How New Zealand managed to not anger China
On paper, China should loom large in New Zealand’s parliamentary elections later this month. Like its fellow Five Eyes intelligence partner Australia, claims of Chinese interference in politics shook the nation, and it has defied Beijing with its stances on Hong Kong, the Uygurs and the South China Sea.  And like its neighbor across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand relies on China more than any other country for its trade, sending it almost one-third of its exports. But in an election that is widely expected to keep Jacinda Ardern as prime minister on October 17, China has barely registered a mention. It is a reflection, in part, of how harmonious Wellington has managed to keep relations with Bei
Two Taiwanese musicians may get fined for performing in China
The Taiwanese authorities have threatened to fine two singers for taking part in a mainland Chinese state media show. Ouyang Nana, a Taiwanese cellist and singer, will join singers from Hong Kong in a performance that will be broadcast on CCTV on Wednesday, ahead of the October 1 anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The gala will also feature Angela Chang, another Taiwanese singer, in a chorus celebrating the contributions of those who helped fight Covid-19. The singers have millions of fans on the mainland, but Taiwanese authorities said their participation was an attempt by the Beijing authorities to put pressure on the self-ruled island and promote a “one count
Hong Kong bookstores feel pressure of security law
Political books about Hong Kong’s democratic movement, gossip about Chinese leaders, and rumors about politics on the Chinese mainland were once readily available at newsstands and convenience stores across the city. But many books considered to be "sensitive" have disappeared from the shelves after Beijing imposed a national security law for Hong Kong in July 2020. The change is a worry for many in Hong Kong, including an independent bookstore owner who fears the new law could eventually have a serious impact on his business
China’s aggressive diplomacy may be backfiring
China’s diplomats are fighting an uphill battle to fend off intensifying criticism from Beijing’s critics of the country’s initial mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic. In recent weeks, some of the country’s most seasoned ambassadors have found themselves engaged in a war of words with their host countries.  But rather than adopting the traditional approach of managing tensions through diplomatic protocols, many of them have risen to the call of Chinese President Xi Jinping and displayed their “fighting spirit” – often at the expense of China’s global image, pundits say. Last week alone, at least seven Chinese ambassadors – to France, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and the Afri
Taiwanese voters share election hopes
In the days before Taiwan voters go to the polls on January 11, 2020, to select their next president, the South China Morning Post interviewed people on the self-ruled island to learn more about what they hope for and expect from their next political leaders.
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
British girl finds note from ‘Chinese prisoner’
A six-year-old British girl from south London in the UK found a Christmas card with a message allegedly from foreign prisoners in China. The sender of the message claimed that prisoners were being forced to work against their will in the Shanghai Qingpu prison. The holiday card, which is among those sold to raise money for charity, was bought from British supermarket chain Tesco. The retailer said it has halted production at a Chinese factory after the discovery and launched an investigation into Zheijiang Yunguang Printing, one of its suppliers located about 60 miles from the prison named in the message.
US lawmakers not swayed by China's Xinjiang policy defense
As Beijing steps up its defense of its mass internment measures targeting Muslims in China’s far west, one key target of its messaging campaign remains decidedly unconvinced: the US Congress. On Monday, representatives of the regional government in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region said that all “trainees” in what China calls vocational training centers have “graduated” and found stable employment. Foreign governments and international human rights watchdogs remain skeptical of China’s efforts to ward off accusations of a campaign to forcibly bring ethnic minority groups in the region into line. And Uygurs living overseas point to silence from their relatives in Xinjiang as proof they a
Beijing is struggling to recruit people to run Xinjiang
China’s Xinjiang autonomous region has attracted international attention for all the wrong reasons – police crackdowns and reports that local ethnic Uygur people are being held in internment camps.  What hasn’t gained much attention is the difficulty Beijing has drafting staff to execute its policies in the far northwest area. The measures targeting Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang have triggered “widespread discontent among Han Chinese officials and citizens,” a source close to the central government told the South China Morning Post.  The source said Chinese President Xi Jinping was aware of the problem because he had been briefed by the country’s chief Xinjiang policy coordinator, Wan
‘I had to do something’: The overseas protesters who join Hong Kong’s demonstrations
Months of anti-government protests in Hong Kong have made headlines around the world. While images and stories have struck a chord with people overseas, some have been inspired to fly thousands of miles to Hong Kong to take part in demonstrations.  The South China Morning Post met two Americans who said they felt compelled to come to the city to participate in the movement as US lawmakers considered – and later passed – legislation aimed at ensuring the “sufficient autonomy” of Hong Kong from Beijing.