The World’s Drinking Problem

The World’s Drinking ProblemA succession of Chinese dynasties attempted to ban alcohol consumption at least 40 times in the 2500 years between 1100 BC and 1400 AD before finally giving up, an indication of how difficult it is to stop drinkers from drinking, according to an exhaustive 240-page report by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. China…

China and the Great Aid Debate

China and the Great Aid DebateHow much attention is being paid to China's growing role in the global humanitarian space? Not enough perhaps, but the wariness cuts both ways.  There appears to be an elephant in the room, or rather a dragon. Amid the countless meetings, summits and conferences being held around the world to determine the post-2015 development agenda and…

Domestic Unrest in Store for China, Russia 

Domestic Unrest in Store for China, Russia China may welcome the west’s discomfort over the de facto war in Ukraine, but it should also be a reminder that China’s vulnerability is, as it almost always has been, mainly on its own northern and western frontiers. Nuclear weapons, aircraft carriers and missiles provide a balance against other powers, but as the Russians have…

China’s Stranglehold Tightens on Macau

China’s Stranglehold Tightens on MacauThe apparent crackdown in Macau on activities connected to the high-stakes gambling business has ominous implications for Hong Kong.  Events over the past two months have shown that President Xi Jinping’s war on official corruption has led Beijing to intervene very directly in the affairs of the Macau Special Administrative Region, which in theory has…

Think Tanks with Chinese Characteristics

Think Tanks with Chinese CharacteristicsIn June, Communist Party officials accused the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, famously devoted to the study of Marxism-Leninism, of hosting "foreign forces" and lacking loyalty to the party.  In early September, three of China’s most famous universities vowed to strengthen ideological control over students and teachers, while rumors of a new wave of repression…

The Olympics and Asia’s Rise

The Olympics and Asia’s RiseThe withdrawal of Oslo’s bid to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games has provoked consternation in the West. Only Almaty and Beijing-Zhangjiakou remain in the competition to host the global mega event.  As if to underscore a shift in the world order, all seven Olympic Games and FIFA Soccer World Cups after the London 2012…

IN PHOTOS: Hong Kong protests

IN PHOTOS: Hong Kong protestsOn August 31, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee in Beijing ratified a plan for Hong Kong’s 2017 chief executive election that failed to meet expectations of universal suffrage as promised under the Basic Law. It was a bitter disappointment that a great many Hong Kong people opposed. The decision led Hong Kong activists to…

China Lays Down the Law

China Lays Down the LawOn 29 July, Chinese authorities announced the long-expected news that former security tsar and Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang was under investigation for Communist Party disciplinary violations. Simultaneously, it was revealed that the party plenum in October would — for the first time — focus on “ruling China according to law.” Of course, Chinese…

Blowing the Lid off China’s Food Safety

Blowing the Lid off China’s Food SafetyIn July, Shanghai’s Dragon TV exposed illegal food handling practices by Shanghai Husi Food Co., a major meat supplier to multinational corporations such as McDonald’s and KFC.  The story, the result of months of undercover investigative journalism and concealed video recording, showed footage of numerous violations including mixing expired meat with usable product as well…

A Daring Paradigm for the New Silk Road

A Daring Paradigm for the New Silk RoadIn September 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed that China and Central Asia collaborate to build a Silk Road Economic Belt that would comprise all countries within the Eurasian region. According to Eurasia expert and China Daily columnist Liang Qiang, such a corridor would be the world’s longest economic belt, with the most potential for…