Anyone who thinks Xi will brings Maoism back are out of their minds. Xi makes symbolic gestures towards Mao in speeches and official visits, but only to appease the New Left and to legitimize the present Chinese state by stressing continuity with its revolutionary origins. The Maoist New Left in China often take an oppositional stance towards the Chinese government, and the Chinese government actively seeks to suppress Maoist activists. Xi Jinping began his tenure pretty excited to throw Bo Xilai, the New Left’s darling, and his ally Zhou Yongkang into prison because they threatened his consolidation of power within the party; if he has any leftist sympathies, they’re subordinate to his careerism.


“The President seems to change his mind based on any information that is new to him - which seems to be almost any information. That is genuinely worrying.”


China Bans ‘Winnie the Pooh’ on Social Media because Bloggers Compare Him to Chinese President

BBC.com reports: Winnie the Pooh has joined a line of crazy, funny internet references to China’s top leader, President Xi Jinping. Because of this, the Chinese name for Winnie the Pooh – and images of the plump, cute cartoon character – are being blocked on social media sites across China.

It is not only that China’s censors will not tolerate ridicule of the country’s leader, they do not want this beloved children’s character becoming a kind of online euphemism for the Communist Party’s general secretary.

In other countries such comparisons might be thought of as harmless enough. Some might even think that having Winnie as your mascot could even be quite endearing. Not in China. Here the president…doesn’t do silly things; he has no quirky elements; he makes no mistakes and that is why he is above the population and unable to be questioned.

Top pic: This meme showing Xi Jinping and former US President Barack Obama began circulating in 2013.

Bottom pic: When Xi Jinping and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe endured one of the more awkward handshakes in history, netizens responded with Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore shaking hands.


China has much more to lose economically from a trade war than America does. This might sound counter-intuitive given that Beijing can deploy the economic nuclear option if Trump makes good on his campaign pledge to slap whopping tariffs on Chinese imports. The US owes China more than $1 trillion and Xi could send America’s economy into a tailspin by sanctioning a dumping of US Treasury bonds. Sure, China could cause enormous damage to the US, but only by damaging itself. The US-China relationship is a classic example of the old saw: if you owe the bank a thousand dollars, you have a problem; if you owe the bank a trillion dollars, the bank has a problem.
—  ‘America owes China $1tn. That’s a problem for Beijing, and Trump knows it’, The Guardian

Yīdài yīlù - “One Belt, One Road” 

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s slogan for the proposed new “Silk Road” (or, to give it its full title  丝绸之路经济带和21世纪海上丝绸之路/The Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road), connecting China to Europe, Africa, and beyond via a series of significant investments in domestic and international infrastructure as a way to stimulate trade and secure the PRC’s position as the leading economy in Asia. 

Harking back to the original “Silk Road” of the Tang Dynasty (a somewhat nebulously defined trade route which linked China to the Mediterranean, carrying not only silk, but spices, art, religion, and philosophy across Eurasia), Xi’s ambitious new iteration has included a cargo train from the manufacturing city of Yiwu all the way to London (which made its first journey at the beginning of this year), public building works in Laos, the renovation of a railway between Mombasa and Nairobi in Kenya, new oil pipelines between Myanmar and China’s Yunnan Province, and looks to invest in many more plans besides.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative is hoped to bolster the economies of China’s neighbours to the South and West, as well as developing the economy of the PRC’s interior, especially provinces like Xinjiang, which continue to lag behind the East Coast. With China’s rapid investment boom starting to lose steam, such long-term, costly investments are considered a good way to develop new markets abroad, heavily dependent on and indebted to the PRC. 

That is, it is considered a good idea by Xi and the Party as a whole. Concerns have been raised in India, however, over China’s decision to invest in Pakistan as part of  一带一路. Having promised $55bn to build 21 power stations and renovate a port close to the border with Iran, Delhi is increasingly wary. That is to say nothing of Beijing’s decision to run its China-Pakistan Economic Corridor through Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, provinces occupied by Pakistan but considered Indian territory by India, and opposition to the construction of a large new port in Sri Lanka. 

Read more about the “Belt and Road Initiative” here


投资 - Tóuzī - investment; to invest; to fund
基础设施 - Jīchǔ shèshī - infrastructure 
交通建设 - Jiāotōng jiànshè - transport infrastructure 
公共工程 - Gōnggòng gōngchéng - public works 
海运 - Hǎiyùn - sea transportation; ocean shipping
港口 - Gǎngkǒu - port; harbour
铁路运输 - Tiělù yùnshū - rail transportation
霸权 - Bàquán - hegemony; supremacy 
霸主地位 - Bàzhǔ dìwèi - dominance

新的欧亚大陆桥 - Xīn ōu yà dàlù qiáo - New Eurasian Land Bridge
中巴经济走廊 - Zhōng bā jīngjì zǒuláng - China-Pakistan Economic Corridor 
丝路基金 - Sī lù jījīn - Silk Road Fund

Manchester Arena bombing: Everything we know about the suicide attack that killed at least 22 people

Children are among at least 22 people have been killed and dozens more injured in a suicide bombing at Manchester Arena.

Families were leaving a concert by pop singer Ariana Grande when the blast ripped through the foyer leading to Victoria station at around 10.35pm on Monday.

Isis has claimed responsibility for the atrocity, which is being treated as a terrorist incident by police.

Follow the latest updates on our live blog here

What happened?

Police were called to reports of an explosion shortly after the end of Grande’s concert at 10.33pm, as thousands of fans streamed out of Manchester Arena.

Witnesses described being thrown through the air by a powerful blast that left nuts and bolts across the floor.

Chris Parker, a rough sleeper who was in the foyer at the time, said: “Everyone was piling out, all happy and everything else.

“As people were coming out of the glass doors I heard a bang and within a split second I saw a white flash, then smoke and then I heard screaming.

"It knocked me to the floor and then I got up and instead of running away my gut instinct was to run back and try and help.

"There was people lying on the floor everywhere.”

The 33-year-old saw one girl whose legs had been blown off, and attempted to comfort a woman in her 60s who died of severe injuries in his arms.

Concert goers still inside the arena described mass panic at the blast echoed through the venue.

"A huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena,” said Majid Khan, 22.

"It was one bang and essentially everyone from the other side of the arena where the bang was heard from suddenly came running towards us as they were trying to exit.”

Ian Hopkins, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, said investigators believe the attack was carried out by a lone suicide bomber “carrying” a homemade device.

“The priority is to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network,” he added.

“The attacker, I can confirm, died at the arena. We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated causing this atrocity.”

More than 240 calls were made to the emergency services, with responders including 60 ambulances flooding the area alongside more than 400 police officers.

Who was behind it?

Police have identified the perpetrator but said it was too early in the investigation to publicly release his name.

Isis claimed responsibility for the attack, hailing a "soldier of the caliphate” but suggesting he did not die in the blast.

The group has been periodically releasing detailed guidance on how to carry out terror attacks on “disbelievers” in countries targeting its militants in Syria and Iraq.

The most recent edition of its Rumiyah propaganda magazine listed concert halls among “ideal target locations” for attacks.

Analysts have warned that the group may increasingly turn to “soft targets” with large crowds, as seen in Westminster, Stockholm, Nice and Berlin, rather than protected areas with a high security presence.

Explosive devices using homemade triacetone triperoxide (TATP) have become a signature of the group’s largest European attacks in Paris and Brussels, and has been discovered in several foiled plots.

The Manchester attack took place on the fourth anniversary of the killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, which was inspired by al-Qaeda propaganda on avenging civilian casualties in the Middle East.

How many people have been killed?

Police have confirmed at least 22 dead and 59 injured, including 12 children, although the toll could rise as victims remain in hospital and recovery work continues.

Officials have not yet publicly identified any of the victims, amid online appeals for information on dozens of missing people.

Among those killed is eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos, who was at the concert with her mother and sister, and 18-year-old Georgiana Callander from Manchester.

They were originally one of dozens of children and teenagers who had not been heard of since the explosion.

They include Laura MacIntyre, 15, and Eilidh MacLeod, 14, both from the Scottish island of Barra, Olivia Campbell, 15, Martyn Hett, 29, Chloe Rutherford, 17, Liam Curry, 19,Courtney Boyle, Philip Tron, Angelika and Marcin Klis and Wendy Falwell.

Facebook activated a safety check feature so that people can let their family and friends know they are safe, as the Twitter hashtag #MissingInManchester was used to track appeals.

Police have established a help centre at the Etihad Stadium, access Gate 11, for anyone who needs assistance in tracing loved ones.

Emergency numbers have been established for anyone who is concerned for loved ones on 0161 856 9400 or 0161 856 9900.

Police have also appealed for concert-goers and witnesses to provide them with any footage they have from the scene if they believe it can assist the probe.

To report any concerns about suspicious activity, call the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321.

What have police said?

Greater Manchester Police have urged people to stay away from a large cordon around Manchester Arena and Victoria station while investigations continue.

They are working with the National Counter Terrorist Policing Network and UK intelligence services to establish more details about the bomber.

Scotland Yard has put extra officers on duty in London in the wake of the Manchester bombing, including armed personnel.

It came exactly two months after the Westminster attack, by Isis-inspired extremist Khalid Masood.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick condemned the attack as “utterly appalling”, adding: “My thoughts are with the people of Manchester as they try to come to terms with the horrific events that took place in their city last night.

“Our colleagues from Greater Manchester Police and their emergency services showed huge bravery as they ran towards the confusion and danger.

"We are providing every possible support through the counter-terrorism network as investigators work tirelessly to understand what has happened.”

How have politicians reacted?

All general election campaigning has been suspended ahead of the 8 June vote as a mark of respect to the victims, with flags flying at half-mast across the UK.

Theresa May held a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee following the “callous terrorist attack” on Tuesday morning.

“While we experienced the worst of humanity in Manchester last night, we also saw the best,” she said, condemning the attacker’s “cowardice”.

The Prime Minister said it was among the "worst terrorist incidents we have ever experienced in the United Kingdom”, adding that police and security services were working to establish the full picture.

Andy Burnham, the Labour politician and mayor of Manchester, condemned the “evil act”.

“It is hard to believe what has happened here in the last few hours, and to put into words the shock, anger, and hurt that we feel today,” he added.

"These were children, young people and their families that those responsible chose to terrorise and kill.”

Mr Burnham urged Mancunians to “come together” following the atrocity, praising the actions of volunteers who have opened their homes to victims, flooded to blood banks and given families free rides around Manchester.

He announced a vigil to be held on Tuesday evening in Manchester’s Albert Square.

The Muslim Council of Britain described the attack as “horrific” and “criminal”.

“May the perpetrators face the full weight of justice both in this life and the next,” said secretary general Harun Khan.

Global politicians have been sending their condolences, including Vladimir Putin, Emmanuel Macron, Xi Jinping and Angela Merkel.

Speaking during a press conference in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Donald Trump called the perpetrators “evil losers”.

How have musicians reacted?

Ariana Grande, who had left the stage shortly before the explosion, tweeted that she was “broken”, adding: “From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words.”

Musicians and celebrities across the globe voiced their shock.

Taylor Swift sent her “thoughts, prayers and tears”, while David Beckham said his thoughts were with all those affected.

Ellie Goulding, Katy Perry, Demi Lovato, Harry Styles, Nicki Minaj, Selena Gomez, Boy George and Lorde also sent their condolences, while Liam Gallagher tweeted that he is “in total shock and absolutely devastated”.

Peter Hook, of Manchester bands New Order and Joy Division, said that daughter “made it home safe” from concert, adding: “My heart goes out to all parents & those involved. Manchester stay strong.”

Mandarin: History and Politics Terms

中国特色社会主义 (zhōnguó tèsè shèhuì zhǔyì) - Socialism with Chinese characteristics

中国共产党 (zhōnguó gòngchǎndǎng) - the Communist Party of China (CPC) aka 中共 (zhōng gòng)

中华人民共和国 (zhōnghuá rénmín gònghéguó) - the People’s Republic of China

中国人民解放军 (zhōngguó rénmín jiěfàngjūn) - the People’s Liberation Army

最高领导人 (zuìgāo lǐngdǎo rén) - Paramount leader (currently Xi Jinping)

毛主席 (maó zhǔxí) - Chairman Mao

五四运动 (wǔsì yùndòng) - May 4th Movement

改革开放 (gǎigé kāifàng) - Reform and Opening

宣传 (xuānchuán) - propaganda, publicity

文化大革命 (wénhuà dàgémìng) - the Cultural Revolution (lit. the Great Cultural Revolution)

四人帮 (sìrénbāng) - the Gang of four

红卫兵 (hóng weìbīng) - the Red Guard

孔子 (kǒngzǐ) - Confucius

独生子女政策 (dúshēngzǐ nǚ zhèngcè) - the One-Child policy

一个中国政策 (yīgè zhōngguó zhèngcè) - the One-China policy

Trump’s attack on Syria had little to do with chemical weapons. It was, above all, to show his detractors and doubters in Washington’s war-making institutions - the Pentagon, the CIA, the Congress - how tough he was and prepared to risk a war with Russia. He had spilled blood in Syria, a Russian protectorate; he was surely now on the team. The attack was also meant to say directly to President Xi, his dinner guest: this is how we deal with those who challenge the top dog. China has long received this message. In its rise as the world’s biggest trader and manufacturer, China has been encircled by 400 US military bases - a provocation described by a former Pentagon strategist as “a perfect noose”.
—  John Pilger, ‘Australia beckons a war with China’

It’s really shocking how impressionable Trump is. A quarter of his campaign was run on “getting tough” with China, but he meets with Xi Jinping for two days and now he’s praising him as a leader, saying he trusts their handling of North Korea, and denying that they’re a “currency manipulator” (in clear, direct contradiction to countless earlier statements he had made).

I’m telling you, there has to be a way to get some smart left-liberals to gain his trust and start whispering in his ear.

Berlin gives celebrity welcome to 2 giant pandas from China

BERLIN — Two giant pandas — Meng Meng and Jiao Qing — received a celebrity welcome Saturday in Berlin from the German capital’s mayor and the Chinese ambassador after they safely weathered a long flight from China.

Meng Meng and Jiao Qing flew the animal equivalent of first class, getting royal treatment on their 12-hour-flight from Chengdu in southwestern China. Their entourage included a Berlin veterinarian, two Chinese zookeepers and a bunch of journalists.

“They slept a bit, munched on their bamboo and nibbled on some cookies,” veterinarian Andreas Ochs told reporters at Berlin’s Schoenefeld airport shortly after the arrival. Medication for motion sickness was not needed.

“They did just fine,” he said.

The German capital is going nuts over the impossibly cute bears, who will be presented to the public at Berlin Zoo on July 6. Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping are also expected to visit the new animal stars ahead of the Group of 20 summit in Germany in early July.

“It was my personal wish to come and welcome our new residents,” Mayor Michael Mueller said. “We are delighted that Berlin has gained another fantastic attraction with these bears.”

Jiao Qing, which means “darling,” is a 7-year-old male and weighs 108 kilograms (238 pounds). Female Meng Meng, which translates as “sweet dream,” is three years old and weighs 77 kilograms (169 pounds).

The pandas were taken from the airport to the zoo with police protection so they didn’t have to stop at any red lights. They also brought their own food on the plane — one metric ton of bamboo from China. Once they’ve chewed up all of that, the zoo will start importing special bamboo from the Netherlands.

The furry couple will move into a ritzy new nine-million-euro ($10 million) compound, furbished with Chinese-style pavilions, red lanterns, a climbing area and a mountain landscape. They will be the only pandas in the country, the German news agency dpa reported.

Expectations are high the two will have babies soon, even though Ochs warned that Meng Meng is not yet sexually mature.

The arrival of the black-and-white bears was preceded by yearslong bilateral negotiations, since giant pandas are unique to China and sent abroad as diplomatic envoys.

“In China, pandas are regarded as a national treasure,” Chinese ambassador Shi Mingde said. “Therefore the breeding and conservation of these animals is a top priority for us.”

The pandas will be on loan from China for 15 years — a deal for which the Asian country is charging 1 million euros ($1.1 million) each year, dpa reported.

Berlin’s last panda, Bao Bao, was sent in 1980 as a gift from then-Chinese leader Hua Guofeng to West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. Bao Bao died in 2012.

Berlin’s most famous zoo animal, the polar bear Knut, died of a sudden illness in 2011.


Follow Kirsten Grieshaber on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/kugrieshaber

Kirsten Grieshaber, The Associated Press