- The Quad Group encircles China
- Many young women don’t want to marry
- Authorities tighten reins in Hong Kong
- BMW and Daimler store data at home
- State’s fleets soon to go all-electric
- Montenegro may ask Beijing for deferment
- Ban on single-use plastic on flights
- Johnny Erling and the mystery of printed bills
The Japanese women have led the way. As early as the noughties, women in China’s trendy neighbour began to forego marriage. The majority of them are well-educated and would rather have a career and enjoy life than do the dishes and look after the children – because that’s what their husbands would have expected of them. The same thing is happening in China now, as Marcel Grzanna reports. Here, as there, government planners are looking at the trend with concern. Because even today, fewer marriages go hand in hand with a lower birth rate.
China’s biggest foreign policy crux may be the distrust of all its neighbors (except Pakistan) of the new world power’s intentions. Joe Biden is now taking advantage of this by reviving an almost forgotten format and taking it to a new level: The US “quad exchange” with Japan, India and Australia. Together these countries are geopolitically encircling China. Biden is thus demonstrating once again that he wants to continue the confrontational course against China. All this is causing considerable unease in Beijing, as Michael Radunski analyses.
Anyone living in China or just travelling around the country for a longer period of time sometimes notices characters on the banknotes that look as if they have been stamped on. Often these are political messages from the Falun Gong sect. Our columnist Johnny Erling got to the bottom of the phenomenon: It’s professional printers who turn currency into leaflets.
Four against China
Li Jiming’s threat was clear: if Bangladesh joins the Quad, it will fundamentally damage relations between Beijing and Dhaka. China’s ambassador to Bangladesh wanted to leave no doubt about his warning and followed up. “History has shown it again and again, such partnerships harm the economic and social development of our neighbors and the welfare of its people,” Li said in Dhaka in early May.
Beijing’s anger is directed at the so-called Quad, the “Quadrilateral Security Dialogue”, an informal forum for talks between the US, Japan, Australia and India. According to its self-description, the Quad advocates a “free and open Indo-Pacific”. Japan’s former prime minister Shinzo Abe calls the alliance a “security diamond” and praises it as a champion of democracy in Asia. And that is precisely what enrages Beijing. While the Quad avoids explicitly mentioning China in its statements, it is clear to all what it is basically about: building a counterweight to China.
Turnaround under Biden
The origins of the Quad date back to 2004. In the months following the devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean, Australia, India, Japan and the US joined forces to help: They gathered troops and humanitarian workers, helicopters, ships and transport planes in the “Tsuanmi Core Group.” Three years later, as China pursued its claims in the South China Sea ever more vigorously, then-Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe drew on that Tsunami Group of Four and initiated the “Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.”