December 07, 2023

Stirring the pot? Shen Zhihua’s controversial speech and DPRK-China relations

A speech by a leading Chinese academic grabbed headlines in March, but what did it really mean?

Why should we care about scholars in China, or the complaints they have toward North Korea? Usually, readers take interest in Chinese scholarly debates because something specific and enticing has been translated into English implying that a Beijing policy shift toward North Korea may be in the offing.

Shen Zhihua's March 2017 speech in Dalian became the latest in this periodic series of subterranean rumblings. Thanks to Chris Buckley, part of Shen's speech made it into English and the New York Times, thus providing new fodder for the (now Trump-Twitterworthy) debate over Sino-North Korean relations.