Asia’s rivalry heats up as Japan and China play host at separate global summits

Written by Hugo Dobson. Despite occasional reasons to be optimistic, relations between China and Japan have been consistently poor over recent years. This is in part fuelled by China’s rise to the position of second largest economy in the world – overtaking Japan in the process – as well as Japan’s lurch to the right …

Troubled waters: conflict in the South China Sea explained

Written by John Rennie Short. A United Nations arbitration court will soon rule over the sovereignty of islands in the South China Sea, a territorial dispute between China and the Philippines with global implications. In recent years, China has been asserting claims in the region and has built up atolls and islands to be large …

Why China still can’t make sense of the Cultural Revolution

Written by Kerry Brown. If there is one certainty in contemporary Chinese politics, it’s that any mention of the Cultural Revolution, which began half a century ago in May 1966, must always be negative. The “turbulent decade” of the Cultural Revolution, as it is called by many within China, is regarded as an unmitigated disaster, …

China: (not) talking about a revolution

Written by Mark Beeson. Fifty years ago on May 16 the Cultural Revolution began. Don’t expect this event to be given much attention in China itself, though. The reality is that despite Mao Zedong’s continuing iconic status, his successors in China’s ruling elite don’t know quite how to deal with his legacy. It’s not hard …

Climate Change Activism “With Chinese Characteristics”: The Role of Domestic and Foreign NGOs

Written by Angela Moriggi. China has recently announced the passing of the long-awaited new Overseas NGO Management Law that will impose police supervision over the work of foreign NGOs operating in the country. The news has sparked a lively international debate, as commentators attempt to envision its effects on the activities of thousands of civil …

China’s Evolving Energy Security and Climate Change Debate

Written by Jonna Nyman. China faces a daunting double challenge: satisfying its growing need for energy while at the same time dealing with the ongoing challenges of climate change. These are not only big challenges in their own right – the solutions to them have also often been in conflict. Economic growth fuelled concerns over …

The Geopolitics of Desertification in China

Written by Marijn Nieuwenhuis. The Transformation of China’s Territory China’s territory is in the process of historical change. And by that I mean to say that its material foundation, the very stuff of territory, is in the process of a literal transformation. I am referring to the creeping desertification that swallows every year thousands of square …

How the push to unite South-East Asia against Chinese expansionism could backfire

Written by Scott Edwards. After years of rising anxiety, China’s push for dominance in the South China Sea is still rattling nerves among its neighbours, and in the world beyond. Beijing’s territorial claims and its military assertiveness have inflamed tensions with Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines, all of whom lay claim to territory on …

Crossing the river by feeling the stones: democracy’s advance in China

Written by Yu Keping. To say “democracy is a good thing” means that democracy can benefit the people. Yet if democracy is to benefit the people, a precondition is that social order must be maintained and hardship shouldn’t burden them. If democracy causes unrest, the people will lose hope, corruption will go unchecked. Under these …

Why China could never sign on to the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Written by Bala Ramasamy. Recent estimates show that most members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership will make substantial gains, unlike those who opt not to participate. US annual real income is expected to increase by 0.5% of GDP while annual exports will increase by 9.1%. Exports of Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia are expected to increase by …