Listicles

10 Bad China Takes

A tongue-in-cheek list of imperfect China articles


As China-US relations sour and nations become more cloistered in their own interests, it's more important than ever to have nuanced information about, and reporting from, China. In its stead (and in the wake of recent journalist expulsions), there are ever more hot takes, helicopter articles, stereotype-bolstering blogs and second-hand opinions. That's why we feel its valid and valuable to collect a few of the more egregious "bad China takes" from the last decades, in the hope that the next years can bring more informed detail and sager balance. To avoid cheap shots, we're calling out established publications rather than smaller blogs. In no particular order:

 

 

Listicles

20 China books to read (and 5 to avoid)

Essential reads for your China library

'Tis the season of merriment and listicles. Before we break for Christmas, we've updated our list of essential China books, in case our latest staff picks weren't enough for you. We’ve split this into five lists of five: books on contemporary China; books on Chinese history; books from Chinese voices; Chinese classics; and a new fifth section, China books to avoid. (We don't mean that these books have no value – they are all informative – but that they are ultimately misleading and so you should avoid them in favour of others.)

We hope this is useful as an open sesame for new China watchers, or for old China hands to plug holes in their bookshelf. The lists are designed as all-you-need to pack your bag/Kindle to grasp that aspect or perspective of China, without being overwhelming. Naturally, we have missed out a plethora of wonderful books. But, we hope, this is only the beginning of your reading. See also our lists of 12 must-read Chinese fiction books, and a dozen Chinese films to watch.

Listicles

20 Best China Books

Essential reading for your China library, in four categories

Third and last in our mini-series of summer listicles, after 12 must-read Chinese fiction books, and 12 must-watch Chinese films, comes this master list: 20 of the best general books about or from China. We are selective, of course, and these recommendations are far from comprehensive. We’ve also split it into four lists of five: books on contemporary China, books on Chinese history, books from Chinese voices, and Chinese classics.

We hope this is useful as an open sesame for new China watchers, or to encourage old hands to plug holes in their bookshelf. The lists are designed as all you need to pack your bag or Kindle with to grasp that aspect or perspective of China, without being overwhelming. Naturally, we have missed out a plethora of wonderful books. But, we hope, this is only the beginning of your reading.

Listicles

12 Best Modern Chinese Films

Must-watches for the China cinema connoisseur

Next up in our listicles is cinema – a dozen of the most essential films from contemporary China. As with our literature list, we are focusing on recent works, after 1980, from mainland China. That means we miss out Taiwanese films such as the work of Edward Yang, Ang Lee or Hou Hsiao-Hsien, not to mention Hong Kong directors including Wong Kar-Wai or the wacky genius of Stephen Chow. But it should be a good springing board for those looking to watch their way through the last decades of China’s cinematic history.

Listicles

12 Best Chinese Contemporary Fiction Books

Must-read novels and short stories from modern China

The China Channel is selling its soul and running a short summer series of listicles: on literature, film and China books. We begin with the fiction, focusing on contemporary fare from the last decades, to better give a feel for modern China through its novels. The list is selective and subjective, and partly determined by what is available in translation.

We deliberately left out Chinese writers overseas – Gao Xingjian, Ha Jin, Ma Jian, Guo Xiaolu, Amy Tan and Yiyun Li to name a few, all of whom could have formed another list of their own – to focus on novelists and short story writers living in the mainland. We also favoured an urban rather than a rural focus, as it's so much more relevant to the China that most visitors see. For sure there are plenty of fantastic titles that we’ve missed – but this will be a good start for the curious, and we hope it inspires you to find new favourites and rediscover old ones.