Ever wonder how we produce a daily newsletter with dozens of links every day? (A daily and free newsletter you should subscribe to, by the way.) We read. A lot. We have sources. We call them: SupChina Sources. And we’d like to reveal them to you.
The approximately 150 links in this document constitute some (though not all) of the most regularly visited English-language websites that we use to collect noteworthy and newsworthy updates and insights on China. This list is not comprehensive — for one thing, it doesn’t include most of our Chinese-language sources — but it is long, and yes, we do have favorites.
For all those in the list below, and so many others who do the difficult work of making sense of a complex country, we thank you. As always, if you have a tip, please email us at any time: email@example.com.
The SupChina Seven
SupChina finds these seven sources indispensable. We visit them daily and so should you. They sift through the noise to present a clear, coherent, concise picture of a complex China.
- The South China Morning Post, a leading Hong Kong outlet that has dramatically expanded its reach under the leadership of CEO Gary Liu (interviewed recently on the Sinica Podcast). China section here.
- TechNode, a Beijing-based website with a young staff that does an excellent job covering the fast-changing, unpredictable China tech scene. In English, in Chinese.
- Caixin, China’s most authoritative source for business and financial news. In English, in Chinese. Disclosure: They partner with us to produce the Caixin-Sinica Business Brief.
- What’s on Weibo, a DIY blog run by the inexhaustible Manya Koetse, offering rich analysis of trending topics and controversies on China’s internet. Read it here.
- ChinaFile, an excellent project from the Asia Society that publishes original articles, multimedia, and roundtable discussions with China-watchers, and archives all kinds of writing and documentation of the Chinese world. Read it here.
- Sixth Tone, a Shanghai-based state-owned outlet that is allowed to write about a surprisingly broad range of social and cultural topics. Sixth Tone humanizes China in a way few outlets can. In English here. Also see: Pengpai aka The Paper, its Chinese-language sister site.
- Shanghaiist, a blog on Chinese current events, internet gossip and memes, and local events for the expat crowd. Read it here.
Other Really Good Sources
China sites you should look at, listed alphabetically:
- The Africa China Reporting Project — From Wits University in South Africa.
- The Beijinger — Local news and entertainment/travel information for the Beijing expat crowd.
- The China Africa Project — A hub for China-Africa issues.
- China Africa Research Initiative — A hub for research on China-Africa relations done at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. See also its China in Africa: The Real Story blog.
- China Channel — From the Los Angeles Review of Books, a collection of essays, reviews, and other media on Chinese society, culture, history, and more.
- The China Collection — A blog on “Chinese law, politics, economics, finance, and other stuff” by five legal scholars.
- China Daily Show — Satire; China’s Onion, run by a British expat.
- China Dialogue — Bilingual essays on how China is handling environmental issues at home and around the world.
- China Digital Times — Politics, society, law, culture, run out of UC Berkeley and edited by Sophie Beach; the best way to stay informed on censorship issues in China.
- China Film Insider — Daily news and insight on the film industry.
- China Heritage — “An independent web-based publishing and archival project related to Chinese culture, translation and thought,” run by noted China scholar Geremie R. Barmé.
- China Internet Watch — Run by a Singapore consulting company looking at Chinese digital trends.
- China Labour Bulletin — Labor issues and the plight of migrant workers in China, based in Hong Kong.
- China Law Blog — “Discussing the practical aspects of Chinese law and how it impacts business there,” a longtime blog by Dan Harris.
- China Law Translate — A community-contributed reference for understanding China’s laws.
- China Media Project — News and analysis on Chinese media.
- China Policy — “A globally recognised research and strategic advisory based in Beijing.”
- China Policy Institute: Analysis — Chinese politics, economics, and international relations.
- China Sports Insider — “Sports business news and analysis in China and Asia,” by Mark Dreyer.
- ChinaMed — Research on the relations between China and the wider Mediterranean region (North Africa, Middle East, and South Europe) and the impact of their development on regional and global dynamics.
- China-US Focus — Essays on China and international relations (not just U.S.-China relations) by a variety of writers.
- Chinese politics from the provinces — “Views and analysis of Chinese politics and policy from inside China, outside the Beijing and Shanghai beltways.”
- Chublic Opinion — “Public opinion with Chinese characteristics, a monthly digest of events that are shaping public opinion in China,” by Ma Tianjie.
- The Cleaver Quarterly — All about Chinese food.
- The Harbinger — “The Harbinger conducts exclusive Q&A with China’s top VCs, startup founders, and other KOLs.”
- Jing Daily — Luxury brands and their Chinese customers.
- MacroPolo — The Paulson Institute’s China website, run by seasoned analysts and China-watchers.
- NeoCha — A website that highlights art and photography across Asia.
- NPC Observer — A blog covering developments from the powerful National People’s Congress (NPC) and the NPC Standing Committee.
- Paper Republic — Chinese literature in translation.
- Radii China — “China from all angles.”
- Thatsmags.com — Includes sections for Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Tianjin, and Suzhou.
- WAGIC — Acronym for “Women and Gender in China,” a much-needed newcomer (launched in September) to the China news scene.
- The World of Chinese — A website and magazine providing insight into Chinese language and culture for students of the country.
- Yicai Global — “Bringing you the latest on business, finance, economy, IT and TMT in China.”
There’s New York Times star Beijing correspondent and online wag Chris Buckley, and then there is everyone else. Buckley is the China-watcher in every China-watcher’s timeline.
In Beijing, the clearances of migrant worker neighborhoods continue. But there seems little rhyme or reason in who gets demolished. Almost as if officials were just meeting targets. pic.twitter.com/84fl9WawlH
— Chris Buckley 储百亮 (@ChuBailiang) December 3, 2017
— Chris Buckley 储百亮 (@ChuBailiang) December 2, 2017
Lu Wei, now under investigation for violating party discipline, i.e. corruption, in happier times. pic.twitter.com/v8oLjgoPxO
— Chris Buckley 储百亮 (@ChuBailiang) November 21, 2017
Sorry, everyone else.
(Psst: If you are really looking for people to follow, see foreign correspondents and bureau chiefs listed next to their publication names below — and @supchinanews, where we regularly retweet our favorites.)
A small sampling of what we listen to.
The China Africa Project, “a multimedia resource dedicated to exploring every aspect of China’s growing engagement with Africa.”
The China History Podcast, Laszlo Montgomery’s one-man shows continues to go strong seven years after its debut.
Environment China, discussions (in English and Chinese) with those studying or working on environmental protection in China, by the Beijing Energy Network.
Wo Men Podcast, produced and hosted by two Chinese women who discuss weekly topics and share stories and views about their lives in China from the inside.
Little Red Podcast, “interviews and chat celebrating China beyond the Beijing beltway from the University of Melbourne’s Horwood Studios,” hosted by academic Graeme Smith and journalist Louisa Lim.
Trivium, focusing on politics and economics; we love the typeface.
Chinafornia, Matthew Sheehan’s look at U.S.-China relations.
Changpian, by Dutch journalist Tabitha Speelman, which aggregates nonfiction writing.
The Magpie Digest, “a weekly exploration of contemporary China, one trending topic at a time,” by Christina Xu, Pheona Chen, and Tricia Wang.
Mingbai, newcomers to the newsletter scene, they are short and digestible, sending one fun tidbit every day.
U.S. China Week, by Graham Webster.
State and Mainstream Chinese Media
Some of the most important news sources are official state media outlets. You just have to know where to look. For example…
- Xinhua News Agency, the central news bureau in China. Sets standards — including banned words — for all other state-run news in China. In English, in Chinese.
- The People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party. In English, in Chinese.
- The Global Times, a newspaper and website under the auspices of the People’s Daily, known for attention-grabbing ultra-nationalist opinion pieces (which are sometimes representative of mainstream thinking in the Chinese government). In English, in Chinese.
- China Daily, the largest-circulation English-language publication based in China, established in 1981. Read it here.
Other notable mainstream media sources from China:
- CCTV, or China Central Television, available here.
- CGTN, or China Global Television Network, is CCTV’s overseas branch, available in English here.
- China Plus, the English news channel of China Radio International, which plays a similar overseas role as CGTN, available here.
- Shanghai Daily, a very underrated English-language outlet now in a slick new media format as SHINE, available here.
- Sina News 新浪, available here.
- Toutiao 今日头条, literally “today’s headlines,” available here.
- Southern Weekly 南方周末, available here.
- QQ.com 腾讯网, by Tencent, one of China’s largest web portals, available here.
How is a reader to know whether an op-ed, commentary, or other article in these central state-media outlets is representative of the Chinese government’s official view? There’s an article on SupChina for that.
Chinese Video Reporting
Although most video you’ll see out of China is likely produced by Chinese state media or Western outlets, there are a few independent video sites that produce unique reportage. SupChina often draws on these sources when finding viral videos.
- Pear Video 梨视频, available here.
- Ixigua 西瓜视频, literally “watermelon video,” available here.
- Miaopai 秒拍, available here.
- Kuaishou 快手, available here.
Chinese Social Media
The two largest social networks in China are Weibo (微博 wēibó) and WeChat (微信 wēixìn). Although they were originally compared with Twitter (for Weibo) and Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp (for WeChat), they have evolved far beyond those molds in recent years. Read a guide to Chinese social media on SupChina. Translations of viral content and controversies on Weibo in particular often form the basis of the Society and Culture section of SupChina’s newsletter.
Media From Around the World
None of the media listed below have a focus on China per se, but all have published useful pieces on China in the past year. When the outlets have notable China correspondents or bureau chiefs active on Twitter, we have linked to their Twitter profiles.
- Australian ABC, with China correspondent Bill Birtles.
- The Australian (paywall)
- East Asia Forum
- Fairfax Media: The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian Financial Review (paywall), The Canberra Times. John Garnaut‘s Twitter feed is a good entry point into Fairfax media on China.
- The Interpreter – from the Lowy Institute, a think tank in Sydney, Australia.
- AFP, an international newswire headquartered in Paris. China correspondents include Rebecca Davis and Joanna Chiu.
- France 24
Note: We highly recommend the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s leading newspaper, as a daily source of China news.
- The Economic Times
- The Hindu
- Hindustan Times
- India Today, with China correspondent Ananth Krishnan.
- Times of India
- The Economist (paywall), with reporters such as Rosie Blau and Simon Rabinovitch.
- The Financial Times (paywall), with reporters such as Lucy Hornby, Emily Feng, and Tom Hancock.
- The Guardian, with bureau chief Tom Phillips.
- Reuters, the biggest English-language bureau in China, employing longtime reporters such as Philip Wen and Shanghai bureau chief John Ruwitch.
- Sky News
- The Telegraph (paywall)
- The Associated Press, led by greater China news director Gillian Wong.
- Asia Unbound, a blog from the Council on Foreign Relations, where Elizabeth Economy heads up Asia Studies.
- Bloomberg, with reporters including Dexter Roberts and Lulu Yilun Chen.
- Foreign Affairs
- Foreign Policy, with Asia Editor James Palmer.
- The Information (paywall), with Asia bureau chief Shai Oster.
- The Los Angeles Times, with Beijing bureau chief Jonathan Kaiman.
- MIT Technology Review
- The New York Review of Books, where you’ll find stories from Ian Johnson.
- The New Yorker, with China correspondent Jiayang Fan.
- The New York Times (paywall), with Beijing bureau chief Jane Perlez and Shanghai bureau chief Keith Bradsher.
- NPR, with Beijing correspondent Anthony Kuhn and Shanghai correspondent Rob Schmitz.
- Quartz, with reporters such as Zheping Huang.
- Radio Free Asia
- The Wall Street Journal (paywall); we recommend the Twitter games of Te-Ping Chen, Josh Chin, and Li Yuan.
- War on the Rocks
- The Washington Post, with China bureau chief Simon Denyer.
We hope that’s enough reading and exploring for now. But remember, if you ever find yourself exhausted, there’s one website willing to do all the legwork for you: