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.

But some now hound their enemies online. The underlying rage is reminiscent. The instinct for intimidation is the same. Despite all its strengths and all its engagement with the world, China is once again prey to political groupthink and fear.

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Media captionWhat did Maryland university students think of the "fresh air" speech

The latest trigger is a speech by a Chinese student at an American campus. On 21 May, at an official event, Shuping Yang praised the fresh air and freedom of speech she had found at the University of Maryland.

The video clip of her speech quickly went viral and triggered an outpouring of anger from fellow Chinese students in the US and critics at home. Shuping Yang swiftly apologised, asked forgiveness and said she had no intention to belittle her country. But that was not enough to stop the flood of "I am proud of China" posts accusing her of lies and deception, or the online "human flesh searches" to dig up incriminating information about her and her family.

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?

'All-out offensive' in Xinjiang risks worsening grievances

  • 2 March 2017
  • From the section China
This photo taken on 27 February 2017 shows ranks of Chinese military police attending an anti-terrorist oath-taking rally in Hetian, northwest China's Xinjiang region. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Large rallies by security forces have been held in Xinjiang recently

China is in the midst of what it calls a "people's war on terror" in its far west. What sparked this latest campaign was a knife attack.

After five people were killed on 14 February in Xinjiang, home to China's Muslim Uighur minority, Beijing began an "all out offensive". It flew in thousands of armed troops to hold mass police rallies and deploy columns of armoured vehicles on city streets.

Read full article 'All-out offensive' in Xinjiang risks worsening grievances

Could China's Trump tactics actually be working?

  • 24 February 2017
  • From the section China
Ivanka Trump (left) attends the Chinese Embassy's New Year reception with her daughter (front left). Washington DC, USA, 1 February 2017. Image copyright Xinhua/Alamy Live News
Image caption Beijing realised the importance of cultivating relations with Mr Trump's family

It's been a month and adjusting to Donald Trump as US president has been an enormous challenge for China, as for many around the world.

He arrived in office full of provocative and unpredictable messaging on China, but Beijing needs American goodwill, markets and technology to build what it calls its "comprehensive strength".

Read full article Could China's Trump tactics actually be working?

China's gamble for global supremacy in era of Trump

  • 27 January 2017
  • From the section China
In this handout image provided by Ria Novosti, President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping arrives in Russia ahead of the G20 summit on 4 September 2013 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Is Xi Jinping's China destined to be the world's reigning superpower?

At his inauguration last week President Trump reframed the American mission from leadership of a global rules-based system in the interests of all, to 'America first'. Meanwhile the leader of Communist China rebranded his prickly protectionist power as the defender of globalisation and shared values. So after week one in this upside down new world, how stands China's bid for global leadership?

'Trump confirms socialism is the way'

A week is just a week, but when it comes to strategic focus, China is on course. It's easier to look laser sharp when the competition is in disarray. Here the internal difficulties of the US and the European Union are helpful to China.

Read full article China's gamble for global supremacy in era of Trump

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.

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