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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.
  • Jun 12, 2024

    The deteriorating situation in the South China Sea has many fearing escalations is on the horizon, and rather than de-escalating, the Philippines and China seem ready to let their maritime dispute spill over into other affairs.

  • Apr 19, 2024

    In early April, Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping engaged in a phone call. While both sides have had differing takes on the same conversation, it’s undeniably beneficial for both leaders to engage in dialogue, particularly amidst tensions and significant areas of disagreement.

  • Mar 25, 2024

    Neither the U.S. or China are monolithic entities, so why do we generalize them as such? Considering the dynamic duality of each nation has its limits, but it’s important to seek out multiple viewpoints, as it is a corrective to the flawed all-or-nothing thinking that occurs on both sides of the Pacific.

  • Mar 22, 2024

    What’s the future of TikTok in the U.S.? American politics tend to obscure the nuanced technological issues at hand, and policymakers should shift towards regulating social media platforms as public utilities rather than focusing solely on ownership disputes.

  • 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.

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