Richard Bernstein was Time’s Bureau Chief in China and a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. His most recent book is China 1945: Mao’s Revolution and America’s Fateful Choice. (September 2017)
It is clear that neither China’s leadership nor the censorship apparatus have shown much interest in allowing an honest accounting of the South China Sea case. China may be too locked into a nationalism of grievance and its cult of national humiliation to allow for any public compromise, and this would make any settlement of the disputes that bedevil the country’s relations with its neighbors and with the United States all the more difficult.
A few weeks ago, Mahawon Kawang, the operator of a small radio station in the ancient Thai city of Chiang Mai, got a phone call from the National Council for Peace and Order, also known as Thailand’s military government, inviting him to the local army base for a “conversation.” Mahawon …
Thailand has long had the image of a benign, stable country, which is a chief reason it has long been seen, at least by Americans, as a great hope for the future in Southeast Asia. But for the past eight years, it has been in the grip of an extraordinary political crisis, pitting two intransigent mass movements, known as Red Shirts and Yellow Shirts, against one another, each ready to take to the streets whenever it feels that the other has gained the upper hand.
The Elimination: A Survivor of the Khmer Rouge Confronts His Past and the Commandant of the Killing Fields
by Rithy Panh with Christophe Bataille, translated from the French by John Cullen
S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine
a film by Rithy Panh
Sometime early in the reign of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979, Rithy Panh, who was thirteen years old, was digging a ditch on one of the regime’s brutal collective farms when he hit his foot with a pick-ax. His wound didn’t seem very serious at first, …
A Contest for Supremacy: China, America, and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia
by Aaron L. Friedberg
The day after the Russian parliamentary elections in early December, the Chinese publication Global Times, an English-language newspaper and website managed by People’s Daily, the official organ of the Communist Party official, ran an editorial on how little credit the West gave to Vladimir Putin’s Russia for becoming a democratic …
The threats of economic retaliation, the mobilization of patriotic social-media fury, rigged protests, and demands for apology—for any activity involving Tibetan resistance to China’s repressive rule, any statement favorable to the Dalai Lama, or any expression of sympathy for the desire of democratic Taiwan not to become part of authoritarian China—are now well-established practices employed by China to enforce obedience to its dictates, beyond China’s borders as well as within them. Stellenbosch University resisted the pressure, but Daimler, Marriott, Delta Airlines, and other multinational corporations yielded to it.
Lee Ming-che in a sense is like other political prisoners in China, a man stripped of rights, facing in solitary fashion the organized power of the Chinese state, but he is also different because he is from Taiwan. He is in fact the only Taiwanese ever to be charged with subversion of state power, and this imparts a special meaning to his case.
While the rapid spread of Confucius Institutes in the US has been impressive, in recent years their unusual reach in the American higher education system has become increasingly controversial: these institutes are an official agency of the Chinese government, which provides a major share, sometimes virtually all, of the funds needed to run them. The National Association of Scholars, a conservative group whose members are mostly American university professors, has recently issued the most complete report on the CIs to date; they recommend that the institutions either be closed or reformed.
On July 25, the NYR Daily published a post by Richard Bernstein on the first part of a New York Times investigation into workplace conditions at New York City nail salons, which Bernstein argued was a “misleading depiction of the nail salon business as a whole.” The editors of the Times have published a letter responding to Bernstein’s post. Richard Bernstein replies here.