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Sinica Podcast

Brought to you by, Kaiser Kuo

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Sinica Podcast

A weekly discussion of current affairs in China with journalists, writers, academics, policymakers, business people and anyone with something compelling to say about the country that's reshaping the world. Hosted by Kaiser Kuo.

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Recent Episodes of Sinica Podcast


Ed Lanfranco: from Hoarder to Historian

Ed Lanfranco: from Hoarder to Historian

This week on the Sinica Podcast, Kaiser is joined by old friend Ed Lanfranco, who lived in Beijing from 1988 to 2009. An inveterate packrat, Ed managed to accumulate an incredible trove of documents, maps, photos, and ephemera from his years there and from the decades and even centuries before his arrival. Ed talks about his collection, and invites scholars interested in his material to get in touch!

2:46 – Ed’s time in China and saving ephemera 

11:47 – Ed’s favorite old Chinese brands 

14:41 – Ed’s map collection 

19:34 – The Tiananmen incident of 1976, Ed’s collection of unpublished phot...

Episode 23 May 2024 1h, 6m and 7s


Jay Kuo on Beijing's Gay 90s

Jay Kuo on Beijing's Gay 90s

This week on Sinica, I'm delighted to welcome — my brother! Jay Kuo is a Broadway writer & producer, and the man behind the terrific U.S. politics-focused Substack newsletter The Status Kuo. In a previous life, from 1996 to 2000, he was also really active in Beijing's gay community, just at the time when homosexuality was being decriminalized and was stepping out of the shadows. We talk about how it all took off. Jay also puts on his other hat to talk about how China figures into American politics with the election less than five months away, and about the legal standing of...

Episode 16 May 2024 1h, 9m and 15s


The Struggle for Taiwan: Sulmaan Wasif Khan of Tufts University on his new book

The Struggle for Taiwan: Sulmaan Wasif Khan of Tufts University on his new book

This week on Sinica, I chat with Sulmaan Wasif Khan, professor of history and international relations at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, about his book The Struggle for Taiwan: A History of America, China, and the Island Caught Between, which comes on May 14.

4:28 — The Cairo Agreement

6:59 — General George Marshall, George Kennan, and the change in the idea of American trusteeship of Taiwan?

17:08 — The debate over the offshore islands of Kinmen and Matsu

23:55 — Mao’s evolving interest in Taiwan

27:49 — The averted crisis of 1962

32:06 — Peng Ming-min and the Taiwan indepen...

Episode 9 May 2024 1h, 46m and 8s


Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jane Perlez on her new podcast series, Face-Off

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jane Perlez on her new podcast series, Face-Off

This week on Sinica, veteran reporter Jane Perlez, who served as bureau chief for the New York Times in Beijing until 2019, joins to discuss her new podcast series Face-Off, which explores different facets of the U.S.-China relationship. We also talk about the state of Western journalism in China in the wake of tit-for-tat expulsions of reporters from the U.S. and China that took place during the Trump administration, and the challenges of covering China well without people on the ground in country.

5:16 – How Jane Perlez got into podcasting

7:59 – The challenge of understanding Xi J...

Episode 2 May 2024 1h, 2m and


Political Scientist Iza Ding on Authoritarianism, Legitimacy, and "Resilience"

Political Scientist Iza Ding on Authoritarianism, Legitimacy, and "Resilience"

This week on Sinica, Iza Ding, associate professor of political science at Northwestern University and author of The Performative State: Public Scrutiny and Environmental Governance in China, joins to share her ideas on how American academia has framed and problematized authoritarianism, especially when it comes to China. A deep and subtle thinker, she offers thought-provoking critiques of some of the assumptions that have become nearly axiomatic in political science and other social sciences in their approach to understanding politics in China.

3:13 – Iza Ding’s concept of “authoritarian teleology”

15:31 – The concept of authoritarian resilience 

19:58 – The question...

Episode 25 April 2024 1h, 10s


The View from China: Leading IR scholar Da Wei of Tsinghua's CISS

The View from China: Leading IR scholar Da Wei of Tsinghua's CISS

This week on Sinica, I'm delighted to welcome Dá Wēi (达巍), one of China’s foremost scholars of China’s foreign relations and especially relations with the U.S. Da Wei is the director of the Center for International Security and Strategy (CISS) at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and is a professor in the department of International Relations at the School of Social Science at Tsinghua. Before September 2017, Professor Da served as the Director of the Institute of American Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), a leading think tank in Beijing. He was at CICIR for more t...

Episode 18 April 2024 1h, 25m and 27s


Did Netflix's Adaptation Ruin The Three-Body Problem?

Did Netflix's Adaptation Ruin The Three-Body Problem?

This week on Sinica, a discussion of Netflix's adaptation of Liu Cixin's The Three-Body Problem (or more accurately, Remembrance of Earth's Past). Joining me to chat about the big-budget show is Cindy Yu, host of The Spectator’s “Chinese Whispers” podcast, one of the very best China-focused podcasts; and Christopher T. Fan, who teaches English, Asian American Studies, and East Asian Studies at U.C. Irvine and is a co-founder of Hyphen magazine. Cindy and Chris both wrote reviews of the show and a bunch of other folks answered the call and contributed their thoughts as well.

6:46 – 3 Body Pro...

Episode 11 April 2024 1h, 9m and 43s


Live from AAS in Seattle: What has become clear to you recently?

Live from AAS in Seattle: What has become clear to you recently?

This week on Sinica: I wandered the halls at the Association for Asian Studies Conference in Seattle and talked to 14 participants and asked them all the same question: What has become clear to you about our field recently? The fantastic diversity of areas of inquiry and of perspectives was really energizing. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

02:25 Michael Davidson from UC San Diego on working towards climate change goals

04:22 Timothy Cheek from University of British Columbia on the importance of continuing to study China despite political tensions 

06:51 Chen Zifeng from L...

Episode 3 April 2024 49m and 19s


Back to the Future: David M. Lampton and Thomas Fingar on What  Went Wrong and How to Fix It

Back to the Future: David M. Lampton and Thomas Fingar on What Went Wrong and How to Fix It

This week on Sinica, I speak with veteran China analysts Thomas Fingar and David M. Lampton — Mike Lampton — about a paper they published in the Winter 2024 edition of the Washington Quarterly. It's an excellent overview of how and why the bilateral relationship took such a bad turn roughly 15 years ago, citing mistakes both sides made and the reasons why China shifted around that time from one of its two basic behavioral modes — more open, tolerant, and simpatico in its foreign policy — to the other mode, which is both more internally repressive and externally assertive.

Thomas Fingar is Shorenst...

Episode 27 March 2024 1h, 24m and 15s


Kerry Brown: on What does the West Wants from China, and the Exercise of Chinese Power

Kerry Brown: on What does the West Wants from China, and the Exercise of Chinese Power

This week on the Sinica Podcast, a show taped in Salzburg, Austria, at the Salzburg Global Seminar with Kerry Brown of King's College, London, on the prolific author's latest book, China Incorporated: The Politics of a World Where China is Number One.

05:22 – Chinese worldview and historical perceptions

07:51 – The unease with China's rise

10:42 – Chinese exceptionalism vs. Western universalism

17:30 – Parallels between American domestic unease and perceptions of China

22:27 – Discussion on China's competing belief system

33:56 – China's raw form of capitalism

40:36 – What the West wants from China

46:10 – The internet as a...

Episode 21 March 2024 1h, 30m and 36s

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