Beijing’s balancing act over North Korea

  • 12 September 2017
  • From the section China
Xi Jinping Image copyright Getty Images

Another week, another round of UN sanctions against North Korea.

With it comes another demonstration of how adept Beijing is becoming at inching back and forth along the policy tightrope it has installed between Washington and Pyongyang.

At the same time, muttering mounts among Chinese experts and the public as to the wisdom of tightrope walking and the availability of alternatives.

To placate the United States and signal displeasure with North Korea, China voted for the latest sanctions even as it insisted on watering them down to let Kim Jong-un know that China will not let him fall.

Beijing does not believe that sanctions will force the North Korean leader to surrender his weapons.

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Liu Xiaobo: The man China couldn't erase

  • 13 July 2017
  • From the section China
Activist Liu Xiaobo seen in a video from 2008 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Activist Liu Xiaobo has died after spending eight years in prison

"There is nothing criminal in anything I have done but I have no complaints."

So stated Liu Xiaobo in court in 2009, and in the eight long prison years between then and now, he refused to recant his commitment to democracy. No wonder China's leaders are as afraid of him in death as they were in life.

Read full article Liu Xiaobo: The man China couldn't erase

Beijing's struggle to win Hong Kong's young hearts

  • 29 June 2017
  • From the section China
Lai Chun-yin
Image caption Like many of his generation, Lai Chun-yin feels little love for China

This week, Hong Kong marks 20 years since its return from the UK to China but Lai Chun-yin is not celebrating.

He is lying on his back on the pavement, spinning a football in the air. Between his stunt and the iconic Hong Kong harbour skyline stand a handful of mesmerised tourists.

Read full article Beijing's struggle to win Hong Kong's young hearts

Hong Kong's Carrie Lam: 'I am no puppet of Beijing'

  • 21 June 2017
  • From the section China
Hong Kong leader-elect Carrie Lam attends a news conference in Beijing, China, 11 April 2017 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Carrie Lam says the "one country two systems" formula is "as robust as ever"

Carrie Lam thinks there is a place for her in heaven. "Because I do good things," she says.

She tells me this with a straight face.

Read full article Hong Kong's Carrie Lam: 'I am no puppet of Beijing'

The new Red Guards: China's angry student patriots

  • 26 May 2017
  • From the section Asia
Yang Shuping Image copyright University of Maryland
Image caption Ms Yang said the air in the US was "sweet and fresh"

Half a century ago millions of Chairman Mao's Red Guards gathered in rallies in Tiananmen Square to chant slogans and wave their red books of his quotations in a show of loyalty to the ideas of the "Great Helmsman".

The 21st Century successors to the Red Guards are not a physical presence. After the chaos of the Cultural Revolution and the tragedy of the Beijing massacre in 1989, young people are not allowed to demonstrate in China.

Read full article The new Red Guards: China's angry student patriots

China's big push for its global trade narrative

  • 12 May 2017
  • From the section China
Screengrab from China Daily video Image copyright Youtube/Chinadaily

China's President Xi Jinping intends to tell you a story.

But first he's going to try it out on the world's political leaders. Not those of the United States, Japan, India or much of the European Union. They've declined the invitation.

Read full article China's big push for its global trade narrative

Why Beijing should lead on the North Korean crisis

  • 21 April 2017
  • From the section China
This 15 April 2017 picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on 16 April 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (R) attending a military parade in Pyongyang marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung. Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Mr Kim needs reining in - but will China take the lead internationally on the issue?

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results."

The quotation is attributed to Albert Einstein but after a torrid few days on the Korean peninsula, it's one for Chinese leaders to ponder.

Read full article Why Beijing should lead on the North Korean crisis

Trump Xi meeting: An A-Z of the big issues

  • 5 April 2017
  • From the section China
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Media captionWhat American and Chinese people want

US President Donald Trump will host his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, for two days of talks in Mar-a-Lago, Florida. From trade to currency to North Korea, a lot is on the table for the leaders of the world's two largest economies. Will they have time for some golf?


As in alpha males. At a fraught moment in history, the world's two biggest economies are led by two macho men about to meet on a blind date. A could also be for the anxiety this unpredictable encounter provokes among policymakers on both sides, especially in a Chinese presidential team which hates surprises.


Read full article Trump Xi meeting: An A-Z of the big issues

Frozen embryos give second chance to China mothers

  • 3 April 2017
  • From the section China
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Media captionThe two-child policy now means mums with frozen embryos are at an advantage

Last year, China ended its one-child policy for urban couples, but the change has come too late for many mothers.

Some women who underwent fertility treatment to have a first child and stored their frozen embryos, however, are suddenly at an advantage now to have a second child.

Read full article Frozen embryos give second chance to China mothers

Who's up, down and out at China's congress?

  • 15 March 2017
  • From the section China
Chinese President Xi Jinping, centre and in focus, surrounded by delegates, out of focus, at a plenary session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Sunday, March 12, 2017. Image copyright AP
Image caption Party power is increasingly concentrated in President Xi Jinping

China's National People's Congress (NPC) is largely a rubber stamp for policy but it is still closely watched for indications of who is on the rise or on the way out in Beijing.

Up: The core, of course.

After attaining the title "core" last October, you might think President Xi had already reached the top. But no Chinese leader can sit easy on the throne, and having worked hard for a title, making everyone use it is a useful way to exact loyalty.

Read full article Who's up, down and out at China's congress?