China watches Greece with dismay, patience and cunning

  • 30 June 2015
  • From the section China
China's Prime minister Li Keqiang gives a joint press conference with European Commission President and European Council President after the 17th bilateral EU-China summit at the EU Council headquarters in Brussels on June 29, 2015.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will be in France for an official visit starting Tuesday

Last year he visited Athens, this year Brussels. The European Union is China's largest trading partner and Premier Li Keqiang comes twice a year.

On this occasion, he started in Brussels with the annual China-EU summit with official visits to Belgium and France tacked on.

The timing could be better.

At the European Commission, his host President Jean Claude Juncker was distracted from the impeccable choreography of a China summit by the gathering storm in Greece, as banks barred their doors, ATM queues stretched and betting shops stopped offering odds on the prospect of a Greek exit from the euro.

"China is ready to play a constructive role," said the Chinese premier when asked about Greece at a news conference in Brussels.

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The boy and the helicopter

  • 28 June 2015
  • From the section Magazine
Xiao Zhang, Yangyang and Peipei

For the past 10 years I have been visiting White Horse Village in south-west China, reporting on its transformation from a farming community into a modern city - it's a microcosm of China's epic-scale urbanisation. Xiao Zhang's family has embraced the change, and as my last visit came ended, I took her children shopping in one of the new superstores.

The tiny nine-year-old and I have been staring at stuffed toys and superheroes for a very long time. "Peipei," I say. "You've got 300 yuan. You can get whatever you want. Now what is it you want?" He just keeps smiling up at me helplessly, hopping from one sparrow leg to the other.

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Humphrey shattered by time in Chinese jail

  • 18 June 2015
  • From the section China
British investigator and former Reuters journalist Peter Humphrey and his Chinese-American wife, Yu Yingzeng
Mr Humphrey and his wife were arrested for allegedly buying and selling personal information

Free at last and back on British soil after being deported from China, Peter Humphrey told me his two years in a Shanghai jail cell had been a shattering experience.

Speaking over a welcome pint of Guinness in the bar at Heathrow airport, he was clearly angry, saying Chinese prison authorities had denied him treatment for a prostate problem which has now become a tumour.

Read full article Humphrey shattered by time in Chinese jail

Power politics exposed by fall of China's security boss

  • 11 June 2015
  • From the section China
Screen grab of Zhou Yongkang in court on 11 June 2015
Zhou Yongkang found himself in court because of a power play which went wrong

A white haired shadow of his former self, China's once all-powerful security boss Zhou Yongkang made his first public appearance in nearly three years from the dock of a criminal court.

"I accept the sentence. I will not appeal. I realise the crime I've committed and what I've cost the party," he said.

Read full article Power politics exposed by fall of China's security boss

Modi braves the 'Chinese whirlwind’

  • 14 May 2015
  • From the section China
China"s soldiers march through Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow
China's troops recently took part in a Moscow parade

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in China at a moment when his hosts' ambitious plan to redraw the map of Asia is gathering momentum.

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi calls it a "Chinese whirlwind" in the world, and President Xi Jinping talks of an "Asia-Pacific dream" to set alongside the "Chinese dream of rejuvenation".

Read full article Modi braves the 'Chinese whirlwind’

China Week: Earthquakes and Katy Perry

  • 1 May 2015
  • From the section China
Wang Jianlin arrives at the Hong Kong stock exchange on 23 December, 2014
Wang Jianlin is a Chinese businessman and philanthropist, serving as chairman of the Dalian Wanda Group

"Stay close to the government and distant from politics."

The cryptic words of Asia's richest man, the developer Wang Jianlin.

Read full article China Week: Earthquakes and Katy Perry

Brothers again? How deep is the Xi-Putin bromance?

  • 24 April 2015
  • From the section China
Xi Jinping
Xi Jinping wants to work with Russia

Next month, Western leaders will be conspicuously absent from President Vladimir Putin's military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory in the Second World War.

President Barack Obama and EU leaders are staying away from the Red Square commemoration to express their outrage at Russia's role in Ukraine.

Read full article Brothers again? How deep is the Xi-Putin bromance?

China Week: Zhou charged, the AIIB and a lotus

  • 3 April 2015
  • From the section China
Zhou Yongkang is seen in Biriatou on 20 July 2006, during a private visit in the French Basque region
China's fallen security chief Zhou has been charged with bribery, abuse of power and leaking state secrets

So we now know that China's former security chief Zhou Yongkang will go on trial in Tianjin and we now know the charges he will face.

The important thing to watch here is not so much the corruption counts, or "exchanging power and money for sex", (lurid though these allegations are), but the charge of "intentional disclosure of state secrets".

Read full article China Week: Zhou charged, the AIIB and a lotus

China week: Hunting corrupt 'foxes'

  • 20 March 2015
  • From the section China
Delegates and officials conduct the closing of the Third Session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on 13 March 2015
Chinese parliamentary sessions: the stuff dreams are made of?

I had a dream.

Not of the Martin Luther King variety, nor exactly a nightmare. No, it was a prosaic dream about the Chinese People's Political Consultative Committee (CPPCC), the advisory body which sits alongside the National People's Congress and repeats what it is told.

Read full article China week: Hunting corrupt 'foxes'

Wang Jing: The man behind the Nicaragua canal project

  • 18 March 2015
  • From the section China

The Chinese billionaire who intends to build a shipping canal through Nicaragua connecting the Atlantic and the Pacific has dismissed the project's critics.

Speaking to the BBC in a rare broadcast interview, Wang Jing said that having Chinese companies leading the project will help ensure its success.

Read full article Wang Jing: The man behind the Nicaragua canal project