Radio Silence in the Taiwan Strait? Think Again

Written by J.Michael Cole. The Taiwan Affairs Office on Saturday confirmed that Beijing had suspended cross-strait communication mechanisms due to failure by the Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) administration to endorse the so-called 1992 consensus and “one

Leninism and cross-strait relations

Written by Michael Reilly. In a speech in Taipei on 21 May, Richard Bush a former Director of the American Institute of Taiwan, reminded his audience that Leninism had been the dominant ideology in Taiwan until the mid 1980s, arguably as it remains in China still. Looking at Taiwan today it is easy to forget that it …

How China is rolling out the red carpet for couples who have more than one child

Written by Stuart Gietel-Basten. A rather remarkable turnaround has occurred in China. For a country famous for having the most comprehensive sets of policies designed to limit births, it is now introducing new policies to support parents who have a second child. In November 2015, China announced it would abandon its one-child policy and switch …

Is Chairman Xi taking China back to the Cultural Revolution?

Written by Jackie Sheehan. Before considering today’s parallels with the Cultural Revolution, first let’s deal with the characterization of China’s current leader as Xi Zedong, or if you prefer, Mao Jinping. Accusations of a Xi personality cult are accumulating, and incidents like last month’s poetic outpouring by Xinhua News deputy director Pu Liye provide compelling evidence. …

Selling China in the South Pacific: is anyone buying?

Written by Graeme Smith. As the game show If You Are The One proves, soft power may emanate from China despite the Chinese government. Although contestants are told to avoid mention of “politics, religion, sex, pornography, violence, international relations or the Chinese government”, there are few vectors of influence the Chinese leadership are less comfortable with. …

All that Glitters is Not Gold: The Limits of China’s Soft Power

Written by Shogo Suzuki. China’s soft power offensive has garnered a lot of attention in recent years. In line with the ubiquitous narratives worrying about the West’s (inevitable) decline and the corresponding ‘rise of China’, many commentators have stated that the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) ‘charm offensive’ is the latest form of the ‘China threat’. …

Confusing Public Diplomacy and Soft Power

Written by Barry Buzan. There is little doubt that in relation to its size, wealth, and culture, China underperforms in the area of soft power, is conscious of that weakness, and wants to improve its performance (Li, 2008). Soft power is about the non-coercive ability to change the preferences of others, to make them want …

The true nature of Xi Jinping’s power

Written by Kerry Brown. The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was fond of using a simple drawing of what he called a `duck-rabbit’. From one angle, it looked like a rabbit’s head. But when an observer looked at it a little longer the ears came to resemble beaks, and the whole picture looked like a duck facing …

Studying Chinese Media

Written by Shih-Chien Chang. Readers who are interested in the development of the media and complex politics-media dynamics in Greater China will appreciate the Routledge Handbook of Chinese Media, co-edited by Gary & Ming-yeh Rawnsley (published May 2015). The volume includes significant essays by well-known scholars (such as Yuezhi Zhao, Colin Sparks and Rogier Creemers), …

Does Beijing Believe Its Own Official Line On Taiwan?

Written by J. Michael Cole. Hardly a meeting between officials from the two sides of the Taiwan Strait goes by without the Chinese side waxing grandiloquent about the “responsibility” of every Chinese to actively work toward “national rejuvenation.” In the context of cross-strait relations, “national rejuvenation” is about unification—or in Beijing’s view, the re-unification of …