A More Assertive China

China is getting more aggressive— at sea, in the air, in space, with journalists. We’ll look at China’s assertive moment.

Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan inspects a guard of honor during a welcome ceremony prior to a meeting with Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 16, 2013. (AP)

Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan inspects a guard of honor during a welcome ceremony prior to a meeting with Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 16, 2013. (AP)

Press cards renewed today in China for a whole raft of American news reporters who had been afraid they might be kicked out before New Year’s.  China’s been playing hardball lately, and not just with press credentials.  Last week in the South China Sea, a near-miss between US and Chinese naval ships, as a Chinese vessel cut off a US destroyer.  Further north, China declaring a new Chinese air zone in the teeth of Japan and South Korea.  On the moon, a Chinese flag now shines bright – and why not?  But there’s a new vibe from Beijing.  This hour On Point:  the new assertive China, and what it means.

— Tom Ashbrook


Barbara Demick, Beijing bureau chief for the Los Angles Times. (@BarbaraDemick)

Jonathan Fenby, writer, journalist and analyst. Former editor of the Observer Newspaper and South China Morning Post. Author of “Tiger Head, Snake Tails: China Today, How It Got There and Where It Is Heading,” “Modern China: The Fall and Rise of a Great Power” and the forthcoming “Will China Dominate the 21st Century?” Managing director of the China team at Trusted Sources.

Dean Cheng, senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center.

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal: China’s Regional Aggression Takes Flight “In recent weeks, the Chinese have reportedly agreed to purchase Russian Su-35 fighters, among the most advanced in the world. Beijing also has unveiled an upgraded strategic bomber that will carry a new long-range land attack cruise missile. In September, Chinese air forces flew remotely piloted surveillance drones over the Senkakus.”

Foreign Policy: Chinese Netizens Applaud Beijing’s Aggressive New Defense Zone — “On Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter, over 200,000 recent posts mention the air defense map; of those sampled, the vast majority lauded Beijing for defending China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. As one user wrote, the map ‘lets the little Japanese know that our power does not stop at the tip of our tongue.’ Another wrote it was time for China to ‘take Japan to school and teach it how to act.'”

TIME: Foreign Correspondents in China Do Not Censor Themselves to Get Visas — “The situation isn’t pleasant. Already, the epic air pollution in Beijing, as well as a perceived hardening by the Chinese government toward the foreign business community, has caused many expats to flee. Among foreigners, 2013 has been the year of good-bye parties. When I left Beijing on Sunday, I joked with friends that I might not see them back in China. But it wasn’t that funny.

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