Melinda Liu

Stories by Melinda Liu

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    China Gets a High-Profile First Lady

    Hu Jintao’s wife is, by many accounts, stern but low-key, the latest in a long line of near-invisible first ladies of China. Since the death of Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing, a Shanghai actress who became notorious for her brutal part in the Cultural Revolution, the wives of Chinese leaders have been conspicuously absent from the public stage. But that’s all about to change.
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    North Korea Holds China Hostage

    The Chinese, Pyongyang’s main protection against total collapse, privately confess to being sick of their neighbor’s disruptive demands for attention.
  • China Stuck With North Korea

    Chinese officials used to say their alliance with North Korea was “as close as lips and teeth.” Now, as Pyongyang continues to bite the hand that feeds it, Beijing’s exasperation is growing.
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    China Can't Keep Up With Its Cars

    Beijing’s announcement that it will shutter more than 2,000 polluting steel mills and other industrial energy hogs by Sept. 30 might look like one more sign that China is moving up fast in the global race to go green. Lately, important figures like President Obama and newspaper columnist Thomas Friedman have been warning that the People’s Republic is far outpacing America in ecofriendly technology.
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    The Battle for China's Wall Street

    New turf battles have erupted in the rivalry between Hong Kong and Shanghai over which metropolis will be the financial heart of China. The conventional wisdom has long been that Hong Kong would prevail. But Shanghai is keen to grab a bigger piece of the action, and it's on a fast learning curve.
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    With the Rise of Comedians, China Embraces Raunch

    Comedy is on the rise in China, and one of its unlikeliest stars is a cross-dressing performer known as Xiao Shenyang, or “Little Shenyang.” Born in hardscrabble northeast China, the 29-year-old comedian has a reputation for gender-bending costumes and occasional vulgarity.
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    China's New Underclass: White-Collar Workers

    While blue-collar wages have soared recently, white-collar pay is actually shrinking, thanks to a massive glut of university graduates. And salary cuts aren't the only complaint.
  • Shanghai's Back. Watch Out.

    Next month's eye-popping World Expo heralds the city's resurgence—and perhaps a bruising new chapter in U.S.-Sino relations.
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    China's Governor in Tibet on the Dalai Lama

    Two years ago on March 14, rioting in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa left at least 22 people dead. China's leaders have since scrambled to restore normalcy in the area. In January, Padma Choling (also known as Baima Chilin) was appointed the new chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region, making him the most senior ethnic Tibetan in the regional government. Baima, 58, recently met with Newsweek's Melinda Liu in Beijing—his first exclusive interview with foreign media since his promotion. Excerpts: ...
  • China's Mixed Signals

    It would be understandable if foreign business leaders are confused by the signals Beijing is sending these days. On the one hand, Premier Wen Jiabao cordially greeted international executives last week, telling them, "It's important to reinforce your confidence in China." On the other, Wen's comments came the same day Google shut its China search engine, saying it would no longer bow to government pressure to censor results. That controversy has contributed to the growing uneasiness of business leaders operating in China. A new survey shows a startling uptick in the percentage of U.S. IT executives who feel "increasingly unwelcome to compete in the Chinese market," from 26 percent in December to 38 percent in early 2010.  If it seems like China's sending mixed messages, that's because it is. While Beijing may appear monolithic to outsiders, in reality two camps are locked in a behind-the-scenes tussle over how best to deal with the world. On...
  • Business: Google, Rio Tinto's Trouble With China

    Google couldn't find a way to work within Beijing's limits, and employees of mining giant Rio Tinto wound up behind bars. What's the key to succeeding in the world's largest marketplace?
  • China May Be Greener Than We Think

    China's top climate-change negotiator makes a case that his country is gearing up for the December summit in Copenhagen.
  • The Competition Within China's Single Party

    As China prepares to celebrate the 60th anniversary of communist rule this week, the one-party system looks more and more unlikely to last another 60. Questions about who will succeed Chinese President Hu Jintao in 2012 are increasing because two coalitions of almost equal power are jockeying for position. On one side are populists like Hu himself and Premier Wen Jiabao, who want to improve China's social safety net, introduce greener policies, and balance development between the wealthy east coast and the poor western hinterlands. On the other side are the elitists, including the princeling children of high-ranking Chinese officials, who favor an increase in coastal development and place a far greater emphasis on economic growth and free trade.The rise of these coalitions represents new fissures in Chinese politics. While factions have always existed within the party, they were largely personality-based. These new groupings, by contrast, are divided by geography and by real...
  • Lawyers Are Taking Over China's Government

    In a trend that will change the country, leadership of China's Communist Party is slowly passing from functionaries trained in engineering to those educated in softer sciences like law.
  • China's Gambling Problem

    The Chinese take their side of paradise very seriously, and by paradise we mean the island of Hainan, a.k.a. "the Hawaii of China." The beaches are kept pristinely white (good news, especially for those brave enough to try the clothing-optional one). The hotels, such as the Ritz-Carlton and the Shangri-La, carry five stars. The tourists even act the part. Many wear colorful floral outfits that are so loud they almost pulsate. A few have become so intoxicated by the tropical scenery (and perhaps a few tropical cocktails) that they have gone charging into the ocean—only to drown because they can't swim. But as John Milton more or less told us a few centuries ago, trouble manages to find its way into paradise, and so it has in Hainan. In part, the problem is the global recession, which has eaten into the base of 20 million or so tourists who visit each year. Even worse: their void—and the money vacuum they've left behind—is being filled by gambling, and the violence that so often comes...