Staying informed on China can seem like a full-time job. Luckily, a series of excellent newsletters are doing the hard work of China watching for us, compiling the best links and analysis on a weekly or even daily basis. Below is a selection 10 of the best (although there are many more out there)
The Weekly China Skinny
Published every Wednesday by marketing and digital strategy firm China Skinny, The Weekly China Skinny offers in-depth insights into what Chinese consumers are doing, buying, and saying. We like the (relatively) long read format, which goes in depth on a specific topic, with plenty of links to related articles. Recent newsletter topics have included the growing importance of regional provenance for food products in China and a look at why brands are shying away from celebrity marketing after numerous celebrity scandals.
Pekingnology is the brainchild of Zichen Wang, a senior Xinhua reporter based in Beijing. His regular analysis of current affairs often features translations from Chinese state media such as People’s Daily – a useful bellwether for public opinion and policy directions.
Note: Pekingnology does not represent the views of Xinhua, the Chinese media or China.
China Chit-Chat is written by Mark Schaub, senior partner at leading Chinese law firm King & Wood Mallesons (where he was the first foreign partner). Schaub has been working on China issues since moving to Shanghai in 1993, and his weekly newsletter offers a humorous insight into life on the ground there, plus reflections on the issues facing international companies operating in China. His commentary on the reaction of Shanghai’s expats to China’s strict zero-Covid policy is particularly interesting.
The Wire China
The Wire China is a digital magazine focused on China’s economic rise and its knock-on effect to everything from financial markets to the environment. Founded by Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist David Barboza, The Wire features a diverse range of writers from around the world, many of whom will be familiar to China-watchers. The Wire’s weekly newsletter is published every Sunday and includes summaries of the latest issues. They occasionally make articles available for free, but the majority of the content is paywalled.
Cost: Subscribe to the weekly digital magazine (five or six essays and articles every week) for $19 (£15.80) per month or $199 (£166) per year
Bill Bishop’s Sinocism will not be unfamiliar to anyone who follows China. Indeed, the newsletter boasts a community of “nearly 100,000 investors, policymakers, executives, analysts, diplomats, journalists, scholars and others.” Subscribing gets you four issues a week featuring commentary, analysis and a curated selection of English and Chinese links on that day’s “essential eight” topics.
Cost: $15 (£12.50) per month or $168 (£140) per year
China Brief is Foreign Policy magazine’s “weekly digest of the stories you should be following in China,” written by deputy editor James Palmer, on topics such as China’s Covid-19 figures and the recent China Eastern plane crash.
If you are looking for insights into a diverse range of topics, you can usually find them on SupChina, where readers will discover articles on everything from politics and economics to deep dives on the popularity of ultimate frisbee in the country. The weekly newsletter rounds up SupChina’s best stories from the past week in an easy-to-digest format. SupChina also publishes several subject-specific newsletters, including The China Vibe (weekly), which focuses on society and culture-led stories, and a monthly newsletter on philanthropy and NGO activity in China.
Cost: Free, or $10 (£8.40) per month or $99 (£82) per year to subscribe to SupChina Access, with more coverage and analysis on a daily basis.
Beijing to Britain
Beijing to Britain is described as the “only weekly intelligence briefing mapping UK-China relations.” Edited by Sam Hogg, who previously worked on China policy in parliament and in the private sector, Beijing to Britain goes in-depth on everything from politics to finance. The briefing is free if you have a gov.uk, parliament.uk or Chinese government email address.
Cost: £110 per year/£10 per month for the weekly newsletter and full archive access, or free for “occasional briefings”
China Research Group News
The CRG was established in 2020 by Conservative MPs Tom Tugendhat and Neil O’Brien, aiming to promote “fresh thinking” about China and how its industrial and foreign policy might shape the world. With that in mind, its daily news feed features a roundup of the top headlines on China across a range of topics.
The CBBC Focus Newsletter
The Focus newsletter goes out every second Tuesday, bringing together our top picks of the previous fortnight’s articles published on the FOCUS Magazine website and delivered straight to your inbox.