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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, …

Taiwan in Transition

Written by Gwenyth Wang. On May 20th Taiwan will inaugurate its first female President, Dr Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Some Western observers like Richard Bush and media such as The Economist have expressed worries about the potential hurdles in cross-Strait relations. While the possibility of increasing tensions between China and Taiwan should not …

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 …

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The latest case of online outrage: The Wei Zexi incident

Written by Jing Cheng. On April 12, 2016, Wei Zexi, a 21-year-old college student from Xidian University in Shaanxi China died of synovial sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. His death took over China’s Internet over the last week. On Sina Weibo, the hashtag #Wei Zexi Baidu Promotion Incident# invited 1.13 billion reads and 168,000 …

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Why China takes a softly-softly line on North Korea

Written by Astrid Nordin. In the run up to its first party congress since 1980, the North Korean government increased its drive to develop nuclear weapons, raising tensions in the region. This has alarmed and angered neighbouring countries, and particularly China, whose president Xi Jinping made clear at a recent conference that China will not tolerate …

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Taiwan Studies in Europe

Written by Ming-Yeh T. Rawnsley. The 13th EATS Annual Conference took place in Prague, 30 March–1 April 2016. The conference was a collaboration between the EATS Board and the local organiser, the Oriental Institute of the Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic. The main theme of the conference was “Powerful and Powerless”. The organisers chose this theme …

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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 …

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China buys into corporate mergers, and proves better at it than the West

Written by Wilfred Dolfsma. Alongside China’s booming economy and the country’s appetite for steel, concrete, copper and other construction materials, the last decade has demonstrated that not only can China consume materials, but its corporations are also capable of gobbling up companies around the world. Like other large national and multinational firms worldwide, Chinese firms …

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How and why China became Africa’s biggest aid donor

Written by Kafayat Amusa,  Nara Monkam and Nicola Viegi. The foreign aid arena in Africa has traditionally been dominated by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. However, over the past three decades non-traditional donors such as China, have emerged. The increasing importance of non-traditional donors has meant that the economic and political stronghold of …

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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 …

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