John Lee

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Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, U.S. President Joe Biden, and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hold a press conference during the AUKUS summit on March 13 in San Diego, California. Leon Neal/Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is in the United States on a four-day official visit. At the top of his agenda when meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden and members of Congress is AUKUS. This is because the 2021 agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States to share military technology and better integrate their defense industrial bases is in danger of stalling.

If the three countries do not move forward with their pact, it will mean more than Australia’s failure to acquire up to five U.S.-designed Virginia-class nuclear-propelled attack submarines, which are vital to Canberra’s ability to project power beyond its immediate maritime periphery.…  Seguir leyendo »

Why boycotting the Beijing Winter Olympics could backfire

With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics now over, attention is turning to next year's Winter Olympics in the Chinese capital Beijing.

And with less than six months to go, pressure is mounting on the United States and other democracies to boycott the Games, given the strong evidence of genocide occurring in Xinjiang against the Uyghur population and other serious human rights violations in restive regions such as Tibet.

China has repeatedly denied human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Tibet and has called allegations of genocide "preposterous."

However, a letter signed by more than 180 campaign groups warn that the Games will only embolden China's ruling Communist Party.…  Seguir leyendo »

The death sentence imposed on Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg by the Dalian Intermediate People's Court in north-eastern China is an immense blow for the convicted drug smuggler and his family. China argues it is a simple matter of sentencing a felon according to the Chinese code.

But for the rest of the world, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the decision is far more sinister. Following the arrest of Huawei's chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver in late 2018, Chinese state media warned Canada that Beijing may "take revenge" if she is extradited to the US.

Schellenberg's death sentence, along with the detainment of two Canadians on suspicion of "activities that endangered China's national security," appears to confirm this theory.…  Seguir leyendo »

The resounding victory by Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party, led by Shinzo Abe, is more a vote against the incumbent Democratic Party of Japan than it is for the L.D.P. Even so, the perception that Abe’s forthright and confident approach breaks the mold of the consensus-based bureaucratic style of many Japanese leaders will please many voters and Japan’s security partners in the region.

This sentiment will not be replicated in Beijing. There is a groundswell of opinion within Japan that Tokyo should no longer be cowed by Chinese regional assertiveness. For many Japanese, Abe is the one willing to stand up to Japan’s larger neighbor.…  Seguir leyendo »

Marking the 90th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party last Friday, President Hu Jintao told colleagues the party’s survival depends on the twin pillars of economic growth and social stability. While China undoubtedly needs both for the party to remain in power, the dilemma for the country’s leaders is that the way China achieves rapid economic growth is increasingly the reason behind growing instability in Chinese society. In fact, loosening rather than tightening its grip on power is more likely to ensure that there is harmony rather than turmoil throughout China.

The key to understanding and resolving the dilemma lies in the nature of the Chinese political economy.…  Seguir leyendo »

China's crackdown on political activists and commentators in light of the Jasmine revolutions sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa was expected. The latest high-profile case is Sunday's disappearance of Yang Hengjun, a Chinese-born Australian novelist who was visiting in Guangzhou. That Mr. Yang once worked in China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs always marked him as a person of interest to the authorities. But the fact that he also is a frequent contributor to more than 10 blogs that appear on Chinese portals tells us that Beijing is increasingly worried that its strategy to control the Internet could be failing.…  Seguir leyendo »

Many think the political turmoil in Egypt, Tunisia, Jordon and Yemen is a warning to Beijing that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) could be the next authoritarian regime existing on borrowed time. Many lecture Beijing that for the country to avoid similar political turmoil, it needs genuine political reform and the Chinese people need more freedom. But that is not the way most leaders in Beijing see it. The current turmoil is only reaffirming to Chinese leaders that they need to tighten rather than loosen their grip on political and economic power.

There is no doubt that Beijing is keeping a wary eye on events in the Middle East even as it maintains an awkward silence.…  Seguir leyendo »

Several years before his historic visit to China in 1972, Richard Nix -on articulated what was to become the contemporary rationale behind America's policy of engagement toward China: Taking the long view, we simply cannot afford to leave China forever outside the family of nations - there to nurture its fantasies, cherish its hates and threaten its neighbors. Fast forward four decades, and the received wisdom is that it is better for America to see a strong and confident China striding the world than a weak and insecure one.

With the downturn in U.S.-China relations over issues such as Taiwan and the Dalai Lama's U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

Twelve months ago, a well-known bear on the Chinese economy revealed to me that a China-sceptic such as himself was treated by his colleagues as a bit of a crackpot, an angry old man, or sometimes, more patronisingly, as somewhat of a curiosity. Arguing that the Chinese model was seriously flawed was almost like denying that global warming was occurring, he said wryly. Only unreformed socialists were on his side, he quipped. But in the first two weeks of 2009 he has been invited to speak at more conferences and approached to write more articles in prominent publications than the whole of the previous year.…  Seguir leyendo »