French President Emmanuel Macron watches a signing ceremony between French and Chinese firms at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Jan. 9, 2018 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

From the United States to Australia, countries are tightening restrictions on investment in strategic sectors like energy and defense, with a wary eye toward China. There are mounting concerns globally about the pitfalls associated with Chinese investment and whether it is a Trojan horse for Beijing to gain access to critical technologies, data and infrastructure that it can use for its own military ends. Europe is not immune to these concerns, and late last year, the European Union passed an investment screening mechanism of its own that specifically targeted China. Yet the EU will still have to do more to […]

A poster for the Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei on a high-rise building in Warsaw, Poland, May 23, 2018 (Photo by Natalie Skrzypczak for dpa via AP Images).

The high-profile arrests last month of a former Polish intelligence official and a Huawei executive in Poland have stoked an ongoing policy debate in Warsaw over how to calibrate its relationship with China. The 16+1 framework, which Beijing introduced in 2012 to promote engagement with Central and Eastern Europe, raised expectations among Polish officials for increased Chinese investment and trade ties. But those hopes have been slow to materialize, and in the meantime, national security concerns, primarily over espionage and Beijing’s long-term goals in the region, have grown. In an interview with WPR, Patrycja Pendrakowska, president of the board at […]

Chinese students listen to a speech at Chongqing University, Dec. 20, 2007 (Photo by Andrew Parsons for Press Association via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. Two incidents at Canadian universities earlier this month have renewed concerns that Chinese students based overseas are being used as tools in Beijing’s soft-power influence campaign. On Feb. 11, a group of Chinese students at McMaster University in Ontario documented an on-campus presentation about China’s mass internment of Uighurs and reported it to the Chinese Consulate in Toronto. The presentation was given by Uighur-Canadian activist Rukiye Turdush, who later said a Chinese student “ostentatiously recorded the entire presentation” and […]

A woman works in a weaving factory in Jinjiang, in southeast China’s Fujian province, Nov. 22, 2018 (Chinatopix photo via AP Images).

The World Trade Organization now has more than 160 members, ranging from the United States to tiny Burundi, the poorest country in the world, according to the World Bank. Afghanistan and Liberia are the WTO’s newest members, joining in 2016, and they are similarly poor and underdeveloped. Under WTO rules, developing countries receive “special and differential treatment” in recognition of their higher levels of poverty and lower levels of capacity to implement certain trade obligations. Yet the WTO has no objective criteria that define the difference between “developed” and “developing” member states. Rather, countries can “self-declare” as a developing country, […]

Supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party in traditional attire shout slogans during a rally addressed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the outskirts of Guwahati, India, Feb. 9, 2019 (AP photo by Anupam Nath).

A year ago, there were premature predictions that the populist wave would soon crest around the world. Yet sure enough, populists then won elections in Brazil, Italy and Mexico. Now, some political observers are again arguing that populism has already peaked, even though populist leaders like the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte maintain extraordinarily high popularity, with one recent poll showing Duterte’s approval rating at 81 percent. Populism “faces its darkest hour” in 2019, Gideon Rachman recently predicted in the Financial Times. Max Fisher claimed in The New York Times that populism had a “rocky” time in the West last year, citing, […]

Traffic in Hanoi passes in front of a signboard announcing the upcoming summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, Feb. 23, 2019 (Kyodo photo via AP Images).

Final preparations are underway in Hanoi, Vietnam, for this week’s summit meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. U.S. officials hope that in addition to providing a venue and facilitating logistics, their Vietnamese hosts will offer a dose of potent symbolism. Near the end of the Cold War, Vietnam, like North Korea today, was an authoritarian one-party state with a military-driven command economy, diplomatically isolated and struggling to feed its population. Since introducing market-oriented reforms in the late 1980s, it has grown into a regional economic powerhouse while maintaining its closed political system. It also […]

Chinese navy officers stand on deck upon arrival at Thilawa International Port, Yangon, Myanmar, Sept. 30, 2016 (AP photo by Thein Zaw).

China’s military modernization is expanding to the open ocean, and the U.S. Navy is worried. Find out more when you subscribe to World Politics Review (WPR). While the United States Navy struggles to figure out if, how and when it can expand the size of its combat fleet by 47 ships—a 15 percent increase—China’s military modernization efforts are cranking out around a dozen new large warships a year. Recently, the busy shipyard in the port city Dalian put to sea China’s second aircraft carrier, following up on that milestone two months later by simultaneously launching two Type 055-class cruisers. With […]

Protesters try to stick photos of missing booksellers, one of which shows Gui Minhai, during a protest outside the Liaison of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong, Jan. 3, 2016 (AP photo by Vincent Yu).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. Sweden’s ambassador to China was recalled to Stockholm last Thursday and is under investigation for allegedly brokering a meeting between two mysterious businessmen and Angela Gui, the daughter of a Hong Kong-based Swedish bookseller who has been in Chinese custody for three years. It is the latest in a string of puzzling episodes involving foreign diplomats in China. The story can be traced back to 2015, when Gui’s father, who published politically sensitive books about top Communist Party leaders, […]

Uighurs living in Turkey protest against China’s oppression of Muslim Uighurs in far-western Xinjiang province, in Ankara, Turkey, Feb. 5, 2018 (AP photo by Burhan Ozbilici).

Earlier this month, Turkey broke a long period of silence on China’s policy of forcibly incarcerating over 1 million Uighur Muslims, calling it a “great shame for humanity.” The statement, which prompted an indignant response from Beijing, represented a shift for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has pursued deeper economic ties with China but has also come under increasing political pressure to speak out against repressive Chinese policies toward its Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, in western China. In an interview with WPR, Selçuk Çolakoglu, director of the Turkish Center for Asia-Pacific Studies in Ankara, discusses what led Erdogan’s government […]

An AH-64 Apache attack helicopter provides security from above while CH-47 Chinooks drop off supplies to U.S. soldiers at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan, June 10, 2017 (Photo by Sgt. Justin Updegraff for U.S. Marine Corps via AP Images).

“Great nations do not fight endless wars,” President Donald Trump said in his recent State of the Union address—one of the few lines that may have appealed to both ends of the political spectrum. Debate is raging in the United States over how quickly to disengage from Syria and Afghanistan, as frustration with these seemingly interminable conflicts has grown on the political right and left. Trump grasps this frustration and seems inclined to pull American forces out of both places. But every time Trump mentions military withdrawal, security experts, political leaders and military commanders push back. Trump’s statement about not […]

People walk past the gate of the Eastern Industrial Zone where Chinese company Huajian opened its first factory in Ethiopia in the town of Dukem near the capital, Addis Ababa, March 21, 2018 (AP photo by Elias Meseret).

DAKAR, Senegal—When National Security Adviser John Bolton unveiled a new U.S. strategy for Africa in December, commentators were quick to notice that its overarching purpose is containing China. According to Bolton, China, and to a lesser extent Russia, are “deliberately and aggressively targeting their investments in the region to gain a competitive advantage over the United States.” He claimed that China’s “predatory practices stunt economic growth in Africa, threaten the financial independence of African nations, inhibit opportunities for U.S. investment, interfere with U.S. military operations, and pose a significant threat to U.S. national security interests.” A more deliberate reading of […]

People from the Uighur community in Turkey carry flags of what ethnic Uighurs call ‘East Turkestan,’ during a protest in Istanbul, Nov. 6, 2018 (AP photo by Lefteris Pitarakis).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. While the mass incarceration of more than 1 million Uighur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang autonomous region continues to garner media attention and international condemnation, Muslim-majority countries have been largely silent on the issue. On Saturday, Turkey bucked that trend when it issued a statement calling on China to close its internment camps and criticizing the “torture and political brainwashing” of Chinese Uighurs as “a great shame for humanity.” The statement was prompted by recent reports that Abdurehim Heyit, a […]

President Donald Trump, right, with Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, during their bilateral meeting at the G-20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dec. 1, 2018 (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

Washington and Beijing are a little over two weeks away from their self-imposed March 1st deadline to reach a sweeping trade agreement that addresses China’s alleged unfair trade practices. If they fail, and the current truce in their trade war ends with no deal, the costs will be substantial for both sides. The United States imports more goods from China than any country in the world—roughly $500 billion in 2017—and a breakdown in the talks could lead to even higher tariffs on at least half of that. Right now, under the tariffs steadily imposed by President Donald Trump, the U.S. […]

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, center, Al-Hajj Murad, chair of Moro Islamic Liberation Front, left, and other leaders at a ceremony at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, July 17, 2017 (AP photo by Bullit Marquez).

In the fragile west of the Philippines’ war-ravaged southern island of Mindanao, voters in recent weeks overwhelmingly approved an historic peace accord aimed at ending five decades of bloody separatist conflict. The vote ratified a new law on expanded autonomy, known as the Bangsamoro Organic Law, paving the way for a new Muslim-majority self-governing region to replace the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which has been in place since 1989. The public stamp of approval, in a high-turnout, two-stage referendum on Jan. 21 and Feb. 6, marks the culmination of a lengthy peace process between the Philippine government and […]

A commuter walks past an advertisement discouraging the dissemination of fake news, at a train station in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 2, 2018 (AP photo by Vincent Thian).

Political observers throughout the Asia-Pacific will have their hands full for the next few months, as several of the region’s largest democracies are set to hold national elections between now and the end of May. But as officials from Mumbai to Manila prepare to tabulate the more than 750 million votes that are expected to be cast across the region, journalists, academics and civil society watchdogs are grappling with a different challenge: politically motivated disinformation, fake news articles, hoaxes and hate speech, spread online via social media and messaging apps. The problem is not new and is by now universally […]

Students listen as then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at Ho Chi Minh University of Technology and Education, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Jan. 13, 2017 (AP photo by Alex Brandon).

Business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos last month warned that China has overtaken the United States in the development of artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies, such as fifth-generation wireless or 5G. “There’s almost an endless stream of people who are showing up and developing new companies,” Blackstone’s CEO Stephen Schwarzman told one panel of his frequent trips to China. “The venture business there in AI-oriented companies is really exploding with growth.” The attention on China’s rapidly evolving tech sector has overshadowed another area of competition between Beijing and Washington, which may be moving more slowly but […]

A Taiwanese soldier watches from an M60A3 Patton tank during a military exercise in Taichung, central Taiwan, Jan. 17, 2019 (AP photo by Chiang Ying-ying).

China and Taiwan marked the Lunar New Year holiday this week with dueling propaganda videos showcasing their respective military might, released on social media. It was the latest sign that North Korea may no longer be the world’s most volatile hotspot, the nation most likely to unleash a major crisis that could spiral out of control. Now that dubious distinction may be shifting to Taiwan. The root of the problem is, of course, that China considers Taiwan an inextricable part of its territory ripped away in 1949 when the government of the Republic of China, facing military defeat against communist […]

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