'I'll break your legs if you go into business': former president's career advice to children

Former president Li Xiannian. His daughter said her father was a strict parent with strong ideas about what his children should do. Photo: SCMP

Former president Li Xiannian warned his children he would break their legs if they went into business, according to a mainland news report.

Monday, 17 March, 2014, 1:54pm 1 comment

‘Make it short!’: reports of verbose official’s dressing down censored

Wang Rulin, third left, and Wang Qishan, at the meeting where the Jilin province party boss was later upbraided. Photo: Xinhua

Censors have deleted reports of how an official was publicly upbraided by one of the mainland’s top leaders as he was about to launch into a long, pre-prepared speech.

“Make it short!” Wang Qishan, the head of the mainland’s anti-corruption watchdog, was reported as telling the official at a panel meeting at the National People’s Congress.

14 Mar 2014 - 2:15pm

Carrie Lam defends decision to restrict attendance at Beijing officials’ luncheon

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor. Photo: Felix Wong

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor defended the government’s decision to only invite seven lawmakers to attend a luncheon with two Beijing officials on Friday, saying it is impossible to include more because of the “venue’s constraint”.

21 Nov 2013 - 2:34pm 9 comments

French, Dutch far-right leaders to discuss European alliance

European right-wing politicians Dutchman Geert Wilders (right) and France's Marine Le Pen (left) pose for photographers in The Hague on Wednesday. Photo: AP

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen travels to The Hague on Wednesday to discuss forging closer ties with Dutch anti-Islamic leader Geert Wilders ahead of next year’s European elections.

Le Pen will be met by Wilders at the Dutch parliament before attending a parliamentary debate, said Gaelle de Graaff, spokeswoman for Wilders’s Party for Freedom (PVV).

13 Nov 2013 - 6:51pm

Will a democratic China harm Hong Kong?

A plain-clothes policeman (left) follows suspected journalists on Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 4, 2013. Photo: AFP

Once democratised, China could hurt Hong Kong even more. This is what Dr Horace Chin Wan-kan, a core member of the "nativist" movement in Hong Kong, told Hongkongers in an article published on June 4.

10 Jun 2013 - 1:01pm 7 comments

Book review: Democracy in Retreat

Thai protesters mark the anniversary of the 2006 military coup. Photo: EPA

For decades, there has been a common belief that, as nations develop economically, politics will soon catch up and become more democratic. This theory also states that, released from poverty and aspiring for more freedom, the middle class will be at the forefront of such a democratic transformation.

2 Jun 2013 - 5:13pm

Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif will inherit a country torn by terror and turmoil

Former two-times Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is set to become Pakistan's prime minister for the third time after 14 years. Photo: EPA

Nawaz Sharif is set to become Pakistan's prime minister for the third time after 14 years. His Muslim League-Nawaz party emerged as victor in the historic polls, which marked the first democratic transition from one civilian government to another in the country's troubled political history.

15 May 2013 - 3:06am

Physicist Stephen Hawking praised and decried for joining academic boycott of Israel

Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert views the communication screen of British scientist Stephen Hawking when the two met in 2006. Photo: AFP

Stephen Hawking's decision last week to joint the academic boycott of Israel, by pulling out of a conference hosted by Israeli president Shimon Peres in Jerusalem as a protest at Israel's treatment of Palestinians, has divided world opinion.

12 May 2013 - 2:08am 3 comments

Revolutionary's descendant Ye Zhonghao emerges on political stage

Ye Zhonghao received high praise. Photo: SCMP Pictures

The great-grandson of late Marshal Ye Jianying has been named a member of the Communist Youth League's Guangdong provincial committee, making him one of the first fourth-generation descendants of a party revolutionary veteran to emerge on the political stage.

10 May 2013 - 5:11am

History has left Martin Lee behind

Founding chairman of Democratic Party Martin Lee Chu-ming. Photo: Paul Yeung

I still remember midnight June 30, 1997. I was one of dozens of journalists waiting outside the old Legislative Council building when Martin Lee Chu-ming, the late Szeto Wah and their Democratic Party comrades raised their fists and vowed "We shall return". I had tears in my eyes then.

3 May 2013 - 3:52am 39 comments

Chile shows the power of political consensus

A student protester holds up a Chilean flag in Santiago. Photo: Reuters

Many democratically elected governments today are often reminded by the people they represent of the need to successfully balance social inclusiveness, justice and equality while implementing the free-market principles needed for a competitive economy.

2 May 2013 - 1:23am

US notes slow progress of Arab spring

Many Shiite employees were either dismissed or indefinitely suspended from their jobs in the wake of a brutal crackdown on Shiite-led Arab Spring-inspired protests in March 2011. Photo: AFP

Global hopes that democracy could replace dictatorships in Arab spring nations risk being crushed by repressive regimes, the United States warned in its annual human-rights report.

21 Apr 2013 - 8:25am

Liberal studies teachers must beware danger of tying grades to politics

Foreign domestic workers protesting for the right of abode at the Court of Final Appeal. Photo: Sam Tsang

Last week, a group of high school students in New York state were given a writing assignment to argue why Jews are evil. Their five-paragraph essay must demonstrate their ability to "think like a Nazi" using evidence from the Third Reich government propaganda. It was an exercise meant to link English class with a history lesson on the Holocaust; instead, it caused an uproar among parents, educators and the Jewish community.

17 Apr 2013 - 5:39am 1 comment

Book review: Merchant, Soldier, Sage, by David Priestland

David Priestland: "World on a course towards potential conflict."

In this concise but ambitious book, Oxford historian David Priestland sets himself the task of taking the long view of the financial crisis that afflicts the world today.

24 Mar 2013 - 4:42pm

Australia’s foreign minister forced to play down leadership talk

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr. Photo: AP

Australia’s Foreign Minister Bob Carr was on Tuesday forced to rebuff reports that he had lost confidence in embattled Prime Minister Julia Gillard, as speculation mounts that she could be ousted.

19 Mar 2013 - 4:08pm