The Center for Strategic Translation provides statesmen and scholars with the tools needed to interpret the Chinese party-state of today while training a new generation of China specialists with the skills needed to guide our relations with the China of tomorrow.

The Center meets this need through initiatives in translation and education. The Center locates, translates, and annotates documents of historic or strategic value that are currently only available in Chinese. Our introductory essays, glossaries, and commentaries are designed to make these materials accessible and understandable to statesmen and scholars with no special expertise in Chinese politics or the Chinese language.

Complementing the Center’s published translations are the Center’s training seminars. Starting in the summer of 2023 the Center will host a series of seminars to instruct young journalists, graduate students, and government analysts in the open-source analysis of Communist Party policy, introduce them to the distinctive lexicon and history of Party speak, and train them how to draw credible conclusions from conflicting or propagandistic documentary sources.
The Center is an initiative of the American Governance Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that studies and promotes the betterment of American public institutions and publishes the quarterly magazine Palladium. The Center is directed by Tanner Greer, a noted essayist, journalist, and researcher with expertise interpreting China in the context of American foreign policy.


Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
White Left

The phrase “white left” first arose in prominence as a piece of Chinese internet slang around 2015. While it has not been adopted as a Party slogan, the phrase, mostly used as a pejorative, has slowly made its way into higher intellectual discourse since its internet debut.

The term  is used to distinguish the post-materialist concerns of Western leftists with the political program of the Chinese left, which frames political conflict through traditional class categories. Like Westerners, Chinese understand their politics in terms of a right-to-left spectrum. But “right” and “left” carry a very different valence in China, where the “left“ is generally associated with nostalgia for Maoism, unapologetic nationalism, disdain for limited government, and a hostility to capitalist enterprise, and the “right” is associated with market reforms, support for civil liberties, and a more cosmopolitan worldview. In a country where most political attitudes can be placed on a sliding scale between Josef Stalin and John Stewart Mill there is no easy home for the 'woke' political priorities of the Western left. While demands for justice for racial, sexual, and ethnic minorities do not resonate with either the Chinese right or the left, they usually provoke the most vitriolic response from Chinese leftists, who see identity politics as a betrayal and perversion of the international left’s traditional concern for the poor of the Earth.

Tied up in this critique of Western leftism as a political program is the stereotyped image of the Western leftist as a social type: in Chinese internet debates the Western leftist is often depicted as Pharisaical, shallow, and privileged; she makes showy gestures of solidarity and moralizes on human rights while living a comfortable, urbane life at the top of a system of privilege she has no real intention of overturning. In this sense the “white” [bái 白] in  “white left” [báizuǒ 白左] is not just a reference to the race of most social justice leftists, but also a play on two words that describe character traits that Chinese leftists associate with the social justice movement: “wasted effort/to try in vain” [báizuò 白做] and “idiocy” [báichī, 白痴]. To capture the term’s popularity as an insult, the pun-minded translator could thus fairly translate the term as the “useless left” or the “imbecile left.”


King, Dylan Levi. 2017. “‘White Left’: The Internet Insult the West Has Gotten Wrong,” Sixth Tone; Kuo, Kaiser. 2018. “Kuora: The Origin of ‘Baizuo’ (白左)—the Chinese Libtard, or ‘White Left.’” The China Project. Pan, Jennifer and Yiqing Xu. 2018. “China’s Ideological Spectrum. The Journal of Politics.” The Journal of Politics 80 (1): 254–273; Zhang Chenchen. 2017. “The Curious Rise of the ‘White Left’ as a Chinese Internet Insult.” Open Democracy;

Mentioned in
Back to Glossary