During the 2008 Olympics, international audiences oohed and aahed over Beijing's stunning new structures: the world-renowned Bird's Nest national stadium, the surreal China Central TV headquarters designed by Rem Koolhaas and the futuristic National Center for the Performing Arts.
Is Beijing, which is famously allergic to intervention, about to get involved in Afghanistan? It sounds crazy, yet there are intriguing signs. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently floated the notion at a talk at the Council on Foreign Relations, calling it a "possibility for the future."Chinese Foreign Ministry official Qin Gang quickly rebuffed the notion last week, saying that except for United Nations' peacekeeping operations, "China never sends troops abroad," and that "media...
The Nobel Foundation has been known to pick dark-horse candidates to drive home an ideological point (see Al Gore). How intriguing, then, that the Oslo-based International Peace Research Institute is fingering Chinese activist Hu Jia as a front runner for this year's Peace Prize.To hand China's first Peace Prize to a little-known dissident would be a rebuke to its leaders, who tout themselves as stewards of China's "peaceful rise" to great power status.
Could a New Zealand dairy trader have done more to prevent China's milk scandal? At press time, Sanlu Group milk products contaminated with the toxic chemical melamine had killed four babies, sickened 53,000 and triggered import bans and recalls worldwide.
By now, it's clear that both Chinese and visitors alike reveled in the 2008 Games, even many skeptics. The merry national atmosphere is quite different from the mood before Aug. 8, when officials worried about polluted air, terror attacks, even the performance of high-profile athletes like hurdler Liu Xiang.
With 18,000 still missing after China's quake, Beijing is organizing a massive campaign to log corpses and establish a DNA database that will help survivors learn the fate of disappeared relatives.The work holds none of the glitz of America's "CSI" television series, which portrays forensics as a glamorous job.