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Interview: Frank Dikötter, Author of 'Mao's Great Famine' [UPDATED]

Frank Dikötter, author of 'Mao's Great Famine.' (Hong Kong University)

The author of Mao's Great Famine, which was a runner-up in the 2011 Asia Society Bernard Schwartz Book Award, spoke with Asia Blog about China, famine, and why the Great Leap Forward doesn't get enough attention. He also has a few choice words for The New Yorker's Pankaj Mishra.

Upcoming Summits Underscore Importance of East Asia in U.S. Strategy

(L to R) Chinese President Hu Jintao, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, U.S. President Barack Obama and Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stand together for a photograph at the Group of 20 (G20) Cannes Summit at the Palais des Festivals November 3, 2011 in Cannes, France. (Chris Ratcliffe-Pool/Getty Images)

Earlier today, the Asia Society released a task force report entitled U.S.-East Asia Relations: A Strategy for Multilateral Engagement. This report, compiled by an international group of experts, presents a series of practical recommendations on what the U.S. can do to build constructive relationships with Asian countries.

Taiwan For Sale?

Flags of the United States and Taiwan fly outside Chinatown gate in Washington, D.C. (Flickr/Photo Phiend)

In today's New York Times, former Harvard academic Paul V. Kane writes that the United States should terminate its defense arrangement with Taiwan in exchange for China forgiving the $1.14 trillion of U.S. debt that it holds. Kane argues that this move would be:

Orville Schell on Walmart and the Greening of China

Walmart in Shenzhen, China. (dcmaster/Flickr)

Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of the U.S.-China Center at Asia Society, has an article in The Atlantic discussing how a burgeoning "green movement" has affected Walmart's relationship with China. Are the world's most populous country and the world's largest corporation at the vanguard of a growing environmental movement? Schell isn't so sure:

Video: Chinese Author Murong Xuecun Talks Government (and Self) Censorship

Chinese author Murong Xuecun speaks during the Chindia Dialogues at Asia Society in New York on Sunday, November 6, 2011. (Elsa Ruiz)

Before he was featured on the front page of the New York Times, the 37-year-old novelist spoke at Asia Society in New York. Click the headline to read and watch.

Amitav Ghosh: Oil, Opium and the Religion of Free Trade

Jonathan Spence (L) and Amitav Ghosh (R) at Asia Society New York on Nov. 3, 2011. (Suzanna Finlay)

UPDATE: Jay Corcoran filmed some behind the scenes interviews with Amitav Ghosh, Jonathan Spence and members of the audience. (Scroll to the bottom of the page to watch.)


The relevance of past to present took center stage at Asia Society last night, when historical novelist Amitav Ghosh drew a provocative parallel between the Opium Wars of the 1830s and the present day.

Photo of the Day: Bathing for the Guinness Record in China


14,345 people attempted to set a new Guinness World Record as they gathered for a bath at a hot spring in southwest China's Chongqing municipality on October 30, 2011. The former world record was 10,121 people having a hot spring bath at the same time in China's Hubei province. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Does it Matter if Jon Huntsman is 'Fluent' in Mandarin Chinese?

Jon Huntsman (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Jon Huntsman, former Utah Governor and U.S. Ambassador to China — and current Republican candidate for president — is at the center of a discussion that reveals our assumptions about language perhaps better than any other: the idea of “fluency.”

Google Reader Redesign Unpopular in China

(Mike Licht/Flickr)

Earlier this week Google unveiled the newest version of Google Reader, its long-neglected RSS service. Though most of the changes are cosmetic — Google has embraced a gray, minimalist aesthetic of late — the removal of Reader's social functions has led to a fair amount of grumbling among the service's users.

Jeffrey Wasserstrom on Yu Hua's 'China in Ten Words'

Yu Hua (Courtesy of Fabrica)

Asia Society Associate Fellow Jeffrey Wasserstrom reviews the latest work by Chinese author Yu Hua, who participates in Asia Society New York's Chindia Dialogues this week.