Stories written by Antoaneta Becker
Antoaneta Becker is IPS’s senior China writer. After twelve years of field reporting in China, in 2010 Antoaneta relocated to the U.K. where she covers China’s interactions with the outside world, the new paradigms of E.U.-China-Africa relations, China’s attempts to forge a new development model and the country’s impact on global markets for commodities. Antoaneta studied at Beijing University—China’s most prestigious academy—obtaining a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Chinese contemporary literature and film. She has reported on China for IPS, USA Today, The Economist Intelligence Unit, Outlook magazine and others. Fluent in Mandarin, Antoaneta has travelled extensively in greater China researching topics from environmental degradation to the overhaul of the country's state industries, the reform of the welfare system and the country’s increasingly large regional footprint.

CHINA: Dubious Confucian Answer to ‘Clowns’

The Chinese boycott of the Nobel Peace Prize, which this year was awarded to a jailed Chinese dissident, has evoked unflattering associations with brutal regimes that imprisoned political opponents and refused to acknowledge their popular sway.

At Eton school. Credit: Antoaneta Becker

Preparing for a Chinese Eton

Zhou Hongxia thought the King’s Scholars classroom was cold and damp and rather dark, the wooden benches carved and stained with the ink of hundreds of students that have filed through it over the centuries.

Strong as China, Fragile as Porcelain

In times of inflationary pressures the price of patriotism too goes up. The news that an 18th century Chinese porcelain vase sold for a record-breaking 68 million dollars at a London auction to a mainland China buyer this month did not go down well either with Chinese government regulators fretting about asset bubbles or with a Chinese public angry about income inequality.

CHINA: Magazine Closure Setback for Cultural Revival

When ‘Soho Xiaobao’ magazine suddenly announced in October that it was ceasing publication, it marked a huge setback for privately funded efforts to breathe fresh air into contemporary Chinese culture.

China has New Wind in its Sails

The poppy argument between Chinese and UK politicians this week may not have escalated into a serious problem to derail British Prime Minister David Cameron's first official visit to Beijing but it was symbolic of how 150 years after the Opium wars the two powers are still talking across each other.

China Closes In Around its Rare Earth

The western world sees China erecting trade walls. But China sees a throwback to an era of plundering and forceful western politics that followed the Opium wars of the 19th century and precipitated the collapse of the Chinese empire.

GREECE: Chinese Turn Up, At the Right Time

The clichés of the China man in Greece are quickly unraveling. The cheap clothing trader and the small Chinese restaurant owner are still there. Chinese masseuses are still trawling the beaches in search for customers. This familiar crowd, though, is increasingly overtaken by throngs of picture-snapping and cash-dolling Chinese tourists.

China Finds a New Gateway in East Europe

When China's new ambassador to Bulgaria assumed his post in mid-September he made headlines reminding the nation of a fact that may have been intentionally neglected by Bulgarian governments in the post-communist years of reform. Bulgaria was only the second country after the former Soviet Union to recognise the People's Republic in 1949, and that historical legacy was destined to endure.

Growing China Worries Neighbours

China’s imperious behaviour in recent territorial spats with its edgy neighbours has touched a raw nerve. Anxiety about its intentions and the future outlook loom large as leaders of the 16-nation East Asia Summit gather this weekend in Hanoi to discuss regional matters.

Ai Weiwei at the London gallery. Credit: Antoaneta Becker

Chinese Art Appears With Health Warning

China's rebel artist Ai Weiwei had intended a political message. And may be a truly memorable metaphor for the state of modern China and humanity as a whole. But the final outcome of his multimedia installation at the London's Tate Modern may have been rather unexpected, for what he got was a striking symbol of the 'Made in China' effect on the world.

Newspapers with old historical news are selling well. Credit: Antoaneta Becker/IPS

CHINA: Revisiting History Is In, But With Much Caution

The headlines of the day’s newspapers strike passersby as being strangely out of sync with today’s events: ‘China’s quick deployment in the war with India astonishes the world’. Or ‘Corruption dealt with the bullet by Mao Zedong’, and ‘The true reason why Stalin repeatedly postponed Mao Zedong’s visit to the USSR’.

China Offers a ‘Marshall Plan’ to Some of Europe

China's display of largesse towards debt-ridden European nations has divided observers, inviting comparisons on one side to a Chinese Marshall plan for Europe, and to a Chinese communist takeover of the continent on the other.

CHINA: Nobel Upsets Chinese Diplomacy

Europe delivered a lesson in universal values to outraged Beijing on Friday, awarding the world's most prestigious peace prize to a jailed Chinese dissident, who had boldly called for political reforms in the communist country.

Chinese ask where equality is, as the gap grows between the have and have-nots. Credit: Antoaneta Becker/IPS

CHINA: Resentment Rises With Widening Wealth Gaps

In the rich depository of Chinese expressions dealing with the issue of unrest, none is more sensitive than the word ‘qiyi’ or rebellion. After all, Chinese imperial dynasties have lost mandates because of peasant rebellions and the mere mention of the word in China brings associations with calamitous change.

EU Takes On Chinese Currency, Softly

The European Union is riding in the middle of an escalating currency spat between China and the United States, perceived by many in Beijing as a smokescreen for Washington's efforts to sap China's growth and contain its rise.

China Summons Past to Advance Into Africa

Irked by accusations that it is the new coloniser of Africa, China is looking to use soft power and historical evidence of its ancient links to the continent to justify its economic embrace of Africa.

CHINA: Second Richest Plays Poor

As China basks in international praise for its spectacular economic transformation over the last 30 years, some shadow sides of this story of triumph have begun to emerge.

As Sanctions Rise, China Steps Deeper Into Iran

The European Union's new sanctions against Iran appear to open a new space for eager Chinese companies to expand their investments in a country viewed as a rogue player by much of the western world.

Chinese Show Europeans a New Face

German Chancellor Angel Merkel's weekend visit to China has put a positive spin on the increasingly complex economic relations between China and the European Union, but the flurry of deals signed has not disguised the fact that Beijing faces challenges over its EU policies both at home and abroad.

CHINA: Giant Seeks to Play Superman

As China's aggressive acquisitions in Europe and beyond create ripples of unease in a global economy gripped by fear of another recession, many commentators are discerning a unified strategy for expansion orchestrated by Beijing.

China has used the sovereign debt crisis in Europe to forward its power in the region. Credit: Antoaneta Becker

European Crisis Is Chinese Opportunity

When China designed the 2010 Universal Expo in Shanghai as a showcase for its new public diplomacy, it probably did not envision the exhibition will play a much bigger role as a magnet for recession-hit European businesses.

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