The North Korean crisis, China’s censorship victory, an unlikely Chinese film and other stories

Some good China stories this week and why they matter in the bigger scheme of things

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 July, 2017, 10:30am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 July, 2017, 10:30am

A North Korean crisis is at hand, what can China do to prepare?

Why you should care:

What a mess it is in matters concerning the Korean peninsula. North Korea refuses to yield on its nuclear ambitions, China remains non-committal on doing more to rein it in, and the United States has failed both in trying to prod Beijing into action and to bring defiant Pyongyang to its knees with sanctions. Crisis is at hand, experts say; the fallout from war – if it comes to that, unlikely as it seems – will be catastrophic. Worst-case scenarios range from an influx of refugees to nuclear contamination. What can China do to prepare? Is this a war any side can really afford to wage?

China’s beleaguered video sites cave to Communist Party’s controls

Why you should care:

Guess how many Chinese video sites have been shut and censored so far this year? Clue: deleted user comments number in the tens of millions. It’s little wonder the country’s commercially-minded platforms are now resorting to self-censorship and – horror of horrors – even offering to push Communist Party propaganda on their sites. Keep an open mind, think critically and stay alert, people.

China’s fastest-growing city leads for the 10th straight quarter

Why you should care:

Guess which city is the front-runner among China’s 25 provinces in leading the country’s economic growth? It recorded 10.5 per cent expansion in the first half of the year (compare this with China’s overall growth target of “around 6.5 per cent” this year). This city’s economic growth has remained consistent despite the political upheaval it has undergone in recent years. It was even where the Communist Party’s latest purge took place just this week; its party boss is now being investigated for corruption. What’s this city’s secret to its stellar growth performance?

The Chinese lawyer who vanished two years ago and the only man who’s seen him since

Why you should care:

Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang went missing on July 10, 2015. That was a day after China’s “709 crackdown” began; the campaign saw hundreds of rights lawyers and activists across the country seized, questioned, detained and tortured. A Zhejiang-based lawyer, Chen Youxi, is the only one who claims to have seen and heard from Wang since he disappeared. Since Chen revealed this information in a social media post on Wednesday, Wang’s wife has been put through a roller coaster of emotions, from relief to anger to more worry and anxiety over her husband’s present situation and well-being.

High-schoolers make an unlikely Chinese film on the life of a transgender child

Why you should care:

A teenage Chinese boy who sees himself as a girl and his journey towards coming to terms with himself. That’s the plot in a film that a group of Beijing high school pupils spent an entire year making to raise public awareness of transgender issues in China. It’s a progressive step for a relatively closed society in which its 70 million LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people face tremendous pressure to keep their sexual identity under wraps. Check out a trailer of the movie in our story – before the censors get to it.