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?
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
What happens when America retreats from the world? Is President Trump taking his "America First" agenda to extremes, withdrawing the country from the international stage on trade and climate change, distancing America from its traditional allies across the Atlantic and even threatening to physically isolate the country through the building of a wall along its southern border? León Krauze guest hosts.
White House budget proposal slashes and burns President Trump's first budget request is considered dead on arrival in Congress — a familiar development in Capitol Hill. We hear what it reveals about the priorities of the new administration. What's likely to die… and what might survive?
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.