Chinese Talk

Sinica is a weekly podcast, about current affairs in China, hosted by Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn with a variety of guests drawn from Beijing's resident and transient community of journalists, China scholars and industry experts.


Beijing, China


Sinica is a weekly podcast, about current affairs in China, hosted by Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn with a variety of guests drawn from Beijing's resident and transient community of journalists, China scholars and industry experts.




Live: The Cultural Revolution at Fifty

50 years ago, Mao Zedong launched the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, inaugurating a decade of political turmoil with his calls for young people to "bombard the headquarters." In this special live edition of our podcast recorded at The Bookworm Literary Festival in March, Kaiser Kuo and David Moser welcome Melinda Liu, longtime China bureau chief of Newsweek for a discussion of the 50th anniversary of this definitive event. Melinda shares stories about her brother, who remained in...


Public Opinion with Chinese Characteristics

The immense popularity of social media has afforded China watchers a terrific window onto public opinion in China. In recent years, a slew of English-language websites have emerged to interpret the various trends and phenomena, discourse and debates on the Chinese Internet for non-Chinese audiences, but for our money, the very best of the bunch is — public opinion with Chinese characteristics — written by Ma Tianjie. A graduate of Peking University who now works for...


Everything Old is New Again

Members of the Politburo are rarely praised for their dancing skills, but consider Xi Jinping's almost flawless execution of the political two-step: first casting himself as the voice of liberal moderation in the face of Bo Xilai's mass propaganda, and then draping himself in the mantle of Maoist China and the Communist Revolution once his position was secure. The changes are enough to prompt anyone to ask: how exactly did this happen and does it even make sense?Today on Sinica we take a...



Kaiser and Jeremy recorded today's show from New York, where they waylaid Holly Chang, founder of Project Pengyou and now Acting Executive Director of the Committee of 100 for a discussion on spying, stealing commercial spying, spying and broadway.Yes, you read that right. After catching the Broadway musical Allegiance about the Japanese-American internment camps in WWII, we wanted to do a show discussing the experiences people of Chinese heritage have with racial profiling today, and...


Sauced: American Cooking in China

Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are joined this week by Howie Southworth and Greg Matza, creators of the independent television series Sauced in Translation, a reality show that journeys into the wilder parts of China in search of local Chinese specialities that can be repurposed into classic American dishes. The show is a great concept, brilliantly executed, and we're delighted to have Howie and Greg here to share some behind-the-scenes stories and talk about how they got started mixing...


The China Meltdown

With equity markets in freefall, housing prices skipping downwards, foreign reserves plummetting, and industrial production on a roadtrip back to the last decade, it's no surprise permabears like Gordan Chang are stocking up on popcorn to bask in what they see as the long-due collapse of the Chinese economy. It all raises the question of how bad things are going to get, which leads to the question of how bad they are right now.Joining Kaiser, Jeremy and David in the studio today to talk...


Air Pollution and Climate Change

This week on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are joined by Deborah Seligsohn who for a long time served as the science counselor for the US Embassy in Beijing and is currently a doctoral candidate at UCSD where she studies Environmental Governance in China. With more than 20 years of China experience, Deborah is one of the most knowledgeable people in the world on the question of China's policy response to questions of air pollution and climate change, which is why we are delighted to...


While We're Here: China Stories from a Writers' Colony

When Ernest Hemingway somewhat presciently referred to China as a movable feast ("wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you") he captured the concerns of the long-term expat rather concisely. So why does everyone like to compare life here to Paris in the 1920s? And what are the writers in our midst producing anyway?This week on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are delighted to host the editors of While We're Here: China Stories from a Writer's Colony, a compilation of...


Out of Africa: the Swifts of Beijing

With amazing research now suggesting that Beijing swifts, the tiny creatures most residents pass by without noticing, are some of the most well-travelled birds on the planet, averaging an astonishing 124,000 miles of flight in their life, barely landing for years-on-end, and migrating as far as the southern tip of Africa. this week on Sinica hosts Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn invited Terry Townshend, founder of the environmental education organization Eco-Action and author of Birding...


Live at the Bookworm, Part II

This is the second part of our episode of Sinica recorded last month during a special live event at the Bookworm literary festival. In this show David Moser and Kaiser Kuo were joined by China-newcomer Jeremy Goldkorn, fresh off the plane from Nashville to field questions from our live Beijing audience. During this show we talk about what Beijing means to us and what we see happening in China going forward.If you're a long-time listener, be sure to check out this unusual episode—recorded...


Live at the Bookworm, Part I

Our episode of Sinica this week was captured last month during a special live event at the Bookworm literary festival, where David Moser and Kaiser Kuo were joined by China-newcomer Jeremy Goldkorn, fresh off the plane from Nashville. During the show we talked about Beijing-lifers and how the city has changed during our time here. If you're a long-time listener, be sure to check out this unusual episode—recorded in front of a live audience. This is part one: the second half will follow...


Hope and Fear in the Age of Asia

The West has spent decades pleading with China to become a responsible stakeholder in the global community, but what happens now that China is starting to take a more proactive role internationally? In today's show, Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are delighted to be joined by Dutch journalist Fokke Obbema (the de Volkskrant correspondent with a perfectly normal Dutch name), author of the recent book China and the West: Hope and Fear in the Age of Asia.As always, if you'd like to download new...


Tu Youyou and the Nobel Prize

This week on Sinica, we are delighted to present a show on Tu Youyou, the Chinese scientist who recently shared a Nobel Prize in Medicine for her discovery of the anti-malaria compound artemisinin, thus making her the first citizen of the People's Republic of China to receive the Nobel Prize in the natural sciences.


Edmund Backhouse in the Long View of History

Edmund Backhouse, the 20th century Sinologist, long-time Beijing resident, and occasional con-artist, is perhaps best known for his incendiary memoirs, which not only distorted Western understanding of Chinese history for more than 50 years, but also included what in retrospect can only be seen as patently fictitious stories of erotic encounters between the British Baronet and the Empress Dowager Cixi.This week on Sinica, we are delighted to be joined by Derek Sandhaus of Earnshaw Books,...


Hip Hop in China

Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are joined today by Jerry Chan and Matt Sheehan for a look at hip-hop in China. Both guests should be familiar to long-time listeners in Beijing. Jerry has been involved with the local music scene for over a decade and now works as marketing director for True Run Media. Matt Sheehan is the Beijing correspondent for the Huffington Post and has recently written on rap in China as well. [standalone mp3 download]


Parading around China's Military Legacy

The interpretation of history is an inherently political act in China, and the struggle for control of the narrative of the War of Resistance Against Japan—World War II—has heated up during the approach to the September 3 parade commemorating the Japanese surrender. Joining us to talk about changing interpretations of World War II and the big miitary parade in front of Tiananmen is Rana Mitter, professor of modern Chinese history at Oxford University and the author of two books on...


China's Millennials

This week on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn record from San Francisco, where they interview Eric Fish: long-time China resident, writer at the Asia Society and author of the recent book "China's Millennials: The Want Generation". Join us as we talk with Eric about the stereotypes and realities surrounding the millennial generation in China. [standalone mp3 download]


Bill Bishop: The Exodus

As anyone who reads the Sinocism newsletter knows, Bill Bishop is among the most plugged-in people in Beijing with an uncanny ability to figure out what is actually happening in the halls of power. But as casual readers may not be aware, he is also an excellent podcast guest due to his habit of bringing first cupcakes and now amazingly smooth bottles of Japanese whisky to our recording sessions before trading the latest gossip about the goings-on in Zhongnanhai.On today's show we mark Bill's...


The Tianjin Explosion

Insurance scam? Industrial accident? Political machinations? After August excursions to lands of clean air and English-language media, the Sinica team is back this week with a show covering the astonishing explosions that gutted the Binhai economic development zone in Tianjin last week. As the Chinese government struggles to deal with public pressures for greater transparency and conspiracy theories mount, we take a closer look at what we know and don't about the port explosion.Enjoy Sinica?...


Beijing's Great Leap Forward

Great Leap Brewery is an institution. As one of the earliest American-style microbreweries in China, not only has the company rescued us from endless nights of Snow and Yanjing, but its also given us something uniquely Chinese with its assortment of peppercorn, honey and tea-flavored beers. So as much as we love the other microbreweries in Beijing and throw our money at them too, it's no accident the Great Leap taproom is our most frequent destination most evenings after recording a...