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On GeopoliticsMar 8, 2018 | 22:20 GMT
A Brazilian anti-corruption protest in Sao Paulo on Dec. 4, 2016.
In a Time of Anti-Corruption Campaigns, Context Matters
While Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been shaking down princes at the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been riling up protesters with YouTube videos of luxury dachas, and probes into Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht have been knocking down Latin American politicians like bowling pins. Whether driven by appearances, power consolidation or state survival, anti-corruption campaigns are pervading the global discourse.
ReflectionsMay 23, 2017 | 06:33 GMT
The fall of powerful Chinese politician Bo Xilai in 2013 stemmed from the same power struggles that led Beijing to redouble its counterintelligence efforts.
Why the U.S. Spooked China
The U.S. administration has sprung another leak. Over the weekend, the New York Times reported on a successful Chinese counterintelligence effort from 2010 to 2012 to identify, arrest and in some cases kill Chinese informants who were allegedly working with the CIA. According to the unnamed officials cited in the report, the incident significantly reduced viable U.S. intelligence on the inner workings of Chinese politics. It also triggered accusations and recriminations within the United States' intelligence services as they tried to find and stem the leaks that tipped off Beijing. And U.S. intelligence agencies are still not sure what led to the exposure and roll-up of its espionage network inside China. Looking at the overall context of the Chinese counterintelligence operations offers some insight.
AssessmentsJul 26, 2016 | 09:15 GMT
Chinese Farmers' Calls for Change Go Unanswered
Chinese Farmers' Calls for Change Go Unanswered
Of the many divides partitioning Chinese society, perhaps none is as stark or systemic as the rift between urban and rural residents. Last year, the 760 million citizens living in Chinese cities earned nearly three times as much disposable income as their 590 million peers in the countryside. In many cases, that number was much higher. Beyond money, however, registered urban homeowners have access to social services and benefits, including health care and public education, that all but a few rural residents do not. Perhaps the most important advantage, though, is the effective right to own and sell real estate. Over the past two decades, that right has driven the greatest wave of wealth creation China has ever seen. But for all intents and purposes, rural residents have been excluded from sharing in the spoils -- no small matter for a country whose government rose to power on the back of
AssessmentsJun 18, 2016 | 23:17 GMT
A Hong Kong Bookseller Confronts Beijing
A Hong Kong Bookseller Confronts Beijing
Protesters in Hong Kong are once again back on the streets, directing their ire at Beijing. This time, demonstrations were sparked by the detention of bookseller Lam Wing-kee, apprehended by mainland authorities last year in connection with the distribution of subversive literature. On June 18, Lam led a 6 kilometer (4 mile) march from Causeway Bay to the Central Government Liaison Office, drawing a following of 4,000 to 6,000 people. The numbers are a significant uptick from the tiny June 17 rally in front of the Hong Kong Liaison Office, involving around 100 people. The popularity of the rally could be attributed to Lam's alleged detention, which confirms for many the suspicion in Hong Kong that Beijing is targeting numerous booksellers for secret rendition -- in violation of the One Country, Two Systems setup.
AssessmentsJun 15, 2016 | 09:15 GMT
Russia Is Saving Jobs, but Not the Economy
Russia Is Saving Jobs, but Not the Economy
Russia's economic downturn has left many of the country's biggest companies struggling to make ends meet. Now, AvtoVAZ -- Russia's largest automobile manufacturer and the recession's latest victim -- is on the verge of laying off thousands of workers unless the Kremlin can find a way to prevent it. The company, which employs some 2 million Russians, intends to let some of its people go through a "voluntary" dismissal over the next two weeks, offering hefty compensation packages to those who leave. The announcement prompted the governor of the region housing AvtoVAZ's biggest plant to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 6 to ask for the government's help. But whether the Kremlin props up Samara province's unemployed automotive workers or pressures AvtoVAZ into keeping them, it will not be able to fix the worsening economic conditions that threaten citizens' livelihoods and, by extension, the legitimacy of
On GeopoliticsApr 12, 2016 | 08:00 GMT
Chinese President Xi Jinping's harsh clampdown on any form of protest suggests that authorities are concerned about dissent building in the country.
No Exit in China
Paranoia appears to be on the upswing in China once again as President Xi Jinping attempts to force painful structural reforms past resentful provincial and local governments, the bitter medicine for years of distortions imposed by China's wave of economic stimulus. He seems well poised to do this. Observers often call him the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong. On the outside, it appears to be true. But China's ruling authorities are behaving as if they are anything but secure -- since February, Chinese censors have responded harshly to seemingly innocent slips in the press. China's harsh response suggests that political struggle is more intense than it has been in decades.
AssessmentsApr 8, 2016 | 22:56 GMT
No Shelter From the Panama Papers
Those Who Are (and Are Not) Sheltered From the Panama Papers
On April 3, the Panama Papers hit media outlets around the world, and the fallout was swift. A prime minister has lost his job, and other global leaders are under mounting pressure to account for their actions. And this is only the beginning. The Panama Papers are the largest information dump of their kind, and the information that has been released so far appears to be just the tip of the iceberg. They are also the latest in a string of public leaks that seem to be happening more and more frequently. As revelations continue to emerge, calls for greater global transparency will only get louder.
AssessmentsMar 22, 2016 | 09:16 GMT
In China, a President's Attempt to Disarm Challengers
The People's Liberation Army is in the middle of its most sweeping reforms to date, so it is no surprise that the paramilitary police force would undergo changes of its own. Yet the People's Armed Police reforms are less about making the force function better and more about Xi preparing to crack down on political adversaries ahead of the 19th Party Congress in 2017. The proposed reforms would concentrate China's remaining armed forces in the hands of Xi, disarming anyone from the Party bureaucracy or local governments who could challenge his rule. If the reforms occur, the question will be whether the armed police, under more singular management, will still be as responsive to domestic unrest.
AssessmentsDec 29, 2015 | 09:15 GMT
How China Will Escalate the Anti-Corruption Campaign
Beijing's normally passive political factions are on the move. Usually, they must lie low to avoid unwanted attention or being singled out as a threat. But in 2016 this passivity will become a liability. The 19th Party Congress will begin in October 2017, bringing the retirement of several top officials and marking the halfway point of Chinese President Xi Jinping's tenure as the Communist Party's general secretary. The networks of power that form -- or break -- in the next year will determine the shape of China's next political order.
ReflectionsDec 8, 2015 | 02:07 GMT
China: Anti-Corruption and the Paradox of Political Power
Luo Liping, a senior official in the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), China's highest anti-graft body, announced Sunday that the central government had drawn up plans for a new spate of anti-corruption investigations for the coming year. Luo said the CCDI's goal is the inspection of all of the 280 or so organizations responsible to the central government by the end of 2017. The announcement is a warning ahead of the 19th Party Congress to deter would-be challengers from forming cliques -- a declaration that no part of the government will be safe from scrutiny.
On GeopoliticsNov 17, 2015 | 08:00 GMT
Chinese economics and politics, and Xi Jinping's hold on power
A Delicate Balance in Beijing
Beijing talks of a shift to an internal consumption-based economy, one less susceptible to the vagaries of international trade and overall more self-sustaining. But this is not a simple change, particularly in a country where the government is dictating the transition to take place over a very short span of time. Decades of redundancies and inefficiencies in the economy, significant overcapacity in some sectors and undercapacity in others, and a pervasive culture of local self-interest and corruption further complicate the desired transition.
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