China mulls impact of Mideast uprisings

Originally published by Washington Post,January 31, 2011

By Andrew Higgins and Keith B. Richburg

HONG KONG – Could the popular revolt against authoritarian regimes of the Middle East ever spread to China, the world’s most populous nation? And if so, does the United States have a policy to deal with it?

The ticklish question has been hovering in the background since the “Jasmine Revolution” street uprising toppled the president of Tunisia two weeks ago. It has only gained in urgency as the demonstrations spread to Yemen, Jordan and then Egypt – threatening President Hosni Mubarak’s near-30-year-grip on power.

A Chinese blogger first posed the query to President Obama’s chief Asia expert during a videoconference from the White House Situation Room with eight Mainland bloggers.

“In my view, many Chinese netizens and intellectuals believe that China’s future is Tunisia-ization,” noted the Beijing-based blogger, 2Keqi, in the web chat with Jeffrey Bader, the National Security Council’s senior director for Asian affairs. “Does the American government make this same assessment and does it have a policy plan” in the event that China takes such a turbulent path?

Continue Reading →

China to spend $4.6 bln on airports in restless Xinjiang

Originally published by Reuters,Jan 31 2011

By Ben Blanchard

 BEIJING (Reuters) – The Chinese government will spend around 30 billion yuan over the next five years on new airport projects in the restless far western region of Xinjiang, state media reported on Monday.

The government will build four new airports and expand or relocate six others, so that by 2015 Xinjiang will have 22 airports handling civil flights, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The number of passengers using Xinjiang’s airports are expected to almost double by 2015 compared with 2010, to around 20 million people, it added.

Energy-rich Xinjiang is strategically located at the crossroads of Central Asia, and Beijing has shown its determination to keep a tight grip on the region, which has been wracked by ethnic unrest in recent years.

The government has invested billions in developing Xinjiang, which has been accompanied by an influx of majority Han Chinese. Many Uighurs, a Muslim Turkic people native to Xinjiang, resent the growing Han presence in the region.

Continue Reading →

Will China walk like an Egyptian?

Originally published by World,31 January 2011

By Adrienne Mong

BEIJING – For nearly a week now, as much of the world remains riveted by the events unfolding in Egypt, China is making assiduous efforts to appear uninterested.

At least judging from what’s being reported and what’s being discussed here.

The political turmoil in Cairo has received barely a headline in the People’s Daily, the main Communist Party newspaper, or much coverage by Xinhua, the state-run news agency. And a quick thumb through issues of the China Daily since last Tuesday show the protests only made the front page a couple of times, and photographs from the streets of the Egyptian capital were conspicuously rare.

What has been written is sanitized and the focus is largely on lawlessness. “[W]e hope Egypt could restore social stability and normal order at an early date,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Sunday. 

The coverage also avoids details of the underlying political factors or the calls for democracy, with the demonstrations characterized generally as “anti-government” or “anti-American.”

Continue Reading →

China Denies Spy Rumors Amid Probe of Tibetan Spiritual Figure

Karmapa Lama under suspicion after large amount of cash is discovered on his property in India

Originally published by VOA News,January 31, 2011

By Kurt Achin | New Delhi

 Karmapa Lama, the third highest ranking Lama, pauses during an interview with Reuters in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamsala March 2, 2009 (Reuters).


Karmapa Lama, the third highest ranking Lama, pauses during an interview with Reuters in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamsala March 2, 2009.

A senior Chinese official has stepped forward to quash suspicions the Tibetan Buddhist leader known as the Karmapa Lama may be an agent of Beijing.  Indian police have been interrogating the Karmapa Lama after finding large amounts of cash on his property.  

In a remark widely quoted by Indian media Monday, Chinese Communist Party official Xu Zhitao dismissed what he called “speculation by India’s media, regarding the matter of the Karmapa [Lama] as a Chinese agent or spy.” He says India’s reporting on an investigation into the Tibetan monk’s affairs are a sign, in his words, that India harbors a “mistrustful attitude toward China.”

Last week, Indian police said they found nearly a million dollars in dozens of currencies, including Chinese Yuan, at monasteries and other locations connected to the Karmapa. They have taken several of his aides into custody.

Continue Reading →

China Development Bank in fray for troubled German bank: report

Originally published by Reuters,30 January 2011
HONG KONG (Reuters) – State-owned China Development Bank is among the four final bidders to buy a large stake in stricken German lender WestLB in a deal that could be valued around $13 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Other bidders in the fray are U.S. leveraged buyout firms Blackstone Group, Apollo Global Management and J.C. Flowers & Co, banking sources and the Journal, which cited sources familiar with the deal, said.

The deadline for the four bidders to submit offers is February 11.

Continue Reading →

The China syndrome: Year of the rabbit

As another Chinese New Year dawns this week, Jonathan Fenby assesses the world’s second-biggest economic power – and charts the risks ahead

 Originally published,30 January 2011


AFP/Getty Images

Chinese school children go home for the New Year festivities

China enters its lunar new year on Thursday in anything but rabbit fashion. Having overtaken Japan to become the world’s second biggest economy late in 2010, it has just unveiled economic figures that underline its continuing ability to deliver high levels of growth (10.3 per cent) accompanied by a string of superlatives – from having the world’s biggest car market (13.8 million sales) to holding the largest cache of foreign reserves ($2.85trn). Goldman Sachs forecasts that the last major power ruled by a Communist Party will surpass the United States by 2027. Others see this happening earlier.

Continue Reading →

China blocks “Egypt” searches on micro-blogs

 By Sun Jan

BEIJING (Reuters) – China blocked the word “Egypt” from micro-blog searches in a sign that the Chinese government is concerned that protests calling for political reform in the country could spill into China’s internet space.

Searches Sunday for “Egypt” on micro-blog functions of Chinese web portals such as and — sites comparable to Twitter — showed phrases saying search results could not be found or could not be displayed in accordance with regulations.

More than 100 people have been killed in Egypt in five days of unprecedented protests that have rocked the Arab world.

Sunday, more than 1,000 protesters gathered in central Cairo, demanding President Hosni Mubarak step down and dismissing his appointment of a vice president.

Continue Reading →

Sino-Tajik Border: Settlement or Entrapment?

Originally published by

By Bhavna Singh

 Pragmatism and realpolitik have paved the way for Tajikistan to cede territory to China in lieu of ascertaining its territorial integrity and sovereignty as well as addressing China’s irredentist claims in ‘Da Xia’ (the Central Asian region). The Chinese leadership for its part has won accolades domestically and added another feather in its foreign policy goals by settling a long drawn historical dispute (almost 130 years old) and internationally, by projecting its ‘big brother’ magnanimity in dealing with its smaller neighbours. However, will a similar approach prove viable in settling China’s disputed borders with other countries?

On 12 January 2011 the Tajikistan parliament ratified a protocol demarcating its border with China, which brings to fruition the 2002 agreement between Tajik Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi in Beijing in April 2010. It relinquishes Tajikistan’s control over 1,000sq kms (approximately) of uninhabited land in the Pamir mountainous region. While the area amounts to a miniscule three per cent of the 28,000sq kms under dispute since the time of Czarist Russia, it is almost one per cent of Tajikistan’s total geographical area which is 1,43,000sq kms. The Tajik government has claimed the development as a huge diplomatic victory.

Continue Reading →