China Power

Ai Weiwei’s Playboy Interview, Music Video

Recent Features

China Power

Ai Weiwei’s Playboy Interview, Music Video

The best of China this week. Chinese students demand Biden apologize. Li travels to India.

Every week, The Diplomat’s editorial team scours the web to find the best material on all things China. From Beijing’s relations with its neighbors and growing military might, to a rapidly evolving economy and amazing arts and culture, we present a diverse grouping of articles for your reading pleasure.

Here are our top picks for this week. What did we miss? Want to share an important article with other readers? Please submit your links in the comment box below!

During his trip to India Premier Li Keqiang published an op-ed in The Hindu calling for a “Handshake Across the Himalayas,” as the headline put it. While in India Li pledged to narrow the trade deficit between the two countries and said his time in the country helped expand “strategic trust.” As always, how these powers get along in the weeks and months after a high-level visit will be more telling than what was said at the visit. For what it’s worth, the vast majority of Indians (83 percent) view China as a security threat while 63 percent of Indians want to expand ties with Beijing, according to a new poll by the Lowy Institute. Li is off to Pakistan followed by stops in Europe. For more on his trip, check out these posts from earlier this week.

Chinese artist and political activist Ai Weiwei has a wide-ranging interview with Playboy (link is to interviewer’s personal web page) and a new music video about his 2011 detention, officially cementing his rock star status in the Western world. Meanwhile, human rights activist and blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng called out British Prime Minister David Cameron this week for what Chen said was his reluctance to offend Chinese leaders. Chen was in London accepting an award from the British parliament. Kerry Brown discussed the current tensions in the UK-Chinese relationship earlier this month.

Chinese students studying at University of Pennsylvania are demanding an apology from U.S. Vice President Joe Biden over a comment he made during his commencement address at the university. Biden reportedly said that China cannot “think different” or “breathe free” during that address. One student told South China Morning Post that “It was a humiliating experience,” and asked “And how can a graduation speech be this political?”

Goldman Sachs sold the last of its shares in the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), another sign of growing concern over the health of China’s banks. For more on that subject, check out Eve Carey’s article earlier this week on China Power. Meanwhile, China Finance 40 Forum called for opening up the financial system when it met on May 19. As a side note, some of China’s biggest tech companies like WeChat and China Mobile are registering strong growth. That’s a good thing, as Chinese leaders continue to express reluctance on the possibility of a stimulus package. Ross Garnaut sees hope for one still, however.

A new report out this week, U.S.-China 2022: Economic Relations in the Next 10 Years, looks at the bilateral economic relationship through the next decade. The report was sponsored by the China-United States Exchange Foundation. Among its conclusions is that China’s middle class will triple over the next 10 years. This should give Presidents Xi and Obama something to talk about when they meet in California next month in what China’s media is emphasizing is an “unofficial” trip that Xi is taking on his way back from stops in Latin America. At an Asia Society event for the report’s release, however, Henry Kissinger hailed the upcoming leaders’ summit as potentially a “seminal event.”

Kim Jong-Un has dispatched a high-level envoy to China soon after North Korea released a Chinese fishing boat and its crew it had held for two weeks. Meanwhile, South Korean President Park Geun-hye will visit China in late June, with the dates June 26-28 being floated by South Korean news sources.