FROM Jacques deLisle
The Challenge of Getting the Truth about China During Vice President Joe Biden's recent visit to China, he complained to the highest officials about the treatment of western reporters. After weeks of anxiety for some two-dozen western reporters, the Chinese government is renewing some press passes. Yesterday, Bloomberg News said its reporters' finally had been granted the annual renewal of their press cards. The New York Times says the same for some, but not all, of its staff in China. Visas will probably follow. But one veteran of 18 years may never return to the country, and others have now been warned. We hear what they've gone through. When stories about human rights and income inequality leak to Chinese audiences, they threaten the power of Communist Party leaders. Will western news agencies now censor themselves? Will the crackdown make it harder than ever to learn about the world's second-most powerful nation?
Is China's Communist Party Putting Itself on Trial? China's trial of the century is not following the political script that was widely predicted. On Day One, former Communist Party honcho Bo Xilai vigorously defended himself, and claimed his bribery confessions had been coerced. It's a crucial event for new Party Chief, Xi Jinping, against a background of public outrage over corruption and demands to restore the era of Mao Tse Dung. Will a trial that dramatizes graft and economic inequality lead to reform? Will it make any difference in China's relations with the US and the rest of the world?
Trump's Russia ties intensify with Comey firing Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe contradicted the Trump White House today, insisting the Bureau had not lost faith in former Director James Comey. He promised to notify the committee of any interference into investigation of the Trump campaign's contacts with Vladimir Putin's Russia. What do we know about those contacts… and how they relate to Trump's business interests and those of his family?
The free-flowing leaks in the Trump White House President Obama tried to clamp down on leakers, but the Trump Administration is besieged almost as never before. Are the "anonymous sources" partisans or worried professionals? Are they endangering the republic or performing a public service?