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This week'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.

The uses of Chinese philosophy

The work of Confucius is a political tool for China's one-party state. But ancient Chinese thought can still jolt the modern world towards fresh awareness. 

How to make America great again? Bully Mexico.

As President Trump concludes his first week in the White House with extremely protectionist policies, there will be no sigh of relief in Latin America.  Español

Zhou Youguang, the real hero of modern China

The architect of China's literacy revolution maintained an open-minded curiosity well into his second century.

Lost in time: Hada, an Inner Mongolian dissident

Twenty years ago, a bookseller was turned into a living ghost. Amid the great changes shaking China, America, Britain, and the world, he still matters.

What will happen when China’s future is today?

The bright national vision promoted by China's ruling party has a dramatic twist.

China and Africa: handling 'otherness'

An evolving, complex universalism makes western discourse obsolete but also creates new challenges. We are all 'other' now.

Xi Jinping: the new Augustus?

It will soon be clear whether China's paramount leader cares more for baubles or, like the great Roman emperor, long-term achievements.

China, the Hayekian dialectic

Beijing leaders' attachment to central planning serves their underlying philosophy. But what happens if their core vision is ever realised?

China dialogue: perils of parallel

There is more talk than ever about China and the world - but also less listening. A serious upgrade of language and ideas is needed.

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.

With Ghani in Kabul, will relations with Pakistan change?

There are signs that the long-fraught relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan could improve, following the change of leadership in Kabul. Reciprocation from Islamabad will, however, be needed.

Hong Kong: the stakes are high

Beijing knows that the struggle for democracy in Hong Kong is not just about the future of the former British colony: the party monopoly on the mainland is ultimately at issue.

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.

Tiananmen Square: official silence, public restiveness

In the twenty-five years since the Tiananmen Square massacre, China’s party-state appears to have stabilised its rule by instrumental middle-class support secured for material gain. The next twenty-five years may not, however, be so certain.

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.

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 and the Great Game

Almost all discussion of Afghanistan after 2014 hinges on the withdrawal of western forces. Yet into that gap a major power is stepping—China. China’s involvement in turn poses major questions, vis-à-vis Pakistan, India and their own point of friction—Kashmir.

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.

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.

The fable of the eagle, the dragon and the bear

How will Russia react to China’s rapid ascent as a global power? Will it develop its eastern links to spite the West, or join a USA led attempt to freeze Beijing out? Pavel Salin argues that this is a simplistic view of things and that Moscow may choose a third way.   

Life on the Chinese border: Russia's Far East

Primorsky Territory is seven time zones away from the capital and has the largest economy in the Russian Far East.  There is justifiable irritation at Moscow’s insistence on a one-size-fits-all model of government oriented towards Europe and levels of frustration are forcing people to leave, says Olesya Gerasimenko.

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: Xi Jinping's new generation

The imminent transition of power in Beijing will see a new ruling group arrive in power. But does its background and formation prepare it for the scale of China's political and economic challenge, asks Li Datong.

Kashgar's old city: the endgame

China's plan to transform the heart of Uyghur culture, learning and urban settlement - Kashgar old city - is well underway. The fact that the Uyghurs themselves have no voice in this process gives the experience a wider significance, says Henryk Szadziewski.

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.

Chinese companies under scrutiny in Zimbabwe

Ten years into the Look East policy, Zimbabwe is showing itself to be a not-so-satisfied customer of Chinese investment.

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.

The Uyghurs, China and central Asia

The growing bonds between central Asian states and China have a human-rights cost for Uyghurs across the region, says Henryk Szadziewski.

China: the next military rival

The death of Osama bin Laden is a crucial military-political opportunity for Barack Obama. But the United States defence complex has Beijing and budgets on its mind.

Tibet: democracy and wisdom

The Dalai Lama's impending retirement symbolises an important transition in the life of Tibet's political-national community. The process underway clarifies both the nature of Tibetan governance and the challenges it must address in face of China's power, says Ramin Jahanbegloo.

China and the Egyptian rising

The Arab democratic awakening makes China’s communist leaders nervous. But are they right to be worried, ask Kerry Brown & Cassidy Hazelbaker.
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