Look For the Union Label

The blossoming labor movement in China, which in September claimed the scalp of the world’s biggest retailer, is a direct result of government concern about rising worker unrest that has sparked hundreds of disturbances a day across the country. Surprising just about everybody including the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, which pulled it off, Wal-Mart…

China and Iran: New Friends

China's decision to send 1,000 soldiers to South Lebanon with the UNIFIL mission is the latest example of Beijing's increased involvement in the Middle East. The overall importance of the broader Middle East for China's geostrategy is growing. China is searching for new regional allies because it wants to pursue strategic aims such as gaining…

China’s Need for an Eternal Enemy

In what is being called a breakthrough in much of the world’s press, Shinzo Abe was received relatively warmly in Beijing in his first visit outside Japan as the country’s newly installed prime minister.  Driven together to some extent by North Korea’s stunning decision Monday to defy the world and test an atomic weapon, the…

Mass Murderer, Father of the Nation or Both?

In September, a Hong Kong magazine published a Chinese-language edition of “Mao: the Unknown Story” by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday,  the 2005 book that rewrites the history of the Great Helmsman, calling him the biggest butcher of the 20th century and holding him responsible for the death of 70 million of his own people…

China and the Pilot Fish to the South

Southern China’s balmy Nanning, a city of pell-mell construction, tower cranes and heavy industry with a dash of pleasant riverside, is busy sprucing up for worldwide fame when leaders and lackeys from Beijing and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) jet in to officially commemorate 15 years of relations on 30 October. Don’t expect…

Going Upstream

The explosion of cross-border manufacturing that began the capitalist revolution in China’s Pearl River Delta almost 30 years ago appears to be a victim of its own success.  Guangdong authorities are seeking to drive out a large proportion of the 70,000-odd small manufacturers that crossed the border in the wake of China’s historic 1978 opening…

Lost Son of China

One wet Sunday morning in the winter of 1958, a grandmother in a modest house in the north Taiwan town of Hsinchu called her teenage twin grandsons to her side and, her face covered in tears, showed them a crumpled photograph of a young woman. “This is your mother, she died so young,” she said.…