Weekend Roundup: China Bares Its Teeth


Nathan Gardels is the editor-in-chief of Noema Magazine.

China’s reformist leader Deng Xiaoping famously counseled that his nation should “hide its strength and bide its time” as it grew to the top ranks of the global economy. President Xi Jinping has taken a different course. He is seizing the moment and baring China’s teeth.

Not unlike Ronald Reagan who declared in the 1980s that “America is back — standing tall,” Xi is signaling that the Middle Kingdom has returned and finally straightened its spine after being bent over by national humiliation going back to the Opium War, Western colonialism and Japanese occupation.

Xi’s stance was on display for all the world to see in the vast military spectacle on Tiananmen Square this week marking the 70th anniversary of the Allied defeat of Japan in World War II. That President Xi appeared alongside Vladimir Putin — with no prominent Western leaders from the U.S., Europe or Japan in attendance — was not only reminiscent of the Cold War, but a worrying premonition that the world once again risks dividing up into geopolitical blocs.

Writing from Beijing, Qin Xiaoying argues that “Western indifference” to China’s commemoration “is a foolish mistake” that only convinces the Chinese that the U.S. is out to contain China’s rise. The PLA Academy’s Ma Jun says China’s unprecedented military parade was an “act of transparency.” Looking on from Seoul, Key-young Son cites editor Andreas Herberg-Rothe and argues “that any future war in Asia. . . will not be a war of conflicting interests, but ‘a cultural war for mutual recognition.’ From Hong Kong, Lawrence J. Lau says there have been enough apologies from Japan and what is needed now is simply to tell the truth about what Japan’s army did during WWII. WorldPost China Correspondent Matt Sheehan reports on how a now 99-year-old Chinese veteran who fought Japan alongside the U.S. is finally getting his due. He also explains why the Chinese authorities have turned the “victory over Japan” commemoration into an extravaganza.

As tragedy in Europe spills over from summer into fall, Sebastian Matthes writes from Munich that Germany faces a challenge as never before in sticking to its post-war humanitarian ethos as anti-foreigner sentiment rises in the wake of the current refugee crisis. Germany, which is set receive the most refugees and asylum seekers of all EU member states by the end of the year, stepped up its game this week. As photos of drowned Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi shocked the world, other European countries felt the pressure. In light of this, The WorldPost breaks down Europe’s asylum process. We also speak with migration expert Hein de Haas, who explains why he believes the debate over Europe’s migration crisis is full of myths.

In a more uplifting twist to the tragedy, Nick Visser details how Iceland’s citizens are accepting Syrian refugees with open arms. Writing from Brussels, Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth says the number of refugees in Europe is like a “trickle,” not a “wave” and thus more of a political crisis than one of logistical capacity. A young Syrian refugee sums up the sentiments of his countrymen in a short video, saying, “We don’t want to go to Europe. Just stop the war.” Journalist Khazar Fatemi recalls her own life as a refugee and gives us a glimpse of some of the refugees she’s met recently in Iraq, Turkey and Syria.

Today’s refugee crisis is not only limited to Europe. Writing from Johannesburg, Scott Warren sees “a new apartheid” in the making as South Africa struggles with its own immigration challenges. In a photo essay, Ioana Moldovan takes us to the front lines of the war in Ukraine.

In an interview with the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the fate of the Iran nuclear deal is sealed. He also says the U.S. could play a greater role in the Syrian refugee crisis.

To kick off our series this month on exponential technologies, Nicholas Agar ponders how intelligent human collaboration with robots can better our lives. Germany’s most controversial philosopher, Peter Sloterdijk, says in an interview that he sees humans and technology fusing into one being. Antonia Blumberg reports on a video presentation by famed Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, on how he sees life after death after experiencing a severe brain hemorrhage last year.

Mouaffaq Nyrabia of the Syrian National Coalition appeals for a “no-fly zone” to stop Assad’s “slaughter.” Rodger Shanahan worries that Australia’s possible decision to bomb ISIS in Syria could end up helping Assad. As reports of foreign fighters heading to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS and other extremist groups continue to circulate, we look at, in this week’s “Forgotten Fact,” the American civilians and veterans who are making the same journey to fight against those groups.

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake writes an open letter to children of the future about sustainable development. Former Finnish President Tarja Halonen links promotion of women’s rights in poor rural countries to food security. Based on his experiences in India, Microsoft founder Bill Gates writes that poor farmers will suffer the worst from climate change. Larry Summers and Gavin Yamey say they believe sustainable health goals can be met by new technologies. Hillary Clinton and Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin call for restoring trust in government by slowing down Wall Street’s revolving door.

In multimedia posts this week, we check out the perfect symmetry of China’s WWII parade, see a modern slave tell her story in a preview of the documentary “The Storm Makers” and capture photos of the hundreds of migrants and refugees making their way from Hungary to Austria on Friday.

Fusion provides a guide to some of the most popular TV shows from South Korea that have 2 billion viewers in China and are smuggled into North Korea. Nina Ansary presents an intro for her new book, “Jewels of Allah,” the untold stories of women in Iran. Aaron Pomerantz looks at a new 50-cent paper microscope he says could “democratize science.” Lastly, our Singularity series this week reports that a new “once-in-a-lifetime” flu vaccine is in the works.


EDITORS: Nathan Gardels, Senior Advisor to the Berggruen Institute on Governance and the long-time editor of NPQ and the Global Viewpoint Network of the Los Angeles Times Syndicate/Tribune Media, is the Editor-in-Chief of The WorldPost. Farah Mohamed is the Managing Editor of The WorldPost. Kathleen Miles is the Senior Editor of the WorldPost. Alex Gardels and Peter Mellgard are the Associate Editors of The WorldPost. Katie Nelson is the National Editor at the Huffington Post, overseeing The WorldPost and HuffPost’s editorial coverage. Eline Gordts is HuffPost’s Senior World Editor. Charlotte Alfred and Nick Robins-Early are World Reporters. Rowaida Abdelaziz is Social Media Editor.

CORRESPONDENTS: Sophia Jones in Istanbul; Matt Sheehan in Beijing.

EDITORIAL BOARD: Nicolas Berggruen, Nathan Gardels, Arianna Huffington, Eric Schmidt (Google Inc.), Pierre Omidyar (First Look Media) Juan Luis Cebrian (El Pais/PRISA), Walter Isaacson (Aspen Institute/TIME-CNN), John Elkann (Corriere della Sera, La Stampa), Wadah Khanfar (Al Jazeera), Dileep Padgaonkar (Times of India) and Yoichi Funabashi (Asahi Shimbun).

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Moises Naim (former editor of Foreign Policy), Nayan Chanda (Yale/Global; Far Eastern Economic Review) and Katherine Keating (One-On-One). Sergio Munoz Bata and Parag Khanna are Contributing Editors-At-Large.

The Asia Society and its ChinaFile, edited by Orville Schell, is our primary partner on Asia coverage. Eric X. Li and the Chunqiu Institute/Fudan University in Shanghai and Guancha.cn also provide first person voices from China. We also draw on the content of China Digital Times. Seung-yoon Lee is The WorldPost link in South Korea.

Jared Cohen of Google Ideas provides regular commentary from young thinkers, leaders and activists around the globe. Bruce Mau provides regular columns from MassiveChangeNetwork.com on the “whole mind” way of thinking. Patrick Soon-Shiong is Contributing Editor for Health and Medicine.

ADVISORY COUNCIL: Members of the Berggruen Institute’s 21st Century Council and Council for the Future of Europe serve as the Advisory Council — as well as regular contributors — to the site. These include, Jacques Attali, Shaukat Aziz, Gordon Brown, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Juan Luis Cebrian, Jack Dorsey, Mohamed El-Erian, Francis Fukuyama, Felipe Gonzalez, John Gray, Reid Hoffman, Fred Hu, Mo Ibrahim, Alexei Kudrin, Pascal Lamy, Kishore Mahbubani, Alain Minc, Dambisa Moyo, Laura Tyson, Elon Musk, Pierre Omidyar, Raghuram Rajan, Nouriel Roubini, Nicolas Sarkozy, Eric Schmidt, Gerhard Schroeder, Peter Schwartz, Amartya Sen, Jeff Skoll, Michael Spence, Joe Stiglitz, Larry Summers, Wu Jianmin, George Yeo, Fareed Zakaria, Ernesto Zedillo, Ahmed Zewail, and Zheng Bijian.

From the Europe group, these include: Marek Belka, Tony Blair, Jacques Delors, Niall Ferguson, Anthony Giddens, Otmar Issing, Mario Monti, Robert Mundell, Peter Sutherland and Guy Verhofstadt.


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