The C.U.P.’s decision to stand up to censorship made me feel pumped for a second, but then worried me. Without any leverage on the authoritarian state, foreign publications can only score moral victories by defying requests for partial self-censorship, while risking total censorship from the authorities.In the past four years, whenever I went home to Beijing, I was blessed with a V.P.N. from an Ivy League university, which not only gave me access to the indispensable Facebook and Gmail but also provided me with many key online library resources that made some of my research work possible. However, I also know that my friends at Chinese universities do not usually enjoy abundant academic resources in English because most of their coursework does not involve looking up foreign publications. Therefore, in China, foreign publications have a niche readership—the students and scholars who engage with English materials in their fields and whose institutions are willing to foot the relatively expensive bill for articles in foreign academic publications.Practically speaking, censoring 315 China Quarterly articles on certain “sensitive topics” does far less damage than lying about them in schoolbooks and sanitizing history on Chinese media. After all, the purpose of making these 315 articles available in China is not to teach 1.3 billion people the truths that they deserve to know; these articles would be lucky to have as many as 130 readers in China. And even the Chinese academics who do read the China Quarterly are not very likely to base their research on any of the English articles that cover “sensitive topics.” Just imagine a Chinese scholar applying for Chinese state funding from a Chinese university to buy access to academic papers that present the latest findings by unfriendly foreigners that hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.
Tag Archives: China
Imagine if the British government could eradicate the miners’ strike from history. Not just by deleting all news coverage but by preventing the academic study of it. Imagine if, at university courses on the history of modern conservatism, all mention of it was banned. Imagine if, on top of that, a major global academic publisher voluntarily deleted all discussion of the miners’ strike from a prestigious journal.You now have a sense of the scale of what Cambridge University Press had done by deleting more than 300 articles from China Quarterly, following a request from the Chinese government. The decision, which has been reversed and the articles reinstated in the face of a threatened academic boycott, could lead to China blocking this and other related content. To which conflict I say: bring it on.Coming after the decision by Apple to stop selling, and Amazon’s Chinese partner to forbid hosting of virtual private networks – the tool needed to evade internet censorship in China – the move is part of a widespread and craven acquiescence by western corporations and governments with Xi Jinping’s project.
Devastating floods in Nepal have sparked regional tension, with Nepali politicians and media outlets claiming that Indian infrastructure along their shared border has left Nepal vulnerable.
In a visit last week to India, Nepal’s prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba released a joint statement with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi pledging to work together to combat future flood disasters. But relations between the two countries remain strained, and many in Nepal still resent India for a three-month blockade of supplies in the wake of the 2015 earthquakes.
LONDON – Most pundits agree that the least bad way to deal with North Korea’s nuclear saber rattling is a continued combination of tight containment and aggressive diplomacy. Fewer, however, have recognized that the least bad military option – the one implied by US President Donald Trump’s insistence that China take responsibility for its dangerous neighbor – is a Chinese invasion, or regime change forced through China’s threat to launch one.
So, once again it’s down to a face-off in the Himalayas. Beijing builds a road in the disputed territory of Doklam (if you’re Indian) or Donglang (if you’re Chinese), in the tri-junction of Sikkim, Tibet and Bhutan, and all hell breaks loose. Or does it?The Global Times blames it on an upsurge of Hindu nationalist fervor, but selected Indian officials prefer to privilege ongoing quiet diplomacy. After all, when Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Astana last month, they struck a gentleman’s agreement; this dispute is not supposed to escalate, and there’s got to be a mutually face saving solution.The tri-junction drama is actually a minor tremor in the much larger picture of the ongoing geopolitical tectonic shift in Eurasia. The major subplot occurs in the conjunction between the inexorable momentum of the New Silk Roads, aka China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy’s push, these past nine years, to assert itself as a major naval power in the Indian Ocean.
A remote corner of the Himalayas has become the unlikely scene of a major power standoff between China and India. Now entering its seventh week, the standoff centers on the tri-junction border shared by China, India, and Bhutan referred to as Doklam in India and Donglang in China. Neither side is spoiling for a fight, nor are they ready to back down anytime soon considering the security concerns, domestic political pressures, and regional reputational stakes. A series of quiet diplomatic interactions has not restrained the brinkmanship or ultimatums and the risk of a major armed clash between two Asian heavyweights remains. China and India have sparred along the Himalayan border for decades, including a brief war (and clear Chinese victory) in 1962. In areas like Aksai Chin or Arunachal Pradesh, long-standing disputes still play out in regular diplomatic arguments. Yet until recently there seemed to be a settled status quo in the comparatively peaceful tri-national border area, which has special strategic significance, lying as it does above the 14-mile-wide Siliguri valley, or the “chicken’s neck,” that connects northeast India to the rest of the country. As it turns out, both sides had very different visions of just what that status quo was.
Amid the proverbial doom and gloom pervading all things Syria, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune sometimes yield, well, good fortune.
Take what happened this past Sunday in Beijing. The China-Arab Exchange Association and the Syrian Embassy organized a Syria Day Expo crammed with hundreds of Chinese specialists in infrastructure investment. It was a sort of mini-gathering of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), billed as “The First Project Matchmaking Fair for Syria Reconstruction”.
Once upon a time, the seas teemed with mackerel, squid and sardines, and life was good. But now, on opposite sides of the globe, sun-creased fishermen lament as they reel in their nearly empty nets.
“Your net would be so full of fish, you could barely heave it onto the boat,” said Mamadou So, 52, a fisherman in Senegal, gesturing to the meager assortment of tiny fish flapping in his wooden canoe.
A world away in eastern China, Zhu Delong, 75, also shook his head as his net dredged up a disappointing array of pinkie-size shrimp and fledgling yellow croakers. “When I was a kid, you could cast a line out your back door and hook huge yellow croakers,” he said. “Now the sea is empty.”
China’s cardinal foreign policy imperative is to refrain from interfering abroad while advancing the proverbial good relations with key political actors – even when they may be at each other’s throats.Still, it’s nothing but gut-wrenching for Beijing to watch the current, unpredictable, Saudi-Qatari standoff. There’s no endgame in sight, as plausible scenarios include even regime change and a seismic geopolitical shift in Southwest Asia – what a Western-centric view calls the Middle East.And blood on the tracks in Southwest Asia cannot but translate into major trouble ahead for the New Silk Roads, now rebranded Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Early one morning in January, under the veil of darkness, a team of undercover police from China quietly entered Hong Kong’s Four Seasons hotel and made their way into a luxurious residential suite. After sweeping aside the billionaire occupant’s private contingent of female bodyguards, they shrouded the man’s head in a white sheet and bundled him off in a wheelchair.Xiao Jianhua was one of China’s richest businessmen. He had built his fortune over the past two decades through deals involving the cream of China’s political elite, reportedly including close relatives of the president, Xi Jinping. Because of China’s opaque political culture, one can only speculate about the reasons for Xiao’s abduction, but it seems that he had taken careful steps to protect himself. Not only was he residing and conducting his business outside of China, his country of birth, he had a diplomatic passport from Antigua and Barbuda and had adopted Canadian citizenship, perhaps thinking that this might offer him some extra degree of legal or diplomatic protection.