The Curious Case of Disappearing Booksellers: A Conflict of Sovereignty between China and Hong Kong

Angela Ni
Vol. 37 Associate Editor
Vol. 38 Managing Note Editor

Free speech and separation of political spheres in China have always been tenuous. Publishing houses and bookshops in Hong Kong have spent years churning out books banned on the Chinese mainland, often focusing on poorly sourced secrets and rumors about the top echelons of China’s ruling Communist Party.[1] However, the recent arrest of five Hong Kong citizens, who published books that revealed critical and salacious information regarding the Chinese leadership, ignited citywide protests and debates about Hong Kong’s true political status.[2] One of the booksellers, Lee Bo, disappeared from his warehouse in December 2015 when his publishing company was to publish a book on Chinese president Xi Jinping’s alleged love affairs before his political ascent.[3] Continue reading

The European Refugee Crisis and the Need for a Unified European Approach

Virginia Koeppl, Vol. 37 Associate Editor

Fleeing civil war and terror, at least 350,000 migrants have crossed the European Union’s borders in search of a better life from January to August 2015, many of them risking their lives on the perilous journey.[1] Europe is experiencing one of the most significant influxes of migrants and refugees in its history, most of whom come from the Middle East and Africa.[2] The number of refugees has steadily grown over the last two years: According to statistics compiled by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (“UNHCR”), the number of refugees arriving from the Mediterranean Sea has tripled since 2014, bringing it up to a number that is ten times as high as in 2013. [3] Continue reading

The Long Arm of Justice: America’s Place in China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign

Derek Turnbull, Vol. 36 Associate Editor

As President Xi Jinping’s burgeoning anti-corruption campaign takes root in China, forcing government officials at the top of diverse ministries from the energy sector to the military to sit up and take notice, China’s anticorruption officials have set their sights on a new area: the United States.  Increasingly, China’s state media has critically covered the large number of government officials who have come under investigation in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and then fled abroad, many to the United States, allegedly in possession of billions of dollars in stolen cash and assets.[1]  In February, Chinese and American government officials confirmed that they had recently met to discuss this issue, and announced that in August they will sit down together once more to talk about extradition.[2]  While the United States should naturally be at the forefront of any effort to bring corrupt criminals to justice, reasons still exist for caution as American officials move forward in negotiations with their Chinese counterparts.  Rather than capitulating to the PRC’s demands for an extradition treaty, the US should settle on a more flexible alternative, such as compliance with already-existing international agreements like the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. Continue reading

Rana Plaza and the True Price of Fashion

Neha Khandhadia
Vol. 37 Managing Editor
Vol. 36 Associate Editor

Consumers of all ages flock to stores like H&M, Forever 21, Zara for the latest trends at bargain prices. What they do not realize is the price that is really paid to produce their bargain buys. The “fast fashion” industry is experiencing a rapid race to the bottom. “Fast Fashion” is an industry is built on getting fashion’s latest trends to the market quickly and at bargain prices. Companies continuously look to the next country with the lowest wages and labor standards for production. For example, as of mid-2014, Gap Inc. is the first American retailer to move production to Myanmar[1] and H&M is currently moving its production to Ethiopia.[2] Companies’ desire for lower prices has exacerbated terrible working conditions.  These terrible working conditions have led to deaths in the garment industries that produce clothes for “fast fashion” giants. And despite the worst accident in the garment industry just two years ago, little has changed. Continue reading