policy of three successive American administrations. She was stationed in China for the years 2000-2007, and since then has held leadership positions in Washington connected to U.S.-China relations. Before 2000, she specialized in and was stationed in post-Soviet states, including Turkmenistan and...


Virginia Kamsky: A life of business in China

Virginia A. Kamsky, also known as Ginny, is one of the leading foreign businesspeople in China and a legend of the U.S.-China commercial relationship. She first went to China in 1978 with what was then the Chase Manhattan Bank, before the country began “reform and opening up” and when very few foreigners visited. Ginny founded Kamsky Associates, Inc., in 1980, one of the first U.S. companies to be granted a business license in China. As a strategic advisory firm, Kamsky works with a wide...


Nationalism in Russia and China

Is nationalism really rising in China? How does it differ from patriotism? What is “Eurasianism” and how does Russia use that concept? How much of China’s nationalism is rooted in the “century of humiliation” that the country suffered at the hands of Western countries and Japan between 1839 and 1949? Jeremy and Kaiser spoke with two eminent scholars of nationalism in Russia and China to find out. Charles Clover is a correspondent with the Financial Times based in Beijing, and author of...


China’s push into Eastern Europe: A conversation with Martin Hála

16+1, a new Chinese initiative, takes its name from 16 countries of Central and Eastern Europe plus China. It held a summit in November 2016 attended by Premier Li Keqiang and prime ministers or deputy prime ministers from the other member states. Earlier, President Xi Jinping had visited three countries in the region — Serbia, Poland, and the Czech Republic. What’s it all for? How have China’s overtures been received by the governments of Central and Eastern Europe? Many of them — like...


Trump and Xi Jinping: What lies ahead?

Earlier this month, Kaiser recorded a discussion in front of a live audience at the 1990 Institute in San Francisco with three luminaries of the China-watching scene: Yasheng Huang, MIT Sloan Professor of Chinese Economy and Business, John Pomfret, author of The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom, and Andy Rothman, investment strategist at Matthews Asia. They got together to talk about how the presidency of Donald Trump will affect trade, politics, the international order, currency...


Chris Buckley: The China journalist’s China journalist

Chris Buckley is a highly regarded and very resourceful correspondent for The New York Times, who is based in Beijing. He has worked as a researcher and journalist in China since 1998, including a stint at Reuters, and is one of the few working China correspondents with a Ph.D. in China studies. Chris’s coverage has included politics, foreign policy, rural issues, human rights, the environment, and climate change. He also has an informative and sometimes very amusing Twitter account. In...


Under the Dome

"Under the Dome," Chai Jing's breakout documentary on China's catastrophic air pollution problem, finally hit insurmountable political opposition last Friday after seven days in which the video racked up over 200 million views. The eventual clampdown raised many questions about the extent of internal support for the documentary. In this episode of Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and David Moser interview Calvin Quek of Greenpeace, who works on pollution problems and has significant experience lobbying...


Big Daddy Dough: Hip-hop and macroeconomics in China

By day, Andrew Dougherty is a macroeconomist who manages a China research team for Capital Group, one of the world’s largest actively managed mutual funds. By night, he is Big Daddy Dough, creator of an album of parody hip-hop songs that explain various facets of the contemporary Chinese political and economic situation, from fixed-asset investment to leadership succession. On a recent trip to Beijing, Kaiser and Jeremy sat down with Big Daddy Dough to listen to some of his songs and talk...


Jane Perlez: Chinese foreign relations in a new age of uncertainty

Jane Perlez has been a reporter at The New York Times since 1981. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for coverage of the war against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She has reported on wars, diplomacy, and foreign policy from Somalia to Poland to Indonesia. Since moving to Beijing in 2012, she’s written about everything from China’s space program to the Dixie Mission — the group of Americans sent to Mao Zedong’s revolutionary base at Yan’an who hoped to establish good...


Rhino horn and organized crime, from Africa to China and Vietnam

John Grobler is a Namibian investigative reporter who has devoted more than two years of his life to examining the complex webs of organized crime funneling rhino horn from Africa to east Asia. Shi Yi 石毅, a Chinese environmental reporter, worked with him and went undercover posing as a businessperson to meet and report on the young Chinese men who engage in this nefarious activity abroad. Jeremy chatted with both of them when he attended the Africa-China Journalists Forum in Johannesburg,...


Africa-China journalism

In November 2016, Sinica co-host Jeremy Goldkorn attended a conference in his native South Africa called the Africa-China Journalists Forum. The forum was convened to discuss the often-polarized media coverage of China’s involvement in Africa, and to consider how to accentuate the African perspective — rather than the Chinese or Western ones — on how China is changing lives in Africa. In addition to moderating the forum, Jeremy interviewed two organizers of the forum who are longtime...


Susan Shirk: The fragile superpower and trepidation over Trump

A top diplomat during the Clinton administration, author of the influential book China: Fragile Superpower: How China’s Internal Politics Could Derail Its Peaceful Rise, research professor and chair of the 21st Century China Center at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UC San Diego, and co-author of a new high-level task force report on U.S.-China policy, Susan Shirk is one of the most sought-after voices on Chinese politics and U.S.-China relations. Today’s Sinica Podcast...


John Zhu retells the Three Kingdoms story

In the last three years, John Zhu has embarked on a mission to build a bridge between Chinese and Western cultures by retelling one of China’s great classics in accessible audio episodes. He has released over 100 chapters of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms Podcast. Three Kingdoms, as it is sometimes called, is one of China’s four great novels, along with Water Margin, Journey to the West, and Dream of the Red Chamber. Together, they have exerted an influence in China similar to the...


Sidney Rittenberg on solitary confinement and more

Sidney Rittenberg is a labor activist from Charleston, South Carolina, who went to China as a translator for the U.S. Army in 1945 and stayed until 1980. In this episode, Sidney talks about the conditions he endured during his two periods of solitary confinement, Sino-American relations, the behavior of Russian advisers sent to China by the Soviet Union, and much more. Part one of our interview is here. You can read a Q&A with Sidney on SupChina here. You can buy Sidney’s books: an...