Chinese New Year without Fireworks?

Chinese New Year without Fireworks?Every year in China, the newspapers can be guaranteed to carry stories of exploding fireworks factories that leave workers dead or reeling around the sites, trying to find their ears. On Feb. 2, last year, a truckful exploded on an elevated expressway in Henan that was powerful enough to actually bring down a section of…

The One-Child Policy that Wasn’t

The One-Child Policy that Wasn’tGreat exaggeration has been made of the headline news from the just-ended Communist Party Central Committee Plenum about China ending its One Child policy. In the first place the policy is merely being “adjusted,” not abolished. While many in China are aware that for the future a scarcity of young people will be a major…

Can China Really Urbanize?

Can China Really Urbanize?Plenty of ideas for driving China toward being a modern economy are on view in the run-up to the Party Plenum – interest rate liberalization, rural land rights, abolition of the hukou system, competition for state enterprises, etc., showing that top advisory bodies know what should be done even if vested interests stand in the…

Caring for Asia’s Growing Elderly Population

Caring for Asia’s Growing Elderly PopulationWhat is Asia going to do with its rapidly aging population? Rapidly improving medical care, better diets and social safety nets mean that the so-called “homo hundred” – a term used to describe people living more than 100 years – will rise rapidly, meaning countries that provide little in the way of social services for…

The Smog Isn’t Just China’s Problem

The Smog Isn’t Just China’s ProblemThe smog choking Beijing, Shanghai and even the northern city of Harbin is not simple industrialization, as much of the smoke comes from rudimentary heating and cooking stoves. But it is related – greatly increased urbanization packs people together allowing thousands or hundreds of thousands of coal and biomass fires to really smog up a…

Vatican Diplomacy Looks to China

Vatican Diplomacy Looks to ChinaThe new course set by Pope Francis with the reshuffle going on in key Vatican ranks could open a window of opportunity for a future rapprochement between the Holy See and China. For instance, while it has perhaps gone unheeded in Beijing, the appointment of Archbishop Pietro Parolin as Vatican Secretary of State in place…
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