China's middle class is turning restless

The Chinese never tire of telling anyone willing to listen that they have been around for 5,000 years. It's a gambit that has always thrown Westerners into confusion, ever since 1793 when Lord Macartney humiliatingly failed to establish trade relations with Beijing, despite Britain being the imperial superpower.

It's a game of one-upmanship the Chinese can hardly lose. The Mother of Parliaments is a babe in arms compared with the Chinese state. But while there is no reason to doubt that China, as a huge and comparatively homogeneous nation, will continue to bestride Asia, is its ruling Communist Party equally sure of survival?

China's self-confidence is the product of a political culture of extraordinary, shape-shifting flexibility: time and again it has emerged from traumatic periods of civil war with its sense of national self-intact, reincarnated in a fresh dynasty. Its Communist Party, on the other hand, has the crippling rigidity of communist...

read more
Pax Americana and the forever war...
Aijaz Zaka Syed
Growing up in small town India, my earliest introduction to the English language and fiction were ‘cowboy’ novels of Oliver Strange

Now men are biting sharks
After all, sharks are global wanderers; they have no regard for the boundaries of economic exclusion zones, protected areas, or countries’ territorial waters

Trapped in a bookshop? My idea of heaven
Katy Guest
That’s what comes of putting chairs in bookshops...

Muslim Brotherhood courts Isis for support
Debasish Mitra
Today, the Brotherhood’s stands are more than obvious. It wants Isis to win

More in Columns
What does Hashmi's loss portend for 3-way battle?
Kamran Rehmat
Javed Hashmi must be cursing a momentary lapse that has probably cost him his political future
Shashi Tharoor, controversies, politics and Modi
Oommen Kuruvilla
Investigation into her death, which seemed unnatural, is still on
Invasive species impact UK's biodiversity
Kunal Dutta
Five of Europe’s deadliest freshwater species are now in UK waters wreaking havoc on the environment, a Cambridge University study has warned
How Pakistan has failed its children
To truly understand Malala Yousafzai, the youngest person ever to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, we need to understand the place she comes from. Yousafzai is from Pakistan
US strategy in tatters as militants march on
Patrick Cockburn
America’s plans to fight Islamic State are in ruins as the militant group’s fighters come close to capturing Kobani and have inflicted a heavy defeat on the Iraqi army west of Baghdad
On climate change, it's an all-pervading selfishness
There are no losers in the fight to mitigate climate change and its consequences
Revenge of the unforgiving
Paul Krugman
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The world economy appears to be stumbling
Social media — helpful or harmful?
Anam Khan
Does social media improve communications?
Upward mobility is still a myth in United States
Joseph E. Stiglitz
Median household income, adjusted for inflation, remains below its level a quarter-century ago
It is the Internet, and not Isis, that is radicalising
Robert Fisk
Over and over, we have the evidence that it is not Isis that “radicalises” Muslims before they head off to Syria — and how I wish David Cameron would stop using that word — but the internet
Of hypocrisy at the heart of Europe
The Palestinians are asking for $4bn from the international community — enough to fix half the damage caused by the recent conflict, which claimed over 2,000 Palestinian lives
Gandhi would have been proud of Satyarthi
Sapan Kapoor
Kailash Satyarthi has come a long way since his engineering days at Samrat Ashok Technological Institute, Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh, literally
Why Turkey is letting Kobani fall to ISIS
Joan Smith
The siege of Kobani, which is in an area of Syria heavily populated by Kurds, is reigniting Turkey’s conflict with its own Kurdish minority
If clearing conscience was as simple as wielding the broom
Aijaz Zaka Syed
Having forced her husband, the valiant Macbeth, into killing King Duncan, Lady M is now worn out by the guilt. She sees blood stains on her hands and everywhere
Conspiracy theories are afoot in plenty
Kamal Siddiqi
It’s all a conspiracy. Malala Yousafzai receiving the Nobel prize. There were more deserving candidates.

Ebola exposes fallacy of development model
Confirmation of the first case of Ebola by the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) was accompanied by a telling message by its Director Tom Friedan “Ebola can be scary
Sophie Harman
Companies should be able to hire best talent
There are many Omanis who have worked hard during their education, started at the lower levels of an organisation and have worked their way up to become excellent managers and directors
Tonia Gray
Pakistan Tehreek Insaf gives glum nation a glimmer of hope
With the military deciding to stay away, any notions of a nexus with the PTI resulting in an intervention have also died down
Kamran Rehmat
For Erdogan, it’s a choice between the Kurds and IS
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces a hard decision
Marc Champion
Tasks facing Afghanistan
The power-sharing agreement reached between the two contesting Afghan presidential candidates has given rise to mild optimism in an otherwise very fluid and chaotic political and security environment
Talat Masood
What does Hashmi’s loss portend for 3-way battle?
Javed Hashmi must be cursing a momentary lapse that has probably cost him his political future
Kamran Rehmat
The forgotten front in the war against ISIS
The international community has been generous in providing support to the refugee population — though far short of the needs that exist
James J. Zogby
British parties are breaking apart
For decades, the British electorate has swung between two political parties when going to the polls, making the current coalition government an anomaly
Mark Gilbert
Why Beijing should be very worried indeed
We could all be forgiven for looking at the scenes being played out in Hong Kong and gazing skyward in faint boredom
Mary Dejevsky
US strategy in tatters as militants march on
America’s plans to fight Islamic State are in ruins as the militant group’s fighters come close to capturing Kobani and have inflicted a heavy defeat on the Iraqi army west of Baghdad
Patrick Cockburn
Dam to benefit the poor or the elite Ethiopians?
The mega dam is being built not to meet the future needs of the Ethiopians. Neither is it being built to sustain growth of the nation. Grand Renaissance Dam will benefit only a handful — the Ethiopian elites
Wars over water will be everywhere in Africa
Wars over water may not break in immediately in Africa but a more dangerous game of throwing counterweights or proxy wars have already started to bleed the continent, especially in its northern and central regions
Far-right nationalism strikes roots in India
The rise of the far or extreme right polity is a reality in India today, strengthening the threat of ideological contamination of politics. Social mosaic of the subcontinent is now in serious jeopardy
Why I won’t feel proud of my ‘prime minister’
We in India will probably get a man at the top office in about less than a fortnight from now, one who has denied a section of our population their very fundamental right — the right to live
Sisi cannot get away murdering Egyptians
Egypt is getting soaked in blood virtually every day. Within a trifle over 48 hours of killing over 600 people the trigger-happy forces mowed down at least 70 more
Afghanistan awaits a visionary leader
If Abdullah Abdullah, a blue-eyed boy of the American media wins the election, he will, no doubt, stir a new wave of ideologically motivated anti-Pashtun sectarianism in Afghanistan.
Salvation of the Kurds
Kurds, partly because of the Stalinist ideology they are following, and partly because of the pains they suffered in the past, wish to have an independent country
Musharraf’s story needs closure
Today, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf and his trial are unquestionably the most destabilising factors after Ziaul Haq’s gifts.
EU supporting military occupation
For thirty eight years the occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco has been largely ignored by the rest of the world.
General Sisi is stoking the flames in Egypt
Holding Mursi somewhere at an army base is angering Egypt more than the illegal manner in which he was toppled. He needs to be released to prevent the situation from further exacerbation. But, Al Sisi isn’t expected to do so as he fears Mursi’s release will only magnify army’s illegitimacy