A banner showing Chinese leader Xi Jinping with a group of Uyghur elders at the Unity New Village in Hotan, in western China’s Xinjiang region, Sept. 20, 2018 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, China Note, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about China. Subscribe to receive it by email every Wednesday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. If the Chinese leadership hoped this week’s grandiose celebrations marking the Chinese Communist Party’s centennial would deflect international attention from China’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang, they’ll be sorely disappointed. To begin with, the United States introduced fresh sanctions on Chinese silicon over allegations of […]

Zimbabwean pastor and activist Evan Mawarire talks to the press soon after his release from Chikurubi prison on the outskirts of Harare, Zimbabwe, Jan. 30, 2019 (AP photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi).

When the late Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe was ousted in 2017, celebrations broke out across the country as people cheered the end of his 37-year grip on power. Among them was Evan Mawarire, a pastor and pro-democracy activist who has been imprisoned and tortured for demanding political reforms and an end to rampant corruption and poverty. But the hopes of Mawarire and his fellow Zimbabweans were quickly dashed, as the country’s crisis only deepened under Mugabe’s successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa. His government has brutally suppressed popular demonstrations, while subjecting dissidents and journalists to the threat of harassment, arbitrary detention and torture. […]

Performers dressed as rescue workers gather around the Communist Party flag during a gala show ahead of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing, June 28, 2021 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

Editor’s note: The following article is one of 30 that we’ve selected from our archives to celebrate World Politics Review’s 15th anniversary. You can find the full collection here. For the past four decades, a narrative has taken hold among policymakers and the general public alike suggesting that China’s rise will continue indefinitely, even when mathematics and demographics suggest otherwise. Between the 1980s and the turn of the millennium, this notion was fueled by China’s astonishing double-digit growth. In more recent years, although expectations of growth have been tempered, hopes for and fears that China is on the rise both politically […]

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan delivers a speech at Methodist Central Hall in London, Tuesday Jan. 31, 2006 (AP photo by Matt Dunham).

Editor’s note: Guest columnist Richard Gowan is filling in for Stewart Patrick, who will return July 12. Some years ago, I wrote a column about the Trump administration’s hapless diplomacy at the United Nations that noted that the U.S. faced “a brace of flash points from Iran to South Sudan.” I did not pause to think what “a brace” was. I must have assumed it meant “a lot.” A few days later, I received a wry email from a gentleman in Oxford pointing out that a brace is in fact a synonym for “a pair.” Trump, he thought, was facing […]

Ebrahim Raisi, a candidate in Iran’s presidential elections, waves to the media after casting his vote at a polling station in Tehran, Iran June 18, 2021 (AP photo by Ebrahim Noroozi).

As the regime-anointed candidate in Iran’s presidential election charade last Friday, Ebrahim Raisi’s victory was thoroughly expected. Even so, it managed to be jarring. It’s not every day a country chooses a man accused of crimes against humanity for such a powerful post, with all signs pointing to Raisi acquiring even greater, unrivaled power in the near future. For the Iranian people, Raisi’s presidency, followed by his projected ascension to the post of supreme leader once the ailing 83-year-old Ali Khamenei dies, promises to bring even more repression. For Iran’s neighbors, Western powers—particularly the United States—and the rest of the […]

A police officer stands guard outside Guatemala’s Supreme Court, standing between photos of persons who were forcibly disappeared, during a genocide case hearing in Guatemala City, Nov. 25, 2019 (AP photo by Moises Castillo).

Earlier this month, Guatemala’s movement for transitional justice received a major boost when a judge charged six retired military officers for their alleged participation in the deaths and forced disappearance of at least 183 civilians during the country’s bloody, 36-year civil war, which ended in 1996. Six others remain in custody over the same allegations but were not yet charged. But the progress coincided with an almost immediate backlash from Guatemala’s political elites. Soon after the retired officers were initially arrested last month, conservative lawmakers presented a bill that would free convicted war criminals and prevent prosecution of crimes related […]

Christoph Heusgen, Germany's U.N. ambassador and then-president of the Security Council, resets an hourglass between speakers at United Nations headquarters in New York, April 29, 2019 (AP photo by Richard Drew).

Editor’s note: Guest columnist Richard Gowan is filling in for Stewart Patrick, who will return on July 12. The United Nations diplomatic corps is about to say farewell to one of its best-known members. Christoph Heusgen, Germany’s permanent representative in New York since 2017, departs at the end of June. During his tenure, which included a stint on the Security Council in 2019 and 2020, Heusgen has impressed and sometimes infuriated other diplomats with his plain-speaking, principled brand of diplomacy. He will be missed. Heusgen has always cut an unusual figure among other ambassadors, as he came to the U.N. […]

The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, Jan. 21, 2018 (AP photo by J. David Ake).

Do Americans want the U.S. government to spend more or spend less on foreign aid? The correct—if perhaps surprising—answer is more, by a lot. Most Americans say aid should be 10 percent of the entire federal budget, almost 10 times more than the roughly 1 percent of the budget that currently goes to foreign aid. But here’s a paradox: When asked whether the U.S. should increase or decrease aid spending, most Americans also say that the government should spend less on aid, not more. What explains this consistently inconsistent polling result? The problem, as NPR explains, is that Americans massively […]

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks at a final campaign rally in the town of Jimma, in the southwestern Oromia region of Ethiopia, June 16, 2021 (AP photo by Mulugeta Ayene).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Africa Watch, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about the African continent. Subscribe to receive it by email every Friday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. Ethiopia is preparing to vote in long-delayed national and regional parliamentary elections Monday—at least, part of it is. Voting won’t take place in the Tigray region, which is still mired in a grinding conflict and humanitarian catastrophe. With other constituencies facing logistical delays […]

An Iranian woman casts her vote at a polling station inside the Iranian consulate in Karbala, Iraq, June 18, 2021 (AP photo by Hadi Mizban).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only Weekly Wrap-Up newsletter, which uses relevant WPR coverage to provide background and context to the week’s top stories. Subscribe to receive it by email every Saturday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. I gave a preview of U.S. President Joe Biden’s European tour in last week’s newsletter. It’s worth following up briefly, as there were some notable outcomes from his whistle-stop summitry. To begin with, he very clearly succeeded in resetting relations with America’s European allies and putting the […]

U.S. President Joe Biden, right, speaks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a NATO summit in Brussels, June 14, 2021 (AP photo by Olivier Matthys).

Weeks before U.S. President Joe Biden met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the NATO summit, Erdogan vowed that the meeting would be transformative. In a virtual gathering with American investors last month, he predicted that the encounter would “herald a new era.” It was no surprise, then, that after the Monday meeting in Brussels concluded, Erdogan took pains to stretch the truth and describe it as a major success. Whatever happened to the provocateur, the pugnacious politician whose words and actions so frequently put him at odds with his neighbors and his allies? Where did […]

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres talks to Syrian refugees in a 4th grade classroom at the U.N.-run Zaatari refugee camp, in northern Jordan, March 28, 2017 (AP photo by Raad Adayleh).

Editor’s note: Guest columnist Richard Gowan is filling in for Emily Taylor, who will return next week. What should people who care about international organizations and conflict management order for their summer reading this year? Closely following the back and forth of day-to-day events can sometimes make it hard to get a clear sense of the health of the international system. The Biden administration has promised that “multilateralism is back,” for instance, but when it comes to handling crises like the coup in Myanmar and challenges like global vaccine distribution, international cooperation still seems distinctly lackluster. With summer here, it’s […]

A demonstration in front of a mural of Adama Traore and George Floyd, who both died in police custody, in Stains, north of Paris, June 22, 2020 (AP photo by Thibault Camus).

I first met Salim, a 35-year-old French citizen of Algerian origin, about 10 years ago at a cafe near Levallois, the Parisian banlieue—or peri-urban ghetto—where he lived at the time. In the course of our wide-ranging discussion about French history and identity, part of the fieldwork for my doctoral dissertation, he told me that while it is possible for some immigrants to become “French,” that isn’t the case for everyone. “To actually be French, you have to forget yourself a little bit [and] adopt the behaviors that are imposed on us,” he said. “There is a path to follow to […]

Representatives of Taiwan’s Indigenous groups listen as President Tsai Ing-wen delivers an apology on behalf of the government, Taipei, Taiwan, Aug. 1, 2016 (flickr photo by the Office of the President of Taiwan).

One day in July 2013, Tama Talum, an Indigenous Bunun man living in a mountainous area of southeastern Taiwan, set off to hunt game at the request of his 92-year-old mother, who was hungry for the traditional meat of her youth. The expedition was a success, and Tama was able to kill one Formosan serow—a kind of mountain goat—and one Reeves’ muntjac, a small deer. However, on his way home, he was arrested and charged with violating the laws of the Republic of China, or ROC, the formal name for the state that governs Taiwan. In 2015, Tama was convicted […]

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan attends the funeral service of her predecessor, John Magufuli, in his hometown of Chato, Tanzania, March 26, 2021 (AP Photo).

Samia Suluhu Hassan was sworn in as president of Tanzania in mid-March, while the country was still reeling from the sudden death of her predecessor, John Magufuli, two days earlier. Dressed in a black suit, the 61-year-old former vice president spoke sorrowfully about the passing of Magufuli, officially from a longstanding heart condition. “Today I have taken an oath different from the rest that I have taken in my political career,” Suluhu Hassan said upon becoming the country’s first female president and the first from the semi-autonomous Zanzibar archipelago. “Those were taken in happiness. Today I took the highest oath […]

A crowd of protesters in Algiers, Algeria, April 2, 2021 (AP photo by Fateh Guidoum).

On May 21, Algerian authorities arrested some 800 protesters who had gathered to decry continued economic hardship and political stagnation across the country. It was one of the regime’s most visible shows of force yet against the yearslong popular uprising—known as Hirak, Arabic for “movement”—which resumed weekly mass demonstrations in February after suspending activities for almost a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hirak activists first began organizing in 2019 to demand the resignation of then-President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, but their demands quickly evolved to include calls for an overhaul of the political system. More recently, the protests have also been […]

People mainly from Morocco stand on the shore as the Spanish Army cordons off the area at the border of Morocco and Spain, at the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, May 18, 2021 (AP photo by Javier Fergo).

As it has unfolded over the past several years, the migration crisis linking Europe and Africa has revealed many facets. At its simplest, it is one of the worst ongoing human tragedies in the world today, but one that only commands the attention of a broad public under specific circumstances. One is when it is discovered that a large number of Africans have died at sea while trying to reach Europe, whether from thirst or after their boat capsizes. The other episodic way we learn about the fate of these desperate people is when their overloaded vessels are intercepted close […]

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