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The Little Red Podcast
44 minutes | Sep 19, 2022
Cambodia: China’s first client state?
The Southeast Asian nation has historically been seen as China's first client state, with the Khmer Rouge's hardline interpretation of Maoism leading to the horror of the Killing Fields. Four decades on, Cambodia still enjoys the best and the worst of what the People’s Republic can offer. While aid from Beijing has built world-class infrastructure and provided clean drinking water to Cambodians, Chinese companies are also responsible for a tidal wave of scams, illegal casinos and even recent cases of human trafficking. China's building a military base at Ream on the Gulf of Thailand, only its second overseas base, amid public denials from Cambodian officials. To delve into the history and complexity of China’s relationship with Cambodia, we’re joined by Matthew Galway of the Australian National University and the author of The Emergence of Global Maoism: China’s Red Evangelism and the Cambodian Communist movement 1949-1979, and Andrew Mertha, director of the SAIS China Global Research Center at John Hopkins University and the author of Brothers in Arms: Chinese aid to the Khmer Rouge 1975 to 1979. Image: Prince Sihanouk visits China, November 1964. c/- Wikimedia Commons and People’s Daily. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
44 minutes | Aug 2, 2022
Herbal Gold: Chinese medicine, COVID and the CCP
Chinese households under lockdown have lacked food, company, and access to medical care. But they’ve had an almost endless supply of a traditional Chinese medicine treatment called Lianhua Qingwen, made by Yiling Pharmaceuticals. Chinese students abroad even have this drug delivered to their doorsteps in healthcare packages, and demand for it among diaspora communities has seen panic-buying and hugely inflated prices. In this episode, we explore why the Chinese state has invested huge sums in promoting such traditional remedies that have not been subject to rigorous clinical testing. To unpack the history and the politics, Louisa and Graeme are joined by Michael Stanley-Baker, historian of Chinese medicine and religion at Nanyang Technological University and Altman Yuzhu Peng, researcher of intercultural communications at the University of Warwick. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
47 minutes | Jun 30, 2022
Cheongsams and Coppers: Beijing's Stealth Infiltration of Hong Kong
It’s now been twenty-five years since Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty with a pledge not to change Hong Kong’s way of life for fifty years. In actual fact, Beijing's stealth infiltration of Hong Kong began long before the territory's return, with United Front work targeting certain sectors of the population. In this episode, we delve deep into Hong Kong's history to pinpoint how Beijing used the cheongsam makers and policemen - among others - to infiltrate society. Graeme is joined by Ho-fung Hung of Johns Hopkins University, author of City on the Edge: Hong Kong Under Chinese Rule, Newsweek journalist Didi Kirsten Tatlow, and for the first time as a guest, Louisa Lim, whose book Indelible City: Dispossession and Defiance in Hong Kong is now out. Image: Black Bauhinia with wilted petals, c/- Jacky CTensd, Wikimedia Commons, 2019 See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
46 minutes | Jun 6, 2022
Shanghaied: Living with Zero Covid
After two long months, Shanghai's brutal lockdown is over in name, but Xi Jinping is telling officials to ‘unswervingly adhere’ to Zero COVID, despite the costs. Shanghai’s lockdown brought chaos to global supply chains and torpedoed China’s once-sacred economic growth targets. It’s also taken a toll on the city’s residents; once the nation’s most privileged, they had a front row seat to the arbitrary nature of government decrees. To unpack what happens next, Louisa and Graeme are joined by Jennifer Pak, the Shanghai-based correspondent for Marketplace and Victor Shih, political economist at the University of California, San Diego whose new book Coalitions of the Weak: Elite Politics in China from Mao’s Stratagem to the Rise of Xi is just out. Image: c/- Wikimedia Commons. Hubei medical team aid Shanghai COVID-19 community testing on 4 April 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzrsLxGy9Gg See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
38 minutes | May 11, 2022
Gimme, gimme, gimme a Han after midnight: China’s masculinity crisis
For the past year, China has been in the grip of a crackdown on niangpao, or ‘sissy men’, with the People’s Daily warning that effeminate men are ‘corrupting a generation.’ It’s a movement that is having a chilling effect well beyond influencers having their social media accounts closed, with the Ministry of Education even issuing guidelines on how to ‘cultivate masculinity’ in boys from kindergarten onwards. To discuss what lies behind the masculinity crisis, Louisa and Graeme are joined by UNSW’s Kam Louie, the author of Chinese Masculinities in a Globalising World, Ting Guo, researcher of gender and politics at the University of Toronto and co-host of the podcast Shicha, and Xiaogang Wei, a filmmaker who is also a board member of the Beijing LGBTQ centre. Image: Screenshot of Feng Xiaoyi, c/- Neihin Ng, YouTube See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
42 minutes | Apr 28, 2022
Kevin Rudd: Is War With China Inevitable?
As Australia’s Defence Minister warns his nation to ‘prepare for war’ with China, there’s a growing feeling of inevitability about a future conflict between China and the United States. Against this rather bleak backdrop, we hear from one global figure who has had unusual access to China's leaders: Australia's former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. The President and CEO of the Asia Society, he describes himself as a Sinologist at the tables of power. He's probably the only Mandarin-speaking world leader to have one-on-ones with Xi Jinping and hear Jiang Zemin's rendition of O Sole Mio at Sydney Opera House. Rudd is publishing a book called The Avoidable War: The Dangers of a Catastrophic Conflict Between the United States and Xi Jinping’s China. This episode is a live recording of his Melbourne book launch, hosted by Louisa. In it, Rudd unpacks the logic of a future war, warns of Xi's biggest vulnerability and predicts a rocky few months ahead. This event was co-hosted by the Asia Society, the Wheeler Centre and RMIT Live. Image: Kevin Rudd and Louisa Lim at the Capitol Theatre c/- The Wheeler Centre, 2022 See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
45 minutes | Apr 6, 2022
Ukraine: A Win-Win for China
How is Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine redrawing the geopolitical landscape? In this episode, we examine China’s interests in the conflict and explore the limits of their ‘no limits’ agreement with Russia. To ask whether the geopolitical balance is shifting in favour of an ‘axis of autocracies’, Louisa and Graeme are joined by Alexander Gabuev, senior fellow and Russian chair in the Asia-Pacific Programme at the Carnegie Moscow Centre and Maria Repnikova, assistant professor in global communication at Georgia State University. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
44 minutes | Mar 9, 2022
Elite Capture: A CCP Primer in Making Friends and Influencing People
America's elites love to talk about China's '5000 years of civilization', but such language - which could come straight from the pages of the China Daily - serves to amplify Beijing's talking points. In this way and due to their own business dealings with China, some American elites are helping Beijing grow more powerful. In his book, America Second: How America's Elites Are Making China Stronger, journalist Isaac Stone Fish zeroes in on the case of the former US secretary of State Henry Kissinger, casting him as an agent of Chinese influence. In this episode, Louisa and Graeme talk to Isaac about how the CCP exploits the blurred line between politics and business to capture US elites. Image: c/- Wikimedia commons. Henry Kissinger and Chairman Mao, with Zhou Enlai behind them in Beijing, early 70s. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
46 minutes | Feb 2, 2022
Caste Aside: The Future for China's Peasants
By any metric, China's rural residents face massive disadvantages compared to their urban counterparts. More than half of rural teenagers are cognitively delayed, and longstanding policies restrict their mobility and access to vital services. China's peasants were one of Chairman Mao's favoured classes and the backbone of his Revolution, but what place is there for the half-a-billion rural dwellers in Xi Jinping's China? To discuss whether common prosperity can trickle down to the countryside, Louisa and Graeme are joined by sociologist Mindi Schneider from Wageningen University, and economist Scott Rozelle, the author of Invisible China: How the Urban-Rural Divide Threatens China's Rise. Image: Rural primary school in Anhui, c/- Graeme Smith See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
49 minutes | Jan 2, 2022
Shakeup or Shakedown? China's New Red Economy
As China's economy slows down, Xi Jinping's charting a new economic course that will redefine the country's future. From reining in tech giants to redistributing wealth in the name of “common prosperity”, the Party's economic policy is moving away from the Deng reform era. Economic analysts are sharply divided on what it portends for China and the world. This month, Louisa and Graeme hear two completely opposed takes on China's economic strategy, from Andy Rothman, an investment strategist at Matthews Asia, and Anne Stevenson-Yang, the co-founder of J Capital Research. Image: Caofeidian, Hubei Province. c/- Anne Stevenson-Yang See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
51 minutes | Nov 21, 2021
The Great Reconciler and the End of Chinese History
Become an instant expert on the new historical resolution issued by China's Communist Party for all your cocktail season smalltalk needs. It's only the third such move in the party's century-long history, and the first in forty years. This resolution introduces a new slogan: Xi Jinping's Two Establishments, signalling the Chairman of Everything's elevation to helmsman status. In this episode, Louisa and Graeme turn to two authorities on party history for elucidation: Patricia Thornton of the University of Oxford and Geremie Barmé, editor of China Heritage and the founding director of the Australian Centre on China in the World. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
40 minutes | Oct 13, 2021
The CCP Goes Outback? The Century of Humiliation in Australia
China’s Communist Party’s rewriting of history doesn’t stop at their own borders, but has even reached as far as Wandiligong, a town of 453 people four hours north of Melbourne. It’s home to a memorial bridge to Chinese goldminers built with the assistance of the Australia China Friendship Society. The information panels use racist language for the Chinese such as “chinks and chows to be ridiculed and baited”, illustrating one example of how the CCP is exporting the notion of a century of humiliation to other countries. In this episode we ask whether various attempts to rewrite Chinese Australian history represent a coordinated campaign and to what end. Louisa and Graeme are joined by Karen Schamberger, vice President of the Young Historical Society, historian Louise Edwards from the University of New South Wales and Paul Macgregor, former curator at the Chinese Museum of Melbourne. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
37 minutes | Sep 20, 2021
The Endless Purge: Reassessing June 4 1989
The purge that followed the killings by PLA soldiers in and around Tiananmen Square three decades ago has continued into the present, even permeating Western academia. A host of new sources, including leaked diaries by Chinese leaders, have emerged in recent years, but few Western scholars appear willing to break the taboo surrounding June 4. The jailing this month of nine Hong Kongers, for as much as ten months, for taking part in a banned Tiananmen vigil indicates how the purge is spreading to Hong Kong, where police raided the Tiananmen Massacre museum, confiscating exhibits as evidence. Against that backdrop, Louisa speaks to Simon Fraser University's Jeremy Brown, whose recent book June Fourth: The Tiananmen Protests and the Beijing Massacre reframes the events of 1989, shifting the focus from elites and students to ordinary people. This is a recording of a live conversation that was hosted by Harvard University’s Fairbank Centre for Chinese Studies. Image credit: Holly Angell See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
40 minutes | Aug 18, 2021
Lone Wolves or Xi Wolves? The Evolution of China’s Nationalistic Diplomats
Nationalism in China seems to have taken a feral turn, with Chinese netizens viciously turning on Olympic athletes, celebrities and even the über-nationalist Global Times for letting down the motherland. This month we’re talking about the evolution of Chinese nationalism and the factors driving the emergence of a new cadre of aggressive diplomats known as wolf warriors. Louisa and Graeme are joined by Bloomberg journalist Peter Martin, who's just written China’s Civilian Army: The Making of Wolf Warrior Diplomacy and Cornell University’s Jessica Chen Weiss, who’s also the China editor at the Washington Post and has written a book called Powerful Patriots: Nationalist Protest in China’s Foreign Relations. Image: Vladimir Putin with Wang Yi, website of the President of the Russian Federation, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
52 minutes | Jul 19, 2021
The Little Red Podcast Turns Five: Agony Aunt Edition
For our fifth anniversary, we’ve thrown the floor open to our audience. This month we’re doing an Agony Aunt edition for China nerds. We've gathered your burning China questions and then hunted down the world’s leading experts in search of answers. From support for the government to statistical elasticity, from clothing habits to tea-drinking titillations right at the very top, we are parrying listener questions. In search of answers, Louisa and Graeme are joined by Arunabh Ghosh and Anthony Saich from Harvard University, Antonia Finnane from the University of Melbourne, and Lawrence Zhang from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Image: c/- Seb Danta See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
43 minutes | Jun 21, 2021
Jack be nimble: the Party-State Vs. the Tech Titans
China’s once untouchable tech billionaires suddenly find themselves in the unfamiliar position of being roughed up the state. Just at the time when the Party needs its homegrown tech firms to sell Xi Jinping’s new ‘lovable’ image of China, previously toothless regulators are issuing billion dollar fines and ordering companies to restructure—or else. To ask whether the state’s cozy relationships with companies like Alibaba and TenCent are on the rocks, we’re joined by Hong Kong University’s Angela Zhang, University of Leiden’s Rogier Creemers and John Lee from the Mercator Institute of Chinese Studies. This episode was recorded live as part of the ANU’s Digital Politics in the Asia Pacific seminar series. Image: Jack Ma c/- ピロシキ, flickr, October 10, 2011. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
53 minutes | May 10, 2021
Let's get this party started: China's global propaganda push
For a Party chosen by history, the CCP spends a lot of money targeting foreign media outlets and governments. In this episode, a panel of researchers discusses why China—or any autocracy—cares what the world thinks of it, and how it tries to shape its global image. We ask whether the CCP’s media outreach and lobbying operations bear fruit, or are readily seen through as clumsy propaganda. This week, Graeme is joined by Louisa and the Little Red Podcast’s researcher Julia Bergin, discuss a survey on China’s global media outreach that they've just conducted for the International Federation of Journalists, as well as political scientist Erin Baggott Carter from the University of South California, and Alex Dukalskis from University College Dublin who has just written a book called Making the World Safe for Dictatorship. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
44 minutes | Apr 21, 2021
Out of their league? China’s online gaming conundrum
China is home to 661 million online gamers, easily the world’s biggest market. Cities like Shanghai now boast some of the world’s most talented game developers. Yet the Chinese government has long been uncomfortable with online games, fretting about Internet addiction and young people wasting their energies on ‘spiritual opium’, leaving their schoolbooks for seedy Internet cafes. To explore how China is coping with the tension between molding productive citizens and cashing in on a hugely lucrative gaming industry, Louisa and Graeme are joined by game developer Allison Yang Jing, who writes about Chinese video games, Hugh Davies from RMIT, a video game curator, and Pace College’s Marcella Szablewicz, author of Mapping Digital Game Culture in China. Image: Game On, Hugh Davies See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
41 minutes | Mar 24, 2021
Remaking Hong Kong: Keep the Fishbowl, Change the Fish
China is now remoulding Hong Kong at speed. Forty-seven Democratic politicians and activists have been arrested on national security charges for participating in last year’s primary polls, and only people Beijing deems ‘patriots’ allowed to run for office. One prominent pro-Beijing figure has even warned that the electoral reforms risk ‘killing the patient’. With the legislature muzzled, the authorities are turning their attention to the media, the arts and the education sector. This month we're joined by a high-profile political exile, former Democratic party legislator Ted Hui, who's the first Hong Kong politician to flee to Australia, and former Democratic party chairperson, Emily Lau, who’s still in Hong Kong. Image c/- Flickr, Studio Incendo_DSC5956, 3 March 2021 See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
50 minutes | Feb 24, 2021
Tibet: Colonialism with Chinese Characteristics?
With the world’s attention focused on industrial-scale oppression in Xinjiang, developments in Tibet are passing beneath the radar. But activists are warning of a full-spectrum assault on the Tibetan way of life, as Tibetan language teaching is outlawed and urbanisation campaigns relocate nomads from their ancestral pastures. The CCP has underlined its determination to choose the next Dalai Lama, and Tibetans were recently urged by their Party Secretary to ‘reduce religious consumption’ to build a ‘new modern socialist Tibet’. To hear about the sophisticated ‘rolling repression’ that characterises Chinese rule in Tibet, Louisa and Graeme are joined by Barbara Demick, author of Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town, Benno Weiner, Associate Professor of History at Carnegie Mellon University who has just published The Chinese Revolution on Tibetan Frontier and Tendor Dorjee, a Senior Researcher at the Tibet Action Institute. Image credit: Tashi Tsering at Labrang Monastery, ÓUte Wallenbök See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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