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How was the past week bracketed by a rocket launch? Why was Australia talking about war with China one year ago? Where can Beijing turn when much of the world is against it? And how does the government react to news that its population is dying? Learn the answers to these questions and more by catching up on our latest dispatch:
Blasting a rival country
A rocket launch in China was juxtaposed with mass cremation in India on a posting from a Communist party ministry, which circulated on the Wiebo social media network before it was deleted. The post appeared a day after China formally offered to help India fight its current crisis state, courtesy of COVID-19:
Wuhan had thousands of revellers attend an outdoor music festival on a May Day holiday weekend which provided another international display of triumph over the coronavirus. White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci suggested that India take lessons from China’s pandemic experience and go into full lockdown.
War warnings in the Pacific
Australian general Adam Findlay said a year ago that his troops should get ready for war with China based on the 26,000 special forces brigades that looked prepared to pounce. The tensions only increased after that April 2020 briefing, most recently reflected in the cancellation of a Belt and Road deal involving Victoria and Beijing.
Beijing’s friends and foes
The curious support of African countries not calling out China over its treatment of Uighur Muslims owes something to entrenched economic relationships—and the more recent role of vaccine diplomacy in getting them on track. Meanwhile, rising tensions in Hong Kong are nearing further exacerbation:
What a census is saying
Financial Times caught wind of data showing China’s first population decline since 1949, which Beijing rebutted by saying the census will show continued growth upon its release. The central bank has argued for the removal of childbirth restrictions given how the birthrate continues to drop six years after the one-child policy changed to two.
The last words, for now
China’s Long March 5B rocket is falling back to Earth without knowing how it’ll land. Tianhe was launched last week as the living quarters of a space station—but instead of falling into the ocean, the rocket took an unpredictable path that may lead to debris raining on a large city. So, perhaps Beijing shouldn’t have been so smug about India:
The China Letter is produced by the Canadian Freedom Institute, a think tank based in Canada. We produce the China Letter every week to keep you informed and to press the ideas of free markets and free people not only in China but around the world. Please consider donating to keep this newsletter running!