The big picture

Hong Kong's worst case scenario is happening

There's been a slew of arrests under the national security law imposed by Beijing.

Dec 15, 2020 - World
Exclusive: Suspected Chinese spy targeted California politicians

Christine Fang built connections with up-and-coming California politicians including Eric Swalwell and Ro Khanna.

Updated Dec 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy
As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China

Military conflict between the two could also embroil the U.S.

Oct 13, 2020 - World
China is censoring Hollywood's imagination

No major films are critical of China. That's not an accident.

Sep 1, 2020 - World
With new security law, China outlaws global activism

Hong Kong's draconian new security law applies to everyone in the world.

Jul 7, 2020 - World
Timeline: The early days of China's coronavirus outbreak and cover-up

Serious measures were delayed for about 3 weeks.

Mar 18, 2020 - World

All China stories

Ben Geman, author of Generate
19 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Unlocking the ways to meet China's carbon emissions goal

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

China has a workable path toward making a huge head start on its long-term climate pledges by ensuring that essentially all new power generating capacity added going forward is zero-carbon, a new analysis argues.

Driving the news: The report out today offers what authors call a technically and economically feasible roadmap for transforming China's power sector over the next 10 years.

Jan 15, 2021 - World

Chinese annual rare earth exports fall to 5-year low

A front loader shifting soil containing rare earth minerals in a port in Lianyungang, China, in September 2010. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

China exported around 35,400 tons of rare earth minerals and metals in 2020 — a roughly 23% drop from 2019's total, according to data from China's customs authority and records maintained by Reuters.

Why it matters: It's the lowest recoded amount since 2015 for the world's leading miner, processor and exporter of the materials, which are crucial in the manufacturing of commercial electronics, renewable energy development and military equipment.

Jan 14, 2021 - Health

WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins

Health workers at a cordoned-off section of the international airport in Wuhan, China, as the World Health Organization team arrives on Thursday. Photo: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP via Getty Images

A World Health Organization team of researchers arrived in Wuhan, China, Thursday ahead of their investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Driving the news: Dominic Dwyer, a Sydney virologist based who's among the scientists on the visit, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation they don't expect to find a "patient zero." "But we may have a much better indication of whether the virus truly started in Wuhan," he said.

Newly declassified report lays out U.S. strategy in Asia

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Trump administration has declassified a report which lays out its Indo-Pacific strategy, including “accelerating India’s rise,” blocking China from establishing “illiberal spheres of influence,” and maintaining “U.S. strategic primacy” in the region, according to a copy viewed by Axios.

Why it matters: The strategy laid out in the ten-page report, written in early 2018, has guided the U.S. approach to China, India, North Korea and other nations in the Indo-Pacific region for the past three years. Its release sheds light on the geopolitical and security challenges soon to be inherited by the Biden administration.

Updated Jan 12, 2021 - Technology

A tale of two Jacks

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Costfoto (Barcroft Media), Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

In China, President Xi Jinping has silenced Alibaba founder Jack Ma and launched an antitrust investigation into his company after the e-commerce tycoon publicly criticized state regulators. In the U.S., Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has suspended President Donald Trump's accounts after the president used the platform to incite violence.

The big picture: The juxtaposition of two almost perfectly inverse situations reveals how differently China and the U.S. have approached the management of tech giants and digital information.

Harassment of Chinese dissidents was warning signal on disinformation

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

In the weeks leading up to the November presidential election, Chinese dissidents across the U.S. and at least five other countries found their homes blockaded by dozens of angry and sometimes violent protesters accusing them, without evidence, of being spies for China.

Why it matters: The protesters were mobilized through a disinformation ecosystem that overlaps with the one that led to violence in the U.S. Capitol last week. The harassment targeting the global Chinese diaspora was an early warning sign.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Jan 12, 2021 - World

Trump administration launches foreign policy blitz in final days

Pompeo leaves the stage. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AFP via Getty

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared Yemen's Houthi rebels a terror group, labeled Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism and risked provoking China by lifting restrictions on interactions between U.S. and Taiwanese officials — all within 48 hours, and with less than two weeks left in President Trump's term.

Why it matters: The administration, and in particular Pompeo, has made little secret of the fact that it's trying to tie President-elect Biden's hands, in particular when it comes to Trump's hardline policies on Iran and China.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Jan 11, 2021 - Economy & Business

Foreign investors doubled Chinese bond purchases in 2020

Reproduced from the Institute of International Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals

Despite the pandemic ravaging investor confidence early in 2020, U.S. and European investors flocked to Chinese debt, pushing the level of foreign investment in China's bonds to a record high and more than double its 2019 level, data from the Institute of International Finance show.

What happened: Chinese government and policy bank bonds were added to the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index beginning in April 2019 and in September JPMorgan announced that they would add China's government bonds to its highly followed EM global bond index.

Pompeo lifts "self-imposed restrictions" on U.S.-Taiwan relationship

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: Tami Chappell/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Saturday that he was lifting the "self-imposed restrictions" on the U.S.-Taiwan relationship.

The big picture: Pompeo's announcement comes as Kelly Craft, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, prepares to visit Taiwan next week to "reinforce the U.S. government’s strong and ongoing support for Taiwan’s international space.” The news of Craft's expected visit has angered China, which said the U.S. would pay a "heavy price for its wrong action."

Jan 7, 2021 - Health

China's Sinovac coronavirus vaccine 78% effective in Brazil trials

São Paulo Gov. Joao Doria holds a box of the CoronaVac vaccine during a press conference. Photo: Alexandre Schneider via Getty Images

A coronavirus vaccine produced by Chinese company Sinovac is 78% effective, Brazil officials announced Thursday.

Why it matters: Regulators in other countries are closely following the Phase 3 trials in Brazil. If the vaccine is approved for use, it could help fill a gap in access to coronavirus vaccines for many low- and middle-income countries.

More China stories