China’s ambassador to US warns of possible military conflict over Taiwan

China’s ambassador to the US has said the two countries could face a “military conflict” over the future of Taiwan, in an unusually explicit reference to the prospect of war. “The Taiwan issue is the biggest tinderbox between China and the United States,” Qin Gang told the US public broadcaster National Public Radio (NPR), on Friday. “If the Taiwanese authorities, emboldened by the United States, keep going down the road for independence, it most likely will involve China and the United States, the two big countries, in the military conflict.”…

Global SinoPhoto awards – Chinese culture in pictures

An image titled The Dancing Dreams of a Mountain Girl, depicting a young mountain girl dancing for her grandmother in a village in China, is the overall winner of an international photo competition celebrating Chinese culture. The Global SinoPhoto awards invited photographers to tell Chinese stories, imagining, interpreting and inspiring connections between Chinese culture and the rest of the world. The awards covered four categories: water (as 2022 is the year of the water tiger), home, work and play, and environment. The Museum of East Asian Art (MEAA) in Bath…

British judges have no place in Hong Kong

The Orwellian reports coming from Hong Kong will come as no surprise to those of us who have been watching its legal system deteriorate (New Hong Kong barristers’ chief warns profession to stay out of politics, 21 January). Since the draconian national security law was imposed in 2020, Beijing’s interference in Hong Kong has been increasingly flagrant. As shocking as the attack on the rule of law in Hong Kong is, we should also be asking why British judges are still propping up a broken system. British judges have sat…

Xi Jinping warns China’s low-carbon ambitions must not interfere with ‘normal life’

China’s ambitious low-carbon goals should not come at the expense of energy and food security or the “normal life” of ordinary people, president Xi Jinping said, signalling a more cautious approach to climate change as the economy slows. China, the world’s biggest source of climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions, has been under pressure to “enhance ambition” and take more drastic action to tackle global warming. But amid mounting economic challenges, China is worried about the risk to jobs and growth, especially as it prepares to hold a key Communist party conclave…

Liz Truss: why EU praise for foreign secretary may be unwanted

It was only a few months ago that Liz Truss, perhaps best known until recently for her strong feelings about the “disgrace” that is imported cheese, was appointed foreign secretary. Some had questioned Truss’s suitability for the role given a patchy record in the cabinet, but the liberty-loving minister has seemingly already made a mark on the global stage. While Downing Street was battling further claims over alleged lockdown-breaching parties, Truss was the recipient of two eye-catching reviews of her performance at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). Over…

‘Stop nagging!’: why China’s generation Z is resisting marriage and babies

Early this month, China’s state news agency Xinhua posted a video reminding young Chinese men born in the year 2000 that they are now finally eligible to get married. “Post 00s have reached legal marriage age,” it declared. The hashtag swiftly popped up in the “top-searched list” of Weibo hot topics, but many read it as the government’s attempt to put pressure on them. “Who dares to get married these days? Don’t we need to make money?” one questioned. “Stop nagging me!” said another. Under Chinese law, men can marry…

The Biden doctrine: Ukraine gaffe sums up mixed year of foreign policy

Joe Biden marked his first anniversary in office with a gaffe over Ukraine that undid weeks of disciplined messaging and diplomatic preparation. The president’s suggestion that a “minor incursion” by Russia might split Nato over how to respond sent the White House into frantic damage limitation mode. Officials insisted Biden had been referring to cyber attacks and paramilitary activities and not Russian troops crossing the border. That failed to entirely calm nerves in Kyiv and other European capitals, especially as Biden also raised eyebrows by predicting that Vladimir Putin would…

Beijing authorities conduct mass Covid testing as cases rise before Olympics

Beijing’s local government has ordered more Covid-19 tests on Sunday as China’s capital continued to report new cases, less than two weeks before the start of the Winter Olympic Games. Nine locally transmitted cases with confirmed symptoms were found in Beijing on 22 January, down from 10 a day earlier, the National Health Commission (NHC) said on Sunday, adding that six out of the nine were in the city’s Fengtai district. Fengtai would organise nucleic acid tests for all of its residents on Sunday, district health authorities said. City authorities…

China hires western TikTokers to polish its image during 2022 Winter Olympics

An army of western social media influencers, each with hundreds of thousands of followers on TikTok, Instagram or Twitch, is set to spread positive stories about China throughout next month’s Winter Olympics. Concerned about the international backlash against the Beijing Games amid a wave of diplomatic boycotts, the government has hired western PR professionals to spread an alternative narrative through social media. In November, as Joe Biden contemplated a diplomatic boycott, Vipinder Jaswal, a US-based Newsweek contributor and former Fox News and HSBC executive, signed a $300,000 contract with China’s…

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