China Declares All-out Diplomatic War on Taiwan

China Declares All-out Diplomatic War on TaiwanWith its June 13 coup de foudre in switching Panama’s diplomatic ties from Taiwan to Beijing, China has set Taiwan firmly on the course toward internationally isolated pariahdom, a sudden burst of diplomatic pressure that appears to have been generated by the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party government’s refusal to knuckle under to the so-called “1992…

Depression in China: Cries for Help Go Unanswered

Depression in China: Cries for Help Go UnansweredThe bottom of Chen Aiming’s life fell out standing on a Fuzhou rooftop last July 24. Recalling his 28 years of misery, there was little he could think of other than how unfairly life had treated him. He was born with a lisp in a poor rural family, ostracized by his peers as a child…

Reviving a Once-Raffish Shanghai Theme Park

Reviving a Once-Raffish Shanghai Theme ParkGangsters and secret society members once roamed the tiled corridors of Shanghai’s Great World, rubbing shoulders with European businessmen, prostitutes, fortune-tellers, magicians and gamblers. The indoor theme park on the border of the French Concession and the International Settlement was described by one visiting Hollywood director in the 1930s as a “house of multiple joys”…

China’s Greatest Market Failure and Greatest Healthcare Opportunity

China’s Greatest Market Failure and Greatest Healthcare OpportunityAlzheimer’s is the fastest-growing, major fatal disease in China. Today there are at least 9.5 million diagnosed sufferers in China with perhaps as many cases undiagnosed. Almost one million Chinese are diagnosed every year with Alzheimer’s, with the number of new cases each year expected to accelerate sharply beginning around 2030. It is also the…

China’s OBOR Vision: No Development Masterpiece

China’s OBOR Vision: No Development MasterpieceThe One Belt-One Road summit held last weekend in Beijing is fundamentally the elaboration of a Chinese dream wherein participant countries appear only as facilitators and fade away when compared with the gains China would make out of it. A look at the extent of money China is planning to pour in justifies the contention…

Zheng He’s Modern Doppelganger

Zheng He’s Modern DoppelgangerThere is an uncanny resemblance between today’s China and the voyages of Zheng He in the early 15th century. The specific parallel I have in mind is China’s Belt and Road initiative, which is being celebrated by the May 14-15 summit meeting in Beijing of 23 leaders of nations along the routes. Back in the…

Trump’s Meddling in Asia

Trump’s Meddling in AsiaUnited States President Donald Trump’s focus on North Korea is playing into Chinese hands and, by default, further weakening the US position in a Southeast Asia increasingly subject to Chinese carrots and sticks. Trump’s “war” on the North makes little sense either at a time when the South seems about to elect as president Moon…

Xi Jinping’s Massive Urban Monument to Himself

Xi Jinping’s Massive Urban Monument to HimselfIn a bid to decongest the sprawling and polluted capital of Beijing, the government is developing a “subsidiary capital” covering 2,000 sq. km. about 160 km. south of the capital city that President Xi Jinping envisions as a “world-class, green, modern, elegant first-class city.” It is potentially the largest development project in modern Chinese history…

US Faces Growing Troubles in Asia

US Faces Growing Troubles in AsiaA bit more than two months into the new administration in Washington, DC, the US is arguably facing the severest threat since World War II to its military and diplomatic ascendency in Asia, a situation President Donald Trump seems, from his public statements, not to understand. And, although the president compounded the problems with his…

Pyongyang Finds an Ally in Moscow

Pyongyang Finds an Ally in MoscowOn Feb. 3, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent out Lunar New Year greeting cards to international allies. For the third year in row Russia was listed at the top of the list of friendliest countries, relegating China to second place.  Gone are the days when Beijing was by far the Democratic People’s Republic’s most…