Comrade Condom

In his unremarkable 22-year life, which ended ingloriously in 1962 when a PLA comrade accidentally backed a truck into a power pole that fell and crushed him, Lei Feng wanted to be nothing more than a selfless "revolutionary screw that never rusts." The Fengster, a man celebrated as a revolutionary icon of Maoist China for…

The Great Wall Goes Missing

William Lindesay has documented the danger facing China’s Great Wall in a series of stunning photographs. After digging up photographs and drawings made over the past 200 years, Lindesay has gone back to the same spot and retaken the same image. After recounting his 2,470 km trek along remains of the Wall, in the 1989…

China Makes Friends in the Gulf

As the United States has stumbled from crisis to crisis in the Middle East earning a reputation for war mongering and callousness, China has quietly but rapidly been widening and extending its links, becoming a new player and substantially upgrading economic ties, especially in the Persian Gulf. For a country relatively new to the nuances…

A World Awash in Dangerous Liquidity

It should perhaps be no surprise that given that the US Treasury Secretary was until recently head of one of the world’s most highly leveraged financial institutions. Leverage is king in the world of funny money promoted by Hank Paulson and the vastly overpaid glitterati of Goldman Sachs and its ilk. But in all the…

The Changing Roles of Women in Asia — From Bedroom to Boardroom

Finally women were being recognized for their contributions both to the communist victory and to society in general. They were now supposedly free from many outdated traditions and laws. But Chairman Mao forgot to mention that women, besides holding up their half of the sky also had to juggle education, marriage, absent husbands, child and…

Art-to-Go: China’s Masterworks Copy Center

Psst, hey, buddy! Looking for a Van Gogh-to-go? Cross through the gates of Dafen, past the enormous bronze hand holding a paint brush rising to the sky, and you'll find it, and thousands of other masterworks, by Rembrandt, Titian, Gainsborough, Picasso and Dali and anyone else you might favor here in this officially designated “art…

We’d Rather Not Say

The environmentalists who set out four years ago to get the world’s industrial giants to track and report their greenhouse gas emissions are running into trouble in Asia. Few companies – including some of the most illustrious names in Hong Kong and China – want to reveal how much greenhouse gas they are actually pumping…

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…