Let’s Talk About Paris

I came across an op-ed piece by Frank Bruni in the New York Times this weekend that posited an angry but spot on point about reactions to the Paris attacks on social media.     (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/14/opinion/the-exploitation-of-paris.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur) There have been too many people using the Paris attacks as an opportunity to talk about whatever essentially unrelated agenda to which they hold strong personal convictions. It is insensitive and distasteful to put ...
More

TPP: The Largest Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement That Nobody Knows About

President Joko Widodo of Indonesia recently (as in, this Monday) said on a visit to the White House that his country would join the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Many view this as a foreign-policy win for President Obama, who has been laboring away constructing what will be the largest-of-its-kind trade network in the Asia-Pacific .[1] One could say that the Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP for short, was born out the America’s aspirations to balance China’s projected power and economic dominance in ...
More

Backlash: China Reacts to Documentary on Air Pollution

My parents flew in from Shanghai this weekend to visit, and they filled me in on the backlash received in China by a controversial movie that was released a couple of weeks ago on the country's infamous air quality problem. Here is a little background information about this film. It is called Under the Dome and is a self-produced 100 minute documentary by Chai Jing, a prominent Chinese journalist who first rose to fame for her reporting on the SARS epidemic back in 2003. About a year ago, after ...
More

U.S. Embarrassed After Allies Flock to Join China-Backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

News of Britain signing on to China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank caught tremendous traction in the media last week as it sure was a sensational news piece featuring a public spat between the U.S. and one of its closest allies. The general consensus, with which I agree, is that this is a huge diplomatic blunder for the United States and naturally a win for China. The British signing on to the AIIB was followed by a string of other close U.S. allies (France, Germany and Italy), and there...
More

Hong Kong Rallies For Democracy

“Occupy Central With Love and Peace.” An estimated 50,000 people gathered outside Hong Kong’s government headquarters on Saturday night in a massive pro-democracy rally demanding China’s CCP to grant full suffrage to the Hong Kong public in its upcoming 2017 elections.[1] If not, protestors threaten to occupy Central, Hong Kong’s key financial district, until successions are made. The rally, as all anti-government rallies tend to do, ended with clashes between protestors and riot police, prelud...
More

Protests in Taiwan: Is Mainland China a Threat to Taiwan’s Future?

Hoards of Taiwanese students stormed the island’s government last week in protest of a trade deal with China. The incident didn’t seem to gather a lot of attention in Western media, probably because it was overshadowed by other more relevant, or rather, more sensationalist pieces like the missing Malaysian plane and the Crimea crisis. I thought this incident deserve more attention as it sheds a light on mainland-Taiwan relations in the context of China’s apparent ascent towards regional hegemony...
More

And the Search Goes On

Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 went missing two weeks ago, and the search for the plane has been ongoing ever since to no avail. CNN has been broadcasting the utter lack of progress for so long it’s getting frustrating. And I am sure a lot of people are frustrated—Malaysian airlines, governments involved in the search, the always-thirsty-for-drama public, and most importantly the families of those who were on the plane. Much talk has been given to how we don’t know anything, but why don't we kn...
More

The Immediate Aftereffects of China's 3.1 Incident

It happened on the night of March 1, in the perpetually busy Kunming train station. A group of masked individuals rushed into the crowded and started stabbing anyone within reach. As of the most recent tally, 29 people have died and about 130 were injured. Four of the group were shot dead on the scene by the police, and one, a woman, was captured. The Chinese government reacted strongly to the incident, calling it a violent terrorist attack, and quickly released a list of suspects, all of which...
More

On the Controversy Over Yuna Kim and What It Says About the Olympics

SOCHI is over. Putin’s happy (I hope....) about the almost-success of his Olympic games (the crisis in Ukraine kind of stole his thunder). But staying loyal to the title of this blog, I wanted to draw some attention to the controversy revolving the huge national backlash of Kim Yuna’s loss to Russian skater Sotnikova in what turned out to be the last performance in her professional career. The pang of her loss was felt internationally, to an extent, but much more poignantly in South Korea. An o...
More

No More Feeling the Stones

The Chinese Communist Party’s much anticipated Third Party Plenum ended recently, leaving scholars, journalists, analysts and essentially China-watchers around the world chewing up the slow trickle of information the party released to satiate the public’s curiosity. The party released a vague, party-rhetoric-infused communique at the end of the plenum that was torn apart and analyzed by China scholars and analysts, who were dissatisfied with the document’s lack of real content. Despite complaint...
More