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China and America are borrowing each other’s weapons

AMERICAN AND Chinese officials often talk of expanding the array of weapons they have to confront one another. China studies its opponent’s moves and responds in kind. America is learning from its adversary, too. On June 12th the White House said that America and members of the G7 would launch a scheme to help finance infrastructure, such as roads and...

Hong Kong’s liberal media are under pressure

SINCE CHINA imposed a national-security law on Hong Kong a year ago, restrictions on the city’s media have sharply escalated. The latest clampdown came on June 17th when police arrested Ryan Law (pictured), the chief editor of Apple Daily, an outspoken pro-democracy newspaper. Also seized were the tabloid’s publisher and three other bosses associated...

China says it will be a “museum power” by 2035

CHINA HAS big plans for the year 2035, if somewhat lacking in clarity. It will “basically achieve socialist modernisation” by then, whatever that means. Its army will be modernised, too. Late in 2020 it also said it would become a cultural and sporting power (isn’t it both already?), and an “education power” to boot. Last month it declared a new goal:...

Foreigners rush inside the Great Wall

EARLY LAST year, as covid-19 brought China to a near-halt for several weeks, multinational corporations caught a glimpse of a different kind of globalisation: one without a dynamic Chinese economy at its heart. Panic ensued. Foreign businesses confessed that they had grown too dependent on China as the easiest and best place to make and sell their...

The anti-graft unit of China’s Communist Party has grown in power

AT MIDNIGHT ON June 1st Shi Zhaoqing, a local boss in China’s new anti-graft super-ministry, was working late on a case in the central city of Qianjiang. It was coming to a head; his team was exhausted. But before leaving the office he told the duty officers that investigators had to play by the rules, according to an admiring official account. “We...

A new children’s film about Zhou Enlai reveals a lot about China today

COUNTRIES HAVE to make revealing choices as they craft patriotic messages for children. To put it kindly, young minds are tiny treasure-houses that deserve to be stocked with only a nation’s most precious beliefs. To be more blunt, small children are easily distracted, so are best taught only a few important things. It is therefore worth studying...

China will soon open a new stretch of rail across Tibet

AS BIRTHDAY PRESENTS go, a 435km railway line that is expected to open this month in Tibet will be among the most lavish. To seekers of high-altitude thrills, it is one that will be cherished. The 37bn-yuan ($5.7bn) track extends from the region’s capital Lhasa eastward to the city of Nyingchi, which is Tibetan for “Throne of the Sun”. It is the region’s...

Education in China is becoming increasingly unfair to the poor

A FTERXIONG XUAN’ANG gained the capital’s best score in China’s university-entrance exam in 2017, he was interviewed by Beijing’s media. The son of diplomats, Mr Xiong acknowledged that his upbringing had been privileged. “All the top scorers now come from wealthy families,” he said. “It is becoming very difficult for students from rural areas to get...

China wants to curb an old custom: the hazing of wedding couples

NERVES ARE common in the run-up to nuptials. Couples in some parts of China must brace for torment. In a ritual called naohun, or “disturbing the wedding”, guests haze them. Often this involves forcing the man to strip to his underwear and don stockings or a bra. Friends then tie him to something and slather his body with sticky substances such as soy...

China’s revealing Afghan strategy

ON MAY 9TH China’s foreign ministry was asked to comment on an atrocity in the Afghan capital, Kabul. Terrorists had detonated a car bomb outside a girls’ school, then two more bombs to kill pupils running for safety. At least 68 people had died, most of them children. The attack was aimed at girls from a Shia minority that is often targeted by Sunni...

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