US outrage over national security law for Hong Kong puts Donald Trump and China trade talks in an awkward spot

(Oringinally published here on May 25, 2020 in South China Morning Post.) If you missed the statement last week from the US Trade Representative’s office about hopeful progress in its phase-one deal with China, that’s entirely understandable. It came through quietly amid the uproar created by the Beijing’s plan to promulgate a new national security law for [...]

Coronavirus crisis? Trump’s bromance with Xi is going strong and he can blame everything on the Democrats anyway

(Originally published here on March 3, 2020 in South China Morning Post.) US President Donald Trump is absolutely correct to push back at critics who faulted him for the travel restrictions that the immigration authorities put in place a month ago. But to hear Trump tell the story, it was his political opponents from the Democratic Party [...]

By violating US judicial norms, Donald Trump might be putting himself and China in a lose-lose situation

(Originally published here on February 17, 2020 by South China Morning Post.) Asserting that Donald Trump feels a strong kinship with strongmen like Chinese President Xi Jinping used to be something of a rhetorical exercise. The assertion would be made to jolt those closest to Trump and also, with an overall sense of allegiance to [...]

How can the US judge China’s social credit system when American consumers are chained to big tech?

(Originally published here on January 6, 2020 by South China Morning Post.) As we move into 2020, expect China’s implementation of a social control system that leverages cutting-edge technology to keep tensions high between Washington and Beijing. China watchers have realised this effort is highly efficient, just as they finally understood last year that Beijing [...]

The weakest link on the ideological front in America’s cold war with China

(Originally published here by the South China Morning Post on November 26, 2019.) The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and the US Congress’ 150-odd other pieces of China-related legislation underscore elder statesman Henry Kissinger’s recent assertion that the US and China are “in the foothills” of a new cold war. Perhaps we’re even further up, above [...]

Mike Pence’s China speech is just a symptom of Donald Trump’s incoherent foreign policy

(Originally published here in South China Morning Post on October 29, 2019.) The bluster around US Vice-President Mike Pence’s China speech last week drowned out another China speech in Washington, which was more subtle but no less important. In a keynote address honouring the 75th anniversary of the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), [...]

China has no better friend than Donald Trump in today’s America, and Beijing knows it

(Originally published here in South China Morning Post on September 17, 2019.) In the US Democratic debate last week, Beijing should have taken note that the only candidate who appeared willing to negotiate an end to trade tensions with China, Julián Castro, is polling far behind the front runners. The rest voiced support for punitive [...]