China

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks via videoconference to the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 21. (Mary Altaffer/Pool via Reuters)

Anyone who has visited China over the past several decades has heard anguished stories from Chinese friends about the results of Mao Zedong’s social engineering in the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. China spent 40 years recovering from those disasters to become a great, modern nation.

So, I can almost hear the gasps inside China, from the generation that lived through the nightmare years, as President Xi Jinping has moved down a Maoist path this year toward tighter state control of the economy — including “self-criticism” sessions for Chinese business and political leaders whose crime, it seems, was being too successful.…  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 Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China. (Ng Han Guan/AP)

With 4.5 million recorded deaths from covid-19 worldwide, China should be welcoming international attention to turn every stone to understand how the virus entered the population. Yet, not only has its initial coverup helped fuel a global pandemic, its obstructionism and secrecy have deepened suspicions: Does China have something to hide?

The world is now getting a taste of what life has been like for people in China for decades: How many times have they also been outraged and not gotten the answers they deserved?

Many people still want to know what led to the harrowing deaths of over 5,000 children during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, many of them buried by substandard school buildings that instantly collapsed, unlike other buildings around them.…  Seguir leyendo »

China Doesn’t Want to ‘Live With’ Covid. But It May Have To

“How lucky I was born in China,” a young Chinese scholar declared last month in his WeChat. He was proud: Following the worst domestic Covid-19 outbreak since Wuhan, China had brought daily new case counts down to a few dozen.

The case numbers — when contrasted with the United States, which has less than a quarter of China’s population yet daily average cases above 130,000 — might not seem too concerning on their own. But they illustrate that China’s zero-infections policy is no longer working as designed. At the outset of the pandemic, the policy successfully drove down cases — and was adopted by other countries — but the Delta variant changed the game and shows that this strategy no longer fits.…  Seguir leyendo »

Over the past 50 years, China has undeniably established itself as a global power. It has made progress on many fronts, particularly in furthering the development agenda. Nonetheless, President Xi Jinping’s efforts to cast his country as a responsible and benign super power ring hollow when his government continues to engage in hostage diplomacy. As a current academic dean and a former business executive and diplomat, I can unequivocally say that the world is eager to see China firmly commit to not using people as bargaining chips.

This is especially relevant to me because a staff member of the International Crisis Group – an organization that I co-chair – today marked his 1,000th day in Chinese detention for no other reason than the fact of his Canadian citizenship.…  Seguir leyendo »

China acaba de aprobar una importante ley en materia de privacidad de datos. Inspirada en el Reglamento General de Protección de Datos de la Unión Europea, la Ley de Protección de la Información Personal comprende un amplio conjunto de reglas en relación con el manejo de datos de los usuarios por parte de las empresas tecnológicas. Y a primera vista, parece bastante rigurosa: de hecho, el Wall Street Journalla elogió como «una de las leyes de privacidad de datos más estrictas del mundo». Pero es probable que no brinde a los usuarios chinos tanta protección como muchos creen, e incluso puede reforzar el dominio de las megatecnológicas chinas establecidas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Una Olimpíada de diferencia entre la India y China

Los Juegos Olímpicos de Tokio han terminado, y en Japón, pueblo y gobierno suspiran aliviados, ahora que el espectáculo pasó sin que hubiera un brote importante de COVID‑19 en la villa olímpica u otros desastres. Aquí en la India, aún duran las celebraciones por la primera medalla de oro que obtiene el país en la competencia masculina de lanzamiento de jabalina (y su mejor cosecha de medallas en cualquier Olimpíada). Pero ¿hay tanto de qué alegrarse?

Hace unos diez años, era común mencionar juntas a la India y China en la misma oración. Se suponía que tras siglos de influencia occidental, eran los nuevos contendientes por el predominio global, la respuesta oriental a generaciones de éxito económico de Occidente.…  Seguir leyendo »

A man plays games in a video-gaming center on Aug. 31 in Shanghai. (Alex Plavevski/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

This week, China announced a law that would prohibit children younger than 18 from playing online video games during the school week and would limit their game time to no more than three hours on weekends. The announcement raised more than a few eyebrows among parents and researchers, and in some circles prompted gallows humor. (“Hmm, if only an authoritarian government could step in to limit my kids’ game time!”)

But as a parent and research psychologist who has been studying the uses and effects of video games for more than a decade, I found the news troubling.

We don’t need government regulation on leisure time.…  Seguir leyendo »

People play games in the video gaming center in Shanghai on Aug. 31. (Alex Plavevski/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

The American entertainment industry has spent years trying to placate the Chinese government to expand its access to the world’s largest market. Companies such as Disney and the National Basketball Association have disgraced themselves by compromising on values such as free speech and human rights in exchange for what they hoped would be boatloads of cash.

Agreeing to censorship in exchange for money is a bad look under any circumstances. As recent developments show, it can also turn out to be a bad bargain.

The buzzy new front in this great-power pop-culture war is the announcement that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s regime is slapping limits on the time minors can spend playing online video games.…  Seguir leyendo »

Flujos financieros destinados a las infraestructuras africanas en 2017, por bloques.

Ha estallado una competición geopolítica entre Estados Unidos y China. No es una sorpresa: allí donde el poder emergente número uno (China) parece a punto de superar al poder establecido número uno (Estados Unidos), nace una nueva disputa entre los dos. Lo explico en mi libro Has China Won?

La elección de Joe Biden en noviembre de 2020 podría haber detenido esta batalla. Biden será, con total seguridad, más amable y educado que Donald Trump cuando hable de China. Ya no se volverá a hacer política a fuerza de tuits y de berrinches temperamentales.

Pero Biden no puede detener esta competición geopolítica entre China y Estados Unidos porque el consenso en el establishment de Washington es rocoso: Estados Unidos debe frenar el ascenso de China.…  Seguir leyendo »

El impacto de la pandemia en las perspectivas de crecimiento de China

En la segunda mitad de 2021, el PIB de China creció el 7,9% interanual. Fue un desempeño relativamente sólido, sobre todo si se consideran los efectos duraderos de la pandemia del COVID-19 en la economía global. Pero, para China, representa una desilusión: una encuesta de economistas de Caixin demostró que la estimación mediana para el segundo trimestre era un crecimiento del 8,2%.

Los economistas chinos en general coinciden en que la tasa de crecimiento potencial de China es del 6%. De modo que, teniendo en consideración el efecto de base, la tasa de crecimiento interanual de China en los cuatro trimestres de 2021 debería ser 19,1%, 8,3%, 6,7% y 5,5%.…  Seguir leyendo »

El maoísmo

El libro que acaba de publicar Debate sobre el Maoísmo, una historia global, no está muy bien traducido al castellano, pero no es una obra literaria sino política, así que no importa tanto. En todo caso, sus más de setecientas páginas se leen de manera apasionante por las sorprendentes novedades que contiene. Su autora, Julia Lovell, una inglesa, profesora de historia en el Birkbeck College de la Universidad de Londres, habla y lee chino y se ha pasado muchos años sin duda investigando esta obra que describe los empeños de Mao Zedong por reemplazar a los dirigentes rusos como líder teórico de la revolución socialista que daría a los países pobres del mundo una doctrina y una organización que elevaría sus niveles de vida y su fuerza militar, lo que les permitiría aplastar a las democracias imperialistas.…  Seguir leyendo »

In Afghanistan, China Is Ready to Step Into the Void

The speed and scope of the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan have prompted introspection in the West over what went wrong, and how, after billions of dollars spent on a 20-year war effort, it could all end so ignominiously. China, though, is looking forward. It is ready to step into the void left by the hasty U.S. retreat to seize a golden opportunity.

While Beijing has yet to formally recognize the Taliban as Afghanistan’s new government, China issued a statement on Monday saying that it “respects the right of the Afghan people to independently determine their own destiny” and will develop “friendly and cooperative relations with Afghanistan.”…  Seguir leyendo »

The Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, left, and China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, in July. Li Ran/Xinhua, via Associated Press

The stunning seizure of Afghanistan by the Taliban poses many significant geopolitical questions — chief among them who will fill the vacuum left by the withdrawal of the United States and its NATO allies from the country after 20 years.

The Taliban are on a P.R. offensive to try to show that they are a legitimate representative governing power that wants to have good relations with its neighbors. The group has sought out its richest neighbor, China, in particular, to emphasize that message.

Yet even before the Taliban had stormed Kabul, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the deputy leader of the Taliban, met with China’s foreign minister and called China “a reliable friend of the Afghan people.”…  Seguir leyendo »

Japanese leaders in 2021 have made an unusual series of high-profile statements and comments concerning Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait. These appeared to crescendo last month, when global headlines asserted that July 5 remarks by Japan’s deputy prime minister meant “Japan pledges to defend Taiwan if China attacks” or marked a fundamental change in Japanese policy.

Given increasing U.S.-China frictions and tensions across the Taiwan Strait, the unusually blunt remarks regarding Taiwan from a cabinet minister of Japan — a key U.S. treaty ally, close neighbor of Taiwan and host to about 50,000 U.S. military personnel — attracted significant global attention.…  Seguir leyendo »

Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadians behind bars in China

In what Canadian officials have described as "arbitrary" decisions, Chinese courts this week have handed down a harsh sentence to Michael Spavor, accused of espionage, and upheld a death sentence for Robert Schellenberg, convicted of drug smuggling in the Asian country in 2018. The decisions come as the extradition trial of the Chinese tech giant Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou is entering its final stages in a Vancouver courtroom.

Meng is wanted by the United States on multiple serious charges, including bank fraud and violating US sanctions against Iran by selling telecom equipment. She was arrested in late 2018. Meng and Huawei have denied the allegations.…  Seguir leyendo »

I covered Hong Kong for decades. Now I am forced to flee China’s ‘white terror’

When I arrived in Hong Kong in 1987 as the Observer’s south-east Asia correspondent, the foreign editor said he saw it as being a base, not the kind of territory that would generate much news but it was a safe place to be, communications were good and I was unlikely to have any visa problems. I thought I might stay a couple of years and move on. Thirty-five years later, I have, with great sadness, moved on and no one in their right mind can possibly assert that Hong Kong is a safe place for journalists.

The white terror – the term used to describe the ruthless elimination of the opposition in Taiwan following the imposition of Kuomintang rule and more recently taken up by the opposition in Hong Kong to describe similar events in the city – is relentless, swooping down not just on journalists, but on prominent opposition leaders, teachers, lawyers and, recently, speech therapists who had the temerity to write a children’s book about sheep that dared to answer back; they have been charged with subversion.…  Seguir leyendo »

La manipulación demográfica de China

Rara vez un informe del censo recibió tanta atención como el que China difundió en mayo pasado. Dada la larga historia de China de amañar los datos demográficos, la demora de un mes en la difusión de los resultados del censo de 2020 resultó, cuando menos, sospechosa. Pero fue lo que sucedió inmediatamente después lo que efectivamente confirmó la realidad demográfica sombría de China.

Oficialmente, la situación demográfica de China no es nada de lo que alarmarse: el censo de 2020 demostró que la población de China alcanzó el nivel esperado de 1.410 millones de habitantes en 2020, y sigue creciendo.…  Seguir leyendo »

El inevitable ascenso financiero de China

Las grandes potencias de la historia suelen coincidir en algo: el tamaño. Un mercado voluminoso puede no ser garantía de dominio en otros ámbitos, pero es indudable que ayuda (tal vez más que cualquier otro factor aislado). Esto valió para Estados Unidos, y ahora vale para China. Además de ser una importante potencia económica y comercial, China se está convirtiendo cada vez más (en forma inexorable) en una potencia financiera global.

Pero muchos economistas en Occidente no lo vieron venir. Hace apenas diez años, pocos eran optimistas respecto del crecimiento de la fortaleza financiera externa de China, y los escépticos resaltaban sus vulnerabilidades.…  Seguir leyendo »

Jeff HutchensGetty Images

China está atrapada entre un pasado dependiente de los combustibles fósiles y un futuro impulsado por las energías renovables. Hoy en día, China da cuenta del 53% de toda la energía generada a partir del carbón en el mundo. Al mismo tiempo, este país es el líder mundial en la fabricación de, y en la compra de, paneles solares, turbinas eólicas y vehículos eléctricos. Si China puede liberarse de su adicción al carbón, adicción que ya sostiene durante varias décadas, no solamente determinará su propio futuro ambiental, sino que lo que es de crucial importancia, este país determinará las perspectivas que tiene la Tierra frente a la creciente crisis climática.…  Seguir leyendo »