Last time I was in Beijing, I met a reporter from a newspaper called the “Global Times”, which deals mainly with international affairs. The reporter said, slightly defensively, that “people say my newspaper is very nationalist, but that is not really true.” This made me suspect that it probably was true.
Now we can all judge for ourselves. This week, the “Global Times” launched an English-language edition and web-site. Those on the look-out for signs of a more assertive China might be struck by the fact that the lead story is – “China’s navy sails onto world stage”. The peg is that the “Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy” (PLAN) is staging some exercises to celebrate its sixtieth anniversary this week. The accompanying article told me some things I should have known, but didn’t: China and Britain staged joint naval exercises in 1997; there are Chinese ships taking part in the anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. There is no sabre-rattling – and no mention of Chinese plans to build new aircraft carriers. Read more