Wartime History and Beijing’s Response to the New Defence Minister in Tokyo

In the wake of the Upper House elections in Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has completed a reshuffling of his cabinet. As described by Japan hand Michael Cucek, it was not a particularly inspiring set of choices made by the newly-consolidated Prime Minister: Taro Aso (the right-wing former PM perhaps best recalled for his off-the-cuff endorsement of Hitler’s constitutional revision style) remains at the helm … Continue reading Wartime History and Beijing’s Response to the New Defence Minister in Tokyo

Stalinist Modes of Violent Power Consolidation

Last week the student discussions in my “Mao and Modern China” module at Leeds University centred on the old dichotomy between violent coercion and persuasive communication in the early years of the People’s Republic of China. We might also phrase the inquiry as a look into Mao’s role in the Campaign to Suppress Counter-revolutionaries. Accordingly, a handful of points from some recent (and some rather … Continue reading Stalinist Modes of Violent Power Consolidation

Recent Work on Sino-North Korean Relations, History, and Chinese Foreign Policy

The arbitrarily configured 70th anniversary of the Korean Workers’ Party, and the presence of a high-level Chinese delegation in Pyongyang, created a need for some commentary and context.  This post aggregates some of things I did in response to the event, and in the two months since the “August DMZ loudspeaker crisis” earlier this year. On October 10, I was quoted in the Washington Post, … Continue reading Recent Work on Sino-North Korean Relations, History, and Chinese Foreign Policy

Dandong Discourse: China-DPRK Trade Fair, and Rumblings in Xinchengqu

Historians have surely seen better days between the Chinese Communist Party and the Kim-centric Workers’ Party of [North] Korea, but business continues apace today in the borderland. The main item seen in the past few weeks (i.e., something “new” that hasn’t yet made it yet into our wonderful Anglophone discourse) is the subject of today’s post. And the news is that the China-DPRK Trade Fair and Culture/Tourism Expo … Continue reading Dandong Discourse: China-DPRK Trade Fair, and Rumblings in Xinchengqu

Old Chapters, New Chapters: The Memory Wars in East Asia

From the very beginning of the so-called ‘post war,’ the territorial and temporal parameters of the memory wars between China and Japan were never drawn particularly cleanly. The war ended formally in Tokyo Harbour on 3 September 1945, but it took nearly another week for Okamura Yasuji to formally surrender to General He Yingqin at Nanjing. It then took months (in some rare cases, years) … Continue reading Old Chapters, New Chapters: The Memory Wars in East Asia

Distant Proximity: China and the North Korean Human Rights Catastrophe

Beijing is a long way from North Korea.  Border crossing points between China and the DPRK remain open, but the potentially fastest and ‘game-changing’ of these is blocked at present, clogged up with estuary mud and the slow hatreds of bureaucratic inaction. Chinese trains that blaze up and down the northeast have yet to reach the North Korean frontier. But when they do arrive, panting … Continue reading Distant Proximity: China and the North Korean Human Rights Catastrophe

On Today’s UN General Assembly Discussion: China-DPRK Notes

The arrival of this resolution, which is being voted on today in New York, should come as no surprise to the North Korean government. The language being considered for General Assembly adoption mirrors language which the Human Rights Council has been advocating for the last couple of years. Recently lobbying in Europe, and via North Korea’s Cold War ally Cuba, has not succeeded in watering down the … Continue reading On Today’s UN General Assembly Discussion: China-DPRK Notes

Bruce Cumings Strikes North of the 47th Parallel: Seattle, May 4

How fitting is the congruity?  That not a score of hours after Chicago’s top historian swooped down out of the sky to deliver missives of exhortation to heed the still-trembling legacy of Japan in 1930s Manchuria, that I should find myself –scheduled by a previous version of myself! — watching the film Devils at the Doorstep / 鬼子来了? And then the historian echoed Perhaps on … Continue reading Bruce Cumings Strikes North of the 47th Parallel: Seattle, May 4

Nachrichten aus der Reich der Mitte: German Reportage from the PRC

Der Spiegel has been simply plundering all kinds of topics lately in its coverage of China which are worth noting.  The global nuclear summit has the Hamburg magazine focused intently on the issue of proliferation and arms races, leading to excellent (and lengthy) articles by the Peking correspondent Andreas Lorenz about what China calls its “second line of artillery” and a pretty standard article “North … Continue reading Nachrichten aus der Reich der Mitte: German Reportage from the PRC

China to U.S. Cities: Hoist the Tibetan Flag, Lose N.B.A. Broadcast Rights in China

American mayors, human rights activists, and N.B.A. fans take note: A recent decision by the Portland City Council to declare March 10 “Tibet Awareness Day” is making big waves in China, and may result in a boycott of Portland Trail Blazers broadcasts in the Middle Kingdom’s immense market. The message is delivered in the form of the following short news item from China’s Huanqiu Shibao … Continue reading China to U.S. Cities: Hoist the Tibetan Flag, Lose N.B.A. Broadcast Rights in China