Politics

Politics

Beijing tells troops ‘not to fire the first shot’ in South China Sea
China has told its service personnel “not to fire the first shot” as Beijing looks to de-escalate tensions with the United States in the South China Sea. Both sides have stepped up their operations in the disputed waters, increasing the risk of incidents that spiral out of control. Still, Beijing does not want to give American hawks the opportunity to escalate things further, sources familiar with the situation told the South China Morning Post. Beijing had ordered pilots and naval officers to exercise restraint in the increasingly frequent stand-offs with US planes and warships, the sources said. Meanwhile, further details emerged about a phone conversation between the two countries’ defens
This group may be the reason for recent Hong Kong national security law arrests
Hong Kong police arrested Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai under the national security law as part of an investigation into an online group that canvassed foreign countries to sanction the city and received more than HK$1 million ($129,000) from overseas bank accounts, the South China Morning Post has learned. Former student activist Agnes Chow and two others arrested were also allegedly involved in the group. Sources said the group is called “I want laam caau,” a Cantonese expression meaning “embrace and fry.” It sums up the popular protest slogan, “If we burn, you burn with us,” used by participants in the anti-government unrest that roiled the former British colony last year. Officers from t
As border talks stall, will India’s Narendra Modi get tough on China?
As the border stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops in the Himalayas entered its 15th week, criticism of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration was brewing in New Delhi, the capital. Talks have continued with little sign of a breakthrough since Indian and Chinese troops clashed with bare hands, spiked clubs and rods on June 15, leading to the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers and an unspecified number on the Chinese side. Unhappy at what they saw as India’s overly cautious approach, a group of military veterans and analysts were calling for the government to get tough on Beijing. A prolonged stand-off could end up narrowing India’s military options to prevent India losing cont
Hong Kong police arrest media tycoon and raid newsroom
Hong Kong police on Monday raided the offices of the city’s Apple Daily newspaper and arrested its founder Jimmy Lai, an outspoken critic of Beijing, under the new national security law. A police source told the South China Morning Post that the media mogul was arrested “for collusion with a foreign country, uttering seditious words and conspiracy to defraud.” Another eight people, including Lai’s two sons, had also been taken into custody. The arrests were the most high-profile use to date of Hong Kong’s security law, which was imposed on the former British colony in June amid opposition from the city’s pro-democracy lawmakers and Western democracies including the United States. In response
Beijing says it’s not trying to unseat America as superpower
Beijing has issued its most detailed response to date to Washington’s increasingly assertive approach to countering China’s rising global influence. Days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed to confront what he called Chinese Communist Party’s “designs for hegemony,” his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, said Beijing has no intention of unseating the United States as a superpower. “Today’s China is not the former Soviet Union. We have no intention of becoming another United States. China does not export ideology and never interferes in other countries’ internal affairs,” Wang told state news agency Xinhua in an interview on Wednesday. Wang’s remarks were Beijing’s firs
The #MilkTeaAlliance that connects Asian protesters
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. An unusual alliance is forming between democracy advocates in Southeast Asia and East Asia.  On the 31st anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, some Thai students joined their Hong Kong counterparts in mourning demonstrators killed in central Beijing. Anti-government protesters in Hong Kong have backed Thai activists' call for democracy in the kingdom. And both were joined by Taiwanese critics of Beijing in lambasting its assertive moves against the self-ruled island. This union is called the Milk Tea Alliance, a nod to the ubiquitous drink i
China Trends: Man exonerated after 27 years in jail, and a rural student’s archaeology dream
Every Tuesday and Thursday, China Trends takes the pulse of the Chinese social media to keep you in the loop of what the world’s biggest internet population is talking about. Man wrongly jailed for 27 years A Chinese man was exonerated and freed after spending nearly 27 years in jail for murder, sparking widespread sympathy and anger online.  Zhang Yuhuan, now 53, was accused of killing two children in 1993. He was given a suspended death sentence in 1995, despite telling the court that police had tortured him into admitting he was the perpetrator. Zhang had no defense lawyer at the trial.  His multiple appeals to higher-level courts failed, but Zhang continued sending appealing letters to a
US to send its top health official to Taiwan. Beijing won’t like it
The United States will send its health secretary to Taiwan in the highest-level official visit to the island since 1979, in an announcement that has drawn warnings from Beijing. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar will lead a delegation “in the coming days,” according to the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the de facto US embassy in Taipei in the absence of formal diplomatic relations. Azar will be the first visiting cabinet member of the Trump administration and the highest-level US official to visit the island since Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.  In response to the US announcement, Beijing warned Washington not to “send the wrong s
Philippines caught between superpowers in South China Sea
The Philippine navy has been ordered not to join US-led military exercises in the South China Sea, in what analysts said was an attempt to placate China while distancing the Philippines from Washington, its traditional ally. President Rodrigo Duterte decided his country should not take part in naval exercises in the disputed sea “except in our national waters, [within] 12 miles of our shores,” defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Monday. Lorenzana said the decision was aimed at keeping a lid on tensions in the region, where there has been an increase in the frequency and intensity of US military activity, including the recent deployment of two aircraft carriers. With ties between Beiji
How did Taiwan transition to democracy? 
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. When Former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui died at 97 on July 30, politicians around the world sent their condolences.  US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Lee was crucial in transforming Taiwan into a “beacon of democracy.” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Lee had brought Taiwan “freedom, democracy, human rights and other universal values.” In mainland China, however, the tone was critical. The reporting of Lee’s passing was condemnatory, because he was regarded by the mainland government as promoting independence for the self-ruled island. T