In Nepal this week, a coalition of two Beijing-friendly Communist parties led by former prime ministers won a majority of contested legislative seats, defeating current Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s party. The outcome will likely carry “significant foreign policy implications for Nepal, a landlocked country squeezed between India and China,” according to the New York Times (paywall).
Nepal’s Communist alliance is also looking to increase Chinese investment, the South China Morning Post reports, seeking expansion of a Chinese-built railway into the country and potentially reviving a major dam project that was scrapped by Deuba.
EARLIER THIS WEEK:
Moon Jae-in’s conciliatory state visit was marred by an attack on the press corps by overzealous security guards at a trade event attended by the South Korean president, prompting the government to demand a formal apology.
City officials went into “damage-control mode” after the latest blaze, which came just weeks after a fire that claimed 19 lives and prompted local authorities to evict migrant residents of the area, leading to protests by the dispossessed.
Anti-graft inspectors in Liaoning Province reported that Bo’s “pernicious” influence is still present in the city of Dalian, where he acted as mayor and Communist Party chief during the 1990s. In the five years since Bo’s downfall, numerous campaigns have been launched to eradicate his legacy in Dalian and Chongqing, where he last served as Party boss.
The diplomatic distance between Australia and China continues to grow, as both sides traded barbs. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull used an apocryphal Mao quote to announce (in Mandarin, to boot) that the Australian people would “stand up” to China. Meanwhile, the People’s Daily accused Australian media of “hysterical paranoia” with “racist undertones.”
More news from today
Anxiety about influence
How China’s “sharp power” is muting criticism abroad / Economist (paywall)
– Whereas soft power “harnesses the allure of culture and values to add to a country’s strength; sharp power helps authoritarian regimes coerce and manipulate opinion abroad.”
– Interestingly, the term sharp power was coined by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which in China has a reputation similar to George Soros in many countries: perceived as a sinister agent of foreign influence that stirs up trouble for American hegemonistic ends.
– Also in the Economist: What to do about China’s “sharp power” (paywall).
Desalination, satellites, guns and more in the South China Sea
China to implement seawater desalination projects to alleviate fresh water shortages for islands / Yicai
Seawater desalination projects are planned for “about 100 islands in the coastal provinces of Liaoning, Shandong, Zhejiang, Fujian and Hainan.” Some disputed territories claimed by China in the South China Sea, including the Nansha and Xisha Islands, are administered by Hainan.
China unveils satellite network plan for round-the-clock lock on South China Sea / SCMP
‘Slow-moving crisis’ as Beijing bolsters South China Sea war platform / Guardian
China says Australia disrupting ‘stability and peace’ in South China Sea / Australian Broadcasting Corp.
Law and the environment
Can environmental lawsuits in China succeed? / ChinaFile
“Air and water pollution are rising in China, and so is the number of lawsuits against polluters. Access to the courts is growing.”
Ivory sales in China finally end this month. But elephants aren’t yet safe. / Washington Post
Bustling Beijing migrant area turns into ghost town / AFP
Chinese security agents in Hong Kong
Hong Kong and mainland’s new detention notification deal ‘meaningless,’ says bookseller Lam Wing-kee / Hong Kong Free Press
China to host Palestine-Israel peace symposium / Straits Times (paywall)