It was on 20 November 1984 that China dispatched its first Antarctic research expedition team, and by the end of this expedition, the country established its first Antarctic research station, the Great Wall Station on 20 February 1985.
Since the launch of Xuě Lóng 2 (literally, China’s “Snow Dragon 2”) in late 2018, images of Chinese icebreakers on the Polar route of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) have become more and more common on media outlets around the world. Images that leave a sweet-and-sour taste, as they imply that one of the few sanctuaries in the world (that is, the Polar region) is no longer immune to large-scale human activity.
As Earth’s southernmost continent, Antarctica lives by norms of its own. It is a de facto condominium over which seven sovereign states maintain territorial claims, but that is governed by a multilateral Antarctic Treaty System (ATS). China’s growing interests in the “White Continent” have spurred responses from the actors that have much at stake in Antarctica, such as Australia, Brazil and Russia, as well as the European Union.
For a city of only seven million, and one with a high level of development and wealth, Hong Kong has proved a hard place to govern since its reversion to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. An unknown quantity because of the lack of any proper democracy under British rule, we are now much more knowledgeable about what Hong Kong public opinion might be. It can be captured in one word: complex. Hong Kong in 2019 is divided, and frequently erupts in angry outbursts of protests.
International relations and warfare technology have reached such sophistication that they have apparently rendered international wars a relic of the past. For these and other regional reasons, a conflict between China and Taiwan seems impossible to conceive.
Since Xi Jinping took power in 2012, China has become a less open country. Stricter rules and regulations adopted during his presidency, coupled with a more centralized system established after the March 2018 constitutional reform, changed the social and political context, allowing the government to suppress social discontent and increase government control over the population.
At a time when China seeks to regain its economic momentum, the Communist leadership is bracing for a 2019 marked by the unfolding of controversial anniversaries that may potentially disrupt the country's internal stability. Policy choices rooted in experiences such as the 1919 May Fourth Movement or the 1959 Tibetan Uprising, up to the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and the 2009 Urumqi riots, have contributed to shape China’s current domestic security model. Wha
“The fate of those kids was even more pitiable than mine. If there is ever any investigation about victims of the June 4 Massacre, it will be impossible to count victims like this.” The mother of Yuan Li, a graduate student who was shot and killed during the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre, was referring to the two huge black plastic bags packed with bodies waiting to be cremated, that she saw at the funeral home before her son’s ceremony.
On July 4 Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama, will turn 84 and he is expected to celebrate his birthday outside his motherland once again. Tibet is an open wound that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is still working to erase from history, together with the Tiananmen massacre in 1989 and Taiwan, the “three Ts” on which authorities willingly turn a blind eye.
A few weeks ago official celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement (or simply “Wusi”, five-four, in Chinese) took place across China amidst the Party/state growing anxiety and concerns about potential threats to regime stability.