author

 
 

Meta

Frank Ching
Frank Ching is a Hong Kong-based writer who has covered developments in China for several decades. He opened The Wall Street Journal’s Bureau in Beijing after the U.S. and China established diplomatic relations in 1979, becoming one of the first American reporters to be based in China since 1949.
For Frank Ching's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
COMMENTARY
Mar 16, 2007
Apologies of dubious quality
HONG KONG -- The recent verbal gymnastics of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe show why, more than 60 years after the end of World War II, Japan's wartime behavior remains a sensitive issue around the region and why the country's apologies are regarded as insincere.
COMMENTARY
Mar 2, 2007
China makes due with cosmetic changes
HONG KONG -- With the approach of the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government is making all kinds of preparations to host the games and to welcome foreign visitors and athletes. It knows that the eyes of the world are increasingly turning to China.
COMMENTARY
Oct 27, 2006
Crisis boosts U.S.-China ties
HONG KONG -- North Korea's nuclear test Oct. 9 may have created a crisis atmosphere in the world but, at the same time, it has greatly improved China's relations with the United States as the two countries work closely together to put pressure on Pyongyang to give up its nuclear-arms program.
COMMENTARY
Sep 29, 2006
China-booster on U.S. side needs time
HONG KONG -- The new U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's visit to China provides hope that the increasingly bitter stalemate in economic relations between the two countries may be amenable to change. The problem is that protectionists in Washington may not be willing to give Paulson the time he needs.
COMMENTARY
Sep 1, 2006
Rights awareness spreading like wildfire
HONG KONG -- The headlines tell it all. On the front page of the International Herald Tribune: "Activist in China sentenced to 4 years -- decision seen as part of a sweeping move to punish dissent."
COMMENTARY
Aug 19, 2006
Struggling for transparency in China
HONG KONG -- Following the Chinese press, one sometimes gets totally depressed and feels that there is no hope for the country, with its myriad problems. At other times, the opposite is true. This week, it is a mix. On different fronts, one sees a host of problems but, at the same time, it is clear that there are people who are trying to come to grips with them although there seems to be a lack of political will to solve the problems on the part of the powers that be.
COMMENTARY
Aug 9, 2006
Beijing loath to cast the fate of elections in Hong Kong to the wind
HONG KONG -- With Hong Kong having entered its 10th year as a Chinese special administrative region, pressure is building on Beijing to honor its promise of allowing full democratization of this former British colony. Opinion surveys consistently show that the majority of Hong Kong residents want to be able to elect both the chief executive and the entire legislature by universal suffrage.
COMMENTARY
Jul 28, 2006
North Korea's waning respect for China
HONG KONG -- Strange as it may seem, there was an unofficial American group in Pyongyang on July 5, when North Korea conducted a series of missile tests. Stranger still is that a key North Korean official spoke to them quite frankly about what he thought of China, ostensibly Pyongyang's ally.
COMMENTARY
Jun 30, 2006
Rewriting the line on Japan
HONG KONG -- There are encouraging signs that both China and Japan are looking for ways to ease the prolonged deadlock between their two countries and improve relations -- an essential prerequisite to any strengthening of East Asian regional integration and the eventual emergence of an Asian community.
COMMENTARY
Jun 15, 2006
Reformers edge ahead in Chinese debate
HONG KONG -- Since Deng Xiaoping began the process of reform and opening up almost 28 years ago, China has repeatedly had internal debates, often heated, as to whether changes had gone too far.
COMMENTARY
Apr 14, 2006
Slow courtship for the Vatican and China
HONG KONG -- A senior Chinese official has acknowledged that Beijing and the Vatican have been in contact about the normalization of diplomatic relations. This was the first formal confirmation of hints from Vatican officials that negotiations for the restoration of ties, broken since 1951, were going on.
COMMENTARY
Feb 8, 2006
China swaps historical facts for fiction
HONG KONG -- At a time when Beijing is upbraiding Tokyo for its depiction in history textbooks of the invasion and occupation of China in the 1930s and 1940s -- and used it as a reason for excluding Japan from the United Nations Security Council -- it has exposed its own politicization of history by shutting down a publication, Bing Dian (Freezing Point), the weekly supplement of the China Youth Daily, for an article on events in the late 19th century.
COMMENTARY
Jan 25, 2006
Congressional group aims to improve U.S.-China ties
HONG KONG -- Quietly and without fanfare, an organization has been formed that may help smooth the course of the development of relations between the United States and China. This is the U.S.-China Working Group in the House of Representatives, set up in mid-2005 and now includes 35 members of congress.
COMMENTARY
Jan 13, 2006
Chen shares independence dream anew
HONG KONG -- To the consternation of his political foes and the delight of his allies, Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian on New Year's Day delivered an address in which he made it clear that he was as determined as ever to press ahead for the de jure independence of Taiwan, a move that Beijing has promised to meet with military action.
COMMENTARY
Dec 26, 2005
Sino-Japanese strains bode ill for EAS
HONG KONG -- The inaugural meeting of the East Asia Summit (EAS) -- including all 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus six other countries in the region -- went off without a hitch, except for the rather serious fact that China and Japan were not talking to each other.
COMMENTARY
Dec 19, 2005
Defeat presses Chen to ease up on China
HONG KONG -- Lord Acton's maxim that "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" has just been proven true again in Taiwan, where the ruling Democratic Progressive Party -- which had won power five years ago on a campaign promise to stamp out corruption -- was swamped in recent local elections by the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) now under the chairmanship of Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou.
COMMENTARY
Nov 28, 2005
A ray of hope for Chinese progressives
HONG KONG -- The recent political rehabilitation of former party chief Hu Yaobang, whose death in April 1989 triggered massive student demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, is encouraging to the progressive wing of the Chinese Communist Party, even though there is little indication that the current leadership is about to ease its hardline policies anytime soon.
COMMENTARY
Nov 14, 2005
Beijing appears more apt to seek flu help
HONG KONG -- China's appeal to the World Health Organization for help to determine whether three cases of "pneumonia caused by unknown factors" in Hunan province could have been the result of the H5N1 virus indicates that Beijing is taking the threat of bird flu seriously.
COMMENTARY
Nov 2, 2005
No changing colors in China
HONG KONG -- Two weeks ago, China issued a 23,000-word white paper on democracy, the first time the Communist government had ever done so. However, instead of being a blueprint for the development of representative government, the white paper turned out to be a defense of the perpetuation of the monopoly of power by the Communist Party.
COMMENTARY
Oct 16, 2005
China needs an independent judiciary
HONG KONG -- China has performed a miracle over the last quarter century, lifting hundreds of millions of people from dire poverty and turning the country into an economic powerhouse. In the process, Beijing has raised people's expectations not only of a better life but of a fairer society.

Longform

Later this month, author Shogo Imamura will open Honmaru, a bookstore that allows other businesses to rent its shelves. It's part of a wave of ideas Japanese booksellers are trying to compete with online spaces.
The story isn't over for Japan's bookstores