A joint WHO-China study of covid-19’s origins leaves much unclear

a joint who china study of covid 19s origins leaves much unclear

Apr 3rd 2021 BEIJING WEEKS AFTER a team of experts from China and the World Health Organisation (WHO) conducted a joint inquiry into the origins of covid-19, their report, released on March 30th, gave no clear verdict. It said the most probable explanation was that the virus had jumped from animals to humans through an intermediate animal host. But the scientific search for a definitive answer will remain challenging because of geopolitical tensions and China’s attempts at obfuscation. Listen to this story Your browser does not support the <audio> element.…

China wants to make its Christians more Chinese

china wants to make its christians more chinese

Mar 31st 2021 IN 1867 AN English missionary, James Hudson Taylor, wrote a letter home defending his policy of encouraging fellow preachers in China to wear Chinese robes and the Manchu-style pigtail. By dressing in Western garb, he argued, they risked giving the impression that becoming a Christian meant becoming a foreigner. Taylor’s concern was justified. Such was the scorn for those who embraced the faith that, long before the Communist Party seized power in 1949, people used to say, “One more Christian, one fewer Chinese.” Officials in China still…

China is betting that the West is in irreversible decline

china is betting that the west is in irreversible decline

Mar 31st 2021 ITS GAZE fixed on the prize of becoming rich and strong, China has spent the past 40 years as a risk-averse bully. Quick to inflict pain on smaller powers, it has been more cautious around any country capable of punching back. Recently, however, China’s risk calculations have seemed to change. First Yang Jiechi, the Communist Party’s foreign-policy chief, lectured American diplomats at a bilateral meeting in Alaska, pointing out the failings of American democracy. That earned him hero status back home. Then China imposed sanctions on British,…

Will countries boycott China’s Olympics in 2022?

will countries boycott chinas olympics in 2022

Mar 25th 2021 NEW YORK IN 2015, WHEN the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics to Beijing, some people criticised the decision because of China’s human-rights record. Just in the previous few weeks China had rounded up hundreds of civil-society activists across the country. But the rival candidate for the games was another authoritarian state, Kazakhstan. Democracies such as Norway had pulled out of the race. And few people even imagined that, within two years, China would be building a gulag in Xinjiang to incarcerate more than…

Cloud-seeding will not solve China’s water shortages

cloud seeding will not solve chinas water shortages

Mar 25th 2021 BEIJING IN EARLY MARCH a small aeroplane being used by a local weather bureau crashed in a village in the southern province of Jiangxi. All five people on board were killed and one person on the ground was injured. Footage captured on mobile phones showed thick black smoke billowing from the ruins of a house struck by the aircraft, which had been deployed to seed clouds in the hope of causing more rain. Listen to this story Your browser does not support the <audio> element. Enjoy more…

Chinese divorce courts are places of peril for women

chinese divorce courts are places of peril for women

Mar 25th 2021 ACCORDING TO THE letter of the law, a Chinese family court should be a safe haven for Wang Fumei (not her real name), a 36-year-old battered wife and mother of two. In-store security cameras were rolling when her husband, a heavy-drinking gambler, came to the shop where she worked in southern China, and beat her without pity. The tape is now with the police. It gives Ms Wang grounds to invoke a law against domestic violence that took effect in 2016, allowing judges to punish abusive partners.…

A hostile meeting sets the tone for US-China relations

a hostile meeting sets the tone for us china relations

Mar 20th 2021 LONG BEFORE it started, it was clear that the first high-level meeting between America and China during Joe Biden’s presidency would be deemed a success only if it appeared to go badly. By this measure, both sides ought to be delighted with the show of mutual recrimination that they put on at their encounter in Anchorage, Alaska, on March 18th and 19th. Antony Blinken, the American secretary of state, issued a litany of complaints against China’s repressions and aggressions, including an increasingly militant posture toward Taiwan and…

Campaigners in China struggle to improve the lot of the disabled

campaigners in china struggle to improve the lot of the disabled

Mar 18th 2021 SHENZHEN FEW PEOPLE relish a visit to the dentist. For those who are autistic, it can involve unusual torment—some people with the condition have extremely sensitive mouths. Most of China’s autistic people avoid going. But bad teeth can also make them miserable. So last year the Shenzhen Autism Society, an NGO in the southern Chinese city, launched an attempt to make dental treatment less scary for some. Listen to this story Your browser does not support the <audio> element. Enjoy more audio and podcasts on iOS or…

To crush democracy, China is changing Hong Kong’s political rules

to crush democracy china is changing hong kongs political rules

Mar 11th 2021 HONG KONG WHEN BRITAIN handed over Hong Kong to China in 1997, the former colony was far from a proper democracy. Its departing leader was a governor sent from London. Only one-third of its legislators were directly chosen by the public. But at least it had open and free elections. Encouraged by Chinese officials, many hoped that, under Chinese rule, it would become much more democratic. Some even thought it would inspire the rest of the country. There has been little progress on either front. Now China…

Why the internet has not freed China

why the internet has not freed china

Mar 11th 2021 AT THE DAWN of the digital age Bill Clinton predicted that a combination of capitalism and the internet might liberalise China. His vision was bold, uplifting and wrong. It was the year 2000 and America’s then-president saw a revolution in the making, as the Communist Party ceased to be a monopoly provider of everything from jobs and housing to news. In an age of new opportunity and information sources, the party would be less able to control people, Mr Clinton argued, adding: “In the new century, liberty…

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