After almost two months in China (Friday makes it official), I’ve settled in to a rhythm of life in Beijing and I think it’s time to revive this site. I’ve missed a lot of news, which is OK with me. In the future, this blog will be less news-oriented (though as a journalist I can’t imagine I’ll leave it all behind). I’m also still working on a new format and identity for the site which I think will fit my interests. But for now, let’s just review some of the things I’ve missed in the last two months.
In no particular order:
- As we all know by now, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is finished. I’ve found Observing Japan to be the best source for detailed news on the selection of Fukuda Yasuo as the next prime minister. Most recently, the tireless blogger-scholar behind OJ gives us analysis of how Fukuda has made some peace in the party by appointing faction-heads to the cabinets.
- Very little has been said about China in the U.S. presidential contest over the last few months, but …
- Sen. Hillary Clinton‘s trouble with a fugitive donor changed triggered some conservative criticism of her and her husband’s connections to Chinese (really, Chinese-American) money. See here for a representative example. I wrote about Clinton’s most prominent statement on China so far in this election cycle back in March.
- A recent violent roundup of black drug dealers and many other innocent black people in Beijing brought disquiet in the expat community. Though I was in the area the same night, I left too early to see it first hand. A first report came from Jen Brea, and a later, more detailed one from Chris O’Brien. A Newsweek blog has another first-hand account from an expat who was forced to delete photos of the event.
- A correspondent in Kyushu e-mailed with some interesting survey results (via Japan Probe and Jun Okumura, another great blogger on recent political developments).
- In a survey of Chinese, 78 percent saw Japan as a threat, followed closely by 75 percent perceived a U.S. threat.
- Forty-six percent of both South Koreans and Japanese saw China as a threat, and more than 70 percent of both of those populations saw North Korea as a threat.
- W. David Marx and friends launched Néojaponisme, an online journal that will eventually supplant Marxy’s Néomarxisme “post-blog.” I highly recommend the first week-long series, a detailed and interesting interview with Patricia Steinhoff, a sociologist and professor at University of Hawaii who has studied student radicalism in Japan with some of the best sourcing around. Start reading here. And I’m not just plugging this because you’ll see my work on the site in the future as a contributor from Beijing.
That’s all for now.