Little Fen’s funeral took place three days later. I walked woodenly among three dozen fellow villagers in a procession led by Widow Liu, accompanied by the sad tune of trumpet and suona horns. It was a cold spring day. The sun was shining without giving away much warmth.
It pained me to look at the mother of my deceased friend. A piece of white cloth tied around her head, like a bandage on a head injury. She was being supported on each side by a friend. Her grief had whitened her hair and aged her twenty years. And her thin form resembled that of a dried shrimp.
The funeral procession came to the village’s graveyard, which lay on a gentle slope of a mountain some twenty minutes’ walk from the village. Little Fen’s body was put to rest on the edge of it, next to a large plot with castor-oil plants. When the wind blew, millions of tiny castor seeds made disturbing noises. Black crows squawked, their cries echoing in the trees, like whimpers from those no longer able to speak. Read more
By Kapil Komireddi
In November 2013, as the Chinese Communist Party prepared to release its economic strategy for the next decade, an influential paper written by former United States Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and his Harvard colleague Lant Pritchett questioned the prevalent view that “the global economy will increasingly be shaped and lifted by the trajectory” of India and China.
For more than a decade, the West, starstruck by the economic performance of New Delhi and Beijing, had been telling itself that the 21st century would be Asia’s. Books with titles such as When China Rules the World, The Chinese Century and India Express: The Future of the New Superpower materialised alongside neologisms like “Chindia” and “Chimerica”. Summers and Pritchett dismissed this as “Asiaphoria”, and warned against hitching “the cart of the future global economy to the horse of the Asian giants”.
In The End of the Asian Century: War, Stagnation, and the Risks to the World’s Most Dynamic Region, Michael Auslin updates the unremittingly pessimistic outlook of Summers and Pritchett. Auslin, a former Yale history professor who now serves as a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC, is a distinguished scholar of Japan. His previous book, Negotiating with Imperialism, was a groundbreaking history of Japanese diplomacy in the 19th century. Read more
Source: The National
Morgan Chua’s acerbic cartoons on the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 appear in a new edition this week
What does it say of a government that continues to be in power in spite of having ordered the massacre of thousands of its citizens, mostly young students, who had marched out to the streets 25 years ago to participate in peaceful pro-democracy protests? That its will to survive is severe, to say the least.
Ironically, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), one of the few organizations in the world to have successfully married political dictatorship with a free-market economy, has not only managed to last well into the 21st century but has also nearly succeeded in suppressing its blighted past by systematically rounding up dissident activists—putting them behind bars, banning their books and artworks within China, and instituting strict censorship policies that regulate the circulation of news around, and out of, the country.