China’s failure in the South China Sea

The recent Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague’s long-awaited ruling on conflicting Chinese and Filipino claims in the South China Sea has delivered a stunning rebuke to Beijing. By insinuating international law into what essentially had been a standoff, many hoped that the Court’s decision would provide an off-ramp for the disputants.

"There is a huge appetite for independent journalism"

The online platform “Initium” is one of several media start-ups in Hong Kong that defy tighter censorship and media controls in China. Within a year it has attracted more than two million regular readers although the site quickly got blocked on the mainland. Chief editor Zhang Jieping says there’s a huge appetite for independent journalism. In this new podcast she talks about how to keep up journalistic principles in a restrictive political environment.

Questions: Ruth Kirchner

One-way train from China to Central Europe

In the modern days of the Silk Road, Chinese leaders are followed not by camels but by cargo trains. The formal openings of new cargo routes were key to Xi Jinping’s visit to Germany in 2014 (Chongqing-Duisburg connection) and to Warsaw earlier this year (Chengdu-Warsaw line). This past weekend, Premier Li Keqiang visited Riga to attend the 5th Summit of Heads of State of Central and Eastern European countries and China under the so called 16+1 format, which was set up in 2012.

Anti-Western nationalism in China can work for or against the CCP

Until the 20th century, the concept of competitive nationalism was unknown in China. It was Sun Yat-sen who, after founding the republic, established nationalism as a concept to pull the nation together. "Before, China didn't have a sense of nationhood, yet nowadays it is perhaps one of the most artful practicioners of nationalism," said Orville Shell, director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society in New York, on the panel moderated by MERICS researcher Kristin Shi-Kupfer.