Opinion

Opinion

Most of the Western world is still ignorant of Asian cooking
It’s a slow week night and I find myself vegetating in front of the TV, watching another season of MasterChef. As usual, feisty judge Gordon Ramsay is ripping into another contestant for his poor job of cooking a piece of meat and Joe Bastianich is shooting daggers at another for sloppy plating. As an Asian viewer, though, what’s been gnawing at me over so many seasons is how little Asian cuisine they actually feature. As people discover food from Asia, this geographic region has undeniably had the most profound culinary effect of any continent in the last 20 years. If you watch MasterChef, you’d think Asian food is still just rice, more rice and sweet and sour pork. This applies to many oth
Most of the Western world is still ignorant of Asian cooking
Qasem Soleimani killing shows China on the sidelines in the Middle East
The killing on Friday of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani by the United States was very bad news for China.  Tehran’s inevitable response will further deteriorate the geopolitical situation in the Persian Gulf region, which serves much of Chinese oil needs and is an essential element of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative. Beijing said the US drone strike against the Iranian general, who headed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force and was responsible for Iran’s overseas military and intelligence operations, was a form of abuse. In a phone call with his Iranian counterpart over the weekend, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pointed out that China would continue
Qasem Soleimani killing shows China on the sidelines in the Middle East
The US-China rivalry will lead to an epic arms race
The defining character of the relationship between China and the United States has, for decades, been based on a gradual transition of power. Beijing recognized this early on, but a lot of powerful people in Washington did not realize what was happening until relatively recently. They had believed that the bilateral relationship was primarily about commerce. Now that it is apparent what the relationship really is about – the slow devolution of power from Washington towards Beijing – it is having a profound impact on how the two nations interact and compete. As China continues to grow stronger, it will become increasingly less inclined to compromise on issues it views as important to Chinese
The US-China rivalry will lead to an epic arms race
The man who brought the NBA to China
David Stern liked to tell the story of travelling China in 1990 when a local guide in Xian revealed her favorite team. “You know, I am a great fan of the team of the red oxen,” she told Stern and his wife, Dianne.  Cue confusion then smiles on realizing it was the Chinese translation for the Chicago Bulls. Nowadays, the whole of China knows the Zhijiage Gongniu, as they are known in Mandarin, and Stern is as more to credit for that than anyone – even their star player. “Without David Stern, the NBA would not be what it is today,” Michael Jordan, the six-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls and talisman of that 1990 team, said after Stern’s death at the age of 77 on New Year’s Day. “He gu
The man who brought the NBA to China
China’s government needs to take its thumb off the economic scales
China’s economic growth is expected to have slowed to just over 6%, and it is unlikely to accelerate any time soon.  In fact, analysts generally agree that China’s economic performance last year – its worst in nearly 30 years – could be its best for at least the next decade. What observers cannot seem to agree on is how worried China should be, or what policymakers can do to improve growth prospects. Optimists point out that, given the size of China’s economy today, even a 6% growth in gross domestic product translates into larger gains than double-digit growth 25 years ago. That may be true, pessimists note, but slowing GDP growth hampers per capita income growth – bad news for a country a
China’s government needs to take its thumb off the economic scales
Can China learn the lessons of a failed dynasty?
Are we finally seeing Pax Sinica 2.0, or is China engaging in a self-fulfilling prophecy that will lead to its doom (again)? Back in 2013, I wrote that China proffered a valid voice that would help maintain and shape the international order in its current form.  My 2015 book China, State Sovereignty and International Legal Order argued that China’s assertions and exercise of sovereignty should not be taken automatically as signs of aggression, or acts beyond the remit of international law, that would threaten world peace.  In turn, international law would moderate and influence China’s state behavior, both within its territory and in its relations with other states. Since then, President Xi
Can China learn the lessons of a failed dynasty?
China can no longer use money to silence critics
This will be remembered by many as the year that China did near-irreparable damage to its international reputation and image. Chinese leaders and policymakers have generally understood that China’s gradual rise to international prominence would bring with it challenges, especially regarding the perceptions of others. To allay the fears of outsiders about its rise, China has, for the past decade or so, attempted a multipronged charm offensive aimed at the rest of the world. Billions were spent on soft-power initiatives such as the Beijing Olympics, promotional videos, media expansion and the proliferation of Confucius Institutes across the globe. Diplomatic efforts went beyond traditional for
China can no longer use money to silence critics
Trump got 3 things right in China deal
Although the formal text of the US-China phase one trade agreement has yet to be released or signed, observers haven’t wasted a minute sharing their views. By far, the most controversial part has been the tariffs. Some believe the agreement was not worth the harm and uncertainty caused by the tariffs – many of which will remain in place, at considerable cost to US businesses, workers and consumers. Others say the escalating tariffs were instrumental in bringing the 18-month dispute to a successful partial conclusion. The tariffs certainly played a role, but three other factors were critical. First, in the final stages of the trade talks, the United States made important compromises. Usually,
Trump got 3 things right in China deal
To win over Hong Kong and Taiwan, Xi Jinping must break a 2,000-year tradition
China’s “one country, two systems” formula in Hong Kong is failing miserably. After more than six months of large-scale pro-democracy protests – including violent clashes with police – the city’s voters dealt a powerful blow in November to pro-mainland parties, which lost 87% of seats to pro-democracy rivals in district council elections.  The significance of that election should not be underestimated. While district councils have little power, they select some of the 1,200 electors who choose Hong Kong’s chief executive. In the next election, pro-democracy parties will fill nearly 10% of those seats. The election also had important symbolic implications. District councils are elected in a
To win over Hong Kong and Taiwan, Xi Jinping must break a 2,000-year tradition
A tech dispute that is bigger than the US-China rivalry
The White House and Beijing have reached an agreement on a “phase one” trade deal with most of the last-minute attention focused on agricultural purchases and tariff reductions. Among the key structural issues that may not have been adequately addressed is Washington’s concern about theft of intellectual property rights, which, according to President Donald Trump, costs the nation $600 billion annually, an accusation denied by China. Many in America’s security establishment also see China’s aggressive actions as part of broader efforts to erode America’s great power status. Thus, the transfer of technology to China is viewed not only on its commercial merits but also as a potential national
A tech dispute that is bigger than the US-China rivalry