Good evening. The dramatic increase in the number of Zoom users in the early months of the pandemic coincided with increasingly stringent controls over the company’s internal workings, and with demands from Chinese security agencies to immediately block any activities that authorities deemed illegal. Our cover story this week — an excerpt from Bethany Allen’s new book Beijing Rules — looks at Chinese interference in Zoom’s operations. Elsewhere, we have infographics on StarTimes’ role in promoting China’s image in Africa; an interview with Martin Wolf on the future of democracy and capitalism; a reported piece on two battery material startups in the U.S. and China; and an op-ed on Germany’s new China strategy. If you’re not already a paid subscriber to The Wire, please sign up here.
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Zoom’s good fortune during the pandemic represented a major opportunity to other organizations as well: China’s security agencies. That’s because, while Zoom is a U.S. company, more than 700 of its employees are based in China. As Bethany Allen’s new book shows, Chinese interference in Zoom’s operations is a stark lesson that governments need to get involved in countering Beijing’s influence.
This week’s infographics by Aaron Mc Nicholas look at StarTimes’ role in promoting China’s image in Africa, the support it receives from the Chinese state, and just how deep it has delved into some of the world’s least developed countries.
Martin Wolf is a distinguished economist, journalist and author, best known for the columns he writes for The Financial Times from London. Oxford educated, and a former World Bank economist, Wolf has since the 1980s been at the FT, most recently as an associate editor and as the paper’s chief economics commentator. For much of that time, he’s been chronicling the ups and downs of globalization, in his columns and in books like, Why Globalization Works (2004) and most recently, The Crisis of Democratic Capitalism. In this week’s Q&A with David Barboza, he discusses why people have lost faith in their leaders, the risks of U.S.-China decoupling and how to deal with Beijing.
Illustration by Kate Copeland
Critical minerals have become a geopolitical flashpoint, but two battery material startups in the U.S. and China are looking for ways to work together. Eliot Chen reports.
Germany is still struggling to find the right balance between business and politics — and between national and European interests — in its approach to China, argue Bernhard Bartsch and Claudia Wessling in this week’s op-ed.
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