Melinda Liu

Field Of Dreams

Liu Yonghong had never seen--or heard--anything like it. A little more than 10 years ago this migrant worker from Sichuan walked into a supermarket in Hangzhou, 75 miles from Shanghai.

Great Leap To Space

When China first started up a manned space program 11 years ago, the authorities were so keen on keeping a low profile that they didn't even bother to give it a name.

Bringing Down The House

BEIJING BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE MELINDA LIU IN BEIJINGChinese officials are trying to head off a Tiananmen-style confrontation. A major party meeting is scheduled for mid-October in Beijing, and the fear is that the plenum will spark public protests against a whole range of government abuses--especially the high-rise construction projects that have destroyed thousands of homes with little notice or compensation.

Petitioning The Emperor

Not long ago Hua Huiqi lived quietly with his family in a Beijing courtyard house, minding his own business. That changed when authorities forcibly evicted him and his elderly parents in September 2002 to make way for a new development.

Return Of A Killer

In late summer, the live-animal markets of southern China are usually buzzing with street vendors and their wares--a flurry of fur, scales and feathers, blood and gore, and the inevitable stench.

The Dalai Lama Looks Home

The Dalai Lama landed in America to the usual swirl of praise and protest. After receiving an honorary degree from UC San Francisco last Friday, he is scheduled to meet with George Bush, attend a reception on Capitol Hill and deliver an open-air speech in Central Park to a crowd expected to number in the tens of thousands.

Uneasy Neighbors

Within the last two weeks a large number of Chinese soldiers have poured into the remote northeastern frontier bordering North Korea. Troops are preparing for another grim winter, when the Tumen River freezes and desperate North Korean refugees dodge Chinese patrols to escape into China.

A Bitter Friendship

In July, Chinese tour groups of Korean War veterans returned to North Korea to commemorate their sacrifices on the battlefield. The conflict that bound the two socialist allies "as close as lips and teeth" left 360,000 Chinese dead when it ended in a stalemate 50 years ago.

Behind Shanghai

Staring at the rubble of his neighbors' row houses, Chen Guo-fang says he won't budge. Like more than a hundred residents who protested outside Shanghai's city hall last week, Chen is one of 2,000 homeowners who say that collusion between city officials and a big developer cleared the way for the reportedly $600 million housing project that is now bulldozing their homes.

'America Can't Rule'

The Iraq Hunting Club, which features a run-down outdoor movie theater and dilapidated tennis courts, used to be a favorite haunt of Saddam Hussein's elder son, Uday.

The 'Wolf' Who Would Be King

At first glance, the scene inside the presidential suite of Baghdad's Ishtar Sheraton hotel seems almost, er, presidential. Armed bodyguards, tribal leaders and hangers-on mill about as a man in a well-tailored suit signs official papers and huddles with aides.

The Saddam Files

At The Iraqi Intelligence Service, A Man Walked Up With A Grimy Sack Of Documents And Tapes. 'Tell The World What Happened Here,' He Said

In Revolution City

After three weeks of war, Saddam City looked to me like an Arab version of "Blade Runner." Donkey carts and rattletrap taxis trundled through the vast Baghdad slum last week, crammed with anything that could be removed from the capital's abandoned ministries.

A City On The Brink

Night after night, since the start of the war, the message boomed into the darkness from the loudspeakers of Baghdad's 14th of Ramadan Mosque. Sometimes the haunting, hypnotic baritone almost drowned out the fearsome din of the air war: "God is great!" the voice repeated. "God is almighty!" In person, the mosque's assistant imam, Murtadha Mustafa al-Zaidi, is a soft-spoken 30-year-old in a long gray robe and dusty flip-flops. "Residents from the neighborhood come to me and thank me," he said on...

'The Americans Have Come'

For the first time in many days, there was no dawn chorus of aerial bombing or thudding artillery in Baghdad. I awoke today to a hot, scratchy breeze rustling through date palms and the muted chirping of birds.Very occasionally, distant warplanes or a muffled boom reverberated in the distance.

The Mind Of The Iraqis

It's impossible to know exactly what hit the Shaab market in Baghdad last Wednesday morning. The Iraqi government says the explosions killed at least 14 civilians, and dozens of others were injured.

Live From Baghdad

Saturday was a quiet spring day in Baghdad. Early in the morning I drove around town to look at the effects of the previous night's "shock and awe" airstrikes.

Babylonian Booty

It had been conquered and re-conquered a dozen or more times, by (among others) the Akkadians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Macedonians, Parthians, Arabs, Ottomans and British, and in February 1991, yet another foreign power raised its flag over the ancient city of Ur, near the mouth of the Euphrates: the Americans.

'The Early Stages'

"Will the war begin tonight?" asked Mohamed, an Iraqi friend, "tonight for sure?" For weeks he'd asked me the same question and for weeks I'd answered: probably not yet.

The Will Of The Tribes

The sheik and his men still chuckle about being captured by the Americans. Back in 1991, as Iraqi soldiers retreated from Kuwait, a revolt erupted in cities across southern Iraq against President Saddam Hussein.

Babes In Saddamland

Looking out from the top of a red double-decker bus careening through Baghdad, American antiwar activist Ken O'Keefe sees the whole world as on his side. "How can The New York Times say Iraqis are hoping for war?" asks the California-born veteran of the Persian Gulf War, busily videotaping himself with a minicam, "How do you explain all those Iraqis waving and clapping out there?"On the street, local Iraqis seemed at first startled, then bemused, at the bizarre convoy snaking through their...

Boom Before The Bombs

Mahmoud Yassin never thought of himself as a real-estate speculator. But 11 years ago the Baghdad hardware dealer couldn't resist the low prices for property in Karbala.

Imagining The Day After

The old U.S. embassy in Baghdad hasn't hosted an American ambassador since April Glaspie shipped out just before the 1991 gulf war. Located down an alley in a bustling commercial area of Baghdad, Glaspie's office has been preserved just as she left it.

Psy-Ops And War Prep

Dr. Muthafar Adhami, a prominent Iraqi academic, was watching TV at home not long ago when his 14-year-old son Farad suddenly stopped surfing the Internet and said, "Daddy, come see this." Adhami had received an unusual e-mail titled "Important Information," transmitted by U.S. psy-ops specialists.

The Man Who Will Run China

Hu Jintao has a trait that's rarer than his photographic memory: the more power he has, the more enigmatic he becomes. Even longtime colleagues in the Politburo are stumped by the flawlessly smooth exterior of China's new party chief, who is scheduled to assume the presidency in March.

Learning From China

"A Western doctor would say you are perfectly healthy, but you are not!" proclaims Nan Lu, a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine in New York's Chinatown.

Party Time In Beijing

China last week had its first orderly transfer of power since 1949--perhaps a bit too orderly. Communist Party boss Jiang Zemin, still a sprightly 76, stepped aside in favor of a new party chief, 59-year-old Hu Jintao.