One man's surprising defiance on Chinese legal rights

  • 1 January 2017
  • From the section China
The celebration ceremony of the 95th anniversary of the Founding of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing (01 July 2016) Image copyright AFP
Image caption In a one-party state, principles for citizens often seem like a dangerous and expensive luxury

The year 2016 has been another grim year for those campaigning for human rights in China.

On freedom of speech, religious expression, trades unions and a host of other issues, China's one-party state continues to punish those who try to insist on their constitutional rights.

Meanwhile, through propaganda and censorship it works hard to nurture an unquestioning herd mentality and to discourage any exploration of individual values. But even in this unpromising landscape, defiance takes root in unlikely corners.

'Miscarriage of justice'

We were in the private dining room of a showy restaurant and the boss was already slurring his words. A large man with a level gaze, he'd finished one bottle of fine French wine and was moving on to a second.

As he lit a cigarette, two glasses went over like nine pins, one splashing red wine across the table and the other smashing on to the floor.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption If influential people join the fight for legal rights - in between trips to London's casinos - then perhaps progress really is coming

Read full article One man's surprising defiance on Chinese legal rights

Trump's Taiwan phone call will stun Beijing

  • 3 December 2016
  • From the section China
Photo released by Taiwan Presidential Office Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, center, flanked by National Security Council Secretary-General Joseph Wu, left, and Foreign Minister David Lee, speaks with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump through a speaker phone in Taipei, Taiwan. Image copyright AP
Image caption President Tsai talking to Mr Trump on a speaker phone in a call that had been "agreed to by both sides"

The US president-elect's decision to turn his back on four decades of US protocol on Taiwan and speak directly to a president of Taiwan will stun policymakers in Beijing.

Since his election last month, they have struggled to understand who is advising Donald Trump on Asia and what his China policy will look like. This move will turn concern into alarm and anger.

Read full article Trump's Taiwan phone call will stun Beijing

China and the Church: The 'outlaw' do-it-yourself bishop

  • 2 December 2016
  • From the section China
Dong Guanhua.
Image caption Dong Guanhua is one of many religious leaders unrecognised by Church or state

Dong Guanhua is a thorn in the side of both the Vatican and the Chinese state. Without the Pope's permission, or Beijing's, this 58-year-old labourer from a village in northern China calls himself a bishop.

China and the Vatican are believed to be close to a historic agreement governing the selection of bishops for 10 million Chinese Roman Catholics.

Read full article China and the Church: The 'outlaw' do-it-yourself bishop

US leaving TPP: A great news day for China

  • 22 November 2016
  • From the section China
A woman wears a cap with a China message that is reminiscent of the campaign slogan of US President-elect Donald Trump "Make America Great Again," at a bar in Beijing, China, 09 November 2016. Image copyright EPA
Image caption Mr Trump's move is likely to work out well for Beijing

The Chinese government will rejoice to hear Donald Trump promise that the US will quit the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on his first day in the White House.

For years, Beijing has listened to the Obama administration say the 12-nation regional trade deal was a way of bolstering American leadership in Asia.

Read full article US leaving TPP: A great news day for China

US election 2016: China eyes chance to weaken US power

  • 10 November 2016
  • From the section China
Media captionSome Chinese views of Donald Trump

He may have won at home, but on the level where great nations contend, President-elect Trump's campaign slogan "Make America Great Again" now goes head to head with China's favourite catchphrases, the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the China dream.

At precisely the moment Mr Trump was giving his victory speech, Chinese TV channels were running extensive coverage of a space mission and President Xi even chose US results day to talk to China's astronauts by satellite link.

Read full article US election 2016: China eyes chance to weaken US power

China blocks Hong Kong lawmakers in a reminder of who is in charge

  • 7 November 2016
  • From the section China
A Chinese national flag and a Hong Kong flag fly outside the Legislative Council in Hong Kong Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Beijing has told Hong Kong it cannot use the legislature to campaign for ideas offensive to China

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" is an 18th Century trumpet call for free speech, one often repeated by parliamentarians around the world… but never in China.

The message from Beijing to its unruly territory 2,000km (1,350 miles) south is, by contrast, "we disapprove of what you say and we hereby decree that you have no right to say it".

Read full article China blocks Hong Kong lawmakers in a reminder of who is in charge

Ugly US election race a poor ad for democracy in China

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton debates with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the third US presidential debate on 19 October 2016. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Chinese Communist Party is closely watching the US election campaign

"It's the most entertaining campaign ever and the essence of American politics is entertainment."

The view of one 19-year-old Chinese student watching the US presidential race from Beijing.

Read full article Ugly US election race a poor ad for democracy in China

Duterte in China: Philippine leader turns conciliator-in-chief?

  • 18 October 2016
  • From the section Asia
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is having his pictures taken with three girls as they attend a ceremony Image copyright Reuters
Image caption President Rodrigo Duterte (centre) has spoken of a turning point in relations with China

What has happened to the swashbuckling presidential candidate who six months ago said he would personally retake the Spratly Islands from China, riding out to sea on a jet ski to plant the Philippine flag on a disputed shoal? And what has happened to the foulmouthed commander-in-chief of a key US ally who only last month casually called his American counterpart a "son of a whore"?

Ahead of this week's state visit to China, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has washed out his mouth and prepared a new set of lines. He has talked of a key turning point in relations with China, promised to speak softly and praised China's "good, sound policies, internal and external".

Read full article Duterte in China: Philippine leader turns conciliator-in-chief?

Hangzhou G20: China's ambitions for global leadership

  • 2 September 2016
  • From the section China
The entrance to a conference centre, where the G20 summit will be held, is pictured before the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China 31 August 2016. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption No effort has been spared in organising the G20 Summit in Hangzhou

China mobilises for a big event like nowhere else.

Hangzhou on the eve of the G20 is a certain kind of awesome. A city rebuilt.

Read full article Hangzhou G20: China's ambitions for global leadership

Frustration and fear in divided Hong Kong

  • 29 August 2016
  • From the section China
Edward Leung on the streets of Hong Kong

Two years after taking part in the famous Umbrella Movement, 25-year-old Edward Leung is back on the streets of Hong Kong with a blunt assessment of political progress.

"I was a peaceful protester. But what have we achieved? Nothing."

Read full article Frustration and fear in divided Hong Kong