29 January 2020

Frank Ching

Frank Ching opened The Wall Street Journal’s Bureau in China in 1979. He is now a Hong Kong-based writer on Chinese affairs.
  • Xi Jinping last year lifted the presidential term limit put in the constitution by Deng Xiaoping, and has also sought to undo some other Dengist political reforms. Photo: Reuters

    China owes it to the world to solve its succession problem

    - Apr 16, 2019 9:00am
    This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, and Beijing will have much reason to celebrate. But, as the lifting of term limits for president last year underlines, China...
  • US Consul General Kurt Tong said Beijing appears to have been intimately involved in the Hong Kong government’s decision-making. Photo: Bloomberg/HKEJ

    Hong Kong’s autonomy: China’s fate is also in the balance

    - Apr 8, 2019 12:51pm
    Ever since the Hong Kong Policy Act was passed in 1992, the United States has been checking regularly to see if Beijing is keeping its promise to grant Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy under...
  • The EU requirement for unanimity effectively silences Europe’s voice on important global issues. Photo: Reuters

    China’s roar may wake up a sleeping Europe

    - Apr 4, 2019 8:29am
    In northwestern Beijing, amid universities, parks and museums, sits a striking structure, resembling a sundial – the China Millennium Monument, erected a little more than 20 years ago to welcome the arrival of a new millennium. Inside...
  • Taiwan is mired in a presidential election campaign where a leading candidate is likely to press for the highly sensitive issue of the island’s permanent separation from China. Photo: Reuters

    Taiwan: China ignoring 40 years of history

    - Mar 25, 2019 4:15pm
    The political atmosphere is heating up in the Taiwan Strait because of the convergence of developments in China, Taiwan and the United States. In China, President Xi Jinping is becoming visibly impatient, asserting that unification of...
  • Premier Li Keqiang fields a wide range of questions from journalists during his annual press conference last Friday. Photo: Bloomberg

    The premier’s press conference

    - Mar 19, 2019 10:09am
    Press conferences generate news because of what a prominent person has to say, particularly in response to journalists’ questions. In China, the questions themselves are revealing, since they are screened and only those that suit the...
  • Hong Kong has an administrative culture that plays down the importance of creating and preserving official documents. Photo: Reuters

    Hong Kong’s disdain for documents

    - Mar 12, 2019 8:19am
    For almost a year, Hong Kong’s MTR Corporation has been mired in scandal. Reports of shoddy work in the US$12.4 billion Shatin-to-Central Link project led to the setting up of a commission of inquiry, followed by...
  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump relied on their personal chemistry to try to resolve complex issues during their summit in Hanoi. Photo: Bloomberg

    Hanoi summit creates opportunities for China, South Korea, Japan

    - Mar 4, 2019 4:01pm
    The failure of the Feb. 27-28 Donald Trump-Kim Jong-un summit in Hanoi to produce an agreement on denuclearization was largely the result of insufficient preparation by both the United States and North Korea, which relied on...
  • Under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, China offers the world not a unique civilization but a unique philosophy to solve its problems. Photo: Bloomberg

    China: Has the red carpet replaced the kowtow?

    - Feb 26, 2019 8:30am
    During the heyday of the Chinese empire, representatives of vassal states had to go through elaborate rituals, including the infamous kowtow procedure known as “three kneelings and nine prostrations” before being allowed into the imperial presence....
  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is trying to forge a relationship with Taiwan while seeking to improve ties with China. Photo: Reuters

    How will Japan balance its relationship with China and Taiwan?

    - Feb 21, 2019 8:49am
    On the second day of the new year, President Xi Jinping delivered a speech in which he called for the fulfillment of the “historic task” of reunifying Taiwan and the mainland, by force if necessary. Days...
  • In her election manifesto, Carrie Lam had vowed that she would try to resolve constitutional and legal issues aiming at amending the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance, to extend the scope of some sections to cover the Chief Executive. Photo: HKEJ

    In Hong Kong, China insists, the Chief Executive is more equal

    - Feb 12, 2019 9:05am
    Ever since Carrie Lam became Chief Executive of Hong Kong on July 1, 2017, she has had virtually absolute support from the Chinese government, including President Xi Jinping himself. This isn’t surprising, since she was Beijing’s...
  • US President Donald Trump’s susceptibility to flattery, his need to be liked and his impatience for triumphant declarations may hobble his negotiators. Photo: Reuters

    Trade war negotiations: Trump versus Trump?

    - Feb 4, 2019 11:55am
    As China celebrates the arrival of the Year of the Pig, trade negotiators on both sides of the Pacific pause briefly before resuming talks, this time in Beijing, in an attempt to reach what President Donald...
  • China and the United States, which were strategic allies in the early 1980s, no longer view each other as friends. Photo: Reuters

    US-China relations: After 40 years, what next?

    - Jan 28, 2019 4:19pm
    In January 1979, the then 74-year-old Deng Xiaoping, survivor of repeated political purges to become China’s leader after the death of Mao Zedong, met in Beijing with American journalists to mark the establishment of diplomatic relations...
  • Certain "blazing hot" terms that occurred frequently in People's Daily in the past year are all associated with President Xi Jinping. Photo: Bloomberg

    China watchers: Moving with the times

    - Jan 24, 2019 8:31am
    The Soviet Union, along with its status as a superpower, is no more, though Russia still has weapons capable of destroying the world many times over. That superpower mantle is now snugly wrapped around the shoulders...
  • "We strengthened our friendships, we enhanced mutual trust and we enlarged our circle of friends,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said in his New Year speech. Photo: Reuters

    China’s Sisyphean efforts to win trust

    - Jan 14, 2019 1:51pm
    In his New Year address, President Xi Jinping spoke proudly of China’s achievements in 2018, including the launch of the Chang’e-4 lunar probe, which successfully landed on the far side of the moon, a feat that...
  • The Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng will appear before the Legislative Council on Jan. 25 to explain her department's decision on the case of former chief executive Leung Chun-ying. Photo: CNSA

    Hong Kong: shopping for justice?

    - Jan 7, 2019 3:49pm
    Twenty-some years ago, the main topic of conversation for people in Hong Kong was what lay in the future, when the British colony was handed back to China after 156 years. Two decades later, the conversation...
  • President Xi Jinping has pledged that China will work with others “to build a lasting peace, common security and common prosperity”.  But China must first win the trust of other countries.  Photo: AFP

    China: Using history as a mirror

    - Dec 31, 2018 2:17pm
    For more than a thousand years, the Chinese have used history as a mirror so as to learn lessons and not to repeat mistakes and have urged other countries to do the same thing. In that...
  • There are stories galore of Chinese youth who speak only Putonghua and hence are unable to communicate with grandparents who speak only the dialect of their region. Photo: Bloomberg

    China: Language bonds

    - Dec 24, 2018 2:19pm
    It is often said that the United States and the United Kingdom are two allies with a special relationship largely because they speak a common language. And yet, this idea of a “common language” cannot be...
  • Canada becomes the object of China's ire after Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested at the Vancouver airport at the behest of the United States. Photo: Bloomberg

    Canada-China impasse: law versus power

    - Dec 17, 2018 3:36pm
    Henry Kissinger, in his book On China, wrote that Chinese strategists think differently than their western counterparts because they are used to playing a different board game, weiqi, where the player patiently gains relative advantage through...
  • In quite a few areas, Xi Jinping appears to be dismantling Deng Xiaoping’s reforms, not implementing them. Photo: Reuters

    Is Xi Jinping living up to the spirit of reform and opening up?

    - Dec 10, 2018 3:46pm
    Forty years ago this month, the Communist Party of China, led by Deng Xiaoping, issued a clarion call for reform. Deng, who had emerged as the country’s strongman two years after the death of Chairman Mao...
  • China and the United States agreed to suspend additional tariffs while they resume trade negotiations for 90 days. Photo: Reuters

    Will China make the economic changes US demands?

    - Dec 3, 2018 3:35pm
    The agreement reached in Buenos Aires by Donald Trump and Xi Jinping bought China a 90-day grace period, after which the United States would tighten the screws by sharply raising tariffs until Trump gets what he...