As tensions in Asia, particularly in and around the South and East China Seas, have steadily risen in the past eight years, Taiwan has emerged as an island of unexpected tranquility. The thaw in cross-Strait relations brought about by the era of the Nationalist (KMT) presidency of Taiwan’s Ma Ying-jeou, however, could soon be coming to an end. The likely election of opposition leader Dr. Tsai Ing-wen as president of Taiwan on January 16th may signal that rockier relations with Beijing lie just over the horizon.
While the dire warnings of "scorched earth diplomacy" with Beijing in the event of an opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) victory seem exaggerated, Beijing's fixation on a reaffirmation of the "1992Read more
Chinese internet giant Alibaba's purchase of one of Asia's great newspapers, Hong Kong's South China Morning Post (SCMP), should be a cause for concern for all who value an independent press. While Alibaba executive vice chairman Joseph Tsai claimed that the company would continue to allow the SCMP editors to "make their judgment on what to publish and not to publish," others were not so sure.
Former SCMP editor Willy Lam, a stellar journalist known for his insightful reporting on the inner workings of the Chinese Communist Party leadership during his time at the newspaper before his dismissal, was quoted as stating that an Alibaba takeover would likely exacerbate a trend at the paper toward self-censorship on sensitiveRead more
President Obama is in Paris for a conference on climate change. Today he met with the leader of China, President Xi Jinping, and discussed the importance of the U.S.-China relationship in regards to fighting climate change.
"As the two largest economies in the world and the two largest carbon-emitters, we have both determined that it is our responsibility to take action. And since our historic joint announcement of our post-2020 climate targets in Beijing last year, more than 180 countries have followed in announcing their own targets. And so our leadership on this issue has been absolutely vital, and I appreciate President Xi's consistent cooperation on this issue," Obama said in brief remarks with Xi by his side.Read more
From Hong Kong to Harvard, erasing history has become a necessity. In the Chinese territory, it is the authorities in Beijing who want to eliminate any memory of the past; in Harvard Square, it is the Law School students.Read more
In the last 20 years, America’s political, media, and business establishments have done their best to rehabilitate the image of China’s Communist government. After all, there’s a lot of money to be made by playing nice with China and looking the other way when Beijing continues to routinely commit human rights atrocities. But despite this massive PR undertaking on behalf of a murderous and oppressive government, it’s very hard to spin all of their actions all of the time.Read more
After Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party defeated Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, a giddy New York Times assured Canadians, “Your long national nightmare is over.” The Times scribe felt “like a broken human after almost 10 years of Harper rule.” Oh, the suffering! Mr. Trudeau is different, she cheered herself up.Read more
Jilted. That’s how policy makers here in America feel now that British Prime Minister David Cameron has dubbed his country’s relation with the People’s Republic of China as “a very special relationship”, trumping the merely “special relationship”, the term used by Winston Churchill in 1946 to describe Britain and America’s close security and cultural ties.Read more
China’s Communist government is rolling out a plan to assign everyone in the country “citizenship scores.” According to the ACLU, “China appears to be leveraging all the tools of the information age—electronic purchasing data, social networks, algorithmic sorting—to construct the ultimate tool of social control. It is, as one commentator put it, ‘authoritarianism, gamified.’ ” In the system, everyone is measured by a score ranging from 350 to 950, and that score is linked to a national ID card.Read more
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported on October 7 that “the only concern” Beijing has regarding the October 16 White House summit between President Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye is a possible discussion of “deployment of the THAAD missile defense system in the South.” Yonhap quoted Chinese professor Cheng Xiaohe of Renmin University as stating, at a recent seminar at Johns Hopkins University, that “China’s government explicitly opposed the implementation of THAAD systems on the Korean peninsula no matter in the U.S. military base or on the ROK’s military base.” The message is loud and clear: Beijing does not want a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) deployment in South Korea and is hoping that its new “charm” offensive to win over President Park can trump any considerations for her as a U.S. treaty ally.Read more
The ACLU's website reports on how China's communist government is working with some of the country's biggest corporations to insitute an Orwellian system to "score" every citizen:
China is launching a comprehensive “credit score” system, and the more I learn about it, the more nightmarish it seems. China appears to be leveraging all the tools of the information age—electronic purchasing data, social networks, algorithmic sorting—to construct the ultimate tool of social control. It is, as one commentator put it, “authoritarianism, gamified.” ...Read more
Today at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting, Bill Clinton claimed he tried to be more Chinese by saving money. Watch:
"The reason some of us worry about China is we depend on you to buy our debt! However, I tried to be more Chinese when I was president, I saved a lot of money"Read more
Last month, China devalued its currency, slightly lowering the bottom of the range within which market forces can determine the yuan’s foreign exchange value. The central bank’s announcement triggered severe repercussions in global financial markets—but it was inaccurate and incomplete.Read more
Two distinguished politicians, one with a constituency of over one billion souls, the other a constituency of over one billion subjects, visited us this week. The pope’s souls, of course, are voluntary adherents to his cause, with the price of disobedience deferred until the disobedient enter another world; the subjects of the president of China find deviation punished more immediately.Read more
Chinese leader Xi Jinping, in scheduling his U.S. visit, seems to have fallen into a trap common for many communist leaders: underestimating papal power. Xi will be following in the footsteps of Pope Francis on visits first to the White House in Washington, and then to the United Nations in New York. The Roman pontiff, dubbed a “rock star” by some commentators, is already grabbing the limelight in a media frenzy during his visit.Read more
En route to Friday’s state dinner in his honor, Chinese President Xi Jinping stopped off in Seattle to meet with the heads of America’s great technology firms, from which China denies regularly stealing $300 billion annually in intellectual property, according to the Wall Street Journal.Read more
Warren Buffett had it right, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” Peer through the fog of commentary on recent share price gyrations and you can see the unclothed figures of Chinese president Xi Jinping and his fellow managers of the Chinese economy, the very one that in recent years has been providing about half of global economic growth even though it accounts for only about 15% of world output.Read more
The plunge in U.S. stock markets, along with various bourses around the world, is a result of fears that whatever is happening in China is a portent of worse things to come, and that what happens in China is contagious. Whether that is true is difficult to discern, however: We don’t have any historical record to base this on because China hasn’t experienced a bona fide recession since it embraced a quasi-market system in the early 1980s.Read more
John Kerry’s visit to Asia this week – like Ashton Carter’s last month – is designed to offer reassurance that America’s commitment to the region remains unwavering in the face of increased Chinese aggression. Yet despite these visits, leaders in the region have profound doubts whether the United States is serious about standing up to China.Read more
If Donald Trump becomes president of the United States, Carl Icahn may be his ambassador or chief negotiator to China. Trump made the revelation in an interview this morning on MSNBC:
"We have to negotiate great trade deals. I would get the best guys," said Trump. "Carl Icahn is a friend of mine. I'd say, 'Carl, congratulations, handle China.' I'd get other guys like Carl. I'd say, 'Good luck, here's Japan.' Believe me, we will do so well."Read more
Donald Trump, to borrow a phrase, is “dead to me.” Well, not exactly, but in a radio interview Wednesday with a San Francisco-based nutritionist, Trump did indulge in one of modern politicians’ most irritating habits: praising the airports in developing countries like China, and lamenting the “third world” airports we supposedly have here in the United States.Read more
Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and a Republican candidate for president, will address the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, on Monday evening on her foreign policy outlook. In her speech, Fiorina will discuss how as president she would broker a "new deal" with Iran, call for expanding defense spending, and address China, whom she calls "our rising adversary."
You can watch her speech live at 9 pm ET here. Fiorina's remarks as prepared for delivery are below:Read more
Secretary of State John Kerry defended the Obama administration's decision to take the Iran deal to the United Nations before the U.S. Congress votes on it. Kerry made the remarks in an interview this morning on ABC News:
The ABC reporter, Jon Karl, asked, "But the bottom line, the UN is going to vote on this before Congress gets to vote on this?"Read more
Bill Kristol appeared with Steve Malzberg on Newsmax TV Tuesday to discuss Donald Trump's influence on the Republican presidential field. The boss argued that despite Trump's inappropriate comments about illegal immigrants, Republicans should not be so quick to disregard the issues the real-estate mogul has raised, including illegal immigration and the threat of China.Read more
The World Bank last week removed a chapter of its latest report on China, saying it had not been properly reviewed. It seems that the chapter, “Special Topic: Reform Priorities in China’s Financial Sector” called China’s financial sector wasteful, poor performing, overly indebted and weakly regulated. Otherwise, fine.Read more
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