By 2050, 68% of the world’s population is expected to live in cities, with almost 90% of the growth in urban population happening in Asia and Africa. Facing rapid urbanization, governments are increasingly adopting smart city initiatives as solutions for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 11-Sustainable Cities and Communities. ICT-based urban management has the potential to maximize the benefits of agglomeration, while minimizing negative impacts like pollution.
Chinese officials have been repeatedly calling for closer cooperation with Europe, but the era of Covid-19 has made China-EU relations sour to an unprecedented low level since the two formally established diplomatic relations, 45 years ago.
India and China are once again involved in a military incident over disputed borders.
On 20 June 2020, the National People’s Congress released a draft Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Law on the Preservation of National Security (NSL). The NSL, which will be imposed on Hong Kong by incorporation into Annex III of the territory’s Basic Law (its constitutional instrument), will likely provide legal authority to Mainland state security entities to operate openly within Hong Kong, and provide for the specific designation of certain judges to act as “national securit
It is difficult to overstate the relevance of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for the fight against global warming. This large-scale initiative is aimed at improving international economic integration mainly through investment in energy and other infrastructure projects. These sectors often are the backbone of economic activity and – if based on fossil energy – the main source of greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change.
Only 37 days after municipal authorities downgraded Beijing’s public health emergency response to level three, a new cluster of coronavirus cases forced China’s capital to switch back to level two on 16 June.
One of the many side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it has resulted in a world where racial tensions and xenophobia have been reinforced. In the past few months, we have witnessed xenophobic attacks on people of Asian descent in Europe and America, and mistreatments of Africans in Guangzhou, China.
The Covid-19 pandemic overturned the world as we knew it as much as governments resorted to extraordinary measures to stop infections and disease spreading. China was the first country to rely on such extraordinary measures, implementing strict lockdowns and employing sophisticated control technologies throughout the country.
As the editor-in-chief of China’s state-controlled tabloid “The Global Times” took to an op-ed to criticise Wuhan’s local party officials and central health authorities, international observers began to wonder whether they were confronting sophisticated propaganda aimed at laying responsibility away from the Politburo or whether the government was letting controversial material slip to blow off (some) discontent in a controlled fashion.
As the Covid-19 pandemic strikes hard, protests in Hong Kong appear to have abated. Distant seem the days when yellow umbrellas and balaclavas saturated global media. And yet, just like at the start of what has now come to be known as the 2019 “global protest wave”, Hong Kong remains at the frontline of political contestation worldwide.
There will be two reasons why the convening of China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC) will be unique this year. The first is that it will be the first time this meeting has been delayed from its March slot since the 1980s, when it started to be held with something like regularity as part of the Deng era institution building reforms. The second is that it will be the first that might turn out to be genuinely revealing and information. The cause for both of these happens to be the same: COVID-19.
George Orwell’s predictions in 1984 came several decades too early, but they hit the mark. In a heartbeat, Orwell’s dystopic digital authoritarianism might have translated into reality, to the point that nowadays we no longer cast a curious look at the tracking apps on our phones or the video surveillance cameras in shops or buses. This is particularly true for China, where social surveillance has deeper philosophical roots than in Western societies.