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Issue 7

China 中国

The “world’s factory” has long been patronized as a place of copying, rather than creativity. But in fact, since its founding, the People’s Republic has been driven by dreams of rapid modernization and innovation, with engineers turned politicians drafting policy at Zhongnanhai. Apps in China now operate at scales American entrepreneurs only dream of.

Our China issue explores the situation on the ground, from biometric surveillance of Muslims in Xinjiang to the new global map that Chinese tech is drawing.


Code Red

The Editors

The Chinese internet is coming for you. Or so we often hear.


A Brief History of the Chinese Internet

Graham Webster

The internet has transformed China, but not in the ways that American observers expected.

QR is King

Chenxin Jiang

A report from the frontier of a cashless future.

Leninism 2.0

Nick Frisch

A genealogy of the Chinese Communist Party’s relationship to technology.

The Chinese Burner

Chen Qiufan

A Chinese perspective on Burning Man.

command and control

Finding a Voice

Lü Pin

How feminist voices were silenced on the Chinese internet.

Ghost World

Darren Byler

The Uyghur lives that power China’s new security tech.

The Messy Truth About Social Credit

Shazeda Ahmed

Separating the fact from the fiction of China’s social credit system.

Pepe the Sad Frog Coloring Book and Chinese Language Guide

Fei Liu

A meme mutation has made Pepe the Frog into an online Chinese sensation.

social webs

Bullet Time

Christina Xu

An inquiry into how young people are hanging out on the internet.

Another Country

Hatty Liu

A report on digital life beyond the megacity.

Chinese Pastoral

Pu Yan

What happens when town and country collide.

Disappearing City

Ting Guo

A meditation on sex, love, and commerce in Hong Kong.

chain reactions

Crypto with Chinese Characteristics: Eric Meltzer on The New New Thing

A conversation about the booming world of Chinese blockchain.

Bubbles and Opportunities

An analysis from China’s leading cryptocurrency expert.

Busker from an Alternate Future

Jason Li, Susan Lin

Imagining the future with objects available today.


Let There Be Light

Chen Qiufan

An excerpt from the science-fiction novel Waste Tide.

Uneven and Combined Development: Hao Jingfang on Building the Future

A conversation about picturing different possibilities.

Paper Animals: Ken Liu on Writing and Translating Science Fiction

How do you make a world?

First edition of Issue 7: China 中国 released May 01, 2019.