The Kims, père et fils.
If the quickest way to get some insight into a phenomenon is to look at its most extreme manifestations, the student of modern totalitarianism can do no better than to curl up for half an hour with a copy of the Pyongyang Times, an English-language weekly newspaper published in North Korea. Take the occasion when... Read More
Teaching Eng. Lit. in China.
Everybody knows the frustration of having to explain a joke. Teaching the literature of one's country to foreign students is something like explaining jokes for a living. This has been my living for the past few months, as resident "Foreign Expert" in the English department of a teachers' college in North China. My course is... Read More
Pouring cold water on mid-1980s enthusiasm for China.
When you go to China they give you a banquet. The format of these functions is always the same, whether you are President of the United States or the export manager of Nuts & Washers, Ltd — though of course there are differences of scale. Smiling officials usher you to the seat of honour. The... Read More
An attack on the TV series The Heart of the Dragon.
The Heart of the Dragon — Channel 4's series on life in China, has attracted much attention. But, as one who has lived in the People's Republic in close contact with ordinary Chinese, I feel qualified to say that the creators of this series have been taken for a ride. I am sure the filmmakers... Read More
The difficulty of economic reform in China.
I have a friend in China — let us call him Wu Ming — who is a schoolteacher. His salary is £20 a month. He lives in a bare concrete dormitory with other single men and eats canteen food (which is awful). Wu Ming's hobby is electronics. He's quite a wizard — once I needed... Read More
Stones of the Wall, by Dai Houying
To Get Rich is Glorious, by Orville Schell
Since 1978 China has been settling down into an easy-going style of traditional oriental despotism, a re-tread of the old imperial order. For 30 years before that date, however, the country was a laboratory for experiments in chiliastic socialism. All the experiments were failures, of course; each one left behind a desert of abandoned marriages,... Read More
Strategy for Survival, by Chiao Chiao Hsieh
An acquaintance of mine arrived in Taiwan (alias the "republic of China") in 1971, the week after Nixon announced his intention to visit Peking. The air was thick with anxiety. Those who had somewhere to go were preparing to leave, considering that, with the collapse of American support and the anticipated expulsion from the U.N.,... Read More
Letter to the Editor
As a long-time subscriber to your newsweekly I wish to bring to your attention an unfortunate skew in your coverage of world events, namely your overemphasis on Europe and your under-reporting of the Far East. Such an observation may seem curious since your newsweekly clearly contains the best and most comprehensive western coverage of the... Read More
An account of my marriage.
On Thursday we went to the Civil Affairs Office. Like most substantial buildings in Manchuria, this one dated from the Japanese occupation. It had certainly not seen a coat of paint since Liberation. Running round all the interior walls was a sort of dado of black grime reaching to shoulder height, where generations of citizens... Read More
The Chinese Democratic Party gives a press conference.
The Chinese Democratic Party presented itself to the world on the afternoon of 8 May at a restaurant in New York's Chinatown. The world was represented by: a Japanese reporter somewhat the worse for drink, who kept falling asleep, two people from the New York Tribune (one of the Revd Mr Moon's enterprises), someone from... Read More
With the release of the Cox Commission report, the growing national hysteria regarding relations with China has reached troubling, even alarming, proportions. Growing international hostility between America and China rather than apparent Chinese spying in America is the far greater threat to our national security. The basic conclusions of the Cox Report are certainly correct:... Read More
China's colonial problem in Eastern Turkestan.
Western reporting on China's problems with her minorities tends to concentrate on Tibet. The spectacle of a picturesque and eccentric culture (the Younghusband expedition of 1904 found that the Tibetan official they were dealing with bore the title "Grand Metaphysician") being stomped into the dust by a brutish and amoral despotism naturally arouses our sympathy.... Read More
I am going to ask what Churchill would have called some naughty questions and offer some impertinent answers. I apologize in advance for the extreme political incorrectness of what follows. In the hope of persuading the reader that I raise these issues with no pleasure at all, I shall preface them with some personal notes.... Read More
And we could help.
Macao, Portugal's 400-year-old colony across the Pearl River estuary from Hong Hong, returned to Chinese sovereignty at midnight on December 19th-20th last. Considering that the place is tiny — eight miles from end to end, pop. 450,000 — and has no discernible economy — gambling and prostitution are the staples — and that the Portuguese... Read More
The March 18 elections in Taiwan.
————————— In the minds of Chinese people, the modern history of their country is marked off by "incidents," most of them unknown to the general Western public. Each incident is remembered by the digits of the month and day on which it occurred. The grandaddy of all these milestones is "Five Four": May 4th 1919,... Read More
Hegemon, by Steven Mosher
Steven Mosher is a hero to those of us who hate and fear the current Chinese government. He has the honor of having been persona non grata in the People's Republic for twenty years — longer, I think, than any other American scholar. Mosher was the first social scientist from this country invited to do... Read More
The China Threat, by Bill Gertz
In the middle 1930s, as Hitler consolidated his power in Germany and began re-arming that country in earnest, the facts of the situation were duly reported back to the British foreign secretary, Sir John Simon. However, Sir John, as one of his underlings later remarked, did not want to know "uncomfortable things." Still less did... Read More
Prospects for the next few years.
The world is full of surprises. With the Middle East coming to the boil again and the Russians acting up, it would be foolish to guess what foreign-policy headlines might look like this next four — let alone eight — years. However, there is not much doubt that China will feature in many of them,... Read More
What we can learn from them.
This week has seen the publication of the so-called "Tiananmen Papers." These are said to be transcripts of high-level discussions in the Chinese leadership in the period leading up to the suppression of the 1989 student movement. It possible that these documents are some kind of bluff, put out by a united Chinese leadership to... Read More
China's Three Kinds of Crises.
January 8th saw the publication of the so-called "Tiananmen Papers," transcripts of high-level discussions among the Chinese leadership in the period leading up to the suppression of the 1989 student movement. What do these documents reveal about the inner workings of the Chinese leadership? What guidance do they offer to the new U.S. administration in... Read More
Why Beijing shouldn't get the Games.
Inspectors from the International Olympic Committee were in Beijing last week, studying that city's qualifications to host the 2008 Olympic Games. The purpose of the inspection was to make sure that Beijing has suitable facilities for staging Olympic events, can accommodate the expected number of visitors, has sufficient infrastructure to move them around efficiently and... Read More
What George W. Bush should say.
The news that China is continuing its build-up of missiles opposite Taiwan, with 100 more short-range ballistic missiles now in place at a newly-built base, comes as one of China's most senior officials, Vice Prime Minister Qian QiChen, arrives in Washington for the first high-level Sino-U.S. discussions of the new administration. (That "q," by the... Read More
Trash that plane!
With all due respect, Admiral: the hell you say. The U.S. can prevent the Chinese from boarding the plane very easily, by destroying it. The administration should do this as speedily as possible, without any regard whatsoever to Chinese sensitivities, or indeed lives and property. The only question worth serious discussion is that of technique.... Read More
Hint: They're commies.
To judge from the Internet chat groups and radio call-ins, there is widespread disgust and anger in the U.S. at China's attitude in the spy-plane incident. China's peculiar way of addressing the matter has especially got people's backs up. Colin Powell's statement of regret over the loss of that Chinese pilot is "a step in... Read More
China wins first showdown with Bush.
So the United States has done a full kowtow, begging China's pardon for having the audacity to land a plane, crippled by the antics of a hot-dogging Chinese pilot, on a Chinese airfield, without first securing the written approval of 43 bureaucrats in Beijing. The President has also, by implication, blamed U.S. military personnel for... Read More