North Asia's diplomatic landscape could be about to look wildly different. It's about something more than North Korea's imminent threat to detonate its first known nuclear test device—perhaps as soon as Sunday, Oct. 8, the anniversary of Kim Jong Il's ascension to leadership of the ruling Workers Party in 1997.
Lhasa is not quite hot enough to have its own stock exchange, not yet. But on the trading floor of the Tibet Securities Company, a large hall where share prices from the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges roll across giant screens, the action has been heavy since Beijing's much touted railway to Tibet neared completion.
This week's long-awaited summit between Hu Jintao and George W. Bush in Washington has sent diplomatic sherpas in both countries into overdrive. One last-minute development was a visit to Beijing last week by Washington's assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Thomas A.
The hoopla over Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Washington next week has begun. Beijing's pre-game warm-up for Sino-U.S. presidential summits almost always includes buying a few Boeing aircraft (in this case, some 80 737's), releasing political prisoners (a Tibetan nun, so far), and dispatching Chinese officials and executives to snarf up American goods.
Early last year, New York Times researcher Zhao Yan was detained by Chinese authorities after the paper published an article accurately predicting that Chinese leader Jiang Zemin would retire.
Earlier this week I was wandering through a flea market in Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan province in China's Wild West. Among stalls selling (mostly fake) antique porcelain and Tibetan artifacts redolent with the aroma of yak butter, I spotted a small crimson-red cigarette box bearing the image of Lei Feng, a chubby-faced soldier wearing one of those goofy, floppy People's Liberation Army (PLA) hats.Lei was a big name in the 1970s when Maoist-style egalitarianism was the height of...
With violence and chaos in Iraq growing ever more intense, many Americans have asked me this week about China and the Iraq conflict. Although I'm based in Beijing, I was in Baghdad for the fall of Saddam Hussein, witnessed Washington's "shock and awe" bombing from the receiving end and have reported from inside Iraq yearly since Saddam's fall.
Iran's nuclear crisis is testing China's new proactive diplomacy. On Monday the conservative Iranian newspaper Jomhuri-ye Eslami's Web site issued a sharp challenge to Beijing's leaders over their actions in the nuke showdown.Reminding readers of former Chinese Premier Deng Xiaoping's ties to the deposed Shah of Iran, the paper wrote that just hours after "defenseless and innocent people were shot down in a hail of machine-gun fire" during anti-shah unrest in Tehran in 1978, Deng paid a visit....
If you're a China watcher, you don't just listen to what top Beijing leaders say, but also to how many times they say it. This month President Hu Jintao has embraced a new mantra, stressing "sustainable development," "innovation" and "a resource-saving, environment-friendly society." He uttered those buzzwords in his New Year's address, then at a high-profile science and technology conference, and then again last week during an inspection tour of Fujian province.
Don't be fooled by Wang Xiaoyun's demure demeanor. The 39-year-old mathematician is an instrument of China's campaign to become a tech power. She is also a legend among Western cryptographers. "Please don't write too much about my research; it's so difficult for journalists to get the technical details right," Wang pleads in rapid-fire English and Shandong dialect.
Once again the rival regimes in Beijing and Taipei are engaged in a war of words, but this time the topic is pandas. Specifically a cute, cuddly, just-can't-resist pair of giant panda cubs which Chinese authorities have offered to Taiwan as a "goodwill gesture." Problem is, Taiwanese authorities are trying hard to resist what some call the mainland's "panda ploy."Taiwan Premier Frank Hsieh said the island was unlikely to accept the creatures because to do so would "compromise our sovereignty."...