Rana Mitter

Rana Mitter is ST Lee Chair in US-Asia Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School.

China’s ‘soft siege’ of Taiwan

‘There is only one China in the world,’ Wang Wenbin, the spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, declared at a press conference late last month. ‘Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory.’ The previous day, on 23 May, Beijing carried out major military exercises around the island under the title ‘Joint-Sword 2024A.’ The Chinese Communist

Japan’s role in the making of modern China

49 min listen

Just before Christmas, it was reported that the billionaire Jack Ma had moved to Tokyo after getting into trouble with the Chinese authorities. If he’s still living there, he’d be one of several well known Chinese who seems to have made Japan their home after run ins with Beijing. In so doing, they’re following in

Svitlana Morenets, Rana Mitter and Mia Levitin

20 min listen

This week: Svitlana Morenets explains why Ukraine won’t accept compromise in any form (00:56), Rana Mitter details Japan’s plans for an anti-China coalition (05:43), and Mia Levitin reads her review of Muppets in Moscow by Natasha Lance Rogoff (13:17).  Produced and presented by Oscar Edmondson.

Japan’s plans for an anti-China alliance

As the world’s attention focused last month on whether to send tanks to Ukraine, Japan’s Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, was on a whistle-stop tour of the West. He held various meetings with G7 leaders, including Rishi Sunak and Joe Biden. His objective was clear: to create a new alliance that can counter China. Japan has

China’s baby bust

36 min listen

In this week’s episode: Is China heading for a demographic disaster? Rana Mitter and Cindy Yu discuss China’s declining birth rate and what this could do to the economy. (0.52) Also this week: What would foreign policy look like under a Liz Truss government? The Spectator’s deputy political editor, Katy Balls is joined by Rishi

Baby bust: China’s looming demographic disaster

This week, the world is gripped by the risk of conflict between the US and China. The People’s Liberation Army has fired live missiles into the Taiwan Strait in retaliation for US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei and those who fear that China vs America is the next world war see Taiwan as

China is becoming a hermit kingdom

There is an unprecedented experiment under way in China as it reshapes its economy to accommodate its zero-Covid strategy. There are two elements to the policy. The more visible one is the harsh lockdowns, enacted most recently in Shanghai – where for the past two months 25 million people were confined to their homes or

The secret behind South Korea’s Covid success

At the start of the pandemic, the situation in care homes looked particularly grim. One report on 19 March said: ‘Experts warn that hundreds of substandard long-term care facilities could serve as hotbeds for the contagious coronavirus.’ The alert came not from Wiltshire or Manchester, but from Park Chan-kyong, Seoul correspondent of the South China

Does China want to change the international rules-based order?

35 min listen

China is often accused of breaking international rules and norms. Just last week at Mansion House, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: ‘Countries must play by the rules. And that includes China’. So what are its transgressions, and what are its goals for the international system? My guests and I try to answer this question in

Could the Ukraine war save Taiwan?

The phrase wuxin gongzuo – ‘working with your mind on Ukraine’ – has been trending on Chinese social media network Weibo. Essentially what it means is ‘distraction from work because you’re obsessed with the war’. One blog that monitors the site, What’s on Weibo, reports that shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a page with

Politics and language: decoding the CCP

59 min listen

All political parties have weaknesses for jargon and buzzwords, and the Chinese Communist Party more than most. It’s why Party documents – whether they be speeches, Resolutions or reports – can be hard going. Sentences like the following (from the Resolution adopted at the Sixth Plenum) abound: All Party members should uphold historical materialism and

Why does China care about Taiwan?

41 min listen

Cross-strait relations between China and Taiwan seem to be hotting up, with headlines frequently touting the possibility of a military takeover by Beijing. But why does China care so much about this set of islands that is around a seventh of the size of the UK? Cindy Yu speaks to historian Rana Mitter and analyst

China’s long history of student protests

29 min listen

When thinking about Chinese student protests, you’ll inevitably think about Hong Kong or Tiananmen. But there’s one that kicked it all off in modern Chinese history, and its reverberations are still felt throughout the century, not least because of its role in the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. It’s the May Fourth Movement of

Xi’s world: how Covid has accelerated China’s rise

32 min listen

China has come out on top from this pandemic year – what does this mean for the world? (00:50) Was Test and Trace doomed from the start? (12:35) And what’s with all these Covid excuses? (22:35) With historian Rana Mitter; security expert Nigel Inkster; analyst Richard Dobbs; virologist Elisabetta Groppelli; editor of the Oldie Harry

Xi’s world: Covid has accelerated China’s rise

Back in February, the Chinese state appeared to be in trouble. A terrifying virus had infected thousands of people and the country’s social media exploded in anger against the authorities faster than Chinese censors could scrub away the critical comments. Like governments elsewhere, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) turned to the emergency analogy of choice,

The Korean wave: how Seoul film and music won over the world

If you think that Boon Jong-ho’s Parasite (which won four Oscars this week, including Best Picture) is pretty black as comedies go, you should try the South Korean film The President’s Barber. Set in 1970s Seoul, a working-class hair clipper is appointed to tend the dictatorial leader Park Chung-hee, and tensions grow between his family

Is Europe’s centre-ground shrinking?

41 min listen

As Sinn Fein enters coalition talks with Fianna Fail, economist Fredrik Erixon writes that the encroachment of fringe parties on the mainstream is a part of a wider European trend. What’s more, he argues that the only the mainstream parties that adapt can survive. On the podcast, Fraser Nelson bats for Fredrik’s thesis, and debates