Over the years I have interviewed many academics, writers and journalists working from China and asked how and why they manage to work within the restrictions of a state that wants to tightly control how the world sees it.

They told me how important it was that the rest of the world knows more about China and its history, to help understand why it acted as it did. Right now, it is likely we are moving into a new phase for China and its role in the world, and we should all be paying attention to the ripples this might cast. China’s president, Xi Jinping, is clearly considering the risks and potential opportunities that the Ukraine war presents and, to put it bluntly, what China could get out of it.

Two leading experts on China have analysed three possible scenarios for the next phase of the Ukraine war, and what China could make of them. China sees Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a war against the west (and specifically against US dominance) just as Russia does, they argue. But China also sees it as an opportunity to consolidate and grow its diplomatic power. There’s never been a more important time to be a China watcher.

Wartime enlistment campaigns typically draw on deeply embedded stereotypes, historical myths or caricatures in a desperate attempt to create a positive reason to sign up. The Kremlin’s new campaign on “warrior masculinity” is trying its hand at all of that as Putin aims to mobilise an extra 500,000 soldiers to the Ukraine frontlines. Gender specialist Marina Yusupova lays out why this stereotype chimes with some Russian men, but why it still might not stop a second exodus of young men fleeing over the border.

If you’ve been watching Succession recently, you might have asked why we feel the need to be nicer about people when they die? As Sam Carr, an expert on society’s reaction to death, explains, grief can be complicated by the fact that the bereaved are often mourning a relationship they wish they’d had.

A free media that provides access to information, the exchange of ideas and the ability to challenge the status quo can all sometimes be taken for granted. The Conversation is free of influence or commercial interests, and exists only to bring the research insights of the brightest minds in academia to you, our readers. If you value what we do, please consider a donation today.  

Rachael Jolley

Commissioning and International Affairs Editor


Three scenarios for the next phase of the Ukraine war and what each means for China

Natasha Kuhrt, King's College London; Marcin Kaczmarski, University of Glasgow

China is looking at how the Ukraine war could end, and working out just what place Beijing wants in a post-war world.

EPA-EFE/Yuri Kochetkov

Russia’s appeal to ‘warrior masculinity’ is unlikely to encourage men to enlist in the army

Marina Yusupova, Edinburgh Napier University

Interviews with Russian men found most no longer see military service as a marker of masculinity.

The three Roy children hear about their father’s death. HBO

Succession: why it can be hard grieving someone you had a complicated relationship with

Sam Carr, University of Bath

The three Roy children had a love-hate relationship with their father so losing him has thrown up some difficult feelings they may feel they have to ignore.

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