Tea Leaf Nation

About Tea Leaf Nation

Tea Leaf Nation decodes Chinese media, analyzes social trends, and features Chinese voices, all to illuminate the country from within.

Pro-democracy lawmakers attend a rally in front of Civic Square in support of Nathan Law, Leung Kwok-hung, also known as 'long hair', Lau Siu-lai and Edward Yiu Chung-yim (not pictured) in Hong Kong on July 14, 2017, after a verdict was handed down invalidating their oaths, taken on October 12 last year. 
Four pro-democracy lawmakers were disqualified from Hong Kong's parliament on July 14 in a move that will worsen growing fears the city's freedoms are under serious threat from Beijing. / AFP PHOTO / ISAAC LAWRENCE        (Photo credit should read ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP/Getty Images)

Beijing Deals Another Blow to Hong Kong’s Autonomy

An oppressive ruling by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee — aided by a compliant Hong Kong judge — has silenced champions of democracy.

A general view shows the skyline of a central business district in Beijing on November 27, 2013. Foreign investment into China rose 5.77 percent on year in the first 10 months of 2013, the government said on November 19.     AFP PHOTO / WANG ZHAO        (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)

China’s New Megacity: The Anti-Beijing

The government will build another metropolis from scratch. But it's not planning on following the old playbook.

JINING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 28:  (CHINA OUT) People wearing raincoats participate in 2014 Confucius Memorial Ceremony on September 28, 2014 in Jining, Shangdong province of China. Memorial ceremony to mark the 2,565th birthday anniversary of Confucius was held in Jining on Sunday.  (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)

Is Beijing Getting Scared of Homeschooled Confucian Activists?

The Communist Party's enthusiasm for private Confucian schools is cooling. It could be fearful of a moral system outside its control.

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 13:  Ivanka Trump attends a round table discussion with her father U.S. President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, on the advancement of women entrepreneurs and business leadersat the White House February 13, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Unpacking China’s Curious ‘Ivanka Fever’

The President's powerful daughter evokes deeply-held tropes in Chinese society.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan wave as they leave the plane upon their arrival at Moscow's Vnukovo II Government airport on May 8, 2015. Jinping arrived in Moscow to take part in the Victory Day celebrations. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER NEMENOV        (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)

When Xi Meets the Trumps

China's president has descended on Florida for a summit with a counterpart he's never met. What happens now?

In this picture taken on October 11, 2016 a mother is using a leash to keep her child nearby at a beach at the Club Med resort in Sanya. 
Almost two years after being bought out by Chinese investment fund Fosun, the holiday resort French group Club Med tries to import its recipes on a promising Chinese market, where a growing upper middle-class now discovers the concept - still very new in Chinese society - of holiday resorts. / AFP / NICOLAS ASFOURI / TO GO WITH AFP STORY: "CHINA-FRANCE-TOURISM-INVESTMENTS-SOCIETY" Focus by Julien GIRAULT        (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s Not Communism Holding China’s Youth Back. It’s Their Parents.

Pressure to save, marry, and work leaves no room for democratic aspirations.

BEIJING, CHINA - JULY 06: Chinese Hui Muslim men pray during Eid al-Fitr prayers marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan at the historic Niujie Mosque on July 6, 2016 in Beijing, China. Islam in China dates back to the 10th century as the legacy of Arab traders who ventured from the Middle East along the ancient Silk Road.  Of an estimated 23 million Muslims in China, roughly half are Hui, who are ethnically Chinese and speak Mandarin.  China's constitution provides for Islam as one of five 'approved' religions in the officially atheist country though the government enforces severe limits.  Worship is permitted only at state-sanctioned mosques and proselytizing in public is illegal.  The Hui, one of 55 ethnic minorities in China (along with the Han majority), have long nurtured a coexistence with the Communist Party and is among the minority groups with political representation at various levels of government. The Hui Muslim population fast from dawn until dusk during Ramadan and it is believed there are more than 20 million members of the community in the country. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

When Marx Meets Islam

A Chinese regulation would prohibit online insults based on religion. Some decry it as antithetical to Communist values.

Galleries

A group of migrants travel on board a rescue boat on Feb. 10, one day after their rescue off the Libyan coast. Ninety-three migrants from Mali, Ivory Coast, and Cameroon were rescued by the Spanish NGO Maydayterraneo in the central Mediterranean. PABLO GARCIA/AFP via Getty Images

A Week in World Photos

Migrants in the Mediterranean, a mass masked wedding in South Korea, and a melting glacier in the French Alps.

People in traditional Korean hanbok dresses wear face masks as they jump for a souvenir picture at Gyeongbokgung palace in Seoul on Feb. 3. JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images

A Week in World Photos

Rebel fighters in Syria, protesters at the U.S.-Mexico border, and migrants in Greece.

In the Magazine

In the Magazine

Dan Saelinger illustration for Foreign Policy

Can Social Democrats Save the World (Again)?

Communism and democratic socialism won’t heal today’s political divisions. But social democracy—which helped ward off extremism following World War II—could.

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Why Socialism Won’t Work

Capitalism is still the best way to handle risk and boost innovation and productivity.

How Climate Change Has Supercharged the Left

Global warming could launch socialists to unprecedented power—and expose their movement’s deepest contradictions.

Why the Berlin Wall Still Matters

Fragments of the wall have become museum pieces. But with the rise of extremist parties in Germany, the debate over the barrier’s legacy is anything but history.