only search

This week's editor

NSS, editor

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and contributing editor to 50.50.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Leviathan comes to Beijing

What is the Communist Party of China? How can its true nature and use of power be grasped? For insight, look to the English 17th-century philosopher, Thomas Hobbes. 

Xinjiang and China, tragedy foretold

China's official mindset towards its troubled, majority-Muslim region is flawed. Many outside views are simplistic. A new book makes the case for a deeper understanding to help avert disaster. 

China and the world: beyond exceptionalism

The work of an erudite Chinese writer of the 20th century, Qian Zhongshu, is an antidote to the idea of absolute "difference" between cultural worlds.

Gao Yu, and power in China

The jailing of a veteran journalist for leaking a party document is an instructive moment for those studying the mind of authority in China.

China, the idea-hungry nation

China's restless intellectual energy carries an echo of Austria-Hungary in the pre-1914 years.

Reading Xi Jinping in Beijing

The collected statements of China's president reveal a grand ambition for the country. Why then is his party's attitude to freedom so small? 

China, questions of loyalty

What determines political survival among China's party elite? Where are the traps that ensnare men like Zhou Yongkang and Ling Jihua? The ambiguities of loyalty are a useful way to bring these questions into focus. 

China, the limits of exception

China's leaders present two stories about their country to the world. The gap between them is a recipe for growing tension.

Weighing history in China

A memoir of the cultural revolution both reveals the human cost of that era in China and helps explain the curious strategy of its current leadership.

Beijing-London: in the labyrinth

A visit to the party organisation at the centre of China's anti-corruption drive is a lesson in the concealments of power.

China and Habermas's public sphere

There is a public realm, and it nurtures a society of free citizens. The painful, complex evolution of this idea in the People's Republic of China is one of the great struggles of the modern world.

China, 1989-2014: one woman's story

A Shanghai worker imprisoned following the Tiananmen events remains haunted by her experience, finds Kerry Brown.

China's past, China's present

China's rich history is a seductive resource for China's modern politicians. But its complexity can also make it a selective one, says Kerry Brown. 

China, between self and society

The need for an ethical vision to hold society together saw China's former premier Wen Jiabao look to Adam Smith. What does this reveal about the elite's thinking, asks Kerry Brown.

North Korea: elite shame, world test

A credible United Nations report on North Korea demands a humane and practical response to its people's degradation, says Kerry Brown.

China vs Facebook: intimate rivals

The Chinese state and the United States company are engaged in an epic if undeclared contest over control and wealth-creation, says Kerry Brown.

China's visitor: Cameron in Beijing

The British prime minister's trip to China was presented as a mission to expand trade links with an important partner. But whose interests was he really representing, asks Kerry Brown.

China: who is in charge?

China's policy incoherence has disturbing echoes of the prelude to Europe's great war in 1914, says Kerry Brown.

Justice in China: common ground to discuss rights

As Xiaoyu Pu says, human rights is no longer a taboo issue in China; justice never was. Discussing justice allows us to talk about the sort of issues that the rights discourse was meant to grapple with, but in a way which steers clear of cultural and value issues. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Emerging Powers and Human Rights.

North Korea, the cost of paralysis

A new study of the inner workings of North Korea's regime is an important account of its dark political genius. But big states in the international system share the blame for its success, says Kerry Brown.

China, time to accept differences

The scale of change in China, and the intriguing perceptions of China's elite, persuade Kerry Brown of the need to think afresh.

China: what we think we know is wrong

There's been too much lazy categorisation. It's time to get microscopic about power in China, says Kerry Brown.

China, the politics of corruption

China's new leader Xi Jinping has gathered more power more quickly than any of his predecessors. The big test now facing him will be to translate his concern about corruption into decisive action - and the early signs are promising, says Kerry Brown.

China, the party-state's test

A new leadership in China will govern a system devoting huge resources to controlling its people and preserving its power. But the needs of the future require different tools and thinking, says Kerry Brown.

Bo Xilai's fall: echo and portent

The disgrace of a powerful party boss is a familiar theme in Chinese communist history. But the awareness of a new Chinese public means that the elite can no longer manage the problem so easily, says Kerry Brown.

China and Japan: a conflict of logics

The territorial dispute between regional powers has the potential to escalate. All the more reason for the Chinese elite to lead rather than follow public opinion, says Kerry Brown.

Chongqing and Bo Xilai: how China works

The downfall of party boss Bo Xilai and his wife Gu Kailai is more than a tale of scandalous intrigue. Their fate reveals the prison of suspicion and mistrust that envelops China’s system of power, says Kerry Brown.

Gan Lulu and China: the human touch

A young model notorious for her provocative dress, revealing videos, and bumptious mother has something to teach China's cynical political world, says Kerry Brown.

China's party, Bo Xilai's legacy

The efforts of China's ruling elite to cope with the scandal that consumed a leading comrade mark a political watershed for the country, say Kerry Brown & David Goodman.

China and Syria: a question of responsibility

Beijing's refusal to support intervention in Syria in support of the rebels is founded on a mix of strategic judgment and political calculation. But this still leaves it with the challenge of defining a distinctive international role, say Kerry Brown & Cassidy Hazelbaker.

China's elite: a language deficit

Beijing is concerned by Washington's more assertive regional policy in Asia. But here as elsewhere the Chinese leadership's inability to talk to the rest of the world in a natural way blunts its capacity to respond, says Kerry Brown.

The three laws of Chinese politics

China is moving towards a major leadership transition in 2012. A process that looks opaque is governed by clear if unwritten rules, says Kerry Brown.

China’s great transition: the next party

A month that began in China with official celebrations of the communist party’s ninetieth anniversary ends with furious public criticism over its reaction to a fatal train disaster. The contrast symbolises the epic political task the party is facing, says Kerry Brown.

Inner Mongolia: China’s turbulent secret

A protest in another of China’s ethnically mixed regions highlights both Inner Mongolia’s singular history and the Beijing government’s political neglect, says Kerry Brown.
Syndicate content