All over China, local governments expropriate farm land from peasants and homes from urban residents, and in many cases, the land is then sold on to developers. Not surprisingly, this has resulted in some extreme, and extremely awesome, efforts to resist expropriation.
The Chinese government juggernaut does not move swiftly, but it moves as quickly as it needs to in order to enforce social order and ensure its own survival. That is the case in its response to rising civil unrest throughout the country.
Yes, issues pertaining to religious freedom in China exist in droves, but at the same time Chinese Muslims in the right place at the right time are reviving Islamic practice at an astonishing pace without significant government interference.
China can learn much from the political virtues typically associated with democratic regimes: political participation, freedom, transparency, and toleration. But the country can and should build upon the actual and potential advantages of its political meritocracy.
China's growth is widely expected to slow further in the second half of 2012. As it does, the new and old guards of China's leadership will be hard-pressed to reassure the Chinese public that their way remains the best way.
Corruption is literally built into the foundations of modern China. The construction and infrastructure sectors are two of the most corrupt in country, putting at risk China's vaunted development, and also potentially endangering its neighbors.
In and of itself, a high-ranking official being dismissed in backroom party machinations is hardly a sign of improvement. Yet the event inspires hope that the more authoritarian Chongqing model is losing ground.
The cracks that are beginning to appear in the opaque machinations of the Chinese Communist Party are yielding some new clues that clarify the forces at work behind the purge of Chongqing's populist leader Bo Xilai.
One of China's most prolific, interesting, and hard to pigeon-hole authors, Yu Hua, is on a book tour in the U.S., promoting his latest work (the English language edition comes out next week), a collection of essays titled China in Ten Words.
There are two choices before the Chinese people: 1) continue the repression of Uyghurs under the pretext of state security, or 2) stand with democratic Uyghurs against the Chinese Communist Party's policies of self-preservation.
I sat down with Hessler to discuss his new book and his thoughts on China -- its problems, its future, its people. How have things changed? How have the people responded? What is the impact of rule of law in China?