Isaac Stone Fish

Taiwan Inks a Risky Deal With China

In a once unthinkable move, Taiwan and China signed a new pact last week to slash tariffs and open up business between the erstwhile adversaries. Some are greeting the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement as the end of a Cold War–style freeze. The reality? The deal marks a high point for cross-strait relations, but it could ultimately bring more trouble.

School Killers Stir Muted Sympathy

Since March, China has been plagued by a spate of horrific copycat murders. On May 12 a man hacked seven kindergartners and two adults to death with a cleaver; this came on the heels of five reported assaults on Chinese schoolchildren in which 17 were killed and almost 100 injured.

Sudan Has a Friend in Chinese Election Monitors

Both China and the usual Western nations sent observers to monitor Sudan's recent elections, but they didn't seem to be watching the same polls. While Washington criticized the vote that returned Omar al-Bashir to power for "serious irregularities," Beijing called the affair a "smooth and orderly…success." The difference isn't entirely surprising: the West views Bashir as the mastermind of the Darfur slaughter, while China sees him as a business partner who has granted Beijing billions of...

Rio Tinto's Fallout

Last week a shanghai court sentenced rio tinto executive Stern Hu to 10 years in prison for bribery, a crime that's far more common in China than both Chinese and foreign businesspeople like to admit.

China Pays For Peace

China's growing defense budget has many neighbors worried that this economic hyperpower has global military ambitions too. But when Beijing recently announced that its military budget will rise by a relatively modest 7.5 percent in 2010 (last year registered a 14.9 percent hike), pundits debated what the slowing rate of increase means for China's role in the world.

A Different Kind of Freedom

The day before Hillary Clinton gave a speech last week about China's cyberattacks and its threat to the free flow of Internet information, the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal released their 16th annual Index of Economic Freedom, which ranks countries according to the ability of their citizens to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please.