China Power

From South China Sea to California, Chinese Celebrate the Lunar New Year

Plus, an update on the Tainan earthquake, Yan Xuetong, and what to do about North Korea. Friday China links.

From South China Sea to California, Chinese Celebrate the Lunar New Year
Credit: Shanghai New Year celebration image via atiger /

Happy Spring Festival and Lunar New Year! Most of China took this week off to celebrate the Year of the Monkey, but there are still plenty of stories to read this weekend.

First, a round-up of Spring Festival related stories: People’s Daily offers up a blend of festivities and nationalism, with a small collection of photos showing Chinese construction workers and soldiers celebrating Spring Festival on various features in the Spratly Island group.

Xinhua looks at the economic impact of Spring Festival, as more and more Chinese travel overseas and spend big money in other countries during the holiday.

And Quartz takes to Chinese social media – namely, WeChat – to get a feel for how China celebrates its biggest holiday

However, there was tragedy as well — the celebrations in Taiwan were marred by a deadly earthquake last Saturday. The Diplomat reported earlier this week on the earthquake in Taiwan, which toppled an apartment building in Tainan City. In an update to that story, Central News Agency reports that the death toll from the quake is now up to 98, with 22 people still believed to be trapped in the rubble of what was once the Weiguan Jinlong apartment complex.

Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.

Meanwhile, the developer of the building and two of his associates have been arrested on suspicion that misconduct contributed to the building’s collapse, and resulting deaths – Keith Bradsher of The New York Times has more on that story.

In other news, one of China’s most prominent scholars on international relations, Yan Xuetong, sat for an interview with The New York Times. Among other topics, Yan discusses why China should seek military alliances and cut back on economic assistance to other countries. He also diagnoses the problem with U.S.-China relations: “They’re still pretending to be friends.”

Finally, if you’re looking for a one-stop-shop for the debate on how China and the United States should respond to North Korea, head over to this ChinaFile conversation. Reuters, meanwhile, has answers directly from Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who said in an interview that China supports a new UN Security Council resolution “so that North Korea will pay the necessary price and show there are consequences for its behavior.”