May 3, 2012 |
BEIJING - The Fox Tower in southeastern Beijing, a centuries-old fortress-like building with deep-set red windows and curving eaves, has stood through the fall of the Qing Dynasty, the reign of Mao Tse-tung and the crush of urban development. But for 45-year-old Sinologist Paul French, one historical event stands out above the rest: One morning in 1937, the mutilated corpse of a 19-year-old British woman was found at the base of the tower, her organs removed with surgical precision.
March 20, 2012 |
In the latest political tumult in China, it is the Maoists who find themselves in trouble. Maoist websites have been shut down, ostensibly for "maintenance. " A public park in Chongqing where retirees sang and twirled to patriotic anthems while waving red flags posted a notice saying the music was now banned because it disturbed the neighborhood. A former television host, known for his Maoist views, found his scheduled speeches abruptly canceled. The crackdown started late last week during the conclusion of the National People's Congress.
March 18, 2012 |
Like many peasants from the outskirts of Yanan, China, Ren Shouhua was born in a cave and lived there until he got a job in the city and moved into a concrete-block house. His progression made sense as he strove to improve his life. But there's a twist: The 46-year-old Ren plans to move back to a cave when he retires. "It's cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It's quiet and safe," said Ren, a ruddy-faced man with salt-and-pepper hair who moved to the Shaanxi provincial capital, Xian, in his 20s. "When I get old, I'd like to go back to my roots.
March 7, 2012 |
In early December, Liu Zhangning was tending her cabbage patch when she saw a tall yellow construction crane in the distance. At night, the work lights made it seem like day. Fifteen days later, a 30-story hotel towered over her village on the outskirts of the city like a glass and steel obelisk. "I couldn't really believe it," Liu said. "They built that thing in under a month. " A time-lapse video of the project in Changsha, which shows the prefabricated building being assembled on site, has racked up more than 5 million views on YouTube and left Western architects speechless.
February 15, 2012 |
The palace intrigue surrounding the shape of China'snext leadership is thick. Rumors abound about who's up, who's down and who's out. What is fairly certain is that Vice President Xi Jinping, who arrives Thursday in Los Angeles for a visit, will become general secretary of the Communist Party in November and China's next president in March 2013. What we do not yet know is who will fill the remaining open slots on the powerful Politburo Standing Committee, as seven of the nine members retire.
December 23, 2011 |
For the Chinese government, a dead Kim Jong Il is a popular Kim Jong Il. In life, the North Korea leader was a constant irritant to Beijing with his dangerous nuclear ambitions and his stubborn refusal to reform an economy that left the population starving. Although Chinese officials rarely criticize North Korea openly, they quietly suspended energy assistance and demanded cash in advance for sales at times when they were angry about the nuclear program. They sometimes have been stingy with food aid and have said publicly that North Korea needs to overhaul its economy.
December 11, 2011 |
When the young Mao Tse-tung agitated for revolution, he found a vivid way to get his point across to an uneducated audience: He picked up a single chopstick and snapped it in two. Then he picked up a handful of chopsticks: They would not break. Thus he showed that so long as everyone stood side by side, no force could withstand the tide of revolution. By gathering together China's scattered, indignant chopsticks, Mao finally was able to ascend Tiananmen — the Gate of Heavenly Peace — on Oct. 1, 1949, and announce the establishment of his republic.
July 8, 2011 |
Tim Boggan is growing tired of the diplomacy involved in celebrating pingpong diplomacy. In 1971, the table tennis historian was one of the first Americans to enter China since 1949. But he says the speeches commemorating the 40-year anniversary are full of "niceties" and "politeness" to the point that nobody listens. So when Boggan rises to talk about his unlikely trip to China — he has done so six times this week — he delivers an original oration every time. At the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda on Thursday night, Boggan offered a candid and occasionally uncomfortable talk about his chance encounter with a "Chinese mystery man" who sought Boggan out simply to return his pen. Their 10-second conversation left a lasting impression.
June 29, 2011 |
Mao Tse-tung, Confucius and Louis Vuitton have been mixing it up lately on China's most-renowned stage: Tiananmen Square. For decades, Mao's portrait has hung over the Tiananmen Gate at the far north of the square, at the entrance to the Forbidden City, even as his embalmed body has lain in the mausoleum built immediately after his death in the center of the square. Chairman Mao, the Great Helmsman, founder of the People's Republic of China, looms mightily over the square, reminding the Chinese people of the Communist Party's achievement in raising the country out of its "feudal" and impoverished past and restoring it to prosperity and global influence.
May 29, 2011 |
On China Henry Kissinger Penguin Press: 586 pp., $36 Henry Kissinger was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for negotiating the Paris peace accords that established a ceasefire in the Vietnam War and let the United States extricate itself from that quagmire. But his most enduring achievement, this massive book suggests, was in laying the groundwork for President Richard M. Nixon's historic 1972 trip to Beijing, shaping the communiqués that ultimately led to formal diplomatic relations with China and then acting as a go-between for the world's most powerful nation and its most populous for the next four decades.