Episodes
In this second half of our interview with Kishore Mahbubani, a former UN ambassador of Singapore, he talks to Kaiser about the perils of American exceptionalism, the poverty of strategic thinking in Washington, and the view of U.S.-China competition from the rest of the world. His latest book, Has China Won? The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy, is a bracing read, unsparing in its criticisms of Chinese and American strategic blunders, and its tough-love approach is sure to...
Published 05/28/20
In the first part of this two-part conversation, Kishore Mahbubani, a former UN ambassador of Singapore, returns to Sinica to chat with Kaiser about his latest book, Has China Won? The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy. It’s a bracing read, unsparing in its criticisms of Chinese and American strategic blunders, and its tough-love approach is sure to rankle. Part 2 will run next week.  12:46: Contrasting the geopolitical challenges posed by China and Russia 23:03: The core pillars of...
Published 05/21/20
No, not that Gordon Chang. The other one: the good one. Gordon H. Chang is a professor of American history at Stanford University, where he is also the Olive H. Palmer Professor in Humanities and the senior associate vice provost for undergraduate education. In this prelapsarian podcast, taped on December 19, Gordon chats with Kaiser about the rising tide of Sinophobia — presaging things to come once Trump really started fanning the flames during the present pandemic.  12:15: American...
Published 05/14/20
A congressional bill and a draft executive order threaten to prevent U.S. government agencies from using drones made in China or that contain Chinese components. Concerns over security issues may end successful programs by the Department of the Interior and other agencies using Chinese-made drones for a huge range of purposes. Brendan Schulman, vice president for public policy and legal affairs of leading Chinese drone maker DJI, joins Kaiser and Jeremy to discuss. 3:16: A history of...
Published 05/07/20
Literature professor and cineaste Jiwei Xiao, who grew up in Wuhan and whose mother still lives there, published a piece in the New York Review of Books about watching the coronavirus pandemic unfold — first at a distance in Wuhan, then up close in the U.S., where she now resides. In this episode, Jiwei joins Kaiser and Jeremy to discuss her experiences.  11:56: China’s initial response to the outbreak 16:18: Fang Fang’s comments on China’s response to COVID-19 25:09: Emerging literature...
Published 04/30/20
For our 10th anniversary show, Kaiser and Jeremy recorded live on Zoom, shared some reminiscences, reflected on how China and the podcast have changed in the years since they started the show, and took questions from listeners who tuned in. A video version of the podcast is available here.  8:05: A bird’s-eye view of Western media coverage of China 26:52: The demise of area studies, and the rise of disciplines in China studies 36:59: How to keep up with current events in China 44:51: A...
Published 04/23/20
Published 04/23/20
In a show taped on March 2, before the full force of COVID-19 had hit the U.S., Kaiser and Jeremy chatted with Parsifal D'Sola Alvarado about China's strategy in the resource-rich but economically devastated Venezuela. Parsifal is a co-founder of the Andrés Bello China-Latin America Research Foundation and a foreign policy adviser to Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó. 2:47: China-Venezuela relations before Hugo Chávez 11:29: Popular attitudes toward China under Chávez 30:27: Between...
Published 04/16/20
Liú Déhǎi 刘德海, master of the pipa, a type of Chinese lute, died at the age of 83 on April 11, 2020.  Liu was born in Shanghai in 1937. He received his early music education there before the Communist victory in 1949, and went on to become one of the idealistic young musicians who tried to form a specifically Chinese orchestral tradition. He learned a number of traditional instruments but became famous for playing the pipa, as well as for arranging and composing for it. Among many other...
Published 04/13/20
In a show taped in late February, Kaiser chats with Barbara Finamore, senior attorney and senior strategic director, Asia, for the Natural Resources Defense Council, who shares her perspective on China's impressive progress in curbing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing the price of renewable energy, and producing electric vehicles. Tune in for a rare bit of optimism in these tough times! 6:05: How much China has invested in renewable infrastructure 14:48: The impetus behind Chinese...
Published 04/09/20
This week, we bring you another show from the California podcast series that Kaiser recorded back in December, before the ravages of COVID-19. Take a break from thinking about the virus to listen to Michael McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, talk about why China requires a very different foreign policy approach than Russia.  4:31: Ideology and remnants of the Cold War 13:57: Promoting democratic values in Russia 22:22: Public diplomacy work in the 21st century 38:47: What to make...
Published 04/02/20
On this week's show, veteran reporter Dexter "Tiff" Roberts chats with Kaiser and Jeremy about his new book, The Myth of Chinese Capitalism: The Worker, the Factory, and the Future of the World. 6:28: What is the myth of Chinese capitalism? 20:17: Chinese migrant workers and their children 35:54: Labor conditions in China 40:28: Strikes, the CCP, and labor union overhaul 45:48: Taobao villages and the transformation of the Chinese countryside Recommendations: Jeremy: Videos for...
Published 03/26/20
This week on Sinica, Kaiser continues his California series with a conversation with Janet Yang, one of the legends of the U.S.-China film world, and Michael Berry, a professor at UCLA and a leading expert on Chinese cinema. They discuss how politics and other factors have taken the shine off the initial promise of U.S.-China film collaboration, but how some bright spots remain.  This episode is part of the California series of podcasts, made possible by the Serica Initiative. 6:07: The...
Published 03/19/20
In a show taped live at the China-U.S. Summit at Duke University on February 29, Kaiser chats with Ambassador Craig Allen, the longtime Asia-based diplomat who now serves as president of the U.S.-China Business Council. Topics include the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. businesses with China exposure, the major issues plaguing American companies, the phase one trade deal inked in January, and more. 6:18: COVID-19 and decoupling 12:11: The role of business communities in the...
Published 03/12/20
In this episode, part of Sinica's California series, Kaiser chats with Alex Wang, a professor of law at UCLA and an expert on China's environmental law. Just back from the COP25 meeting in Madrid, Alex provides an informed and dispassionate assessment of China’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 8:26: China and the EU on climate change 21:42: Is coal making a resurgence in China?  26:22: The carbon impact of the Belt and Road Initiative 30:15: How California collaborates with...
Published 03/05/20
From the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 that ended the Qing dynasty to the Second Sino-Japanese War to Tiananmen in 1989 and Hong Kong 30 years later, songs have inspired and united people in protest and political movements in China. In this episode, Kaiser chats with Jeff Wasserstrom of the University of California, Irvine, about the anthems that have animated activism, and about Jeff’s new book, Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink. The episode is part of the Serica Initiative’s series of...
Published 02/27/20
In a live show taped at the Asia Society, in partnership with ChinaFile, Kaiser sat down to chat with prolific author Mara Hvistendahl at the launch event of her latest book, The Scientist and the Spy: A True Story of China, the FBI, and Industrial Espionage. Written in the style of a thriller, this page-turner is well researched, admirably balanced, and incredibly timely.  12:49: Accusations against the scientists featured in the book 21:54: Instances of racial profiling against Chinese...
Published 02/20/20
This week, we feature an episode from the newest member of our Sinica Podcast Network: the China in Africa Podcast, hosted by Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden.  The United States sees Africa as a key arena to confront China's rising influence in the developing world. With its $60 billion International Development Finance Corporation and its Prosper Africa policy framework unveiled last year, the Trump administration is working hard to present African governments with an alternative...
Published 02/13/20
Kaiser and Jeremy chat with Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), where he directs the Global Health Governance roundtable series. In addition to his role at CFR, Yanzhong is also a professor at Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations, making him an ideal guest to talk about a pathogen with major domestic and international political implications.  Recommendations: Jeremy: Three pieces from SupChina: Kenyan...
Published 02/07/20
With the United States now in a presidential election year, how should an incoming administration — whether a Democratic presidency or a second Trump administration — approach China policy? This week, Kaiser chats with eminent scholars Susan Shirk and Barry Naughton of the University of California, San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy, and asks them how they would advise the future occupant of the Oval Office.  This episode is part of the California series, produced with the...
Published 02/06/20
In the aftermath of the targeted killing of Qasem Soleimani in early January, Kaiser talked to Jeff Prescott, a veteran China-watcher who now serves as a senior advisor to the Penn Biden Center. Jeff previously served as Special Assistant to President Obama, Senior Director for Iran, Iraq, Syria, and the Gulf States on the National Security Council, and Deputy National Security Advisor to Vice President Biden. This show was taped live at the inaugural U.S.-China Series conference in Seattle,...
Published 01/30/20
Maggie Lewis, a law professor at Seton Hall University, discusses the recent presidential election in Taiwan, where she and other Chinese and Taiwanese legal scholars took part as independent observers. Maggie and Kaiser also discuss domestic Taiwanese politics, the impact of demographic and social trends within the context of the election, and cross-Strait relations in 2020. 4:49: Political posturing toward the P.R.C. 14:51: How the Hong Kong protests affected the election in...
Published 01/23/20
This week on Sinica, Kaiser chats with Professor Tai Ming Cheung of the University of California, San Diego. Tai is the director of the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) and also a leading expert on Chinese national security and defense modernization. This episode is part of a nine-part series taped in California in December 2019, made possible by the Serica Initiative, SupChina's nonprofit arm. 5:30: What the international security environment looks like to Xi...
Published 01/16/20
On this week’s show, Kaiser chats with Alejandro Reyes, an associate professor at the University of Hong Kong and a former senior policy adviser to Canada’s assistant deputy minister for Asia Pacific, about the ongoing Hong Kong protests and the spread of violence to some of Hong Kong’s best-known universities in November. Alejandro offers his take on this phase of the protests, and on how half a year of incessant protests has impacted the mental health of young...
Published 01/09/20
In a show taped in Seattle, Kaiser chats with Gary Rieschel, founding managing partner of Qiming Venture Partners. With 30 unicorns and over 30 exits, Qiming has been one of the most successful VCs in China, investing in numerous companies that have gone on to become household names in the country. Gary reflects on his years in China and the folly of decoupling. Recommendations: Gary: Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand, and Factfulness, by Hans Rosling.  Kaiser: Watchmen, the new show on HBO...
Published 01/02/20