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Idealism needs to be grounded in reality

THIS week marks the beginning of the fifth straight month of protests in Hong Kong. The million person march on June 9 was focused on opposing the government's extradition bill. That goal was finally achieved on Sept 4, when Chief Executive Carrie Lam finally announced the withdrawal of the...

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China's 70th birthday: A nurtured narrative

THE People's Republic of China is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its founding this week with fireworks, a huge parade showing off its latest military hardware and a vast outpouring of facts and figures to show the progress that had been made under Communist Party rule.

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China moves to regain control of HK narrative

MORE than three decades ago, when China set up a special committee to draft Hong Kong's Basic Law, its attitude towards the business elite was unmistakable, as 12 of the 23 Hong Kong members that it picked were tycoons. To be sure, there were legal experts, educators and even clergymen, but the...

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Xi's talk of 'Asia for Asians' might well be materialising

FIVE years ago, in May 2014, President Xi Jinping took the United States aback when, at a regional conference held in Shanghai, he proposed the idea of "Asia for Asians" where security matters were concerned.

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China casts itself as a responsible power in a new era

AS WORLD attention focused on the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, India all of a sudden moved to strip the special region of Jammu and Kashmir of the autonomy guaranteed to it in the country's Constitution since independence in 1947. That triggered a predictable protest from Pakistan, which...

COMMENTARY

HK unrest: Could China have offered choice of nationality to Hong Kongers?

As the anti-extradition protests - ostensibly directed at the Hong Kong administration but very much aimed also at the Chinese government - extend into their third month, repercussions are being felt around the world, with Hong Kong students being confronted by mainland Chinese students on...

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Are China's relations with Japan entering a new era?

TALKS between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe in Osaka before the G-20 summit illustrate the much improved relationship between the two countries, with both sides talking about creating "a new era" in their relationship.

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Reality bites in new US-China trade talks

In a virtual replay of events that took place seven months ago, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping met on the sidelines of a G20 summit on Saturday and agreed to resume negotiations on the trade dispute between their two countries. Again, the United States promised to hold off on imposing new tariffs...

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People power at work behind Sino-Japan warming of ties

AS the orange and white bus closed its doors at Terminal 2 of Narita International Airport, the passengers settled down for the 100-minute drive to their various hotels while, outside, three employees of the bus company, in neat cream-coloured shirts and black pants, executed a deep, respectful...

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Trump's bromances with Xi and Abe

THE US-China trade talks have been suspended for more than two weeks with no sign of a revival. Listening to Donald Trump talk about his good friend Xi Jinping, one may be forgiven for thinking that the two men could easily sort things out between their two countries if they put their minds to...

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Why China millionaires are keen to emigrate

EVERY year for the last decade or so, media reports would appear, focusing on the plans of China's millionaires to leave the country. It was unclear how candid such high net worth individuals (HNWIs) were in responding to interviewers but usually, an alarming story would appear - alarming, that...

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Commemorating the May 4 Movement with a critical eye

A HUNDRED years ago this month, on May 4, 1919, demonstrations erupted in China as students, primarily from Peking University, poured into Tiananmen Square to protest events half a world away, where western nations - primarily Britain and France - meeting in Versailles decided to transfer the...

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China's Belt and Road: A Japanese role

CHINA did a rare thing at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing last week: It admitted that it had made mistakes and pledged to do better in future.

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Taiwan faces historic decision in coming election

TAIWAN'S 23 million people may face a historic decision in the coming months as the island prepares for a fateful presidential election in which relations with mainland China will be the crucial issue.

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China owes it to the world to solve succession 'problem'

THIS year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and major celebrations are planned. But, as the lifting of term limits for the president last year underlines, China still hasn't resolved a problem that isn't an issue in most capitalist countries - political...

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Hong Kong's autonomy: China's fate is also in the balance

EVER since the Hong Kong Policy Act was passed in 1992, the United States has been checking regularly to see if Beijing is keeping its promise to grant Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy under the policy of "one country, two systems" enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Hong...

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Will Europe continue to sleep even as China awakens?

IN north-western Beijing, amid universities, parks and museums, sits a striking structure that resembles a sundial - the China Millennium Monument, erected a little more than 20 years ago to welcome the arrival of a new millennium.

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'One country, two systems' inappropriate for Taiwan

IN ASIA, the political atmosphere is heating up in the Taiwan Strait because of the convergence of developments in China, Taiwan and the United States.

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Chinese premier holds a revealing press conference

PRESS conferences generate news because of what a prominent person has to say, particularly in response to journalists' questions. In China, the questions themselves are revealing, since they are screened and only those that suit the interviewee get asked....

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Lack of archival law ensnares Hong Kong's government

FOR almost a year, Hong Kong's MTR Corporation has been mired in scandal. Reports of shoddy work in the US$12.4 billion Shatin-to-Central Link project led to the setting up of a Commission of Inquiry, followed by the government's disclosure that it couldn't guarantee safety...

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Has China replaced the kowtow with a red carpet?

DURING the heyday of the Chinese empire, representatives of vassal states had to go through elaborate rituals including the infamous kowtow procedure known as "three kneelings and nine prostrations" before being allowed into the imperial presence. The idea that there were other nations...

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A balancing act: Japan's relations with China, Taiwan

ON the second day of the new year, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a speech in which he called for the fulfilment of the "historic task" of reunifying Taiwan and the mainland, by force if necessary. Days later, Taiwan's president appealed to the international community for...

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In HK, China insists, the chief executive is more equal

EVER since Carrie Lam became chief executive of Hong Kong on July 1, 2017, she has had virtually absolute support from the Chinese government, including President Xi Jinping himself. This isn't surprising, since she was Beijing's hand-picked candidate. In the intervening 20 or so...

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Desire for limelight may lead Trump to settle for less

AS CHINA celebrates the arrival of the Year of the Pig, trade negotiators on both sides of the Pacific pause briefly before resuming talks, this time in Beijing, in an attempt to reach what US President Donald Trump calls "the biggest deal ever made" to end the trade war he launched...

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US-China ties at 40: Competition likely in all spheres

IN January 1979, the then 74-year-old Deng Xiaoping, survivor of repeated political purges to become China's leader after the death of Mao Zedong, met in Beijing with American journalists to mark the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States. As the Wall...