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Julian Baird Gewirtz
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Julian Gewirtz writes on U.S.-China relations and modern Chinese politics, economics, and culture. A Chinese speaker, he received his A.B. degree, summa cum laude, from Harvard College, where he studied history. His senior thesis, which examined international influences on Chinese economic reforms during the 1980s, received the Philip Washburn Prize for best thesis on a historical subject and a Thomas T. Hoopes Prize for outstanding scholarly work. A Rhodes Scholar, he received a master's degree in history at the University of Oxford in 2014 and is currently completing his doctorate.

At Harvard, Julian served as publisher of The Harvard Advocate, the oldest collegiate literary magazine in the country, and a columnist for The Harvard Crimson, the University's daily newspaper. He is a research associate at the Harvard-Cambridge Joint Center for History and Economics and was a research fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. His writing has been published by The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Foreign Policy, Caijing magazine, among other publications, and he has won prizes for his poetry. He is particularly committed to engaging with his peers in China—a commitment that began in high school, when he founded the U.S.-China Youth Forum, a student-run organization that works to build bridges between young people in China and the United States.

Entries by Julian Baird Gewirtz

A Guy Walks Into a Bar and Asks About the Third Plenum

(0) Comments | Posted November 19, 2013 | 4:22 PM

I knew that something was up last week when, standing at a bar, I told the friend of a friend that my work concerned modern Chinese history. Without missing a beat, he asked, "What about that Third Plenum, huh? So is it world-historic or not?"

I swallowed my beer and...

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What's Xi's Textbook for Upcoming Reforms?

(3) Comments | Posted July 3, 2013 | 2:22 PM

At a Politburo meeting earlier this week, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for senior Party officials to turn their attention to the past in the run-up to the Third Plenum of the 18th Party Congress this fall, where major new reforms are expected. "History is the...

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Chinese Economic Debate Heats Up as Growth Cools Down

(1) Comments | Posted July 18, 2012 | 12:39 PM

HONG KONG -- On Friday, China released a disappointing set of second quarter growth figures, including a GDP growth rate that fell to 7.6 percent from 9.5 percent a year ago. The numbers have intensified jeremiads about the end of China's boom, which saw Barron's declare...

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Chinese Villager Caught in US Abortion Debate

(1) Comments | Posted July 17, 2012 | 2:41 PM

When Chinese writer Zhao Chu saw pictures of Feng Jianmei lying dazed beside the bloody body of her seven month-old fetus earlier this month, he took to his microblog to express his horror, evoking the unheard "tears and cries" of Feng and other victims of forced abortions. Countless...

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The Hunger Games Comes to Beijing

(1) Comments | Posted July 2, 2012 | 4:07 PM

BEIJING -- The Hunger Games movie mania may have finally starved in the United States -- but in China it's just beginning.

The film debuted in the box office chart's top spot, bringing in an estimated 66.1 million yuan ($10.4 million) in its first week last month. Its...

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'Foreign Trash' and China's Soft Power

(1) Comments | Posted May 29, 2012 | 12:46 PM

It's a strange day when a man who has been called "one of the faces of China's soft power push" calls Westerners in China "foreign trash" on his microblog, railing:

Cut off the foreign snake heads. People who can't find jobs in the U.S. and Europe...
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A Pritzker Prize With Chinese Characteristics

(0) Comments | Posted March 12, 2012 | 11:30 AM

Last week, the jury for the Pritzker Prize -- the highest honor in architecture -- announced that it had awarded the prize to Chinese architect Wang Shu. "Wang who?" would have been a reasonable reaction: Wang certainly doesn't command the international stature of recent Pritzker winners like Jean...

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"Scientific Development" and China's Leadership Transition

(1) Comments | Posted January 4, 2012 | 10:55 AM

The coming year will see China's leadership transition from a decade under President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao to a new cadre of younger leaders. Xi Jinping, currently Vice President, is widely expected to take Hu's place in the top spot. This planned transition is already in progress; as...

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Kim Jong Il & Václav Havel: The China Connection

(1) Comments | Posted December 19, 2011 | 10:38 PM

In the days following the strange coincidence of December 18 -- the deaths of both Kim Jong Il, North Korea's totalitarian "Dear Leader," and Václav Havel, the Czech dissident turned president who oversaw his country's move to capitalism -- many articles on Kim's death noted that the Chinese...

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China's Explosive Illegal (Im)migration Problem

(14) Comments | Posted August 18, 2010 | 1:27 PM

The United States isn't alone in its current debates and worries about illegal immigration -- and in China today, another form of "illegal immigration" is fast becoming one of most important issues confronting the Chinese government. This debate centers on the status of the country's 200 million migrant workers, Chinese...

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More Rights, but Less Space?--A Chinese Conundrum

(16) Comments | Posted August 12, 2010 | 1:14 PM

China's failure to provide adequate education for the marginalized children of migrant workers in urban centers is widely recognized as a major civil rights problem. These children have been largely excluded from their legal entitlement to "compulsory education" as a result of China's outdated household registration (hukou) system. So migrant...

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China Has Its Scientific Revolution

(12) Comments | Posted May 12, 2010 | 4:07 PM

Much time is spent trying to figure out what will be the consequences of China's rapid movement towards becoming a great economic and world power. Much less time, though, has gone to explaining how this change happened and how it will be sustained, if it is sustained.

China watchers recently...

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New Year's Resolutions for the U.S.-China Relationship

(4) Comments | Posted January 4, 2010 | 11:31 AM

The year 2009 could have been a decisive one for U.S.-China relations. A new, internationally popular American president brought with him a sense of optimism and possibility; the People's Republic of China celebrated its sixtieth anniversary, reminding the world of how far it has come since 1949. The two countries...

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Making Young People Our Ambassadors

(2) Comments | Posted November 18, 2009 | 5:00 PM

Media coverage of President Obama's Shanghai Town Hall meeting with Chinese students has focused on the policy issues the President discussed: the need for U.S.-China cooperation on clean energy, climate change, human rights, and American's changed approach to foreign policy. But the media is missing the deeper message of the...

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Thoughts on Kitsch and Culture after Mao

(1) Comments | Posted August 10, 2009 | 5:32 PM

Former President Bill Clinton's recent trip to North Korea prompted Wall Street Journal Arts and Leisure features editor Eric Gibson to write an interesting article on "totalitarian kitsch," which he defines as "where art's sole raison d'etre is to bolster a dictatorial regime and glorify its leader." In North...

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Not Child's Play: The S&ED and U.S.-China Youth Exchanges

(0) Comments | Posted July 31, 2009 | 11:05 AM

On Tuesday, the United States and China marked the end of the first round of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) with a communique discussing progress made in the crucial areas of diplomatic, military, economic, and environmental cooperation. Importantly, the two sides did not overlook "cultural and people-to-people exchanges...

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Learning About America, the Chinese Way

(2) Comments | Posted May 15, 2009 | 10:45 AM

In January, Premier Wen Jiabao proudly noted that more than 300 million Chinese are studying English. This staggering number, roughly the population of the United States, reveals the Chinese government's enormous educational efforts to prepare China's students for international involvement and engagement.

Living in China as an American...

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Chinese Youth and the Economic Crisis

(2) Comments | Posted April 3, 2009 | 12:46 PM

Beijing, CHINA -- In the past few weeks, I have talked with a range of Chinese young people about the global economic crisis. What I've heard suggests that the economic developments of the past year have moderated, but certainly not destroyed, the enthusiasm for freer markets among the future economic...

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The Vagina Monologues Comes to Beijing

(2) Comments | Posted March 17, 2009 | 1:20 PM

Beijing, CHINA -- "I'd never, ever seen anything like that!" exclaimed a Chinese college student after the official Chinese premiere of Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues in downtown Beijing last week.

The pioneering production presented a bold challenge to traditional Chinese culture's public expectations for women -- including the play's extensive...

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What Did Chinese Youth Think of Hillary Clinton's Visit?

(7) Comments | Posted February 22, 2009 | 2:09 PM

Beijing, CHINA--Living in Beijing this year before starting college, I observed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's China visit alongside Chinese young people. From that vantage point, I saw a trip that succeeded in improving U.S.-China government-to-government engagement. But Secretary Clinton's visit also made clear that if the Obama administration wants...

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