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Protesters in China besiege an indebted property developer

PROTESTS BY ANGRY investors are common in China. Average folk who have been deceived by online lenders or other scam artists have few outlets for redress. They occupy office lobbies until a senior executive appears to calm their nerves. It is rare, however, for demonstrators to target well-known companies, and rarer still for connected protests to crop...

China is becoming more assertive in international legal disputes

IN EARLY JANUARY the Communist Party published a five-year plan for the development of “socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics”. Most of the document is domestically focused, but one section is devoted to foreign matters. It calls on China to help shape international law, to turn itself into the first choice of jurisdiction when resolving...

The Chinese Communist Party’s model emperor

WHAT WITH his dozens of concubines, his obsession with collecting precious jade and his penchant for inscribing his own (not very good) poems onto ancient paintings, the Qianlong emperor makes an unlikely hero for the Communist Party of China, especially one led by Xi Jinping, a stern ascetic. Qianlong was a man of formidable intellect and will, whose...

China has become a laboratory for the regulation of digital technology

WITH FOREIGN competitors such as Facebook and Google blocked, domestic tech giants have for two decades dominated the Chinese market. The Communist Party has kept a firm grip on politics, but the tech firms have had considerable leeway in their business activities. “It was a Wild West within an authoritarian system,” says Martin Chorzempa of the Peterson...

A new book looks behind Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign

THE CALL from China came in the early morning. Desmond Shum, a former tycoon now living in the West, heard the voice of his ex-wife, Duan Weihong, for the first time in four years. Ms Duan vanished in Beijing in September 2017, shortly after Communist Party anti-corruption investigators came for a patron of hers, a young member of the Politburo once...

A provocative blog post stirs up a firestorm in China

UNTIL RECENTLY Li Guangman, the retired editor of an obscure state-owned newspaper who writes leftist screeds online for a few fellow travellers, was unknown to the general public. That changed on August 29th, when the country’s biggest state and party media outlets circulated an incendiary blog post by Mr Li to their huge audiences, causing many to...

America wants China to end support for coal projects abroad

SINCE JOE BIDEN became America’s president in January, few senior American officials have visited China. But as The Economist went to press, Mr Biden’s special envoy for climate change, John Kerry, was in the middle of his second trip this year. With relations so rancorous in almost every other domain, the two countries appear to welcome the chance...

Xi Jinping Thought, for children

ASK MEMBERS of China’s elite—from senior officials to academics at leading universities, well-known commentators or bosses at big companies—to explain the beliefs of the country’s leader, Xi Jinping, and their replies are surprisingly unhelpful. Even simple questions elicit waffly answers. Take an ongoing campaign to clip the wings of some of China’s...

China’s bid to stabilise its property market is causing jitters

OCTOBER 6TH 1979 was a beautiful Saturday in Washington. It was not the kind of day that augured wrenching change in economic policy. But on that date Paul Volcker, then chairman of America’s central bank, announced a radical plan to quash persistent inflation. Before the battle was won, America’s interest rates reached 20% and unemployment surpassed...

China would rather be feared than defied

CHINA HAS an anger-management problem, at least when dealing with small and mid-size Western democracies. The fate of Lithuania, a European Union member on the shores of the Baltic Sea, is a case in point. The country is being punished for agreeing that Taiwan, a democratic island that China claims as its own territory, may open a “Taiwanese Representative...

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