Anthony Kuhn

Facebook has apologized in recent months for becoming a tool of foreign interference in elections, disinformation and hate speech in some of the world's most mature democracies. But critics are concerned that there's potential for even greater chaos elsewhere, especially in places where Facebook is the dominant social media platform.

North Korean state media have reported that President Trump made a raft of concessions to Kim Jong Un that were not stated in the two countries' joint statement, following a first-ever meeting of the leaders in Singapore.

While the U.S. has yet to confirm the contents of the reports, they suggest that the two leaders reached more verbal agreements than they put on paper, and made public.

When President Trump tweeted a pledge on Sunday to help save China's second-largest telecommunications firm because penalties imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department had cost too many Chinese jobs, many were left slack-jawed to hear such words coming from the "America First" president.

But the case of ZTE highlights the importance of high tech in the U.S.-China trade disputes, as well as how the two countries look at the role of government in the economy.

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On Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Peking University, the nation's most prestigious institution of higher learning, just ahead of its 120th birthday.

He praised the school as the birthplace of the May Fourth Movement of 1919, a series of student-led protests calling for a modern and democratic China, which produced the future leaders of China's communist revolution.

In a day filled with compelling images and stirring rhetoric, Friday's political theater and media spectacle in South Korea had something for just about everyone. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un took historic strides across the border to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Then, he invited Moon to step briefly into the North. Over the course of the day, the two leaders took part in a tree-planting ceremony and met one on one in the Demilitarized Zone; they smiled and embraced, and at the end of their historic summit, announced lofty goals.

After three rounds of tariffs and counter-tariffs, both actual and proposed, the U.S. and China appear deadlocked, with the possibility of a trade war still looming. China remains defiant in the face of U.S. threats, while the U.S. appears indifferent following China's pledges to open its markets.

"China will not enter into any negotiations while under threats from the U.S.," Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng told journalists last Thursday. He added that the U.S. has not shown any sincerity about holding talks.

China, the world's second-largest economy, grew at 6.8 percent in the first three months of 2018, thanks to strong consumer demand, robust exports and investment in the country's real estate market.

It was the third-straight quarter for 6.8 percent growth year-on-year and fueled in part by a widening trade gap with the U.S.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un paid an unannounced visit to neighboring China, signaling a potential thaw in seven years of tensions between the longtime allies over the North's nuclear weapons program. The visit is Kim's first trip to another country since taking power in 2011, and it follows North Korea's recent agreement to hold talks with the leaders of South Korea and the United States.

It took just about two weeks from the public announcement to Sunday's legislative vote that erased presidential term limits from the constitution, potentially allowing Xi Jinping to rule China indefinitely.

"After it was announced, the move sent tremors through the Communist Party's intelligentsia," observes Zhang Xixian, an expert on party politics at the Central Party School in Beijing. But thanks to heavy government censorship of media and the Internet, there was little visible debate or opposition to the move.

After a two-hour flight from Manila, Philippines, the tailhook of the C-2 Greyhound cargo plane snagged a cable on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson and went from about 100 miles an hour to zero in a couple of seconds.

The Carl Vinson is the flagship of the first carrier strike group of the U.S. Navy's 3rd Fleet. It operates in tandem with the 7th Fleet, based in Yokosuka, Japan.

The Navy now has two fleets assigned to operate in the Western Pacific, as the United States shifts its priorities away from the Middle East to potential flashpoints in the Asia Pacific.

In the hall at the ambassador's residence, there's a black-and-white photograph on the wall of two smiling young men at the center of a group.

China's official People's Daily newspaper reported in December that Chinese scientists had lowered acoustic sensors into the Mariana Trench, at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

China's President Xi Jinping finished 2017 vowing to boost China's role on the world stage.

The streets and alleys of Jiugong Township on Beijing's southern fringes are strewn with rubble from demolished buildings and piles of abandoned clothes and household items.

Authorities have given residents of this migrant laborer enclave just days to clear out before they shut off all electricity and water this week.

Sitting on a small stool in the lobby of Chinese electronics firm LeEco's Beijing headquarters, contractor Fu Hangxia remembers the company's glory days just a couple of years ago.

"They wanted to create a miracle," Fu says. "They did everything to the highest standards, and burned through a lot of money."

Fu's business boomed, as he produced the product launches and built stores for LeEco in China's southwest Sichuan and Chongqing regions.

As the sun went down Wednesday on the vermilion walls and yellow tile roofs of Beijing's Forbidden City, the first families of the U.S. and China took in a Peking opera performance in the palace where China's emperors lived for nearly six centuries.

It was the start of what China's ambassador to the U.S. calls a "state visit plus" — a highly choreographed blend of stagecraft and statecraft, designed to highlight the evolving chemistry between Presidents Trump and Xi Jinping.

Xi Jinping, China's most powerful leader in years, began a second five-year term Wednesday as leader of the ruling Communist Party. He appeared in public in a new leadership lineup — which notably lacked a clear successor, calling into question the stability of China's leadership transitions.

The unveiling of the country's seven most powerful men was the political climax of the year in China. It followed the 19th Communist Party Congress, which handed Xi his second term and enshrined his theories in the party charter.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping proclaimed the arrival of "a new era" in which a reinvigorated Communist Party will lead his nation to modernity, wealth and power as he opened the 19th national congress of China's ruling Communist Party on Wednesday.

The meeting is expected to give him a second five-year term.

Xi's speech, delivered in the cavernous Great Hall of the People overlooking Beijing's Tiananmen Square, lasted for 3 1/2 hours and traced the broad outlines of his vision and the party's policies.

Preparations for a major shakeup of China's Communist Party leadership are all but complete, ahead of a national congress that begins in Beijing on Wednesday. President Xi Jinping, the party boss, is expected to cement his already considerable power and embark on a second five-year term.

Last Saturday, in an auditorium bedecked with red flags and hammer-and-sickle emblems, the party's outgoing central committee members raised their hands in unison to approve the congress's final preparations.

When students returned to Beijing Normal University for classes last month, there was a notable absence in the classical Chinese class taught by Shi Jiepeng: Shi himself.

University authorities fired the assistant professor in late July, citing a number of offenses, including "expressing views outside the mainstream of society."

The charges still puzzle the lanky teacher, as he sits speaking to me in a café just outside the university's main gate.

North Korea test-launched another missile Friday that arced over northern Japan and into the Pacific, showing its progress toward being able to strike the U.S. and signaling its defiance of U.N. sanctions imposed after its sixth, and most recent, nuclear test earlier this month.

The most important date of China's packed 2017 political calendar has now been set: Oct. 18. That's the date state media announced Thursday for the 19th national congress of China's ruling Communist Party, a key gathering that takes place every five years.

The meeting is expected to induct a new lineup of leaders who will rule the world's most populous nation for the next five years — and beyond.

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In China, a country where all media are nominally owned by the state, the government invests vast amounts of money and labor into controlling information.

Having any investigative journalists at all is no mean feat.

But in Hunan, the journalism can be as spicy as the chili pepper-laden cuisine for which the province is known.

"Hunan produces the best investigative journalists in the country," says Luo Changping, who until 2014 was one of them. One reason for this, he says, is that "no matter how poor people are in Hunan, they're very concerned about politics."

"Liu Xia is free."

A Chinese official made this assertion to allay concerns that the widow of prominent Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who died July 13, remains under house arrest — as she has been for most of the time since her husband was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

Prominent dissident Liu Xiaobo, the only Chinese citizen to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize while still residing in China, has died at age 61. Liu died Thursday while on medical parole in northeastern China's Shenyang city, where he was being treated for liver cancer. He was serving an 11-year prison sentence for trying to overthrow the government.

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