June 8, 2013 |
With his photogenic wife at his side and a willingness to make eye contact and engage in small talk, Xi Jinping looks more like an American politician than the gray suits who populate the upper ranks of Chinese politics. One of his first acts as head of the Chinese Communist Party last year was to ban long speeches, banquets and red carpets. But during his first months in power, Xi has proved himself more hard-line on a number of issues than his recent predecessors. He has tightened censorship in academia and the media, and spearheaded China's territorial assertions in the South China and East China seas.
December 27, 2012 |
BEIJING -- For years, China's net nannies turned the other cheek to a loophole in their vast online censorship apparatus. Anyone who wanted access to blocked overseas websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and more recently, the New York Times, need only download foreign software called a virtual private network (VPN) to circumvent the Great Firewall. But in recent weeks, even these tools have begun to falter, frustrating tech-savvy Chinese and foreign businesspeople who now struggle to access Internet sites as innocuous as gmail.com and imdb.com.
October 18, 2011 |
There were no balloons, no banners, no rallies or slogans. The official Chinese press maintained radio silence and even the country's looser-lipped bloggers didn't dare to speculate on what happened behind closed doors. No matter that 365 of the most powerful people in China, the members of the Communist Party's Central Committee, had wrapped up a four-day session Tuesday, presumably including discussions for a hand-over of leadership in 2012. Politics, particularly personnel matters, receives scant coverage from Chinese media.
October 4, 2013 |
BEIJING -- Splashed across the front pages, there is China's president, Xi Jinping, resplendent as he strolls with his photogenic first lady down the red carpet welcoming him in Malaysia. There Xi is again in Jakarta - the first foreign leader to address Indonesia's parliament, calling for a “maritime silk road” to bring share China's prosperity with Southeast Asia. All the while President Obama - wings clipped by the impasse with Congress - finds himself grounded in Washington.
August 18, 2011 |
Better stick to pingpong next time. What was supposed to be a goodwill basketball game between the Georgetown Hoyas and China's Bayi Rockets on Thursday night degenerated into all-out hostility with a chair-tossing, bottle-flying brawl. The game at the Beijing Olympic basketball arena was timed to coincide with a visit to China by Vice President Joe Biden, although he was with (presumably) more refined company — a banquet hosted by his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. Biden had attended an earlier, uneventful game between Georgetown and another Chinese team, the Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons.
October 22, 2013 |
There are few things the good people of Shanghai love more than shopping. And there were few shopping centers as luxurious as the city's Jinjiang Dickson Center. When it opened in 1994, the Jinjiang was China's first luxury retail mall, well situated among the leafy London plane trees of the former French Concession along the auspiciously named Changle Lu, the Street of Eternal Happiness. Across the street from the mall stood the hotel where, in 1972, President Nixon and Chinese Premier Chou En-lai signed the treaty that would formally open trade between what are now the two largest economies on the planet.
March 22, 2012 |
The aftershocksfrom the sacking last week of a powerful Communist Party secretary are still rattling China, injecting an element of turmoil into a transition the government had hoped would showcase the stability of its political system. State media reported this week that 3,300 party cadres from the security apparatus would be sent to Beijing for ideological retraining. The order was unusual enough, but even more so was the fact that the report omitted mention of internal security czar Zhou Yongkang, who heads the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee that is recalling the cadres.
October 6, 2013 |
BEIJING - If you want a full-time teaching job, but you're stuck in a temporary gig without health benefits, Luo Chunlei advises that you buy the school principal a box of mooncakes and follow up with an envelope of dough. Having an operation? Better slip the surgeon some cash. And don't forget the anesthesiologist. "I'm absolutely disgusted by it, but this is how our system works," said Luo, a 32-year-old math teacher turned activist who is campaigning against what he sees as Chinese society's pervasive culture of corruption.
November 15, 2013 |
BEIJING - China announced Friday that it would ease its deeply unpopular one-child policy, a high-profile move by new leaders to limit a program that has prevented millions of births but helped create an aging population that could constrict economic growth. The decision to allow couples to have a second baby if either is an only child is part of a reform package that includes abolishing the much-criticized "re-education through labor" program, which allows people to be sent to labor camps for up to four years without trial.
February 17, 2012 |
China's vice president received a warmer welcome at an economic forum in Los Angeles on Friday than he seemed to get in Washington earlier in the week. But beneath the glad-handing surface were some of the same tensions that were on display when Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping met with his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, on Tuesday. Biden took China to task on several fronts, including trade policies and intellectual property rights. Xi appeared in downtown Los Angeles with state and federal officials, including Gov. Jerry Brown and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and they all pledged economic cooperation.