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This week’s editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

China's hosting of the Olympic games in 2008 symbolises its global rise. openDemocracy writers around the world reflect on their own country's relationship with the new superpower.

Liu Xiaobo and China's future

The Beijing elite’s vehement reaction to an imprisoned dissident’s Nobel award is a sign of its political vulnerability, says Kerry Brown.

China’s next elite: 2012 and beyond

The transition to a new Chinese leadership has already begun. The domestic and international demands made of it will be greater than ever. But the character of the emerging generation will severely constrain its ability to cope, say Kerry Brown & Loh Su-hsing.

Mao Zedong in video-history's gaze

A schoolteacher’s witty online lectures on Chinese history have earned both adulation and scorn. But when Yuan Tengfei breaks the taboo on Chairman Mao, his irreverence becomes political provocation. Temtsel Hao reports.

The Uyghur voice: 2009-10, and beyond

The violent protests of July 2009 in Urumchi revealed deep-rooted problems in Beijing’s policy towards the Uyghur people of Xinjiang region in China’s far west. The path to resolution can only be unblocked by acknowledging the Uyghurs’ right to speak, says Henryk Szadziewski.

China’s seasonal politics

The changing shape of China’s cultural calendar raises sensitive questions of politics, class and ethnicity that its authorities can only evade, says Temtsel Hao.

Vietnam and China: shoals ahead

A rumble of popular discontent in Vietnam over territorial and environmental issues signals a new phase in the old relationship between Hanoi and Beijing, says Sophie Quinn-Judge.

China: inside strain, outside spleen

The increasingly combative global stance of China’s political authorities is connected to the intense ferment of Chinese society in the society it governs, says Kerry Brown.

Kashgar’s old city: landscape of loss

The Chinese authorities’ continuing demolition of the urban heartland of Uyghur society is also the outward face of a deeper dispossession, says Henryk Szadziewski.

A new approach to human rights (and China)

The focus of dialogue with Beijing about human rights should shift from enforcing universal laws towards building a shared moral identity, says William A Callahan.

A brave new world?

Is there a good response to China's ‘resilient capitalist authoritarianism’?

China’s shadow sector: power in pieces

A month-long tour of China reveals great swathes of the country under the effective sway of local gangs and thugs ruling according to private interest. After the country’s imminent sixtieth-birthday party this should be Hu Jintao’s top priority, says Kerry Brown.

(This article was first published on 14 September 2009)

China-Turkey and Xinjiang: a frayed relationship

The violent unrest in China’s western region has cast a chill over the prevously warming links between Ankara and Beijing. The deeper roots of their dispute lie both in history and modern geopolitics, says Igor Torbakov & Matti Nojonen.

(This article was first published on 31 July 2009)

China's borderlands: the need to rethink

The explosions of unrest in Tibet and Xinjiang expose the failures of Chinese state policy. But they also offer no way forward for the country’s marginalised peoples. The west’s selective and cynical engagement too offers little that is constructive. In a desperate situation, there needs to be a shared reframing of the problems which a modernising China faces, says Dibyesh Anand.

Xinjiang: China’s security high-alert

The challenge of Xinjiang to China’s central government authority exceeds even that of Tibet, says Kerry Brown.

The discovery of the Uyghurs

The unrest in China’s western province of Xinjiang - known to the Uyghurs as East Turkestan - has focused the world’s attention on a comparatively neglected people. It is long overdue, says Henryk Szadziewski of the Uyghur Human Rights Project.

(This article was originally published 9 July 2009) 

Tiananmen: the legacy of 1989

The violent suppression of dissent in Beijing on 4 June 1989 had deep roots and still casts a long shadow, says Li Datong.

Tiananmen, 1989-2009

The message of Hong Kong to Beijing is consistent and enduring, says the legislator Emily Lau.

Kashgar’s old city: the politics of demolition

The heart of Kashgar - a place where Uyghur people have lived and worked for centuries - is being destroyed or transformed into a tourist theme-park, and its people resettled. In a pattern familiar in modern China no one has asked the Uyghurs themselves, says Henryk Szadziewski. 

Tibet and China: the past in the present

China's official commemoration of its "liberation" of Tibet in 1959 is underpinned by a colonial vision that denies Tibetan voice and agency, says Tsering Shakya.

(This article was first published on 18 March 2009)

China's stalled transition

After thirty years of economic reform in China the questions over the country's future are multiplying, says Li Datong.

China’s giant struggle

A Beijing leadership more confident than ever on the world stage faces its awesome domestic economic problems with trepidation, says Kerry Brown. 

China’s political tunnel

China's deepening economic crisis is provoking social discontent that will place the Beijing leadership in an impossible political predicament, says the renowned democracy campaigner Wei Jingsheng.

China in 2009: a year for surprise

The problems of China's economy and the discontent of its people are worrying the Beijing leadership. Its response over the next months could be bolder than many expect, says Kerry Brown.

China’s nervous transition

The milk-powder scandal and chill global economic winds are dampening post-Olympics euphoria and setting a new test for China's political leadership, says Kerry Brown.

(This article was published on 22 September 2008)

China's Olympics: a view from Brazil

How does one rising global power see another? Arthur Ituassu identifies three currents in Brasilia's thinking about Beijing.

China and the Olympics: a view from Kenya

China makes the world go round. But from Beijing to Nairobi there is turmoil beneath the skin-deep harmony, says Peter Kimani.

China and the Olympics: a view from Pakistan

A firm Beijing-Islamabad alliance extends from politics to the track, says Irfan Husain.

China and the Olympics: a view from France

The failure of judgment towards China among the French political class is all the more reason to reaffirm universal standards of human rights, says Patrice de Beer.

China and the Olympics: a view from Egypt

The rise of a great civilisation from poverty and humiliation has complex echoes at the heart of the Arab world, says Tarek Osman.
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