Friday Links

Happy New Year! It seems that most writers and scholars are still enjoying the holiday period, and consequently there hasn’t been much writing on Australia, China and international relations as of late. So this week’s roundup of interesting writings just looks at the Chinese legal system and the case of Charlotte Chou, the release of 1989 Cabinet papers, the latest case of China censoring media and the level of debate on the death penalty in China.

  • – A revealing interview with the recently released Australian Charlotte Chou, who spent 6 years behind bars in China. Her case highlights what murky and arbitrary goings on can take place within the Chinese legal system. After Chou was first arrested, ‘she was kept awake for four nights, interrogated, and denied access to a lawyer, family or Australian consular officials’, with the Australian consulate first being informed of her arrest ‘three days later than required by consular agreement’. And all of this quite possibly stemmed from trumped up charges by a competing business-person. It is an illuminating article well worth reading
  • – Prof. Mark Beeson on the 1989 Cabinet papers and the origins of Asian engagement. It looks at the ambitious policy-making of that period, and contrasts it with the less inspired present period of policy-making
  • – An interesting article on China censoring the most expensive TV series in Chinese history, The Empress of China. The show revolves around empress Wu Zetian, played by Chinese superstar Fan Bingbing, set in the lavish Tang Dynasty. But the show was taken down shortly after being broadcast in December 2014, due to the flattering and buxom dress of the characters, and the show has returned to air some weeks later with that content of the show noticeably cut. This follows the Chinese censors recently censoring adultery, one-night stands, time travel and even ‘wordplay and puns’. And the online reaction ‘has been nothing short of outrage’. This instance is a reminder of the great struggle China faces to have their economy become more innovative, whilst there continues to be so many politically-motivated rules shackling freedom of expression and availability of information
  • – A look at the state of play with the debate on the death penalty in China. Once a taboo topic, it is now increasingly commonplace for Chinese to have an opinion on the issue, and despite opinions historically being pro-capital punishment, support in recent years has significantly ebbed away from supporting capital punishment
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