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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
Dec 24, 2003
Ball now in China's court on Taiwan independence
HONG KONG -- With the Taiwan presidential election less than three months away, the behavior of the incumbent, President Chen Shui-bian, and that of the opposition Kuomintang candidate, Lien Chan, shows just how much things have changed in the last decade.
COMMENTARY
Nov 19, 2003
China's social mores shift as economic growth soars
HONG KONG -- The profound economic changes that China has undergone in the last quarter century have resulted not only in dramatic skyscrapers in all its major cities and a marked rise in the standard of living, but also in changing social mores, with attitudes today contrasting sharply with those of the strait-laced Chinese society of the past.
COMMENTARY
Nov 3, 2003
China, EU working to justify closer ties
HONG KONG -- China and the European Union, each rapidly growing in its own way, are poised to develop a closer relationship that encompasses virtually all spheres, including global politics and economic cooperation.
COMMENTARY
Oct 27, 2003
Ignorance is no longer bliss for China
HONG KONG -- U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was understandably angry that her memoir, "Living History," was censored by the Beijing publisher who put out the Chinese edition. Her comments on the military crackdown in Tiananmen Square in 1989, on her experience at the 1995 United Nations conference on women in Beijing and her account of the arrest of Chinese-American human rights activist Harry Wu were all excised or changed.
COMMENTARY
Oct 6, 2003
China girds for wider influence in Asia
HONG KONG -- China's efforts to defuse the North Korean nuclear crisis have been trumpeted in headlines around the world, but it has been just as active in other parts of the region, a reflection of its increasing regional influence.
COMMENTARY
Sep 17, 2003
Moscow must walk a fine line as Tokyo and Beijing compete for Russian oil
HONG KONG -- Russia is in the enviable position of being wooed simultaneously by Asia's two main powers, China and Japan. At the same time, it has to walk a fine line because it is unlikely to be able to please both countries.
COMMENTARY
Sep 4, 2003
'History' bedevils China-Japan relations
HONG KONG -- The visit to China this week by Japan's defense minister, Shigeru Ishiba, reflects an improved relationship between the two countries as well as the fact that little is being done to address underlying problems.
COMMENTARY
Aug 24, 2003
Beijing betting that a better economy will calm restless Hong Kong democrats
HONG KONG -- China's strategy for dealing with the political situation in Hong Kong in the aftermath of the massive rallies last month -- when more than half a million people took to the streets -- is two-pronged: On one hand, Beijing is waging a massive economic campaign to prop up the Hong Kong economy. On the other hand, it is issuing strong statements warning people in the territory against attempting to step up the pace of democratization.
COMMENTARY
Aug 10, 2003
U.S. hardly stoking fear of China threat
HONG KONG -- The Pentagon's latest report on the military power of the People's Republic of China has, predictably, angered Beijing. But a careful reading shows that the language used is by no means provocative.
COMMENTARY
Jun 29, 2003
China a laggard in preemptive reforms
HONG KONG -- When China sacked its health minister and the mayor of Beijing on Easter Sunday for their mishandling of the SARS crisis, many political analysts predicted that severe acute respiratory syndrome would have the same effect on China that the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 had on the Soviet Union, accelerating political reform.
COMMENTARY
Jun 11, 2003
Hu sends a message to the world that China is under new management
HONG KONG -- Chinese President Hu Jintao's first overseas journey has served to reassure the international community that China's new leadership has a steady hand on the nation's helm and can be counted on as a constructive partner in such problem areas as terrorism, North Korea's nuclear ambitions and the situation in postwar Iraq.
COMMENTARY
May 5, 2003
China still hasn't learned the right lesson
HONG KONG -- The dismissal on Easter Sunday of Chinese Health Minister Zhang Wenkang and Beijing Mayor Meng Xuenong for their role in covering up the seriousness of the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic was the biggest governmental shakeup in over a decade and has far-reaching ramifications.
COMMENTARY
Apr 17, 2003
Taiwan referendum bill may rile Beijing
HONG KONG -- The Taiwan legislature is discussing the politically charged proposal of adopting a referendum law to allow important policy issues, such as whether to build a nuclear power plant, to be decided by the island's 23 million people.
COMMENTARY
Apr 3, 2003
Economic effects of war concern China
HONG KONG -- The war in Iraq has brought to the surface strains in the Chinese-American relationship that had been papered over because of the two countries' common stand in the war on terrorism.
COMMENTARY
Mar 22, 2003
Economy top priority for new leadership
HONG KONG -- The two-week session of the National People's Congress in Beijing, which ended Tuesday, finished the political transition begun by the 16th Party Congress in November.
COMMENTARY
Mar 17, 2003
China shows little worry of U.S. squeeze
HONG KONG -- One figure that emerged from the current session of the National People's Congress in Beijing has intrigued China-watchers -- the 9.6 percent scheduled growth in defense spending this year, far less than the 17.6 percent increase of last year.
COMMENTARY
Mar 4, 2003
Signs of a thaw in cross-Strait relations
HONG KONG -- In a potentially significant move, China is reported to have pulled back some of its missiles along the Fujian coast facing Taiwan, something that the United States and Taiwan have been urging China to do for some time. An article in Taiwan's United Daily News on Thursday reported that "the Chinese communists had moved some of the missile troops from Fujian in the southeast coastal region back to their base in the northwest."
COMMENTARY
Feb 17, 2003
Korean stability matters most to China
HONG KONG -- "China should step up and defuse the situation," an American official in Washington said to me in December, referring to the North Korean nuclear issue. "That's what a great power would do -- exert its influence and defuse the problem."
COMMENTARY
Jan 22, 2003
Politics still trumps business in China-Taiwan relations
HONG KONG -- The new year has begun with conciliatory messages from both sides of the Taiwan Strait, suggesting that both China and Taiwan want to avoid too much tension in their relationship, although neither side seems likely in the short term to yield any ground on the sensitive issue of "One China."
COMMENTARY
Jan 5, 2003
No room for thoughtful patriot in China
HONG KONG -- China's release of prominent dissident Xu Wenli on Christmas Eve was a welcome gesture, but not much more than a gesture, unless the Communist Party fundamentally alters its policies and allows its citizens basic rights such as the peaceful expression of differing political views and the formation of opposition parties.

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Historically, kabuki was considered the entertainment of the merchant and peasant classes, a far cry from how it is regarded today.
For Japan's oldest kabuki theater, the show must go on