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Universal Values with Chinese Characteristics

Universal Values with Chinese Characteristics

Chinese President Xi Jinping, certainly has a huge task before him – not only cracking down on rampant corruption, but attempting to change the mindset of a population which some say has lost its moral compass. A recent circular from the Communist Party’s powerful Organisation Department stated that party officials …

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Beijing Needs to Rethink its North Korean Refugee Policy

Beijing Needs to Rethink its North Korean Refugee Policy

In an apparent act of defiance, North Korea on Tuesday fired rockets several kilometers north of a popular South Korean tourist observatory near the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ).  North Korea has also threatened a fourth nuclear test, in violation of United Nations sanctions, and has test-fired short-range missiles and rockets four …

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Should the U.S./EU Send Naval Observers to the South China Sea?

Should the U.S./EU Send Naval Observers to the South China Sea?

The Boston Global Forum (BGF), a non-profit forum for international scholars, hosted its opening session on July 2, aiming to engage leaders from the United States, Asia, and the United Nations to discuss the crisis in the South China Sea.  BGF Chairman and Co-Founder Michael Dukakis moderated the discussion, with …

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A Soft Power Stumble

A Soft Power Stumble

Ever since it became a rising economic power, China started to realize the need for soft power in order to increase its global competitiveness.  In Africa, Beijing found itself competing with Western companies backed by development agencies imposing good governance and human rights restrictions.  Beijing sought to appeal to some …

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Why is China Building Artificial Islands?

Why is China Building Artificial Islands?

When planning an international beach holiday, few holidaymakers think of China when choosing to spend their time on a beach.  China does boast one top destination for beachgoers, Hainan island, but the quality of most of its mainland beaches has diminished greatly in recent years by floating trash, oil slicks, …

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Beijing’s A La Carte Approach to Foreign Policy

Beijing’s A La Carte Approach to Foreign Policy

Following the largely negative international reaction to its latest aggressive actions in Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam, Beijing may be trying a new approach in settling longstanding territorial disputes with its neighbors.  On Monday, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced China is prepared to resolve its border disputes with India …

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Rock, Paper, Scissors in the South China Sea

Rock, Paper, Scissors in the South China Sea



photo: WN.com
Rock, paper, scissors is a popular game among youth in China, and can be played anywhere and anytime between two people.  In the game, both participants count to three and then reveal their hand – a fist symbolizes a rock, a …

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A Clash of Civilizations in the Central African Republic? (Part 2 of 2)

A Clash of Civilizations in the Central African Republic? (Part 2 of 2)

Is the crisis in the Central African Republic a “clash of civilizations”?
A recent report entitled “Behind the Headlines: Drivers of Violence in the Central African Republic” from Enough, a Washington-based project of the Center for American Progress whose goal is to end genocide and crimes against humanity, is particularly revealing. …

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Beijing Desperate to Rein in Terrorism

Beijing Desperate to Rein in Terrorism

Beijing is going all out in its efforts to rein in terrorism, following the latest attack at a morning street market in Urumqi, which killed at least 43 people and wounded dozens. The bombing in Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital, has been blamed on five suspects, all Uighurs, the region’s most populous …

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Vietnamese Woman Burns Self to Protest China

Vietnamese Woman Burns Self to Protest China

Protest continued in Vietnam this past weekend as a 67-year-old Vietnamese woman burned herself to death at the front gate of Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday morning. Vietnamese authorities believe the suicide was the result of personal troubles and anger, as they discovered a bag at …

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A Clash of Civilizations in the Central African Republic? (Part 1 of 2)

A Clash of Civilizations in the Central African Republic? (Part 1 of 2)

As the fighting continues in the Central African Republic, many of those following the crisis are portraying it as primarily a clash between the country’s Muslim minority and Christian militiamen, which to date has resulted in the deaths of over 2,000 people since December and the displacement of nearly a …

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A Muslim Call to Partition the CAR

A Muslim Call to Partition the CAR

While the world focuses on the calls for partition by pro-Russian citizens in the south and east of Ukraine, similar calls from a small African nation are drawing less attention — despite horrific human rights abuses occurring on its territory. In what the U.N. human rights body and Amnesty International have …

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Manila Welcomes U.S. Muscle to Counter Beijing

Manila Welcomes U.S. Muscle to Counter Beijing

After an absence of more than 20 years, American forces will return to the Philippines under a 10-year agreement reached between the two countries on Monday in conjunction with U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent visit to Manila. The Enhanced Defense Cooperation agreement seeks to broaden U.S. access to bases on …

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Moscow Takes Ukraine, Beijing Takes Mongolia?

Moscow Takes Ukraine, Beijing Takes Mongolia?


map: ChinaSmack
Tensions escalated in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, as Ukrainian forces killed up to five pro-Moscow separatist rebels, and Russia launched army drills near the border in response, raising fears its troops would invade. The Ukrainian action took place to recapture territory from the rebels, who have seized …

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As Beijing Asserts, Hanoi Reacts

As Beijing Asserts, Hanoi Reacts

This week, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung oversaw the launch of the Vietnam Fisheries Resources Surveillance force, set up to ensure the enforcement of fishing laws in the East Sea, otherwise known as the South China Sea. As established under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the force …

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About the Author

Gary Sands
Gary Sands

Gary Sands is a Director at Highway West Capital Advisors, a venture capital, project finance and political risk advisory, and contributed a number of op-eds for the South China Morning Post, U.S. News and World Report, Washington Times, International Policy Digest, Eurasia Review, Indo-Pacific Review, Global Times, Caijing and Shanghai Star Business Journal. He was previously employed in lending and advisory roles at Shell Capital, ABB Structured Finance, and the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation. He earned his Masters of Business Administration in International Business from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and a Bachelor of Science in Finance at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut. He spent six years in Shanghai from 2006-2012, and has also lived in Zurich, London, and Rio de Janeiro. He is based now in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

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