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  • Chinese revolution and the Buddhist sense of knowledge

    2017-08-31 11:59

    The following is the English version of an essay in Chinese originally prepared for the Central Institute of Socialist studies in Beijing. The role of Marxism in modern China is very important and delicate for the ruling Communist party, whose ideology is still grounded in the ideas of the philosop...

  • A Chinese conundrum with the US after Charlottesville

    2017-08-21 11:59

    The political crisis unfolding now in America, where the president’s top advisor Steve Bannon was forced to resign on August 18, is being followed with a mix of amusement and amazement in China. It is the latest episode in a long line of difficulties, which brought down five senior members of the ex...

  • America after the riots in Charlottesville

    2017-08-17 10:59

    The recent racist and xenophobic clashes in Charlottesville are no longer just an American internal affair, but because of the US’s role in the world, they cast a shadow over American leadership in the world, what kind of leadership it is going to be, and thus become an international matter. If Ame...

  • China-India standoff on the Himalayas

    2017-08-15 10:29

    Sure, as many pundits argue these days, it is possible for the China-India almost-two-month long standoff over the high Himalaya mountains in Doklam to be resolved. Both parties, despite the high-pitched public rhetoric in their media, are scrambling to find a face-saving way out. But the geopoliti...

  • Pope Francis’ bold outreach to China is (maybe) starting to yield

    2017-07-20 10:29

    The Church is risking everything by stretching out to Beijing. Perhaps the time has come for significant concessions on the Chinese side. In the People’s Republic of China, the normalization of ties with the United States in 1971 is still considered a landmark of political dexterity, something that...

  • The fake problem with fake news

    2017-05-19 22:20

    Political lying is as old as history. The real problem is the utter inadequacy of today's political lingo and concepts, stemming from a lack of global vision in the US and the West at large. A grand bargain with China is needed. Without it, chaos and war are ahead. The pro...

  • For Hong Kong – part Chinese, part Western – destiny awaits

    2017-03-12 12:03

    About 10 years ago, the difference in lifestyle and system between Hong Kong and the rest of China was evident just in the train that moves commuters daily from Shenzhen to the city and vice versa. At the ends of the short ride lay two worlds. In Hong Kong, all was bright and shining, police office...

  • Note to Abbas: Wake up, China is reshaping the Middle East

    2017-01-16 15:29

    The president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) was in Rome in the week-end to try to get the Pope, almost the ultimate super soft power, to support his cause. This diplomatic effort came after a new terrorist attack in Israel, when a truck rammed innocent bystanders, followed b...

  • The Pope's soft power vs. Putin's war of religions in China

    2016-10-23 00:48

    For the past few years, Russia under President Vladimir Putin has been worried about Chinese demographic and economic pressure pushing into poor and under-populated but resource-rich Siberia. Thus Russia allegedly supported a balancing action to extend Russian influence in China. The Chinese northea...

  • Mao’s legacy suggests a path for change in China

    2016-09-13 23:07

    Over the past few days, thousands of men and women gathered in Chaoshan in Hunan, southern China, the hometown of Mao Zedong, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the passing of the Great Helmsman. They were all dressed up like Red Guards, and were commemorating the time between 1966 and 1976 when M...

  • Is the South Sea worth it?

    2016-8-30 14:21

    China needs to pull back from the South China Sea and to push radical domestic reform. But is Xi Jinping willing to take this route? And can he muster the necessary political support? The political and diplomatic atmosphere around China has been changing rapidly in recent weeks and months because o...

  • Pope Francis expands his global influence from Bernie Sanders to the Muslim world

    2016-04-19 10:03

    In a few hours last weekend, Pope Francis Bergoglio, further expanded his global influence by proving he is a protagonist in both the US presidential election and in the Muslim world. He first shook hands with US Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, who had flown to Rome to take part in a Vatican c...

  • China has become aware of Pope Francis' soft-globalpower

    2016-02-28 19:48

    The Global Times, the semi-official online organ of the Chinese Communist Party, attests with participatory tones that under Pope Francis and President Xi Jinping, "hopes rise for a thaw" in Sino-Vatican relations. And it names an American cardinal as a witness of the new course; one who is convince...

  • Chinese govt officially acknowledges thaw in Vatican ties

    2016-02-28 19:48

    Asia Times interview with Pope Francis broke the ice BEIJING–China Friday officially acknowledged a thaw in bilateral ties with the Vatican in an semi-official government newspaper. Beijing further opened the possibility of a papal visit to China in the wake of Asia Times’...

  • Under Pope Francis and President Xi, hopes rise for a thaw in ties

    2016-2-25 20:43:01

    After decades of frozen ties, China and the Vatican seem to be witnessing a slow but significant change in relations. While divergences remain, including on the issue of who gets to appoint bishops, experts and religious leaders have seen progress in the overall tone of dialogue. Over 8,000 kilomet...

  • Pope Francis urges world not to fear China’s rise: AT exclusive

    2016-02-02 19:57

    Pope Francis gave his first-ever interview on China and the Chinese people on Jan. 28 to Asia Times columnist and China Renmin University senior researcher Francesco Sisci. The Pope urged the world not to fear China’s fast rise in a historic one-hour interview at the Vatican. He said the Chinese...

  • Those who resist Xi’s reform push block China’s progress

    2015-08-26 01:41

    There are wide and far-reaching issues behind the fall of the stock exchange in recent weeks and the drop in business confidence in China. A recent commentary in the People’s Daily hinted at this, underscoring that “the uncanny, complex, ferocious, and stubborn (ways) of the forces opposing the ref...

  • One belt, one road

    2015-08-14 15:08

    General Qiao Liang' speech, which we've been allowed to publish, was delivered at the University of Defense, China’s top military school. It casts a light on China’s new strategic thinking. This document, which general Qiao Liang has allowed us to publish, was delivered at the Univ...

  • Beijing-Vatican ties on the mend?

    2015-08-09 18:05

    The consecration of the new Bishop Joseph Zhang Yinlin in Anyang on August 4 may signal a positive change in Beijing-Vatican ties. This time, the Catholic Church in China ordained a Bishop approved by the Vatican. While the official Catholic Patriotic Association, linked to the party, had elected ...

  • Francesco Sisci to Norman Bailey: China is Western but not Western

    2015-07-30 23:55

    Norman I think you are asking the real question of questions, as Thomas Aquinas would say. The answer is somewhat confusedin my mind. In a very small way, as this is the point I was trying to address in my booklet “A Brave New China.” China now resembles more the “West” than its own past. In many e...

  • The euro crisis through the eyes of former Italian Prime Minister Prodi

    2015-07-30 04:26

    The following article is based on extensive conversations with former Prime Minister of Italy and President of the EU Romano Prodi.
    ROME: Europe is not just made of the accounting of the banks, the debts and compound interest owed by “delinquent” states to a community of financiers because of mis...

  • Qiao Shi’s death and China’s rule of law

    2015-06-20 00:46

    Can the rule of law and democracy live under the same roof as the Communist Party? The western view is that it is impossible: Something has to give — either the party or democracy. Perhaps Qiao Shi (born Jiang Zhitong in December 1924), the once almost almighty Chinese security chief whom the party...

  • What are China's top economic weaknesses?

    2015-06-04 09:39

    What are China's vulnerabilities? What are the top economic risks for this huge country that drives global growth and is running ahead of the pack of developing nations? Recently,  Andrew Sheng[1], a fellow at Fung Global Institute, wisely noted that China is preparing for a great transformati...

  • the U.S. is sending a dangerous message

    2015-05-30 12:12

    Americans can say and argue that “we are not helping ISIS”, and that is fine, but looking at things from the outside: if the U.S. is not helping indirectly ISIS, and ISIS still survives, it looks even worse for the U.S. It looks as if it has lost any grip there … which may be true, but it is extreme...

  • Francesco Sisci: China’s long-term plans shouldn’t be confused with short-term meddling

    2015-05-06 17:04

    China works with long terms plans, its way of thinking and its political organization is all geared for long term — and of course they do not have elections every two or four years to press politicians into daily routines. Therefore their new silk road is a long term plan, for the next few decades,...

  • U.S.-Iran nuke deal creates new political dimension for Mideast and Central Asia: Sisci

    2015-04-06 07:30

    America’s nuclear deal with Iran creates a new political dimension in the Middle East and Central Asia. It’s important for the moment to focus on the general security picture for the region, leaving aside the existential concerns raised by Israel about the disruptive potential of lifting sanctions a...

  • Sisci: Chinese state’s wall of stability opens door to tomorrow

    2015-03-31 04:13

    The resilience of the Chinese state and of the Chinese communist government has been for decades a source of deep misunderstanding in the West. One can find the first and most striking instance of this giant strength in the 1962 war against India.  India, at the time, attacked China at the most...

  • China challenge for Pope Francis

    2015-03-07 20:01

    The account of the Catholic Church in China is not one but four narratives together, and the future concerns how these four are going to blend together to make a new story. It all started in the 1950s when the atheist Chinese Communist Party (CCP), loyal to its own special characteristics, devised...

  • 'China's ambition not quite a 'plan

    2015-02-27 16:06

    The Hundred-Year Marathon: China's Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower by Michael Pillsbury There are very solid and reasonable concerns in Michael Pillsbury's book The Hundred-Year Marathon, besides the easy slogans and catchy phrases that sometimes make it sound like a mod...

  • China at rule-of-law turning point

    2015-02-18 16:05

    Establishing the rule of law is one of the pillars of Chinese President Xi Jinping's reform program and surely one of the most important, for without confidence in the legal system many other things will go wrong. The new emphasis on the rule of law implies a deep cultural shift, from traditional re...

  • Putin's policy up against Europe and Asia

    2015-02-03 09:21

    If all roads lead to Rome then the old capital may provide a way out for its heir, Moscow, the third Rome, hemmed by the intractable peace and war in Ukraine. How to get there is very complicated, long-winding and starts with a miracle to coincide with the elections of the Italian President, Sergio ...

  • 'Red terror' guide to battling extremists

    2015-01-15 14:11

    The barbarous terrorist attack against the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo marks a turning point, as many have noted, in the campaign Islamic extremists have launched against Western countries. It is significant because it came from people within France, not operatives or immigrants from abroa...

  • Xi and the end of Zhou Yongkang

    2014-12-08 16:57

    BEIJING - With the expulsion from the Communist Party last week of Zhou Yongkang, the former security czar and member of the Standing Committee (China's supreme political body), paramount leader Xi Jinping has officially brought an end to an era. Zhou's removal, meaning he will soon be openly tried ...

  • World War II haunts Japan's future

    2014-11-26 23:27

    There are obvious steps Japan could take to simultaneously recover its primacy in Asia and encircle China, but these would involve certain island sovereignty arrangements with Korea, Russia and Taiwan that would touch on the Japanese establishment's still simmering sense of injustice over World War ...

  • Xi proves strong, now comes 'soft' power

    2014-11-19 15:18

    BEIJING - Has the recent APEC summit between the US and Chinese presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping set the Pacific back to the quarrelsome times of 2009? Hardly - and if history ever repeats itself, we are told it is in the form of farce. Many things have changed in the past five years, too much...

  • Why China won’t fall apart

    2014-11-13 17:52

    The resilience of the Chinese state and of the Chinese communist government has been for decades a source of deep misunderstanding in the West. One can find the first and most striking instance of this in the 1962 Sino-Indian War. Brij Mohan Kaul tried to exploit China’s weakness: in Tibet, which in...

  • Europe's banks are in decent shape—but that is not enough to repair its economy

    2014-11-07 10:32

    FIVE years ago this month, the discovery of a black hole in Greece’s public finances marked the start of the euro-zone crisis. Policymakers have scrambled to contain it ever since. The outcome of their latest ploy, a probe of the continent’s banks intended to demonstrate their solidity, was revealed...

  • China Using Hong Kong's Uprising for Its Own Crises?

    2014-10-07 19:02

    In China, President Xi originally wanted to focus on the rule of law, aimed at eliminating corruption in the Communist Party and reforming the often overbearing state-owned enterprises. The center of the drama is not the streets of Hong Kong but in the hidden plots secretly unfoldin...

  • Xi faces balancing act in New Delhi

    2014-09-09 18:02

    Xi Jinping this month faces one of his most difficult foreign policy challenges. On his official visit to India, the Chinese president will have to boost ties, while striking a balance between the growing relationships with India and Japan, a country with complicated connections to China and huge in...

  • President Xi calls the election tune

    2014-09-05 16:53

    No government is immune to mistakes, but its greatest ability is in correcting itself. Chinese President Xi Jinping, in his dextrous response to protesters in Hong Kong rejecting his plans for 2017 elections, corrected a mistake and in so doing gave further proof of his growing internal strength. It...

  • War, yuan way or another

    2014-09-04 17:28

    For war you need money. For money, read credit; for credit, read trust. As China and the United States rub up against each other, the former can appear to have the financial wind in its sails, while the US looks dead in the water. But it is in the area of trust in their currencies that China lacks p...

  • Simon Leys: An appreciation

    2014-08-22 15:27

    The void left in both Western and Eastern culture by the death on August 11 of Sinologist Pierre Rickman (aka Simon Leys), aged 78, will be felt possibly only in the years to come. Rickman/Leys had a unique voice on China and on literature in general, which has been very influential for many China w...

  • Pope casts shadow over China

    2014-08-13 19:02

    Pope Francis is in South Korea this week in the shadow of a strangely tacit yet public dialogue that is an eloquent admission of interest from both the Catholic Church and China for the pontiff and President Xi Jinping to meet. Yet the issue is not how much they might be keen on meeting, but on how ...

  • Xi grows in confidence

    2014-08-06 20:56

    Chinese President Xi Jinping can look back with satisfaction over a summer of achievements. While stepping back from a maritime stalemate with Vietnam showed a new foreign policy restraint, his defusing of an electoral crisis in Hong Kong underlined his mettle. Most importantly, by making openly pol...

  • Eurasia needs a Sino-German axis

    2014-08-04 03:21

    Directionless reaction from the United States to the shooting down of Malaysian airline flight MH17 and the Ukrainian crisis generally reflects how the US has forgotten the importance of viewing Eurasia as a  whole, rather than a cluster of independent states. But by doing so, Washington is mak...

  • Times collide in Beijing's strategic vision

    2014-07-03 14:45

    The United States has reasons of its own to be both interested in and nervous about solving nuclear proliferation issues in North Korea and Iran, but China's need for peaceful development and growth means it has more at stake. Perceptions of a political situation that no longer applies still seem to...

  • THAILAND/ Where does the ultimate source of legitimacy come from?

    2014-06-23 07:43

    The issue of Thailand after the military coup is crucial for the country—and for all of Asia. It calls into question the problem of legitimacy and justification of power in the modern world and particularly in this region, the hub of economic development and growth for ev...

  • Look inwards, Washington

    2014-06-09 16:58

    The dozens of think-tanks seeking to direct policy in Washington predominantly focus on change outside the country. The US would benefit if more concerned themselves with the internal state of affairs, not least the US's disintegrating infrastructure or the spread there of Christian fundamentalism. ...

  • China offers Russia a bridge to Europe

    2014-05-27 19:11

    Even before the Ukraine crisis, Russia's excessive reliance on Europe and possible deeper integration into the continent as an "equal" partner had seemed a recipe for disaster. By drawing closer to China, Russia can secure Siberia and fashion its presence in Central Asia as an imperial mission. Howe...

  • Beijing falls short of international vision

    2014-05-19 19:23

    Attacks on Chinese citizens and property in Vietnam and the rise of nationalistic agendas in India and Japan give greater form to the specter of an anti-China coalition. Organization of such an alliance by these countries may look fanciful, but Beijing is unable to build a bulwark against it because...

  • Ukraine creates arc of chaos

    2014-05-16 15:42

    As the Ukraine crisis pushes Russia closer to China, Moscow may become over-reliant on a much tougher customer than its Western adversaries. Meanwhile, anti-unification factions in Europe are sharpening knives over the implications of a pro-Brussels result in Kiev elections. As the tensions spiral, ...

  • Ukraine crisis forces Eurasian evolution

    2014-04-30

    BEIJING - It has not happened yet, but expectations are already enormous. A massive strategic and economic shift is expected to result from Russian President Vladimir Putin's to China in May. After decades of fruitless talks, Moscow and Beijing are now likely ready to sign a sweeping deal which wi...

  • Purge tightens Xi's grip on reform

    2014-04-23

    BEIJING - At the end of the 1970s, Deng Xiaoping launched the greatest reform of the army since the Communist Party took power in 1949. The poor performance of the PLA (People's Liberation Army) in the war against Vietnam in 1979 led Deng to reduce the army's forces by one-quarter; he sent about 1 m...

  • Geography and ideals clash in Ukraine

    2014-04-01

    The crisis in Ukraine is about many things, but it is chiefly about an important difference in the global perspectives of Russia and the United States. While Russia is concentrated on land and geography, the US has a vision focused on ideas and ideology. Both parties tend to forget the role of econo...

  • Obama oils China-Vatican links

    2014-03-24

    BEIJING - In a way, his heart will be in China and his mind in Rome. On March 27, when US President Barack Obama meets Pope Francis at the Vatican, he will have wrapped up an important European tour focusing on transatlantic ties and Russia's new posturing in the world, especially in Ukraine, recent...

  • The Dragon’s Metamorphosis

    2014-03-07

    When comparing the immediacy of armed soldiers’ violence and street fighting, underway for days in the Ukraine, with the possibilty of a new cold war between Russia and the West, the baroque rituality, the convoluted language and the esoteric organization of the Chinese parliament really seem to be ...

  • US-Europe divide looms over Ukraine

    2014-03-05

    BEIJING - Russia's quasi-military action in Ukraine is reawakening the ghosts of the old Cold War. Western plans to expel Moscow from the Group of Eight and to protect states bordering the new Russian empire threaten to throw up a new political and economic curtain around Russia and its leader, Pres...

  • A grand new strategy for China

    2014-02-27

    BEIJING - A major military and diplomatic shift is occurring in Asia. It is pushing China to reconsider its strategic priorities and this is causing a domino effect in regional politics. The change is spawning a maze of new alliances. To prevent everything from unraveling, the US and China must fi...

  • A papal challenge to an Islamic conundrum

    2014-02-05

    BEIJING - In 2011, the Catholic Church had 278,346 priests in its dioceses, 135,072 priests affiliated with different religious orders, such as the Jesuits and the Franciscans, and 713,206 nuns. That's a little more than 400,000 shepherds to look after a flock of over one billion baptized followers ...

  • US pivot chafes at vital Asian ties

    2014-01-29

    BEIJING - Beijing and Taipei this week announced the beginning of their first ever government-to-government talks. It is to some extent a mutual recognition of each other's standing, and as well as a sure-footed step in the process of reunification - so important for the People's Republic of China -...

  • China chances a game-changing role

    2014-01-16

    BEIJING - The political thaw between US and Iran is of course a big game-changer for the Middle East, but it also presents unprecedented possibilities and challenges for China's role in the region and Central Asia. China has been reluctant to engage as well as fearful of America's direct presence ...

  • Abe's shrine visit calls for wider reflection

    2014-01-06

    BEIJING - In one of his last acts of 2013, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in late December visited the controversial Yasakuni shrine, where among the souls of war heroes, 28 war criminals are also celebrated. The visit put a new spin to heightening tensions in East Asia, which had been rising af...

  • China relies on cooling US hand

    2013-12-02

    BEIJING - Perhaps at the end of the day there are two ways to look at China's establishment of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) around the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands, which are disputed with Japan. Yes, many countries have an ADIZ, including neighboring Japan, and China perhaps sooner or later ...

  • Xi divides and rules

    2013-11-19

    BEIJING - After the Plenum that concentrated powers in the hands of China's top leadership and especially President Xi Jinping, the big questions concern how effective these powers will be how much power will go to the central leadership group tasked with designing and implementing reforms and how e...

  • New chapter for change opens in China

    2013-11-13

    BEIJING - Concentration of power in the hands of the top leadership, a new phase of economic reforms with an expanded role for market forces, and a greater role for the judiciary are the main elements emerging from the communique of the Third Plenum of the 205-member Chinese Communist Party Central ...

  • Crash a symbol of China reform struggle

    2013-10-30

    BEIJING - It was as if a bomb exploded in Saint Peter's Square before a conclave or there was detonation in front of the White House before the presidential inauguration. This is the situation now in China, where a car crashed in Tiananmen Square on Monday at noon, before a Party Plenum that is expe...

  • Internet lessons to learn

    2013-10-29

    BEIJING - The whole issue of cyber security exploded in recent days in Europe, as news of America wiretapping its European allies has huge and multi-faceted implications for global safety and development. There are roughly three interrelated aspects to it, and China, although not part of the present...

  • China, US face common challenges

    2013-10-17

    BEIJING - A document recently circulating on the Chinese Internet [1] argues that there are eight areas that urgently need to be reformed. It is a lengthy and detailed account, but in a nutshell it announces that at the Party Plenum that will convene next month, the leadership intends to curb the po...

  • China strides, US shrinks in Asia

    2013-10-08

    BEIJING - Who remembers Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, the Southern states that fought the Northern states lead by president Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War? Barack Obama, really and symbolically black, looks like the true vindication and completion of that war, whi...

  • A devious blueprint to empower the party

    2013-10-01

    BEIJING - A few days ago, a junior official came to me asking to check the name of an Italian author and the thesis of a book. At first I really could not figure out the author, but then from the name of the book I made out the writer. The official wanted to apply the argument of the book to the Com...

  • Parochial limits to China's world view

    2013-09-24

    BEIJING - Three separate events evolving in the past few days are showing different angles of one problem for Beijing - its difficulty in coping with sudden crises. This should demand deeper cultural changes even before structures are modified. With growing perplexity and surprise, Beijing is foll...

  • 'Confusionists', Mao and urban morality

    2013-09-17

    BEIJING - It is hard to understand and reconcile the appeal of Maoist thought and its communist drive in China with the freewheeling turbo-capitalism one sees in the same country nowadays. The simple - and certainly true - answer is that people miss the egalitarian spirit even though they do not pin...

  • Papal challenge rocks US's Syria plans

    2013-09-10

    Through his impassioned appeal to avert Western military intervention in Syria's conflict, Pope Francis has challenged the global American political centrality. This is toll bell ringing for Washington, but also for a Chinese leadership that is often forgetful of the weight of the Holy See. The me...

  • Bo breaks from script, but sticks to role

    2013-09-03

    BEIJING - In 1980, when Mao's wife Gu Kailai - oops, Jiang Qing - told a tribunal that she acted on Mao's orders, the judges pretended not to believe her to protect the Great Helmsman's memory. In fact, they believed her so much that the country's leaders were turning China away from the path that M...

  • Abe's shrine visit calls for wider reflection

    2014-01-06

    BEIJING - In one of his last acts of 2013, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in late December visited the controversial Yasakuni shrine, where among the souls of war heroes, 28 war criminals are also celebrated. The visit put a new spin to heightening tensions in East Asia, which had been rising af...

  • China chances a game-changing role

    2014-01-16

    BEIJING - The political thaw between US and Iran is of course a big game-changer for the Middle East, but it also presents unprecedented possibilities and challenges for China's role in the region and Central Asia. China has been reluctant to engage as well as fearful of America's direct presence ...

  • US pivot chafes at vital Asian ties

    2014-01-29

    BEIJING - Beijing and Taipei this week announced the beginning of their first ever government-to-government talks. It is to some extent a mutual recognition of each other's standing, and as well as a sure-footed step in the process of reunification - so important for the People's Republic of China -...

  • A papal challenge to an Islamic conundrum

    2014-02-05

    BEIJING - In 2011, the Catholic Church had 278,346 priests in its dioceses, 135,072 priests affiliated with different religious orders, such as the Jesuits and the Franciscans, and 713,206 nuns. That's a little more than 400,000 shepherds to look after a flock of over one billion baptized followers ...

  • A grand new strategy for China

    2014-02-28

    BEIJING - A major military and diplomatic shift is occurring in Asia. It is pushing China to reconsider its strategic priorities and this is causing a domino effect in regional politics. The change is spawning a maze of new alliances. To prevent everything from unraveling, the US and China must fi...

  • US-Europe divide looms over Ukraine

    2014-03-05

    BEIJING - Russia's quasi-military action in Ukraine is reawakening the ghosts of the old Cold War. Western plans to expel Moscow from the Group of Eight and to protect states bordering the new Russian empire threaten to throw up a new political and economic curtain around Russia and its leader, Pres...

  • The Dragon’s Metamorphosis

    2014-03-07

    When comparing the immediacy of armed soldiers’ violence and street fighting, underway for days in the Ukraine, with the possibilty of a new cold war between Russia and the West, the baroque rituality, the convoluted language and the esoteric organization of the Chinese parliament really seem to be ...

  • Obama oils China-Vatican links

    2014-03-24

    BEIJING - In a way, his heart will be in China and his mind in Rome. On March 27, when US President Barack Obama meets Pope Francis at the Vatican, he will have wrapped up an important European tour focusing on transatlantic ties and Russia's new posturing in the world, especially in Ukraine, recent...

  • Geography and ideals clash in Ukraine

    2014-04-01

    The crisis in Ukraine is about many things, but it is chiefly about an important difference in the global perspectives of Russia and the United States. While Russia is concentrated on land and geography, the US has a vision focused on ideas and ideology. Both parties tend to forget the role of econo...

  • Purge tightens Xi's grip on reform

    2014-04-23

    BEIJING - At the end of the 1970s, Deng Xiaoping launched the greatest reform of the army since the Communist Party took power in 1949. The poor performance of the PLA (People's Liberation Army) in the war against Vietnam in 1979 led Deng to reduce the army's forces by one-quarter; he sent about 1 m...

  • Ukraine crisis forces Eurasian evolution

    2014-04-30

    BEIJING - It has not happened yet, but expectations are already enormous. A massive strategic and economic shift is expected to result from Russian President Vladimir Putin's to China in May. After decades of fruitless talks, Moscow and Beijing are now likely ready to sign a sweeping deal which wi...

  • Francesco Sisci

    2013-11-15

    Francesco Sisci

    Email:fsisci@gmail.com

    Born August 5 1960.  Lives in Beijing

    1988, First foreigner ever admitted to the Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS, China's top research body) for a PHD in Chinese Classical Philology and Philosophy wi...

  • New chapter for change opens in China

    2013-11-13

    BEIJING - Concentration of power in the hands of the top leadership, a new phase of economic reforms with an expanded role for market forces, and a greater role for the judiciary are the main elements emerging from the communique of the Third Plenum of the 205-member Chinese Communist Party Central ...

  • Internet lessons to learn

    2013-10-29

    BEIJING - The whole issue of cyber security exploded in recent days in Europe, as news of America wiretapping its European allies has huge and multi-faceted implications for global safety and development. There are roughly three interrelated aspects to it, and China, although not part of the present...

  • China, US face common challenges

    2013-10-17

    BEIJING - A document recently circulating on the Chinese Internet [1] argues that there are eight areas that urgently need to be reformed. It is a lengthy and detailed account, but in a nutshell it announces that at the Party Plenum that will convene next month, the leadership intends to curb the po...

  • China strides, US shrinks in Asia

    2013-10-08

    BEIJING - Who remembers Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, the Southern states that fought the Northern states lead by president Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War? Barack Obama, really and symbolically black, looks like the true vindication and completion of that war, whi...

  • A devious blueprint to empower the party

    2013-10-01

    BEIJING - A few days ago, a junior official came to me asking to check the name of an Italian author and the thesis of a book. At first I really could not figure out the author, but then from the name of the book I made out the writer. The official wanted to apply the argument of the book to the Com...

  • Parochial limits to China's world view

    2013-09-24

    BEIJING - Three separate events evolving in the past few days are showing different angles of one problem for Beijing - its difficulty in coping with sudden crises. This should demand deeper cultural changes even before structures are modified. With growing perplexity and surprise, Beijing is follo...

  • 'Confusionists', Mao and urban morality

    2013-09-17

    BEIJING - It is hard to understand and reconcile the appeal of Maoist thought and its communist drive in China with the freewheeling turbo-capitalism one sees in the same country nowadays. The simple - and certainly true - answer is that people miss the egalitarian spirit even though they do not pin...

  • Papal challenge rocks US's Syria plans

    2013-09-10

    Through his impassioned appeal to avert Western military intervention in Syria's conflict, Pope Francis has challenged the global American political centrality. This is toll bell ringing for Washington, but also for a Chinese leadership that is often forgetful of the weight of the Holy See. The mes...

  • Bo breaks from script, but sticks to role

    2013-09-03

    BEIJING - In 1980, when Mao's wife Gu Kailai - oops, Jiang Qing - told a tribunal that she acted on Mao's orders, the judges pretended not to believe her to protect the Great Helmsman's memory. In fact, they believed her so much that the country's leaders were turning China away from the path that M...

  • US hurdles strew China's reform path

    2013-08-27

    BEIJING - Both in and out of China, there is little debate at the moment about one important point: China needs deep reform. Those on the two extremes of the political spectrum, the liberals and the neo-Maoists, may disagree on what China needs to do - whether to open up to a Western-style system or...

  • Abe gets unfortunate vote of confidence

    2013-07-24

    BEIJING - The weekend elections in Japan were a success - and thus a vote of confidence - for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his new direction for his country. "Abenomics", which devalued the yen and boosted Tokyo's exports, succeeded, and so did the line of confrontation with China on the Senkaku Is...

  • The jasmine lesson: Reform beats revolution

    2013-07-31

    BEIJING - Two years after the start of the wave of jasmine revolution Revolutions in the Middle East, the situation appears to have gone back to where it began. Most countries, starting with Egypt, are reinstating some kind of dictatorship or authoritarian regime, while others that were formerly (or...

  • Berlusconi shadow hangs over Europe

    2013-07-18

    ROME - Interest rates on Spanish and Italian bonds have been converging in recent weeks, which is good news for Spain and bad news for Italy, for Europe and for the world. The situation in Spain is far for clear, and yet Spain is far less of a problem than Italy. Last week, Italy's Treasury failed ...

  • Xi cuts CEO cloth for bruising battle

    2013-07-02

    BEIJING - China's top government body, the Politburo of the Communist Party, late last month held an almost unprecedented three-day meeting at which Party General Secretary Xi Jinping did not attack a foreign enemy or internal dissidents, but rather the party members themselves. [1] Xi argued again...

  • Ancient texts uncover meritocracy debate

    2013-06-25

    BEIJING - Imagine we were to discover a series of ancient manuscripts revealing that Plato actually copied all of his ideas from Parmenides, a preceding philosopher from Elea in southern Italy; that Aristotle rewrote treatises originally penned by Archytas, another philosopher from Taranto; and actu...

  • Common folk aren't US's cyber-targets

    2013-06-18

    BEIJING - Can we be honest? With the development of new technologies, there are no more secrets for anybody. It is possible now - the technology exists - to tap every single call made by all the mobile phones in a country, record them, and store them. Recording and storing is cheap, so it can be don...

  • Obama and Xi forge a way out

    2013-06-11

    BEIJING - Openings over the environment, closer collaboration on North Korea, and no mention of the prickly issue of human rights: at the weekend summit between US President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, the US seemed to pick up where ties got derailed - that is, in Copenhagen...

  • China nears point of no return with Kim

    2013-05-22

    BEIJING - Does young North Korean leader Kim Jong-eun want a different future for himself and his country, or does he think he can spend the next half a century (his probable lifespan) imitating the threats, blackmail, and moves of his father, while physically resembling his grandfather? Nobody is ...

  • East-West divide starts here

    2013-05-14

    BEIJING - We can see it now, every day, China and the West are two worlds apart, right from their way of thinking. Therefore, to begin to bridge the gap between these two worlds, one has to start from that point, and a recent book could provide a very useful instrument with which to do that. While...

  • China widens stride on Middle East stage

    2013-05-08

    BEIJING - China has decided to enter the realm of Middle East politics, offering to host for the first time in Beijing a summit between Israelis and Palestinians and attempting to confront vexing questions at the heart of the many conflicts in the region. The summit initiative is not intended to u...

  • China losing cultural race with India

    2013-05-07

    BEIJING - It is not about the present, where the power plays are and will for the next few years be dominated by the United States - it is about the future, stretching into the second half of the century and beyond. Whether as a booming economy or a failed state, India will be a major protagonist ...

  • An alternative route for China's ascent

    2013-04-23

    For more than 30 years, Western scenarios about China have all started and finished with the hypothesis of the collapse of the Beijing government. However, 35 years after Deng Xiaoping introduced his reforms, the government has not collapsed, China has become the second-largest economy in the worl...

  • China walks fine line on Korea

    2013-04-09

    BEIJING - It may all be a charade, a game of smoke and mirrors to conceal the usual 60-year-old North Korean brinkmanship: give me money, or I am going to pretend I will kill you while I starve my people to death. Yet, this time it may be different because many things within and outside of North Kor...

  • Italy's Internet politics menace China

    2013-04-03

    BEIJING - It is, if you will, the usual tale of two countries: one very large and one quite small; one overpopulated, one mid-sized; one eager to succeed, the other timid. Both are old civilizations; pizza, noodle, and rice eaters; superstitious; and fond of firecrackers, Marco Polo, art, and good f...

  • Surrender the best option for Tibet

    2013-03-20

    BEIJING - Is there a future for the Tibetan cause? After two years of protests and more than 100 suicides across the historical region of Tibet, it is hard to see any real evolution in the cause of Tibetan independence or even autonomy. Certainly, Chinese rule in Tibet has been tarnished by the wa...

  • Papal mission to build trust in China

    2013-03-15

    BEIJING - The names of popes are policy statements on the governance of the Roman Catholic Church, and it is no coincidence that the new pontiff has chosen to call himself Francis, the name of saint of Assisi in the 12th century, but also like the great Jesuit Francis Xavier, who went on missions in...

  • China seizes the day for market forces

    2013-03-13

    BEIJING - There are two deep and long-term aspects to the administrative reforms announced at the end the plenary session of China's parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC). One appears to be fully in the imperial tradition of concentrating power to the center and stemming the centripetal f...

  • Devil in details of grand urban plan

    2013-03-06

    BEIJING - Few doubt that growth in China's economy will grind to a halt in the next few years. Many believe there will be a significant slowdown from the double-digit development of the past three decades. Premier Wen Jiabao in his last speech at the opening session of the National People’s Congress...

  • 'Clean' Grillo stirs Italy's political mess

    2013-02-26

    ROME - No government can be formed, and Italy will be impossible to rule. This is what most commentators and traditional political leaders have been saying in Rome in recent hours, in the wake of momentous general elections that expressed no clear parliamentary majority and saw the rise of the anti-...

  • Papal vote takes a Chinese hue

    2013-02-20

    BEIJING - The conclave that opens in a few days for the Catholic Church to chose a new pope is a historic occasion for China and Asia. This time among the candidates in position for the papacy is a Filipino of Chinese origin, Luis Antonio Tagle, Cardinal of Manila. Vatican experts say that his inc...

  • Beijing nurtures new foreign policy thinking

    2013-02-13

    ROME - North Korea's testing for the third time of a nuclear device goes against all the better advice from the world, and amid unprecedented stern warnings from Beijing. The underground explosion on Tuesday will not simply test Pyongyang's nuclear capability but also Beijing's resolve to confront...

  • Ang Lee shows China the way forward

    2013-02-06

    Religion, political ambition, cultural achievements and the work of a single artist are sometimes intertwined, and this seems the case with the latest movie by Ang Lee. A 16-year-old Indian boy is lost at sea with some companions. In one version of the story, he is cast away with a Japanese sailor...

  • Beijing needs a papal line

    2013-01-31

    BEIJING - It is very likely, although not certain, that in the next 10 years, during the tenure of Chinese president Xi Jinping, Pope Benedict XVI (born in 1927) will pass away. If so, the Catholic Church, the largest unitary religion in the world and by far the most influential, will choose another...

  • China mourns loss of policy prophet

    2013-01-24

    In early 1998, the niche-market Chinese journal Strategy and Management published a hefty bilingual report on the years 1997 and 1998. There, a then little-known author, Zhang Xiaodong, a professor of Middle Eastern studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, argued for a new Chinese policy o...

  • Faded war wounds still raw in Asia

    2013-01-18

    In analyzing how the legacy of World War II and the Cold War impacts on European and Asians countries today, it is only fair for this author, as an Italian, to start with Italy. The country was the third and weakest member of the Axis nations defeated in World War II, yet it emerged from the conflic...

  • Bureaucratic reforms to test Xi's power

    2013-01-11

    In March, the date of the meeting of the Chinese parliament, the National People's Congress, China will launch its largest administrative reform since 1998. Back then, the number of ministries went from 70 to 44 - and today the 44 are expected to be halved and competences will be redistributed. It...

  • Xi has to get the party started

    2012-12-22

    BEIJING - The Chinese feel strongly about China, but are indifferent to the party. Yet state and party are united, and the absence of popular responsibility towards keeping the party as government could see the country forfeited. Political participation is the key to the stalemate. During the next...

  • The world won't wait for China to change

    2012-12-14

    BEIJING - Washington's aggressive pursuit of containment of China and Beijing's difficulty in launching major economic and political reforms will likely prove an explosive mixture. Meanwhile, Japan, India, and other Asian powers exploit the logic of "two ovens". The 18th Congress of the Chinese Co...

  • he euro lives, but unity is dead

    2012-11-28

    BEIJING - Greece is saved and the euro sound. Yet it is the European Union that has fallen apart in the most recent round of the crisis on the old continent. The bet that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) made with the eurozone on Greek debt paid off. Initially, Europe wanted only the IMF to i...

  • Xi opens generation gap

    2012-11-21

    BEIJING - China, the world's number-two superpower, last week presented to the country and the world its chosen leaders and thus the people who will contribute to global governance. The centerpiece of this presentation was not the naming of a new leader, Party General Secretary Xi Jinping - though h...

  • The China challenge: War or peace

    2012-11-15

    It is no mystery that the main issue in the Chinese Communist Party 18th National Congress, which concludes this week, is political reform, as both outgoing President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have said on several occasions in recent months. China's political transition is of massive import...

  • Wen versus Bo gets more explosive

    2012-11-01

    BEIJING - It is certainly an important story, and because of that, there is more than one way to look at it. The long New York Times feature about the businesses of the family of China's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao exploded like a bombshell in Beijing, just as the government was busy preparing for a h...

  • US shames China's leadership change

    2012-10-25

    BEIJING - It should be the best-guarded secret in China, and perhaps because of this it is the most talked about story in the country at the moment: who will be named to sit at the top of China's political pyramid during the next party congress due to open on November 8? Many events are described ...

  • Bo: political implications of a non-political crime

    2012-10-12

    It took about five years to bring the infamous Gang of Four to trial for the worst mistakes of the Cultural Revolution, but it took only five months to start the criminal process against Bo Xilai, former party chief of Chongqing. The Four were arrested in 1976, about a month after the demise of Ma...

  • It is the world or nothing for China

    2012-10-10

    Let's be fair: from the perspective of 30 years on, did it make any real sense for the United Kingdom to go to war in 1982 over the islands the British call the Falklands and the Argentines the Malvinas? For the UK, they were rocks on the other side of the world with no gas and no natural resources....

  • False targets and the rise of fascism

    2012-09-21

    BEIJING - The very first sign of fascism in Europe was the capture of Fiume in 1919 by a bunch of Italian World War I veterans led by poet-warrior Gabriele D'Annunzio. Italy had won the war but lost the peace, as many right-wing propagandists were fond of saying, and the symbol of the loss was embod...

  • Hu's legacy - the good, bad and ugly

    2012-09-20

    As the 10 years of Chinese President Hu Jintao's tenure are coming to a close, it is time to draw initial conclusions about what he did in this time. Debate over his legacy fiercely rages in China, and the debate is becoming even fiercer as freedom of expression in the country has grown, and thus cr...

  • China's new leaders on a tightrope

    2012-09-13

    This essay written originally for Nomos & Khaos, now in its eight edition, is the report published by the Italian Osservatorio sugli Scenari Strategici e di Sicurezza (OSSS), which presents developments in the interdependencies between economics and strategy on an annual basis. America bids to...

  • Hope in a new kind of union

    2012-09-05

    The European Union is at a dead end. This is not because the Germans, Italians, and French and the failing Spanish and Greeks are at loggerheads about how to improve their national accounts. The EU is ending because it is hopeless: there is no hope, no program, and no real plan to hold the union tog...

  • Maritime disputes expose Asian fault lines

    2012-08-30

    BEIJING - Even in normal times, a quarrel between the world's second- and third-largest economies is important. In times of crisis, when the No 2 power, China, is the largest single contributor to the economic growth of the rest of the world, it becomes crucial for everyone. The current tension be...

  • China bides its time with political model

    2012-08-23

    BEIJING - The Origins of Political Order by Francis Fukuyama is an important book that for the first time deals systematically with the most important ideological issue of the West since the fall of communism: democracy and the difficulties in spreading it throughout the world. In fact, since the ...

  • Silence in court gives wind of reform

    2012-08-15

    BEIJING - Few things could mark the future of China as much as the process that closed last week in the interior city of Hefei, in Anhui province, far from the international media, over a 1,000 miles from Beijing, against Gu Kailai, the wife of Bo Xilai, the man who wanted to put China on the path o...

  • Catholic dynamic shifts in China

    2012-07-26

    BEIJING - Ties between China and the Vatican are at a crossroads. The ordination on July 7 of Ma Daqin as the Vatican's bishop of Shanghai and his public announcement that he would renounce his membership in the official Catholic Patriotic Association have the potential to create a huge change in ti...

  • Merkel's missing dream

    2012-07-19

    BEIJING - "Europe" is no dream, no political mission; it is not something that will drive people to cast their heart over all risks. Nevertheless it must be pursued for very practical reasons in the interests of everybody, including Germany. This is the European Union according to German Chancellor ...

  • Beijing sets the bar for Olympian effort

    2012-07-11

    BEIJING - The Olympics, despite the widely held belief, are no games. Four years ago, China impressed the world with its newly acquired wealth and power by erasing for a few months the pollution that had been clogging its air for over a decade, drumming up thousands of People's Liberation Army servi...

  • A 'Euro-union' poses challenge to China

    2012-07-06

    BEIJING - The European Union, by agreeing on June 28 to direct bank refinancing, stepped back from the abyss of a split and averted for now a global financial crisis that could have been caused by the growing differing yields on national bonds. German Chancellor Angela Merkel caved in allegedly due ...

  • Tibetan immolation carries incendiary message

    2012-06-27

    BEIJING - What is greater proof of injustice, of being wronged, and of sitting on the right side of history than sacrificing just your own life for your beliefs without damaging anybody else? And the government, the officials who see people killing themselves, don't they prove themselves callous, cr...

  • Vatican rumor-mill spins relentlessly

    2012-06-20

    ROME - Shortly after Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope in 2005 and took the name of Benedict XVI, a very reputable Italian bimonthly, Limes, published an essay revealing the ballots cast for the new Pope. It was the first time since papal elections in a secret conclave were started some half a mille...

  • China can fiddle as Rome burns

    2012-06-14

    ROME - Is there any chance that Italy, as we have known the country since the end of World War II, will survive the current crisis? I don't think so, and the consequences of this could reverberate as far as to China. Italy as a political unit is an invention of the 19th century. Before that, it wa...

  • True faith missing from China's growth boost

    2012-06-06

    BEIJING - The stimulus package that China launched last week to boost the economy is about China, of course, but it is also about Europe. Beijing does not want to be unprepared as the European dangers deepen, creating uncertainties all over the world since many economists believe that Greece's poten...

  • Cool calculation not enough for Europe

    2012-05-31

    BEIJING - The four major financial institutions of Italy - Unicredit, BancaIntesa, Generali and Mediobanca, together controlling some 60% of the Italian economy and with assets well in excess of 1 trillion euros (US$1,25 trillion) - presently have a combined capitalization of less than 50 billion eu...

  • Zombies in the communism of the mall

    2012-05-24

    BEIJING - At the time when death was very real, when humanity lingered every day on the verge of extinction because of war, famine, epidemics and just poor sanitary conditions, we dreamed of eternal life. Where once it was the case that whole peoples were wiped out and the total number of humans d...

  • Chen case hints at crack in old consensus mold

    2012-05-18

    BEIJING - The case of the blind dissident lawyer Chen Guangcheng, who at the beginning of May escaped strict surveillance to escape house arrest and enter the US Embassy during a strategic dialogue between China and the United States, has one particular feature: Washington and Beijing reached two ag...

  • Time is tight as Europe quakes

    2012-05-10

    BEIJING - Stock exchanges worldwide fell on Monday following European election results that punished the rulers who had agreed to the German-backed austerity measures. In France, Francois Hollande won the presidency by promising to reverse many policies of his predecessor, thus scaring markets ove...

  • Bo as the devil they know

    2012-05-03

    BEIJING - While the Bo Xilai story is still unfolding, some of the political consequences are already becoming clear, but others have yet to fully surface. Bo, the Chongqing Chinese Communist Party (CCP) chief toppled in March in the biggest political scandal since the demise of Marshall Lin Biao ...

  • Old Beijing lanes embody a useful spirit

    2012-04-26

    BEIJING - As China is leaving behind millennia of peasant society and the imperial system, as its dress, haircuts and habits are taking on a seemingly inevitable Western style, and as residents move up from the earthly comforts of traditional one-story dwellings to heavenly homes in skyscrapers, the...

  • Confessions of a former police chief

    2012-04-19

    BEIJING - Ladies and gentlemen, I know that you will not believe it, and that you are prejudiced against me. To you, I am only a crook who first imposed the rule of power by arresting and killing people my boss and I arbitrarily decided were mafia bullies - and someone who later tried to run for his...

  • Murder adds twist to Bo thriller

    2012-04-12

    BEIJING - In a new development in China's greatest political thriller since the time of Lin Biao, who died under mysterious circumstances after a failed coup against Mao Zedong in 1971, on April 10 Bo Xilai was expelled from the politburo and the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP...

  • Dreams - and nightmares

    2012-04-05

    BEIJING - A young, thin handler in a black suit practically hanging over his tiny frame ushered me in. It was a very exclusive and secretive Beijing compound, an ancient Chinese symbol of true power. He sat me in a large, bright room while a classical teacup was being filled with hot water poured on...

  • China's Ides of March

    2012-03-20

    It is the biggest scandal to hit China in nearly a decade, but it is much more than that. The fall of Bo Xilai, Communist Party chief of Chongqing (a megalopolis of more than 30 million inhabitants) and member of the Politburo, who was removed from office last Thursday - March 15 - could be the turn...

  • Wen signals something new

    2012-03-16

    After years of delay, crackdowns, and failures, the time finally seems to have arrived for political reform in China, and this coincides with a major demotion in the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), as on the 15th controversial Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai was replaced by Jiang Dej...

  • Reform doses differ for China and Russia

    2012-03-14

    I would like to thank The Economist, si parva licet compenere magnis, for the article "How to rig an election", [1] expounding on all Vladimir Putin did in recent months to win last week's presidential vote in Russia. The Economist explains that Putin's actions are not pulled from the old bag of t...

  • PLA makes moves on political frontline

    2012-03-07

    BEIJING - It was more than many in Asia and the Pacific were hoping to see, but was also less than in the past - and it possibly shows a trend for the future. China on March 4 announced it would boost military spending by 11.2% in 2012, describing its first defense budget since United States Preside...

  • China's chance to stem Syrian blood

    2012-03-01

    BEIJING - In Syria, China decided to experiment with some new policy on the Middle East. It has vetoed a United Nations intervention in the country, something that in Libya opened the road to the toppling of the Muammar Gaddafi regime, and now it is looking for some creative solution. It is clear th...

  • China dragged into 'kill the pope' plot

    2012-02-23

    BEIJING - The story is only marginally about China. It has more to do with the many troubles inside the Catholic Church, the largest and most widespread unitary religion in the world, a faith strongly institutionalized and very prominent even outside the large circle of its over one billion follower...

  • A Chongqing man walks into a consulate ...

    2012-02-14

    BEIJING - With a simple gesture, he saved his life, cast a shadow over Vice President Xi Jinping's forthcoming trip to America and possibly set in motion the agenda for political reform in China. On February 6, Wang Lijun, Chongqing vice mayor, head of the local police, and national hero in the figh...

  • Good reason to red-carpet Merkel

    2012-02-09

    BEIJING - If a political Europe is ever to be born, its conception will have been in Beijing last week, during the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Within a period of about nine months, the gestational period for humans, we shall know if this new polity will be really born or we shall witne...

  • Dai talks the talk, walks the line for Xi

    2012-02-01

    BEIJING - China State Counselor Dai Bingguo's visit to India was a success beyond expectations, occurring 50 years after the two countries fought a brief but very violent border war over the Himalayas. Dai's trip marked the beginning of a thaw, and it put ties between the two Asian giants not on the...

  • Rebels quashed by New Year gift

    2012-01-26

    BEIJING - It was for a few weeks the symbol of rebellion in communist China, the sign of the crippling of the state power, and the glaring signal of a coming revolution in Beijing. For weeks, the people of Wukan, a former fishing village in the southern province of Guangdong, fought against authorit...

  • Ma's re-election rings loudest on the mainland

    2012-01-19

    BEIJING - The re-election of President Ma Ying-jeou is important for Taiwan, the island de facto independent but formally part of one China, but the event is possibly even more important for China and its future. To Beijing, Ma's victory is reason to celebrate: it culminates many years of quiet di...

  • China and Japan find common ground

    2012-01-05

    BEIJING - As with all important occasions, it does not matter so much who was there, but who was missing. On December 28, among thousands of North Korean mourners parading past the body of the deceased Dear Leader Kim Jong-il to bid a final farewell, what stood out was the absence of top dignitaries...

  • China and Japan find common ground

    2012-01-05

    BEIJING - As with all important occasions, it does not matter so much who was there, but who was missing. On December 28, among thousands of North Korean mourners parading past the body of the deceased Dear Leader Kim Jong-il to bid a final farewell, what stood out was the absence of top dignitaries...

  • Hu Jintao the real Taiwan election victor

    2011-12-21

    BEIJING - Taxi drivers are divided between blue and green: if you are not the correct political color, do not get on board. Even food vendors are split, and people try to smell the political orientation of the host before sitting down. Taiwan itself seems divided, with blue in the north and green in...

  • China and the shadow of German history

    2011-12-15

    BEIJING - The momentous rise of China continues to lead many historians and political scientists to draw parallels with the rise of Germany in the late 19th century and beginning of the 20th. Anyone who underscores the differences and highlight the distance between those times and now seems doomed t...

  • East and West at a crossroads

    2011-12-07

    BEIJING - Timeframes in history are not constant. Sometimes decades go by without major changes, while in other times, the shape of the world changes in days or weeks. Last week perhaps was one of those times, as the four corners of the world showed signs of great change. On Friday, December 2, ...

  • Hardened features of a soft war

    2011-11-30

    The body language on TV looked different. When US President Barack Obama met Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao for the East Asia summit in Bali, Obama was relaxed, smiling and almost smug. Wen was conversely trying to force the conversation and striving to look jovial and unconcerned. It was a very differe...

  • Merkel right - and wrong

    2011-11-29

    Last Friday, at the end of an inconclusive meeting between the heads of government of the three major countries in Europe, the interest rates of some of the "risky" European bonds shot up once more. Italian bonds, from the largest "beleaguered" nation in the eurozone, went over the dangerous 7% mark...

  • Save Rome, bomb the euro (and the world)

    2011-11-09

    BEIJING - I was recently in Italy, where some officials gave me the following document because they were unsure about its authenticity. It was attributed to North Korean "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-il. I found it difficult to take seriously and attempts to verify its authenticity have been in vain. Pyong...

  • The scalpel and the needle in foreign policy

    2011-11-03

    VENICE - Differences in policy and strategy on issues of defense, the economy and trans-Atlantic relations are not merely differences in interests or agendas but have deep foundations in separate cultural traditions. If a consensus can ever be reached between Europeans, Americans, and Chinese, it mu...

  • Save the euro, bomb Rome!

    2011-10-27

    ROME - It is possible that the ongoing European Union summit on the European debt crisis, which is threatening to kindle a global economic meltdown, will manage to patch together a reasonable solution regarding Greece, the country that started the problem. However, it is unlikely that much will be...

  • Less nationalism builds more cultural muscle

    2011-10-20

    BEIJING - The Chinese Communist Party plenum, which closed this week, may be a breakthrough in party orthodoxy, but it also poses great challenges to China and the world, according to a lengthy People's Daily article [1] and the official report of the plenum. [2] The article, describing the spirit...

  • Faltering China carries global risk

    2011-10-18

    BEIJING - Is China's recent, still-minuscule, slowdown signaling the end of the magic decoupling of Asia in the economic crisis engulfing the world since 2008 and is it indicating the possibility of an imminent deeper dip in the economic crisis? The questions have huge implications, and many extreme...

  • Israel, Palestine and the art of war

    2011-10-14

    BEIJING - Last week, recently appointed United States Secretary of Defense and former Central Intelligence Agency boss Leon Panetta expressed concern about Israel's growing political isolation while Egypt and Turkey were taking more vocal stands against the Jewish state. This underscores the lingeri...

  • China seeks higher ground in Europe

    2011-10-04

    BEIJING - It is clear, although little stated, that the present crisis in Europe might be a blessing in disguise for the political union. In a matter of weeks, all parties - previously hesitant if not in opposition to strengthening the European Union - have started calling for stronger measures from...

  • A role in Middle East prosperity

    2011-09-30

    BEIJING - It is possible that the Palestinians would have asked the United Nations to acknowledge them as a full-fledged state even without the ongoing wave of "Jasmine" revolutions sweeping the Arab world. But certainly, the present drive for international recognition of a state of Palestine woul...

  • US vapor trail leads to Jasmine revolt

    2011-09-01

    BEIJING - Over the past few days, the United States' strategy in the Muslim world has been paying high rewards, objectively foreboding even larger US plans. Last week, a drone operated by the Central Intelligence Agency killed al-Qaeda's second-in-command, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, after the earlier e...

  • More than just a load of hoopla

    2011-08-24

    BEIJING - United States Vice President Joe Biden's visit broke new ground with his Chinese counterparts, but an unexpected brawl in Beijing between American and Chinese basketball teams is, with hindsight, perhaps most useful to all parties. For the first time it clearly illustrates the many and gro...

  • China's shift in posture as the West wanes

    2011-08-18

    BEIJING - China is flabbergasted by the inability of the United States and Europe to take tough political decisions over their economies, especially since the current malaise has a huge bearing on its own regional strategic decisions. With its coffers filled with US$3.2 trillion, China is at once ...

  • A spaghetti mess in the rice bowl

    2011-08-04

    BEIJING - Has Italy reached a dead end? Will it rekindle a global crisis? These may be extravagant questions at a time much larger and more important countries, China and the United States included, face tough choices. But Italy is different. Elsewhere, the way out looks treacherous, but at least po...

  • High-speed rail crash sets reform in motion

    2011-08-02

    BEIJING - The government is mobilized to find the truth, the press and Internet are flooded with posts demanding clarity. Premier Wen Jiabao offered his condolences to the victims and called for a speedy and transparent investigation. The wreckage from the derailment on the new high-speed line nea...

  • Reading between the lines of the Vatican rift

    2011-07-28

    BEIJING - The rift between China and the Holy See is deepening as it enters the rutted territory where Rome and Beijing historically have something in common: convoluted political procedure. The issue is extremely complicated, but for once, it is worth delving into the details, as they are very re...

  • Chinese Catholics on edge of schism

    2011-07-21

    BEIJING - The latest choice is Joseph Huang Bingzhang, 43. On July 15, he was ordained as bishop of Shantou in the southern province of Guangdong, next to Hong Kong, without papal approval. Pope Benedict XVI reacted the day after, saying he was deeply saddened. Without papal blessing, the appointm...

  • China looks askance at Europe's debt woes

    2011-07-14

    BEIJING - Are the Tartars at the gates? Is a new financial crisis going to pull the euro into a swamp and drag the European Union with it? A redefined euro global economic order could dramatically emerge, forcing China to reconsider many of its political assumptions. Last week, yields on Italian 1...

  • Hu colossus strides across the strait

    2011-07-07

    BEIJING - President Hu Jintao's official time in power will be up after nine years at the 18th Chinese Communist Party congress in the autumn of next year. Although he could linger on - as his predecessors Jiang Zemin and Deng Xiaoping did - for some years, sitting as chairman of the almighty milita...

  • Lingering lessons from a warmonger

    2011-06-30

    BEIJING - Can peace win a war? That is, can peaceful methods prevail over traditional military measures in confrontations? This is not an issue to be discussed in the next Woodstock peaceniks' session of some newly established Association of Flower Children; it is the lingering question in the lates...

  • Vietnam's Dr Strangelove at war with the Mandarins

    2011-06-23

    BEIJING - After the recent publication of a Chinese document [1], many people sent new ones. Most were not interesting; one, however, caught my attention. The person who gave it to me is a Westerner who had just come back from Hanoi. There, after a business meeting, a junior official fumbled aroun...

  • Many roads, and no collective mind

    2011-06-16

    BEIJING - How big are the differences of opinion between the Democratic and Republican parties in United States? Huge, one would say in America. Yet, looking at the political debate from the other side of the Pacific, the gap between the two parties could seem negligible, as neither is challenging -...

  • Sharp relief for a flat world

    2011-06-09

    Presently I'm in Italy, and surely that made possible for me to come across an interesting document, which after much consideration I decided to publish. It is a low-level report from a Chinese National Security officer to his boss. I took the liberty of translating it in a "cultural way" - that is,...

  • Classic tale delivers the chops

    2011-06-02

    BEIJING - It is a cartoon, and thus it goes directly to the souls of the people, to the underbelly of the nation, and to the hearts of girls and boys who will grow up to be Chinese citizens. It is the supreme art of seduction, reaching for the child's spirit in any of us. It can be propaganda in its...

  • China syndrome and Strauss-Kahn's fate

    2011-05-26

    BEIJING - The fate of Dominique Strauss-Kahn is sealed. The once almost all-mighty International Monetary Fund (IMF) director, projected to become the next president of France and possibly also the most influential European political leader, is no more. A New York chambermaid's accusations of sexu...

  • Power bubbles are Hu's big challenge

    2011-05-06

    BEIJING - It's one of those questions too scary to ask publicly: very politically incorrect yet very true as it throbs in the back of many minds. Will Washington allow China to overtake America economically - and should it? And what can America do in a restrained way, short of the usual doomsday sce...

  • Tensions with Rome on smoother track

    2011-04-28

    BEIJING - Although there is not yet a thaw in relations between Beijing and the Vatican, the climate is much warmer than it was during the tensions of last year. Beijing felt soothed after a conciliatory statement from the Holy See last week at the end of the yearly summit on China. In fact, there...

  • Bo Xilai focuses multiparty vision

    2011-04-20

    BEIJING - Are these buds of multiparty democracy in China? Is it democracy with Chinese characteristics or just intra-party democracy? It's a new shape to the old power struggle for sure - but what is it really? It is certainly a new action in ossified Chinese politics, and a development that's taki...

  • Biding time for an orderly rise

    2011-04-14

    This is the conclusion of a three-part report.
    Part 1: China banks on giving peace a chance (http://atimes.com/atimes/China/MD12Ad02.html)
    Part 2: The China 'threat' as a blessing (China banks on giving peace a chance 2011-04-12

    BEIJING - China's latest attempt to justify to the world its military aggrandizement, its White paper on the People's Liberation Army, was long on new policies and tasks of the army, but failed to explain how the growing amount of money budgeted for the military will be spent. [1] Nor did the Marc...

  • Arab unrest keeps China on its toes

    2011-03-31

    BEIJING - Last Saturday, March 26, anti-government demonstrations engulfed several cities in Syria, an old Middle Eastern dictatorship supporting the Islamic fundamentalists who periodically attack Israel from southern Lebanon. The Syrian president, 45-year-old trained ophthalmologist Bashar al-As...

  • Money buys a yacht and a rubber stamp

    2011-03-11

    BEIJING - The extraordinary and surprising news on China came from Italy this week: the majority of Italy's most expensive yachts and boats last year were sold to China. Yet, some in China who own a plane - perhaps a million-dollar Gulfstream that even parked on land costs as much as renting an ap...

  • China balks at speeding fine

    2011-02-24

    BEIJING - While the rest of the world is in crisis, China's gross domestic product (GDP) is growing at 10% a year. Beijing knows it must pick up the bill for speeding and also help others in difficulty, something that will start a positive sum game for the whole global economy. But how its contribut...

  • Lessons from Tahrir to Tiananmen

    2011-02-17

    BEIJING - Aside from geopolitics and the balance of power, Egypt is also an issue of principle - of democracy, an idea crucial to the West, one that found its identity and role during the last century in the fight against totalitarian regimes. Nowadays, democracy is vital for the West and the glob...

  • Hu confronts ghost of Stalin

    2011-01-27

    BEIJING - For a nervous and wavering Beijing, the stakes were high. In the case of failure, some had even envisaged the beginning of a Cold War with Washington. But even before President Hu Jintao met with the troublesome United States Congress last week, Beijing felt relieved. The Chinese champio...

  • Confucius takes a stand

    2011-01-21

    BEIJING - In a ritual equal only to that of the church, last week China placed a statue of Confucius in its political heart, Tiananmen Square, before Mao Zedong's portrait and near the modern obelisk to the People's Heroes, two symbols that materially defined China's national identity for 60 years. ...

  • Trust is a must for superpower summit

    2011-01-13

    BEIJING - While the world's number one and number two economic powers, the United States and China, meet in Washington on January 18, the rest of the world will be watching intently over a summit that will impact everybody. As many analysts [1] have pointed out, the success of American-led globaliza...

  • Too many cooks spoil foreign-policy stew

    2011-01-07

    BEIJING - In just a few days, the presidents of the United States and China, Barack Obama and Hu Jintao, will meet in Washington for a summit that's bound to be labeled "historic", as the two will try to mend fences after a year of stormy relations. They are the final decision-makers, the ones who c...

  • China feels tug of religious war

    2010-12-16

    BEIJING - After many delays and postponements, at the same time on December 9 that to Beijing's chagrin dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the controversial Chinese Patriotic Association chose its new leadership. The association of Catholic worshippers is sponsored and support...

  • In the shadow of Vesuvius

    2010-12-09

    BEIJING - China is seeking answers to the question of what its future will look like by studying the ruins of Pompeii. In groups of 20, five times a year for the past six years, delegations from the Central Party School, the top institute for selecting the country's high-ranking leaders, have gone a...

  • China's real Asian invasion

    2010-12-02

    BEIJING - During the Cold War, Soviet generals would line up their toy tanks, missiles and nuclear warheads on the strategy map and compare them with the number on the other side of the fence - the ones that belonged to the hated Western world. When the count showed their advantage they would gleam,...

  • Neighborly love running out

    2010-11-30

    BEIJING - In the almost 60 years since the end of the Korean War in 1953, never has the possibility of conflict on the peninsula seemed more likely. In just a matter of days, North Korea boasted to the world of its new uranium-enriching facilities and shelled a South Korean island, without any cle...

  • Hu's chance to dance

    2010-11-18

    BEIJING - China is important in American diplomacy, so important that even just looking at the map of his route, United States President Barack Obama seems to have drawn a circle around the key element in of his trip to Asia - China. In his 10 days on the continent, Obama was in India and Indonesi...

  • Understand al-Qaeda, understand China

    2010-11-11

    BEIJING - Let's imagine that China were not ruled by a communist party. Let's think of it as a fully fledged democracy, just like the United States or similar to a European model. Let's think that by some strange historical accident, China had been marginal in global economic development until 30 ye...

  • Liang Congjie - China's 'green' Cassandra

    2010-11-04

    BEIJING - The Cultural Revolution, the Great Leap Forward and other extremes protrude so far from the pages of China's history that they tend to obscure the many far-sighted individuals whose contributions were significant yet largely ignored in their lifetimes. Among them, perhaps nobody falls in...

  • China feels under the weather

    2010-10-21

    BEIJING - The alarming weather events of this year's long, hot summer were almost like a visitation from Asia's foreboding future. There were massive floods in Pakistan, caused by rivers that streamed from China’s Himalayan mountains. There were floods in China itself. Fires and unprecedented hot ...

  • Beijing should let sleeping Nobel dogs lie

    2010-10-14

    BEIJING - What is the value, the weight, and the pain of a Nobel Prize for the Chinese government? A few days after the announcement of the Oslo prize and the self-celebrating rivers of ink shed abroad for wounding the pride of the emerging power, the pain and the damage of the Nobel within China se...

  • China's misread property 'bubble'

    2010-10-07

    Is Chinese real estate a real bubble? The question, because of its global implications, has been floating around for many months. Pessimists believe it is - and that it is something that could trigger a larger crisis possibly like the one engulfing the United States, which started in 2008 with the b...

  • Unbowed China wobbles in diplomatic test

    2010-09-30

    BEIJING - Consider it, if you wish, a stress test, like those performed in laboratories to check the strength of concrete. How will it react if it is under some strain? How much weight can it bear, and what will it do under too much weight? Will it bend or break? China, under the stress test of on...

  • Vague sea borders let hawks pick their fight

    2010-09-23

    BEIJING - The question of who ultimately owns the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands scattered in the middle of the ocean between China and Japan has lingered for decades over the political and economic regional balance of power and could well take a few more decades to settle. While Tokyo is officially inves...

  • Demographic tonic for the gerontocracy

    2010-09-16

    BEIJING - Are you afraid of China? Do you fear the "yellow peril"? Do you think - or hope - that the country will break up sooner or later? For you, the horsemen of the Chinese apocalypse, the date from which to count is 2015. There will be no nuclear war, no financial collapse, nor an explosion of ...

  • Chinese back no-blame equity risk

    2010-09-09

    BEIJING - Numbers in China are hard to come by, and statistics everywhere are notoriously worse than lies. However, the trend is certain - China is in the middle of a private equity (PE) craze. State-owned enterprises set aside funds to finance their home-grown PE funds, foreigners line up to regi...

  • Stillness conquers heat

    2010-09-02

    BEIJING - Laozi parts ways with Confucius, as they have different interests in the world and in their thinking. Laozi moves west from the great plains of central China to the borders of the Chinese civilization, and to the state of Qin, because "if the sun rises from the East, people came from the W...

  • No rush for China

    2010-08-20

    BEIJING - The angry youths who used to shout anti-Japanese slogans were silenced, their older chauvinistic mentors behaved as if they had received a gag order. Newspapers ignored the news or exiled it to a corner, while senior officials tried to dodge the subject in talks with foreigners. Figures ...

  • US toe-dipping muddies South China Sea

    2010-07-29

    BEIJING - Washington last week decided to step into a delicate international territory it had previously left alone, and that underscored the many strategic challenges brewing in economically booming Asia. United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the 10-member Association of Southeast...

  • Obstacles to breaking bread

    2010-07-22

    BEIJING - It has been delayed and postponed, but will eventually start sometime soon - some say as early as August, while others argue it could be in autumn. The eighth congress of the controversial Catholic Patriotic Association of China, possibly the biggest stumbling block in the normalization of...

  • All 'AmeriChina' cards on table

    2010-07-15

    BEIJING - There is no international political engagement more important than Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States at the end of November. The trip should give new impetus to relations between today's two major powers: China and America, or if you prefer a moniker for this exclu...

  • Propaganda, stir-fried and roasted

    2010-07-01

    BEIJING - Ideas and good writing may be fun, good music can be soothing, the cinema and theater are certainly entertaining, and sports and video games are heart-racing. All that is good and well, and all are the flesh and blood of the soft power that many countries try to build and whose management ...

  • Whatever happened to the anti-heroes?

    2010-06-24

    BEIJING - Who made an imprint on the history of China in the past century? Surely, there was Chiang Kai-shek, the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) chief whom the Americans loved to call generalissimo (super-general) in an ironic Italianizing sobriquet. After him, there was the man who made China stand...

  • The slick alternative to oil

    2010-06-17

    BEIJING - It sounds like a mantra to avoid being jinxed, a way to save face against domestic and international public anger, a pre-emptive defense before years of drawn-out litigation, or a rumination on personal angst. Carl-Henric Svanberg, the chairman of BP, told an audience of European business ...

  • Taiwan issue clouds Damascene moment

    2010-06-10

    BEIJING - Matthias Du Jiang of the diocese of Bameng (Shaanba) in Inner Mongolia was officially proclaimed bishop of the Chinese Catholic Church on Sunday April 8. He had been appointed bishop in 2004 but for six years was "underground". That it is to say, he was one of those bishops loyal to the ...

  • Flaws in pulling plug on North Korea

    2010-06-03

    BEIJING - It is right, as the Washington Post said in its May 31 editorial, China has been shielding the regime of Kim Jong-il in North Korea that torpedoed and sank a South Korean warship on March 26. Although an international investigation blames North Korea, Beijing has refused to point the finge...

  • Tough love for an unstable neighbor

    2010-05-29

    BEIJING - As with the traditional cry of ''wolf, wolf!", threats of war between North and South Korea have been heard many times in the 57 years since the end of the conflict on the peninsula. They sound so often that even the current situation could be considered a false alarm, especially since Chi...

  • School attacks cut deep at China's soul

    2010-05-20

    BEIJING - They are no longer rare, random acts of one or two nutcases far from the rest of the country. A series of knife attacks in kindergartens has become the symptom of a virus lurking deep in the soul of the new China. Premier Wen Jiabao said as much on May 13, a day after the fifth attack an...

  • Superpower dreams interrupted

    2010-05-13

    BEIJING - Many Chinese people dream that their country will one day become "number one". The dream is legitimate - as with any race, you want to win; or in any economic competition, you want to outperform your competitors. This is part of the nature of the capitalist system that has spread from the ...

  • Give us back the German empire

    2010-05-06

    BEIJING - Even on May 1, when Germany was guiding the European Union and International Monetary Fund draft of the carefully crafted rescue plan for Greece, the Greek problems seemed far from over. Many doubt the plan will solve all the troubles that started in Athens and which are now spilling into ...

  • Deeper unity lurks in Confucian embrace

    2010-04-29

    BEIJING - Let's be fair. The issue is so real that it is puzzling to us even now: how can one be both Christian and Confucian? In the 16th and 17th centuries, at the time when the West was torn by cruel wars between Catholics and Protestants, Jesuits - the Catholic soldiers of Christ - fought blasph...

  • Corruption in a state of flux

    2010-04-22

    BEIJING - The basis of human rights is fairness of the law, granting people freedom of action - of which the right to free expression is one part. This idea makes it even harder to approach the issue of human rights in China, as it is not simply the issue of dissidents voicing their opposition, it i...

  • Technology clears a way through the maze

    2010-04-16

    BEIJING - In its international posture this week over the question of Iran's nuclear program, China observed the best traditions of diplomacy. Smiling, bowing its head and listening patiently - and sticking resolutely to an old maxim: soft outside, hard inside. The point for China in discussions d...

  • From Hollywood to Chollywood

    2010-04-01

    BEIJING - In the next five to 10 years, the Chinese film market could well become the largest in the world. The calculations are simple: the market grew by almost 44% last year, and about 30% in 2008. Last year, it was worth US$908 million - about a tenth of the $9.79 billion of US revenues in the...

  • Globalization yet to have its day

    2010-03-26

    BEIJING - Vladimir Lenin's mark on communist theory was his book on imperialism [1], which the Russian leader considered the supreme - and thus last - phase of capitalism. After the imperialistic stage, capitalism would fall. He was wrong in many respects. Capitalism did not fall apart, and imperial...

  • China rejects siren song on yuan

    2010-03-18

    BEIJING - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's press conference with foreign media at the end of the National People's Congress on Sunday delivered a slap in the face to those in the United States who are calling for the appreciation of the yuan against the dollar to help stem the ongoing global economic cr...

  • Different takes on coping with change

    2010-03-11

    BEIJING - In recent weeks on Chinese movie screens there has been a confrontation: Oscar-winning Avatar from the United States pitched against the home-grown Confucius. Both have single-word titles and huge productions in common but - independent of their artistic evaluation - the films are entirely...

  • A new battle for Confucius

    2010-03-04

    BEIJING - At a time when the thoughts of Chinese philosopher Confucius are enjoying a revival both inside China and outside the country in the form of Confucian Institutes, the first complete English translation of the work of Confucius' earliest philosophical enemy, Mozi, has been published in Hong...

  • China-US ties bind and bruise

    2010-02-10

    BEIJING - China's pivotal role in trying to get North Korea to commit to denuclearization and return to multilateral talks on its nuclear program could bring United States President Barack Obama a substantial reward for the long-standing US approach of peaceful engagement with the North. Furthermore...

  • Silence on Tibetan talks is golden

    2010-01-29

    BEIJING - On Tuesday, Beijing reopened the thorny and controversial talks with envoys of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan god-king. Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari (the Dalai Lama's right-hand man), Kelsang Gyaltsen, and three other officials of the Tibetan government in exile reached the Chinese capital, it was ann...

  • Fears real and imagined

    2010-01-09

    PART 1: The peace imperative (http://atimes.com/atimes/China/LA08Ad02.html) BEIJING - China's problems are not all internal. On the outside, China's rise has created plenty of fears, some small, some large. Among the small fears are those...

  • Copenhagen miscalculation

    2009-12-23

    BEIJING - The headlines in many Chinese newspapers are about the agreement on climate change reached in Copenhagen. Papers displayed a photo of Premier Wen Jiabao returning from Denmark stating that "China made unremitting efforts at the UN conference" and that China would keep its commitments, no m...

  • A radical empire looms

    2009-12-17

    BEIJING - With 30,000 more United States troops on their way to Afghanistan, it is growing clearer that they will not suffice and that larger challenges loom. Afghanistan is also increasingly developing into a political proxy war between India and Pakistan. Pakistan, which backed the mujahideen ag...

  • China takes a new look at Marxism

    2009-11-26

    BEIJING - The week before the visit of United States President Barack Obama, the Chinese media were full of hope and expectations: Obama's meeting with China's leaders would lead to new and higher-level bilateral relations, newspapers wrote. But it was already clear that, contrary to the ideas of th...

  • Hu and Obama seal real deals

    2009-11-19

    BEIJING - Both wore red ties, dark suits, and white shirts. While Chinese President Hu Jintao focused coolly on the audience, as if with no one in mind, United States President Barack Obama tilted his head to one side, watching his counterpart seemingly with warmth and attention. So, with contrast...

  • A sacrificial lamb

    2009-11-12

    BEIJING - The Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, recently visited Tawang Monastery in Arunachal Pradesh, a move that has re-ignited the dispute between China and India over this contested border area. The area is divided into three parts: western, central and eastern. The central por...

  • China no longer a law unto itself

    2009-10-30

    BEIJING - The legal traditions of China and those of ancient Rome and Greece have very different origins. They grew out of different social needs and political requirements, reflecting the varied natures of the civilizations that created the laws. In ancient China, three words covered the modern m...

  • Ten years to tackle the Taiwan equation

    2009-10-22

    BEIJING - The ongoing military dialogue between the United States and China is certainly the most sensitive and politically important concern of the two countries. It is the punctus puncti (the point of the point), as scholastic Medieval theologians would put it - the one thing that, if fixed, would...

  • Asia steels for challenges ahead

    2009-10-15

    BEIJING - On October 10, China's state-run Xinhua news agency saluted the meeting between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Japanese Premier Yukio Hatoyama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, as "a new starting point for tripartite cooperation".
     
    The meeting explored the idea of a free-t...

  • A culture at ease with war

    2009-10-01

    BEIJING - When Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes approached Europe in the early 1200s, they were preceded by scary tales of their acts of cruelty as well as the history of the invasion by their possible ancestors - Attila's Huns. The mighty army of Genghis Khan had superior weapons (the reflex bo...

  • Russia plays pipeline politics

    2009-09-25

    BEIJING - While the United States is engrossed in Iraq and Afghanistan - even planning a troop surge in the latter - a new and bigger strategic risk looms in a much more sensitive area - Europe and Russia. The challenge is about energy and influence in the "old continent", still the richest industri...

  • West confused over Confucians

    2009-09-10

    BEIJING - In 1942, with the fate of World War II still uncertain, the Shoah (Holocaust) was in full swing, the winds of neo-anti-Christian ideology were blowing strong from both the Nazi and fascist front and their communist enemies. At this time, Italian liberal and non-religious philosopher Benede...

  • A rising sun sets

    2009-09-03

    BEIJING - The landslide victory on Sunday of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) over the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) - which has ruled Japan almost without interruption for the past six decades - is the latest signal of a momentous transformation in Asia. The past many decades, marked by Japan...

  • Chinese troops offer an Afghan solution

    2009-08-27

    BEIJING - On August 11, China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) kicked off its largest military maneuver in decades. About 50,000 troops, drawn from each of the seven military commands, were deployed by "rail and air transport" to unfamiliar territories far from their garrison training bases. The goa...

  • China leads an Asian charge

    2009-08-20

    BEIJING - The economic rebound has started in Asia. Yet this is not simply an economic story, it is a political one made of data and history. The data first. In the second quarter, South Korea grew by about 10% on an annual basis. Taiwan grew even more, as its industrial production recovered stron...

  • China throws a lifeline to Italy's Taranto

    2009-08-13

    TARANTO, Italy - At the entrance to this city, hanging from an old house is an aging neon sign for San Marzano, an "Oriental Elixir" - a reminder of the historical destiny of Taranto. Newspapers explain that the company producing San Marzano, the city's liqueur, is going bankrupt, as seems to be the...

  • Fading Europe aids China's US ties

    2009-08-06

    BEIJING - The day before the start of the strategic dialogue between China and America, on July 27, Beijing released the news that President Hu Jintao had sent his Taiwanese counterpart, Ma Ying-jiu, a telegram applauding his election as the ruling party (Kuomintang, KMT) chief. It was the first dir...

  • China and the Vatican take a leap of faith

    2009-07-31

    BEIJING - On July 24, the Beijing-backed Hong Kong daily Wen Wei Po ran a small and obscure article on an apparently minor decision about Catholics in China. The newspaper reported China's intention to postpone the meeting of the official Catholic Patriotic Association, which is not recognized by ...

  • Who is hitting at Hu?

    2009-07-24

    BEIJING - About two weeks after the Urumqi riots, the largest such unrest in China in decades, which killed almost 200 people according to official data, many things remain unclear and many facts appear too coincidental. The most striking element was that the beginning of the riots coincided with ...

  • China, please invade North Korea

    2009-07-16

    BEIJING - In 1979, China waged war against Vietnam with America's blessing. It proved to Washington - with actions, not just words - that Beijing was on the right side in the grand clash of the Cold War. It also served to check Vietnam's ambitions in Southeast Asia, as Hanoi had recently invaded C...

  • Beware the Tiananmen reflex

    2009-07-09

    BEIJING - The deadly July 5 riots in Urumqi, capital of northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, have ignited the old blame-game against Chinese authorities. Across the world, many are now labeling the Beijing government guilty of all death and destruction in the remote city. It is a Tianan...

  • Hu embarks on a political pilgrimage

    2009-07-02

    BEIJING - Next week, Hu Jintao starts an official visit to Italy, the first for a Chinese president in 10 years. As with his predecessor, Jiang Zemin, Hu will have a chance to look first-hand at what was for millennia - from the Magna Grecia in the south to the Roman Empire to the Renaissance - the ...

  • China makes a choice in Iran

    2009-06-25

    BEIJING - A movie recently released in China, The Empire of Silver by Guo Taiming, describes the cunningness, betrayals, fights, tribulations and passions accompanying Chinese traders' earnings and fortunes along the Silk Road. Their monumental mansions, still standing in modern Shanxi around the ci...

  • The yuan lies in waiting

    2009-06-18

    BEIJING - Pundits in China are scratching their heads over the future of their currency, the yuan, which has been brought to the fore by the present financial crisis. Their thinking has recently become urgent, compared with previous perceptions that the yuan could be kept not fully convertible - and...

  • Reform before revolt in today's China

    2009-06-11

    BEIJING - I confess, 20 years ago I was in Tiananmen Square. I knew many students; I talked to them then and still talk to them. Then, they wanted democracy and revolution. Now, they feel it is hard and complicated to explain what took place on June 4, better to talk about something else, better to ...

  • US's road to recovery runs through Beijing

    2008-11-15

    By Francesco Sisci and David P Goldman English author G K Chesterton rhymed about "the night we went to Bannockburn by way of Brighton Pier", and it may seem no less whimsical to argue that the United States' road to recovery, as well as Barack Obama's path to presidential greatness, run through Ch...

  • China threat? It's a blessing

    2008-09-19

    BEIJING - Geography is destiny - perhaps the most inevitable of all. America's power projection throughout the world in the 20th century, after a period of splendid isolation, was first possible because of its borders. It had no enemies pressing on it. It was, and is, sandwiched between two geograph...

  • Go East, Uncle Sam

    2008-08-26

    BEIJING - The dust has mostly settled in Georgia, although Russian troops remain in the country after intervening in defense of the mostly Russian-speaking breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia. The global geopolitical consequences are still unfolding, though, with much talk of a new cold war....

  • Two tormented Chinese Catholic souls

    2008-07-31

    BEIJING - In China, it is now trendy to wear a cross, hanging from a small chain at the neck and fully exposed on the chest. The cross might be made of wood, metal or, even, silver or gold or with precious stones. However, the cross is not always worn for the sake of fashion. While it may be worn as...

  • G-whatever, China is here

    2008-07-09

    BEIJING - It will be a strange meeting. Officially, the gathering that begun on Tuesday at Toyako, on Hokkaido in northern Japan is a Group of Eight (G-8) summit, drawing together the eight largest economies to discuss issues of mutual interest - mainly economics, but also security and environment -...

  • A new world under one Heaven

    2008-07-04

    Part 1: Change in the face of foreign devils (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/JG03Ad01.html) BEIJING - Globalization in the West started with the Greeks - with the Anabasis told by Xenophon, a disciple of Socrates. Then, 10,000 Greek...

  • Change in the face of foreign devils

    2008-07-03

    BEIJING - Libraries are filled with thousands of volumes explaining all the problems and intricacies of the momentous passage from agricultural to industrial society, from rural to urban life, from a world marked by huge gaps in time and space to another in which communications and telecommunication...

  • Italian lesson for the Dalai Lama

    2008-04-15

    BEIJING - Perhaps the Dalai Lama, king-god of Tibet, head of Lamaist Buddhism and icon of the present anti-Chinese protests, could have something to learn from Italy. Italy is the only country to have faced a problem similar to that of China with the Dalai Lama: of the occupation of a territory prev...

  • Tibet a defining issue for China

    2008-04-11

    BEIJING - Even looking at history with the best intentions, there is no history proving - or disproving, from the Tibetan side - the present relationship between Tibet and Beijing. The reality is that history, which has been used as ideology for centuries in China, can no longer work for present Chi...

  • How to turn the tables on Pyongyang

    2006-12-19

    BEIJING - After the North Korean nuclear-weapon test of October 9, the leading countries of the six-party talks have initiated a blame game to point out who is in a position to receive the greatest profit from Pyongyang's action. Conservatives in China argue that the Japanese will likely gain most ...

  • Hu Jintao's reform tightrope

    2006-06-29

    BEIJING - China seems to be moving in the direction of a new property law, a need we identified in Part 1 of this report (Hu Jintao and the new China (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/HF28Ad01.html), June 28). The approval of such a l...

  • Hu Jintao and the new China

    2006-06-28

    BEIJING - The biggest factor determining global stability over the next 20 years, simply put, is China. For good or bad, it will shape the world. If everything goes well, China will be integrated in the developed world and will become one of its engines, if not the main engine. If things go bad, the...

  • CHINA: THE IMPOSSIBLE REVOLUTION: PART 3: Beijing's great Hong Kong experiment

    2006-03-09

    (For other articles in this series, click here (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/others/revolution.html).) BEIJING - There is a time for peace and a time for war, a time for talks and one for struggle, a time for stability and another f...

  • Why the West must reOrient

    2006-01-28

    BEIJING - The West in recent decades has been attempting to change China through criticism and apocalyptic predictions. These help China to avoid traps, to prevent possible stumbles and to be careful about the direction it takes and the decisions it makes. For instance on human-rights issues, all th...

  • Democracy with Chinese characteristics

    2005-11-09

    BEIJING - China's burgeoning and at times free-wheeling economy is officially described as "socialism with Chinese characteristics". One could just as well call it "capitalism with Chinese characteristics". In the same vein, a recent white paper describes China as having a "socialist democracy", th...

  • Bush, Hu to meet at crucial crossroad

    2005-10-29

    BEIJING - China's President Hu Jintao is on his way to North Korea, where his task will be to wrest a clear commitment for nuclear disarmament from Kim Jong-il. This commitment should be brought to Beijing on November 8, when the next round of six-party talks is scheduled to start. If the talks make...

  • China's revolution for everyone and no one

    2005-10-21

    (Part 1: Is China heading for a social 'red alert'? (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China_Business/GJ20Cb01.html)) The Chinese government, while aware of the problem posed by China's rising Gini coefficient, still feels it has pl...

  • Is China headed for a social 'red alert'?

    2005-10-20

    BEIJING - Economic inequality and social protests in China have become a frequent topic in the Western press. The startling figure of 74,000 protests across China in 2004, up from 58,000 the previous year, has popped up in many newspapers, as has China's most recent Gini coefficient of 0.45, suggest...

  • China 'fails' test over North Korea

    2005-06-30

    BEIJING - In 1978, Chinese troops went into Vietnam to "teach Hanoi a lesson", completing a full circle of bilateral relations that went from almost complete integration to enmity. China was putting pressure on Vietnam, which itself had invaded Cambodia and forcibly changed the regime there. China'...

  • China and India fall into step

    2005-06-02

    BEIJING - Depending on one's geostrategic outlook, the dream, or nightmare, of a China-India axis - complete with 2.4 billion people - is a step closer with the recent announcement that the two countries will for the first time ever hold joint military maneuvers. The head of the Indian army, Genera...

  • Why Japan's 'so sorry' doesn't wash in China

    2005-04-30

    BEIJING - At a recent conference in Indonesia, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi apologized to Asian countries for his country's invasions during World War II. It was certainly a positive gesture, but it is unlikely to appease the Chinese government totally. The Chinese government does not ...

  • Strange cross-Taiwan Strait bedfellows

    2005-04-05

    BEIJING - The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has never stood in an election, so can it now learn to take part in a democratic process and, of course, emerge the victor? This is the real prize and was the challenge in Nanjing last week in the meeting between Jia Qinglin, chairman of China's People's P...

  • Beijing seizes the initiative

    2005-03-17

    BEIJING - One can read it as a story of blunders and bullying on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, and there was an abundance of both follies in the lead-up to passage of the anti-secession law by China's National People's Congress. Yet the law adopted Monday served a higher purpose for Beijing: i...

  • Could Cancun spin out of control?

    2003-09-13

    BEIJING - Professor Francesco Giavazzi has been arguing recently that, "The amount of money spent every year in industrialized countries to subsidize agriculture is larger than the total GDP [gross domestic product] of sub-Saharan Africa. Every cow raised in the European Union receives more cash tha...

  • Beijing's currency conundrum

    2003-09-09

    BEIJING - Despite world headlines indicating heavy pressure, US Treasury Secretary John T Snow in his visit to Beijing last week actually pressed the yuan-revaluation issue quite softly. He returned to the United States with a promise of a future liberalization of exchange rates and with a cut of ta...

  • Korea: The hexagon of uncertainty

    2003-08-30

    BEIJING - North Korea has managed to pull another rabbit out of its hat - threatening the world with the test of a nuclear bomb, while holding multilateral talks and listening to what the United States had to offer. In fact there were two distinct aspects to the Six-Way Talks that wound up in Beiji...

  • Will China revalue the yuan?

    2003-08-19

    BEIJING - Maybe it's because its population is so large (over 1.3 billion). Maybe it's because its civilization is so ancient and different or maybe it's because its economy went through extraordinary growth - (about 9 percent a year for the past 25 years) but it is very easy to paint China as a mon...

  • Moment of truth nears for Pyongyang

    2003-08-14

    BEIJING - The multilateral talks on North Korea tentatively scheduled for late this month in Beijing could be a moment of truth - for China, as well as Korea itself. In the past days the Chinese media have reported US Central Intelligence Agency allegations that Pyongyang has already built two nucl...

  • Hug vs handshake, and what it means for Asia

    2003-07-24

    BEIJING - The recent meeting between US President George W Bush and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi broke many old molds in trans-Atlantic relations and opens new geopolitical perspectives other European and Asian leaders will be forced to consider. Asia has been interested in recent years...

  • The trouble with Tung

    2003-07-15

    BEIJING - The challenge of Hong Kong, where some 500,000 people on July 1 took to the streets against their local government, is only the latest of a series of serious tests for Beijing. But it could have long-term consequences for the stability of Greater China. The people of Taiwan, who go to the...

  • SARS-weary Beijing looking to new issues

    2003-06-10

    BEIJING - In this time of waning severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) cases, Chinese President Hu Jintao is being simultaneously pulled in several directions as issues unrelated to the illness are re-emerging in China's political landscape. The people of Beijing are fed up with the SARS alarm. ...

  • Game of nerves in Northeast Asia

    2003-04-30

    BEIJING - What would happen if tomorrow a few US fighters bombed all known North Korean facilities engaged in the production of nuclear weapons? Would Pyongyang retaliate? Would it fire missiles at Japan or bombard Seoul? Or would it just shout and cry and do nothing? Would Kim Jong-il's political ...

  • China's bureaucracy: A virus's best friend

    2003-04-22

    BEIJING - It is the biggest political earthquake since the time of Tiananmen in 1989. On Sunday both the Chinese minister of health, Zhang Wenkang, and the newly appointed mayor of Beijing, Meng Xuenong, were demoted and blamed for the mishandling of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) cris...

  • In Beijing, diplomatic opportunities abound

    2003-04-19

    It's all up to the US, says North Korea (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Korea/ED19Dg01.html) SEOUL - This Sunday Beijing will be transformed into a busy diplomatic hub. On Easter Day, Christian-educated Indian Minister of Defense George F...

  • China goes down with UN defeat

    2003-03-21

    BEIJING - The accountancy of foreign policy is always extremely difficult. Choices that might seem wrong in the short run may prove right in the long run, and vice versa. In his first news conference on Tuesday, China's new Premier Wen Jiabao insisted on a political solution for the crisis in Iraq,...

  • China's Achilles' heel: The 'floating population'

    2003-03-17

    By Francesco Sisci and Lu Xiang BEIJING - China's severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic has taken Chinese leaders by surprise by revealing many inadequacies of government organs, primarily the inability to make quick evaluations and responses to health emergencies. It has also exposed a...

  • America's Eurasian reshuffle

    2003-03-12

    By Francesco Sisci and Lu Xiang BEIJING - The terror attacks of September 11, 2001, seemed close enough to Samuel P Huntington's forecasts in his famous The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, but the consequences for the world appear now, some 18 months after those events, comp...

  • Pyongyang shoots down diplomatic hopes

    2003-02-26

    BEIJING - Chinese diplomacy is the first victim of a North Korean missile that landed in the Sea of Japan 35 miles off the South Korean coast just hours before the inauguration of South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun. The test launch occurred on Monday, a day before world leaders gathered in Seoul to...

  • Iraq: The war that will break the West?

    2003-02-22

    BEIJING - It's an odd twist of fate. This weekend US Secretary of State Colin Powell will come to Beijing to confer with his Chinese counterparts about the forthcoming war in Iraq and the troublesome situation in North Korea. In China, until recently a Cold War foe, he will find more support than in...

  • Political reform on tap

    2003-02-04

    BEIJING - Real political reform appears to be coming to China, and coming fast. In recent months, the communist leadership has been publicizing new proposals indicating its strong drive toward substantial political reforms. The ultimate goal of these proposals is to convert the People's Republic of ...

  • US: Political war on multiple fronts

    2003-01-24

    BEIJING - The crisis in Korea seems about to end and the result is what has been expected for months: the United States will give North Korea the food and fuel it refused to provide after Washington renounced its 1994 agreement, claiming that Pyongyang had contravened its part of the deal. From now...

  • History awaits China's Korea move

    2003-01-14

    BEIJING - In 1950 Mao Zedong made a historic decision for his country and for the world. He decided that it was more important to fight the Americans in Korea than trying to recover Taiwan, held by runaway Kuomintang (KMT) troops. This decision and the direct clash between US and Chinese troops in K...

  • The Pyongyang puzzle: By whim or design?

    2003-01-11

    BEIJING - The political zig-zags taken by the North Korean government are signs of weakness, but it remains unclear whether this weakness is the result of a domestic power struggle or simple miscalculations by Pyongyang's Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il. Even by the standards of North Korea, with its illus...

  • North Korea: Such a nuisance

    2003-01-03

    BEIJING - North Korea is staging its little play at a strange time, before the opening of a grander drama in which the United States will attack Iraq, or the Iraqi generals will topple Saddam Hussein and open their doors to US presence in their country. North Korea threatens nuclear disaster, rattl...

  • BOOK REVIEW :The triangle of violence

    2002-12-21

    Romanzo Criminale by Giancarlo De Cataldo
    Reviewed by Francesco Sisci It is 1978, and a gang of young, violent, second-rate hoodlums decides to try to play big and bring to Rome the methods and organization of their more successful counterparts in Sicily or Calabria. It is a time when terrorism...

  • Pyongyang: A blot on the map

    2002-12-20

    Part 1: Alone again, naturally (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/DL19Ad01.html) BEIJING - In October when Chinese President Jiang Zemin went to Texas to see US President George W Bush, the two spoke of North Korea. Jiang said he favor...

  • North Korea: Alone again, naturally

    2002-12-19

    BEIJING - Once upon a time, when they fought the common enemy of imperialism and when the son of the supreme leader Mao Zedong, along with a million of his countrymen, died defending that land, their ties were officially reported to be as like "lips and teeth" - one would die without the other. Now ...

  • Lonely China looks to NATO

    2002-11-19

    BEIJING - On the last day of the Communist Party Congress last week Thursday, China confirmed that it had approached North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General George Robertson in Brussels to open exploratory talks aimed at starting a "dialogue" with the Western military alliance. NATO di...

  • Hu steps up but Jiang stays on top

    2002-11-16

    BEIJING - The lineup of the new top Chinese leadership presented on Friday before the national and international press was, in order of ranking, Hu Jintao, Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Zeng Qinghong, Huang Ju, Wu Guanzheng, Li Changchun and Luo Gan. However, in the list of the official biog...

  • The de-Maoization of China

    2002-11-09

    BEIJING - It is the congress of de-Maoization. Mao Zedong is the father of modern China. He saved the Communist Party of China (CPC) from extermination in the 1930s, and led it to victory a decade later. Yet he was repeatedly and bitterly defeated in the three following decades while ruling the cou...

  • One for the history books

    2002-11-08

    BEIJING - In the official textbooks all Chinese Communist Party congresses are historic, almost by definition. Summoned every five years, shrouded in secrecy, and occasionally interrupted by extraordinary plenums of the central committee, the congresses set the course of China for half a decade. Ye...

  • The Spratlys pact: Beijing's olive branch

    2002-11-06

    BEIJING - While the rumor mill in Beijing keeps on whirling and spitting out names for the future leadership that will emerge from the Communist Party Congress that gets under way this Friday, China has made a significant geopolitical breakthrough on its most sensitive territorial claim, that of the...

  • Another China: The awakened giant

    2002-10-31

    BEIJING - For the first time in its millennia-old history, China now acknowledges the existence of a world outside that it must confront.
    Up to the mid-19th century - the time of the Opium Wars - China perceived itself as a world apart, a perfect and self-sufficient universe. Contacts with the Eu...

  • THE AMERICAN EMPIRE Part 1: Reluctant hegemon

    2002-10-16

    Part 1: Reluctant hegemon BEIJING - "Hegemonism" has recently become a derogatory byword of US foreign policy. Unilaterally, driven by the selfish pursuit of its national interests, the US is said to be willing to step on anybody's head to keep and protect its primacy in the world...

  • THE AMERICAN EMPIRE Part 2: Righteous king

    2002-10-17

    Part 2: Righteous king Part 1: Reluctant hegemon BEIJING - Unfortunately, haughty ideologies live off selfish interests. To fight fascism and impose democracy in Europe and Asia the United States needed more than a superior ideo...

  • THE AMERICAN EMPIRE Part 3: The fear within

    2002-10-18

    Part 1: Reluctant hegemon
    Part 2: Righteous king BEIJING - The Gulf War of 1992, by which time the Soviets were no longer a danger, should have brought the ...

  • Chen ups the ante

    2002-08-07

    BEIJING - Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian has thrown a wrench into Washington's careful plans, furthered last week by Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit to Brunei, to shore up Asian commitment to its war against terrorism - ie, to make sure Asian countries would support the coming attack on Ira...

  • Crisis in confidence: The China factor

    2002-07-24

    BEIJING - The crisis in confidence in the US economy triggered by the "creative accounting" scandals involving Enron and others has highlighted important differences in the world's two most powerful economies, the United States and Europe. But another emerging economic giant looms in Asia, and it is...

  • North Korea: Thorn in China's side

    2002-07-02

    BEIJING - They are scattered all over the world but prefer Europe and China. They have turned their back on their own country, while waiting to be summoned home, and until then learn sciences that will not improve the well-being of most of their fellow countrymen, but only of a few satraps. They ar...

  • China: Surrounded again

    2002-06-20

    BEIJING - It could be China's worst nightmare coming to life. Last week Yasuo Fukuda, chief cabinet secretary of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, questioned the principles banning Japan from producing and possessing nuclear weapons. The media attacked him, but Prime Minister Junichiro Koizu...

  • China: Religious freedom vs the old guard

    2002-06-13

    BEIJING - Mr Wang had walked nearly two kilometers from the bus stop to the entrance of one of the most notorious labor camps in Jilin province, in China's northeast. It was cold and Mr Wang was wrapped in a blanket. He had been released a few weeks earlier from that camp after he had written a full...

  • Universal values in a diverse world

    2002-06-06

    BEIJING - In a column in last weekend's New York Times titled "War of ideas", Thomas Friedman appealed to the United States to join forces with Islamic moderates in a war of ideas against those who use Islam to attack the West and impose conservative ideas in Islamic countries. The proposal is sensi...

  • How China dropped the ball

    2002-05-31

    BEIJING - The official response was a happy one. Chinese papers congratulated Russia for its new agreement with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) signed in Rome on Tuesday, which buried the old Cold War. This is the new tune in Chinese foreign relations, now untroubled by improvements in...

  • Is Myanmar more dangerous than Iraq?

    2002-05-16

    BEIJING - On August 28 last year, not long before the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, Asia Times Online singled out Afghanistan as the greatest source of instability in the world. Sure enough, a few days later Osama bin Laden launched the boldest ever attack on the US from his A...

  • China's numbers game

    2002-05-03

    BEIJING - In the early 1990s, groups of researchers from China's Statistical Bureau were sent to Italy for training and seminars. The move was political as well as practical. Italy was more open than many other Western countries to contacts with China in the wake of the Tiananmen crackdown, and the ...

  • China plays the Middle East card

    2002-04-23

    BEIJING - In 1998 a young Chinese scholar, Zhang Xiaodong, argued in the journal Strategy and Management about the necessity for China to conduct a more aggressive policy in the Middle East. This was essential, he wrote, for three reasons. First, China as a net importer of oil had to secure strong,...

  • The triads and emerging legality in China

    2002-04-18

    BEIJING - The emergence of triads linked with mainland China is drawing attention to the rapid growth of crime and corruption in China. Moreover, the triad phenomenon is a global concern, as Chinese gangs are active in Paris, Rome and New York. The danger is that criminals create an economy paralle...

  • BOOK REVIEW: History of Chinese Thinking

    2002-04-13

    BEIJING - On hearing the name Ge Zhaoguang, Chinese academics prick up their ears and, depending on their opinions, either raise their eyebrows or smile with pride. No one doubts that he has accomplished a great work. More than 1,000 pages printed in minute characters and thousands of footnotes base...

  • The burning issue of Falungong

    2002-04-10

    BEIJING - A little more than a year ago the Falungong issue seemed almost at an end, yet Beijing once again finds itself on the defensive because of the cult. But this is not really because of the activities of Falungong practitioners - they have not staged any major demonstrations in China for mont...

  • A new media empire: The Roman connection

    2002-04-03

    ROME - Italy, for a long time the country with the lowest profile among the four largest European economies (with Germany, France and Britain), has been recently drawing more attention. Although this has not always occurred for the right reasons, some of the moves taking place could have far-reachin...

  • Beijing's hawks down but not out

    2002-03-19

    BEIJING - A common pattern in Chinese history since Liu Bang founded the Han dynasty in the 2nd century BC has been the passage of power from a military to a civil administration. Once a new dynasty is established, the generals who helped overthrow the previous regime and bring their leader to power...

  • Risky business: Exporting the American dream

    2002-03-15

    BEIJING - A nation's conception of its history is important as it influences how the nation will move into the future; it's especially important now, when states with different civilizations, ie vision of their histories, are confronting each other. The world is no longer divided into mutually excl...

  • Brought closer by differences

    2002-02-23

    BEIJING - The two-day visit to Beijing by US President George W Bush has brought America and China closer. But, in an interesting twist, the new glue for this relationship is not the points the two countries have in common, but those on which they have long differed, and which now more than at any o...

  • Beijing redefines the cross-Strait game

    2002-01-29

    BEIJING - China's invitation to Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to go to Beijing for talks creates a brand-new situation that, despite whatever actual progress might take place in such bilateral talks, could trigger a complex realignment in the region. This could also be the backdrop to ...

  • Why is Beijing not bugged by bugs?

    2002-01-22

    BEIJING - Why? And why now? These appear to be the crucial questions after the bugging of the Chinese presidential airplane made headlines around the world. The link with next month's summit between Chinese President Jiang Zemin and US President George W Bush is apparent, but it is not clear what th...

  • The key to Asian stability

    2002-01-09

    BEIJING - If India and China see the logic of stronger bilateral ties, the United States will have to face the possibility of these two Asian giants adopting an anti-American stance. Washington could avoid this by building a new long-term commitment in Asia, while considering the region as a whole a...

  • The isolation of India

    BEIJING - The renewed tension between India and Pakistan, even if it is short of war, as now seems the case, is likely to remain for some time and further complicate the process of finding new political stability in the area. Despite the fierce military build-up on the two sides of the border, as da...

  • New leaders, new challenges

    BEIJING - Eventually, democratization will serve the purposes of China's next generation of leaders by chaneling social protest over the transformations the Communist Party envisages, just as trade unions in the West help workers to get better salaries and better treatment but do not aim at overthro...

  • The party's new social contract

    BEIJING - At its 16th Congress this year, the Chinese Communist Party will choose once more to swing toward liberalization, but the ability to enforce its wishes will not be completely in the party's hands. Certain conditions will be required. The first condition is US support and assistance. In Ch...

  • The reformist road, trod with care

    BEIJING - From now, the peak of winter, to then, early autumn, the time of the 16th Congress, the 80-year-old but still buoyant Chinese Communist Party will tread carefully. It has just one objective in mind: to produce the correctly balanced political alchemy that will hold the fourth generation of...

  • Stability and instability beyond Afghanistan

    BEIJING - As was the case centuries - and millennia - ago, stability and instability in what is now Afghanistan extend far beyond its borders. Many voices in India suggest the very existence of Pakistan has been called into question. Anti-Pakistani feeling is being voiced in India in the form of ar...

  • The Grand Game in Afghanistan

    BEIJING - The Han dynasty, after which the majority of modern Chinese name themselves, started by taking control of the land that once belonged to the Qin emperor, then stretched its empire along the Silk Road as far as far as the Caspian sea. Around 56 BC, the Han created a protectorate of the west...

  • A new ball game for Taiwan

    BEIJING - Last week the Voice of America (VOA), a media outfit directly funded by Washington, reported that the Bush administration may be unable to deliver on its promise to sell eight diesel-powered submarines to Taiwan. The radio quoted unidentified Pentagon officials and said that the main obst...

  • China breaks its silence

    [This interview was first published in the Italian daily La Stampa on November 24. Subsequently, the president of the European Commision, Romano Prodi, told La Stampa that Minister of Foreign Affairs Tang Jiaxuan is right: the United States should not decide the future of Afghanistan all by itself. ...

  • The propaganda war, and why bin Laden is winning it

    BEIJING - Call it public diplomacy, or public affairs, or psychological warfare, or, if you really want to be blunt, propaganda. Whatever it's called, formulating what this war is really about in the minds of the world's billion Muslims will be of decisive and historic importance. Yet every expert o...

  • Summit puts China on top of the world

    BEIJING - The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit meeting that closed in Shanghai on the weekend proved to be an unprecedented success for Beijing. China managed to stage a major gathering of heads of state without a security or organizational blemish, cozied up nicely to Russia and, be...

  • Afghan fallout raises the stakes in China's west

    BEIJING - In Shanghai for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the three world leaders with the greatest leverage on Afghanistan and Central Asia - the presidents of the United States, Russia and China - will be meeting face to face. They will have more to discuss than just the future of Afg...

  • And the walls around China come down

    BEIJING - It might well have been a simple coincidence, but even coincidences have their role in history, and often they are very important. All Chinese newspapers flashed on their front page on Tuesday the picture of Japanese premier Junichiro Koizumi bowing to a wreath of flowers at the Marco Pol...

  • China, US and the new world order

    The day after the attacks on the United States, China's President Jiang Zemin called his American counterpart George W Bush and pledged support for the US anti-terrorist campaign. The next day, the official Xinhua news agency reported the story and the official Chinese-language China Daily carried a...

  • 'Wo shi meiguoren' - I am American

    BEIJING - Apart from the Middle East, future terrorist action against the United States could come from Africa or Latin America. In some African countries the state structure has collapsed and central governments are in no position to control their official territory. In Latin America, large swathes...

  • US must ally with China to beat the common enemy

    BEIJING - It is clear that the reasoning behind building a multi-billion dollar National Missile Defense (NMD) system against possible terrorist attacks from "rogue states" has been shattered by Tuesday's attacks on New York and Washington. And the possibility of a nuclear attack from a "rogue state...

  • Palestine: the cornered have cause

    BEIJING - "When shall we stop pretending we are not at war?" "Smart enemy gets you where you think you are safe." The recent movie Pearl Harbor, already a blockbuster, has President Franklin D Roosvelt and a bright naval intelligence officer utter these two crucial lines before the attack that in m...

  • Wanted: a global balance of power

    BEIJING - On September 7 the spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry, Zhu Bangzao, departed from the old line of clear opposition to the American National Missile Defense system and limited himself to a softly-worded comment: "China hopes that the US acts cautiously regarding the NMD issue." He note...

  • Non-aligned Russia a vital buffer in Asia

    BEIJING - With the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) being expanded to include the Baltic states, and subsequently Russia, a number of important questions are raised, notably, what effect will this have on Japan and China, and whether they, too, should be admitted. However, first one needs ...

  • Expanded Atlantic alliance raises Asia dilemma

    BEIJING - In recent weeks, influential American personalities such as former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, and senior officials, such as National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, have given high marks to Russian President Vladimir Putin and tried to reassure Moscow about the enlargement of t...

  • Jiang's party turns a brighter shade of red

    BEIJING - The code words were "red" and "expert", and "red" always meant loyalty to the party leadership while the meaning of "expert" changed from time to time. At the time of the Cultural Revolution, experts were the peasants, workers and soldiers who were marshaled in the Chinese Communist Party...

  • All invited to Jiang's party

    ROME - In terms of business, the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) needs to introduce a definite line between what is legal and what is illegal so that the parameters of corruption are clearly established. Through such an effort, the party will not become the domain of the capitalists, or remain the par...

  • China must draw the line on corruption

    ROME - Letters circulated recently that criticized President Jiang Zemin's speech on July 1, the 80th anniversary of the foundation of the Communist Party in China, raise many issues that should be addressed by the leadership. However, the response would be completely opposite to the one meant by th...

  • China gambles on trumping cold warriors

    BEIJING - On July 3 both the US and European Union delegations to World Trade Organization talks announced significant progress toward resolving their differences with China about its entry into the organization. The same day, a London-based monitoring group said China was barring religious instruct...

  • China eyes Silk Road all the way to the US

    This report was first posted on Asia Times Online on June 15, when a portion of the text was omitted. It is reposted here in full. BEIJING - At first sight, it looks like a new beginning of the Great Game to control Central Asia, and from there the whole Eurasian continent. At a closer look, though...

  • Hard choice for hardliners

    BEIJING - The hoped-for containment of China by hardliners in the United States a la the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) during the Cold War is based on two legs - military and economic confrontation. Even before the final rush of the arms race in the 1980s, there was much military frict...

  • US-China: Cooperation, not containment

    BEIJING - Perhaps in a few centuries the Cold War will be regarded as a turning point in military doctrine, as the first true, total war in which both economic and political apparatus were fully used to cripple the enemy and the actual direct use of armed force was scarcer than in previous confronta...

  • Smaller organizations may spur political evolution

    BEIJING - There will surely be more democracy in China after the 16th Congress of the Communist Party next year. But as fierce debate rages among the leadership about the degree of democracy to be allowed, there is a deeper cause for concern in smaller social organizations challenging the Communist ...

  • US-China: Cooperation, not containment

    BEIJING - Perhaps in a few centuries the Cold War will be regarded as a turning point in military doctrine, as the first true, total war in which both economic and political apparatus were fully used to cripple the enemy and the actual direct use of armed force was scarcer than in previous confronta...

  • Smaller organizations may spur political evolution

    BEIJING - There will surely be more democracy in China after the 16th Congress of the Communist Party next year. But as fierce debate rages among the leadership about the degree of democracy to be allowed, there is a deeper cause for concern in smaller social organizations challenging the Communist ...

  • US nourished by China's seeds of uncertainty

    BEIJING - The United States will take to heart the bitter lesson of exclusion from the United Nations Human Rights Committee in a vote which gave the impression of an isolated superpower, a US spokesman said on Friday. "The United States, whether through inadequate lobbying or because of unpopular ...

  • With each delay, the stakes get higher

    BEIJING - China's perceived "victory" over the United States in the EP-3 spy plane dispute and its present assertion as a rising superpower is very important for domestic public opinion and will thus support a future groundbreaking decision by President Jiang Zemin. On July 1, 2002, he will give a h...

  • ANOTHER CHINA

    PART 1: THE DREAM OF STABILITY (continued) CHAPTER 3: Inhuman rights? 3.1 A difference of clashes Ideology is not dead, at least not yet, and it still makes a difference in the world. Even if the Bamboo Curtain - the ideological divide between Ea...

  • Thailand keeps on China's good side

    BEIJING - The new Thai government is working on stronger ties with China, both politically and economically, to involve Bangkok more in the development of Southern China. Surakiart Sathirathai, the Thai foreign minister, in an exclusive interview in Beijing, said China has agreed on expanding some ...

  • ANOTHER CHINA: Toward a new world order

    PART 1: THE DREAM OF STABILITY (continued) CHAPTER 2: Responsibilities of and to the people 2.1 Mass responsibilities As early as the writing of the ancient classic Zhouli, China was described as organized and structured in system of collective r...

  • ANOTHER CHINA: Toward a new world order

    Preface In the summer 1988 I went back to Europe through Moscow after having been in Beijing for about a year. I found the Soviet Union in the full swing of reforms. The procedure on arrival at the airport was not too bad and the city was fantastic. The architecture was beautiful,...

  • ANOTHER CHINA: Toward a new world order

    2001-02-10

    BEIJING - Beijing this week declared its opposition to US anti-missile plans and its confidence that India will not allow foreign forces to use the exiled Karmapa Lama, Tibet's third-highest priest, against China. It is no accident that China, with its carefully orchestrated rhetoric, presented the...

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