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Sinica Podcast

A weekly discussion of current affairs in China with journalists, writers, academics, policy makers, business people and anyone with something compelling to say about the country that's reshaping the world. A SupChina production, hosted by Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn.
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Now displaying: July, 2018
Jul 26, 2018

This week on Sinica, Kaiser and Jeremy chat with David Brophy, senior lecturer in modern Chinese history at the University of Sydney and a prominent scholar on Xinjiang, and with Andrew Chubb, a post-doc fellow this year at the Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program, about the response to China’s alleged influence operations in Australia. David and Andrew were both signatories to one of two “dueling open letters” addressing the issue; the one they signed warned of the dangers of overreaction.

Recommendations:

Jeremy: Bruce Lee: A Life, by Matthew Polly.

David: Two pieces on China’s re-education camps for muslims in Xinjiang: “New Evidence for China’s Political Re-Education Campaign in Xinjiang,” by Adrian Zenz, and Rian Thum’s follow up piece in the New York Times.

Andrew: The Asia Power Index, by the Lowy Institute. It allows you to interact and play around with the ratings and measures that go into the somewhat arbitrary calculation of power and influence, and includes interesting metrics such as a “Google rating” of just the raw number of Google searches for the country, and the extent of visa-free entry agreements.

Kaiser: Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right Paperback, by Arlie Russell Hochschild, an excellent example among the many books that attempt to explain the mindset of the kind of people who voted for Trump.

Jul 19, 2018

This week on the Sinica Podcast, Kaiser and Jeremy chat with Matthew Kohrman, associate professor of anthropology at Stanford University, about his work on China’s tobacco industry – and why China isn’t doing more to curb smoking. His new book on the subject is titled Poisonous Pandas: Chinese Cigarette Manufacturing in Critical Historical Perspectives.

Recommendations:

Matthew: Jia Zhangke, a Guy From Fenyang. In this documentary, Brazilian filmmaker Walter Salles accompanies the prolific Chinese director Jia Zhangke 贾樟柯 on a walk down memory lane, as he revisits his hometown and other locations used in creating his ever-growing body of work. You can stream it on Netflix.

Kaiser: Cigarette Citadels Map, an interactive project that aims to locate all factories producing cigarettes worldwide and expose information about their practices. And Calypso, David Sedaris's new story collection.

Jeremy: Arbor Day Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making the world greener and healthier by planting trees.

Jul 12, 2018

Hydropower dams are a source of debate in the environmental and international relations communities alike. China has made use of hydropower in the past to supplement its reliance on coal and other energy forms, and in total the country has 40 percent of the world’s large hydro dams. While the power from electricity-producing dams is relatively clean, the construction and placement of the massive pieces of infrastructure has long-term ecological consequences and severe impacts for communities downstream.

This week on the Sinica Podcast, Kaiser and Jeremy chat with Stephanie Jensen-Cormier, China Program Director for the NGO International Rivers, about the consequences of China’s aggressive building of large dams and other issues related to rivers in China – and to Chinese involvement in international dam building projects. She shares bad news, but also some surprisingly good news.

Recommendations:

Stephanie: River of Life, River of Death: The Ganges and India's Future, a book by Richard Mallet that discusses the Ganges’ cultural and economic importance. She also recommends Unbowed: A Memoir by Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan environmentalist and Nobel Laureate who started the Green Belt movement.

Kaiser: The audiobook for David Tod Roy’s translation of The Plum in the Golden Vase. The narrator, George Backman, has a perfect voice for the story, and performs it with decent Chinese pronunciation.

Jeremy: Mortality, Christopher Hitchens’ last book. Jeremy insists that despite the bleak subject matter, it is a good, short, and enjoyable read.

Jul 5, 2018

In this week’s episode of the Sinica Podcast, taped live in New York at the law offices of Dorsey and Whitney on June 19, Kaiser and Jeremy chat about DEF CON, the world’s premier hacker convention, which was — to the surprise of many — held in Beijing this May, and sponsored by Baidu. They also discuss U.S-China cyber relations throughout the years, including some of the finer emerging contours that define this relationship. Joining us are Kevin Collier, a reporter for BuzzFeed who reported on the conference from Beijing, and Priscilla Moriuchi, a 12-year veteran of the National Security Agency (NSA) who is now head of nation-state threat security at Recorded Future.

Recommendations:

Jeremy: Arab Tyrant Manual, a podcast hosted by Iyad El-Baghdadi and Ahmed Gatnash that discuss authoritarianism and freedom in the Middle East.

Priscilla: Crimetown, a podcast about organized crime and political corruption in Providence, RI in the 80’s and 90’s that is sure to please fans of Serial and S-Town alike.

Kevin: Tyler Childers, an authentic country musician who “cut his teeth” in Kevin’s Kentucky hometown.

Kaiser: Free Salamander Exhibit, an experimental metal band that Kaiser says has “crazy chops.”

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