Xi Jinping, a nationalist and a reformer

Illustration: Craig Stephens

What to make of President Xi Jinping, who holds his first summit with President Barack Obama this week? The hope is that Xi is a reformer, who will guide China through domestic transformation and to responsible statecraft.

Thursday, 6 June, 2013, 2:12am 4 comments

Soldier's killing revives far-right group's anti-Islam campaign

Supporters of the far-right English Defence League (EDL) shout slogans near Downing Street in central London. Photo: AFP

For a movement that was on the verge of implosion less than a month ago, the English Defence League (EDL) has staged a major show of force in central London, signalling that the death of Drummer Lee Rigby has breathed new life into the far-right protest group.

28 May 2013 - 6:23am

Japan's leaders are fanning the flames of war-time enmity

Japan's Prime Minister Abe delivers speech. Photo: Reuters

The sensitivities of East Asian history require that Japan be ever-mindful of its militaristic past. Yet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government appears intent on doing otherwise. In recent weeks, the leader and other senior members of his cabinet have seemingly gone out of their way to infuriate further a region already at odds over territorial disputes.

21 May 2013 - 4:15am 2 comments

Chinese nationalism flares up ahead of Xi's visit to Russia

Xi Jinping (right) held an official meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing last year as vice-president. Xi will meet him again this week, but as president. Photo: EPA

Angry Chinese nationalist comments demanding the return of territories flooded the official microblogs of Russia's embassy to China on Tuesday, ahead of President Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow.

20 Mar 2013 - 3:18pm 1 comment

Asia's new scion leaders inherit their nations' pressing problems

Asia's new scion leaders inherit their nations' pressing problems

Plenty of tensions divide northeast Asia: island disputes involving Japan, Korea and China; military tensions between the two Koreas, between China and Japan, and of course, the perennial China-Taiwan face-off as status quo.

31 Dec 2012 - 3:23am

Shintaro Ishihara wants to restore pride in Japanese nationalism

Shintaro Ishihara (left). Photo: AFP

At 80, most Japanese men are content to play more golf with their buddies, spend their savings on foreign holidays or lavish gifts on their grandchildren.

But Shintaro Ishihara has never been a conventional sort of man and even in his ninth decade, he is convinced that his vision is the right one for Japan.

15 Dec 2012 - 3:43am

Nobel Peace Prize a vote of confidence in European project

The Nobel Peace Prize is, this year, an award for the European Union's success in bringing peace, security and prosperity to what used to be a war-torn and divided continent.

10 Dec 2012 - 1:28am

Hong Kong identity caught between political reality and insecurity

Will the ultimate answer from Hongkongers to the question "where are you from?" eventually be "China"?

When many Hong Kong people are abroad and are asked where they are from, their answer is usually "Hong Kong". They consciously avoid answering "China". This small thing reflects Hong Kong people's effort to mark themselves apart from their mainland counterparts, and shows that Hong Kong people regard Hong Kong as an entity, sufficiently well known to grant them a unique identity.

17 Oct 2012 - 3:13am 15 comments

China's aircraft carrier accomplishes its mission - bolster Chinese pride

China's aircraft carrier accomplishes its mission - bolster Chinese pride

There's a war on (you must have noticed). It is a war on several fronts: China is fighting Japan to the east, the Philippines and Vietnam to the south, and the United States wherever you choose to look. And it's escalating.

29 Sep 2012 - 2:28am 2 comments

China and Japan must replace nationalistic rhetoric with diplomacy

Japan's Vice Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai (3rd R) looks on during his meeting with his Chinese counterpart Zhang Zhijun (3rd L) in Beijing on September 25, 2012. Photo: AFP

Japan's conservative Liberal Democratic Party has always looked frostily towards China, but a new chill is in the air with former prime minister Shinzo Abe's re-election to its leadership. The dispute over the Diaoyu Islands gives this staunch nationalist greater cause to push his agenda.

27 Sep 2012 - 2:39pm 1 comment

China and Japan need to act like adults over Diaoyus

The most depressing aspect of the continuing spat between China and Japan over the ownership of uninhabited rocky islands in the East China Sea is the wretched name-calling, along with a dangerous nationalism which could destroy Asia's rapid economic progress.

22 Sep 2012 - 3:12am 1 comment

Islands row not worth the trade risks

A Chinese riot policeman (centre) directs protesters as they march and display anti-Japanese banners during a protest over the Diaoyu islands issue. Photo: AFP

Patriotism has been called many things. It is the last refuge of scoundrels, according to English author Samuel Johnson. It is the virtue of the vicious, according to Oscar Wilde.

Given their sage advice, perhaps one should risk being called a traitor every now and then. Now is such a time.

19 Sep 2012 - 1:15pm 3 comments

Morning Clicks, August 21

Keywords: South China Sea, Nationalism, Gu Kailai, Rare earths, North Korea, Liu Xiaobo, Arctic icebreakers, Western China, Standard of living, Architecture, Consumerism, Kenya, Antigovernment punk bands.  

29 Aug 2012 - 3:06pm

Diaoyu dispute unites liberals and nationalists online

A policeman tries to control protesters as they hold a banners reading "Declare war against Japan" and "Japan get out of Diaoyu islands" outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012. AP Photo/Andy Wong

After the Japanese government announced last night that it had detained 14 members of the Hong Kong-based Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands, including journalists and activists from Taiwan and the mainland, for illegal entry into Japan, terse calls for their unconditional release have been made online from across the political spectrum, including well-known liberals and property

31 Aug 2012 - 9:29am

Time to give up national education

It's easy for people who have lived normal lives to tell their life stories. It's far more difficult for individuals who have been traumatised or violated to give an unbiased account of their lives. As it is with people, so it is with nations. Modern Chinese history has been one of foreign invasions, civil war, famines, massacres and totalitarian state terror.

24 Jul 2012 - 12:00am