John Lee

Don't believe the hype about the renminbi

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The renminbi may be a rising force in global transactions, but without profound economic reform in China the talk of its rapid internationalisation has no currency.

The truth about China's lies and statistics

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China's growth figures are notoriously unreliable and, as its economy slows, inaccuracies become even more important. All signs point to China becoming a normal economy... with abnormally large problems.

Why China must tolerate democracy in its midst

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A Chinese white paper on Hong Kong's political autonomy has raised the hackles of democracy activists, but a softer touch is required if Beijing wants to avoid any diplomatic and reputational fallout.

How Japan spoiled China's power play

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Japan's renewed geopolitical confidence has thrown a spanner in China's strategy blueprint, all but dashing Beijing's hopes for total dominance over maritime Asia.

It's time to talk tough on the rough China seas

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Australia’s passivity toward disputes in East Asia is largely explained by the fact that we seem to have no skin in the game. But doing nothing is becoming less and less of an option.

Bears are circling bulls in the China shop

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China bears will likely be waiting for the nation’s ‘Lehman moment’ for some time, but that doesn't mean there aren't deep problems brewing.

Why China fears the Putin precedent

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Beijing is wary of Russia's Ukraine actions and probably just as confused about how to respond as America and Western Europe - but for very different reasons.

Hard words won't shatter China-Australia relations

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The Abbott government's forthright approach to diplomatic relations with Beijing may have ruffled some feathers, but it won't preclude a strong economic relationship between the two nations.

Geopolitics lurk amid the MH370 tragedy

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The search for debris from the ill-fated MH370 plane has united foreign powers in a rare moment of cooperation, but there's more at stake for China than any other country.

There are few reforms in China's great aspirations

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China is in need of market-based reforms, but a genuinely competitive economy will only be achieved if the dominance of its state-owned enterprises is wound back.

A Singapore sling is inadequate for unwieldy China

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China is keen to emulate Singapore's success, but its lack of outstanding leadership, solid institutions and a strong rule of law set it apart from the prosperous city-state.

Capital flight is China's house of cards

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China's ultra-rich are pouring money into Australia's property market, but the scale of their capital flight has deleterious consequences for the Chinese financial system.

Why Li Na's speech caused a racket in China

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Tennis champion Li Na's failure to recognise China in her Australian Open victory speech symbolised the growing tension between individual expression and loyalty to the state.

Renminbi reforms will be another false dawn

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China’s fear of liberalisation of its currency is a sign of its immense economic vulnerabilities. Genuine liberalisation of the renminbi is not imminent because the conditions that have prevented it have not changed.

The political rot in Mao’s sugar-coated legacy

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There is a great chasm between China's modern leaders, who implicitly reject Maoism, and the nation's official history, which tends to remember Mao fondly. Bridging the gap would strengthen the Party's legitimacy with its people.

China's self-serving moon shot

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On Saturday, China became only the third country to land a module safely on the moon. With half a billion impoverished citizens this expensive project makes little sense – except as a geopolitical power play.

Counting on a Chinese olive branch

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While there are concerns that tensions between Australia and China could impact the free-trade agreement process, escalating regional disputes may compel Beijing to ratify the agreement sooner.

China's salami-slicing is dicey diplomacy

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China is making a series of small but aggressive moves to change the regional maritime and territorial status quo by stealth. It's a strategy that could result in disastrous diplomatic consequences.

A long march for China's national champions

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The Chinese Communist Party is keen to see its SOEs emerge as world-class multinational players, and still determined to grow the sector in the only way it knows how.

Ambitious China goes land roving

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Beijing’s determination to create inland Eurasian commerce and trade zones is as formidable as its maritime push, and has economic and political consequences for the entire region.

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