When Barack Obama visited China in 2009, the U.S. leader made it a point to publicly declare himself “a big supporter of non-censorship” and said that criticism made him a better president.
All signs are that president Ma Ying-jeou's second term, which began May 20, will continue to see a strengthening of cross-strait economic relations but political talks between the two sides, even if they are held, are unlikely to be productive.
Beijing has scored points in its handling of the case of the Chen Guangcheng, first by agreeing to guarantee his safety by relocating him and his family to another city where he can study law and then, after the blind activist changed his mind and decided to go abroad, by publicly saying that he has the right of any “regular citizen” to travel and issuing him a passport.
2012/5/30, 1 Comment
The appearance in the Hong Kong legislature of filibustering — the practice of allowing one or more members to delay or prevent a vote on a proposal by limitless speechifying — signals the danger that the former British colony may embrace extreme forms of democracy without the rules and regulations that Western parliaments have developed.
In 2001, when it made a successful bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics, Beijing promised there would be complete freedom for the foreign media to report in China. While this did not occur, more liberal rules were introduced, such as not requiring official permission before conducting interviews.
Without saying so publicly, the Chinese government surprisingly agreed to virtually all the requests made by blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng after his escape from his home in Linyi, in Shandong province, into the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.
The escape of the blind legal rights worker Chen Guangcheng from his home in Dongshigu village in Shandong Province creates a political problem for Premier Wen Jiabao, now serving his final year in office.
What is going on in China? From the outside, it seems as though the leadership is facing its biggest crisis in a generation, with the country's most prominent political star, Bo Xilai, the czar of Chongqing.
In the old days, when Japan was the world's second-largest economy, American officials used to describe the U.S.-Japan relationship as “the most important bilateral relationship in the world, bar none.” Nowadays such words, if spoken, refer to China, not Japan.
With a million Chinese now working in Africa and with China now the continent's most important trading partner, it is natural, and fitting, that Beijing's views are sought whenever a crisis emerges, as is now the case with Mali, which saw a military coup two weeks ago.