Don’t Count on China’s Help With a Coronavirus Inquiry

The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. But while many countries are still grappling with how to handle the second wave, a group of international scientists is starting to investigate the origins of the coronavirus and how the next pandemic might be averted. Don’t expect any help from Beijing on this, though. China’s striking success in handling the pandemic has won it plaudits—but it is unlikely to meet international expectations for a transparent, meticulous, and meaningful inquiry into the viral spread.

The World Is Reaping the Chaos the British Empire Sowed

There was a time when the sun never set on the British Empire. That’s long gone, but the grubby legacy of imperialism remains in Asia, where two seemingly distinct crises—in Hong Kong and Kashmir—share the same legacy. Hong Kong is in its 10th week of demonstrations, as hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of society call for greater democratic freedoms in their city. The police have responded brutally while Beijing now describe

How China remakes its cultural imports from the West

The dominant image of China in the West is of a closed, dark place; a country where what reigns supreme is an authoritarianism based on an ancient imperial past that today’s leaders claim to have renounced, while simultaneously extolling China’s 5,000-year history. It’s not a wholly false perception, but the notion of China as a fortress state, impervious to foreign influence, is something of a smokescreen. So too – as the opposite but equally flawed assumption goes – is the perception of China

Why '1984' Isn't Banned in China

Last winter, after the Chinese Communist Party announced the abolition of presidential term limits, Beijing temporarily moved to censor social-media references to George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984. The government’s concern was that activists would use these titles to charge, in not-so-subtle code, that China was moving in a decidedly authoritarian direction. But censors did not bother to ban the sale of these texts either in bookstores or online. It was—and remains—as easy to buy 1984 and Ani

Mixed Blood

On being biracial in Beijing – by Amy Hawkins “Mixed blood” is not a term I thought I’d ever take too kindly to, resonant as it is of eugenics, segregation and Harry Potter’s “mudbloods”. But just as the past is a foreign country, so too are, well, foreign countries. Tourists in China often return home with tales of being asked to take hundreds of photographs with locals, who marvel at their white or black or brown skin, their height, and their willingness to walk through the dusty streets wit

The BBC must improve how it reports statistics

How much does the UK contribute to the EU each week? How tired did you get of hearing that question, and of the inaccurate answer that it’s £350 million? Even if you didn’t watch the debates or read the op-eds, it was hard to miss the pictures of Boris Johnson and other high profile Vote Leave campaigners standing in front of a big red bus with the inaccurate £350 million statistic emblazoned across the side. Misleading claims supported by murky statistics were used on both sides of the EU ref