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Commentaries by Philip Cunningham

Philip Cunningham

Independent Scholar

Philip J. Cunningham has worked in television and film in China and Japan since 1986. His latest book, “Tiananmen Moon: 25th Anniversary Edition,” was published in 2014.
  • Feb 26, 2024

    China’s newscasters have historically portrayed the U.S. in a negative light, but there has been a subtle shift in coverage since the Xi-Biden Summit in November. This highlights the significance of in-person dialogue and the need to continue finding areas of cooperation, as both sides recognize that the current disruption of trade and downward spiral of violence in the Mideast is not a winning scenario for either side.

  • Feb 21, 2024

    Liu Cixin's novel, "The Three Body Problem," has been adapted into two film versions – one by Tencent in China and another internationally by Netflix. Producing the story in the U.S. has presented the intricacies of cultural translation, variations in storytelling focus, and questions surrounding Netflix's treatment of Chinese elements.

  • Jan 22, 2024

    China and Russia’s maligned relationship looks on the surface to be a new axis of power against the U.S. - but by playing it safe, China seeks to reap the benefits of Russia’s favor without offending the West.

  • Sep 29, 2023

    Xi Jinping's absence from the G20 summit suggests a shift in China's foreign policy towards creating alternative international alliances. There are also questions about China's intentions and what the potential consequences will be if China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi doesn't address protocol and logistical issues for future international events.

  • Sep 05, 2023

    During a BRICS meeting in Johannesburg, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi mistakenly claimed that India had landed on China when referring to the moon's southern region. This slip of the tongue inadvertently highlights the challenges of international cooperation, including territorial disputes, and contrasts the ease of space exploration with struggles to resolve Earthly conflicts.

  • Aug 14, 2023

    "Oppenheimer" is a thought-provoking film exploring the moral dilemmas faced by J. Robert Oppenheimer during the creation of the atomic bomb amidst World War II. And it’s worth considering the parallels of Oppenheimer's journey with that of Qian Xuesen, including the complex interplay of scientific brilliance, political ambiguity, and the sometimes destructive power of innovation.

  • Jul 21, 2023

    With global tensions high, particularly between the U.S. and China, it’s helpful to recount stories from years past to remind ourselves that our forebears too struggled with monumental difficulties, yet in the long run, this did not preclude meaningful relations between different nations.

  • Jul 03, 2023

    As tensions between China and the U.S. seemingly increase, it’s difficult for either side to overcome public perceptions shaped by the media and arrive at the point of intentional communication. But reflecting on the history of diplomatic relations between China and the U.S. reminds us that “it’s not about friendship, it’s about mutual self-interest.”

  • Jun 06, 2023

    China recently hosted the Central Asia summit, while Japan simultaneously held a meeting between G7 leaders. Both summits were successful on their own terms, and both teach us something about the geographic and political realities of the two respective host countries.

  • May 31, 2023

    China’s newly-planned Xiong’an, touted as a city of the future and designed to absorb some of Beijing’s overcrowded population, is currently a work in progress set in the middle of historic wetlands. Can policymakers make good on their promise to develop a green, modern city in such a precarious environment?

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